I’ve noticed a recent trend in country music for songs about how hard it is to make in Nashville – like ‘This Town is Killing Me’ by Caitlyn Smith, ‘Dreams Don’t Come True’ by Angaleena Presley and ‘Ten Year Town’ by Hailey Whitters. Honest thoughts about the crushing reality of pursuing success are also recurring themes on this new album ‘Too Mean To Die’ by Karly Driftwood. Her dreams haven’t come true, not even close, but maybe that just gives her something to sing about. Continue reading “Album Review: Karly Driftwood – Too Mean To Die”
For Mavis Staples’s 80th birthday the great and the good from across the musical spectrum came together in three concerts that celebrated the legacy of an artist who has been bringing light to the world for decades and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. As a force for harmony and unity there are few who can touch her. She’s skateboarding her way into the twilight of her career with more confidence than ever. Continue reading “Album Review: Mavis Staples – We Get By”
When I reviewed Jade Bird’s EP Something American back in 2017 I admired her talent and was intrigued to see what direction her career would take. She was being marketed at the time as ‘country’ – which seemed like a bit of a stretch for a girl from England singing soft rock/pop. However Yola recently proved that it is possible to take such influences and make them sound authentic. Both artists have now been nominated as ‘Emerging Artist of the Year’ at the 2019 Americana awards, the first Brits to gain nominations in that category since Mumford & Sons in 2011. Continue reading “Album Review: Jade Bird”
Traditional country music has been having a good 2019 so far, with releases from the likes of legends Reba McEntire and independent acts like Charlie Marie and Steel Blossoms. Austin’s Kathryn Legendre is another name to add to this list – she’s a singer with a honky tonk heart and songs good enough to make you joyously weep into your whiskey. This new EP Making It Up is only twenty minutes and five songs long but every single one is a knock out. Continue reading “EP Review: Kathryn Legendre – Making It Up”
Lady Nade is currently on tour with fellow Bristolian Yola, impressing audiences with her evocative voice and mix of soul, jazz and folk. On her new album Safe Place she has blended these influences to produce an inviting and optimistic collection of songs. Continue reading “Album Review: Lady Nade – Safe Place”
Since the release of her solo album Walk Through Fire earlier this year Yola has been winning fans and admirers on both sides of the Atlantic. As well as support from Radio 2, she has been receiving rave reviews across the board and will tour later in the year supporting Kacey Musgraves.
As everyone took their seats on the gorgeous spring evening there was a real buzz of anticipation and happiness in the air. St Luke’s is the best venue in Glasgow – the church acoustics never fail to showcase a singer to the best of their ability. Continue reading “Live Review: Yola with Lady Nade @ St Luke’s, Glasgow”
There’s a delightfully delicious dark side to this new self-titled album from Steel Blossoms. Singers Hayley Prosser and Sara Zebley often have their tongue in their cheek, and they know that traditional country music is the perfect place to really put such dry humour to good use. By not taking themselves too seriously the duo have made one of the most entertaining albums of the year. Continue reading “Album Review: Steel Blossoms”
Rhinestone cowboys sometimes glitter so brightly in the sun, it’s hard to see beyond the surface. You can play dress up easily, put in some pedal steel – does that make you an authentic country artist? And then there’s the complicated debate about artists combining country with pop and hip hop. To be honest all this arguing about ‘what makes you country’ often just ends up giving me a headache. What I do know is that I just really want to hear great songs and a great singer, whatever genre. Of course I admit I have a soft spot for vintage sounding country music and am always looking to support artists who honestly embrace that style. Charlie Marie hails from small town Rhode Island, which might be far from Nashville but her music is comfortingly familiar classic country. Continue reading “EP Review: Charlie Marie EP”
Rhiannon Giddens collects songs, instruments and stories from all through history and synthesises them perfectly with her modern musical purpose. She believes in teaching us the failings of the past, to better understand our present. On her new album she has paired up with Italian virtuoso musician Francesco Turrisi, someone who shares her connection with folk music history, with his expertise in Islamic, Mediterranean and eastern styles. By pairing together on this album ‘there is no Other‘ (capitalisation deliberate) they want to show that no matter where we come from we are all one voice, one history, one future.