Australian singer Lo Carmen recorded her sixth album Lovers Dreamers Fighters in the Butcher Shoppe studio in Nashville, working with David ‘Ferg’ Ferguson (who has also recently engineered Sturgill Simpson’s album). Together with a host of fantastic musicians including Dave Roe, Matt Combs, Russ Pahl plus guests Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Emma Swift she has created one of the most distinctive Americana albums of the year. Continue reading “Album Review: Lo Carmen – Lovers Dreamers Fighters”
Pitchfork do a lot of things wrong but their article written a few years back about Lucinda Williams was an illuminating assessment of her career, expertly analysing why she remains one of the most overlooked and underrated artists in music today. In the constant search for new voices, new talent, new narratives we don’t stop to appreciate those who have been consistently producing quality music for years. The writer asked the simple question: why go looking for the new Lucinda Williams when she’s still out there playing live and releasing some of the best work of her career?
Some people are always pushing forwards, blindly searching for what’s new in the aim of ‘progress’. Others prefer to stand still and look backwards to appreciate what’s come before. Folk musicians have always been concerned with keeping songs of the past alive, because they understand the power of history and memory. On Letters Never Read Dori Freeman continues the traditional Appalachian style of honest country music, expressing herself through simple heartfelt covers and original songs.
Lee Ann Womack had a long and successful mainstream country music career but a couple of years back she began releasing rootsier music that aligned itself more with what we loosely term Americana. She has been outspoken against the pop orientated sound coming out of Nashville right now, which immediately attracted me to her. Having never listened to her music before I came into this album with fresh ears and was instantly impressed. The Lonely, The Lonesome & the Gone is outstanding with quality songs and vocal performances throughout.
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 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 Segarra 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”
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”
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”
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”
A couple of years back Americana duo Neon Moon recorded a song a week for a year, uploading them to YouTube as Our 52 Songs. These videos show husband and wife duo Noelle and Josh Bohannon singing and strumming some great classic country inspired songs, the best of which have now been recorded on this E.P. called 6:53. Continue reading “E.P. Review: Neon Moon – 6:53”