Album Review: Jennifer Castle – Angels of Death

Recorded in a church near Lake Eerie, Jennifer Castle’s new album Angels of Death certainly has the feel of a twilight evening by the water, where you sit on a porch swing and just watch the darkness descend. The infinite mysteries of nature are everywhere in Castle’s music, which is inspired by folk, country, the blues – music of the dirt rich earth and yet she sounds more like she belongs in the air, whispering her sweet melodies into the wind. Continue reading “Album Review: Jennifer Castle – Angels of Death”

Album Review: Carter Sampson – Lucky

The whimsical portrait on the cover of this new album from Carter Sampson appears to show a woman comfortable with the world. Sure, she holds a horseshoe for luck but she’s not wishing for endless riches or anything outrageous like that. Her smile suggests she’s counting her blessings and appreciating the life she has right now. The music on ‘Lucky’ reflects this peaceful contentedness, with its warm and inviting country sound. Continue reading “Album Review: Carter Sampson – Lucky”

Music Book Club: ‘Shout, Sister, Shout! The Untold Story of Rock-And-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe’ by Gayle F. Wald

Before I started reading ‘Shout, Sister, Shout’ I’m ashamed to admit that I knew almost nothing about Sister Rosetta Tharpe, except that she was important, influential but ultimately overlooked by music history. In this biography Gayle F. Wald, a professor at George Washington University, explores her subject in an academic but accessible style. Such respect and consideration of this remarkable woman and her music career has been long overdue. Continue reading “Music Book Club: ‘Shout, Sister, Shout! The Untold Story of Rock-And-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe’ by Gayle F. Wald”

Why Thelma Houston’s ‘Sunshower’ Still Shines

In the late sixties Jimmy Webb had just written Wichita Lineman for Glen Campbell when he began working with Thelma Houston, a woman he declared to be ‘the most prodigious talent I have ever encountered.’ Now mainly remembered for her disco hit Don’t Leave Me This Way, Thelma Houston’s performance on the Sunshower album shows a singer of distinctive depth, who was willing to experiment with style and genre. Webb’s music was a mix of gospel flourishes, lush orchestral arrangements and yes even a hint of country music. This album remains an underrated and overlooked classic which displays the ambitious nature of both songwriter and singer. Continue reading “Why Thelma Houston’s ‘Sunshower’ Still Shines”

Album Review: Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer

 

In the emotion picture which accompanies Janelle Monáe’s new album Dirty Computer she is hunted by people who want to assimilate her, dress her in white and wipe her memory clean. Love, music, colour and self-expression are silenced in this eerily realistic dystopian future. This ambitious concept album and film proves that expressing your true self takes more than courage, sometimes you have to rebel against the very fabric of society itself. Continue reading “Album Review: Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer”

Album Review: Belly – Dove

When Belly broke up over twenty years ago I took my broken heart and I buried it in the ground. No one was to blame for the premature split – things just fall apart sometimes. Their songs though refused to die, their power only burrowing deeper into my soul over time. And other fans will tell you the same thing. The roots our fandom grew may have been invisible to most but slowly they began to form life again. It may have taken twenty years but now with their reunion and the release of their third album Dove, a new tree has burst through the ground and is spinning high above our heads. It’s hard not just to stare in wonder at what beauty we’ve helped bring back to life. Continue reading “Album Review: Belly – Dove”

Album Review: Darci Carlson – Darci Carlson

If you like your country music full of attitude and rebel yells then look no further than Seattle singer Darci Carlson. She’s an outlaw, in the true sense of the word: mad, bad and dangerous to know. Maybe some might think it’s an act but this self titled album proves she has enough authentic personality to burn down any room. These nine songs make for an enjoyable riot of a listen. Continue reading “Album Review: Darci Carlson – Darci Carlson”

Live Review: Whitney Rose with Martha Healy & Lisa Kowalski @ Glasgow ABC2

Whitney Rose’s wonderful album Rule 62 was one of my favourite releases of last year so I was delighted when she announced a show in Glasgow, her first time ever playing Scotland. And I wasn’t disappointed either as Whitney put on a fun and fabulous show, proving that sometimes music is better when you don’t take yourself too damn seriously. Continue reading “Live Review: Whitney Rose with Martha Healy & Lisa Kowalski @ Glasgow ABC2”

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