Matt Andersen
Big Bottle of Joy
Sonic Records

Stubby Fingers Adds Exquisite Rhythm To His Electric and Eclectic Canadian Blues.

I’ve seen Matt Andersen play ‘live’ five times now; always solo – just him and an acoustic guitar; and he always impresses the Hell out of me, the way such a big man can sing and play that guitar so delicately.
His previous albums, while regularly featuring friends and fellow musicians always give the appearance of them being from a solo act.
Right from the opening bars of opening track Let It Slide; although it’s distinctively Matt Andersen singing it still sounds like a whole band in full flow.
The album follows on a similar drift; with every shade of Blues on offer, plus a hefty dose of Gospel when you’re least expecting it too.
A big part of me just wants to shout, “Trust me …. just buy it!” but that’s not really the point of reviewing is it?
Even by Matt Andersen’s lofty standards; there are plenty of exceptional musical treasures here that will thrill and surprise longstanding fans and new ones alike.
As early as So Low Solo the second track, there’s a funky and sweeping Hammond organ that comes and goes like a Spring fog; while Andersen and his delightful backing singers sound as if this was recorded in a Memphis Tabernacle.
The very next song Golden is the type of BB King ‘sound’ that Joe Bonamassa has spent decades trying to replicate; yet Matt casually drops it in to let you get your breath back and prime you for what is to follow.
Guitar nerds will be more than happy with this album; but FYI Matt Andersen is very much from the ‘less is more’ school of guitar playing; his solos are measured in seconds rather than minutes; and his songs are all the better for it.
I remember seeing Matt Andersen in concert before I’d heard his CD’s; and was stunned how such a huge and hirsute fella could be so delicate in his phrasing and playing; and man ….. can his songs squeeze your heartstrings like a clamp!
Here he does that with such grace on Miss Missing You and Only An Island; your family would forgive him if you died of a crumbling heart while listening to these words and that voice.
Halfway through the album Matt goes full on Joe Cocker with the punchy and funky-ass What’s On My Mind; and I don’t use that analogy or compliment lightly …. it’s 100% Fabulous with a capital F!
As a man who spent 25 years in the ‘shoe trade’ I was intrigued by the title of the final song; Shoes; and while not an ode to my collection of 24 pairs; it’s actually a sweet and almost Celtic love song, courtesy of some velvety and winsome accordion that has me conjuring up images of a potential video set on a creaking and grey harbour somewhere on Canada’s East Coast.
To all intents and purposes this is an album you will put on late at night; turn the lights down low and snuggle up with a loved one while you wallow in its beauty … but I have a couple of songs that I’ve particularly fallen in love with; Hands of Time would/could have been a Top 10 Hit across the English speaking world; pre-millennium; but quality and style have gone way out of favour in that market in recent years; so it will be left to the likes of RMHQ and specialist radio shows to promote it …. and if you were to hear it on the car radio, I swear you’d pull over and put the hazard lights on so as to hear it with no distractions.
The other is the one I’m choosing as my actual Favourite Song; simply because it’s a bit different from everything else on this particular album and everything Matt has recorded previously.
Rollin’ Down The Road has all kinds of musical ingredients in; a swampy Memphis style melody; barrelhouse piano AND organ, shuffling bass & drum combo; sizzling guitar playing and Andersen sliding in and out of the mix better than Van Morrison on a good night …. seriously; what’s not to like?
I can’t say if this is Matt Andersen’s ‘best album’ to date; as it’s so very different from everything that’s gone before; and that’s a brave decision for any musician to make at this stage of a career. Personally I think it’s the right decision as he can still tour solo and adapt these songs into that format; but when finances allow he can assemble this bunch of players for occasional concerts that will undoubtedly live in the memory forever.

Released 10th March 2023


RMHQ Radio Show Ep:37 AUSTRALIA Special @NovaRadioNE

RMHQ Radio Show
Ep:37 AUSTRALIA Special
Nova Radio NE

When I was having my break over December and January I got to thinking about doing ‘themed’ programmes; not every week, and probably monthly. Si I had a chat with a few friends; bouncing ideas around …. and coupled with a new PR coming on board sending me lots of Australian Roots Music …. so here it is.
There’s a handful of acts you will know but the vast majority will be new to you …. and that’s pretty much our ethos at RMHQ.
Of the names you will recognise, Olivia Newton John makes an appearance; but it’s not the song I hoped for…. a bit more poppy and synth related than I normally like!!

