Album Review: Jenny Lewis – On The Line

A few weeks back I listened to Zane Lowe interview Jenny Lewis about her new album On The Line – an interview in which he spent most of the time discussing the men featured on this record, rather than Jenny herself. Even after everything Jenny Lewis had achieved she was still being considered in terms of who she was working with, rather than on her own merits. The recent revelations about one of the producers of this record have threatened to further overshadow this release. So it is pretty wonderful to report that most of the reviews and features written about On The Line have focused on Jenny’s music, life and legacy (unsurprisingly most of these have been written by women).

The fact that Jenny’s music has been so universally celebrated is important. Not every women artist gets that recognition and attention. What then can the humble blogger really contribute to this discussion you might wonder, when there are so many incisive and illuminating discussions of this album already out there? To be honest I have spent the last week wondering the same thing myself. I recently reviewed the new album by The Wild Reeds (whose music owes a debt to Jenny for sure) and I felt confident that it was important I wrote about an album that had received few other online reviews. In contrast there doesn’t seem much more I can add to the already determined facts about On The Line: this is indeed a brilliant album and some of the best work of Jenny’s career. But then I heard Jenny’s voice singing to me ‘do something, while your heart is thumping’ so I decided just to write anyway. Continue reading “Album Review: Jenny Lewis – On The Line”

Our Native Daughters – Songs Of Our Native Daughters

In his introduction to ‘Notes on A Native Son’ James Baldwin declared, ‘I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am, also, much more than that. So are we all.’ Inspired by his work, Rhiannon Giddens initially brought together this group of musicians in order to try to reclaim the black female history of America. Once the project began she realised that it had become much more than just about telling the stories of the past; it became an expression of creative freedom conveying hope for the future too.

Giddens, with her collaborators Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla and Allison Russell wrote and recorded these songs together at producer Dirk Powell’s studio in Louisiana (Kaia Kater was also invited but unable to attend due to scheduling). Mixing originals with songs inspired by historic folk music and stories the result is an astonishingly powerful, and listenable, piece of art. Continue reading “Our Native Daughters – Songs Of Our Native Daughters”

Album Review: Yola – Walk Through Fire

Dolly, Aretha, Loretta, Dionne, Tammy, Dusty – the biggest stars in country and soul music are all recognisable by their distinctive first names. The musical spirit of these artists has been channeled into this new album ‘Walk Through Fire’ by rising star Yola, whose similarly unique first name is already familiar to Americana fans in the U.K. With her appealing blend of musical styles and charismatic voice Yola is surely poised to capture the hearts of listeners everywhere in 2019. Continue reading “Album Review: Yola – Walk Through Fire”

Album Review: Kalyn Fay – Good Company

Oklahoma songwriter Kalyn Fay has worked with artists like Kaia Kater and Carter Sampson and is now releasing her second album Good Company – a collection of songs she calls a ‘love letter to the place I have known best’. The album contains delicate Americana-inspired songs about home, travel, self-discovery and change, showcasing Fay’s wonderfully wise voice. Continue reading “Album Review: Kalyn Fay – Good Company”

E.P. Review: Tiffany Williams – When You Go

Tiffany Williams is a coal miner’s daughter hailing from the Appalachian mountains, which are pictured on the front cover of her new EP ‘When You Go’. The grit and guts of her upbringing are in every strummed guitar string and sighed vocal of her music. Home is never far from her mind, or her pen. Containing songs and stories rooted deep in the heart of the place that built her, these five songs are an illuminating introduction to a promising songwriter. Continue reading “E.P. Review: Tiffany Williams – When You Go”

Song Review: I’m With Her – ‘Call My Name’

Witnessing the pure perfection of Aoife O’Donovan, Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins live on stage was one of my musical highlights of 2018 and so it is with great delight and relief I can report that the I’m With Her collaboration is set to continue into 2019. The band have announced a series of live dates and released a brand new song ‘Call My Name’. Continue reading “Song Review: I’m With Her – ‘Call My Name’”

Album Review: Carson McHone – Carousel

Carson McHone started playing the local bars in her hometown of Austin, Texas aged sixteen, paying her dues and getting an education in honky tonk and heartbreak. Her 2018 album ‘Carousel’ has now been rereleased on British label Loose, who have a pedigree for picking out talent like Sturgill Simpson and Courtney Marie Andrews. Combining the feel of traditional country with a distinctive voice and sharp eye for storytelling, Carson McHone looks like another stellar signing. Continue reading “Album Review: Carson McHone – Carousel”

Album Review: Leyla McCalla – The Capitalist Blues

Former Carolina Chocolate Drops cellist Leyla McCalla is set to have a busy year in 2019. As well as releasing her third solo album The Capitalist Blues, she will soon also be heard on the ‘Our Native Daughters’ project with former bandmate Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah and Allison Russell. Until then we can treat ourselves to this excellent solo album – a rich exploration of McCalla’s musical heritage, with a socially conscious heart. Continue reading “Album Review: Leyla McCalla – The Capitalist Blues”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