Bill MacKay and Ryley Walker “I Heard Them Singing” – Listen

“SpiderBeetleBee” is the great new title of the new album by Bill MacKay and Ryley Walker which radiates forth with equal parts austerity and whimsy, as evidenced in the lead single I Heard Them Singing. Generating a nimble tempo with the aid of MacKay’s requinto (a kind of 5-string Mexican guitar), Walker’s rolling chords and the percolating tabla of Ryan Jewell, the song suggests an unknown short-cut from Brazil to India!  And if you want to hear Bill McKay singing, he hits UK shores later this month for a short tour.  Dates below.

Continue reading “Bill MacKay and Ryley Walker “I Heard Them Singing” – Listen”

Minor Poet “Judith Beheading Holofernes ” – Listen

Minor Poet is Richmond (Virginia) based musician Andrew Carter who has recorded an album – And How! – which is a testament to the beauty of music found in the most unexpected places.   It’s his debut solo album and was written, performed, and recorded entirely by him over roughly two months.  Judith Beheading Holofernes is the first track to be shared – there are hints of the harmonies of the Beach Boys or The Zombies, and more than a touch of Josh Ritter in the lyrics.  It’s lethargically melodic, and completely devoid of graphic descriptions of head removal (which is something of a bonus).

Hayley Thompson-King “Large Hall, Slow Decay” – Listen

Boston, MA-based fuzz-americana artist (another new genre is born) Hayley Thompson-King cryptically refers to her debut solo album, “Psychotic Melancholia”, as a “Sodom and Gomorrah concept album” influenced by her childhood obsession with the so-called wicked women in the bible. Opening track Large Hall, Slow Decay is a blazing country ripper directed at a former bandmate with whom Thompson-King had a harsh break-up. The title also references the reverb effect that reminds her of this time in her musical life. But Thompson-King doesn’t need to hide behind effects when it comes to her vocals. Hear for yourself.

Apples… I’m Home “Better Me” – Listen

Oddest name for a band ever (it sounds like a line from “Adventure Time”) but Apples… I’m Home are London based folkies with Scottish, English and Canadian roots, once described as “The Mamas & The Papas meets Mumford & Sons” – a lot of family going on there.  Their debut album “Against the Tide” comes out later this month, and the band are kicking off some UK dates with an album launch at The Fiddler’s Elbow in London on 11th August.

Josh McGovern “The Devil Below Me” – Listen

Brooding Brighton singer/songwriter Josh McGovern has released his new single ‘The Devil Below Me’. The song opens with McGovern’s deep tones give way to heavy, daydreaming Americana, intertwined with folk sensibilities and rich blues notes. Regarding the single McGovern says I was first inspired to write ‘The Devil Below Me’ as a response to change in my life. The song itself is a tale of past conflicts and a study of myself. It is very personal to me, it reflects on my family tree and past mistakes.”  Best not listen to it in the dark mind you while starting at the image below.

Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer “Not Dark Yet” – Listen

Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer have revealed ‘Is It Too Much’, a song co-written by the sisters and the third track to be taken from their long-awaited collaboration album ‘Not Dark Yet’ which is out 18th August. The sisters recently released their version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Not Dark Yet’. The album also features inspired interpretations of songs from the likes of Nick Cave, Nirvana, Jason Isbell and The Killers.

Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers “Caroline” – Listen

Steve Martin – officially the world’s coolest banjo player and the only one to sponsor a major annual Banjo music prize whilst also holding down other day jobs such as acting, writing books and collecting modern art – has a new long awaited album coming soon.  It’s called The Long Awaited Album, and also features Steve’s good bluegrass buddies The Steep Canyon Rangers.  The first song to be released from this is Caroline which is a typically idiosyncratic take on a break-up song.  It doesn’t rock, but it does Bluegrass.

Track Premiere: Fairbanks & the Lonesome Light “Song to My Bartender” – Listen

Here’s a nice new track we’ve got exclusively for you this morning. Erik Flores and Amelia Rose Logan’s songs as Fairbanks & the Lonesome Light have been described as “modern dime westerns” and this is as good an example as any. Flores told us: “Song to My Bartender” was a fun tune to write. I was trying to employ a little levity, which isn’t my typical approach, and what came out was this story about a barfly that drinks from open till close, talking about how he’d rather be anywhere but there, but never actually doing anything about it. Or at least that was the story shell I ended up filling with the usual existential meanderings… I guess I was trying to find that place where great songwriters make you laugh while telling you serious stories. John Prine, Guy Clark, and a few others come to mind. It’s tough to find the house where they live, but maybe I was wandering around the right neighborhood.”

The Barr Brothers “You Would Have to Lose Your Mind” – Listen

The forthcoming new album by the Barr Brothers has been described as their best yet – “a collection of 11 hypnotically fluid songs that speak to the raw, elemental power of reflection, forgiveness, loss, and growing up.” The record finds the band, featuring brothers Brad (guitar) and Andrew Barr (drums), and Sarah Page (Harp), further on their path of exploring the outer limits of folk, blues, rock and Americana made north of the American border. And how many bands feature a dedicated harpist? Radcliffe and Maconie premiered their new song earlier last week which you can listen to below.

David Rawlings “Cumberland Gap” – Listen

New music from David Rawlings is always a bit of a treat and this Southern gothic tune appears on the singer-songwriter’s new album ‘Poor David’s Almanack,’ which is due out August 11th. “That song was written a little later than the first batch of songs for this record,” Rawlings tells Rolling Stone Country. “It started out as a groove and melody and chords. The music felt like it had some kind of adventurous feeling, or a feeling of pioneering. I had been working to come up with a title or a theme or hook. One night as I was sitting playing through the music, the ‘Cumberland Gap’ words sprung to mind.” Read more about it over at Rolling Stone.