Tony James Shevlin “American Odyssey” (Oh Mercy Records, 2017)

Well-respected Anglo-Irish songwriter Tony James Shevlin spent several months on the road in the US back in 2015 covering 17 States and 11,000 miles, notebook in hand. American Odyssey is his tour diary translated into song, name checking iconic cities and their associated local heroes. Think of a place and he’s been there and think of a rootsy American musical style and he probably has a go at it here. Continue reading “Tony James Shevlin “American Odyssey” (Oh Mercy Records, 2017)”

The Turnpikes “Band From The North Country” (Independent, 2017)

The Turnpikes are a five piece band hailing from Sweden and have been going since 2000. This is their third full-length album having thirteen songs, two of which are original, the rest being a collection of classics that they like and have been performing for many years. The songs picked are top drawer and the originals aren’t bad either. So far so good – but that unfortunately is pretty much where the good bit ends because this really is a disappointing album in many ways. Continue reading “The Turnpikes “Band From The North Country” (Independent, 2017)”

Rainbrother, Paper Dress Vintage, London, 31st July 2017

Paper Dress Vintage is a relatively new venue in Hackney, downstairs is a vintage clothing shop cum bar, by day upstairs is more clothing and a yoga studio but by night it’s an intimate venue to catch a mix of new and upcoming bands as well as the occasional better known visitor. Like Rainbrother. Continue reading “Rainbrother, Paper Dress Vintage, London, 31st July 2017”

Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton Hall, 27-30 July 2017

Every festival, everywhere, delivers a special moment or two, things that it will be remembered for in years to come.  This year’s Cambridge Folk Festival was no different, with two hugely significant moments.

The first was the sad death of Joan Woollard a few days before the start of the festival.  The widow of Ken Woollard, who started the festival back in 1965 and was its director until his death in 1993, she was a huge folk music fan and hugely instrumental in helping Ken establish and run it.  A round of applause from the crowd on Saturday night in the main stage marquee and a lower key singaround by Ken’s commemorative bench on Sunday were fitting tributes.

The second took place on Friday, when the entire main stage bill was female, as were the comperes.  No tokenism here, the artistic ability and commercial clout of all nine acts meant that their slots were completely merited.  There has been much debate about female musicians, or rather the lack of them, on festival bills generally and Cambridge showed that in its 52nd year it can still show the way to other events in any genre and the programmer, Bev Burton, deserves massive props. Continue reading “Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton Hall, 27-30 July 2017”

Indigo Girls, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29th July 2017

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers took to the stage to rapturous applause and resounding cheers.  It’s been eight years since they last toured the UK and it was clear that the Indigo Girls had been missed as they launched into Fighting For The Love Of Our Lives, an upbeat number with lovely harmonies. For the next song, Ozilline, they were joined onstage by Lucy Wainwright Roche, who contributed on and off throughout the evening. This was followed by one of the many highlights of the evening and a clear crowd favourite, Fill It Up Again. A mesmerising song with entwined vocals that exuded feel good vibes. Continue reading “Indigo Girls, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29th July 2017”

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”