Final Bap Kennedy album to be released next month

bap-reckless-cover-500x500The final record by Bap Kennedy, who died earlier this month following a battle with cancer, will be released on December 2nd. Completed earlier this year, “Reckless Heart” is the culmination of a lifetime of defining the songwriting craft, with fans including Steve Earle describing him as one of the great songwriters of our times.  The label’s press release states: “We all wanted so much for Bap to see his latest record released, but unfortunately that wasn’t to be. We are all in agreement that one of the best ways of honouring Bap’s legacy is to continue to move forward with the release of ‘Reckless Heart’ at the earliest opportunity. Therefore we can confirm that the album will now be available in the UK/Ireland on 2nd December. The US release is 27th January 2017 – this date will also see a vinyl edition available worldwide.”  Look out for a review on AUK shortly. Continue reading “Final Bap Kennedy album to be released next month”

Will Varley “Kingsdown Sundown” (Xtra Mile Recordings, 2016)

will-varleyVarley’s music is likeable, decent, his sentiments are heartfelt and humane, he chips away at the status quo like a young Dylan. He doesn’t shy away from issues; these are protest songs (mostly) and in their own modest way they are uncompromising. He explores the ills of the contemporary world on songs like ‘To Build A Wall’ or ‘Something Is Breaking’ concentrating on trying to articulate the issues, rather than making them palatable. His direct honesty, his guitar playing and voice are humble instruments that help to draw the listener in. Continue reading “Will Varley “Kingsdown Sundown” (Xtra Mile Recordings, 2016)”

Drive by Truckers release new video for ‘Surrender Under Protest’

dbtWhich couldn’t be more apt on today of all dark days. God help us all. Rolling Stone reports: “The Drive-By Truckers have released their powerful new music video to “Surrender Under Protest,” a track from their recent album American Band. The song, sung by co-frontman Mike Cooley, uses an old Confederate slogan to address ongoing racial violence and tension in the modern South. Directed by noted music video director Lance Bangs (Arcade Fire, the Shins), the video features the band performing the song below a highway overpass while footage of civil unrest in the United States is interspersed throughout.  Continue reading “Drive by Truckers release new video for ‘Surrender Under Protest’”

Red Sky July “Voyager” (Shadowbirds Records, 2016)

red-sky-july-2016Hot on the heels of their album “The Truth And The Lie”, released in March, comes this six track EP from Red Sky July.  The trio has pedigree, with Ally McErlaine being the guitarist in Texas, Shelly Poole once of Alisha’s Attic and Charity Hair of the Alice Band.  Sadly said pedigree doesn’t deliver anything memorable here but rather a nicely produced, tastefully played and but ultimately unmemorable listening experience. Continue reading “Red Sky July “Voyager” (Shadowbirds Records, 2016)”

The Slow Show “Dream Darling” (Haldern Pop Recordings, 2016)

The Slow Show-2016Quirky and eclectic the music and vocals of Rob Goodwin are undeniable. In many ways The Slow Show breathe fresh air into the scene as the five-man unit take the listener away from the predictable and sometimes mundane work of all too many bands. The band’s debut album of last year, White Water was a more aggressive and urgent album in comparison, but such is the compelling manner of Goodwin’s story-telling, and spare instrumental arrangements provided by band members Fred Kindt (keyboards), Joel Byrne-McCullough (guitar), James Longden (bass) and Chris Hough (drums) the listener becomes trapped the instant the needle drops into the groove. Added to the above as a bonus Goodwin is joined on vocals on “Hurt” and “Last Man Standing” by Manchester vocalist Kesha Ellis. On the latter he speaks with no little passion of a man jilted-at-the-altar and of ‘the tears in his eye’.

Continue reading “The Slow Show “Dream Darling” (Haldern Pop Recordings, 2016)”

Brady Harris “Ukulele Days” (Lampshade Records, 2016)

brady-harrisThe title pretty much sums up the concept – Harris ukulises some originals and a whole bunch of covers. It’s not just Harris and his trusty instrument, there’s plenty of diverse instrumentation here – though strangely when it’s just Harris and the ukulele things pick up markedly. The ukulele is the folksy thread stringing the songs together and after a while it proves to be the weakness, the reliance on it rendering everything else as a sideshow and bringing the ear back to the novelty element. The record sounds like a drunken idea that wasn’t discarded the next morning. Continue reading “Brady Harris “Ukulele Days” (Lampshade Records, 2016)”

Lewis & Leigh Announce ‘Keep Your Ghost’ Tour for 2017

lewis-leighLewis & Leigh – Al Lewis from Wales and Alva Leigh from Mississippi – released their debut album ‘Ghost’ on Celticana Records in August of this year to rather impressive reviews, The Observer describing it as featuring “songs and harmonies that carry as much sweetness as sorrow.”  Which makes for a nice change.  It’s the culmination of a collaboration that began in 2014 when the two musicians first began writing together, and they’re hitting the road as it were from February next year for an extensive run of dates following a run of support dates with Deacon Blue this month.  Continue reading “Lewis & Leigh Announce ‘Keep Your Ghost’ Tour for 2017”

Tommy Hale “Magnificent Bastard” (Holiday Disaster, 2016)

magnificent-bastard-250-x-250The opening, title, track stops and starts you in your tracks. Tommy Hale, from Dallas, sings, “It seems I’ve let time slip away. It goes over the hill like a wild dog.” Here is the celebration, a eulogy of misspent youth. And so the album advances, with a wider, and varied list of themes and stories. Recorded in Wiltshire, maybe initially for a UK audience and so, perhaps, the record needs a proper introduction: “Magnificent Bastard” in American English is someone who is intelligent, capable, supremely competent, and always in control; the sort of person who gains grudging admiration, from friend and foe alike. Continue reading “Tommy Hale “Magnificent Bastard” (Holiday Disaster, 2016)”