Jimmy The Dog
Strangeness and Charm
Studio Dawgs

Good Old Fashioned AOR Songs From a Grown Up Songwriter.

Jimmy The Dog aka Jim Ferrie is probably better known within the British music industry as a Producer/Engineer more than as a musician; but to RMHQ Readers he’s a multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist Singer-Songwriter of some renown; certainly judging by the reaction to his last release RATTLESNAKE LOVE.
Thankfully Jim had prepared me in advance for the change in direction; no longer a Blues Rocker; this release is a lot more AOR/Singer-Songwriter, with the main instruments being acoustic guitars; which neatly allows the songs to be come to the fore.
Hopefully it will come back to me; but opening track Twister reminds me of someone/something from my teenage years in the 1970’s …….. breathy vocals, a tight and almost claustrophobic arrangement with a song using the ‘Twister’ as a fascinating metaphor for a relationship constantly ‘on the brink’. Although there is a tinge of Laurel Canyon to it; and Jim’s swirling organ in the background certainly gives it more of a London-centric feel.
After playing the album a couple of times I certainly feel it sits comfortably in the old Adult Orientated Rock section of any self-respecting Record Shop; as Ferrie covers several different idioms in nearly every song; starting with Toodle-Oo, he delves into Americana Territory; but that rolling piano sounds very ‘Pub Rock’ to my ears; and the song itself will mean a lot more to listeners over 40 than under.
Even the quaintly titled Summer Sunshine targets grown ups rather than teenyboppers, as does That’s What Heaven Means To Me, too ….. you have to have ‘lived a life’ to understand where the singer is coming from.
Not that I ever want you do this; but Ferrie’s way with a melody makes this whole album a perfect accompaniment for making dinner or doing the ironing; but if that’s you, you are missing a veritable treat from listening to the words and stories in his songs; especially Run, Bombardier’s Moon or the Olneyesque Citrus and Vine too.
It says a lot about Jimmy The Dog is the fact that he wrote every song, produced and engineered the final product and plays every instrument (apart from the fiddle on Citrus & Vine) yet at no stage does anything sound even close to being self-indulgent.
Without ‘over selling’ the contents to you; this album and its predecessor sit comfortably in my collection alongside David Olney, John Martyn and Rodney Crowell and not far away from Cohen and Waits; who all may or may not have casually influenced Skimming Stones (Down By The River) and Weather Vane too.
The finale The Odd Mad Shallow Man finds Ferrie going back to his Roots, with the most Folky song here; but the contemporary edge saves it from being something aimed at ‘finger in the ear’ Arran sweater wearers.
That brings me to my Favourite Song; the charming yet ‘deep’ Pick Me Up; which took me surprise the third or fourth time I played the album. I’d obviously heard it previously; but that afternoon it was something of a Eureka moment; and a case of ‘right place/right time‘ for the mood that I was in at that time; and the song somehow touched on my own relationship with my ever forgiving wife.
It probably goes without saying that this album won’t get a mention in any end of year Top 10’s never mind the Brits or NME Awards; but it’s well worth taking a punt on if you want to hear some good old fashioned grown up songs from another like-minded grown up songwriter.

