2016 : we’re lost in music – caught in a trap.

graham-nash-2016You could point at almost any year this century and it would be a vintage year for music – there’s so much out there that, once one has struggled through the ever expanding amount that is mediocre or just straight dross there’s always a fine collection of musical gems to pluck out and hold high overhead to amaze and dazzle. And this last year has been no exception to this rule. It’s impossible to listen to everything – even if one casts one’s net no further than just the content covered by Americana-UK – so this short summary is very much a personal view: it’s certainly not the official Americana-UK statement on what was good and what was not good in 2016. Continue reading “2016 : we’re lost in music – caught in a trap.”

Red Moon Road “Sorrows and Glories” (Independent 2016)

red-moon-roadRed Moon Road are a Winnipeg based three piece, two guys, one girl, with a wide range of styles. “Sorrows and Glories” appears to be their third CD release and a very worthy and quality piece of work it is. All songs are written by the trio either in tandem or on their own and they cover a refreshing range of style and subject matter. The album opener “Beauty In These Broken Bones” is a spiritual piece full of power in the mould of “Po Lazarus” from the Oh Brother soundtrack with a rousing choir backing. Continue reading “Red Moon Road “Sorrows and Glories” (Independent 2016)”

Sturgill Simpson and Avett Brothers nominated for Grammys

sturgill-simpsonRolling Stone Country reports: “Maren Morris, Sturgill Simpson and Kelsea Ballerini each scored an all-genre nomination when the categories for the 59th Grammy Awards were revealed this morning. Simpson’s latest record A Sailor’s Guide to Earth is nominated in Album of the Year, opposite efforts from Beyoncé, Drake, Justin Bieber and Adele, while Morris and Ballerini represent country music in the Best New Artist category. They’ll compete against the Chainsmokers, Chance the Rapper and Anderson Paak.  Continue reading “Sturgill Simpson and Avett Brothers nominated for Grammys”

Silas Lowe ‘’Wandering Father, Forgotten Son’’ (Independent, 2016)

silas-lowe-2016Written as an ode to an absent father, ‘’Wandering Father, Forgotten Son’’ is an album of many textures, with the stylistic differences between Roy Michaels, the father, and Silas himself being mixed throughout the record, as well as the conflict between the missing father, and the man who is mourned following his recent death. What comes from this emotional turbulence is a very raw and gutsy album, leaning as much into Appalachian folk as it does Texan dance-hall and Americana. Continue reading “Silas Lowe ‘’Wandering Father, Forgotten Son’’ (Independent, 2016)”

Martin Scorsese “No Direction Home–10th anniversary edition” (White Horse Productions, 2016)

no-direction-homeIt would be a huge exaggeration to say that Martin Scorsese’s documentary film on Dylan‘s early years in Greenwich Village reignited his career but, when it was initially broadcast in 2006, it did serve to increase interest in the Nobel laureate to be by a considerable amount. Certainly the subsequent legs of the so-called Never Ending Tour took in venues like the O2 Dome and Wembley Arena, a step up in size from the likes of Hammersmith Odeon. No Direction Home was also directly responsible for the fictionalised portrayal of the times in Inside Llewellyn Davis. Continue reading “Martin Scorsese “No Direction Home–10th anniversary edition” (White Horse Productions, 2016)”

Amanda Richards ‘’Tough Ones To Love’’ (Independent, 2016)

amanda-richards-2016Sometimes a record comes along and completely blows you away. Amanda Richards won’t be unfamiliar with this concept having been Grammy-nominated as an independent artist, but ‘’Tough Ones To Love’’ is very much in this category, with the songwriting and vocals being absolutely in-sync, alongside the musicality of Amanda’s long-time band ‘The Good Long While’.  Continue reading “Amanda Richards ‘’Tough Ones To Love’’ (Independent, 2016)”

Bear’s Den release new song ahead of Christmas charity bash – Listen

bears-denBear’s Den have today released a surprise new song in advance of their special Christmas charity show next week. The song, ‘Berlin’, was written during sessions for the band’s Top 10 album, ‘Red Earth & Pouring Rain’, and was recorded last month when the band had a short break in a hectic year of touring.  Andrew Davie, he of the Den, says, “We’re so excited to be sharing “Berlin” with the world. It’s a song we started writing a year ago and finished writing over the last few days of our last tour. Feels like a small way for us to say thank you to all the people who’ve supported us all over the world over the last year and made it such an incredible year for us as a band.”  Continue reading “Bear’s Den release new song ahead of Christmas charity bash – Listen”

The Flat Five “It’s A World of Love And Hope” (Bloodshot Records, 2016)

flat-five 2016The Flat Five are a Chicago based ‘supergroup’ . Between them they’ve worked with Neko Case, The Decemberists. Mavis Staples, Iron and Wine, plus a host of others. Without question an impressive collective pedigree. Ten years and more since their first live collaborations, this debut record is a real gem. Songwriter Chris Ligon is a purveyor of sweet , slightly off the wall, undeniably catchy tunes. The band comprises Chris’s brother Alex Ligon, Alex Hall, Kelly Hogan, Casey Mc Donough and Nora O’Connor. Opening track Florida is pure folky joy, a stone-cold obscure classic, dreaming of the Sunshine State whilst table waiting in cold Chicago.  Continue reading “The Flat Five “It’s A World of Love And Hope” (Bloodshot Records, 2016)”