The Moon Shells “Seaside Asylum” (Casa de Agua, 2019)

There’s just something special about the combination of fiddle and banjo. When they’re working at the height of their combined powers, they’re able to summon up memories that aren’t even our own. They speak from all of the times and places that have been spoken to, and spoken through, by way of their combined strengths. They pack a powerful punch when they’re put to good use. Of course, the other side of that coin is that they command a certain respect. If the meaning and emotion aren’t there then you’re left with an empty shell . . . an imposter. Continue reading “The Moon Shells “Seaside Asylum” (Casa de Agua, 2019)”

Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge, 1st-4th August 2019

Now in its 55th year, an impressive achievement in itself, Cambridge Folk Festival continues to go from strength to strength and this year’s event was one of the best. At the top of the bill there were a lot of heavy hitters and they all delivered. Lucinda Williams wiped away memories of her dreadful appearance a few years ago with an outstanding set that, while it wasn’t the complete airing of ‘Car Wheels On A Gravel Road’ that she’s been touring was nevertheless full-on, committed, and contained a lot of fan-pleasers.  Her backing trio Buick 6 was also outstanding, particularly Stuart Mathis on guitar.  Continue reading “Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge, 1st-4th August 2019”

Birds of Chicago set to tour through the Brexit deadline

The last release by Birds of Chicago ‘Love In Wartime’ may prove to be a prescient title before too long given reports from the UK food industry that in the event of a no-deal Brexit the Government will have to put the population on a command-economy war footing for the purposes of rationing and co-ordination of food resources. Quite how the British public will respond to such circumstances is uncertain, although expecting some kind of stoical response along World War II lines is probably fanciful seeing as the Police had to ask people to stop calling 999 when KFC ran out of chicken last February.
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Dusty Wright “Book Of Tears” – Listen

Dusty Wright is a New York based folk/Americana singer-songwriter, and ‘Book of Tears‘ is taken from his eighth album ‘Can Anyone Hear Me?‘  On the music scene since the ’80s, he’s played CBGB’s, of course, and has been a part of a myriad collection of bands.  This song seems kind of topical but that’s because its topic is in the news on almost a daily basis.  “How many tears / must we shed / How many prayers / how many prayers/ Can resurrect the dead?” Dusty Wright sings.  Continue reading “Dusty Wright “Book Of Tears” – Listen”

Video: The Bobby Tenderloin Universe “Sandpaper One Side, Rubber On The Other”

This is a wonderful eerie and not a little disturbing video.  The song is taken from Bobby Tenderloin’s eponymous debut album which is out in the autumn.  It’s gritty, slightly psychedelic, and a little opaque lyrically, which will do nicely.

Americana acts cover David Berman songs in tribute – Watch

With thanks to BrooklynVegan for highlighting this – tributes are still coming in for David Berman who died last week (we now know sadly from suicide) and some artists have covered songs from Silver Jews over the weekend, including Phosphorescent who performed ‘Trains Across the Sea’ from the 1994’s album ‘Starlight Walker’ and Hiss Golden Messenger who covered the wonderful ‘Dallas’ from 1996’s ‘The Natural Bridge’ album. You can watch both of those performances below. The Brooklyn band Activity, Pennsylvania’s The Districts and the National have also covered Berman’s songs in recent days. Continue reading “Americana acts cover David Berman songs in tribute – Watch”

Frank Turner “No Man’s Land” (Xtra Mile Recordings/Polydor Records, 2019)

The title of Frank Turner’s eighth album is a bit of a pun as the thirteen songs it consists of all are stories of women. No men. Get it? On ‘No Man’s Land‘ Frank Turner sets out to tell the stories of remarkable women who have been written out of history, or are in danger of fading away. The combination of predominantly acoustic guitar and vocal driven songs – adorned with a little percussion and the occasional squeezed box – means that ‘No Man’s Land‘ is very much in a tradition of songwriting associated with the likes of Ralph McTell or Al Stewart. In keeping with the theme Frank Turner has also gathered a crack band of female musicians – there’s strings and piano from Anna Jenkins and Gill Sandell of Emily Barker’s Red Clay Halo band, Lock drummer Holly Madge, Paloma Faith’s bass player Andrea Goldsworthy, Kat Marsh of Choir Noir – all under the direction of producer Catherine Mark. Continue reading “Frank Turner “No Man’s Land” (Xtra Mile Recordings/Polydor Records, 2019)”

Ellis Paul “The Storyteller’s Suitcase” (Rosella Records, 2019)

I felt compelled to write about it. Three people dead – over what? A fucking statue.” Ellis Paul outlines in words that brook little ambiguity the drive behind his song ‘The Battle of Charlottesville’. The song is prompted by the tragic events of August 12th 2017 in his adopted home city, a white supremacist rally that left one protester dead, scores injured and a police helicopter crash that took the lives of two state troopers.  And herein lies something of the drive behind Ellis Paul’s life as a storytelling songwriter. Continue reading “Ellis Paul “The Storyteller’s Suitcase” (Rosella Records, 2019)”

Video: Maz O’Connor “San Francisco”

Now this is quietly beautiful, with a great video by Marry Waterson too.  It’s the new single from acclaimed singer-songwriter/folkie Maz O’Connor, taken from her latest album ‘Chosen Daughter’, out on October 25th, and tells the story of her great aunt moving from Ireland to San Francisco when she was only 16 to become a nun.

Bruce Springsteen “I’ll Stand By You” – Listen

Want to hear a previously unreleased Springsteen track ?  Well, you’re in luck because that’s just what we’ve got for you here.  And, as you’ve probably already noticed, it’s all thanks to the new feel good movie ‘Blinded by the Light‘ which explains how embracing The Boss can give your life purpose.  But we knew that already, right ?

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