Carrie Elkin THE PENNY COLLECTOR

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Carrie Elkin
THE PENNY COLLECTOR
Self-Release

Sensational Songs from the Poetic Edge of the Folk Spectrum.

Oh dear; this album by one of my favourite singer-songwriters very nearly got overlooked; such is the organisation on my desk at RMHQ.
Thankfully I found it just in time to scream its delights from the rooftops prior to its release.
I think I’ve seen Carrie play live 4 or 5 times now; either alongside her husband Danny Schmidt or more usually with Sam Baker and each time I hear her I think “She is too good for this, I want to see and hear her sing on her own!”
Then; as if by magic here is her fourth (or sixth if you count her firs 2 self-releases) album and; well…..keep reading.
Opening track New Mexico is absolutely spellbinding from start to finish; with Carrie’s crystal clear voice as she pours her heart out, dealing with the death of her father. Don’t worry. This isn’t maudlin; it’s a beautiful loving tribute for and about a very interesting man; and one I now wished I’d met.
This is followed by Always on the Run; possibly but less obviously about her father again, but words that touched me quite deeply as I lost my eldest brother only a couple of weeks prior to first hearing this touching song.
As usual I’d listened to THE PENNY COLLECTOR 3 or 4 times before reeding the accompanying Press Release; only to find that these songs were written and collated in a year where Carrie not only lost her father but gave birth to her first child; a daughter, which makes a lot of sense as songs like Tilt-A -Whirl and Niagara do sound like a wordsmith looking back at and reassessing their life in the most articulate manner.
With that theory in mind the snappy My Brother Said becomes ever more ‘interesting’ if it’s to be taken literally. I won’t give anything way; apart from the aggressively played electric guitar and the timbre in her voice resurrected some memories from my own life and I guess many out there will give a rye smile when they hear it too.
Again it was only when I read the notes that I realised the almost otherworldly rendition of American Tune wasn’t Carrie’s own words but those of Paul Simon! If you are going to cover a song; at least change it around…..and Carrie alongside producer Neilson Hubbard have turned this one upside down and inside out to create a minor masterpiece.
This is a compelling set of songs and must be heard as a complete work; but two songs in particular affected me quite profoundly, both very very different reasons and from both ends of the spectrum in Carrie’s ‘story’.
And Then The Birds Came is another song about her father; and with my own brother’s death still raw it caught me quite by surprise. While specifically about Richard Elkin (1942-2015) the sentiment is general enough to be about any loved one who has left our lives; which is the hallmark of a great songwriter.
The other Live Wire is about a rebellious daughter who was ‘Daddy’s little girl’ but ‘ran away to the Carnival’ before returning. I neither know nor care if this is a true story; because it’s such a cool and absorbing tale that I visualise an accompanying video I’m going to direct. It’s in mono/sepia with shots of Carrie singing and strumming her guitar interspersing with the character drifter in and out of shot via dream sequences……just a thought, well; it’s my thoughts actually.
If you’ve not heard of Carrie Elkin before; think Nanci Griffith or Emmylou Harris with an extra spark and sparkle and you will be somewhere in the vicinity.
Coincidentally (as if!) Carrie will be touring the UK alongside her husband Danny Schmidt in May and June; hopefully Danny will have a sore throat the night they come to Newcastle so I can hear Carrie Elkin sing these and others in all her singular glory (only kidding Dan).

http://carrieelkin.com/

Released UK April 7th 2017

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Malcolm Holcombe PRETTY LITTLE TROUBLES

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Malcolm Holcombe
PRETTY LITTLE TROUBLES
Gipsy Eyes Music.

Raw and Defiantly Authentic Country-Blues.

