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”
Norah Jones, Catherine Popper and Sasha Dobson this year reunited their side project Puss N Boots to release fun and feisty new album Sister. Norah has said the band are a chance for her to embrace ‘fearlessness’ and they all come to the project with an ‘eagerness to jump in’. That involves all three playing different instruments , bringing solo written songs to the project, writing together and doing covers. Continue reading “Album Review: Puss N Boots – Sister”
In the past Whitney Rose has toyed with different genres like classic country and vintage pop but on this excellent new album We Still Go To Rodeos she finds a style that feels more distinctively her own. Continue reading “Album Review: Whitney Rose – We Still Go To Rodeos”
It’s fitting that when you buy a vinyl copy of this new Lilly Hiatt record Walking Proof you get a colouring in page with it, since her songs are about finding the confidence to be yourself and make your own individual mark on the world – even if that means shading outside the lines a little. Continue reading “Album Review: Lilly Hiatt – Walking Proof”
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”
During my period of working from home in the last week there has been one blessing: even more time to immerse myself in new music. One artist who I found a particularly comfort to get me through my email hell was the lovely Sunny Ozell and her gorgeous new album Overnight Lows. Continue reading “Album Review: Sunny Ozell – Overnight Lows”
Writing music reviews is my hobby, my escape from the real world. This past week has been so utterly surreal I have barely been able to do anything but stare aghast as the global coronavirus horror unfolded. The online chatter faded into insignificance for me and I haven’t been able to follow the music community in the same way really at all. I admire those who have been able to review albums, tweet, live-stream, share links, buy merch, help artists etc but I have spent most of my time frozen in shock and disbelief.
Before the virus hit I had been spending a considerable amount of time listening to the new album 25 Trips from mandolinist Sierra Hull. I was working though some ideas for my review, thinking about the central idea of this record: time and its grip on us all. Now time has the world in a vice. How long will this be our new reality? How long might it be until we all stand in a room together and hear live music again? How long before we get back the simple things we used to take for granted? We can’t go forward and see the future, we can only let the world spin and wait for our fate to unravel. Continue reading “Album Review: Sierra Hull – 25 Trips”
The truth is none of us are really ready for the big moments. We don’t ask for our lives to change. But they do. So what are we? Helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come, you can’t help that. It’s what you do after them that counts. That’s how you find out who you really are.
So yes this coronavirus outbreak has involved me just obsessively listening to music and watching episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (fans may recognise the reference in the introduction). That’s who I am. That’s what has got me through one of the craziest weeks in world history (and I’ve seen some serious shit). All I can say is thank god for Brandy Clark and this new album Your Life is a Record because otherwise I think I would have just submerged myself in a bath of hand sanitiser and refused to come out (well I would have if I actually had any). Continue reading “Album Review: Brandy Clark – Your Life is a Record”