Album Review: Anna Burch – If You’re Dreaming

Anna Burch’s last album Quit the Curse was full of smart, understated indie pop that quietly sparkled. After a busy schedule of touring she returns with a new album If You’re Dreaming, which was recorded with producer Sam Evian at his studio in the Catskills. Musically the songs on the album are slow and gentle, suggesting a songwriter learning how to go at her own pace. Continue reading “Album Review: Anna Burch – If You’re Dreaming”

Album Review: Laura Marling – Song For Our Daughter

Why should I die so you can live? Laura Marling sings on the opening track of her new album Song For Our Daughter. Alexandra was partly inspired by a Leonard Cohen song and also how over history women were often only valued in what they could offer men – as muses or as mothers. Marling sings these songs for her own imagined daughter, dreaming of a future where women can live and love in a world free from such bullshit. Continue reading “Album Review: Laura Marling – Song For Our Daughter”

Album Review: Ashley McBryde – Never Will

Having had an amazing run through to the Grammys earlier this year with Girl Goin Nowhere, Ashley McBryde had some really strong momentum to build on heading into this new album Never Will. Sure there has been limited success at country radio (which is insane considering how good her singles are) but she hasn’t let that stop her. In the end it is the live show where an artist can build an audience of fans who buy records, merch and make careers. And live is where this artist shines. Most of these country chart toppers will soon be forgotten and Ashley will still be out there playing to big crowds in the decades to come. Talent, grit and songs will always win out. Continue reading “Album Review: Ashley McBryde – Never Will”

Album Review: Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud

The final song on Waxahatchee’s last album gave us some clues as to the next direction her music might take. Fade was an introspective, acoustic track that felt like a quiet sonic reset after the blistering indie rock on the rest of Out in the Storm, while lyrically it explored her internal struggle to assert her identity in a toxic relationship. On Saint Cloud we thankfully find her in a much better place – being newly sober and in love. Musically too she embraces a breezier Americana sound, evoking early Lucinda Williams, her songwriting hero. Continue reading “Album Review: Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud”

How to Survive in a World Without Live Music

A while ago I had an idea for a short story set in a post-apocalyptic world where recorded music was lost and live music was banned. Two sisters, with voices from heaven, travelled the country secretly playing shows for people despite the fact that a deadly airborne disease could strike them all down at any moment. Every night people risked their lives just to hear the music.

Unfortunately I never ended up writing that story because it seemed kind of far-fetched and I couldn’t think of an ending. Now a few weeks into this pandemic I am wondering if such depressing dystopian visions were closer to reality than we could ever have imagined.

Despite some artists optimistically rebooking shows for later in the year, I think we all have to consider the possibility that there will be no live music concerts for a very long time. At the very least it will be months not weeks, and some form of social distancing may need to be in place right up until the end of this outbreak, which could be over a year. I sincerely hope I’m wrong. But right now it just doesn’t seem plausible that travel and mass gatherings will happen when there is still such a potential risk to lives. Continue reading “How to Survive in a World Without Live Music”

Dolly Parton’s Discography – Real Love (1985)

“I’m commericalminded. If I can’t get my own hit, I’m not too proud to hang on somebody else’s coattails,’ said Dolly in a revealing interview she conducted in the mid-90s. Therefore working with platinum king Kenny Rogers, who she called ‘a magical man’ was a no-brainer. Together they would have a pop smash with Islands in the Stream, a successful Christmas album released in 1984, and a country chart topper with the title track of this 1985 album. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – Real Love (1985)”

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