Kristian Montgomery A HEAVEN FOR HERETICS

Kristian Montgomery and The Winterkill Band
A Heaven For Heretics
Self-Release

Alt. Country Fired Rock & Roll That Sounds Like it Was Found in a Ditch Wrapped in Rusty Barbed Wire.

As you know I like to bang up to the minute with the reviews we publish at RMHQ; and with so much to choose from we do like a professional Press Release to fill in any spare details we might need.
This album had none of those things and was released three months ago in January ….. yet there was still something that drew me to the contents; perhaps Kristian Montgomery being described as being at the ‘forefront of Appalachian Rock’!
While there is certainly a semblance of Rock here; even possibly of the Appalachian variety; but to my ears it’s more of the Alternative Country style of Rock ….. and for once I can’t think of a single singer or band who actually sounds like these cats.
Without ever actually sounding like he’s feeling sorry for himself; Montgomery has had a Helluva life; serving six months in jail (with part being in solitary confinement) and hanging out with Nicaraguan Rebels too!
The opening track, Ain’t Got Nobody But Me is a real humdinger ….. it’s wound as tight as the wires on a fishing trawler and Montgomery’s vocals sound as intense as any I’ve heard this year or last ….. and while it’s a type of love song; it’s not of the ‘hearts and flowers’ variety; especially when the killer line to describe his lover is;

She drinks like John Belushi
and they say romance is dead!
There’s an all pervading darkness all over these songs; but that’s a good thing sometimes …… what else would you expect from songs titled I’ll Break Your Heart Again and The Year The Bottom Fell Out or especially Come Carry Weight With Me which sounds like it was found in a ditch wrapped in rusty barbed wire.
There’s very little light here to balance the shade and darkness in the lyrics and arrangements; so you will feel you are grasping a nettle for survival when you hear the fiery Country Rock and Roll of Peach; and then the dirty Rockabilly of Times Like These and Secret Watering Hole finally when they make an appearance late on.
On an album like this; with ever darkening stories; scary and heartfelt guitar breaks and solos accompanying an industrial strength rhythm section that everything sparks off; yet I keep getting drawn back to the potent Family Owned and also the simmering If I Live to See Virginia; with the latter probably shading the award at the last minute.
While I can’t think of anyone who actually sounds like Kristian Montgomery I guess fans of Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell and maybe even Margo Price and Lucinda Williams will love this album too.

Released January
https://kmwkb.com/

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https://kristianmontgomeryandthewinterkillband.bandcamp.com/




Tim Gartland TRUTH

Tim Gartland
Truth
Taste Good Music

A Keeper Of The Blues Flame, Par Excellence

With March 2022 being such a busy month for new releases I very nearly missed this out ….. and would have regretted it for years to come.
On the day I received it I gave the accompanying Press Release a cursory glance and saw Tim had once published an instructional book for the harmonica entitled “The Talking Harmonica ;”.  which made me think immediately that I was going to like whatever the Hell was on offer on the silver CD.
My ‘spidey-sense’ was spot on!
Gartland hit my sweet spot straight from the opening stanza of Don’t You Mess With My Heart; which starts with a piano/harmonica duet before his grizzled and world weary vocals, accompanied by some gorgeous female harmonies glide in like a warm breeze on an Autumn morning.
Man …. oh man, can he play that harp! But there’s so much more to this act than just a single instrument ….. like most everything that follows; this song is Chicago street Blues at its finest; with thoughtful lyrics and an arrangement worthy of a Superstar Act.
As a bonafide harmonica lover; I adore Gartland’s unique style; or should that be styles? As he can make this tiny instrument sound soulful and sleazy at times (The Thing About The Truth? Outta Sight, Outta Mind?); and also a rocktastic lead instrument too (Mind Your Own Business? Save Sammy Some?) ….. which very few apart from Charlie Musselwhite can do these days (unless you know different.)
What will actually keep this album to the forefront of collections though; is the combination of Gartland’s vocals and his razor sharp lyrics ……. the Honky and Tonky, Cloudy With a Chance of Blues, sounds like a Dr John/Howlin Wolf/Hound Dog Taylor mash-up will get even a wooden leg dancing; and the sultry Love Knocks Once will make you want to grab your partner and slow dance around the kitchen, with the lights turned down low!
Choosing a Favourite Song is not the same as saying something is ‘the best in show’ ….. a Favourite is a song that touches you in some weird and mysterious way; which is exactly what the heartbreaker Wish I Could Go Back made me feel the first time I played it; and again this evening …… it’s a sad song (of course) but that piano, guitar, shuffling drum beat and of course Gartland’s trademark harmonica playing all combine to send a shiver down the back and a lightning bolt to the heart!
One other thing to mention is that Gartland hails from Nashville; and while we instantly think of Stetson attired Country musicians inhabiting that great city; but there’s an exciting Blues scene there too …. and Tim Gartland must surely be at the fore front.
I’m not sure if this is Tim Gartland’s fourth or fifth release; but that matters not a jot because it’s a keeper par excellence and a gateway back into his back pages, if I’m not mistaken. (I’m not!)

