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 of the Year: Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain

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”

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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