After the success of the Our Native Daughters project Allison Russell made the decision to release music under her own name for the first time. Outside Child is a personal and intimate project which Allison describes as being about ‘resilience, survival, transcendence, the redemptive power of art, community, connection and chosen family’. Many of the songs were written in response to her childhood trauma and by singing her wounds she finds healing and catharsis. Continue reading “Album Review- Allison Russell – Outside Child”
Natalia Lafourcade’s Musas albums brought the history of Latin folk music to life for modern audiences and she continued to explore her roots on last year’s Un Canto Por La Mexico Vol 1. That album was a collective celebration, which included many guest artists and reworkings of her old songs. It went on to win three Latin Grammys as well as the overall Grammy for Best Regional Mexican Album. The second volume of the project continues her collaborations with many modern artists of Latin music, who together celebrate the greatest hits of her musical culture. Continue reading “Album Review: Natalia Lafourcade – Un Canto por Mexico Vol. 2”
On Charlie Marie’s 2019 EP she sang about how ‘everywhere’s got a countryside’, channeling Patsy Cline and gathering some well deserved online buzz. Due to the pandemic it has taken a couple of years for her to release this debut album but it is more than worth the wait. Ramble On is a welcome journey through the classic country sound with lots of witty wordplay. Continue reading “Album Review: Charlie Marie – Ramble On”
Back in another lifetime when live music still existed I was lucky enough to see Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi play on a cold winter evening in Edinburgh. Despite being in a large concert hall the show was intimate, brooding, frenetic, inspiring.
What was also apparent was the deep connection between the couple, musically and personally – they came from different countries, different worlds and yet they seemed like two halves of one whole. The duo’s previous album ‘there is no Other’ used folk music to show the dangers of a world where discrimination and hatred grow, but it was also about how finding a home in this world can be a devastating struggle for so many. Strange then that coronavirus would soon afterwards force us all to stay in one place, to have a reckoning with what home really means.
During the pandemic the power of music to bring comfort and bridge barriers of time and space became even more important and resulted in this new album They’re Calling Me Home. Continue reading “Album Review: Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi – They’re Calling Me Home”
‘Out here you’ve got nothing else to lean on…you’ve got sky, desert, emotion.’ The here is Marfa, Texas. Last year Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall and Jack Ingram escaped to their hideaway searching for solace, sunsets and songs. The results are The Marfa Tapes, a bare bones collection which beautifully evokes a place out of time. Continue reading “Album Review: Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall – The Marfa Tapes”
Ashley Monroe’s last album ‘Sparrow’ was a lush and orchestral step away from her country music roots, with songs like ‘Wild Love’ and ‘Hands on You’ offering us the first hints that she was an artist willing to take risks and move in new directions. Her new album Rosegold fully embraces this ethereal, sensual musical style, with deliciously dreamy results. Continue reading “Album Review: Ashley Monroe – Rosegold”
After moving to Nashville in the early 2000s, Miko Marks found breaking into country music an impossible struggle. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone she explained, ‘I was young and I was bright-eyed and I was thinking ‘You have this skill set, there’s no way you can’t make it in this town.’ Her naive optimism would soon be crushed by the reality of an industry, and an audience, unwilling or unable to go beyond their own narrow idea of what a country singer could be.
After moving back to the west coast Miko kept performing but only recently returned to recording, inspired by recent efforts to change the conversation in the industry. Interesting, but not surprising, then that she has chosen to go beyond the genre with the scope of this great new album Our Country. Continue reading “Album Review: Miko Marks & The Resurrectors – Our Country”
In her illuminating autobiography ‘First Time Ever’, Peggy Seeger tells the story of her life and the history of folk music itself. Her family were legendary musicians and she explores the importance of that inheritance and how to keep the purpose of the genre alive today:
‘We need to capture the public imagination, sing to the fence-sitters, bring factions together…Let’s stop complaining and write – with as few clichés as possible – about hope, compassion, gratitude, cohesion and, above all, action. Sounds simple. It is.’
Her new album ‘First Farewell’ makes a bold attempt to live by this statement of intent. You can’t help but be impressed and inspired by this eighty five year old’s assertive musical ambition and deeply felt songwriting. Continue reading “Album Review: Peggy Seeger – First Farewell”
‘Safe Distance’ is Janet Simpson’s first solo release since the nineties, although she’s kept busy with bands and projects in the interim period. Fittingly enough the sound of this new record doesn’t veer too far from that decade, creating a loose and live style of Americana and indie rock throughout. Continue reading “Album Review: Janet Simpson – Safe Distance”