Songs and stories are passed down through history for multifarious reasons: to entertain us, to heal us, to warn us, to teach us how to live. Anais Mitchell’s musical Hadestown combined Greek myths and folk music in a way that showed how the past could speak directly to the modern world. Her new project Bonny Light Horseman offers traditional songs in a fresh but familiar way, wrapping the listener in a comfort blanket of melodic beauty. Continue reading “Album Review: Bonny Light Horseman”
‘We live here now,’ Celia Woodsmith announced during Della Mae’s second show at Celtic Connections, such was the relaxed nature of the band and their genuine rapport with the Scottish audience. It might have been a Tuesday night but that didn’t stop them from putting on a blistering display of modern bluegrass that was warmly received by the crowd.
1983 was a year that brought Dolly more crossover chart success thanks to her duet Islands in the Stream with Kenny Rogers. Her 25th solo album released in the same year, Burlap and Satin, in comparison did not contain any real classic or memorable hit songs. The title is an acknowledgement that there will always be two contrasting aspects to her music – and how best to balance pop and country is something she is obviously still struggling to reconcile at this point. This album reached number 5 in the country charts, a disappointment for her, although it did result in a Grammy nomination. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography: Burlap and Satin (1983)”
There were so many brilliant shows on offer on Saturday at Celtic Connections, the only problem music fans had to face was deciding which one to attend. The lucky among us who chose The Lone Bellow were treated to a masterclass in vocal power and harmony that sent everyone home shaking their heads in awe. Continue reading “Live Review: The Lone Bellow @ Celtic Connections”
As she took to the stage for a rare live show in the UK, Iris DeMent admitted she was worried no one would turn up on a Monday night. Thankfully the Celtic Connections audience knows that such a trailblazing talent is one not to be missed. Continue reading “Live Review: Iris DeMent @ Celtic Connections”
Before I started this blog I wasn’t hugely familiar with Little Big Town, since their fame in the U.K. is niche at best. Many of my fellow Americana bloggers seemed to scoff at them, as though they were just another bad example of pop county and the Nashville big machine. However when I caught them live at C2C festival a couple of years ago I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed their set. This new album Nightfall has been mainly produced by the band themselves, alongside Golden Hour producers Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk.
While a band like this don’t set trends themselves, their work and choice of songs has always been admirable in comparison with some other mainstream, major label county artists. Unfortunately this also means that they too have fallen victim to the current banishment of women from the country music radio airwaves, despite their previous success. Luckily for the listener that seems to have freed them to do something much more interesting on this album. Continue reading “Album Review: Little Big Town – Nightfall”
The new Della Mae album ‘Headlight’ is one of those rare albums that encapsulates everything that this blog stands for and hopes to promote, conveying the collective power of women’s voices through emotional and empathetic songs. The writing and musicianship from the band, made up of lead vocalist and guitarist Celia Woodsmith, fiddle player Kimber Ludiker and mandolinist Jenni Lynn Gardner, is pure quality throughout. Continue reading “Album Review: Della Mae – Headlight”
Celtic Connections is the best traditional roots, folk and Americana festival in the world, offering a dazzling array of artists live on stage in Glasgow during January and February each year. What always impresses me about the festival is how well represented women are from across all of the main roots genres. Read on to find out my highlights from the festival, with a focus on the Americana offerings. Continue reading “Live Preview: Celtic Connections Festival 2020”
As we all trudge back to work this week, the hopefulness of the new year is already becoming a faint memory for most. But fear not music fans, we have much to look forward to in 2020. What’s an even sweeter thought is that you might not yet even know the artist who will be your favourite this time next year. With open ears and hearts we can’t lose.
Read on to find out more about the music I’m most looking forward to in 2020.