Willard Grant Conspiracy’s Robert Fisher dies

Very sad news today from Loose – Willard Grant Conspiracy were one of those iconic bands of americana who were a mesmerising band to see live. You can hear my personal favourite track from them below, taken from their unbearably moving “Regard the End” album from 2003. Uncut reports: “Robert Fisher from Willard Grant Conspiracy has died. According to a Facebook post from his label Loose Music, he had been suffering from cancer. “He was busy still holding down his day job and recording tracks for his 11th album,” they wrote. Continue reading “Willard Grant Conspiracy’s Robert Fisher dies”

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit announce new album, UK dates

Although don’t get too excited as they’re towards the end of the year and gigs in bunkers tend to be a bit cramped. Rolling Stone reports: “It’s shaping up to be a busy year for Jason Isbell, who will release two records before 2017 is up. Today, the songwriter announced his upcoming Live from Welcome to 1979, a six-song, vinyl-only concert album recorded directly onto lacquer. A full-length studio album is also slated to hit shelves this year, with production by Dave Cobb. Both titles are credited to Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, marking Isbell’s first non-solo albums since 2013’s Live from Alabama. Continue reading “Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit announce new album, UK dates”

Wesley Stace “Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding” (Yep Roc, 2017)

A dream combination – Stace backed by the Jayhawks. Novelist and compere par excellence, the former John Wesley Harding releases his twentieth record. This time around he’s enlisted the help of Minneapolis’s finest. Stace has always been an intelligent, witty lyricist. His voice is polite and restrained in tone; sitting well with gentler, acoustic song arrangements. Opening track I Don’t Wanna Rock ‘n Roll is unfortunately true to intent – it doesn’t quite rock ‘n roll. If anything it’s an easy listening soft rock exercise which doesn’t mesh too well with Stace’s vocal qualities. Better Tell No-One Your Dreams is much the same – by no means a bad song but not quite as good as it should be.  Continue reading “Wesley Stace “Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding” (Yep Roc, 2017)”

Maverick Festival announces 2017 line-up for tenth anniversary

The Maverick Festival, which takes place in the picturesque Victorian farm buildings of Easton Farm Park, has always been one of the highlights of the americana year and they’ve just announced the line-up for this year’s which celebrates a milestone 10th anniversary. Headlining acts include the Henry Brothers, Stompin’ Dave Allen, Police Dog Hogan, Brooks William, Sam Baker, the Danberrys, Low Lily and Terra Lightfoot, with plenty more acts to be announced soon (although no Ed Sheeran who did play Maverick back in 2008). The festival runs from Friday 30th June-Sunday 2nd July and tickets are on sale for £95 for the weekend (which goes down to £20 if you happen to be 10 years old).   Continue reading “Maverick Festival announces 2017 line-up for tenth anniversary”

Martin Harley and Daniel Kimbro “Static in the Wires” (Del Mundo Records, 2017)

Martin Harley, globally established badass of lap steel guitar, and Daniel Kimbro, upright bass player whose gig, venue, and collaboration credits read like a folk fanboy’s bucket list, are back with a new album. “Static in the Wires” is mostly a bluesy affair, well balanced between electric and acoustic textures, with occasional spaced-out echoes thrown into the mix. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Harley record without some upbeat folky finger picking. Continue reading “Martin Harley and Daniel Kimbro “Static in the Wires” (Del Mundo Records, 2017)”

Julie Byrne announces UK dates – May

Folk singer-songwriter Julie Byrne has announced a handful of UK dates for May, kicking off in Bristol on 21st.  She’s also lined up for both End of the Road and Sea Change festivals over the summer, and her second album ‘Not Even Happiness’ (released last month on Basin Rock) “vividly archives what would have otherwise been lost to the road – bustling roadside diners, the stars over the high desert, the aching weariness of change, the wildflowers of the California coast, as well as the irresolvable mysteries of love.” And if that doesn’t whet your whistle then maybe the video clip will below.  Continue reading “Julie Byrne announces UK dates – May”

Wolf People “Ruins” (Jagjaguwar, 2016)

Wolf People hold a special place in the spectrum of what we called for a while “psychfolk”. Their albums, and Ruins is no different in this, have a strong folk edge – Jack Sharp’s vocals have a clear English voice that sounds like it’s destined for some future incarnation of Fairport Convention. Songs appear with Argus-era Wishbone Ash melodies. There’s some flute in the mix. And then the edgy-pastoral Wickermanesque songs which might be about treasure hunting using a Hand Of Glory take a mighty side swerve into a harder Witchfinder General territory as crunching guitars, pounding drums and deep booming bass reveal Wolf People as a band enamoured of that late sixties heavy rock sound. Continue reading “Wolf People “Ruins” (Jagjaguwar, 2016)”

Old Crow Medicine Show ‘’Best Of’’ (Nettwerk, 2017)

Old Crown Medicine show are known for their amazing and energetic live shows and a fantastic folk repertoire throughout their discography. This greatest hits package comes exclusively from their three albums released with Nettwerk, including O.C.M.S in 2004, Big Iron World in 2006 and Tennessee Pusher in 2008. “Best Of” kicks off with Wagon Wheel their original song made a mega-hit by Darius Rucker covering it, selling it as a multi-platinum single. Old Crow Medicine Show’s version is much more palatable, with real grounding in roots, dominated by fiddle, banjo and folk harmonies. Indeed, Old Crow don’t escape string-dominated roots music for any of the record, and indeed for any of their discography. Continue reading “Old Crow Medicine Show ‘’Best Of’’ (Nettwerk, 2017)”

Looking forward to New Year ‘Snow’

Something to warm your hearts in this bleak winter, for it will be a great New Year as New Year (the Band) are releasing their first new material for 9 long years. On April 28th Snow will be released. For fellow devotees of the work of the Kadane brothers (Bedhead, New Year and Overseas with Will Johnson and David Bazan) this is news that will bring Spring just that little bit closer. There is a short teaser for the album on YouTube but bugger that, let’s just bask in The End’s Not Near from 2008.  Continue reading “Looking forward to New Year ‘Snow’”