I can’t remember how long ago it was when I first ‘discovered’ Malcolm Holcombe; but I do remember it was a Jumping Hot Club upstairs in the Central Bar, Gateshead when the room was littered with a handful of regulars who hung on every single word and note that came from the stage.
I was so smitten with the singer-songwriter I actually borrowed £5 from the promoter to go towards me buying the album Malcolm had for sale.
To be kind to the man from Carolina he has a voice and dress sense that only a Mother…..or me could love; just ask Mrs. Magpie!
I digress; let’s get onto PRETTY LITTLE TROUBLES Malcolm’s 15th album.
Some rather funky bass-lines and timpani unusually open the first track Crippled Point O’View; but it doesn’t take long for that trademark rasp and some wheezing harmonica from Jelly Roll Johnson to filter from the office speakers and Malcolm offers a rye and rueful view on these ‘tired and troubled times.’ Not exactly a protest song as such; it’s well worth listening to and, unless you are a flag waving patriot you will sadly find yourself nodding in agreement to many of of his all too keen observations on the state of the world.
When you listen to songs like Rocky Ground and Damn Weeds it’s difficult to pigeon hole Malcolm Holcombe, as he’s certainly a Folk Singer, but this is Classic Hill Music which pre-dates Bluegrass and damn sure this guy has the Blues.
The title track Pretty Little Troubles is as sweet as Malcolm Holcombe gets; but peel away the layers and you will yet another sharp and darkly witty observation on the times we find ourselves in.
As a ‘Troubadour’ Malcolm isn’t afraid to delve into the past to give you a history lesson that needs to be considered by the likes of us but repeated to future generations; Good Ole Days is a prime case in point, but you can delve deep into his back catalogue for other razor sharp examples. Here he uses the phrase ‘Good Ole Days’ and a jaunty finger picked guitar lick to draw you in to a story of a coal miner who worked with no labour laws and had seven children, of which many died of diseases associated with poverty! I listened again to this song the day President Trump promised to revive coal mining in the USA as part of his ‘Make America Great’ strategy…….perhaps someone should hack his iPhone and make this song Putin’s ringtone.
While I’m on that subject the final song on the album We Struggle is the type of restrained fury that we normally associate with Bob Dylan’s first 3 or 4 albums; but is needed in 2017 more than ever. Listen to it on headphones and it will break your heart in two.
Malcolm’s songs are always intriguing, especially the ones based on his own experiences, such is the case with Bury, England. A tale of touring hundreds of miles from home and turning up in a small town in the North of England, but it could be Nowheresville Anywhere. The intimate detail in the lyrics will bring rye smiles from British fans, and musicians all over the world.
The Eyes of Josephine finds Malcolm rediscovering his Celtic Roots, on a romantic ballad that is a timelessly beautiful Folk ballad at its heart.
As a ‘fan boy’ I’ve particularly liked Malcolm’s recent releases as he’s found some producers who are sensitive to his own particular needs…..especially his voice; which has always been brittle and worn. For long parts of his concerts you find yourself leaning forward to hear him as he can sing in barely a gruff whisper.
Without too much studio witchcraft Darrell Scott brings out a wonderful warmth and depth to that larynx on Rocky Ground and the raw to the bone Yours No More but especially on my favourite song here; and one more than worthy of inclusion on any future Best Of album……The Sky Stood Still. For once I’m lost for words as to how to describe it…..hey; buy the album and tell me I’m wrong.
Please, if you’ve got this far at the very least find Malcolm Holcombe on one of those streaming sites and I’m 99% sure you will find yourself buying something of his; and this is a damn good place to start!

Released May 26th UK & Europe
Released April 7th USA & Canada

https://www.malcolmholcombe.com/

Kevin McGuire – Foreign Country (EP)

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Kevin McGuire
Foreign Country (EP)
Self-Release

More Exciting New British Country Music.

As I keep saying British Country Music was a joke only 5 or 6 years ago; but there must have been something on the school curriculum 15 or so years ago because there’s a new generation of good looking talented kids blowing my socks off at the moment with their exhilarating take on every angle of the most American of American musical genres.
Just before Christmas 2016 I received the 3AM single from a young Glaswegian called Kevin McGuire and I couldn’t believe that he wasn’t from any one of the Southern American states.
That song is here too; but isn’t the best by a Country mile!
His latest EP starts with the gentle Alright, Tonight! McGuire’s rich voice has that ‘breathless warble’ that you normally associate with the likes of Brad Paisley or Rascal Flatts and the banjo solo should be straight outta Charleston, not Clarkston. The lyrics are classy and Classic too……as McGuire talks about a girls truck breaking down and him ‘kick starting her heart into life.’
Late follows and you can picture the young McGuire with torn jeans, white t-shirt, trucker cap and a pained expression trying to win the girl back……as if she would ever have left him in the first place.
Next we get the emotional 3AM, a break-up song of the highest quality and one teenage girls all over the world will cry their hearts out to (boys will hear it and pretend it doesn’t effect them though).
So far, so very good….then on I Belong McGuire really picks up the baton dropped by the big boys in Nashville; with a simple but quality heartbreaker; the likes of which made Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw very rich men indeed.
But for me, the best is kept for last. Another muscular heartbreaker (what did you expect? This is Country Music after all) but this time with a piano as the lead instrument instead of McGuire’s electric guitar. hen I played this song for Mrs Magpie she too couldn’t believe it wasn’t one of the ‘Stars of Nashville’ but a young kid from Glasgow.
For a young man Kevin McGuire is playing his hand very quickly; but it’s a winning hand, as he isn’t just an excellent singer who can write a fine song, he’s damn good looking too…..a triple threat that won’t be hanging around the British scene for very long.

RELEASED Friday 7th April

https://www.facebook.com/kevinmcguiremusic/

Curse of Lono SEVERED

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Curse of Lono
SEVERED
Submarine Cat Records

Tightly Wrapped, Dark and Cinematic Americana.

Somehow managing to blend the harmonious Twang of the Byrds with the songwriting of Nick Cave, Curse of Lono’s EP came along just at the right time last Autumn; capturing the gloomy zeitgeist that was all pervading at RMHQ just perfectly.
Jump forward six months; and we are still enjoying a good wallow in musical melancholia…..so, bring on the Curse of Lono LP!
The album opens with Five Miles High; an illegitimate step-brother to the Byrds Eight Miles High; with harmonies to you could drink and enough psychedelic Amaricanesque guitar to light up a motorway.
The song is quite deep and mystical; but Felix Bechtolsheimer’s world weary voice draws you in like a siren on the rocks.
While Curse of Lono are only two years old; Bechtolsheimer wrote these songs over a 14 year period; knowing that sooner or later he would find a fitting band and producer to bring them to life.
For a British band, Curse of Lono can make you feel like you are sitting in a Texas saloon bar (Send For the Whisky), lonely Mid-Western Motel (Each Time You Hurt) or perhaps the JFK Airport Lounge (He Takes My Place) with the greatest of ease…..they just ‘get’ America and Americana. The way the narrator describes the minutiae in that latter heartbreaker (He Takes My Place) put Felix up there with the likes of Slaid Cleaves and Otis Gibbs around these here parts.
Apart from Felix Bechtolsheimer’s identifiable voice the main thing that makes Curse of Lono stand out from the crowd of British pretenders is the way they use guitar effects to emphasise the mood of different songs; even making one sound like a pump-organ on Welcome Home.
The perkiest song here, Pick Up The Pieces has the feel of someone like Paul Simon or Don McLean on mogadon…..but don’t let that analogy put you off, because it’s excellent; dark and mysterious certainly but excellent and will stick in your brain for hours afterwards.
While I adore this album for what it is; an actual album two songs particularly stand out; the Country-Blues of Just My Head with it’s opening line “Its hard not to drink like a man/when the ghosts that surround you insist that you can”…..it’s when I hear songs like this that I realise how powerful music can be; but I have yo hark back to a song from that EP that features here and has matured in that year like a fine whisky. London Rain still has a minor Doorsian feel to it but oddly enough hints of the Jam in Down in the Tube Station (After Midnight). The edgy atmosphere Bechtolsheimer and friends conjures up, of the darker side of a fractured relationship that is as frightening as it is figurative.
I fear for the success of SEVERED by Curse of Lono as Summer is just around the corner and this is best listened to late on a windswept rainy evening; but I guess a lot of readers here inhabit that world 12 months a year anyway!

