Jemima Price Band ”Fragile House” (Wisecrack Records, 2017)

Jemima Price Band bring their second record ”Fragile House” as a follow-up to the acclaimed ”No Alibi For Alice”, a record also created as a project of love for roots music between Jemima and her long-time guitarist/producer Mirek Latosek. Jemima herself as a great voice, beautifully rich and meshing perfectly with her backing band. Nights On Fire opens the record, and indeed is one of the highlights as one of the more memorable melodic efforts on the album. The unobtrusive percussion helps drive the track forwards and the melody itself brings it to another level. Continue reading “Jemima Price Band ”Fragile House” (Wisecrack Records, 2017)”

Daniel Martin Moore “Turned Over To Dreams” (Sofaburn Records, 2017)

Almost an album of lullabies, Turned Over To Dreams was recorded after Kentucky writer Moore discovered that close friends of his had used one of his previous albums to lull their child to sleep. A singer in the vein of Sufjan Stevens Moore certainly has a crepuscular quality to his voice, a breathy whisper of sorts floating gently over muted song arrangements. Continue reading “Daniel Martin Moore “Turned Over To Dreams” (Sofaburn Records, 2017)”

Buford Pope “Blue Eyed Boy” (Unchained, 2017)

When Pope landed his fourth album, ‘Sticks in the Throat’, a few years back I had the sense he was about to explode, it was the best album that year, by some margin.  It was a plethora of punchy, rocking Americana.  It had everything – a good looking, cool guy, huge hooks, great riffs and a rock n’ roll attitude – particularly as English isn’t even his first language.  Strangely it seemed to pass the world by. Continue reading “Buford Pope “Blue Eyed Boy” (Unchained, 2017)”

Scott Hrabko & The Rabbits “Summer” (Independent, 2017)

I know that this is grown-up Americana music, I know that it is well-crafted, slyly funny and expertly put together. I know it sounds like an Americana record should sound and I know that I should be listening to it now but I’m not. I’m cheating. I’ve listened to half the record (I’ve had it on in the car for the last few days), I’m trying to get through it again and to write something about it but it isn’t grabbing me, it isn’t saying anything to me. I’m trying to see if something else does, to see if it is me, or it’s the record. Searching around I listened to a couple of Hoodoo Gurus songs from the early 1980’s – they still chime with me, I’m still capable of being reached. Try something new, Japanese Breakfast The Body is a Blade – yep it penetrates. Try something more Americana? OK. Here’s the new one from Kevin Morby, it’s lovely, it excites me, it’s definitely not me. Continue reading “Scott Hrabko & The Rabbits “Summer” (Independent, 2017)”

Summertyne Americana Festival – Sunday, Free Stages, The Sage – Gateshead, 23rd July 2017

On the banks of the Tyne stands the silver bauble that is the Sage, its otherworldly structure home this weekend to some world class performers, surely covered elsewhere on these pages. The bit that always interests me is the free stuff, not just because I’ve been living in Yorkshire a long time, but because it’s always a source of some of the most interesting and new bands. Continue reading “Summertyne Americana Festival – Sunday, Free Stages, The Sage – Gateshead, 23rd July 2017”

Don Antonio “Don Antonio” Santeria/Audioglobe 2017

Antonio Gramentieri has worked with a host of Americana favourites from Howe Gelb, Richard Buckner and the Friends of Dean Martinez. If you blend those together, add in an Italian view of life (I like to think of Inspector Montalbano) and a dose of noir, you get a sound that is at once Mediterranean and universal. There’s a mix of louche instrumentals like Il Turco that’s like an ill-advised drug fuelled tour of a souk, sardonic stories like ‘Sera’ narrated by Hugo Race and then strange little twisted slices of seedy europop like Baballo. A complete stew of styles all slightly skewed into Gramentieri’s worldview. Continue reading “Don Antonio “Don Antonio” Santeria/Audioglobe 2017”

Over The Moon “Moondancer” (Independent 2017)

This is a fabulously simple debut album of old time music from the couple Suzanne Levesque and Craig Bignell hailing from the Rocky Mountains in Alberta who call themselves Over The Moon – and why not. There are ten tracks here, half of which are self-penned including a track entitled Over The Moon, a western swing style track featuring great fiddle. Recorded at home there is certainly a strong sense of place in evidence something clearly shown in the title track, the wonderful Moondancer by one of the fathers of Canadian music, Ian Tyson. Another great cover takes the form of By The Mark by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings which is given he full bluegrass treatment with great harmonies and finger style banjo to the fore. Continue reading “Over The Moon “Moondancer” (Independent 2017)”

Cory Branan “Adios” (Bloodshot, 2017)

Branan is the type of songwriter who doesn’t like to repeat himself – no meticulous honing of a style. No, Branan likes to write a song and move on. The style will be suggested by the song. Genre is an elastic spectrum; it is invisible and ignored. Another Nightmare in America is in the tradition of It’s the End of the World as We Know It (or We Didn’t Start the Fire), a rollicking evisceration of contemporary society. Then there’s Cold Blue Moonlight, a bluesy slow-burner more akin to Spain (the band). It makes for a thrilling journey. Blacksburg sounds like Joe Henry in country rock mode (with the Jayhawks on hand) whilst Visiting Hours is a kind of new wave gallop. Continue reading “Cory Branan “Adios” (Bloodshot, 2017)”

Suntrodden “Suntrodden III” (Independent, 2017)

Austin-based Erik Stephansson releases the third of his Suntrodden collection. He describes this five track EP as being “about rediscovering your core and not succumbing to the distractions that put you at risk” which is a noble sentiment. Even nobler when you discover that Stephansson has eschewed much of the modern recording technology in favour of a stripped back lo-fi approach that lets the songs say it all. Continue reading “Suntrodden “Suntrodden III” (Independent, 2017)”

Enderby’s Room “Enderby’s Room” (Fika Recordings, 2017)

This is Dan Mayfield’s first record as band leader. He’s worked with Darren Hayman, The Wave Pictures and Allo Darlin’, and his own sound isn’t too far away from those artists. It is a gentle blend of folk suffused with atmosphere, hushed polite vocals and everything clearly thought through and stuffed with detail. ‘The Music’ details the pleasures of music, the physical pleasure of the needle in the groove or the tape passing over the heads as well as the bliss from the actual music, the drone of harmonium binding everything together. The songs are full of small personal pleasures rather than bold statements – ‘Stars’ mixes ukulele with harmonium and the twinkling of vibes to create a painterly atmosphere where the brushstrokes of the instruments create the atmosphere. Continue reading “Enderby’s Room “Enderby’s Room” (Fika Recordings, 2017)”