Released December 1st 2021


Mean Old Fireman DUMPSTER FIRE

Mean Old Fireman & The Cruel Engineers
Dumpster Fire
Self Release

A Bunch of the Coolest Cats in Bluesville Having The Time of Their Lives

Let’s start with the name; ‘Mean Old Fireman& The Cruel Engineers’; the pseudonym of singer-songwriter, and ex-firefighter Ned Bolle; which made me presume this would be a Rock/Indie type band; when he’s actually a grizzled Blues Singer; then of course there is the album cover ….. it’s so bloody awful it actually caught my attention, making me play the disc to ‘see if it was just as bad’ ….. and it certainly isn’t!
The adage ‘write about what you know’ comes to fruition on opening track Tour #3; where the singer virtually bares his Soul to the listener; without ever sounding maudlin or twee; this is the real deal kids ….. Bolle sings from the heart and aims his words directly towards your very own heart.
I guess most of these songs will also work in a solo format; but as a band offering; which it is …. is a masterstroke, especially the occasional use of saxophone and harmonica, which gives quite a few songs an extra lustre that you don’t expect.
This is especially true of McArthur’s Cunning Ruger, when Marty Phillips’ honking on the sax and Bolle’s scintillating slide take the song deep into Beefheart territory.
There’s a clever and intriguing mix of covers and originals here; the stark re-make of Stack O’ Lee is reverential and timeless; suiting Ned’s exotioc and beguiling voice almost perfectly.
Rocket 88 was arguably the first ever Rock & Roll song; yet hardly ever gets played or covered these days; and these cats do it and its memory a rare justice, with that Phillips’ honking horn and Bolle’s (Jerry Lee meets Dr John influenced) piano make it sound like it was recorded in a dodgy Juke Joint one Saturday night 40 or 50 years ago; not a studio in 2021.
Even on a first play, it was apparent that Bolle and his clan are all Blues lovers to the extreme and loved their time in the studio, (reliving their lost youth?); and this is never more apparent than You’re Mind is On Vacation, which can be a bit of a bore at times but here is liberally sprinkled with musical stardust.
For a man who has come to songwriting late in life; Ned Bolle can really put a story to music like the best; with the slow and wistful Got No Spoons coming from his time in the Fire Service, while Outrun The Blues is a simple yet rip-roaring ‘everyman’ tale that will have everyone dancing be that on the barroom floor or your own kitchen!
In many ways listening to this album has been like a breath of fresh air; as a lot of what I hear on a daily basis can be a bit ‘worthy’ and even ‘tiresome’, no matter how well intentioned; but The Mean Old Fireman sounds like he’s been waiting all his life for this opportunity and is grabbing it with bothy hands; hence three or four songs vying for the accolade of RMHQ Favourite Song.
To paraphrase Eric Morecombe; Too Much Alcohol has all the right notes; just in a different order to the version I know from Rory Gallagher and the world is a better place because of this timeless Rhythm and Blues Deluxe arrangement.
Then there is the tremendous remake of Robert Parker’s Barefootin’ ……. man! How cool is this version of one of my favourite ever songs?
Very, very Cool ….. is the answer.
But, there is one other song that I’ve simply fallen in love with; Cold Women (with warm hearts) is as good a song to force feed someone who doesn’t know what Real R&B is. From the subject matter, through Bolle’s honky-tonky piano playing and a swinging band that follows the beat with military precision ….. but somehow making it all sound ‘professionally sloppy’ makes this my absolutely Favourite Song by a gnat’s hair.
What else can I tell you? This is the type of band that you’d stumble on playing a bar in the seedy side of Town on a Thursday night; or a tent at the back of the field where some Multi-Platinum; but boring headliner is going through the motions; and you pop your head in and see a bunch of the coolest cats in town having the time of their lives ….. and you get the calling to join in ….. and if you did, you’d never regret it.

Released November 2021



Ken Pomeroy
Christmas Lights in April
Horton Records

A Major Stepping Stone and a Great Indication of Finer Things to Come.