http://www.curseoflonoband.com/

Released April 7th 2017

Keston Cobblers Club – ALMOST HOME

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Keston Cobblers Club
ALMOST HOME
Tricolour Records/Absolute

Harmonious and Folklicious Music That Stirs The Soul and Your Feet.

I’m walking a tightrope with this review; as I’m going against all my principals by listening to a ‘stream’ of the album and writing about it ‘live’…..not over several sessions spread over a couple of weeks.
The title track Almost Home gets proceeding off to a lovely start, as what sounds like three part harmonies shadow Matt Lowe’s warm and expressive voice. In the background an intricately plucked guitar and a tightly wrapped Folk orchestra provide a fog of acoustic auditory sensations.
The title of Track #2 Concord intrigued me straight away; as it is the name of the original town in Washington where I live. Thankfully this intricate Nu-Folk song isn’t about Pound Shops and drunken shenanigans in and around Wetherspoons on a Thursday afternoon; instead it’s a bittersweet, (with the emphasis more on sweet) love song sung around some clever banjo and piano before it all ends with a sweeping orchestral closure. Different, yet fascinating at the same time.
While occasionally nodding back to their forbears in the 1970’s The Keston Cobblers somehow still manage to plough their own musical furrow with songs like Demons and the inspired lo-fi of Walls.
While not normally my first choice of music to listen to; and I remind you this is a ‘first take’ review a couple of songs really stand out; Bicycles uses the siblings (Matt and sister Julia) voices like an extra instrument on a clever and nimble song that transcends the Folk genre. While On Your Own takes a massive leap to the left with some Soca guitar, funky bass-lines and a bit of a Electronica back-beat supporting two luscious voices singing and harmonising like Angels. The song ain’t half bad either.
Then there is All I Need, which closes the band’s third  full length album. Julia Lowe’s sensual voice lights up a tight Folk-Rock love song and made me go weak at the knees; and was the first song I played a second time…….only to find it was even better than the first!
After listening only once to ALMOST HOME I can hear why the Keston Cobblers Club are as popular as they are with the ‘young people’; being a lot more easy on the ear than their peers, the recently departed Bellowhead and Mumford and Sons.
In Julia and Matt Lowe they have two excellent vocalists and the band behind them; with their eclectic instruments are truly exceptional musicians; plus the production is exceptional somehow merging and melting so many disparate parts to create such a singular distinctive sound.

http://kestoncobblers.club/

Released March 31st 2017

EXCLUSIVE Simon Murphy – Empty Room (SINGLE)

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Simon Murphy
Empty Room (SINGLE)

It doesn’t seem 5 minutes ago when we first received Northern Irish singer-songwriter Simon Murphy’s debut album Let It Be; but it was actually 2015.
In the intervening years a lot has happened, including the birth of his (and his wife’s!) first son…plus he has been honing his talents in that Nashville Town, US of A.
The first song to come from those sessions is this beautiful song, Empty Room co-written by Simon and Sean Trainor and he has allowed us the EXCLUSIVE first play anywhere in the WORLD!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Justin Townes Earle – Champagne Corolla (single)

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Justin Townes Earle
Champagne Corolla (single)
New West Records

With Mothers Day in mind I asked my friend Richard to play Mama’s Eyes by Justin Townes Earle on his radio show Leader’s American Pie on Monday night. I’d not played Justin’s albums for a while so it was a joy hearing him again…..then today, Thursday I’ve weirdly just received his NEW SINGLE Champagne Corolla and a message saying a new album is on the way too!
As my Dad never tired of saying, “God acts in mysterious ways!!”

