Album Review: Carson McHone – Carousel

Carson McHone started playing the local bars in her hometown of Austin, Texas aged sixteen, paying her dues and getting an education in honky tonk and heartbreak. Her 2018 album ‘Carousel’ has now been rereleased on British label Loose, who have a pedigree for picking out talent like Sturgill Simpson and Courtney Marie Andrews. Combining the feel of traditional country with a distinctive voice and sharp eye for storytelling, Carson McHone looks like another stellar signing. Continue reading “Album Review: Carson McHone – Carousel”

Album Review: Leyla McCalla – The Capitalist Blues

Former Carolina Chocolate Drops cellist Leyla McCalla is set to have a busy year in 2019. As well as releasing her third solo album The Capitalist Blues, she will soon also be heard on the ‘Our Native Daughters’ project with former bandmate Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah and Allison Russell. Until then we can treat ourselves to this excellent solo album – a rich exploration of McCalla’s musical heritage, with a socially conscious heart. Continue reading “Album Review: Leyla McCalla – The Capitalist Blues”

Album Review: Juliana Hatfield – Weird

I first started listening to Juliana Hatfield when I was thirteen, when I didn’t know who I was quite yet but I knew who I didn’t want to be, and what kind of music I didn’t want to listen to. I hated anything perfect, anything normal – I gravitated towards the damaged, the delicate, the fragile, the odd. I heard something in Juliana’s music that spoke to that loner soul I had inside of me. Twenty five years later and I still feel the same.

In the last two years we’ve been lucky enough to have two brilliant new Juliana albums released – the politically charged Pussycat and her tribute to her own childhood idol Olivia Newton John. The third album in as many years is more personal, concerned with what it means to be a little Weird. Continue reading “Album Review: Juliana Hatfield – Weird”

Album Review: Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow

The last time I saw Sharon Van Etten play live she hid behind her hair and sang a set filled with brutally honest songs, many of which detailed the reality of an abusive relationship and its aftermath. To get on stage and share this kind of pain was visibly difficult for her. Not long after she announced a shift in focus away from music – she went to college, began acting and recently became a mother. The break became the inspiration behind her new album Remind Me Tomorrow, a step away from the shadows of her past into a different light. Continue reading “Album Review: Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow”

E.P. Review: Iona Fyfe – Dark Turn Of Mind

Talented young Aberdeenshire singer Iona Fyfe released her debut album Away From My Window last year to great acclaim and recently won the MG Alba Scots Singer of the Year award. She begins 2019 by releasing a new E.P. ‘Dark Turn Of Mind’, named after the Gillian Welch song which features on the release. Having been raised in the north-east folk tradition of Doric songs, Fyfe uses this EP to expand her recording repertoire and sing songs in English – including modern folk songs and Appalachian ballads. Continue reading “E.P. Review: Iona Fyfe – Dark Turn Of Mind”

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)”

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