Album Review: Ashley Monroe – Sparrow

Ashley Monroe has always been somewhat of an outlier in Nashville – too glamorous for country rock, too understated for pop country and probably just a little too mainstream to be alternative Americana. So on Sparrow, produced by Dave Cobb, she steps away from trends and embraces a new vision for her music. Lush orchestral soundscapes sweep across Sparrow, creating a sheen of stylish sophistication rarely seen in modern country music. Continue reading “Album Review: Ashley Monroe – Sparrow”

Album Review: Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton John

Last year Juliana Hatfield released the bruising and brilliant album Pussycat (read my review here), exploring the bitter realities of the world right now. The only light relief on the album was the song Sunny Somewhere which dreamed of escaping to a happier place. Juliana ended up finding that paradise by retreating into the music of her childhood hero, Olivia Newton John and after seeing her in concert she decided to record a tribute album. This collection is a pure celebration of the joy of pop music, a love letter from one incredible woman to another. Continue reading “Album Review: Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton John”

Album Review: Faustina Masigat – Faustina Masigat

On her self-titled debut album Portland’s Faustina Masigat works with only minimal instrumentation – an old beat up guitar, pedal steel, some strings. Such choices might suggest this is going to be a starkly sad record but instead there’s unexpected light in her vocal delivery. Each song breathes slowly, letting a hush fall so you have to stop, move your ear a little closer and really listen to this captivating performer. Continue reading “Album Review: Faustina Masigat – Faustina Masigat”

Album Review: Kylie – Golden

As a kid growing up in the 80s Kylie was my first musical love. I had all her tapes and spent many an hour dancing round the kitchen to her hits. Even as I became a 90s teen who listened to indie music Kylie came with me, releasing Confide in Me and then working with my favourite band Manic Street Preachers on her hugely underrated album Impossible Princess. When she went back to pop and had even more stratospheric success I couldn’t help but still love her and follow her career. So it feels strangely fitting that she has released the country-inspired album Golden now when I write a blog covering country music. Our stars always seem to align.

Continue reading “Album Review: Kylie – Golden”

Album Review: Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – Years

So I was trying to write a punchy little introduction to this review that explained how Sarah Shook & The Disarmers’ new album Years is full of personality and brutal truths in the best outlaw country tradition, but then I realised that I had to start with one simple point: you need to buy this right away. Scroll to the end of this page and click the link. Go on now. Part with your cash and fund this band’s future because it’s a tough life out there for working class musicians and they need our support more than ever. If you’ve already got it then that’s awesome, well done. So with that sorted let me explain why this is one of my favourite albums of the year so far. Continue reading “Album Review: Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – Years”

Dolly Parton’s Discography – The Golden Streets of Glory

Dolly Parton’s mother always told her that if she hadn’t become a country singer she would have been a preacher, and if you’ve ever seen Dolly live you know that her concerts have the feel of mass evangelical rallies, such is the worship she generates from her audience. Dolly’s relationship with religion goes back to her upbringing and her family’s strong ties to the Pentecostal church. Her grandfather Jake was a preacher and many of her relatives followed in his footsteps. Dolly’s mother read the bible to her every night and this faith is woven into the textures of her songwriting. In 1971 Dolly released her sixth album and first gospel collection, The Golden Streets of Glory featuring a mix of standards, spirituals and songs written by herself and other family members. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – The Golden Streets of Glory”

Blog at

Up ↑