Josh Ritter + Ida Mae, Union Chapel, London, 23rd July 2019

It was another warm evening for this second night of a two-night stand at London’s famed Union Chapel – the record-breaking temperatures of the day trailing off with a long tail. Under the stage lights, Josh Ritter, with his full band backing him, was showing the effect of the heat but held nothing back on a set which revisited some of his back catalogue but was also a great opportunity to hear the really strong new songs from his latest album ‘Fever Breaks’ live. It was a setlist with two themes – respecting the venue, there seemed to be many of Ritter’s songs which make use of religious, and specifically Christian, imagery with a second strand of concern for American democracy. Continue reading “Josh Ritter + Ida Mae, Union Chapel, London, 23rd July 2019”

Ida Mae “Chasing Lights” (Thirty Tigers, 2019)

Chasing Lights‘ is the debut album from this British-born duo, and what a debut it is; showcasing a depth and breadth of talent as well as a range of styles, from tender folk to swaggering rock and roll. Now based in Nashville, the pair have their feet planted firmly in the fertile soil of American roots music. Even their band name, Ida Mae, comes from an old Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee song, and this heritage courses through the record with dazzling vitality. Continue reading “Ida Mae “Chasing Lights” (Thirty Tigers, 2019)”

SummerTyne Americana Festival , Sage Gateshead, 19th – 21st July, 2019

Returning for its fourteenth year, one of the pioneers of the Americana festival scene continues its very relaxed mix of fun and music. When it started, the question was, “What is Americana?” but nowadays it is more,  “What isn’t Americana?” and certainly SummerTyne with its eclectic lineup suggests that if you have a vague connection to the U.S.A. and/or a stringed instrument, you are in. Indeed, the only form of Americana not found here is the more insurgent type, so you don’t expect the likes of Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson – SummerTyne does not go for edge. Continue reading “SummerTyne Americana Festival , Sage Gateshead, 19th – 21st July, 2019”

Ida Mae, Kings Head, Dalston, London, 11th July 2019

Tonight’s gig marks the launch of Ida Mae’s debut full-length album, ‘Chasing Lights’, produced by UK West Country-based guru Ethan Johns. The Norwich husband and wife pair,  Christopher Turpin and Stephanie Jean Ward, now live in Nashville but have penned the album’s material while split between Holloway, North London and touring in Mississippi. Indeed, North American touring has dominated their recent time with the duo racking up an epic 30,000 miles epic across the USA and Canada. Continue reading “Ida Mae, Kings Head, Dalston, London, 11th July 2019”