Justin has signed to New West Records and will release the new album ‘Kids In The Street’ on 26th May. The 12-song set was produced by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, First Aid Kit) at his ARC Studios, and is the first time in his career that Earle has worked with an outside producer.

‘Kids In The Street’ marks a decade into Earle’s recording career and follows his acclaimed companion albums Single Mothers and Absent Fathers (2015). The deeply soulful set is both emotionally riveting and effortlessly uplifting. Now embracing sobriety, marriage, and impending fatherhood, Earle is enthusiastically looking to the future. “Life has changed a lot for me in the last few years,” Earle reflects. “I got married and am getting ready to become a father, and this is the first record that I’ve written since I’ve been married. There’s definitely an uplifting aspect to this record in a lot of ways, because I’m feeling pretty positive.” He continues, “When I wrote songs in the past, I was looking in on what I was feeling, but this record’s more about looking outward on what’s happening, and writing about subjects like gentrification and inner city strife. This record also has more of a soul influence to it, and it’s got a deeper connection to the blues than anything I’ve done before.”

You can listen to ‘Kids In The Street’’s opener ‘Champagne Corolla’ here:

‘Kids In the Street’ will be available digitally, as well as compact disc and vinyl. The album is now available for pre-order via PledgeMusic including an exclusive, limited edition colored vinyl version of the LP, special 7” single including ‘Maybe A Moment’ as well as Earle’s reading of Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’, and cassette.

Justin Townes Earle will take to the road in the States this Spring with his longtime guitarist Paul Niehaus alongside The Sadies as his backing band, with UK and European dates to be announced soon.

‘Kids In The Street’ Track Listing:
1. Champagne Corolla
2. Maybe A Moment
3. What’s She Crying For
4. 15-25
5. Kids In The Street
6. Faded Valentine
7. What’s Goin’ Wrong
8. Short Hair Woman
9. Same Old Stagolee
10. If I Was The Devil
11. Trouble Is
12. There Go A Fool

Rodney Crowell – CLOSE TIES

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Rodney Crowell
CLOSE TIES
New West Records

Deeply Personal Stories of Life, Love and Friends.

