The Little Eva Who Could

Legend had it that when Carole King heard her newly hired babysitter Eva Narcissus Boyd sing she yelled, ‘Stop! We must record that voice!’. Another story often told is that Eva’s dancing around her living room inspired the lyrics to The Locomotion. Truthfully, King and her husband Gerry Goffin knew exactly how good a singer Eva was when they hired her as a babysitter, since she had been singing on demos and working with their girl group the Cookies. Continue reading “The Little Eva Who Could”

Album Review: Mavis Staples – We Get By

For Mavis Staples’s 80th birthday the great and the good from across the musical spectrum came together in three concerts that celebrated the legacy of an artist who has been bringing light to the world for decades and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. As a force for harmony and unity there are few who can touch her. She’s skateboarding her way into the twilight of her career with more confidence than ever. Continue reading “Album Review: Mavis Staples – We Get By”

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: Amy Helm – This Too Shall Light

On the cover of her new album Amy Helm stands strong surrounded by the majesty of nature, the colour green, the cloudy sky and imminent light, suggesting this will be an album concerning the reality of the world around us. Musically the album is rooted in the rustic outdoor world where songs are sung to fight against approaching storms. With a varied mix of covers and originals This Too Shall Light offers a natural haven for the listener, a place of shelter, faith and community togetherness. Continue reading “Album Review: Amy Helm – This Too Shall Light”

Album Review: The War and Treaty – Healing Tide

Recently there has been much discussion about the definition of ‘Americana’ music and how the genre needs to be more inclusive of diverse voices beyond white male altcountry singers. Husband and wife duo The War & Treaty are therefore exactly what the Americana genre needs right now – combining gospel, soul, country, folk and blues to create a rootsy sound which references music history but makes it sound fresh again for the modern listener. Debut album Healing Tide is full of astonishing songs that speak to the heart of humanity, suggesting that a better, happier, more loving world is possible. Continue reading “Album Review: The War and Treaty – Healing Tide”

Film Review: ‘Whitney’

Since her premature death in 2012, Whitney Houston’s life has been the subject of films, articles, books and television shows but this documentary directed by Kevin MacDonald is the first to gain the cooperation of Whitney’s family. Despite a strong first half eventually this film falls into speculation, cheap gossip and outrageous accusations about her personal life and eventual death.

Continue reading “Film Review: ‘Whitney’”

Album Review: Kadhja Bonet – Childqueen

Classically trained multi-instrumentalist Kadhja Bonet has a singular vision for her music that is refreshing in a world where music is increasingly written by committee. On her new album Childqueen she has written, arranged and produced the songs, played most of the instruments and even designed the artwork herself. The result is an astounding album of original music which sounds refreshingly out of time. Continue reading “Album Review: Kadhja Bonet – Childqueen”

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