MOBO nominated Jazz singer Julia Biel has recently released this gorgeous collection of solo piano songs called ‘Black and White Volume 1’. The title of this record is a reference to both the colours of the piano keys she plays and her wish to ‘invoke a spirit of togetherness’ in a divided world. Continue reading “Album Review: Julia Biel – Black and White Volume 1”
After years of flailing and failing to crossover to pop, 1989 was the year Dolly decided to make her return to country music proper, with triumphant results. White Limozeen, produced by Ricky Skaggs, proved that Dolly’s strength as an artist is in how she adds a little pop to country – not the other way around. On the cover Dolly is all glitz, glamour and rhinestones still but the spelling of this album title is a deliberate nod to her simpler roots. Her fans responded with enthusiasm – the album generating two number one singles and resurrecting her critical and commercial career. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – White Limozeen (1989)”
Jaime Wyatt has been working for a breakthrough for a long time, finding her career waylaid by addiction and even jail. Her last release Felony Blues explored that painful past, with a nod to Merle Haggard and the outlaws who came before her. The question she explores on this new album Neon Cross is: who do you become when you’ve hit rock bottom, recovered and it still wasn’t the end of your pain? How do you get on with LIVIN in this damn world? Continue reading “Album Review: Jaime Wyatt – Neon Cross”
If you think we live in the land of the free / you should try to be black like me
Released this week in response to the horrific murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement protests, Mickey Guyton’s new song ‘Black Like Me’ is a powerful statement of personal pain which every country music fan should hear. Continue reading “Song Review: Mickey Guyton – Black Like Me”
Yesterday was the day that the music industry paused in response to the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent horrific treatment of protesters across America. It was supposed to be a day where the collective industry stepped back, elevated black voices and planned how we could do better to support diversity moving forward. Perhaps for some the intention became lost in a sea of meaningless black squares but I took this opportunity seriously. Continue reading “On Music Blogging & Diversity”
Highway Queens will observe tomorrow’s music industry blackout in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We must stand together against institutional racism and systematic discrimination. Marginalised voices must be heard.
For those who are looking to spend tomorrow supporting and listening to diverse voices I offer a list of suggested albums below. Click the links to read the original album reviews and find out more about these artists:
When you live in a privileged white world of security, comfort and safety sometimes the instinct in the face of crisis is to turn away. Not because you can’t help but because it’s easier to turn off your TV than it is to actually look, listen and hear the pain of others less fortunate than yourself. Continue reading “On Watching Aretha’s ‘Amazing Grace’ During A Time of Crisis”
Esther Rose’s 2019 album You Made it This Far, was one of the most underrated releases of last year. Her mix of classic country and indie folk sounded fresh and distinctive – songs like Handyman, Only Loving You and Lower 9 Valentine were outstanding examples of what inventive Americana songwriting could be. She now follows up that release with this short and sweet EP of cover songs, which form a sort of playlist of influences on her musical style.
The first time I heard the Indigo Girls was in 1995, watching Glastonbury on TV. I had just begun reading the NME and gorging myself on loud alternative rock and yet the acoustic performance from Amy and Emily stopped me in my tracks. They were singing Closer to Fine, of course, and their words, voices and harmonies got me in the heart. Some songs and bands are just instantly with you for life.
Look Long is the Indigo Girls’s first album in five years and the band continue to appeal to a wide audience, influencing younger artists like Brandi Carlile and Justin Vernon. The title and songs suggest these legendary artists are still seeking truths, considering the world and moving forward musically. To go with them is to walk in unity, creativity, hope. Continue reading “Album Review: Indigo Girls – Look Long”