Slim DustyWaltzing Matilda
Alyce PlattEverybody’s Talking
Matt GlassBrunswick
Paul KellyThe River Song
Ol’ ShepLocomotive Weave
Urban GuerillasThey Won’t Play My Song
Karl BroadiePaperback Book
Jay & The CooksI Just Came to Tell You I’m Leaving
Audrey AuldKiss Me
8 Ball AitkenNever Giving Up on You
Misty BlueWhere Your Blues Come From
WelterPhoebe Had a Blue Moon
Lachlan BryanA Portrait of the Artist as A Middle Aged Man
Misty HarloweDays of Summer
Heath CullenThe Song Always Remembers
Rick HartYour Name Don’t Rhyme With Heartache
Charlie LeFieveBarrier Line
Paul Kelly & Charlie OwenTo Live is To Fly
Paul Kelly and Neil FinnFor The Ages
Alan FletcherThe Point
Nick CaveAvalanche
Ryk GoddardEchoes
Slim Dusty ft Keith UrbanLights on the Hill
Jay & The CooksFront Line Worker Blues
Karl BroadieMoonlight Dancing
Gipsy Dave SmithBlue World
Olivia Newton JohnTwist of Fate
CW StonekingThe Thing I Done
Nick Cave & Kylie MinogueWhere the Wild Roses Grow

Doug Collins & The Receptionists TOO LATE AT NIGHT

Doug Collins & The Receptionists
Too Late at Night

Beautifully Maudlin and Authentic Country Heartbreakers Deluxe

WAHAY!!! Doug Collins is back; and The Receptionists are still in tow.
In 2019 I said “Heartbreakers and Lovemakers For Romantics of All Generations.” about his/their GOOD SAD NEWS album and meant it; and now 3 years on I’m pleased to say they are continuing in that beautiful and maudlin fashion; but the songs have a new ‘sharper and more thoughtful edge’ to them …. I think.
Oooooh …. the opening Honky-Tonky Twangfest that is opening track Drinking Again, will have toes a ‘tappin and many listeners of both the male and female persuasion raining a glass to salute the heartbreaking sentiment; both in bars when the band is playing; and sadly in their living rooms when they are all alone with only a bottle for company.
That’s exactly who Doug Collins writes and sings for; not only the only but the heartbroken too.
Stay The Same, which follows; revolves around not wanting the relationship to end even if it isn’t the exciting love fest it once was …. we’ve all ben there; haven’t we?
I have a t-shirt that sports the slogan “Dad Songs Make Me Happy” and that’s why I love songs like these. Even though I’m in a longstanding marriage; that doesn’t stop me appreciating the story and characters in songs like the charming two-stepper, Wish I Still Cared and Hardest Part which both come from the heart and describe that slow descent many relationships have rather than dramatic break-ups that many songs describe.
The slow and tender way Collins sings reminds me a bit of Roy Orbison; although his voice is nothing like Roy …. but the pathos he delivers via his voice is from the same box of tricks.
While it’s still a ‘relationship song’; Mama’s Shoes comes from the point of view of someone finding their departed Mother’s shoes and the memories that they evoke. Again; I’m sure we’ve all been there; I certainly have …. but I can’t think of anyone who can put these feelings into a song the way Doug Collins does.
Be under no illusions; while these songs are ‘sad’ in content; this isn’t really a ‘sad’ album; at one time or another a smile will break out in almost every song here; especially Mexico MO; which features a fabulous Mavericksesque Tex-Mex melody and a pedal-steel that cuts through proceedings like Zorro’s sword!
Where to go for a Favourite Song? Both the gritty Dixon and Sunday Afternoon caught my attention the first time I played the album; and still stand out today.
But yesterday, while playing this in the car 3 Waves came out of nowhere and had me trying my best to try and harmonise on the chorus (which has hints of a Buddy Holly tune … but I can’t remember which.” so it’s a contender.
Yet there is one other song that is really special indeed; and could easily be a huge hit for one of the Hat Acts (male or female) that inhabit the Country Charts these days and are constantly on the look out for something authentic …. and that song is One Thing In Common. The best way I can describe it in words is ‘tragically beautiful’ and I hope you think so too.
How best to describe Doug Collins & The Receptionists?
They are the type of band you hope to find playing in the dark side of town on a Thursday night when you’re dreading the weekend and all of the ‘happy people’ who will be partying like it’s 1999 and all you want to do is drown your sorrows alongside other like minded broken hearted barflies.

