‘I had to get rich so I could sing like I was poor,’ Dolly famously joked about ‘The Grass is Blue’ released in 1999. While Dolly had the mountains in her veins and her voice from the start, there was always a sprinkling of razzle dazzle pop rhinestones on her country banjo. Traditional bluegrass may have influenced her songwriting but this would be her first full length embrace of the genre, earning a Grammy for ‘Best Bluegrass Album’. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – The Grass is Blue (1999)”
The sweet, sweet sound of the fiddle contains the soul and spirit of folk music in one perfect instrument. Fiddler Bronwyn Keith-Hynes plays bluegrass music which understands the traditions of the instrument’s past but she isn’t afraid to cut loose and find her own path too. Continue reading “Album Review: Bronwyn Keith-Hynes – Fiddler’s Pastime”
The new Della Mae album ‘Headlight’ is one of those rare albums that encapsulates everything that this blog stands for and hopes to promote, conveying the collective power of women’s voices through emotional and empathetic songs. The writing and musicianship from the band, made up of lead vocalist and guitarist Celia Woodsmith, fiddle player Kimber Ludiker and mandolinist Jenni Lynn Gardner, is pure quality throughout. Continue reading “Album Review: Della Mae – Headlight”
On a frosty evening in January what better way to thaw out than listening to some fine folk music from some of the genre’s most interesting young talents. Kaia Kater had impressed the crowd earlier in the week supporting Rhiannon Giddens and the audience who came to see her at the stunning St Andrews in the Square venue were also lucky enough to hear the infectious talents of Rachel Baiman and her band. Continue reading “Live Review: Kaia Kater & Rachel Baiman @ Celtic Connections”
Rachel Baiman released one of my favourite songs of last year, the stunning Shame from the album of the same name, which exposed the hypocrisy of men and religion in a fiery three minutes. On this follow EP, Thanksgiving, she continues to explore modern life and ideas, in an old timey folk style. The honesty and urgency of her message and music is as engaging as ever. Continue reading “E.P. Review: Rachel Baiman – Thanksgiving”
Aoife O’Donovan, Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz first played together in a bathroom at a bluegrass festival a few years ago, and immediately realised the musical harmony they created was something special. Soon after they formed a group, adopted the name I’m With Her, playing shows and eventually finding time to write songs.
Then something strange happened. Purely by coincidence the band name became the slogan for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Overnight they were a hashtag. For a project that had barely begun to suddenly be associated with something so politically significant must have been surreal. The band themselves appear to be quick to distance themselves from the connection, but at the same time it would have been easy enough for them to record under a different name. ‘I’m With Her’ now reads like a declaration of unity and I’ll See You Around proves how strong you can be when you work together.
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”