Sometimes it’s nice to hear an entire album where there is no showing off from the musicians, just simply letting the songs happen organically.
Oklahoma native Ken Pomeroy’s clean guitar lines and a smattering of understated pedal steel are mostly all that’s here to push these songs along, and pretty much all that’s needed too.
Her clear voice—with just a hint of twang—is the highlight here, as are the songs, all written by Pomeroy from the age of 14 to 18. She’s still learning her songwriting craft, but she shows amazing promise. Pomeroy’s earlier release, her EP, Hallways, showed her with a plaintive and yearning voice which has now grown more assured, more honest.
She’s also learned to trust her instincts and how to let loose a bit more.
This is an album of songs mostly about love and memories with some thoughtful observations to lead the way.
The first track, “Joan,” starts with soft notes on guitar and then the pedal steel sneaks in right before Pomeroy sings the all too true opening lines:
Flowers grow and then they whither away,
just like I knew we would.
“White Noise” has some nice pedal steel throughout to complement a tale of lost love.
“Grey Skies” is a sad memory of a love letter as much as a wish for understanding. Eyes feature many times in Pomeroy’s songs, and in “His Eyes” she relates a tale of noticing darkness in the eyes of a —friend? a lover? a family member? but you catch the fondness she has for them, an empathy we could all use more of.
“Rain” is observations of a wanting love with a charming melody and a sweetness not found anywhere else on the album.
The title track, “Christmas Lights in April,” is another lost love song, but honestly spoken of, not sad as much as it is earnest.
Old folk songs were mostly matter of fact, the singer commenting on life and what they see, and how they are getting through the days, and several of Pomeroy’s songs fall under this tradition.
But it’s the song “Flannel Cowboy” that really got my attention here.
Pomeroy’s performance gives out serious Neil Young vibes with its cryptic imagery and the way she doesn’t tell the whole story, letting the strum of the guitar and the wailing vocals fill you in.
A plea for a return to love, to be forgiven, a wish for a safer future?
The darkest song on the album, and definitely my favorite.
Sometimes it’s not the flawless performance, that’s the perfect one.
If Pomeroy keeps writing and performing songs like this she’ll stand out in a crowd of singer-songwriters anywhere she goes.
This isn’t a perfect album as some of the lyrics could be tightened up a bit; and Pomeroy could allow herself some room to stretch the tempo more often, but this is a great indication of finer things to come.

Released December 10th 2021

Review by Roy Peak


Malcolm MacWatt SETTLER

Malcolm MacWatt
Need to know Music

A Gentle, Cross-Ocean Set of Musings, Grounded in Tradition.

The links between European and American music are long-established – Nick Tosches “Country – the twisted roots of rock’n’roll” is probably the best starting point for that investigation – and on “Settler,” Scot Malcolm MacWatt re-establishes that link, both in the tone and instrumentation, along with several high-profile guests from across the US side of the pond.

On the opening track “Avalanche & Landslide” Jaimee Harris is the first of those guests, providing backing vocals to an old-timey tale of protest regarding the effect of mass movements on affecting societal change.
“Letter from San Francisco” which follows, ploughs American Folk narrative territory with a Bluegrass flavoured accompaniment; then it’s back to this side of the Atlantic on “Ghosts of Caledonia” – both musically and lyrically, which has a Scottish musical lilt to this tale of how historical characters can affect our present – and how we’ll, in time, have the same effect.
Laura Cantrell shows up on the next track “The Curse of Molly McPhee” – it’s a timeless song of female victimisation and Cantrell’s vocals add a nicely sharp counterpoint to MacWatt’s smoother tones.
Gretchen Peters is the next guest to appear on “My Bonny Boys Have Gone,” which moves into Dougie Maclean territory – again it sits astride the Atlantic divide, being a tale of the mothers who were left behind when their offspring went off to the new world.
Eliza Carthy is the first non-US guest to show up on the album and she appears on the English folk-trad-sounding “The Miller’s Daughter;” another age-old tale, this time of forced marriage.
“Trespass”, which follows, is a Robin Hood type tale of stealing from the rich to support the poor and its unfussy guitar and backing vocal arrangement puts the lyrical message to the fore.

“John Rae’s Welcome Home” features fellow Scot, Kris Drever on electric guitar – he’s the only other musician on the album, as MacWatt plays everything else – and as well as play, Mr Drever adds a distinctive vocal contribution too, to this mid-paced ballad-esque tribute to the Orkney born explorer.

“Banjo Lullaby” is a bit oxymoronic in message – as MacWatt himself admit in his album notes, how could a banjo lull anyone to sleep?
The song itself has a gentle, rolling feel which contrasts with the lyrical tale of a drunken father who’d play the banjo at his children’s bedtime.

“North Atlantic Summer” closes things (there is one more track after this, but more of that in a moment) with a gentle account of the geological and meteorological connections between the opposing Atlantic land masses.

Things close with a spoken word over instrumentation explanation of the album
About the songs..an oral explanation”…which seems somewhat superfluous to these ears – the album is strong enough to stand for itself without the need for this bit of extra explanatory content.
Is it too late to chop it from the release or leave it as a Bandcamp freebie?

Malcolm MacWatt has constructed a gentle, cross-ocean set of musings, grounded in tradition and commonality that will be appreciated by fans of folk-flavoured Scottish songwriting, that’s given added spice by the guests who accompany him.

