Tessy Lou Williams is an Austin based country singer whose roots in music stretch back through her childhood and family history. She grew up in Montana, living in a small town called Willow Creek with her parents who were also musicians. Her country music credentials are therefore authentic and inform the traditional sound of the record. The cover image with the mountains in the background, the acoustic guitar held close to her heart, tells you where this album lives both musically and spiritually. Continue reading “Album Review: Tessy Lou Williams – Tessy Lou Williams”
MOBO nominated Jazz singer Julia Biel has recently released this gorgeous collection of solo piano songs called ‘Black and White Volume 1’. The title of this record is a reference to both the colours of the piano keys she plays and her wish to ‘invoke a spirit of togetherness’ in a divided world. Continue reading “Album Review: Julia Biel – Black and White Volume 1”
Jaime Wyatt has been working for a breakthrough for a long time, finding her career waylaid by addiction and even jail. Her last release Felony Blues explored that painful past, with a nod to Merle Haggard and the outlaws who came before her. The question she explores on this new album Neon Cross is: who do you become when you’ve hit rock bottom, recovered and it still wasn’t the end of your pain? How do you get on with LIVIN in this damn world? Continue reading “Album Review: Jaime Wyatt – Neon Cross”
Esther Rose’s 2019 album You Made it This Far, was one of the most underrated releases of last year. Her mix of classic country and indie folk sounded fresh and distinctive – songs like Handyman, Only Loving You and Lower 9 Valentine were outstanding examples of what inventive Americana songwriting could be. She now follows up that release with this short and sweet EP of cover songs, which form a sort of playlist of influences on her musical style.
The first time I heard the Indigo Girls was in 1995, watching Glastonbury on TV. I had just begun reading the NME and gorging myself on loud alternative rock and yet the acoustic performance from Amy and Emily stopped me in my tracks. They were singing Closer to Fine, of course, and their words, voices and harmonies got me in the heart. Some songs and bands are just instantly with you for life.
Look Long is the Indigo Girls’s first album in five years and the band continue to appeal to a wide audience, influencing younger artists like Brandi Carlile and Justin Vernon. The title and songs suggest these legendary artists are still seeking truths, considering the world and moving forward musically. To go with them is to walk in unity, creativity, hope. Continue reading “Album Review: Indigo Girls – Look Long”
In a recent conversation with Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield, Jess Williamson discussed how she was inspired by Kacey Musgraves’s ‘Golden Hour’ to fully embrace all her musical influences – from indie, to country, to pop, psychedelia and beyond. The musical results she conjures up on this new album Sorceress are shimmering and glorious. Continue reading “Album Review: Jess Williamson – Sorceress”
Norah Jones, Catherine Popper and Sasha Dobson this year reunited their side project Puss N Boots to release fun and feisty new album Sister. Norah has said the band are a chance for her to embrace ‘fearlessness’ and they all come to the project with an ‘eagerness to jump in’. That involves all three playing different instruments , bringing solo written songs to the project, writing together and doing covers. Continue reading “Album Review: Puss N Boots – Sister”
The power of Mexican folk songs, traditions and culture is conveyed in Natalia Lafourcade’s new album Un Canto Por Mexico. Lafourcade has described the album as representing a visit to a Mexican market – the people, the sights, sounds, everything you find in such a place is in her music. To walk with her in song is to join in with a joyful celebration of life.
Her last project, the Musas albums, shifted Lafourcade’s focus towards folk music, taking her artistic ambitions in a revelatory direction. From there she was nominated for the Oscar for her contribution to the Coco soundtrack and she performed at the Grammys. Her star in Mexico is huge and she is now rightfully known beyond the narrow confines of ‘world music’. What Lafourcade is doing is transforming traditional folk music for a modern Mexican audience, and showing that to sing for your county is to sing from your own soul. Continue reading “Album Review: Natalia Lafourcade – Un Canto Por Mexico”
Lucinda Williams comes from a long line of rebels with passionate causes. Her family were liberals, feminists, pacifists, integrationists, union organisers, civil rights protestors willing to stand up in the face of inequality and injustice. As a teenager she herself was thrown out of high school for refusing to pledge allegiance to the flag, as part of her opposition to the Vietnam war.
To be a punk is to have a spirit of rebellion – being willing to stand apart and defy the way that society wants us to live. Musically the movement was about simplicity, directness, anger: three chords and the screaming truth. On this new album Good Souls Better Angels Lucinda Williams lets her punk rock spirit loose with staggeringly brilliant results. Continue reading “Album Review: Lucinda Williams – Good Souls Better Angels”