Released March 18th 2022
https://www.timgartland.com/

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Back Catalogue https://www.timgartland.com/my-songs
TRUTH https://www.amazon.com/music/player/artists/B0057ZVR0A/tim-gartland




Anna Howie THE FRIDAY NIGHT CLUB

Anna Howie
The Friday Night Club
Absolute Label Services

Your Membership To an Infectious, Quirky and Soulful Country Song Club That Will Make You Laugh, Cry and Everything Else.

Cutely named after Anna Howie’s regular Friday Night lockdown online gig slot, the British Country singer-songwriter’s debut album neatly sums up how music became a powerful connecting mechanism for many of us, over the last 2 years.
Irrelevant that I happened to be part of a different artist’s community, the process was the same: a group of strangers becoming virtual friends whilst listening to music they love.
This album invites you straight through the front door to be up close and personal, a collection of songs soaked with the spirit of Lockdown storytelling.

Openers can often be louder, designed to grab attention, but Acrobat skilfully does exactly the same job by easing us in, oh so gently, a soothing Bluesy guitar riff and soulful vocals: time to sit down, flick the kettle on and give this album the full attention it deserves.
It is clear that Anna Howie’s intelligent, emotional and often humorous lyrics are a mighty force behind what makes her first album so impressive. In Acrobat she wastes no time in tackling the trials of everyday life and how we can escape them, in fact these lines alone almost bagged this song the top slot:

My heart is clumsy,
my arms are weak,
I work to deadlines,
my supervisors tell me when to speak,
but if I stand by my window I feel the breeze
and I wish I were an acrobat asleep under the trees

The next track Angels Among Us is a folk fuelled sensitive song, delicate guitar picking and fiddle softly guide us through, perfectly timed to bond artist and listener if there was still any hesitation left at this stage, with heart pounding lyrics reflecting on the everyday heroes who stepped up to help others during the pandemic.
I defy anyone not to be completely moved by this track.

A big surprise follows, proving there is a whole heap more to discover about Anna Howie than her mellow heartfelt Country ballads.
In The Morning dramatically ramps up the tempo with a funky brass section and upbeat sassy vocals, this is an artist confidently in control of her life, spinning a lively tale of the aftermath following a one-night stand.

The bright, chirpy horns return on more tracks including Sylvie Got Cash, a maturely crafted song, the lyrics deeply rooted in her homeland and guaranteed to grab your attention. I really can’t recall another song that references a “knicker drawer” and the final bars reward the listener with a spirited trumpet solo. By this point I am really appreciating the fact that this album was recorded in the UK rather than as originally planned in Nashville, purely in case the wonderfully pleasing contrast of the Americana sound with the quirky British observational lyrics may have been slightly tempered.

The hugely expressive piano driven I Could Be Your Friend follows and is one of the outstanding tracks on the album for me. A stunning example of Ms Howie’s lyrical ability to take us straight to the heart of what really matters, in this instance tapping into the loneliness felt during Lockdown and the longing to make new connections:

“Staring out the window, all alone nowhere to go, I feel the quiet in my bones, the neighbours are never home “

My favourite track without a shadow of doubt is Peas, an old-fashioned Country Blues ditty containing delightfully amusing lyrics recounting the tale of a mature lady being chatted up by a younger man.
Anna Howie’s vocals are spot on and playfully powerful, this song sums up for me why after 15 years as a backing singer and as part of a band, we get the sense that this is now quite rightly her time to reap the rewards of all that experience and shine bright for herself.

go find your Mrs Robinson in someone else’s back room…
I’ve got peas in the freezer older than you.”

