Jenny Lewis’s new album has a striking cover picture of her wearing a cut out dress. The image was a glamorous twin of her cover for previous album ‘The Voyager’. On that album she had worn a rainbow suit inspired by Gram Parsons and the headless shot focused all our attention on that outfit. The ‘On The Line’ cover is almost an identical shot but this time Jenny is in a satin jumpsuit, her hair styled and her cleavage exposed. Those in the know connected the images together and understood that the new album cover was a metaphor for Jenny freeing herself from the past, glamming up in response to all the dark times she had gone through. Later she acknowledged the image was also in honour of her late mother, a Vegas lounge singer who wore similar stage outfits designed by Bob Mackie and who had a mole in the exact same spot on her chest. Continue reading “On Album Covers, Judgement and Objectification”
I want to start this by saying: fuck you Ryan Adams. I believe every word of your victims and I imagine there may be many more out there. You have let down everyone who knows you and all your fans and you should be ashamed. Your attempt at an apology was complete bullshit too. Making amends cannot be done with a tweet.
I admit I haven’t suffered like the women who actually knew him but I am hurting today. I feel like a victim too and I know many other fans will be there with me. I am waking up to the fact I have been in a toxic relationship with this artist for nearly twenty years. But I’m done defending him, excusing him, overlooking his behaviour because the music matters to me. I’m done being in denial. I’m done. Continue reading “The Ryan Adams Reckoning”
The late seventies was a transition time in Dolly Parton’s career. She had distanced herself from Porter Wagoner and this 1976 album ‘All I Can Do’ is the last album he was involved in, co-producing with Dolly. Following quickly on from the disappointing ‘Dolly’ album, All I Can Do is both a return to the classic country which made her name and a subtle continuation of her evolution towards the mainstream. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – All I Can Do”
In the dead of winter there’s sometimes slim pickings on the live music scene but thankfully in Scotland we have one of the world’s best music festivals to encourage us all out of our hibernation. Celtic Connections runs from the 17th January to 3rd February in a variety of venues all across Glasgow. The festival hosts roots, folk and traditional music from Scotland and all around the world, including a fine selection of Americana acts.
The main dilemma with a festival that offers such an array of different artists is choosing who to see, with many days having multiple events to decide between. Every year the programme is announced I fear bankruptcy is imminent. So to help you decide I have spent some time going through the programme and here’s some of the must see female acts playing the festival this year. Continue reading “Celtic Connections 2019 Preview”
At this moment it’s hard to believe that 2019 could be as good a year for music as 2018, such was the brilliance of so many albums released in the last twelve months. But then again I said the exact same thing last year and everything turned out swell.
So here’s hoping for more of the same in 2019. Read on to find out who you might be listening to this year.
At the start of last year I set myself some new year goals for the blog so I thought I would begin 2019 by reflecting on those and setting myself some new resolutions. These will be quite personal and specific which may be completely dull to some (you may prefer to read my general overview on the state of music blogging). Continue reading “2019 Blog Resolutions”
As the year draws to a close I thought I would contemplate the state of music blogging in 2018, both as a result of my own personal experiences and from observing the blogosphere itself. Continue reading “Reflections on Music Blogging in 2018”
In 2018 I have reviewed nearly seventy albums and listened to many more. The albums I have chosen to review have all connected with me for different reasons, so picking a favourites list feels strange and almost cruel to those I have left out. And yet such a list is also a satisfying way to reflect on the year in music, as a writer and a fan.
In the end I have chosen thirty favourite albums of the year for this list. I have based my choices on a combination of gut instinct and how often I listened to an album. Be aware that my mood changes so much that anything beyond the top four albums might have changed order if I wrote this tomorrow.
This list includes links to my original album reviews, rather than risk repeating myself. Please let me know your favourites in the comments.
At the end of her recent live show in Glasgow, Courtney Marie Andrews parted the crowd and jumped down off the stage to meet her people. In the centre of the room she began singing the title track to her album ‘May Your Kindness Remain’ entirely unplugged. Without amplification the already epic song somehow grew in sound and stature. We stood round her in awe, smiling and wiping away tears. When she finished she received a roar from the crowd, all of whom were thankful to be witness to this musical moment of sense and sanity in an ever spinning world.
Courtney Marie Andrews is a songwriter who asks questions – of her listeners and of herself. She makes us consider the importance of kindness, compassion, love. The power and presence of her music in my life this year has been such a gift and thus there was only one possible choice for the Highway Queens album of the year. Continue reading “Album of the Year: Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain”