Album Review: Erin Rae – Lighten Up

Erin Rae’s last album ‘Putting on Airs’ was a slow burn for me, one that eventually became a warming fire which I returned to again and again. Her new album ‘Lighten Up’ with its title and imagery suggested a shift towards a more sunny disposition. As it turns out the title is more of a note to self, an encouragement, or even a plea. Looking on the bright side is not always an easy thing to do. Continue reading “Album Review: Erin Rae – Lighten Up”

Live Review: Miranda Lambert & Country to Country Festival, Glasgow Hydro 13/03/22

After three long and turbulent years C2C festival finally made its welcome return to Glasgow this past weekend. Two years ago it suffered from being the first of the major covid cancellations. Last year’s festival was also postponed, since the date hit right during the second wave. Many fans still had tickets from two years ago – for a completely different line up. The fact that this 2022 festival went on without a hitch is a miracle. Credit to all involved for bringing us Scottish fans a much needed booster dose of country music. Continue reading “Live Review: Miranda Lambert & Country to Country Festival, Glasgow Hydro 13/03/22”

Album Review: Hurray For the Riff Raff – Life on Earth

The first thing I have to say about the new Hurray For the Riff Raff album is that visuals are startlingly weird. On the cover Alynda looks like an extra from some 80s Io-fi swamp movie, and one of the videos released cast them as a nature punk, with a mullet, cavorting around drenched in blood. You can see why some of the below the line comments on the recent Guardian interview accused the artist of the crime of pretentious hipsterdom. Personally, I love their offbeat style. Alynda is unafraid of transformation, their artistry has vision, ideas, personality and above all something much rarer in this modern, homogenised music industry: individuality. Continue reading “Album Review: Hurray For the Riff Raff – Life on Earth”

Live Review: Transatlantic Sessions @ Celtic Connections, 06/02/22

Rarely has such an evening of musical collaboration and connection been more needed or gratefully received – by artist and audience alike. Transatlantic Sessions began over twenty years ago to celebrate and forge links between traditional Scottish, Irish and North American musicians. After Omicron wiped out the Americana portion of the Celtic Connections programme, the only remaining North Americans who traveled to Glasgow for the festival were those on stage for this traditional evening of shared stories and songs. A rare moment of light in a bleak winter. Continue reading “Live Review: Transatlantic Sessions @ Celtic Connections, 06/02/22”

Album Review: Aoife O’Donovan – Age of Apathy

Apathy is defined as a lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern. Back in the nineties such feelings of such disconnect were actively cultivated as a way to cope with the madness of the world. Yet in the modern, hyper-connected new century we are constantly bombarded with an expectation that we actually care about everything. Sometimes that in itself takes its toll. On her new album Aoife O’Donovan wonders what it might be like to live in an ‘Age of Apathy’ where life and love are simple and free from the lingering malaise. Continue reading “Album Review: Aoife O’Donovan – Age of Apathy”

Albums of the Year 2021

In 2021 I have reviewed nearly forty albums and which have all connected with me on some personal level. Overall I have found this year tough as I have struggled to really love a lot of the albums released this year, compared with the last few years.

So for this end of year list I have tried to single out the fifteen albums which really stood out among the gloom, ones which have helped me in some way.

For the top spot I have gone with the criteria which I have used since I started this blog: most listened to solo female artist with the majority of songs on the album solo written. This choice has helped me single out the talent from a sea of quality offerings.

Please note that this list only includes albums I have reviewed so obviously I don’t include any male artists.

This list includes links to my original album reviews, rather than risk repeating myself. Happy new year and thanks for reading!

Continue reading “Albums of the Year 2021”

Songs of the Year 2021

Well this has been the strangest year of my blogging life. The triple whammy of a pandemic, lack of live music and mid-life apathy has caused me to struggle to connect with new music. The less I blogged, the more I felt out of touch, the more writing became harder and social media became terrifying, until you wonder why you ever started in the first place.

In the end what brings me back here are the songs. There are so many amazing female artists whose music inspires me to write, helps me, entertains me, moves me and that will never change even if the world does.

If you’re reading this then thank you for bearing with my sporadic blogging schedule this year. Here are a list of songs that got me through, that kept me believing in something, anything, everything. I hope you find a kindred spirit & song in this post. Continue reading “Songs of the Year 2021”

Album Review: Pistol Annies – Hell of a Holiday

For me the best Christmas music contains truths about the emotional complexity of the season: from the drunken conflict of Fairytale of New York to the aching sadness of River by Joni Mitchell. Too many recent Christmas albums seem content with cliched offerings or weak cover versions of classics designed to capitalise on the streaming algorithm, rather than having anything meaningful to say about the season.

Luckily for us then our resident reality check heroines Pistol Annies are here to offer us something fresh with their brilliant new Christmas album Hell of a Holiday. We last found Miranda Lambert, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe on the Interstate Gospel, searching for comfort in Jesus and dealing with heartbreak, inertia and family trouble. Christmas then, being the time of year where women and relationships are stretched to the limit, is a natural fit for their songwriting skills. Continue reading “Album Review: Pistol Annies – Hell of a Holiday”

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