The closing song, Friday Night, is by far the grooviest vibe with it’s funky bass and anther return of the horn section; and a very fitting finale to this superb debut album.
It is clearly a tender dedication to the Lockdown community and an open invitation for all to carry on this Party she has started as the world gets back to normal.

Review by Anita Joyce
https://www.annahowiemusic.co.uk/

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Released March 25th 2022
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Friday-Night-Club-Anna-Howie/dp/B09NN48LG5

Horojo Trio SET THE RECORD

Horojo Trio
Set The Record
Stony Plain Records

Rocktastic, Funkalicious Blues and Soul Hybrid Straight Outta Ottawa.

HOROJO Trio (pronunciation: HO-RO-JO, as in HO – Think Santa Claus; RO – “Row Your Boat”; and JO – “Joe”) …… are drummer Jamie Holmes, singer/keyboardist Jeff Rogers, and guitarist JW Jones who has as a solo artist reached Top 10 on the Billboard Blues Charts and has received multiple JUNO and Maple Blues Award nominations.
That’s the hard facts; but it’s the music that will make you part with your pocket money!
Even before Jamie Holmes enters the fray on opening track Man of Steel; I was already won over by the opening salvo from the trio …… for a Soul/Blues/Rock hybrid these cats can not only play their instruments with aplomb; but they sure ain’t afraid of a melody too.
The song itself is a bonafide stomper which will make your brain work just as hard as your feet ….. what a dazzling way to introduce themselves.
The second song; the slow burning A Little Goes a Long Way, opens with the bewitching lines;
Well I feel so good
I gotta sing about it
Find the highest place
So I can shout about it
.”
not just a great set of lyrics follows; but the trio don’t just provide harmonies that would make the House of Stax proud of; but their playing is worthy of Blue Note at its height.
Two fabulous songs in and you’d presume that the band must surely have already peaked ….. nay, nay and thrice nay!
The album gets better and better in every conceivable musical manner …… (while probably not Top 20) but the Hits just keep on coming!
There are 11 songs here and not a single one could conceivably be deemed ‘filler;’ obviously some are catchier than others …… the slow and sultry Give and Take, The Night and the funkalicious Running are all perfect for radio play as well as for wallowing in in the comfort of your own home.
I’ve always had eclectic taste in music; and somehow The Horojo Trio tick all of the boxes I require from Soul, Blues, Rhythm AND Blues and the occasional addition of JW Jones’ sublime guitar playing adds enough rock to balance everything just perfectly.
Selecting a single Favourite Song has been almost impossible; mostly because each individual song is a winner in its own rite; but using my very own Super Power of turning the music off, making a cup of coffee and then thinking back to the songs and titles; I was actually drawn to four (yes FOUR!) instead of the usual one or two …….
If Smokey Robinson ever covers Hard As I Can it’s going to be a shoe-in for a Grammy ……. seriously; it sounds as smooth as latter day Smokey; but with the bounce and danceability of his earlier hits with the Miracles!
Who thought I’d ever get to write a sentence like that?
Give and Take is a bit of a monster; and while Jeff Rogers husky and distinctive vocals sounds nothing like them; this song reminds me of the type of songs Frankie Beverly and/or Teddy Pendergrass released ‘back in the day’ ….. which is a helluva compliment.
Prior to that on the album is Ragman’s Blues; which I’d guessed with a title like that was a cover of an old song; but no siree Bob ….. this is 2022 at it’s sauciest and indeed sexiest!
Then there is the slow and sensual Stay Crazy; which again has some really really, memorable lines, describing the type of life Rogers wants and wants from the woman in that life …… none more so than the ear catching opening verse:
“Too many people
Colour inside the lines
Always do as they’re told
Never put up a fight
They’re old when they’re young
Wish away their lives
They do what’s expected
They … wither on the vine
… stay crazy.”

The actual punchline is “Stay crazy ….. stay crazy in love.” And that’s a sentiment we could all live by!
Personally I’d have entitled the album after the raucous closing track; Real Deal, which is another trip to Funky Town, which perfectly sums up how I feel about The Horojo Trio …… they most certainly are The Real Deal.

