Traditional country music has been having a good 2019 so far, with releases from the likes of legends Reba McEntire and independent acts like Charlie Marie and Steel Blossoms. Austin’s Kathryn Legendre is another name to add to this list – she’s a singer with a honky tonk heart and songs good enough to make you joyously weep into your whiskey. This new EP Making It Up is only twenty minutes and five songs long but every single one is a knock out. Continue reading “EP Review: Kathryn Legendre – Making It Up”
Lady Nade is currently on tour with fellow Bristolian Yola, impressing audiences with her evocative voice and mix of soul, jazz and folk. On her new album Safe Place she has blended these influences to produce an inviting and optimistic collection of songs. Continue reading “Album Review: Lady Nade – Safe Place”
Since the release of her solo album Walk Through Fire earlier this year Yola has been winning fans and admirers on both sides of the Atlantic. As well as support from Radio 2, she has been receiving rave reviews across the board and will tour later in the year supporting Kacey Musgraves.
As everyone took their seats on the gorgeous spring evening there was a real buzz of anticipation and happiness in the air. St Luke’s is the best venue in Glasgow – the church acoustics never fail to showcase a singer to the best of their ability. Continue reading “Live Review: Yola with Lady Nade @ St Luke’s, Glasgow”
Released in 1979 Great Balls of Fire is right in the middle of Dolly’s mainstream pop phase. She aims for the charts but ironically it is one of the few albums from this era without any real classic career-defining songs. It’s a continuation of her previous run of big budget albums but with ever diminishing returns you feel she’s stretching this seventies pop style to its limits. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – Great Balls of Fire (1979)”
There’s a delightfully delicious dark side to this new self-titled album from Steel Blossoms. Singers Hayley Prosser and Sara Zebley often have their tongue in their cheek, and they know that traditional country music is the perfect place to really put such dry humour to good use. By not taking themselves too seriously the duo have made one of the most entertaining albums of the year. Continue reading “Album Review: Steel Blossoms”
Rhinestone cowboys sometimes glitter so brightly in the sun, it’s hard to see beyond the surface. You can play dress up easily, put in some pedal steel – does that make you an authentic country artist? And then there’s the complicated debate about artists combining country with pop and hip hop. To be honest all this arguing about ‘what makes you country’ often just ends up giving me a headache. What I do know is that I just really want to hear great songs and a great singer, whatever genre. Of course I admit I have a soft spot for vintage sounding country music and am always looking to support artists who honestly embrace that style. Charlie Marie hails from small town Rhode Island, which might be far from Nashville but her music is comfortingly familiar classic country. Continue reading “EP Review: Charlie Marie EP”
Rhiannon Giddens collects songs, instruments and stories from all through history and synthesises them perfectly with her modern musical purpose. She believes in teaching us the failings of the past, to better understand our present. On her new album she has paired up with Italian virtuoso musician Francesco Turrisi, someone who shares her connection with folk music history, with his expertise in Islamic, Mediterranean and eastern styles. By pairing together on this album ‘there is no Other‘ (capitalisation deliberate) they want to show that no matter where we come from we are all one voice, one history, one future.
After the dramatic dissolution of her band The Civil Wars, Joy Williams seemed like an artist searching for herself. Before those fractious and fiery albums of absorbing Americana she had been a contemporary gospel singer, offering polite pop prayers. To many fans unfamiliar with her earlier work, her 2015 solo synth pop album ‘Venus’ sounded not just a like an evolution of her sound but an entirely different artist. So this new album ‘Front Porch’ is a welcome reset of her musical style and a quiet return to form. Continue reading “Album Review: Joy Williams – Front Porch”
When I started this blog in 2017 my aim was just to share music I loved with anyone that cared to listen but another, equally important purpose was to discover new artists for myself too. One such gem is Caroline Spence, who came to my attention through a recommendation from one of my Twitter followers. I listened to her album ‘Spades and Roses’ and loved it immediately, especially ‘Softball’ which is fast becoming something of a feminist Americana anthem. So please allow me to pay the recommendation forward by telling you that Caroline’s new album ‘Mint Condition’, is one of the best releases of the year so far.