Clever Square “Clever Square” (Bronson Recordings, 2019)

Described as the Italian golden boys of American indie rock by their totally unbiased record label, Clever Square main man Giacomo D’Attore has pulled together a new band following the original version’s split in 2015. D’Attore is unambiguous in citing US indie rock as his inspiration and this eponymously titled new album certainly does take a nod in that direction. And all without a hint of an Italian accent. Continue reading “Clever Square “Clever Square” (Bronson Recordings, 2019)”

Josh Rennie-Hynes “Patterns” (Soundly Music, 2019)

After making a name for himself in his native Australia, Josh Rennie-Hynes upped sticks from his home in Queensland and – upon being granted the impressive Nashville Songwriters Residency grant by the Australian Council for the Arts – made Music City USA his permanent base and where he would record his third solo record. The opening lines of the album (from the track ‘Standing Still’) feel like Rennie-Hynes is speaking to himself of the importance of pushing his creative and geological boundaries: “Oh my love you won’t / Ever find the things you want / If you don’t trust yourself once in a while.” Continue reading “Josh Rennie-Hynes “Patterns” (Soundly Music, 2019)”

Jacob Faurholt “Shake Off the Fear”(Raw Onion Records, 2019)

One of Denmark’s most prolific songwriters, Jacob Faurholt is well known in Alt-Folk circles in his home country and while this is his 8th solo release it is the first to be recorded in a proper studio. His voice could politely be described as something of an acquired taste – think fingernails and blackboard. One thing the album could have done with was someone to help him find more suitable keys in which to sing. His voice often sounds to be straining for the note, leaving something of a harsh grating tone. Continue reading “Jacob Faurholt “Shake Off the Fear”(Raw Onion Records, 2019)”

Ben Davis Jr. and the Revelry “Suthernahia” (Broken Jukebox Media 2019)

Ben Davis 2019Ben Davis is a native of Ohio and lives close by the river of that name – which features prominently in the penultimate track of his new album ‘Suthernahia’ (Suthern-a-hiya). Davis is described as a veteran performer though as far as I can gather has only two releases namely, ‘The Day After Payday’ and ‘Leaving Cincinnati’ prior to this offering.  The current batch of songs are performed in conjunction with The Revelry his current touring band, though as names go, the previous incarnation, The Dirt Poor Troubadours, takes some beating. Continue reading “Ben Davis Jr. and the Revelry “Suthernahia” (Broken Jukebox Media 2019)”

We Banjo 3 “Roots to Rise Live” (Sonas Recording, 2019)

The ‘Roots to Rise Live’ album shows very clearly that award winning Irish Band We Banjo 3 are a fantastic live act. Packed full of intricate banjo and fiddle playing, some beautiful vocals and lots of enthusiastic audience participation, it’s clear they are not a band to be missed when touring. Recorded live on February 27 and 28 at The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the album is a celebration of roots and bluegrass music and includes a mixture of original and traditional tracks. Continue reading “We Banjo 3 “Roots to Rise Live” (Sonas Recording, 2019)”

Tough Old Bird “The Old Great Lakes” (Independent, 2019)

Tough Old Bird are a folk duo from Fillmore, New York State, comprising brothers Nathan and Matthew Corrigan. With two EPs and two previous albums of more traditional American folk music under their belts, ‘The Old Great Lakes’ is an attempt to expand their sound beyond their original confines.
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Beth Bombara “Evergreen” (Lemp Electric, 2019)

Michigan-born Beth Bombara is a relatively new name around these parts, though she’s released a couple of EPs and four albums prior to this one.  Judging by its contents though they should be well worth investigating because ‘Evergreen’ has ten excellent songs that blend contemporary folk and Americana to very good effect indeed, not to mention the great tunes and hooks she deploys to boot. The songs range from ‘Tenderhearted’, a wonderful paean to her husband, via the Stones-y rock’n’roll of ‘Good News‘ to the delicate ‘Growing Wings’ where her plaintive vocal recalls early Neil Young. Continue reading “Beth Bombara “Evergreen” (Lemp Electric, 2019)”

Jones “Carver’s Law” (Independent, 2019)

Trevor Jones is Jones, the solo project featuring half of the duo Miracle Mile. Following 2016’s critically acclaimed album, ‘Happy Blue’, this is the fifth release from Jones which sees him working again with Miracle Mile other half, Marcus Cliffe. The album title, ‘Carver’s Law’ was inspired by the short story writer and poet Raymond Carter.
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Rachel Harrington “Hush The Wild Horses” (Skinny Dennis Records, 2019)

It has been fully seven years since Rachel Harrington’s last album ‘Celilo Falls‘, and those intervening years have been eventful for her to say the least. After the touring to support ‘Celilo Falls‘ Rachel Harrington was exhausted – and she’d also taken up drinking again after nine dry years. Obamacare helped with medical issues, but it’s been a longer struggle to finally give up alcohol again. In this same period Rachel’s grandmother died, and whilst staying with her there was something of a contemplation of other family deaths – all of which feeds through into the album. Continue reading “Rachel Harrington “Hush The Wild Horses” (Skinny Dennis Records, 2019)”

Emily Mae Winters “High Romance” (Independent 2019)

Some albums are all about the songs, some albums are all about the production but ‘High Romance’, the second album from Emily Mae Winters is all about the voice. That’s not to say there aren’t some terrific songs and Matt Ingram’s production isn’t superb, but Winters has a wonderful voice and it’s superbly showcased on the eleven songs that make up ‘High Romance’. Continue reading “Emily Mae Winters “High Romance” (Independent 2019)”