Vivian Leva’s last album ‘Time is Everything’ was an underrated folk country gem and on this new self-titled album she promotes her previous collaborator Riley Calcagno to equal billing. You sense the deep musical and songwriting connection between the duo, who together have created an authentic, effortless country sound. Continue reading “Album Review: Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno”
Some voices are instantly calming, transporting you to the heavens, letting you drift away from the worry of the world below. On her new album ‘The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers’, Valerie June invites us to take a trip on her cloud, singing us healing messages of hope and positivity. Continue reading “Album Review: Valerie June – The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers”
Last year Senora May decided to record an album of love songs in response to the pandemic and an increasingly divided world. “I was sick of all the hate I saw people spewing,’ she said in a recent interview, perfectly summing up how many of us feel about the overwhelmingly toxic online (and offline) spaces we have found ourselves existing in. All of My Love is a welcome antidote to the chaos and a reminder that love and music are all we really need to get by. Continue reading “Album Review: Senora May – All of My Love”
After her brilliant 2018 album America’s Child, blues singer Shemekia Copeland continues her blistering take on the state of her country with her new album Uncivil War. Working again with Will Kimbrough and her longtime collaborator John Hahn has resulted in a timely collection of protest songs about the way we live now. Continue reading “Album Review: Shemekia Copeland – Uncivil War”
Back in February, a lifetime ago, I was lucky enough to see Kelsey Waldon play live on a stormy evening in Glasgow. The rain that night was almost apocalyptic, leaking through the roof onto the stage and into the crowd. Even with the freezing temperatures and cramped venue there was a collective sense of joy and appreciation for the artists who’d travelled so far to play for us. We were all so blissfully naive about what the rest of the year was to bring.
Kelsey’s performance that evening was raw, intimate, intense. I’d liked her album White Noise / White Lines but live I connected to the songs on another level, in a way that is only possible when listening to someone sing in person. Until live music returns we have to try and find that same connection through the speakers, the screens, social media. It’s not enough but it’s all we have.
For the artists cut off from touring you feel deeply concerned for how their livelihoods have been snatched away and yet this year has also allowed for a pause and a focus on other projects. During a turbulent time politically Waldon has recorded this brilliant EP of cover songs which speak directly to the dark heart of the American experience. Continue reading “EP Review: Kelsey Waldon – They’ll Never Keep Us Down”
Recording her new album My Echo with her husband as the producer, while going through couples therapy which lead to an eventual divorce must have added more than a little tension to this new project by Laura Veirs.
However unlike say the Chicks angry and vengeful divorce epic Gaslighter, My Echo does not take aim at her partner, instead turning the disquieting feelings inwards. She accepts the crumbling reality of life and love, transforming her feelings into a quietly moving collection of songs. Continue reading “Album Review: Laura Veirs – My Echo”
Like her fellow Scandinavian sisters First Aid Kit before her, Norway’s Malin Pettersen grew up with a wanderlust for America and a deep love for its music. Her new album Wildhorse was recorded and mixed in Nashville and every song conveys an angelic Americana sound that would make even the toughest of cowboys swoon. Continue reading “Album Review: Malin Pettersen – Wildhorse”
After going through personal and professional divorces, Lydia Loveless returns with her new album ‘Daughter’. Change becomes her, allowing for her world weary voice to echo bruised truths in the listeners ears. There will be no miracle rebirth or transformation here. Instead she knows that to move forward in life is to understand yourself for better, or worse. Continue reading “Album Review: Lydia Loveless – Daughter”
Some artists have so much energy and talent that recorded music can barely convey or contain them. This fact is true of husband and wife duo Tanya and Michael Trotter, known as The War and Treaty, whose joyful, uplifting musical spirit has to be witnessed in real life to fully comprehend. To say I’m a true believer doesn’t even cover it.
Their debut album ‘The Healing Tide’ was a delightful mix of vintage soul and Americana that brimmed with the effervescent energy and vocal star power of the duo. Hearts Town, their wonderful new album, takes us to a place where pain is understood, music heals and there’s always another chance to begin again. Continue reading “Album Review: The War & Treaty – Hearts Town”