The Mastersons “Transient Lullaby” (Red House Records, 2017)

Married couple Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore, the Texan voices and pens of The Mastersons, have spent a lot of their time in recent years as part of Steve Earle’s touring band The Dukes. They even double up as Earle’s opening act. This is their third album in five years. Clearly they’re busy people! For the most part Transient Lullaby is a gentle, introspective blend of country/pop-rock. Continue reading “The Mastersons “Transient Lullaby” (Red House Records, 2017)”

Scott Cook “Further Down The Line” (Independent, 2017)

Studious Canadian-born Americana singer-songwriter Scott Cook was influenced by Woody Guthrie among others. Further Down The Line is a unique release in that it comes complete with a 132 page book; a celebration in photographs of his ten years in the business, one that’s seen him travel the world. He doesn’t stop there because the chords for the songs are also included, and there are also notes about those mentioned in his songs. Continue reading “Scott Cook “Further Down The Line” (Independent, 2017)”

Le Vent Du Nord, The Stables, Wavendon, 13th June 2017

Quebec four piece folk sensation Le Vent Du Nord made a return visit to The Stables on a UK tour which is mostly taking in a number of folk festivals offering the group high billing. Drawing on a heritage of imported European traditions their sound offers a blend of French, English and Irish music in particular as well as Le Vent Du Nord’s own writings in the Quebecois traditional style and an unexpected (even by the band) touch of country music. It turns out that not every book of lyrics found in an attic is actually all that old. Continue reading “Le Vent Du Nord, The Stables, Wavendon, 13th June 2017”

Dream Machine “The Illusion” (Castle Face Records, 2017)

Having wound up his band Warm Soda, going out with an excellent final album, Matthew Melton returns with his new band Dream Machine. Gone are the power pop leanings of Warm Soda and in comes a late sixties “heavy” band, which, not unlike H.P.Lovecraft, mixes swoops of electric organ and a garage rock feel but then also adds in the not-part-of-the-summer-of-love attitude of early Black Sabbath. Continue reading “Dream Machine “The Illusion” (Castle Face Records, 2017)”

Hannah Aldridge “Gold Rush” (Rootsy Music, 2017)

Hannah Aldridge. Remember that name because, I suspect, you’ll be hearing a lot more of it. “Gold Rush” may well be the best “non-name” release of the year to date but though Hannah Aldridge herself is not that well known yet (and it really is only a matter of time) you may recognise the surname, since her father is well respected Nashville songwriter Walt Aldridge – proving yet again that old adage that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Continue reading “Hannah Aldridge “Gold Rush” (Rootsy Music, 2017)”

Chris Shiflett, 100 Club, Oxford Street, London, 13th June 2017

In these reviews I often find myself harking back to a period in London’s long lost rock history: the pub rock and early punk days of 75/76 that, in particular, the west of the city became associated with. Tonight’s gig is in the legendary 100 Club slap bang in heart of town. It’s a busy affair. The man I’m here to see is supporting Jet’s Nic Cester and veteran indie /punk broadcaster is Gary Crowley is DJing. It’s a superb gig, full of the right amount of joviality, rawness and musicianship, but as the sun rises the next morning, I’m thinking of west London again and the tower blocks that flank the Westway, the landscapes so evocative of early Clash artwork. Continue reading “Chris Shiflett, 100 Club, Oxford Street, London, 13th June 2017”

Almost Charlie “A Different Kind Of Here” (Words On Music, 2017)

Almost Charlie are a collaboration between Berlin based composer Dirk Homuth and New York based lyricist Charlie Mason and A Different Kind Of Here is their third album under the moniker. Recorded in Berlin the album features Homuth on various strings and things and vocals, his wispy voice couched in various settings, gentle pastoral reveries, woody string backed settings and piano based ballads with an occasional moment of briskness allowed to intrude. Continue reading “Almost Charlie “A Different Kind Of Here” (Words On Music, 2017)”

Yola Carter, The Borderline, London. 8th June 2017

At a recently revamped Borderline, Yola Carter took to the stage amidst an air of anticipation with Carter having recently won UK Artist of the Year at the AMA UK Awards. Carter is an immediate stage presence, both warm and welcoming and clearly the leader of the band. She immediately engages with the audience and throughout the night is both humorous and open with her  self-deprecating banter. Continue reading “Yola Carter, The Borderline, London. 8th June 2017”

My Darling Clementine “Still Testifying” (Continental Song City, 2017)

The thought of working with our sweet and loving partner may be enough to send many of us quivering into the corner (or perhaps the pub) but that’s exactly what husband & wife team Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish did when they formed My Darling Clementine. Is it a marriage made in music heaven? Or do I hear the sound of divorce bells and a guitar being inserted unceremoniously into a tetchy spouse’s rear end?  By this stage – 3 albums and over 400 live shows since their inception in 2011 – we have to presume that something about it works for them and, with a good dynamic between the two singers, a complimentary vocal style and well-pitched harmonies, there is enough to choose from that does. Continue reading “My Darling Clementine “Still Testifying” (Continental Song City, 2017)”

Donald Byron Wheatley “Moondogs and Mad Dogs” (Maiden Voyage Recording Co, 2017)

Rear-ended by a car which sent me and my bicycle flying through the air, the kerb-stone rose up and smashed me in the face. Paramedics diagnosed a broken nose, fractured arm, wrist and cracked ribs, and as I lay there bleeding, I pondered that the only other thing to have made such an impact on me recently is this amazing new album by Donald Byron Wheatley. Moondogs and Mad Dogs is essentially a tribute by Wheatley to his father ‘Big Don’, who came from a family of showmen who have worked on fairgrounds up and down our fair land for the past one hundred and fifty years. ‘Big Don’ turned little Donald on to the kind of music he loved and would play to him both on record and on his acoustic guitar: Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, and singers like Bessie Smith, Big Mama Ford and Van Morrison. Continue reading “Donald Byron Wheatley “Moondogs and Mad Dogs” (Maiden Voyage Recording Co, 2017)”