Joy Williams “Canary” – Listen

You may have been wondering what’s happened to Joy Williams, the other half of the Civil Wars.  Well, she had her second baby and, whilst she was getting on with that there was also the small subject of recording a new album.  It – the album that is – is called ‘Front Porch‘ and is due to be released  next year.   Joy Williams called on the services of Milk Carton Kid Kenneth Pattengale as producer, and the result is beautifully crisp and uncluttered music – with Joy Williams hitting high notes exquisitely, as demonstrated on ‘Canary‘.

Licking the Moose “Stay in Heaven” – Listen

Licking the Moose recently released the well received album ‘The death of Henry Miller and many others’, their first release in nine years.  Opening with an almost jazzy piano line with Lasse Karlsen’s whisky ravaged vocals lamenting the life he’s lived, before the band kicks-in with hellish guitar work and a bottomless bass riff.  It’s like a great western movie (probably shot in Spain) condensed  into four minutes.

The Steel Woods “Old News” – Listen

I hate to think that you think I hate you / and I hate the thought of you hating me too” sings Wes Bayliss on the title track of The Steel Woods’ new album ‘Old News‘, to be released on January 18th.  It’s a song addressing the divides in America, and proffers the hopeful thought that “I’d hate to think that thinking is old news“.  Southern Rock, for sure, but not dumb rock.

The Marcus King Band “Where I’m Headed” – Listen

This fine tune by the Marcus King Band  is taken from their third studio album Carolina Confessions, which was released back in October.  It’s a multi-layered rocking track tinged with soulful horns and a throat-ripping vocal.  Marcus King explains that it is about “a very special lady. It’s to do with always being on the road and not really knowing where you’re going next. A lot of times people ask where we’re going and I don’t really remember without looking at the tour book. So I’m saying to her that I don’t know where I’m headed, but I know you’ll be there.


Michael Nau “On Ice” – Listen

Michael Nau recently released his latest,  full band album, ‘Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread’ which saw him revisiting some songs from a little way back.  ‘On Ice‘ is  an earworm of a song, blending familiarity with Nau’s quirky vocal.  It comes out of a literal home recording session which saw Nau and the band taking over guitarist Benny Yurco’s one-bedroom apartment with drums and bass in the bedroom, the guitar amp in the bathroom, Nau’s vocals and piano in the living room, and a vibraphone in the kitchen. This was the first time Nau has been able to record all the music together in one place, and he says “it feels most like a band record than ever before”.

Ruth Acuff “Peace” – Listen

Look, this is the first track feature of December and were we really supposed to ignore a song called ‘Peace‘ that features ‘Voice, Harp, Upright Bass, Cello, Viola, Violin(X2), Tambourine, Sleigh Bells‘ ?  Don’t get the wrong idea, we’re not easily swayed sentimentalists, in this game you can’t afford to be, so if Ruth Acuff hadn’t made such a dreamily beautiful track with an inspiring mantra we wouldn’t be spinning it.  It’s true, though, that Missourian Acuff was inspired not just by the looming festive season but also by the political turmoil around her, and in part wanted to pour oil on the troubled waters.  Consider that balm applied.

Big Jim Brown “Pretty Girl” – Listen

Is it the shining clear guitar, or the rich baritone singing, that make this such an unashamedly lovely song ?  Maybe it’s the words – or all three, because that’s actually all there is on this new song from Big Jim Brown’s latest album ‘Devil on the Other Shoulder‘, which will be released on December 7, 2018.  And it finds the leader of the Speed Kings in a reflective mood on the richness of a lifetime of love and the brevity of forever “always happy seldom blue, I get to spend my life with you/…/ a silent kiss a single smile, forever’s just a little while“.  Ain’t that the truth.

The Hope State “Butterflies” – Track Premiere

The debut album by The Hope State is called ‘Skeletons‘ and is out tomorrow. The Hope State is Canadian Taylor Johnson who started his musical life in Saskatoon before relocating to Los Angeles and is now resident in Toronto.  His introspective brand of folk-rock deals primarily with difficult emotional issues – regret, depression, addiction, love, loss.  And also hope.  Continue reading “The Hope State “Butterflies” – Track Premiere”

Dirty Streets “The Sound” – Listen

The Dirty Streets hail out of Memphis, and continue a tradition of powerful Southern Rock, although just to cover all bases they also don’t fall too far from bands like Mountain by blending in some hard bluesy sounds on ‘The Sound‘.  Naturally for such a sound they are a trio, and they recently dropped their latest album ‘Distractions‘, from which this track comes.  So sit back and, err, distract yourself, man.

Nicole Atkins (featuring Mark Lanegan) “November Rain” – Listen

Taking the pompous overblown Guns N’ Roses ballad (and if that seems a tad harsh, then go and remind yourselves of the official video and then say it isn’t so) and reshaping it into a moving country duet wasn’t so hard for Nicole Atkins.  She did it in her sleep.  Literally. As Nicole Atkins explains she was staying in a Vermont Inn and “I dreamt that I was in an old tower and I was singing an old ’60s country style duet of the Guns n’ Roses song “November Rain,” and it sounded awesome. I immediately woke up and sang it into my phone the way I heard it.”  Continue reading “Nicole Atkins (featuring Mark Lanegan) “November Rain” – Listen”