Dolly’s Discography – The Fairest of Them All

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Well it can only be Dolly Parton, of course, even if this album cover has her wearing one of the most ridiculous outfits of her career. Despite the impression the garish cover gives this does not mean Dolly has embraced bubblegum pop or turned into a glitzy rhinestone cowgirl (those aspects of her career are yet to come). Instead this album, released in 1970, contains southern gothic short stories of traumatic and tragic lives, continuing the trend of her previous album My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy. Dolly writes all but one of these songs, and the album really benefits from being free of the cover versions and throwaway music row songs that weakened her earlier albums. Continue reading “Dolly’s Discography – The Fairest of Them All”

Album Review: Natalia Lafourcade – Musas Vol 2

Last year Mexican musician Natalia Lafourcade decided to cast off modern pop sounds and investigate the rich musical history of her Latin American heritage. Her album Musas included folk inspired originals plus covers of songs by legendary Latin musicians like Violetta Parra, Agustin Lara and Simon Diaz. It went on to win the Latin Grammy for Best Folk Album as well as becoming a huge commercial success. Her second volume appears less than a year afterwards, the haste of recording partly because of the advanced ages of her collaborators Juan Carlos Allende and Miguel Pena of Los Macorinos (both in their eighties) and also due to the renewed creativity Natalia found in this project. In the songs of the past she found not only her roots but a way forward for her music. Continue reading “Album Review: Natalia Lafourcade – Musas Vol 2”

Album Review: Haley Heynderickx – I Need To Start A Garden

Taking time to cultivate your music before releasing it into the world is vitally important, especially since albums come out every day and many don’t even get the chance to be heard in the infinite online din. Portland based Haley Heynderickx had some false starts before finally sewing things together on this short collection of songs called I Need to Start A Garden. Continue reading “Album Review: Haley Heynderickx – I Need To Start A Garden”

Album Review: Brandi Carlile – By The Way, I Forgive You

When I reviewed the project Cover Stories last year I was completely unfamiliar with Brandi Carlile’s music, so it was kind of strange that my first experience of her songs was hearing other people sing them. When her new album was announced I was immediately intrigued, especially as she was working with Dave Cobb, who has produced some of my favourite albums of the last few years and the legendary Shooter Jennings. While I admired the initial single The Joke I wasn’t immediately sold on her more orchestral based sound, so I held off listening to this album for a while. Well that was a stupid idea since By The Way I Forgive You is one of the best releases of the year so far. Continue reading “Album Review: Brandi Carlile – By The Way, I Forgive You”

Live Review: Country to Country Festival, Glasgow, Friday 9th March 2018

You could tell this was going to be a good day because it was unusually sunny in Glasgow, with thankfully no sign of the snowmaggedon conditions that had caused shows to be cancelled at the same venue last week. I was at the Hydro to attend Country 2 Country festival, which brings the best of Nashville to the UK for three days every March. The Friday evening show featured performances from Lukas Nelson, Ashley Campbell, Midland, Margo Price, Emmylou Harris and Little Big Town. Continue reading “Live Review: Country to Country Festival, Glasgow, Friday 9th March 2018”

Album Review: Vivian Leva – Time is Everything

Virginia native Vivian Leva grew up steeped in the Appalachian tradition, learning from her parents who were both musicians. She began singing on stage aged nine and then formed many bands, developing a deep understanding of country, bluegrass and old time music. Her debut collection Time is Everything weaves these influences with modern Americana to create bittersweet songs full of wisdom about the nature of life and love. Continue reading “Album Review: Vivian Leva – Time is Everything”

Album Review: Courtney Patton – What It’s Like To Fly Alone

On a long drive home after a show Courtney Patton was shocked when a hawk flew in front of her car. Alone on that road she found herself identifying with the bird and its solitary pursuits. When she got home she wrote a song that would be the centrepiece to this, her third solo album. Courtney’s music is steeped in traditional country, down in the earth with the lives of her characters. What It’s Like To Fly Alone weaves stories of loneliness, winding highways, regret, love and grief into songs that are some of the most haunting music you will hear all year. Continue reading “Album Review: Courtney Patton – What It’s Like To Fly Alone”

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