Album Review: Lo Carmen – Lovers Dreamers Fighters

Australian singer Lo Carmen recorded her sixth album Lovers Dreamers Fighters in the Butcher Shoppe studio in Nashville, working with David ‘Ferg’ Ferguson (who has also recently engineered Sturgill Simpson’s album). Together with a host of fantastic musicians including Dave Roe, Matt Combs, Russ Pahl plus guests Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Emma Swift she has created one of the most distinctive Americana albums of the year.  Continue reading “Album Review: Lo Carmen – Lovers Dreamers Fighters”

Album Review: Gwen Sebastian – Once Upon A Time in the West: Act I

Gwen Sebastian is one of those talented singers who has been quietly working hard in the music business for years. She has released solo albums, appeared on The Voice and can now be heard singing as part of Miranda Lambert’s band. Being the backing singer pays the bills but Once Upon A Time in the West: Act 1 proves that Gwen deserves a chance to stand centre circle and be heard on her own merits.

Continue reading “Album Review: Gwen Sebastian – Once Upon A Time in the West: Act I”

Album Review: Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Soul of a Woman

To lose Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley in the same year was a cruel and crushing blow to music. Sharon died from cancer one year ago today, having suffered from the illness for many years. Recorded during the last year of Sharon’s life, the new album Soul of a Woman is a testament to her indefatigable spirit. You won’t find her wallowing in misery or contemplating impending death, what the album does is subtly blend bombastic soul and gospel harmonies with quieter moments exploring life and love.

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Album Review: Weaves – Wide Open

Classic guitar/bass/drums rock music might be dead right now but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to kick the corpse a little – you might not being it back to life but maybe an army of angry zombies will wake up and try to kill Ed Sheeran or something. Step forward Canada’s Weaves to have a go at the revival, combining influences like Springsteen, REM, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Slits and maybe even Americana. Wide Open is an impressive album, exploring love and identity in a world gone mad.  Continue reading “Album Review: Weaves – Wide Open”

EP Review: Adia Victoria – Baby Blues

Adia Victoria is influenced by the pioneers of the blues genre, many of whom have been criminally ignored due to their race and gender. She feels a connection to those artists, like Victoria Spivey, Robert Johnson and Skip James, which goes deeper than simple admiration. Listening to her new E.P. Baby Blues you start to believe she is the reincarnation of every forgotten blues singer that ever lived. This collection of covers is dedicated to her friend Those Darlins’ Jessi Zazu, who died of cancer just before the recording. Loss and grief underscore the performances, embodying the blues but taking the sound to another distinctively darker place entirely.  Continue reading “EP Review: Adia Victoria – Baby Blues”

Celtic Connections Preview

January is usually a frozen dead month for live music but in Scotland we are lucky to have a festival filled with fabulous music to keep you warm even on the coldest night. Celtic Connections runs from the 18th January to 4th February in a variety of venues all across Glasgow. Now in its 25th year the festival hosts some of the best roots, folk and traditional music from Scotland and all around the world, with a particularly strong Americana representation (when Jason Isbell played he joked that there was no one left behind in Nashville).  Continue reading “Celtic Connections Preview”

Album Review: Lucinda Williams – This Sweet Old World

Pitchfork do a lot of things wrong but their article written a few years back about Lucinda Williams was an illuminating assessment of her career, expertly analysing why she remains one of the most overlooked and underrated artists in music today. In the constant search for new voices, new talent, new narratives we don’t stop to appreciate those who have been consistently producing quality music for years. The writer asked the simple question: why go looking for the new Lucinda Williams when she’s still out there playing live and releasing some of the best work of her career?

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Album Review: Dori Freeman – Letters Never Read

Some people are always pushing forwards, blindly searching for what’s new in the aim of ‘progress’. Others prefer to stand still and look backwards to appreciate what’s come before. Folk musicians have always been concerned with keeping songs of the past alive, because they understand the power of history and memory. On Letters Never Read Dori Freeman continues the traditional Appalachian style of honest country music, expressing herself through simple heartfelt covers and original songs.

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Album Review: Alessi’s Ark – Love is the Currency 

Years ago when I first saw Alessi’s Ark live she appeared like she’d come to the gig straight from school, such was her youthful naivety. Time certainly flies as she’s now 27 and releasing her fourth album. Thankfully some of that original sweet innocence can still be heard on this new album Love is the Currency. She has also developed and expanded the sonic ambition of her music, working with some of The Macabees and their producer.    Continue reading “Album Review: Alessi’s Ark – Love is the Currency “

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