Nick Ellis is a Liverpool based singer/songwriter and guitarist performing a style of streetscape narrative-noir blended with a modern British acoustic approach. No nonsense, song and melody are the order of the day. Some people call it ‘folk’, some just call it good old fashioned song craft. Using a blend of rhythmic attack and finger-quick lucidity, his sound has been described as ‘a conversation between Elvis Costello and John Martyn’. Continue reading “Dirty Dozen: Nick Ellis”
If you’ve never heard “New Miserable Experience” and you want a new not all that miserable experience, it really is worth digging out. Nice little piece (well, not so little) in Rolling Stone this morning about the Gin Blossoms classic: “It’s a miracle that the Gin Blossoms’ breakthrough album, New Miserable Experience, exists at all. When the band left Tempe, Arizona, in 1992, headed for Memphis’ famed Ardent Studios to record their first album for A&M Records, the mood was far from optimistic. A first attempt at cutting the record in 1991 in Los Angeles was a $100,000 disaster. The group teetered on the edge of being dropped, and, most alarmingly, their founder and chief songwriter, guitarist Doug Hopkins, was in the throes of mental illness and alcoholism. Continue reading “Gin Blossoms reflect on their classic album 25 years on”
There is a backstory to My Bones Are Singing, and although it’s not explicitly spelt out at any point on the album it’s so relevant that it can’t really be ignored. Before recording My Bones are Singing, Aaron Graves, who is Those Lavender Whales, had been diagnosed with a life threatening brain tumour. Knowing this puts an extra emphasis on the reflections on mortality that permeate the album – it’s not something that can just be dismissed as existential angst or a grappling with the awful inevitability of life’s ultimate destination. Continue reading “Those Lavender Whales “My Bones are Singing” (Fork & Spoon Records, 2017)”
This is a difficult album to review simply because I’ve never heard anything quite like it before. For a start, it’s totally instrumental; unusual in the Americana genre, though the music does have its roots quite firmly in Bluegrass. It’s also a concept album, something else that’s quite rare in this genre. And not just any old concept – this album takes the rather grand biblical story of creation as its theme. You certainly can’t accuse Andrew Collins and his band mates, Mike Mezzatesta and James McEleney of lacking ambition. Continue reading “The Andrew Collins Trio “And It Was Good” (Independent, 2017)”
A beautiful video for a great song from the legendary Chip Taylor’s outstanding new album A Song I Can Live With.
If you’ve always wondered what Jason Isbell’s favourite colour is, whether he ever wears socks with sandals and who his favourite Hollyoaks character is (now or historical Jason, your choice!) then carpe diem as the saying goes. Uncut report: ” Ahead of the release of his new album, The Nashville Sound, Jason Isbell will be answering your questions as part of our regular An Audience With… feature. So is there anything you’d like us to ask the singer song-writer? Continue reading “Uncut wants you to ask Jason Isbell some questions”
Bristol Americana / country-soul songwriter Yola Carter, voted the AMA UK Artist of the Year 2017, has announced a run of Scottish tour dates. Following a year that saw the release of her debut solo EP ‘Orphan Offering’ she has added an acoustic trio tour of Scotland to her forthcoming live dates. A firm favourite at Southern Fried Festival following several performances in recent years, as well as a standout performance as part of the Roaming Roots Revue at Celtic Connections in January, the country has become a key part of her touring. In her own words: “Scotland is one of my favourite places to play. It’s a place where the folk tradition is alive and kicking and open to so much music.” Here are those dates. Continue reading “Yola Carter announces Scottish dates for June”
This is the major label debut EP from Canadian brothers John and James Abrams who, despite only being just into their twenties, already carry an impressive CV, having the honour of being the youngest Canadians to appear at the Grand Ole Opry and having already put out a couple of albums under their own auspices. Now they’ve been picked up by a major label (Warner Music Canada) and have their first EP produced by Gavin Brown, who has also produced for such bands as The Tragically Hip and Barenaked Ladies. Continue reading “The Abrams “The Abrams” (Warner Music Canada, 2016)”
Matt Hannah’s Dreamland is an album of roots-tinged rock, with just enough pedal steel, upright bass and accordion to make it rock that bit easier, and that’s appropriate as the title song, and album opener, explains. Here Hannah contrasts two sleep states, a pair of dreamlands – the one of his youth where he’d rock out all night with a band and then sleep until the afternoon, and the one he has now – where the listless drifting life with a band has been swapped for the steady life with just one woman. Continue reading “Matt Hannah “Dreamland” (Gamine Records, 2017)”
Like a roller coaster ride, no sooner are they announced – we’ve just had this note through: “Due to an unforeseen personnel change, Ryan Adams has been forced to cancel his April UK trip – including recently-announced shows at Parr Hall, Warrington and The Assembly, Leamington Spa. Ryan regrets the inconvenience and looks forward to returning to the UK for performances already scheduled for later in the year including two newly announced dates that go on sale this Friday, March 31 at 9am GMT.” Ryan Adams cancelled some US shows earlier this month due to illness.