The Deslondes “Hurry Home” (New West Records, 2017)

Five divergent musicians who eventually found each other in New Orleans, The Deslondes follow up their impressive 2014 debut album with the equally fine Hurry Home. Less country inclined than its predecessor the album finds the band roaming through a variety of styles – swampy southern roots, 50’s rockabilly, and classic rhythm’n’blues which, with several members of the band singing lead on various songs gives the album a truly dynamic feel. Comparisons to The Band and The Felice Brothers (which surfaced in reviews of the first album) will persist and that’s no bad thing and although The Deslondes are not as rough and ready as The Felice crew they’re handy reference points. Continue reading “The Deslondes “Hurry Home” (New West Records, 2017)”

Harbottle & Jonas “Anna is a Dancer” (Independent, 2017)

A descending, modal chord progression plucked out on what sounds like a 12 string guitar, the twang of a string bent here and there – with the first few bars, any listener with a penchant for bluesy American roots music will be frothing at the mouth with excitement.  Surely, this must be one of those songs about Dust Bowl wanders from the ’20s or backwoods murderers living beyond the law. Continue reading “Harbottle & Jonas “Anna is a Dancer” (Independent, 2017)”

The Americans “I’ll Be Yours” (Loose, 2017)

With a CV as long as your auntie Susan’s shopping list, The Americans certainly win the prize for putting in the effort: previously serving as the backing band for Luncinda Williams, Nick Cave and Courtney Love at the David Lynch Foundation’s 60th Anniversary of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, they have also recently made friends with Jack White, T Bone Burnett and Robert Redford to land a spot in the forthcoming PBS documentary series American Epic (airing on the BBC from 16 May 2017).  Continue reading “The Americans “I’ll Be Yours” (Loose, 2017)”

Shakin’ Stevens + Danni Nicholls, York Barbican, York, 19th May, 2017

It’s a big room for the ‘bard from Bedford’, resplendent in a suitably showbiz spangling top. Danni Nichol is comfortable in a room that houses both the UK snooker championships and Amy MacDonald in a few weeks.  Bluesy, Gospelly, there is a wonderful grace to her voice and her tales of Nashville, along with Beautifully Broken from Mockingbird Lane, and some spontaneous sing-a-longs proves her to be the perfect warm-up and it can’t be long before she plays places like this in her own right. Continue reading “Shakin’ Stevens + Danni Nicholls, York Barbican, York, 19th May, 2017”

Alan & The Big Hand “Yellow Car No Return” (Lost Wasp Records, 2017)

Alan & The Big Hand are described as a folk collective headed by Alan McClure. McClure is a writer and musician based in Galloway, south-west Scotland.  His creative output encompasses oral storytelling, poetry, songs, novels, short stories, audio sketches, singer and chief songwriter with The Razorbills, occasional member of The Wee Folk Storytellers. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough he is also a primary school teacher.

Continue reading “Alan & The Big Hand “Yellow Car No Return” (Lost Wasp Records, 2017)”

The Allman Brothers Band “Hell & High Water : The best of the Arista years” (Retroworld ,2017)

The Arista Years were 1980 and 1981. This was a battered and bruised Allman Brothers Band which had taken casualties along the way – quite literally – and had seen frequent changes of personnel. And the drugs had also taken their toll. The band released just two albums for Arista – Reach for the sky and Brothers of the road – which totalled nineteen tracks between them. This current compilation, issued by Retroworld which is a wing of Floating World Records, includes eleven of these.   Continue reading “The Allman Brothers Band “Hell & High Water : The best of the Arista years” (Retroworld ,2017)”

Red Rooster Festival, Euston Hall, Suffolk, 1-3 June 2017

Suffolk is such a green place when you live in treeless Yorkshire, every time I stray there I feel the inner workings of my soul refreshed.  Normally I wander that way once a year for Maverick, but this year it’s two journeys in a month, for the three day Red Rooster Festival is on the cards.  The first thing I notice is the amount of camper vans and caravans vs tents, a 50:50 split suggests this is an older, more affluent crowd. Continue reading “Red Rooster Festival, Euston Hall, Suffolk, 1-3 June 2017”

Gian Luca & the Oak “The Flowers Never Grown” (Independent 2017)

Gianluca Gentile is an Italian-born, London-based singer-songwriter who self released his debut EP ‘The Flowers Never Grown’ earlier this year and is backed up on the record by his talented band, The Oak. The record kicks off with an upbeat folk number Let You Be that sits somewhere between Old Crow Medicine Show and Mumford & Sons in terms of its energy and the utilising of the talents of his backing group and the variety of instruments on offer, particularly the drummer Emanuela Monni who puts in a great performance and Gianluca himself who plays a plethora of instruments on the recording. Continue reading “Gian Luca & the Oak “The Flowers Never Grown” (Independent 2017)”

Richard Thompson “Acoustic Classics II” (Proper Records, 2017)

Richard Thompson has something of a reputation as a perfectionist, and this trait caused him, a couple of years back, to review his available acoustic recordings with a critical ear.  Mostly consisting of acoustic spots or complete solo acoustic concerts there was a lot of material available, but perhaps they weren’t the very finest recordings – not perfect presentations of band songs reconfigured for just one guitar and voice. Continue reading “Richard Thompson “Acoustic Classics II” (Proper Records, 2017)”

Annie Keating + Christina Martin, York Basement, York, 25th June 2017

The debut York performance of Canada’s Christina Martin, tonight with Producer/Husband Dale Murray on guitar, has been a long time coming, but it’s worth the wait.  Tonight she’s the support, later in the tour with her UK band the roles are reversed. It’s a hell of a support.  She plays a mix of stuff from a forthcoming “fall” album, her critically acclaimed ‘It’ll Be Alright’ and older stuff – what my boy calls her “brown hair period”.  The Basement’s subterranean feeling is a great spot for an intimate gig like this, punters and performers shunted together and Martin feeds on this. Continue reading “Annie Keating + Christina Martin, York Basement, York, 25th June 2017”