Gene MacLellan’s not a name this writer is familiar with but mention two of his songs, Snowbird (a hit for Anne Murray) and Put Your Hand In The Hand (covered by just about everyone including Elvis and Johnny Cash) and it’s a fair bet that most folk will have a memory of hearing these. MacLellan was a Canadian who recorded four albums in the seventies but it was his writing skills that attracted the likes of Chet Atkins, Loretta Lynn, Joan Baez and Bing Crosby to record his songs. Continue reading “Catherine MacLellan “If It’s Alright With You – The Songs of Gene MacLellan” (True North Records, 2017)”
Slaid Cleaves releases his first album since 2013’s “Still Fighting the War” and it has to be said that the four-year wait has been worthwhile as “Ghost on the Car Radio” is an outstanding return. Born and raised in Maine but now a resident of Austin, Texas, Cleaves has clearly used the time wisely as this is an outstanding bunch of songs, full of insight and characters who are wrestling with the realities of modern life in small-town America such as the reflective tone of the amateur racer in Primer Gray who dwells on life’s changes as her relates his family’s connection to the sport. Or there are the changes that cause hardship to the family farm in Hickory as the narrator accepts that “you can’t stop the march of time”. Continue reading “Slaid Cleaves “Ghost on the Car Radio” (Proper Records 2017)”
Mecury Rev have a sound that is often described as symphonic, so this appearance at The Barbican with the Royal Northern Sinfonia offers a real chance to hear the huge sounds of their albums as they were meant to be. Surprisingly there’ll be nothing from Secret Migration, perhaps the bands most symphonic album to date. Mercury Rev’s last album – 2015’s The Light In You – appeared after a seven year break and was their first for Bella Union,and this very special appearance at The Barbican also forms part of the Bella Union 20th Birthday party. Although ever hopeful, this reviewer recalls that the Bella Union 10th Birthday celebrations didn’t feature cake. Continue reading “Mercury Rev, The Barbican, London, 14th July 2017”
Kentucky man Tyler Childer’s great new song, taken from his album Purgatory. If you’re in London on July 25th you can catch him at the Slaughtered Lamb.
Were you wondering what to do this weekend ? Tennis too dull, no gigs to go to, looking like it might rain on the BBQ ? Fear not, Rolling Stone Country have done us all a great service in producing a weekend full of arguments in the form of their list of 100 Greatest Country Artists Link. Yup, all your favourites are there…actually they aren’t. The colossi who bestride the Americana world are given their due…actually they aren’t. Townes – where would you put Townes ? Continue reading “Rolling Stone Country would like to annoy you”
Here is up to date, relevant, British, Liverpool-produced Americana at its best. The songs are confiding, forceful sometimes. As it says in the first track, “Every page and chorus sweet refrain/ Filled with joy and some… filled with pain.” All you need really! Red Moon Joe are: Mark Wilkinson, who is the founder member (originally forming the band in 1985), producer, singer, electric and acoustic guitars; Steve Conway, pedal steel, dobro, acoustic guitar; David A Smith, bass; Dave Fitzpatrick, harmonica, banjo; and Paul Casey, drums. Continue reading “Red Moon Joe “Time & Life” (DBS Recordings, 2017)”
Undoubtedly one of the hits of the year so far Courtney Marie Andrews returns to the UK at the end of August for a headlining tour, including two dates at Bush Hall on 4th and 5th September (Shepherd’s Bush, London). The second London date was added after public demand following her appearance on Later With Jools Holland. She also plays End Of The Road Festival on 2nd September.
In tandem with the tour Loose Music has announced that they will be reissuing Andrews 2013 album On My Page which was only released in the States originally. The album will be available on CD and also on vinyl for the first time.
Just signed to Fantasy Records and for the last two years the backing band for rock royalty in Neil Young, Lukas Nelson, son of Willie Nelson, and his band are releasing an album at the end of August. Described as country soul, the self titled album is the band’s third full length release and features Lady Gaga on backing vocals on a couple of the songs.
The band will be playing some live dates in the UK in late October and they also have an appearance on Jools Holland’s Later lined up. You can hear three of the songs from the album here
Well – after three studio albums, a live album, EPs, singles and many gigs – that’s it for the Whybirds. Having an announced an indefinite hiatus the Americana band are currently undertaking their last few live gigs – in fact there’s just the Lexington in London on August 11th still to go. There was never any expectation that The Whybirds would bow out quietly, and sure enough they were playing at outdoor festival level in this small pub music venue. Continue reading “The Whybirds, The Portland Arms, Cambridge, 7th July 2017”
Not that this going to become a habit – although it very possibly could – but following on from yesterday’s Real News about Van Morrison’s upcoming album Roll with the punches (due out this September) it is a genuine pleasure, nay a privilege, to feature the first track made available from what is Van’s 37th studio album.
Oh, and when Van says “take it one more Jeff”, that would be Jeff Beck getting a name check. Thought you’d like to know, you’re welcome.