Paul Brady “Unfinished Business” (Proper, 2017)

With Bob Dylan having declared Paul Brady to be a “secret hero” of his, you know there’s got to be some serious pedigree from an artist in a career spanning some 54 years now. Unfinished Business, Brady’s 15th solo album, features nine new compositions and two traditional folk songs. After a hiatus of 7 years since the release of his last album Hooba Dooba, the music on Unfinished Business is as eclectic as many of his previous studio releases, moving from the jazzy influenced title track, with lovely shared harmony vocals – to more up-tempo, humorous numbers such as I Love You But You Love Him. The latter starts off like a paen to shared domestic bliss with Paul Brady singing the merits of his and his respective partner’s differing interests with clever wordplay – until the payoff chorus kicks in with, “I love you, but you love him.” Continue reading “Paul Brady “Unfinished Business” (Proper, 2017)”

Michael McDermott & Heather Horton hit the UK for dates

To coincide with the release of Heather Horton’s album “Don’t Mess With Mrs Murphy” on Friday (which we could not have been any more glowing about), she will be joining her husband Michael McDermott on his European tour for 4 dates in the UK this month. Collectively also known as The Westies, it is the first time they have toured together in this country. McDermott has recently announced plans for a new album in 2018, following on from his previous release “Willow Springs” and his being voted Best Male artist by our own dear readers last year, the greatest accolade any man could hope for. Click through for the dates. Continue reading “Michael McDermott & Heather Horton hit the UK for dates”

Martin Simpson “Trails & Tribulations” (Topic Records 2017)

Martin Simpson’s latest album rates as his best yet. As one of the foremost singers and inventive players on the folk circuit here, he has gained his reputation not only through hard work but through a deep understanding of what English and American music amounts to, and where its roots are. Consider the thirteen tracks and gleam the stories that linger behind them. The first track is Blues Run the Game: “Catch a boat to England…” Martin’s soft, distinctive and confiding voice and his finger style playing catch and hold their audience effortlessly. Continue reading “Martin Simpson “Trails & Tribulations” (Topic Records 2017)”

Amanda Ann Platt and the Honeycutters “Amanda Ann Platt and the Honeycutters” (Organic, 2017)

Listening to this record solidly for the last three weeks now, it still sounds as fresh and invigorating as it did the first time out. Unlike the last Honeycutters release, on this album Amanda Platt puts her name both front and centre – and given that she writes the songs and sings lead vocal, that seems only reasonable. The opener Birthday Song was written on the eve of Amanda Ann Platt’s thirtieth birthday when, instead of feeling panicked about the end of her “roaring twenties” she felt grateful for being older and wiser. The lyrics reflect somewhat ruefully on the passage of time, with Platt singing about how, “Every Time It Gets Colder I Get Another Year Older, Start Looking for Lines in the Bathroom Mirror.” Ultimately, though, it’s a life affirming meditation on how time is really a gift because, “I’m just so damned glad to be here.” Marvellous stuff. Continue reading “Amanda Ann Platt and the Honeycutters “Amanda Ann Platt and the Honeycutters” (Organic, 2017)”

Paul Kelly “Life is Fine” (Gawd Aggie/Cooking Vinyl 2017)

‘Life is Fine’ as in ‘hanging by a thread’ rather than ‘great’, is a powerful return by Aussie songwriting royalty Paul Kelly. The Australian singer-songwriter is so pleased with it that he is about to embark on his first full band tour of North America to promote it. First listen to opening track Rising Moon will demonstrate why Kelly has such faith in “Life is Fine” as it’s a pretty irresistible R and B number and when the following tracks of Finally Something Good and the rocking Firewood and Candles kick in you can see how the variety of styles reflects the cohesiveness of the full band set up. Continue reading “Paul Kelly “Life is Fine” (Gawd Aggie/Cooking Vinyl 2017)”

Bob Seger announces new album, due November

News from Billboard today and boy does he look happy: “Bob Seger will be releasing a new album during November, with a first single out later this month. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer announced both on Saturday night (Sept. 9) during a hometown concert at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in suburban Detroit. Early in the show Seger told the crowd that a single was to have been released on Friday but was delayed, then offered the first formal acknowledgement that the album would be coming for the fourth quarter. Seger later promised the single would be out before his next Detroit-area show, closing down the Palace of Auburn Hills on Sept. 23, and that he would perform it that night.  Continue reading “Bob Seger announces new album, due November”

Hiss Golden Messenger “Hallelujah Anyhow” (Merge Records, 2017)

“Hallelujah Anyhow” is the sixth release by self-styled ‘Nowhere Man’ M C Taylor under the moniker Hiss Golden Messenger. His band consists of an eclectic variety of musicians including Brad Cook, Phil Cook, Chris Boerner, Josh Kaufman, Darren Jessee, Michael Lewis, and Scott Hirsch with additional vocals by Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, Tift Merritt, Skylar Gudasz, Tamisha Waden, Mac McCaughan, and John Paul White. Phew! There are some potent names in the Americana world among that list which is a testament to both the song-writing ability and leadership qualities of Taylor that he managed to assemble such a team. Continue reading “Hiss Golden Messenger “Hallelujah Anyhow” (Merge Records, 2017)”

Dori Freeman “If I Could Make You My Own” – Listen

It’s kind of a dream come true situation for Dori Freeman’s first single from her new album. When Dori was 22 she liked to kick-free from the Bluegrass music she’d grown up surrounded by and drive about singing along to her Teddy Thompson CD. Then she dropped him a line telling him how good they sounded together. Long story short, the album Letters Never Read was produced by Teddy Thompson, and yes guitar fans you do recognise the playing on If I Could Make You My Own.  Dori Freeman has kept it Thompson on the album as well, adding a cover of I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight on a collection that she says is happier sounding than her debut “I always want to put out something that’s a genuine representation of what I was going through” noting with a laugh that getting married last year to fellow musician Nick Falk made writing love songs much easier.