I started listening to this album on a cloudy summer’s day, with rain brewing in the stormy afternoon skies. As Courtney sang Some days are good, some days are bad / some days we want what we once had / some days I talk myself into a lie, I smiled in wry understanding. She might have been singing about the break up of a long term relationship which inspired this gorgeous new album Old Flowers but the words meant so much more now. On the cover she’s pensive as the sky darkens behind her; it’s almost like she knew this year would be spent in the shadows of what our lives could have been. As the songs swept their way across my living room in a sigh of sadness I admired their fragile perfection even more deeply knowing what we’ve all been through to get here. Continue reading “Album Review: Courtney Marie Andrews – Old Flowers”
In my opinion what is sometimes missing in the Americana music scene is a little bit of extra sass and swagger – too often artists will make beautiful music but they don’t really imprint themselves too much on the listener. In contrast Caitlin Cannon’s The Trashcannon Album has enough personality to make even the drunkest honky tonk angel sober up and take notice. Continue reading “Album Review: Caitlin Cannon – The Trashcannon Album”
When it comes to good Americana music it really doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from but how well you can play. On her new album British singer songwriter Hannah White has assembled a fantastic Anglo-Norwegian band and together they have captured the spirit of the genre. Continue reading “Album Review: Hannah White & the Nordic Connections”
After taking a longer than planned break Lianne La Havas returns with a self titled record that quietly reasserts her musical identity. On the cover she may be hiding behind her hair but the smile on her face suggests a relaxed and open artist who has made it through some difficult times and is now comfortable with who she is. Continue reading “Album Review: Lianne La Havas – Lianne La Havas”
On her debut album ‘Mid-West Farmer’s Daughter’ Margo Price described herself as an outcast who had been rejected by Nashville and the mainstream industry, eventually being forced to sell everything she had to just to make a record that no one wanted to release. After Jack White and Third Man Records signed her and propelled her to success that underdog narrative no longer applied. So for her second album All American Made she looked outward to issues facing her own nation, making political and feminist statements which led to Grammy nominations and further underlined her status as a modern Americana icon. Her new album ‘That’s How Rumors Get Started’ offers a glimpse into the musical and personal challenges that come in the wake of such career highs. Continue reading “Album Review: Margo Price – That’s How Rumors Get Started”
In their classic hit ‘Goodbye Earl’ the Chicks sang gleefully about murdering an abusive husband, whose violent actions meant there was no other option: he simply ‘had to die’. The song was pure revenge fantasy where two women take back the power and their happy ending is a world of friendship, peace, joy and freedom.
Unfortunately in the real world most of us have to find a way to live alongside those men – husbands, fathers, bosses, heroes etc – who violate and hurt us in varying extremes. We can’t cancel their existence with a shovel and a smile, even if we sing along to the song like we might want to. However that doesn’t mean we can’t fight and scream in protest at the injustice women face daily. When even getting a simple divorce can be a torturous and traumatic experience you have to conclude that something is wrong with the system itself.
Natalie Maines knows this all too well and uses Gaslighter, the first album from the band in fourteen years to reckon with her private pain and the collective struggle of her bandmates and women everywhere to survive this cruel world the patriarchy has built. Continue reading “Album Review: The Chicks – Gaslighter”
2020 is almost halfway over but so much has happened it already feels like a decade has passed. With albums delayed and many released in circumstances that have been difficult at best it feels important to stop and honour the music that has helped us to get through the chaos. Continue reading “2020 Albums of the Year So Far”
Tessy Lou Williams is an Austin based country singer whose roots in music stretch back through her childhood and family history. She grew up in Montana, living in a small town called Willow Creek with her parents who were also musicians. Her country music credentials are therefore authentic and inform the traditional sound of the record. The cover image with the mountains in the background, the acoustic guitar held close to her heart, tells you where this album lives both musically and spiritually. Continue reading “Album Review: Tessy Lou Williams – Tessy Lou Williams”
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”