Album Review: Katie Ellen – Cowgirl Blues

Even cowgirls get the blues, so the story goes. Sometimes you have to pack up your life, hitchhike across America and move to a ranch to find yourself. Okay so that’s just the novel but the idea is clear – starting over can be liberating. After her band Chumped went on indefinite hiatus Anika Pyle had to begin again. She wrote some new songs, teamed back up with drummer Dan Frelly and together they took the name of her great grandmother Katie Ellen to release this excellent new record Cowgirl Blues. Continue reading “Album Review: Katie Ellen – Cowgirl Blues”

Dee Dee Warwick & Erma Franklin: Forgotten Sisters of Soul

The history of music is littered with lost treasures once overlooked and out of circulation, now easily rediscovered through the internet. None are more¬†deserving of your time and ears than two women, who by fate or chance, have always lingered in the shadows of their more successful sisters. Dee Dee Warwick and Erma Franklin both came from talented musical families and found the path of their careers strikingly similar in their struggles for success. Continue reading “Dee Dee Warwick & Erma Franklin: Forgotten Sisters of Soul”

Album Review: Lucy Rose – Something’s Changing

For any artist there’s probably a moment of doubt when they begin to wonder: what is the point, does anyone care if I make this or not? Lucy Rose, a talented singer songwriter found herself in that place after her second album failed to make the impact she wanted. She didn’t know how to bring the fire back. So she decided to go off grid and toured South America, staying with fans and playing small gigs. This adventure helped to refocus her music and Something’s Changing is the result. Continue reading “Album Review: Lucy Rose – Something’s Changing”

Ten Awesome Tiny Desk Concerts

 

If you have a spare fifteen minutes (or a few hours) I can think of no better way to spend it than listening to some of the best musicians playing NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert. These sessions are now legendary, breaking new artists as well as bringing in those at the top for a more intimate performance.

Of course there are so many now it can be hard to find the time to search through them, let alone watch them all so I have picked ten great ones for your viewing pleasure (and to be honest I’m partly making this list for myself so it’s easy to find the links) Enjoy!¬† Continue reading “Ten Awesome Tiny Desk Concerts”

Album Review: Raye Zaragoza – Fight For You

Despite what you might think by looking at the charts or listening to the radio there are young musicians out there who are politically engaged and writing protest songs. The ability of young people to use social media to mobilise politically has been so important in the last few years of dramatic worldwide upheaval. In music, these mediums allow independent voices to be heard and shared across the world. Raye Zaragoza is one such musician, and she has recently released her album Fight For You, which is partly a response to the North Dakota pipeline protests. Continue reading “Album Review: Raye Zaragoza – Fight For You”

Dolly Parton and the Importance of Reading

 

Dolly Parton is a gifted and talented musician who also has the kind of wit and imagination that can only be found in someone who really loves to read. In her book ‘Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You’ Dolly explores four life lessons, including the importance of education and reading. This short book, an expansion of a commencement speech she made at the University of Tennessee, is a fascinating glimpse into what makes Dolly the queen of country music and an inspiration to so many. Continue reading “Dolly Parton and the Importance of Reading”

Album Review: Bedouine – Bedouine

Spacebomb is one of the most interesting record labels in American music today, with their in house band, symphonic arrangements and attention to detail. They have already produced brilliant albums by label founder Matthew E. White and Natalie Prass so I, for one, am automatically sold on any artist they are associated with. When Azniv Korkejian approached White with her songs, Spacebomb couldn’t resist working with the talented singer/songwriter. She took on the name Bedouine, meaning wanderer, and the resultant record has a sound and texture that is both unique and yet warmly familiar. Continue reading “Album Review: Bedouine – Bedouine”

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