Our Native Daughters – Songs Of Our Native Daughters

In his introduction to ‘Notes on A Native Son’ James Baldwin declared, ‘I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am, also, much more than that. So are we all.’ Inspired by his work, Rhiannon Giddens initially brought together this group of musicians in order to try to reclaim the black female history of America. Once the project began she realised that it had become much more than just about telling the stories of the past; it became an expression of creative freedom conveying hope for the future too.

Giddens, with her collaborators Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla and Allison Russell wrote and recorded these songs together at producer Dirk Powell’s studio in Louisiana (Kaia Kater was also invited but unable to attend due to scheduling). Mixing originals with songs inspired by historic folk music and stories the result is an astonishingly powerful, and listenable, piece of art. Continue reading “Our Native Daughters – Songs Of Our Native Daughters”

Album Review: Yola – Walk Through Fire

Dolly, Aretha, Loretta, Dionne, Tammy, Dusty – the biggest stars in country and soul music are all recognisable by their distinctive first names. The musical spirit of these artists has been channeled into this new album ‘Walk Through Fire’ by rising star Yola, whose similarly unique first name is already familiar to Americana fans in the U.K. With her appealing blend of musical styles and charismatic voice Yola is surely poised to capture the hearts of listeners everywhere in 2019. Continue reading “Album Review: Yola – Walk Through Fire”

Album Review: Kalyn Fay – Good Company

Oklahoma songwriter Kalyn Fay has worked with artists like Kaia Kater and Carter Sampson and is now releasing her second album Good Company – a collection of songs she calls a ‘love letter to the place I have known best’. The album contains delicate Americana-inspired songs about home, travel, self-discovery and change, showcasing Fay’s wonderfully wise voice. Continue reading “Album Review: Kalyn Fay – Good Company”

Dolly Parton’s Discography – ‘New Harvest…First Gathering’ Review

The title and the relaxed styling of Dolly’s hair and clothes on the cover of this album tells us immediately that something is different. Dolly may have written her goodbye song in 1974 but it wasn’t until this 1977 album New Harvest…First Gathering that she was finally free from Porter Wagoner’s involvement in her music and career. She produced the album herself and embraced the opportunity to push herself in a brand new musical direction. This album then also became her escape from the confines of country music itself. Dolly’s ambitions were to find a way into the mainstream, into the movies, into the ears of all music listeners. There was simply no way Porter, or country music itself, could contain her. And hey, when a horse wants to run there ain’t no point in closing the gates. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – ‘New Harvest…First Gathering’ Review”

E.P. Review: Tiffany Williams – When You Go

Tiffany Williams is a coal miner’s daughter hailing from the Appalachian mountains, which are pictured on the front cover of her new EP ‘When You Go’. The grit and guts of her upbringing are in every strummed guitar string and sighed vocal of her music. Home is never far from her mind, or her pen. Containing songs and stories rooted deep in the heart of the place that built her, these five songs are an illuminating introduction to a promising songwriter. Continue reading “E.P. Review: Tiffany Williams – When You Go”

The Ryan Adams Reckoning

I want to start this by saying: fuck you Ryan Adams. I believe every word of your victims and I imagine there may be many more out there. You have let down everyone who knows you and all your fans and you should be ashamed. Your attempt at an apology was complete bullshit too. Making amends cannot be done with a tweet.

I admit I haven’t suffered like the women who actually knew him but I am hurting today. I feel like a victim too and I know many other fans will be there with me. I am waking up to the fact I have been in a toxic relationship with this artist for nearly twenty years. But I’m done defending him, excusing him, overlooking his behaviour because the music matters to me. I’m done being in denial. I’m done. Continue reading “The Ryan Adams Reckoning”

Song Review: I’m With Her – ‘Call My Name’

Witnessing the pure perfection of Aoife O’Donovan, Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins live on stage was one of my musical highlights of 2018 and so it is with great delight and relief I can report that the I’m With Her collaboration is set to continue into 2019. The band have announced a series of live dates and released a brand new song ‘Call My Name’. Continue reading “Song Review: I’m With Her – ‘Call My Name’”

Album Review: Carson McHone – Carousel

Carson McHone started playing the local bars in her hometown of Austin, Texas aged sixteen, paying her dues and getting an education in honky tonk and heartbreak. Her 2018 album ‘Carousel’ has now been rereleased on British label Loose, who have a pedigree for picking out talent like Sturgill Simpson and Courtney Marie Andrews. Combining the feel of traditional country with a distinctive voice and sharp eye for storytelling, Carson McHone looks like another stellar signing. Continue reading “Album Review: Carson McHone – Carousel”

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