Released April 1st 2022
https://horojotrio.com/

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https://stonyplainrecords.com/horojotrio/

Jacob Bryant BAR STOOL PREACHER

Jacob Bryant
Bar Stool Preacher
Snakefarm Records

Damn Good and Timeless Country Music That Seriously Rocks.

I’ve researched new acts many times; but I’ve never Googled the ‘politics’ of an act before! But with the current state of American Country Music; I felt it wise in this case ….. and nothing came up in the negative; apart from one review describing him as NRA Country; which I’m not sure is a real category.
What is apparent though is that this Good Ole Boy is Country through and through in the vein of Waylon, George and Hank (I-IV!) singing about what he knows and what he sees around him …. which is a lot; and not always bright and shiny.
It’s a personal thing but I love the addition of a record player arm dropping down at the start of Track #1 Well Whiskey (Discount Cigarettes); which has an audaciously bouncy melody and a story that is all too heartbreakingly relevant across the world in 2022.
I’m not sure when this was released in America but my copy is a UK release; with Good Ole Boy getting a ‘UK ROCK Remix;’ to celebrate his recent debut at the Opry. I have no idea what the original sounded like; but mercifully the guitars aren’t as high in the mix as I feared and it’s actually not a million miles from some the Alt. releases I get sent. Oh …. I love the line where he goes in a bar and can’t find a ‘Skynard track’ which makes him feel old!
Been there ….. done that!
With that in mind; even though these songs are 100% Modern Country; there is plenty of Southern Rock ‘fusion’ here too ….. none more so than The Bottom (Raise ’em Up) and the sleazy and sloppy Ain’t Gonna Happen Today, both of which could easily be influenced by Skynard or Molly Hatchet rather than Toby Keith or Keith Urban.
Bryant and assorted co-writers can certainly write a song that stays with you; and they can change the mood on a whim; with Can’t Say No To You being a rather beautiful love song; full of sadness around the edges too; and on the ballad Heartbeat; Bryant dredges the pits of his heart in the way he delivers the words.
I thought I knew what Baptised By The River was going to be about; but I was totally wrong (which I like) as Bryant describes the anguish caused by the floods in Mississippi ….. and the way the arrangement builds and builds then suddenly drops and builds again will make for one Helluva accompanying video.
On an album that I was unsure about before I’d even played a note; I’m now having to decide between three very different songs for a single Favourite.
We now have a breeding pair on one of our favourite local walks; so Bryan’t use of metaphor on the powerful Buzzards was always going to be a contender; as was Can’t Take an Angel to Hell; which is one of those songs that make you sit up and go “Oooh …… oooooh” when you first hear it; and I still feel the same way a week later; razor sharp observations and even sharper guitar interludes btw.
But; there’s also a song that I hoped lived up to its title when I first received this CD; and Devil & a Six String certainly does; and if you are sitting in the car and you hear the opening lines;
I didn’t have to drink like Hank
or smoke like Willie did
…. it just came natural
and that’s the way it is
.”
You’re going to sit up and listen to what follows; aren’t you.
The pace picks up and via some really ‘ornery guitars and bass this autobiographical tale builds to something of a crescendo ….. and I dare you not to turn the car radio dial to 9 or 10 by the end.
Unless I’ve missed them; there aren’t any songs about Semi-Trucks, shotguns and girls in shorts here; and apart from the title of album closer, Amen nothing overtly religious either …… just damn good and indeed cool timeless Country Music that Rocks.

UK Release March 2022
US Release January 2022
https://www.jacobbryantmusic.com/

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https://snakefarmrecords.tmstor.es/product/91030