Review by Nick Barber

Released 26TH November 2021


Catfish Keith LAND OF THE SKY

Catfish Keith |
Land of the Sky
Fish Tail Records

Back to The Roots of Roots Music and The World Becomes a Little Bit Better Because Of It.

As someone with barely a musical bone in his body; I’m never less than amazed when someone like Catfish Keith; who has been recording and touring for 40+ years, can still come up with new and fresh ideas for songs and even tunes and melodies too on this, his 20th album.
For the uninitiated Keith is from Indiana but is something of a World Traveller, collecting many and varied influences and ideas along the way; but never really straying too far from his first love; Acoustic Country-Blues and keeping that flame alive.
Opening track, Jimmie Rodgers,’ Away on The Mountain is not your typical Catfish Keith; as he attempts a yodel on each and every chorus of this impassioned story told via his road-worn baritone voice and some intricate guitar picking too.
Personally I’ve liked Catfish Keith for a good few years now; especially his regular visits to the Jumpin’ Hot Club in Newcastle and this album shows no signs of his talents diminishing or even wearing out.
This is followed by Bimini Girl; certainly a song that will divide opinion among his fans; as he takes inspiration from a Bahamian guitarist called Joseph Spence on what’s meant to be a ‘fun track’ but wasn’t for me at all; especially the strangulated vocals.
Skipping neatly past, there is a whole lot to like here; none more so than Little Bitty Bird and the punchy Red Nightgown which features some really scary slide guitar.
Like his musical forefathers; Leadbelly, Charley Patton, Rev. Gary Davis and the like; Catfish Keith is an extraordinary singer-guitarist; but far from ‘easy listening’ …… this music isn’t for the faint hearted; it’s for aficionados; and only connoisseur’s of the Art will be stunned beyond belief by Keith’s re-interpretation of Memphis Minnie’s Dirty Mother For You and his own fragile Little Bitty Bird too.
Even as a fan, LAND OF THE SKY has taken some ‘getting into’ for me; but it’s been well worth it as I’ve discovered some absolute gems of songs in the way Catfish delivers his take on the Rev. Gary Davis’s Samson & Delilah and Charley Patton’s Some of These Days, which closes the album in a darkly mesmeric fashion.
Selecting a single Favourite Song has been nigh on impossible; as it’s not that kind of album …… there sure ain’t any radio friendly singles here; that’s for sure!
But; if I had to point you towards a couple of songs as ‘tasters’ I guess it would be the jaunty Scoodle Oot ‘n Doo or Bust ‘Em Down which are probably the easiest on the ear; but that’s not the point of these songs or indeed the whole album; you need to invest time and patience to get the best from them.
As it’s that time of year; I will forgive Keith for slipping in a Christmas song; Walter Davis’ Santa Claus Blues which is the total antithesis of anything you will hear on radio in the Festive Season; as only the bravest or craziest of DJ’s would ever play this for public consumption …… but I bloody love it!
One last note, before I sum up …… while I don’t understand the intricate differences; guitar fetishists will love Catfish Keith’s notes on which guitar he used on each track.
From what I remember; I think Catfish Keith has gone back to his Roots here and the world is a little bit better because he has.

Released 27th October 2021


We Are Scientists HUFFY

We Are Scientists
100% Records

Indie Rock, Driving Guitars and The Pace Never Drops.

I’ve always believed that the name a band selects is important when they are first setting on the circuit, so when a young lad I worked with mentioned ‘this American band called We Are Scientists’ way back I was suitably intrigued.

It’s 16 years since that discussion about ‘With Love and Squalor,’ so it’s a credit to WAS that they are still touring as they drop their latest album ‘Huffy’ – close to three years since their last album.
I decided to go right back to their 2005 album before listening to ‘Huffy’ to see what changes there have been over that period.

They still have that high energy driving guitar style that has stood them in good stead, but I certainly feel there has been a subtle change in direction that is continued with ‘Huffy’.
It’s still what is described as high-octane but the lyrics are far softer than usual.

Hit listeners early is my view on albums and they certainly do this with ‘You’ve Lost Your Sh**’ A great opener for the more intimate venues selected for the UK tour although (for me) its disappointing that Newcastle is omitted from the list, this time.

The single ‘Contact High’ is a typical WAS song although they don’t usually concentrate on ‘romance’ in their tracks –
you’re a fuse I would like to light’ and ‘whatever you give us what I will be taking’.

However, for me, it’s track 3 ‘Handshake Agreement’ which is the highlight of the set – slightly calmer vocal opening but with an infectious beat that could be a real toe-tapper.
At their best on this one.
So much for your etiquette. This latest lesson really opened up my eyes’.

Over the years it’s the vocals that have consistently kept their albums on my repeat list and their distinctive sound is at its best on ‘I Cut My Own Hair’ – a strange take on a break up in a relationship.
You’re no fun, it’s not love so I cut my own hair.

Strangely, successive tracks have ‘Education’ in the title, the first recognising that you learn from your mistakes so there is always something to learn from moving apart.
Then, In Sentimental Education’ it’s a case of trying to understand
what’s in your head so you’ve got to let me know’.
Relationships that are struggling to be developed.

The energy never drops as we move onto the final few tracks before a real surprise on ‘Bought Myself A Grave’ where a disastrous relationship has one party buying a cemetery plot
next to my dad taking comfort that he was spared my time with you’.
A pretty tough message for the partner who gets little sympathy when they are revealed to be in a ‘desperate place’.
The epitome of a failed/disastrous duo!

Although an album that does cover breakdowns etc may not sound appealing this would be wrong – it’s just a typical We Are Scientists album but with a more focused topic but delivered with your usual emphasis.

For fans I am sure this will go down well and I think it’s a great plan to play it at smaller more intimate venues where it will go down a storm.

For new listeners give it a try if you like Indie Rock, driving guitars and a band that have created a loyal following – still going strong after 16 years says a lot about their durability in a changing music market.

If it works why change it – just make a few adjustments and that’s what they have done.

Review Courtesy Bill Redhead

Released October 5th 2021


Curse of Lono PEOPLE IN CARS

Curse of Lono
People in Cars
Submarine Cat Records

Left of Centre Lo-Fi Gothic Americana Brilliance.

To some degree Curse of Lono shouldn’t really appeal to me; but their debut EP, back in 2016 struck me like a thunderbolt, and every subsequent release has had a similar effect; often becoming my go-to music for dark episodes on equally dark nights …… leaving me feeling in the company of like-minded souls.
Like so many of their ilk; The Pandemic couldn’t have come at a worse time; just as the band were picking up Awards, headlining tours in the UK and Europe until the pause button was pressed.
The silver lining though; has been the band’s ability to not just dig deeper; but give the finished article an extra polish too.
Not too much; but opening track Let Your Love Rain Down takes an exciting excursion from the band’s trademark Lo-Fi Americana Noir trademarked direction. Felix Bechtolsheimer’s vocals are as warm and intriguing as ever; but the way Neil Findlay plays his drums with military precision alongside Charis Anderson’s bass makes the beat almost hypnotic; while Joe Hazell and Davi Ruiz Hernandez take us on a scary mystery tour  with their guitar and keyboards.
Somewhere in there is a fascinating song too!
Although the pace picks up with the second track, Think I’m Alright Now, the melody and beat are straight out of the Curse of Lono playbook; and I’m pretty damn sure when this is played live will take on epic status; as the band show Coldplay how this type of song can still be smart without being overtly clever.
Perhaps our friend Bill can point me in the direction of other bands like CoL; but as I no longer dabble in the Indie field, I can only use latter day Leonard Cohen, Coldplay and possibly Wilco as examples of how this album sounds and feels; but there’s an accessibility and magic ‘edge’ here that none of those artists exude.
Normally when I think of Lo-Fi, I normally think of minimalism, but I think Curse of Lono and their incredibly tight arrangements which regularly threaten to burst at the seams; fits that description too …… here, I’m thinking of Alabaster Charlie, Time Slipping and even In Your Arms; which may not be traditionally Lo-Fi, as all have the keyboards and an ‘electro-beat’ at the forefront; but sit comfortably alongside Cowboy Junkies and Lone Justice inside my head.
Who knows why a particular album or band appeals more than others in a similar vein; but when I play one Curse of Lono album I usually end up diving in headlong and dipping in and out of others of theirs; and here the dark and enigmatic Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride and its world weary, introspective words alongside an eminently danceable tune will certainly be something I hunt out when the mood takes me.
Phwoah ….. where do I go for a Favourite Track?
The majestic tale of unrequited love; Ursula Andress was an obvious contender straight from the get go; and if anything is Radio Friendly I guess it’s this …… but don’t expect to hear it on Steve Wright’s Love Songs!
But; as is my wont I’m going left of centre on an album that is undoubtedly Left of Centre …… but will it be the beautiful and melancholic ballad Don’t Take Your Love Away or the haunting duet with Tess Parks, So Damned Beautiful? Both are frighteningly personal but from polar opposites of the ‘love’ spectrum; and go show what a damn intelligent songwriter Felix Bechtolsheimer is evolving into.
Today; being grey and cold I’m erring on the side of the latter which oozes class, style and pain in equal measures….. what’s not to like?
While Curse of Lono revolves around singer and songwriter Felix Bechtolsheimer and the dark chasms of his brilliant mind; this is very much a cohesive creation, and would be nothing without the parts played by Joe Hazell on lead guitar, Dani Ruiz Hernandez’ keyboards, Neil Findlay’s drums and Charis Anderson’s deceptively powerful bass.
As I alluded to earlier; Curse of Lono won’t appeal to everyone ….. but those of us who ‘get it’ will be in for the long haul adding like-minded folk to the ride at every turn of the journey.

Released November 26th 2021



Matt Patershuk
An Honest Effort
Black Hen Music

Canadiana So Good It Will Live Long in the Memory of Everyone Who Ever Hears It.

Since I started this ‘reviewing’ malarkey there’s been a handful of Record Labels that I’ve come to trust with their releases; and Canada’s Black Hen Music is undoubtedly one of them.
I presume that I haven’t reviewed everything that has arrived my way; as they quite prolific, but I bet it’s been the vast majority and I’ve rarely been disappointed; and I’ve definitely not been disappointed with this album.
Matt Patershuk first graced our CD Player a couple of years ago with his SAME AS I EVER HAVE BEEN album and the intervening years (and another album IF WISHES WERE HORSES that I’ve somehow missed!) have helped him dig deeper to create even more personal songs and observations.
I love the sparse guitar prologue to opening track Johanna; and the song itself is quite exceptional. There’s a lovely laid-back feel to the melody that only serves to mask a tale of a young woman mysteriously ‘running away’ ….. from what or who is never actually revealed; but that open-endedness makes for a beautiful and beguiling tale; in the manner of Neil Young’s Unknown Legend.
Now I’ve played the album 4 or 5 times, I’m left wondering if the character at the centre of Sunny is the same as Johanna; as again it’s a woman ‘feeling trapped’ and wondering if she has the courage to break the metaphorical chains that bind her to home.
With Neil’s acoustic albums in mind; this is a similar type of album where you can kick back and wallow in the loveliness of Patershuk’s melodies and arrangements; but his songs really sparkle when you scratch the surface and let the stories unravel.
It’s only fair to say that Matt Patershuk has a voice that has lived an interesting life and has many stories to tell; none more so than Afraid to Speak Her Name and/or the Twangful Stay With Me, which could easily be an old Marty Robbins song, as Patershuk steps into the Country-Noir field.
While Black Hen is predominantly a Folk Label at heart; they’ve always sneakily released their own delightful version of Alt. Country; which I christened Canadiacana …. and that’s where Matt Patershuk comfortably sits.
But; never afraid to slip into new formats, 1.3 Miles is a sweet almost Appalachian tune; but with the sort of dark edge we’d normally associate with fellow Canadians Ian and Sylvia Tyson, ‘back in the day.’
Don’t think that this is an ‘ordinary’ album; Alt. Country or not …… as Matt has a very vivid imagination, daring to go where very few of his contemporaries dare tread ……. Jupiter the Flying Horse? A metaphorical tale perhaps/presumably or a song about a Barnum & Bailey circus act stallion who falls in love with someone below his social station?
Who knows?
Who cares?
It is just kinda lovely.
Then, shortly afterwards we get The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics!
Really? Seriously?
Apparently it’s ‘all about entropy, the certainty that objects in the universe tend toward disorder‘ and is Matt’s 2nd song based on this particular set of physical laws.
At the end of the day; why not?
Speaking of ‘why not’ …….. Matt’s ode to Shane MacGowan; and his new teeth is simply wonderful; no more and no less!
For my Favourite Song I actually pondered on that one for a few days; but dark and brooding, Afraid to Speak Her Name is one of those songs that very few songwriters can actually create and will live long in the memory of everyone who ever hears it.
But; and this is quite some achievement …… there is one more song that has captured not just my attention; but my heart too ……. so much so I called Mrs. Magpie into the office and ‘made’ her listen to Turn The Radio Up; which smacks of acoustic Springsteen and RMHQ favourites Rod Picott and Slaid Cleaves in equal measure.
Wow; there is so much hidden detail in this left of centre love song to keep me amused for months to come it simply has to be my Favourite.
There’s not a lot left to say; apart Matt Patershuk is likely to become one of those ‘word of mouth’ success stories; being married with two children and living in the middle of nowhere in Alberta; he’s unlikely to embark on a never ending World Tour any time soon; but with the power of the Internet hopefully he won’t have to, to pick up a fanbase who love great Singer-Songwriters.

