Album Review: Emma Swift – Blonde on the Tracks

In his Nobel Prize acceptance lecture Bob Dylan discussed how he first began learning old folk songs, eventually internalising them into his own songwriting. ‘You hear all the finer points, and you learn the details,’ he explained. By singing these songs he discovered ‘the devices, the techniques, the secrets, the mysteries’, concluding that ‘songs are alive in the land of the living’. Old songs are meant not just to be heard, but to be sung anew by the next generations.

Emma Swift began ‘Blonde on the Tracks‘, her project of Dylan covers, as a way to recover her artistic inspiration after experiencing depression. Mainly recorded in 2017 these versions were not even intended to be an album but when the pandemic destroyed Swift’s plans for touring she decided to release the recordings. Continue reading “Album Review: Emma Swift – Blonde on the Tracks”

Album Review: Courtney Marie Andrews – Old Flowers

I started listening to this album on a cloudy summer’s day, with rain brewing in the stormy afternoon skies. As Courtney sang Some days are good, some days are bad / some days we want what we once had / some days I talk myself into a lie, I smiled in wry understanding. She might have been singing about the break up of a long term relationship which inspired this gorgeous new album Old Flowers but the words meant so much more now. On the cover she’s pensive as the sky darkens behind her; it’s almost like she knew this year would be spent in the shadows of what our lives could have been. As the songs swept their way across my living room in a sigh of sadness I admired their fragile perfection even more deeply knowing what we’ve all been through to get here. Continue reading “Album Review: Courtney Marie Andrews – Old Flowers”

E.P. Review: Esther Rose – My Favorite Mistakes

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.

Continue reading “E.P. Review: Esther Rose – My Favorite Mistakes”

Album Review: Anna Burch – If You’re Dreaming

Anna Burch’s last album Quit the Curse was full of smart, understated indie pop that quietly sparkled. After a busy schedule of touring she returns with a new album If You’re Dreaming, which was recorded with producer Sam Evian at his studio in the Catskills. Musically the songs on the album are slow and gentle, suggesting a songwriter learning how to go at her own pace. Continue reading “Album Review: Anna Burch – If You’re Dreaming”

Album Review: Laura Marling – Song For Our Daughter

Why should I die so you can live? Laura Marling sings on the opening track of her new album Song For Our Daughter. Alexandra was partly inspired by a Leonard Cohen song and also how over history women were often only valued in what they could offer men – as muses or as mothers. Marling sings these songs for her own imagined daughter, dreaming of a future where women can live and love in a world free from such bullshit. Continue reading “Album Review: Laura Marling – Song For Our Daughter”

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