Trashy Annie NASHVILLE SESSIONS

Trashy Annie
Nashville Sessions
Self-Release

Far Too Good a Secret To Keep For Long

You know the saying ‘God moves in mysterious ways’?
No?
Well; it was my Dad’s favourite and he used it to cover a million applications …. and I’ve followed suit.
Last week I was feeling overwhelmed by the amount of reviews that were backing up and I didn’t know where to start ….. then an email from Brent; he of Uncle Brent and Nostone arrived praising the delights of an act he’d just seen in Nashville called Trashy Annie; and felt the need to get in touch with Annie for details of an EP/set of singles she’d mentioned from the stage, because he ‘knew someone in England who would love them too’!
He was right …. and the desk was immediately cleared as I played the first track; the raw and energetic Knock Knock which starts with some bizarre whizz-bang sound effects before ‘ripping a new one’ in what we know as both Alt and good ole Country Music!
This I sense is a song that’s a catalyst for their live shows.
There’s a real dark heart to Trashy Annie’s songs here; none more so than the latest single Juliet, which is about a prostitute … a subject we don’t hear a lot about in this or I guess many other genres; and over a scratchy acoustic guitar and smoothly intense backing; Annie opens her song with
I got me down in Mexico
with an ounce of weed and a pound of blow
I cut my hand and broke my toe
Send me on back to the barrio

This sure ain’t Taylor Swift or Lady A type of Country …… this is as edgy, darker and even grubbier than Ashley MacBryde or early Kacey Musgrave ever went; and ….. and I bloody love it!
Prior to that song, we have the razor sharp heartbreaker, Save Me while certainly not autobiographical, takes on a whole new meaning when you discover it’s actually about a child prostitute …. which unravels it’s other inner secrets over the course of four minutes.
There’s a sensitivity in Annie’s words that weave through all five songs like a golden thread; and her arrangements bely the fact that she’s still only playing bars in and around Nashville.
In her bio Annie Davis describes her upbringing as
I grew up poor.
The welfare and food stamps kinda poor.
The poor where you pick up cans on the side of the road and turn them in for lunch money, and the kinda poor that can lead a kid down some very bad roads.

The good news is, that kinda poor can also lead down another road…one that teaches a person to love the beauty in this world that comes straight outta the box, no purchase required.”
Then there’s Last Song, a simple yet plaintiff love song; the type no Country Album (or EP) should ever be without …. and just begs to have plays on the cooler radio stations.
It’s possibly unfair to select one song out of only four as a Favourite; but how can the fantabulous Luv U Luv U Back not be my/our Favourite?
It’s one of those songs that sounds like you already know it; and the melody itself will immediately have you mumbling along without knowing any of the words ….. and when you do learn them you will holler along with an idiot grin as you play air guitar to power chords that litter the chorus!
Each track here has or will be released as a single; with the actual vinyl/CD EP coming out some unspecified time in the near future…. but I couldn’t wait that long!
Trashy Annie is far too good a secret to keep ….. I’m with Brent; the world is not just ready for Trashy Annie ….. but may actually need these songs at the moment.

Released 2022
https://www.trashyannie.com/

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https://music.amazon.com/albums/B09NP6GBKQ?marketplaceId=ATVPDKIKX0DER&musicTerritory=US&ref=dm_sh_dSHg55fIZhax8EeZnUislpfHC&trackAsin=B09NP4LF8F

Beau Jennings and The Tigers HEAVY LIGHT

Beau Jennings and The Tigers
Heavy Light
Black Mesa Records

21st Century Country Rock and The Only Thing Missing Is a 1,2, 3 Count In!

I’d played this album three or four times and really liked it each time; before the penny dropped who Beau Jennings reminded me of ….. but more of that later.
Straight from the get go; Beau Jennings and The Tigers owe more to Country Rock than the modern idioms Alt. Country and Americana; although the album wouldn’t be totally out of place in either category in a Record Shop; that’s for sure.
That opening track, the alternative love song; Sunflower is both intense and free flowing. In his bio Jennings tells us he only sings and plays acoustic guitar; and it’s the rest of the band (seasoned players to a man) who make the songs what they are; and I can’t argue as every note and the power of too, is exemploray and carries on through to the album closer May This Song Be In Your Heart.
In fact there’s so much power and/or intensity in songs like I’m Reaching Lord, Bring a Little Light and the title track Heavy Light itself, the only thing missing is a 1,2, 3 count in …. as they sound like one takes or even live recordings.
When you really delve into the songs you’ll find that Jennings is a really thoughtful and observational songwriter; which makes me wonder why after a career that’s nearly 30 years young has eluded me; especially when you hear the gorgeous Juniper and the delicate touches and flourishes of Bring a Little Light which is the song where the penny dropped that Jennings sings more than a little bit like Tom Petty but without the need for Epic gestures; and when you know that the whole musical jigsaw finally comes together.
Don’t get me wrong; he’s certainly no tribute act or copyist; it’s just his natural singing style and boy oh boy ….. what a singing style he has.
Many of my favourite American singers/songwriters/bands come from the Southern States of America and I know that they are troubled by some and many things they leave behind; but the Oklahoma resident Jennings really captures the juxtaposition many left/liberal artists feel on the dark and haunting I Know These Guys
For my Favourite Song we have to leap back to Track #2 The Comeback; which punches well beyond its weight, as Jennings sings about his childhood; and is the song that captivated me the first day I heard it especially the chorus …
I always kept my feeling hid”
…… while driving to work on the first sunny day of Spring and all you need to know is my hand automatically went to the volume control without any conscious thought behind it ….. as it’s one of those ‘perfect driving songs’ that comes along once in a generation.
Please don’t get hung up on my Tom Petty comparison; it’s there, but I’m sure other listeners won’t necessarily hear it ….. but the quality of Jennings’ songs and production is just as undeniable, that’s for sure.

