Peach and Quiet BEAUTIFUL THING

Peach and Quiet
Beautiful Thing
Peach and Quiet Music

Gorgeously Crafted Canadian Americana, Sent From a Log Cabin with Love and Aimed Straight for our Hearts.

I was heading for a writer’s brick wall after spinning four new releases that I failed to connect with, but then thankfully RMHQ worked its’ magic and the second album from this Canadian folk and Country rock duo landed!
Despite the odds; this one saved the day (as I have a lifelong phobia with insects) so a gigantic image of an African Peach Moth as cover art is as scary as it gets for me, evoking memories of all those Ray Harryhausen films……but hey that’s my issue!
Whilst I can still appreciate the colours and symbolism, the true beauty of this stunning album for me is the pure talent and dynamics of the partnership between Jonny Miller and Heather Read.
Individually they are great artists but after just a few plays I can appreciate that together they create serene, insanely catchy and sweet melodies to dive into with both voices blending gorgeously, bringing equal amounts of personality and emotions to their 12 songs.
This album is all about the long game: no whirlwind gimmicks here, just songs to tug at your heart, tap along to and destined to keep you in good company and become life-long friends.

The title track and opener ‘Beautiful Thing’ is a killer start with it’s descending hook and a mature upbeat approach.
Jonny Miller’s vocals are full of easy warmth and richness, gently touring us around their world, one foot in a Canadian forest log cabin and the other on the sun- drenched Pacific Highway.
The lyrics stakes out a mood of hope and optimism;

Oh sweet honey won’t you look at me now?
I got waylaid and lost but I figured it out”

‘Calgary Skyline’ carries on with an energetic trip, Miller and Read’s vocals together working their magic and Steve Dawson’s outstanding guitar twang then swapping out for a menacingly dark heavy rock rift: sounds weird but it’s unexpectedly exquisite.

The songs just keep hitting the spot, one after the other: honestly many artists would be doing well to have half this number of divine songs on one album.
‘Behind The Sun’ is a slower hypnotically bluesy, psychedelic rock fuelled song exploring the themes of anguish and destruction that often hides in the shadows of love and light: deep words that drift into a dreamily expansive woozy guitar solo coupled with Hammond sounds which sent me into a reflective trance by the end!
It feels only right for the keys to make such a distinctive contribution to the entire album when we learn that Heather’s dad was playing the Hammond organ well into his ‘80’s so it was a key part of her upbringing.
To follow that we absorb the sweet retro folk based ‘Just Before Dawn’, Heather Read’s voice ringing out like a songbird with an irresistible tale of patiently waiting for the one you love to return, tapping into the vibe of living simply and akin with nature, with the final verse emphasizing that by containing a quote from American naturalist Henry Thoreau:

In that morning hour just west of the sun
The old owl cries, her nightly mourn
I will wait in my bed for my only love
With infinite expectations of the dawn”

The scales are now balanced as two travelling songs are soaked with Miller’s heritage of being raised by his DJ dad and exposed to Reggae and Californian rock as a boy: the chilled out, brilliantly cool, catchy Country reggae beat of ‘Horse and Saddle’ with it’s story of journeying back to a loved one, treads a path steeped in extra gravel from Miller’s expressive vocals.
The other is an Americana tale: ‘Oklahoma or Arkansas’, an absorbing adventure of leaving home, hiding from the world to find oneself again, then building up to a cinematic image of lovers reunited:

Wait for my letter, when the spring arrives
Buy a Greyhound ticket, and a dress that’s white
I’ll be standing in my Sunday suit,
A Panama hat, and my daddy’s boots”

Narrowing down favourites is as tricky as it gets with this release.
By a tiny margin ‘This Time’ and ‘Save Me Tonight’ miss out.
The former is a sumptuous love story about learning from the past and ‘getting it right’. Heather’s vocals are smoulderingly triumphant and when Jonny’s B/V’s join in there is no doubt that this pair are the real deal both emotionally and musically. ‘Save Me Tonight’ is a bluesy tale of a hard life on the road, the choppy keys team with a shimmering guitar solo to energize the track with the hope of love and happiness.

The top slot has gone to a song which totally gripped me on first listen: Heather powerfully and vulnerably belts out a story of domestic abuse as if she has lived out every sad detail; that I don’t know but the grey areas of lingering sorrow despite escaping everything are thought provoking, the lyrics explore the instinct to blame yourself a little when things go badly wrong:

Why couldn’t I see it
I was blind to all the signs
I didn’t want to believe it
So now I’m the woman with the empty house
No honey and a big black eye”

Then; there is Pockets Empty, which is something of a cornerstone for these 12 songs. Exceptionally well observed, written and sung; in another life time it could easily have been a Power Ballad; but here Steve Dawson; alongside Miller and Read rein it in just enough for it for this deep break-up song to become my Favourite Song by a Country mile.

It’s incredible to think these two only teamed up in 2019, the songs feel so naturally evolved and perfected.
I’m very relieved to have faced my fears with the aforementioned cover because the appeal of this duo definitely lies deep within their passionate melodies and togetherness.
I’ll be playing these songs long after the ‘review pen’ has been put away.

Review by Anita Joyce
Released 20th January 2023
https://www.peachandquietmusic.com/

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https://peachandquiet.bandcamp.com/

RMHQ Radio Show READERS TOP 25 Christmas Day 2022 @NovaRadioNE

RMHQ Radio Show
READERS TOP 25
Christmas Day
December 25th 2022
@NovaRadioNE

Another year over and therefore another RMHQ Readers Top 25 albums; not exactly ‘voted for’ but selected because they were the most popular reviews statistically.
In many ways this eclectic collection of albums sums up what we do on the website; with debut albums mixing it up with releases from established acts and even a 50th Anniversary of a Classic LP in there too.

2022ALBUMS OF THE YEAR
Steve EarleChristmas in Washington Square
25Charlie MusselwhiteMy Road Lies in DarknessMississippi Son
24Hannah WhiteCar CrashAbout Time
23Rod PicottDirty T-ShirtPaper Hearts and Broken Arrows
22Julian TaylorMurder 13Beyond the Reservoir
21Canyons & HighlandsDown From the MountainCanyons & Highlands
20Anna AshPopularitySleeper
19Ricky RossSpanish ShoesShort Stories Vol 1
18Lew JettonWho’s Texting Who?Deja Hoodoo
17Dean OwensAfter The RainSinners Shrine
16Skinny DyckIn on the upswingPalace Waiting
15The 2,19Black Dog MoanRevelator
14Bros LandrethShameCome Morning
13Daintees8.30 Mowbray MorningThe Boy’s Heart
12Anna LavigneI Love The Way You MoveAngels in Sandshoes
11Daniel MeadeWhen will I be famous?Down You Go(Bros)
10Foreday RidersThe PeeperDurn Tootin’
9Trashy AnnieKnock KnockNashville Sessions
8Martin StephensonSweet LadyGood Will Factory
7Julie ChristensenGlory Land11 Songs from Kevin Gordon
6Grey DeLisleAnother Brick in the WallBorrowed
5Massy FergusonFire of LifeJoe’s Meat and Grocery
4Ian SiegalHand in HandStone by Stone
3Dr FeelgoodDamn Right I DoDamn Right
2Colin BlunstoneSay You Don’t MindOne Year
1Ian McNabbFilm Noir StarNabby Road

RMHQ Radio Show Ep 33 @NovaRadioNE

RMHQ Radio Show Ep 33
Nova Radio NE
Newcastle

December 18th 2023

As 2022 rattles to a close we’re going out with two ‘specials’; tonight’s being a bunch of songs from albums released this year that hardly got any other traction other than via our website; and next week …. Christmas Day will be the Readers’ Top 25 Albums.

Ep 33CreganWhen a Child Is Born
18th DecJohnny DowdHomemade Pie
Sarah Jane NelsonCuddle Up
Michael Weston KingWeight of The World
Gretchen PetersWhen All You’ve Got is a Hammer
Rod PicottMark of Your Father
Anna AshPopularity
Matt AndersenHouse to House
Shemikia CopelandDone Come Too Far
Horojo TrioA Little Goes a Long Way
Simeon Hammond DallasThe Blues is a Game
Ian SiegalPsycho
Duke RobillardHomeless Blues
Robert Connely FarrSugar Momma
Kaz HawkinsDon’t Make Mama Cry
Will HogeYoung As We Will Ever Be
Emily Scott RobinsonMen and Moons
ShipcoteBetter Times Ahead
Regina BonelliI Got to Go
The SadiesGinger Moon
Durham County PoetsThat’s What Makes Me Smile
Terra Spencer & Ben CaplanGood Friends
Helen McCookerybookWake Up and Smell The Coffee
Hector GannettBlue Murder
Larkin PoeBolt Cutters & The Family Name
Samantha Fish & Jesse DaytonFeelin’ Good
Crosby TylerPeace, Love & Beer

Old California OLD CALIFORNIO COUNTRY

Old Californio
Old Californio Country
Self-released

Rocking Country-Folk With Plenty of Twists and Turns.

With three original songs and a huge handful of covers, Country-Folk rockers Old Californio hit the ground running with their latest self-released album Old Californio Country.
Using these songs to showcase their musicianship is a smart move, as all the members in this band—lead singer Rich Dembowski, guitarist/singer Woody Aplanalp, drummer Justin Smith, keyboardist Jon Niemann, bassist Kip Boardman, and newest member Paul Lacques on dobro and guitar—get to stretch their wings substantially throughout.
This album is mostly a love letter to songwriting, with renditions of many classic songs, several of which are pulled straight from the Americana Songbook.
Their rendition of Neil Young’s “Lotta Love” retains the AOR feel of the Nicolette Larson version, while adding layers of sweet harmonies too.
Folk classic “The Cuckoo” gets the Old Californio treatment with brushes on snare keeping the whole thing moving with electric and acoustic guitars chiming throughout.
Lowell George’s “Willin’” gets an intimate late-night barroom makeover, with a harmonica part that’ll make you weep in your beer.
We get not one but two John Prine songs in the form of “The Speed of Loneliness,” where the delicately picked guitars give a heavenly backdrop to a tale of broken romance; and “Knockin’ On Your Screen Door” which is both darker than Prine’s version, but also comes across funnier, with a forward-thinking bluegrass style while not afraid to look back.
The Rolling Stones classic rock song “Wild Horses” is amped up gracefully with some tasty dobro by Paul Lacques, from the Tujunga, California band I See Hawks in L.A.
Adding Lacques to the OC lineup was a wise decision, as he’s proven himself indispensable.
This is a fine addition to the Old Californio discography, keep ’em coming, guys.

Review by the Legendary Roy Peak

https://www.facebook.com/oldcalifornio/
Released November 25 2022

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https://oldcalifornio.bandcamp.com/

Bobbo Byrnes OCTOBER

Bobbo Byrnes
October
Self-Released

Powerful and Introspective Modern British Indie Folk From America!

‘Liking’ a particular musician or band is incredibly personal and subjective, regularly making no sense at all. I first encountered Bobbo Byrnes via his 2018, TWO SIDES TO THIS TOWN album, which I gave a very positive review to; but it was the follow up; RED WHEELBARROW that made me a fan.
With hindsight there’s not a lot to choose between the two; you can certainly hear that there’s a difference; some kind of progression in the style of songwriting even; but why I would wear one CD out and not the other; makes no physical sense … does it?
Now, another three albums on, Byrnes has all but ditched the Americana/Alt. Country formula that has done him proud so far; so nothing has prepared me for these songs … nothing.
First of all there’s some electronica jiggery-pokery that opens the first song; (Warren Sroka’s) Cold War … and continues throughout as Byrnes dives headlong into what I’d normally think of as Modern British Indie Folk!
Seriously!
The song is universal, and at the very least thought provoking; but the construction owes a lot more to the likes of Waterboys, Ian McNabb or even bloomin’ Ed Sheeran than it does anyone born on the other side of the Atlantic.
As the album progresses, the thing that has surprised and impressed me most is the intricate and imaginative way Byrnes plays his guitar ….. for a Modern Folk album (IMHO) there are Jazz and Blues flourishes here and there complimenting his impassioned songs and stories; the songs Untitled and Time Enough being prime examples; but there are others in there too.
Once his existing fans get over the initial shock of the change in direction; they are in for a veritable treat, with The Sea and Time Enough being deceptively simple songs on first hearing but evolve into ever more thoughtful and personal songs that would make fans of Ed Sheeran and Glen Hansard proud to own.
While the production behind the songs sounds complex; I have the feeling that this is the way Bobbo Byrnes can achieve on stage as a solo performer; none more so than Brendan Behan’s Contemporary-Sea Shanty Crooked Jack; which reminded me of the Roger McGuinn album of similar stories, many years ago.
If I’m honest it’s taken a while to fully comprehend and truly appreciate what Bobby Byrnes has created here; but there was a ‘Eureka moment’ a few days; and now I’m smitten; which has also made selecting a Favourite Song all the more difficult.
As a for-instance; even though I own a Bluegrass version; so I know it can be disseminated; I didn’t recognise Bowie’s magnificent Heroes for a few days; then ….. WOW …. it hit me like punch to the gut ….. what an incredible job Byrnes has done; and the windswept backing takes it into an arena Ziggy could never have dreamed of.
There’s even a beautiful instrumental here; October, and again highlighting Byrnes’ dexterity with an acoustic guitar.
But; I’m sticking with Byrnes’ own words for my actual ‘Favourite Song’ and it too is ‘Magnificent’ and a song that will make your jaw drop; such is the power and imagery that House of Cards creates I’ve had to turn the dial up to 9 so as not to miss a single word; and I urge you to, too when you buy your copy.
A sudden change of direction for one of my Favourite Alt. Country acts; but a very welcome one; and one that deserves your attention in many ways.

https://bobbobyrnes.com/home

Released January 2023

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https://bobbobyrnes.bandcamp.com/




Joe Louis Walker WEIGHT OF THE WORLD

Joe Louis Walker
Weight of The World
Forty Below Records

Sharp and Contemporary Blues With a Soul Filled Heart

Joe Louis Walker is one of those ‘names’ that I recognised, but when I scoped through my collections of albums and downloads found I own nothing of his previous work – sad but true.
Right from the ‘git go’ of opening track and titular song Weight Of The World you know you are in the presence of a Mastercraftsman of their Art ….. a really clever and heartfelt ballad about the sadness that is all purveying these days; but wrapped in a velvet blanket of musicians who never waste or miss a note; and in Walker’s vocal delivery …. a voice that will warm your heart at the same time as sending shivers down your back.
Walker has a sublime talent in the way he delivers his message throughout; Waking Up The Dead is a prime example; blending African style drumbeats with an ultra-modern; jazz tinged beat that sounds like a minor earthquake as Walker sings as if his life depends on it; but never loses the listener’s attention even for a second.
It’s a similar story with Count Your Chickens where the energy playing out behind him would overshadow many another singer; but Joe Louis Walker fights them off with a stellar performance up front and centre.
Presumably many of his fan base will buy this to hear his guitar playing; for which he’s rightly famous … and there’s plenty here to please them; although he’s more of the ‘less is more’ school …. but when he does insert a solo ….. WOWZA …. that guitar sounds like it could melt at any moment.
Personally I like this album as much as I do because of the songs themselves; even though the construction and arrangements are fabulous throughout; but it really is the stories in the songs that have made me play this over and over again; not least the intense Bed of Roses and It’s a Matter of Time which has hints of Stevie Wonder and Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson in the mix; and that’s no bad thing; is it.
Eric Corne’s razor sharp production brings out plenty of nuance too in Don’t Walk Out The Door and perhaps Root Down too; which could easily have been missed in lesser hands.
I’m not totally sure where to fit this album in, as while it’s most certainly a Blues Album, but there are more than enough elements of Soul (both urban and raw) that it could easily win prizes in that category too; not least when the judges hear the finale; Got Me Whipped; but then again Scott Milici’s gentle keyboard playing subtly takes this ballad into Jazz territory too.
I’ve been really impressed by Walker’s songwriting throughout; but one song in particular Hello, It’s The Blues highlights what a clever and articulate songwriter he is; as he treats us to beautiful conversation between the listener and a Guardian Angel in the guise of The Blues as a talking entity …. don’t worry; it’s a stunning song that my words don’t do justice to … listen and be seriously impressed.
Sometimes songs and albums are too clever for their good; but here Joe Louis Walker pushes the boundaries of what we know as Blues and Soul, but stays well within those same lines to give us an ultra-modern album that will impress not just hipsters and the cognoscenti but cynical old Blues Hounds alike.