Released February 20th 2023



Janis Ian
Light At The End of The Line
Rude Girl Records

A Glorious Way To Say Goodbye From a Folk Legend.

I actually missed this album on its original release in January 2022; but thankfully the LP/Vinyl re-release in 2023 it’s landed on my doorstep.
I’m pretty sure I once saw Janis as a support act in my teenage years; but those nights are becoming ever more hazy; and I also have vague memories of appearances on The Old Grey Whistle Test around that time too …. but I’m stumped if I can remember ever hearing an album of hers.
So leap forward 50 years and I’m listening to her Swansong …. as there by will be no more tour dates as vocal scarring resulting from a virus Ms Ian contracted in 2022 has left her unable to sing as she did.
So; is LIGHT AT THE END OF THE LINE a fitting tribute to a long and succesful career?
With nothing, save some very vague memories and nothing to compare it to; I’;’m still content to answer in the affirmative.
First and foremost; the vibe here isn’t what I was expecting at all …. and that’s probably a good thing; starting with I’m Still Standing which now takes on a whole new meaning; knowing what we now know. At the time of writing and presumably the original release date; it was a powerful ode to the aging process that comes to all of us … and will become an anthem for our generation who are constantly staggered at ‘being the same age as old people!’
The perceptive chorus of,
Another line
Another year
… I’m still standing here!

Is sure to have listeners of a certain vintage whispering “Ain’t that the truth Sister!”
Her first hit, ‘Society’s Child,’ written when she was just 14, spoke empathetically about interracial romance, and her indelible song ‘At Seventeen’ remains the anthem for ‘ugly duckling girls’ maligned by false beauty standards.”
The standards Janis Ian set back then still stand here; and perhaps even more so at times.
The acoustic rendering of that song lulled me into a false sense of security ….. but the following song Resist nearly blew my socks off! Janis Ian goes Electric!
This is Soft Rock of the finest hue; with snarling guitars, farfasa style organ and a rooty toot saxophone supporting this mighty powerful Feminine Anthem of our ages. If this had been by Chrissie Hynde, Debbie Harry or Annie Lennox it would never have been off our TV or radio ….. and the world would be a better place for it …. and still is; if the cognoscenti hunt this version out.
In a similar vein Perfect Girl treads a similar path; but this time it’s a heartbreaker with only Janis’s road worn voice and piano accompaniment.
There’s no real surprise at the quality of the song writing here; Janis Ian has been releasing albums for over half a century; but some of her subjects and even observations are from left of centre, full of Randy Newman style irony and show us a clever and masterful songwriter; none more so than Dancing With the Dark which precedes Dark Side of the Sun and come together like two sides of a collectable coin and are just as valuable.
Just when I was least expecting it, starting and ending with a penny whistle, Janis slides in a Celtic folk song called Swannanoa that left me almost breathless in its fragility and tragic beauty.
As I said earlier, Janis Ian still has the ability to surprise; none more so that her epic version of Better Times Will Come, which closes the album. It starts out a ‘Capella then touches on Bluegrass and closes out with some real dirty and grungy electric guitar …. which pretty much sums up this longstanding anthem.
For a Favourite Song I was initially tempted to choose Summer In New York which has something of a late night Jazz vibe in the way Janis plays the piano and smoozes her vocals; but I’m erring towards the deceptively complex Wherever Good Dreams Go which slowly unravels more and more of the story each time you hear it.
Under normal circumstances I’d have immediatly looked for tour dates after writing this review; but as we now know …. there will be no more tours and no more albums; so this really his the final swansong and Janis Ian is certainly going out on a high.

CD/Download release January 2022
Vinyl Release February 2023


The Shootouts STAMPEDE

The Shootouts
Soundly Music

An Ornery Mix of Classic Country, Bluegrass and Honky-Tonk from Akron Ohio.