Released March 25th 2022
http://www.beaujennings.com/

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https://beaujennings.bandcamp.com/



Cowboy Junkies SONGS OF THE RECOLLECTION

Cowboy Junkies
Songs of the Recollection
Proper Records

After 35 Years or More It’s Staggering to Think This Band Still Has the Ability to Surprise.

Like most everyone else I first fell in love with the Cowboy Junkies when Trinity Sessions virtually changed my life ….. I hadn’t heard anything like it before (and possibly not since either) and Blue Moon Revisited (Song For Elvis) is on the short list to be played at my funeral.
I don’t think I’ve bought (or heard) every album they’ve released since; losing me around about Miles From Our Home; but bringing me back on board with All That Reckoning in 2018.
So; any new release is bound to to pique my interest and another fascinating selection of Cover Songs was bound to have me mentally salivating.
They open with a lesser known Bowie song from Ziggy Stardust …… after all these years, why should I be surprised that Michael and Margo would be contrary in their musical taste?
Although I played my copy of Ziggy to death way back then; I now have no recollection of this song; which of course Michael’s arrangement and Margo’s enigmatic vocals make it nothing less than a Cowboy Junkies song; regardless of its birthright.
Now we all know Ooh Las Vegas, don’t we? But the way Michael has recreated it means it’s almost unrecognisable from the original or any of a dozen or so covers I already have; as the Cowboy Junkies with its psychedelic guitars and shakers give it a sinister remake that will stick in your memory bank long after the song has faded away.
That’s kinda the genius behind each and ever song here; Michael, Margo, Peter and Alan Anton (bass and keyboards)play and fiddle around with some of their favourite songs; making them very much their own ….. and not lazy note for note copies.
There are a couple of songs that I didn’t previously know at all; and it’s been a joy to behold Vic Chestnut’s Marathon; and much like the Bowie song earlier; I really should have recognised No Expectations; as it’s a Rolling Stones song from Beggars Banquet, but I didn’t and just like Marathon hauntingly takes us back to the Lo-Fi era of Trinity Sessions for a few minutes.
There are musical timebombs littering this album all over the place; Gordon Lightfoot’s The Way I Feel and the darkly beautiful I’ve Made Up My Mind To Give Myself To You by a little know songwriter called Bobby Dylan both took my breath away when I first played them; and even today Margo’s beautiful voice and Michael’s rearrangements yet again take us into a whole new musical stratosphere via the words of two absolute legends.
The least surprising thing here is the inclusion of not one; but two Neil Young songs; one quite obvious (Don’t Let It Bring You Down) and the other less so; although Love In Mind comes from Time Fades Away, which again was an album I virtually wore out in my teenage bedroom; and here it’s the perfect combination of singer and song; which makes it one of my two Favourite Songs on an album of absolute diamonds.
The other is a song I may not have gone out of my way to hear over the years; as I’ve never ever liked The Cure …… but the album closing track; Seventeen Seconds (written by Lol Tolhurst of said beat combo) is absolutely mind blowing in this stark format; and Michael’s guitar playing borders on the frightening at times as Margo purrs the chorus “Seventeen Seconds” over and over again.
After 35 years or more it’s staggering to think a band; with something of a distinctive ‘sound’ can still have the ability to surprise their fans … and that’s exactly what the Cowboy Junkies have done here; and hopefully this will give them the impetus to make an album of their own songs in the same enigmatic vein.