Released February 17th 2023
https://www.joelouiswalker.com/

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https://fortybelowrecords.com/store/joe-louis-walker


The 2.19 WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS

The 2.19
We Will Get Through This
Unsigned/Bandcamp

Timeless Punchy British Style Rhythm and Blues With the Emphasis on The Blues But with Plenty of Rhythm Too.

Bloody serendipity!!
On my radio show last week I played a track from the Revelator album and said something about “where are they now?” then three days later this arrived …. come on; is there a Greater Force at work somewhere?
Oooohhheeee! Opening track, No Smoke, No Fire starts where The Revelator left off; deep down and durty Blues with a crystalised Rock spine. Singer/guitarist Chris Chalmers sounds like an illegitimate offspring of a one night stand between Stevie Marriott and Maggie Bell, while his guitar playing, alongside drummer Monty Sneddon, guitarist Paul Wilkinson, guitarist Ady Young and bassist Marty Young sound like they’ve been listening to a lot of early Groundhogs.
As I said in the Revelator review; I love The Blues and get sent a lot of albums in this vein; but the majority are actually RAWK bands masquerading as Blues Bands; The 2.19 are the real deal though; listen to second track Turn Out the Lights with it’s guitar playing that is so tense it sounds like a coiled spring and when harmonica player Andrei Marinescu swoops in; you’d swear you were back in the Club -a-Go-Go circa 1964, or somewhere sweaty on the outskirts of Memphis only last week! Timeless, my friend …. timeless!
I’m sure you will read elsewhere that these songs will be ‘best played live’ …. which may be true; but that takes nothing away from the recorded version here ….. the bodacious Ready To Go will be the perfect soundtrack to a late night car trip to work; or early morning via headphones on a bus; whereas the melody on the Blues lament, Radio Smiles alongside Marinescu’s sultry harp playing will be a ‘go to’ when you’re doing household chores.
It’s Chalmers use of words and imagery on songs not just like that one; but the Rocking and Reeling Seven Wonders that raises The 2.19 high above the bar set for 21st Century Blues Bands; and on and in The Reach he and the band go way beyond the call of duty; again hinting at the Groundhogs but with a smattering of Humble Pie and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion too …. especially the funky-ass Hammond riffs that are littered throughout.
On the most obvious level, this album ‘sounds great’ ….. mostly because the band aren’t afraid to use a melody and a bouncy beat when it suits; unlike most of their contemporaries who seem to owe more The Damned and Ramones than they do Muddy and Wolf!
As I allude to; there are plenty of nods to the past here; and why not use your influences for a greater good; but be under no illusion, when The 2.19 can write songs like the brittle, beautiful and introspective ballad, Broken Harmony Blues which features a stunning duet between Chalmers and Amy Montgomery as well as the swamp infused and Exile on Main St influenced; Hey Carolina and neither come close to being my Favourite Song; you know you must be listening to someone very special indeed.
Two songs have constantly drawn me back time and time in the last week ….. the title Best Suit intrigued me; even before I’d played it; as I’m a lover of a suit myself; but in this case the singer tells us that he is wearing his ‘Best Suit’ for an appearance at the courthouse! If I didn’t know, I’d sweat that this was a Muddy Waters or more up to date, Lew Jetton or Paul Lamb song re-jigged; but it ain’t ….. this is straight outta Belfast in 2023!
The other song; and probable winner of the Favourite Track is the claustrophobic finale;We Will Get Through This; a much gentler song than everything that has preceded it as the acoustic guitar (with occasional bottleneck) and could be about the ‘greater problems’ facing us all politically and socially; or it may be about a relationship teetering on the brink of a possible closure; or in my care … and that of several other sufferers; far more personal and telling himself that the clouds will disappear soon…. definitely soon.
The 2.19 cover a lot of ground here, and for a band stuck on ‘a local circuit’ and ‘waiting for the big break’ …. sound like they are making music that they want to hear themselves and damn the ‘decision makers’; ‘ in their stuffy offices.
I agree wholeheartedly with that philosophy, as there definitely is an audience out there just waiting to hear them.
These kids are as good as I have heard in the last twenty years or more; and probably as good as most before that too….. Timeless Rhythm and Blues with the emphasis on The Blues but with plenty of Rhythm too.

