Christina Martin “Impossible To Hold” (Come Undone Records, 2018)

It’s always a quandary when reviewing whether comparing your subject to other acts is a good thing or a bad thing. Sometimes you just end up listing a load of the artist’s obvious influences rather than actually writing; sometimes it’s essential to name check other well-known acts in order to help the reader fully grasp what it is you can hear. It is a problem trying to turn sound into words without some kind of special, futuristic machine invented by Doc Brown in the year 2055 and brought back to the present in a Delorean. Oh, how we wish had one of those machines at Americana UK Towers. Continue reading “Christina Martin “Impossible To Hold” (Come Undone Records, 2018)”

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Omeara, London, 15th February 2018

Largely due to the success of the crowd rousing (and Father Jack like) ‘S.O.B.’ their “gimme a drink” song, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats self titled debut LP sold over a million copies. They were catapulted from Colorado bars to this year’s upcoming Stateside tour of arenas and amphitheatres – The Greek, Red Rocks et al – and more locally soon, three nigh on sell out shows at Shepherds Bush Empire. Continue reading “Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Omeara, London, 15th February 2018”

Hunter Muskett “Unafraid and Sober” (Independent 2018)

Now reformed for longer than their original incarnation (1968-1974) Hunter Muskett reconvened in 2010 in the the excellent Aspinall Arms near Clitheroe after a Cherry Red re-release of one of their originals garnered more than a little praise. They liked it so much they set about recording again and Unafraid and Sober is the second album and not a shabby job it is at all. Continue reading “Hunter Muskett “Unafraid and Sober” (Independent 2018)”

Simon Linsteadt “February” (Stormy Deep Records 2018)

This album exudes relaxed California cool, which is just as well really as the artist is a native of that State. Without the knowledge that this was a new release it is likley that you would assume that the music here hails from the early 70’s. There are many comparisons that can be made such as America, Poco (indeed Linsteadt’s voice is not unlike that of Timothy B Schmit) Seals & Croft and almost all of the Laurel Canyon brigade. There is a gentleness to the whole work which is essentially acoustic demonstrating Lindsteadt’s guitar skills. Continue reading “Simon Linsteadt “February” (Stormy Deep Records 2018)”

Steve Lowis “Chapters” (Independent, 2017)

Albums capture your imagination in different ways. Some grab you by the throat and demand that you listen, some come with a reputation to live up to, some come with expectation and curiosity; every so often one comes along and quietly makes its presence felt and that’s the case with “Chapters”, a new offering from singer/songwriter Steve Lowis. Listening to this collection of well-crafted songs you may not be immediately grabbed but you slowly come to realise that this really is a very good album, well put together and well interpreted by the musicians involved. Continue reading “Steve Lowis “Chapters” (Independent, 2017)”

Reg Meuross “Faraway People” (Hatsongs, 2017)

What’s the function of Folk music these days – does it have any place at all?  If its function was to hold a mirror up to society, then Meuross would have a place in this world. His songs are measured illustrations of the social crises that pockmark our nation, the gradual disintegration of society, the dismantling of the NHS, a government that drives the disabled to suicide, all important issues and all subjects of these songs. Continue reading “Reg Meuross “Faraway People” (Hatsongs, 2017)”

The Dead South “Illusion & Doubt” (DevilDuck, 2018)

Canada is a major home of Americana, but not perhaps where you would look to find bluegrass. The Dead South are firmly established as a self described folk-bluegrass outfit, and are finally bringing their second album to the UK. Their basic cello/acoustic/mandolin/banjo set up is enhanced on record by layering and strings, with tempos and lengths varied to get away from the basic bluegrass fast 2/4 template, the band members backgrounds in classical and metal strongly influencing the stylings. Continue reading “The Dead South “Illusion & Doubt” (DevilDuck, 2018)”

Brother Roy “Last Man Standing” (Independent, 2017)

Remember when intense singer-songwriter J. Tillman, still working the day shift as drummer with Fleet Foxes, had a musical and emotional epiphany and transformed into Father John Misty? After serving time in Phoebe Hunt’s band The Gatherers, and touring with the likes of Sarah Jarosz, it seems that Brother Roy underwent a similar conversion after attending an Indian ashram and, in true Beatles form, dropped some LSD. And the mind expanding revelation that came to him was that what he really wanted to do was dig deep into his admiration for the likes of the aforementioned Fab Four, and their good buddy Harry Nilsson, amongst others name checked on his press releases. Continue reading “Brother Roy “Last Man Standing” (Independent, 2017)”

Jerry Leger “Nonsense and Heartaches” (Latent Recordings 2018)

Jerry Leger is a Canadian singer-songwriter who hails from Toronto and ‘Nonsense and Heartache’ is a double album with two distinct takes on his songwriting. ‘Nonsense’ is wired hillbilly blues with a wild swagger; there are elements of Chuck Prophet and his previous incarnation Green on Red, particularly in the ghostly 12 bar of ‘On The Fishing Line’ with it’s echoey, snarled vocal and sensational lead guitar. There is also a side order of the marvellous Cracker in the nihilistic ‘For HIre’ with is juicy rhythm guitar and twitchy lead. This all means that ‘Nonsense’ or disc 1 of this double is a joyous salute to the redemptive powers of the plugged in and raucous tempered by some very smart songwriting. Continue reading “Jerry Leger “Nonsense and Heartaches” (Latent Recordings 2018)”

Faeland “All My Swim” (Green Sage Records, 2018)

‘All My Swim’ is the debut album from Bristol based folk duo Faeland – Rebecca Nelson (lead vocals, guitar) and Jacob Morrison (guitar, ukulele, banjo, backing vocals), the pair assisted on several songs by some very able musicians delivering  a sometimes dreamlike pastoral sound. They seem to be delving into that hinterland of faerie music and bucolic wonder which characterised several bands in the early seventies. Continue reading “Faeland “All My Swim” (Green Sage Records, 2018)”