Released March 25th 2022
https://cowboyjunkies.com/

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https://merchmrkt.com/collections/cowboy-junkies


The Remittance Men SCOUNDRELS, DREAMERS & SECOND SONS

The Remittance Men
Scoundrels, Dreamers & Second Sons
Blonde on the Tracks Records

Americana and/or Urban Folk Songs Steeped in Literary Style

If there are a few good things that have come out of the pandemic, then the forming of new bands is surely one of them.
The Remittance Men, formed in Boston, Massachusetts by singer-songwriter Tom Robertson and guitarist/producer Andy Santospago (with some invaluable help from Eilen Jewell, as well as several others) worked for two years on this debut album of country, Tex-Mex, and barroom rockers—although their press kit says they prefer the moniker of Northern Country and I have no argument, so let’s go with that.
Yesterday’s Alt-Country is today’s Americana, is tomorrow’s Urban Folk?
Tossing together a band like this is no easy feat, and the fact that these cats sound more like a tried and true bar band that’s been gigging together for years, than a thrown together studio band says multitudes about their combined talent.
Robertson’s songs are steeped in literary style, and his storytelling is straight out of Longfellow, Hawthorne, and Conrad, with a smattering of Leonard and L’Amour too; full of high seas, lost love, broken down farms, and long journeys full of peril.
Besides writing songs, Robertson seems well read and should try his hand at short stories, if he hasn’t already, as it seems he has many stories to tell, and a penchant for keeping them varied and interesting. The first single, “A Room in Birmingham, England 1919” has been out for a while and it’s the delicate yet so necessary piano work of James Rohr that really sets this one up along with Eilen Jewell’s backing vocals.
A tale set in far away England, a hundred years ago, seemingly a tale of poverty, though steeped in hope. “1973 (Life on the High Seas)” is about a woman who’s husband is out at sea for most of their marriage, while the bad times beat them both down.
“Widow’s Walk” is another tale on the high seas, not the same characters, but similarly mired in woe.
The uncomplicated Tex-Mex of “Hacienda Santa Rose” sets up nicely for a tale of immigrants and hope. (Hope seems to be a recurring theme throughout these songs, whether intended or not, even on the two cover songs, Tom Petty’s “Down South” and “Nobody” by Tim Gearan.
Hope, even though the dawn is often too far away to yet see.
“Lonely & Silent” is a wailing of a horror story set in the darker places around Massachusetts and the winding Charles River. (More akin to the modern stories of Denis Johnson and James Fogle than the writers mentioned earlier. Robertson has a strong literary style all through this tome of songs, which gives him an edge over many contemporary songwriters.)
This is my favorite song here, with it’s choppy, knife-like guitar and a violin to get lost in too.
“Avery Hill” and “Lila Page 8” both hit more of an impressionistic feeling, while “Sweet Thunder” is dust road poetry and twilight trucker’s hope.
The final track, “Nobody,” is a deep, dark, lost lover’s plea and a perfect closer for an album, which …I hope …will not be Robertson and the Remittance Men’s final one.

This one grew on me!

Review courtesy The Legendary Roy Peak
Release date March 25 2022

https://www.facebook.com/TheRemittanceMen/

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Dan Patlansky BAD SOUL (Single)

Dan Patlansky
Bad Soul (Single)

South African blues rock guitarist Dan Patlansky will release his new single “Bad Soul” and it’s accompanying music video today; Friday March 18th
The single and music video dovetails his upcoming UK tour with his special guest Arielle, which runs from March 31st until April 12th

Tickets available from www.thegigcartel.com 


Southampton, 1865
Thursday 31 March 2022

Norwich, Waterfront Arts
Friday 1 April 2022

Newcastle, The Cluny
Saturday 2 April 2022
 
Glasgow, Òran Mór    
Sunday 3 April 2022

Sheffield, Greystones
Tuesday 5 April 2022
 
Bristol, Exchange
Wednesday 6 April 2022

Leeds, Brudenell
Friday 8 April 2022
 
*Manchester,  Deaf Institute
Saturday 9 April 2022

Leek, Foxlowe Arts
Sunday 10 April 2022
 
London, Garage
Tuesday 12 April 2022