I knew I recognised the band’s name and also the style of artwork on the cover, so did a quick look back through the RMHQ archive and found I’d loved their 2019 release QUICK DRAW; but somehow missed a 2021 release; but thankfully that was picked up by Ray Benson who offered to produce a follow up; which brings us to STAMPEDE.
Finding out Ray Benson (from Asleep at The Wheel) was a fan shouldn’t be a surprise as the Shootouts plough a very similar furrow; which is Classic Country but infused with a huge dollop of Western Swing and a dash of what we now know as Americana.
The album starts with the zinging Better Things To Do; a pedal to the metal frenzied mandolin/guitar singalong break-up song where the lovers are considering getting back together ….. Country Music like Country Music ought to be! BTW this belter features Marty Stuart who is there and you know he’s there; but never threatens to overshadow Shootouts singer Ryan Humbart.
The pace slows a tad for Anywhere But Here, which features Buddy Miller as the band give it their finest Twang Honky-Tonk best for 3 and 1/2 glorious minutes.
You hardly have time to take breath as track #3 One Step Forward leaps out of the speakers. Boy oh boy what a belter of a melody and a catchy chorus too ….. coupled to some glorious fiddle playing, a pedal-steel that sounds sublime and Ray Benson’s gorgeous baritone making an appearance on co-vocals ….. what’s not to like?
Perhaps the oddest thing here is that The Shootouts sound definitively ‘Nashville’ ….. yet come from the home town of American Punk and in particular Devo and The Pretenders …. Akron Ohio; where I guess wearing a Nudie Shirt wasn’t seen as being Cool!
I’m not going to name check every single song here; apart from saying the mood takes you up into the stars and back down to earth with a bang; in the way Country Music; or at least the best of always has …. The Shootouts certainly know how to play with the listeners emotions …… making them want to dance one moment (Run For Cover and the red hot instrumental Stampede!) then cry your heart out (Angel’s Work and the heartbreaker Coming Home by Going Away) the next …. which is a skill too many modern Country Stars have forgot how to do.
There are two more songs here featuring ‘Stars’ and both were in consideration for Favourite Song status; Raúl Malo of The Mavericks on I’ll Never Need Anyone More and Jim Lauderdale on Tomorrow’s Knockin; and both are in the 4* arena according to my notes; but being the contrarian I am; I’m erring towards something that is 100% pure Shootouts; and that’s Must Be a Broken Heart; which has a fun thread weaving around a clever song about Lost Love in the vein of George Jones and/or Loretta Lynn (solo or together) and when that fiddle comes in half way through a shiver went down my spine every time!
Of course there are plenty of influences on show here; but The Shootouts wear them proudly and intertwine them to actually create a Classic Country sound that doesn’t actually sound like anyone else as they’ve created their own distinctive ‘sound.’

Released 24th February 2023



Iris Dement
Workin’ On a World

21st Century Schizoid Folk Fuelled Americana For Grown Ups

Although releasing albums since 1992 Iris Dement has completely passed me by!
I can’t explain why …. she used to be a regular visitor to the Jumpin’ Hot Club in Newcastle and I have a friend who (at least) once travelled to London to see her; yet I don’t think I’ve ever consciously heard a word from her prior to playing this album.
The fabulous title track, Workin’ On a World opens the album in a hearty manner. As with the rest of the album; which has taken six years to come together; sounds like a lot of time has gone into its creation, as Iris combines her views on a world going to Hell in a Handcart; but still somehow sees a glint of light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel.
Now I’m workin’ on a world I may never see
Joinin’ forces with the warriors of love 
Who came before and will follow you and me.”.

This immediatly followed by the jaunty Goin’ Down To Sing In Texas; which went over my head a couple of days; mostly because of the shuffling melody and Honky Tonky piano in the background … then …. BIFF! BAP! KERPOW!
It hit me like a Tyson right hook …. this is a protest song about Gun Control and the brave people who stand up against these horrendous weapons …. and while she’s on a roll, Iris sings ….
I know a couple of Muslims
They seem like decent people to me!