Released 23rd January 2023
https://www.facebook.com/The219band/

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https://music.amazon.com/artists/B09NMTW2L8/the-2-19


Hector Gannet (solo) + Ren Lawton at The Engine Room, North Shields

Hector Gannet (aka Aaron James Duff solo) + Ren Lawton
The Engine Room,
North Shields

Sunday December 11 20222

I had been looking forward to the original gig  for what seemed ages and then two days before the show, the headliner David A Jaycock pulls the plug and messages the venue to say sorry, as  he can’t make it up from his Cornish enclave.
Hats off then to The Engine Room who did more than just salvage the situation, they nailed it with a last minute line-up change. Up stepped Aaron James Duff who doubles as front man to North Shields favourites Hector Gannet  to take headliner duties.
That switch appeared to have created  a last minute rush for tickets, encouraged too by Cerys Matthews on her BBC 6 music show that morning who had recommended the gig and played support artist Ren Lawton’s ‘Cold Afternoon’ into the bargain.

I arrived at The Engine Room in good time, partly because I wanted to have a chat with Ren Lawton over a pint of the excellent ‘Dark Side of the Toon‘, an Irish stout brewed in by the Three Kings micro brewery in North Shields.
He was clearly buzzing having just had airplay on BBC 6 Music’s most listened to show.
He was also barefoot – he told me he had walked to the venue from South Shields (via the Shields ferry of course) and his socks and shoes were soaked. I liked him instantly and his songs are clearly an extension of his warm personality.
Clash Magazine were bang on when they described his music as ‘Intense, frank and warm’.
His opener ‘The Coast‘ contained the line
 ‘In my bag with nothing more than dreams’,
and I pictured him trudging along the North East coast with his guitar on his back, his feet freezing but his dreams still intact.
I particularly enjoyed the track ‘Blue Hounds’, a protest song he introduced by telling us how much he disliked the country’s government of the day. Blue hounds indeed.
He reminded me a lot of Jackson C Frank but he said had never listened to him – he did tell me that Dylan was a major influence though. 

