Album Review: Margo Price – All American Made

The celebrated classicist Mary Beard in her lecture The Public Voice of Women‘ outlined how and why female voices in spheres like culture and politics have been attacked and silenced across time. She traced it back to Homer’s Odysessy, through to Shakespeare where a raped woman has her tongue cut ripped out, right up to the present day and the online trolling of women. Beard goes on to explain that ‘it doesn’t much matter what line you take as a woman, if you venture into traditional male territory, the abuse comes anyway. It’s not what you say that prompts it, it’s the fact you’re saying it.’ In the music industry this seems more tragically true than ever. Women are outnumbered in every aspect of the business, those who venture into its pit are treated like a novelty; they are sexualised, objectified and their voices ultimately sidelined.

So don’t underestimate how important it is that women like Alynda Serraga of Hurray for the Riff Raff, Juliana Hatfield and now Margo Price have released albums in 2017 that are fiercely personal and yet concern themselves with wider political ideas. Price has emerged as a true outlaw hero of country music since the release of her debut album last year and the EP ‘Weakness‘. Her follow up, ‘All American Made’ is a statement of intent: she’s here to sing about the social issues she sees in the world and she’s not ready to make nice.  Continue reading “Album Review: Margo Price – All American Made”

Album Review: Joana Serrat – Dripping Springs

Spanish singer Joana Serrat recorded her third album in Texas, near the town of Dripping Springs which gives the record its name. On this album she worked with producer Israel Nash who praised her ‘brilliant’ lyrics and the ease of the recording process where ‘her voice was our guide’. Joana has recently played AmericanaFest, as well as opening for the likes of Courtney Marie Andrews, and this album proves she is an intriguing talent whose work deserves attention.  Continue reading “Album Review: Joana Serrat – Dripping Springs”

Album Review: Whiskey Gentry – Dead Ringer

Roll up, roll up for some of the best freewheelin’ fun you’ll hear in a country album all year. Despite the fact that the cover of this album features a picture of singer Lauren Staley, The Whiskey Gentry are a full band, featuring her husband Jason Morrow and other talented musicians based in Atlanta, Georgia. Released earlier this year Dead Ringer is exactly the kind of album I needed to hear right now – bringing a little rock and roll spirit to the honky tonk.  Continue reading “Album Review: Whiskey Gentry – Dead Ringer”

Album Review: Whitney Rose – Rule 62

Whitney Rose has a vintage aesthetic which is reflected in her music and her style. To some this may seem fake, just annoying kids playing ‘dress up’. Okay so recreating the past is a little inauthentic in a way but sometimes being yourself is just so bloody boring. Rule 62 from the AA bible is don’t take yourself so damn seriously and on this excellent album Whitney is having fun with the past, inventing characters and most importantly, singing quality songs. Continue reading “Album Review: Whitney Rose – Rule 62”

E.P. Review: Caroline Reese – Two Horses 

One of my favourite ways to find new music is to see who some of my favourite artists are working or touring with. So when I reviewed Lizzie No’s album earlier this year I also discovered her friend and fellow musician Caroline Reese, who writes the kind of gorgeous indie alt-country songs they call Americana nowadays. Caroline has opened for artists like Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton and Ray Wylie Hubbard. Her new E.P. Two Horses consists of four stripped back new songs which tell the story of her recent move to Montana and her life as a struggling musician.  Continue reading “E.P. Review: Caroline Reese – Two Horses “

Album Review: Wild Ponies – Galax

Telisha and Doug Williams of Wild Ponies are now based in Nashville but have a deep connection to Galax in South West Virginia, famous for hosting the Old Fiddlers Bluegrass Festival. The married duo decided to record this album in a shed behind Doug’s grandfather’s farm in Galax, combining talented local musicians with professionals from Music City. One listen to Galax and you are there, talking a walk through those fields, heading towards the sound of some of the sweetest music you’ve ever heard.  Continue reading “Album Review: Wild Ponies – Galax”

Album Review: The Sweetback Sisters – King of Killing Time

I’m a huge fan of the TV show Fringe, in which a mad scientist discovers a parallel universe where there’s significant differences in the way the world has unravelled across time. That’s fiction, of course,  but when I look at the charts or hear the radio I can’t help but think there’s a real musical parallel universe running in tandem with ours. Two alternate timelines: one where music is a beautiful life-affirming thing in which talent and tradition are valued and respected and the other side is the MANstream hell of popular chart music. The Sweetback Sisters exist on the good side of the musical divide and the album King of Killing Time is a joyous celebration of classic country and vintage va va voom Continue reading “Album Review: The Sweetback Sisters – King of Killing Time”

Album Review: Karen & the Sorrows – The Narrow Place 

Karen Pittelman grew up listening to her parents’ country record collection and despite starting out in a punk band she eventually found herself wanting to sing songs about heartbreak. Only by using the pedal steel did she find the musical ‘essence of sorrow’ she was looking for, played here by Elana Redfield (drummer Tammi Johnson completes the trio). The Narrow Place is an album connected to the musical roots of country music but thematically and lyrically unique.  Continue reading “Album Review: Karen & the Sorrows – The Narrow Place “

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