Favourite Songs of 2018

Picking favourite songs can be a little challenging – some songs I immediately listen to over and over until I know them so well it’s like they’ve become part of me instantly, others slowly work themselves into my consciousness after listening over a longer period of time. And some songs I’ve loved exist best within the context of their respective albums and therefore may not feature on this list. I have loved so many songs this year and it was hard to pick favourites but here goes anyway. Continue reading “Favourite Songs of 2018”

Musical Lowlights of 2018

I am an advocate of reviewing music with kindness, positivity and respect. Nothing upsets me more than people ripping through artists and songs just for the sake of it, or to further their own narrow vision of what is ‘good’ music. Still that doesn’t mean it’s possible to like all the music you hear and I think it’s important from a critical perspective to be honest about what you didn’t enjoy or what disappointed you. So, with a heavy heart, here are my musical lowlights of the year. Continue reading “Musical Lowlights of 2018”

Album Review: Dolly Parton – Dumplin’ (Original Soundtrack)

The new Netflix movie ‘Dumplin’ begins with the heroine Willowdean Dickson in her car, singing along to Dolly Parton’s debut single ‘Dumb Blonde’, a song about subverting the expectations of those who judge you unfairly on appearances. The film, based on Julie Murphy’s wonderful novel, concerns a plus size teen who decides to enter a beauty contest as a protest and finds out she really is pageant material after all. Continue reading “Album Review: Dolly Parton – Dumplin’ (Original Soundtrack)”

Music Book Club November: ‘Every Night is Saturday Night: A Country Girl’s Journey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ by Wanda Jackson

The subtitle to Wanda Jackson’s engaging memoir signals an important conflict at the heart of her career: she started as a country singer but found herself serendipitously transported to the world of rock and roll, firstly thanks to her boyfriend Elvis and more recently due to the dedicated fandom of the rockabilly scene. Yet she never left country music behind and you can tell as you read her life story that in her heart she wishes for more recognition from the genre she began singing in. Continue reading “Music Book Club November: ‘Every Night is Saturday Night: A Country Girl’s Journey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ by Wanda Jackson”

E.P. Review: Rachel Baiman – Thanksgiving

Rachel Baiman released one of my favourite songs of last year, the stunning Shame from the album of the same name, which exposed the hypocrisy of men and religion in a fiery three minutes. On this follow EP, Thanksgiving, she continues to explore modern life and ideas, in an old timey folk style. The honesty and urgency of her message and music is as engaging as ever. Continue reading “E.P. Review: Rachel Baiman – Thanksgiving”

Dolly Parton’s Discography: ‘The Bargain Store’ – Album Review

In 1975 Dolly Parton found herself at the high point of her country music career, being in the middle of a run of four number one singles and finally winning the CMA for Female Artist of the Year. Her first album of that year was the controversial classic ‘The Bargain Store’, one of the strongest collections of songs Dolly was to release in this impressively productive period. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography: ‘The Bargain Store’ – Album Review”

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