After a short break, up stepped Aaron Duff to the warmest of welcomes from the sell out crowd.
He was clearly amongst friends and from the off he didn’t disappoint. His opener ‘Tower on The Hill’  is an acoustic version of his bands most recent single, a track lifted from their upcoming album release ‘The Land Belongs To Us’.
His voice is an assured and powerful baritone coupled to his forcefully strummed acoustic guitar giving his performance an edgy feel.  
‘There’s a tower on the hill where heads will roll’, he sings and indeed, the songs reference points seem to me to be  historical but within them there contains a warning for us to keep our eyes open otherwise things might just get a lot nastier than they already are.
Last of the Buffalo is another cut from the new album and there are two covers in the set, both written by his major influence, the great Alan Hull, first up is Blue Murder taken from Hull’s s Pipedream album, a song Hector Gannet have  also covered on ‘The Land Belongs To Us’. 
What I love about Aaron is that his Geordie accent is never disguised and it doesn’t  get lost in the songs, in fact it permeates his delivery and gives him an authenticity that many singer-songwriters just do not possess. 
He’s obviously proud of his northeast roots and that comes across in his songs, the content of which frequently depicts respect and love for the regions people and its landscapes.

He closes out  his well received  set with the classic Lindisfarne tune ‘Winter Song’, written of course by Hull and  released in November 1970 on the bands debut album ‘Nicely Out of Tune’.
There are a lot of young folks in the audience tonight and before he plays the song  Aaron encourages them to explore the music of his hero before telling them he can’t hang around afterwards as he has a table booked at an Indian Restaurant in Whitley Bay and he’ll miss out on the poppadoms if he doesn’t make haste.
Nevertheless, he treats us to a lush 6 minute version of this beautiful composition, a song  which speaks of injustice and suffering, something that he acknowledges has sadly not lessened in the intervening 52 years since the songs first appearance on vinyl.
He gently sings the haunting last line ‘when winter comes howling in’,  then a delicately strummed outro; a roar of appreciation from the sell out crowd and Aaron Duff is off into the cold, hotfooting it to Whitley Bay and a richly deserved curry.

Graham
https://hectorgannet.com/

Daniel Meade AN ESSENTIALLY NON ESSENTIAL COMPILATION OF RECORDINGS FROM THE LAST TEN YEARS (2013-22)

Daniel Meade
AN ESSENTIALLY NON ESSENTIAL COMPILATION OF RECORDINGS FROM THE LAST TEN YEARS (2013-22)
From The Top Records

A Cornucopia Of Scots-Americana Hidden Treasures.

When this album I wasn’t particularly in a ‘good place’ mentally and to some extent the website and radio were taking their toll on me; mostly because of the hours I/we put in and a couple of disappointing ‘criticisms’ of our work hit hard.
But; in with the CD and Press Release was a lovely handwritten note from Dan; thanking me for previous ‘insightful’ reviews and it fair tugged on my heartstrings …. it’s things like this keep me/us doing what we do.
In the last ten years, Daniel Meade has released 14 or 15 albums, most from the studio but during the lockdowns he also put out a couple of Live Albums that like everything I’ve heard in that decade; were never less than ‘listenable and interesting’ and sometimes full of hidden treasure.
Instead of the cumbersome title he has chosen; personally I’d have gone for HIDDEN TREASURE as that’s what we have here.
That ‘treasure’ starts with Keep Right Away, a fiddlicious Scottish Country-Folk song that I didn’t recognise, that would be just as home in a Louisiana Saloon or a Hebridean ceilidh as it would be at a raucous East End of Glasgow pub on a Friday night.
This is followed by a rumbunctious boogie-woogie of Juliette, a love song that will have you laughing, crying and dancing!
Generally speaking I’d forgot how much fun Meade’s albums were (or probably still are); but there are some absolute ‘bangers’ here (as the young people say!) ….. the honky-tonky Mother of Mercy is dark, but fun too with a chorus Tom Waits could only dream of writing; Look No Further and Please Louise will both have you tapping your toes and mouthing the words; even when you’re washing the dishes. Plus, when he takes on the role of a bedroom balladeer on the Meade Classic, Let Me Off at The Bottom is as finer piece of Country songwriting that never came out of Nashville; East or otherwise.
Speaking of Nashville, the more recent Sleeping On the Streets of Nashville is the type of song that will squeeze that will squeeze the heartstrings of every other musician who hears it.
Then, there is the introspective Indie guitar ballads These Things Happen and As Good As It Gets still feel like punches to the gut, years after I first heard them.
I’ve recently been accused (again) of only producing ‘positive’ reviews; which I do! I’m not qualified enough to tell you that the production here and there isn’t what it should be; or a bit of writing could or should have been tidied up …. for me that’s the flawed beauty of music ….. if I wanted super smooth, crystal clear music I’d listen to Pink Floyd or Coldplay; but I choose Daniel Meade because of the passion he gives us in songs like Fixing Quicksand, By The Book and The Choices That You Make, which I can relate to …. and mostly just bloody enjoy as I tunelessly sing-along to!
There have certainly been hidden treasures here for me; not least the feisty Bullets and Bones, On The Line and What You Waiting For, which I’d all but forgot about …. but dusted off in this package showcase what a great and eclectic songwriter/musician and Scottish National Treasure, Daniel Meade is.