PS While you may not have heard of Matt Patershuk; but such is his standing in the Canadian musical community Steve Dawson plays the guitar, pedal steel and Weissenborn,Jeremy Holmes adds bass and mandolin, Gary Craig lends wonderfully inventive percussion,  Keri Latimers voice is a great foil to Matt’s earthy one and the legendary Fats Kaplin contributes wizardry on fiddle, ukulele, banjo and harmonica…… what’s not to like?

Released November 19th 2021



Lady A
Self Release

100% Southern Fried Soul with a Side Order of Raw Rhythmic Bluesliciousness.

Cast your minds back a year or two when Country popstars Lady Antebellum went to great lengths and expense to change their collective name; only to find that there was already a singer going by the name Lady A who had a succesful career with 8 albums to her name?
Well, dear friends this is she!
Even if I hadn’t already been rooting for her; the big and classy Big Band arrangement on opening track Whatever (You Do) would have had me whispering “Hell Yeah!”
The title track, the simmering Satisfyin’ follows and you can only imagine the feeling in your stomach were Lady A to catch your eyes when she was singing this on stage; leaving the average man shaking in his seat.
Whereas so many of her contemporaries ‘go through the motions’, it’s wonderful to hear Lady A inhabiting her songs; especially when they have stories as good as the haunting Brighter Days and the rather racy Miss Beula Mae; all of which have a contemporary edge that a lot of modern Soul misses out on; but it took the inspirational Blues On My Mind and namechecking Rosetta, Mahalia, Betty Lavette and RMHQ Favourite Denise LaSalle for me to know that this Lady and me are definitely kindred spirits.
Speaking of the dilemma she found herself in regarding ‘her name’ ‘this’ Lady A addresses it in the finest and most appropriate fashion on For the People at The Back (with its Gospel underscore) and even if you are listening alone in the car or kitchen I defy you not to give her a “Hell Yeah Sister!” during every chorus; and again, it’s going to be a highlight of each and every concert she ever performs.
I’ve said many times that Soul can be split into two camps; music you dance to or music you listen to; quirkily Lady A regularly manages to mix the two; in a way I’ve not really heard since the latter days of Stax or probably when I discovered Sharron Jones and the Dap Kings. Which brings me to my choice of Favourite Song; at first it was going to be the sassy Big Momma which is as slinky as it is sexy; and left me with a glow and a twinkle the first few times I played it. Then of course there has to be Blues, Soul, Catfish and Fried Wings, which is a funky list of things that she loves and craves; and is a musical ode to Southern Soul at heart.
But over the last few days the powerful ballad, Heaven Help Us which closes the record unravelled and has left me a hollow husk of a man, as Lady A pleads with The Lord to make the world a better place as she lists all of the trials and tribulations many of us are going through on a daily basis; and Man oh man, can this Lady S.I.N.G …… growling and purring like she-cat when needed; evoking memories of Gladys Knight, Tina Turner and even Shirley Bassey at different times; but even though I don’t know her previous releases it’s fair to say she has such a distinctive voice, she don’t sound like no other, easily making this my Favourite Song.
Although Lady A was born and bred in Seattle, this album is 100% Southern Fried Soul with a side order of raw Rhythmic Bluesliciousness.

