Live Review: Lucy Dacus with Liz Lawrence @ Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh

As I stand among the sold out crowd awaiting the arrival of Lucy Dacus, I hear a polite voice behind me saying ‘excuse me’. I apologise, move out of the way and see Lucy herself cradling a cup of tea as she walks past me onto the stage. She steps up to the mic and says ‘Shall we’, her quietly unassuming stage presence only adding to the appeal of this very special young artist. Continue reading “Live Review: Lucy Dacus with Liz Lawrence @ Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh”

Album Review: Shovels & Rope – By Blood

Shovels & Rope launched their new album By Blood during the week of their triumphant High Water Festival homecoming. The band have recently had a second child so it’s no surprise really that at times on this album they sound run ragged, desperate and depressed, other times as exhilarated and euphoric as they ever have. The musical chemistry between Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent appears closer than ever – bonded by their family and the blood of these songs that pulsate through their veins. Continue reading “Album Review: Shovels & Rope – By Blood”

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”

Album Review: Potty Mouth – Snafu

Rock music is dead they say, and one glance at the charts or a festival lineup might lead you to believe the same thing. Funny that when I look for a rock album to listen to I can always find loads of good stuff, usually sung by women – from Honeyblood to Bully to Lucy Dacus to this new album SNAFU from alternative punk pop queens Potty Mouth. Rock music is alive and it still sounds fucking great. Continue reading “Album Review: Potty Mouth – Snafu”

Music Book Club November: ‘Every Night is Saturday Night: A Country Girl’s Journey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ by Wanda Jackson

The subtitle to Wanda Jackson’s engaging memoir signals an important conflict at the heart of her career: she started as a country singer but found herself serendipitously transported to the world of rock and roll, firstly thanks to her boyfriend Elvis and more recently due to the dedicated fandom of the rockabilly scene. Yet she never left country music behind and you can tell as you read her life story that in her heart she wishes for more recognition from the genre she began singing in. Continue reading “Music Book Club November: ‘Every Night is Saturday Night: A Country Girl’s Journey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ by Wanda Jackson”

Album Review: Ashley McBryde – Girl Going Nowhere

Any woman being signed to a major Nashville record label is positive progress for the genre, especially when they are a talented songwriter like Arkansas native Ashley McBryde. Her single ‘A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega’ has even begun to slowly move upwards on the country charts, which really is something to celebrate in this current climate of bro country dominating the genre. McBryde has supported Miranda Lambert and worked with Eric Church, both of whom understand how to sell quality music to the masses, in the face of the trend towards pop country. Her new album ‘Girl Going Nowhere’ follows in their country rock footsteps, showcasing her powerful vocals and classic songwriting style. Continue reading “Album Review: Ashley McBryde – Girl Going Nowhere”

Album Review: High Up – You Are Here

High Up singer Christine Fink didn’t originally intend to become a singer, but after working in a series of unfulfilling jobs she found herself drawn to performing in karaoke bars. She would sing classic soul songs and tear down the house every time. Eventually she moved to Omaha and began working with her sister, musician Orenda Fink, writing songs together for this new band High Up. Their debut album You Are Here, produced by Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes, combines soul influences with a gritty garage rock sound to create a ferocious collection of songs. Continue reading “Album Review: High Up – You Are Here”

Album Review: Ruby Boots – Don’t Talk About It

Back home in her native Australia Ruby Boots, real name Bex Chilcott, found few opportunities for the blend of classic rock and Americana she was playing so she decided to up-sticks and move to Nashville. Since then she’s been frustrated by the assumption that because she lives in Music City she must be a country singer. Signing with Bloodshot Records based out of Chicago has given her freedom to push her music beyond such genre limitations and Don’t Talk About It is a confident collection of killer tunes. Continue reading “Album Review: Ruby Boots – Don’t Talk About It”

Album Review: Weaves – Wide Open

Classic guitar/bass/drums rock music might be dead right now but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to kick the corpse a little – you might not being it back to life but maybe an army of angry zombies will wake up and try to kill Ed Sheeran or something. Step forward Canada’s Weaves to have a go at the revival, combining influences like Springsteen, REM, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Slits and maybe even Americana. Wide Open is an impressive album, exploring love and identity in a world gone mad.  Continue reading “Album Review: Weaves – Wide Open”

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