Plus I still sport the If It’s Not Your Fault (It’s Mine) sticker on my laptop, so the live version here has to come into contention; but those who know me and my reviewing will expect me to go off-piste with my choice of Favourite Song; but here I can’t look past the fabulous Shooting Stars and Tiny Tears, which still sounds as intricate, fresh and mentally intoxicating as it did the first time I heard it back in 2017; one ‘those songs’ so few writers ever get to write, no matter how hard they try but Meade captures that ‘feeling’ so many of us have, but can’t quite articulate …. so for that and all the other pleasure his songs have brought us, I say “Thank you, Dan.”

PS If and when you hear some really, good and usually cool guitar licks here; that’ll be Lloyd Reid btw.

Released February 24th 2023
https://www.facebook.com/danielmeademusic/

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https://danielmeade.bandcamp.com/



RMHQ Radio Show Ep32 @NovaRadioNE

RMHQ Radio Show
Ep:32
Nova Radio NE
Newcastle

11th December 2022

The end of the year is closing in on us all; and I’m still not giving in to all of the false Christmas bonhomie!
Episode 32 may be the last radio broadcast for either all time or at least until February …. who knows at this stage.
There a few reasons for this decision; the lack of actual listeners hasn’t helped of course; but there are things going on at home health wise for both Mrs Magpie and myself that means I should take a break …. I wish it was for a month in the Maldives, but it will actually be reading books; doing some painting, walking up and down hills and taking lots of photos of course.
There are less than subtle clues dotted around the playlist as to my current state of mind; and the show finishes with two incredible songs fro my friend and musical hero …. Bap Kennedy.
Until next week when I give you my Top, or at least ‘most interesting’ 25 albums of 2022 that didn’t make the Readers’ Top 25 which goes out on Christmas Night!

Samantha FishBulletproof
Little River BandHelp Is On its Way
5 Points GangThe Secret
Emily DuffKnuckle Sandwich
Jimmie VaughanTeardrop Blues
Massy FergusonFire of Life
Nanci GriffithI Fought the Law
Grant Lee BuffaloJupitor & Teardrop
Briana CorriganLove Me Now (Acoustic)
Rob VincentDancing With the Devil
Matt OwensAnother Song About the Devil
Annie KeatingKindness of Strangers
Luke James WilliamsOne More Bottle of Wine
Hector GannettBlack Rainbows
Lucinda WilliamsCar Wheels on a Gravel Road
Neil Young & Crazy HorseThis Land is Your Land
Steve EarleHarlem River Blues
Justin Townes EarleChampagne Corrolla
Prinz GrizzlyI Keep on Searching
Uncle Brent & NostoneTequila Nights
My Girl The RiverNeedy
1957 Tail Fin FiascoHere All Week
The PopravinasFlat Side of Low
Ashley McBrydeVoo Doo Doll
Rory GallagherLearnt My Lesson
Bap KennedyPlease Return to Jesus (Acoustic)
Bap KennedyI’m So Lonesome I Could Cry