Released October 21st 2021


Abe Partridge LIVE IN THE UK (Agony Is Alright)

Abe Partridge
Live In The UK (Agony Is Alright)
Alabama Astronaut Records

Even More Southern Gothic Alt.Country-Folk Fighting Punk after Midnight Behind a Dingy Bar.

As you know we have eclectic tastes here at RMHQ, and being the contrary buggers we are; it’s regularly albums that are deemed left of centre that we fall in love with and that’s why Abe Partridge is high up our list of ‘favourite discoveries’ and why we described COTTON FIELDS & BLOOD FOR DAYS as
This LIVE ALBUM was recorded on a 2019 UK Tour with songs coming from a variety of venues, but mostly Bush Hall in London Town; but neatly edited to sound like one full concert.
The album opens with David Ford introducing Partridge at the Bush Hall, who doesn’t so much sing as crackle a song called Alabama Blues over a starkly strummed acoustic ……. the audience is so reverential you can hear a pin drop as Partridge recants his biographical tale from the darkest pits of his heart.
Now, if you get past that song (Mrs. Magpie didn’t btw) you are in for a rare treat.
“Sing about what you know” is the advice most aspiring songwriters get; and Partridge does exactly that; and his introductory stories set the scenes much better than I ever could.
Track #2; No Teacher (Blues) recalls the time he formed a band and headed North ‘to Seattle to find the Ghost of Kurt Cobain; only to find hipsters with lumberjack beards!
The song goes on to (tongue in cheek) recount the other mistakes he made trying to make it big; with more detail than a chemical formula filling out three wonderful minutes.
Like all music; I love these songs for personal reasons; Partridge just ticks all of my boxes in the way the likes of Tom Paxton, Malcolm Holcombe, Slaid Cleaves and even Townes Van Zandt have over the years; his songs 403rd Freakout, Get Thee Behind Me and Undisclosed Location (in SW Asia Killing Floor Blues) are so raw and honest that your jaw will hang wide open when you hear them the first time; and only the truly brave would dare request them on radio shows.
I doubt Partridge will ever headline Glastonbury or Lollapalooza; but he’s likely to be play the tent at the back of the field where hundreds will pack in to hear White Trash Lipstick and Preaching The Blues and have their lives changed; while the other 100,000 who watch the headline act will only remember the light show!
I desperately don’t want to ‘over-sell’ Abe Partridge to you; and I know he will only appeal to a minority of music fans of any persuasion ……. but those who ‘get’ Colors (which is as a duet here with David Ford) and/or Our Babies Will Never Grow Up To Be Astronauts will travel many, many miles to see the troubadour sing them in a tiny hall or bar unfitting for the quality of material on offer; but that’s the perversity that inhabits music fans like no other.
Even though Partridge’s songs are often quite dark in tone; there’s also a warmness and pithiness to his stories which will make you smile as you travel alongside him down the dark tunnel that he takes you on; which in turn brings me to the song that has easily become my Favourite ….. Black Flag T-Shirt.
Partridge cuts through the crap and falsehoods that surround us every day; by talking about the people who wear ‘cool band t-shirts‘ that ‘say something about the wearer‘ but who obviously have never heard the music that Black Flag, Nirvana or (in the UK) Joy Division ….. we see them everyday; and Abe describes them and the feelings they leave with us like a poet.
I’m not sure where Abe Partridge fits into the grand pantheon of singer-songwriters; and I don’t even know anyone else who has even heard of him (I’ve asked!) but to those of us who are unbridled ‘fans’ he’s up there ….. check him out a) I urge you and b) I dare you!

Released 19th November 2021