Rodney Crowell has a new album coming out……BUY IT! What more do you need to know?
Oh; you want to know a bit more about the content, do you? Alright then….here goes.
Rodney Crowell divides opinion at RMHQ, as Mrs. Magpie still goes weak at the knees listening to those early albums by the handsome young man with the curly hair and chiselled cheekbones; whereas I love and adore his later more reflective albums; now that his hair is more ‘salt and pepper’ and his voice gravelly and emotional.
On the surface Rodney Crowell has had a wonderful life; happily married, lovely family and a career that shows no signs of fading; but like most of us of now a certain vintage; close friends have illnesses and many die; leaving us with memories, both good and bad.
If I’m any judge of character that’s where CLOSE TIES begins; and as any songwriter worth his salt knows; there’s always a song in misery.
The album opens with East Houston Blues; featuring Tommy Emmanuel playing some mean guitar then through a pained voice details a boy from a fractured childhood in the poor part of town where the lad ‘learned to drink and drive when I was 12’ before embarking on a life of minor and unsuccessful crime. Presumably it’s not autobiographical, but the detail in and between the lines is astonishing and proves what a great songwriter Rodney is.
Next song Reckless takes my breath away every time I hear it. One of the more simpler arrangements here, the singer sounds as sad as a man can be, as he tells two stories at once. One is of a man living a wild Reckless life but he also has a guilty streak a mile wide running down his back, because ‘you were watching from a distant star.’ Crowell’s way with words has always been undervalued in my opinion; but songs like this prove he is up there with the Masters.
There certainly aren’t many laughs here; but why would there be? This is a man looking at his life and reflecting on his many mistakes; but realising how lucky he has been too……something I can associate with all the way.
Some songs are from his vivid imagination and others are from his colourful life, and all are very near the bone.  I’ve certainly had days when I Don’t Care Any More could be my very own theme tune and the single It Ain’t Over Yet featuring Crowell’s ex-wife Roseanne Cash and John Paul White is the type of ‘fighting song’ that gets many of us with ‘rickety legs and watery eyes’ wish we could have written ourselves; but thankfully Rodney has and we can sing along to the chorus with arthritically clenched fists. Plus I’m as lucky as the narrator because I too have someone who takes the Roseanne Cash role of ‘all forgiving Angel’ …….and when she sings ‘No you don’t walk on water/and your sarcasm stings’ I felt that the song really was about me; and you will too. Honestly; this is one of the finest songs you will hear this year.
There are ten songs here and any one could be my ‘favourite song’ in fact they all are; but I will narrow it down to two…..both dark bittersweet love songs.
Forgive Me Annabelle finds Crowell begging forgiveness from a former lover and has some top-quality lines from start to finish; ‘You lean on anger like a crutch’, ‘We both knew how far from grace I fell’ and ‘When you walked out on me/it tore my heart in half/and I hid behind a laugh’. Come on; when did you last hear a song with lyrics half as powerful as those?
But I’m choosing the song about Crowell’s best friends wife as the Winner.
Forty years or more ago two of my favourite rock songs Layla and Something were about the same woman, Pattie Boyd; and now I feel the same way about Guy Clark’s My Favourite Picture of You and Life Without Susanna on this album. Both are about Clark’s late wife  who was the heart and muse in the infamous gang that included Crowell, Clark, Earle, Van Zandt and a host of others who invented this thing we call Americana.
I’m not sure ‘unrequited love’ describes a relationship between ‘A self-sure bastard and stubborn bitch’ but the way Crowell describes the effect her debilitating illness and eventual death is truly heartbreaking; and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anything so raw and yet beautiful before.
The album isn’t anywhere near as bleak as my words sound; and the closing song Nashville 1972 is a four minute opus that encompasses a period in musical history that helped define Crowell’s life and my record collection. In lesser hands it could sound like ‘name dropping’ when Crowell talks about his friend named Guy and the innumerable singers, poets, tightrope walkers and more drifted through their house; but Rodney turns it all into musical poetry.
It’s difficult to compare CLOSE TIES to Rodney’s previous albums; even the latter ones as this is ‘different’ and ‘different’ in a very good, personal and intimate way; and it just may be his very best ….only time will tell, but it’s not been off my player for a whole week.

RELEASED 31st March 2017

https://www.rodneycrowell.com/

Bill Kirchen & Austin De Lone – Jumping Hot Club, Newcastle.

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Bill Kirchen & Austin De Lone
Jumping Hot Club
The Cluny
Newcastle
23rd March 2017

I’m not getting to anywhere near enough gigs these days and tonight I had the dilemma of choosing between three on one night. Discounting the Folk singer was easy; but the triple header of up and coming British Country acts was only bumped because I’m too old for a roomful of beered up students ‘enjoying themselves’; so the tried and trusted Bill Kirchen at the Jumping Hot Club at my favourite venue, The Live Theatre was the easy winner.
When I arrived I was greeted with a long line of people queuing to get into the hall and a packed bar too……after all these years it appears Roots music really is becoming fashionable!
Promoting a new album Transatlanticana Bill was sharing the co-headline with his friend Austin De Lone and a genuine co-headline gig followed.
With no support act and only a wave and a smile as an introduction the four piece swept straight into Get a Little Goner from 2007’s Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods album, and the mood was set for a night of Twangtastic delight (and more).
As the polite applause died down Bill casually mentioned that they had a new CD for sale and they would play a few songs from it with the first being their nod to Merle Haggard, The Hounds of Bakersfield. A personal favourite from said album, it was a touch more ragged played live, adding a bit more playfulness to an already cool song.
By the fourth song, vocals were passed over to De Lone who was stood behind his Korg keyboards like a gunslinger. His first song of the evening, All Growed Up was a delightful piece of Western Swing, and provided a welcome change in pace.
The two then pretty much alternated the lead role for the rest of the evening, with De Lone almost ‘stealing the show’ with his dexterity on the keyboards; both on his own songs and when backing up Kirchen’s Honky-Tonky Country tunes too.
One of the highlights of the first set was another song from the new album, Oxblood, a Butch Hancock song and one perfectly suited to Kirchen’s laid back style.
Not all of the between song chatter made it’s way to the back of the hall where I sat; but I did get to hear that De Lone had once played in a band with John Steele from local legends The Animals; and one of their favourite songs to play was Ray Charles’ Blues In Hand, and the slow and moody tune was perfect for a dark venue like this and again, highlighted the duo’s versatility and dexterity.
In an evening of surprises; Kitchens’ signature tune Hot Rod Lincoln made an early appearance, closing the first set.
While it’s normally a highlight of his gigs; tonight I thought it was a bit stale and Bill’s heart didn’t quite seem to be in it; apart from when he threw ‘piano players’ names at De Lone who rose to the challenge and received a huge cheer when Bill called out “Professor Longhair” and in the blink of an eye Austin tinkled something in that definitive style (I think).

The second half got off to a rollicking start with another song normally associated with Commander Cody; Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette. Obviously not ‘politically correct’ in 2017 it actually sounded more radical for that.
As if they had got a second wind; or more likely they know how to pace a show the gait picked up with De Lone rocking the joint with a rendition of Dr. John’s Such a Night which was followed by Bill ripping it up on his own Rockabilly Funeral…..a request for “Bob, who recently had a Rockabilly Funeral.”
The band then had a blast with 1969 from the new album; inventing Alt. Psychobilly along the way; then just to be contrary followed that with a breathless adaptation of Big Joe Turner’s Flip, Flop AMD Fly!
It wasn’t until Bill introduced The Times They Are a’Changing by saying he saw Dylan perform it at his High School in 1964 that it dawned on me how old these guys really are! In fairness to Kirchen though; he looks like a man who has lived a full life, and has the lines to prove it……and boy, is there a book in his face that I’d love to read.
After the obligatory ‘will they/won’t they’ the band came back for a couple of encores; the first being the corking and old fashioned Rock and Roll ballad, Think It Over which would have brought a tear to a glass eye; and then the night ended with a sloppy, under rehearsed and rather beautiful rendition of Chuck Berry’s Nadine for the Rock and Roll legend who died two days previously.
This was the fourth time I’ve seen Bill Kirchen play live, and each one has been a real treat; but tonight with the addition of Austin De Lone was perhaps my favourite of all.

Single of the Day. Nikka Costa – Nothing Compares 2U

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Nikka Costa
Nothing Compares 2U (Single)

Today; Friday March 24th sees the release of the first single “Nothing Compares 2 U” from the long awaited forthcoming album from American soul singer Nikka Costa – “Nikka & Strings, Underneath and In Between” which is due out later this year.

“Nothing Compares 2 U” showcases the lush production values of the album through Nikka’s personal and intimate interpretation of the classic Prince composition.

Says Nikka – “I’m really excited to have recorded the new album with a rhythm section and a string quartet!  I have some songs I’ve always wanted to record with this line up and make into a very special album featuring this music I love.  I grew up surrounded by orchestras and its music that is close to my heart.  The new album features some standards, some unexpected covers and some of my own new material written especially for this project!  I’m so excited!”

Released 24th March 2017

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/nothing-compares-2-u-single/id1214602605?app=itunes&ign-mpt=uo%3D4