Man what a fantastic song ….. not unlike something Randy Newman would have written twenty or thirty years ago.
With articulate and dare I say it; intellectual songs like I Won’t Ask You Why and the swinging Country of Nothing For The Dead which seamlessly leads into Mahalia I’m staggered no one has tried to force feed me Iris’s back catalogue ….. everyone who knows me knows I love music and songs like these.
It can’t even be her distinctive voice; which sounds akin to both Nanci Griffith and Melanie Safka; both of whom I’ve adored for decades and really comes to the fore on Warriors of Love and Walkin’ Daddy too.
I love the piano playing on the beautifully intense Say a Good Word; then with barely a nod or a wink Iris Goes barroom Country on How Long and The Sacred Now; in between there’s the addition of windswept stylings as Iris’s vocals tremor on the dark and Presbyterian hymnal The Cherry Orchard.
With so much going in and these 13 songs that are full of light and shade; and with so many diverse styles involved; it’s very difficult to select a single song as a personal Favourite.
Going Down to Sing In Texas is an obvious contender; but among the less obvious Nothing For The Dead is a really special few minutes; Waycross Georgia ends the album in the most wonderful fashion; with Iris leaving us with plenty to think about …… but earlier the semi-classical piano led, theatrical Let Me Be Your Jesus has Iris using her voice in a whispering almost confessional way on a song that dabbles knee deep in Tom Waits almost Gothic territory as a haunting cornet (or trumpet?) wails in the background; so I’m picking that as my Favourite.
Checking through Iris Dement’s ‘story’ it looks like she’s ‘never recorded the same album twice‘ constantly pushing and challenging herself musically, which is something I truly admire …. and I now need to check out that intriguing back catalogue.

Released 24th February 2023


Buddy Mondlock FILAMENT

Buddy Mondlock

A Spellbinding Voice and Set of Songs that Blur the Lines Between Country and Americana

As regular readers can testify, I like to play albums a couple of times before reading the accompanying Press Release, so I can make my own mind up about what’s on offer musically …. but this time as I was downloading the album a name popped out on the e-mail that definitely caught my attention …. GUY CLARK!
After seeing Mondlock perform at Kerrville Folk Festival not only did Guy say “Pay attention to Buddy; he’s a great writer!” but the two became firm friends; but wrote several songs together; one of which; Rainy Night in The Day ends this album; but more of that later.
Over the ensuing years Buddy’s songs have ben recorded by a host of Nashville stars, from Garth Brooks to Nanci Griffith; so he must be worth investing a few hours of my time – right?
The title track, FILAMENT opens the album and uses the filament in a light bulb as a metaphor for the love of his life; letting us know how fragile love can be.
One song in; and I can easily see why Clark, Brooks and Griffith were attracted to his songs; Buddy Mondlock is articulate, observational and clever in the way he tells his stories.
As you’d expect most songs here are very personal to the singer/writer; but even a first listen to the charming Sunshine in My Pocket, with its ‘Caribbean lite riff’ or Come Back First and especially Ticket Taker Blues, where Mondlock inhabits a character who dreams of travelling around the world; but never leaves his small town and the booth he checks tickets in; you realise what a keen observer of the human race he actually is.
There are deeply personal love songs here too; but ones he shares with us, allowing the listener to believe that If You Will, the highly imaginative Woman In The Window and of course, Perfect could be about situations or relationships we too find ourselves in.
Speaking of ‘imaginative’ I’d heard Jackson Petty four or five times before I realised that it was actually a tale based around Mondlock’s Great Great Grandfather as a boy in the Civil War; who grows up to live through WWI when his own son is coerced into joining the Army just as the father had been ….American Folk music at its finest IMHO.
This neatly brings me to a stunning song called Weak; which Mondlock wrote alongside Iraq veteran Nick Holmes which, “chronicles how lessons learned to stay safe in a war zone don’t necessarily do the same back home. Melodeon and cello provide the light and shade for a lonesome oboe solo on this one.
Personally I think more veterans of war go through these emotions than the Gung-Ho ones we see at right wing political rally’s.
Because of the emotions that song have created for me I’ve been very tempted to make it my Favourite Song on a really special album; but there’s that co-write with Guy Clark, The Dark.
Even had I not known of Clark’s involvement it would still have been a great song on its own merits; and the slow way Mondlock recites the drole words alongside a haunting melody I’d have guessed it had been influenced by Guy Clark; and with all that in mind I’m making it my Favourite song.
Like many of his peers, Buddy Mondlock will probably be best known for the songs of his that others sing; but his voice and the musicality in these songs here; deserve your time and attention as they did mine. Don’t wait to hear any or all of these songs on your radio by someone in a Cowboy hat and boots; go back to the writer and you will enjoy them even more.

Released 17th February 2023


EXCLUSIVE Jarrod Dickenson Interview

Jarrod Dickenson
February 2023

by Kristine Hughes.

At the end of January I had the pleasure of chatting with Jarrod Dickenson. His new album ‘Big Talk’ was about to be released and he was gearing up for tour dates (some of which are in the UK in March). I gave Jarrod some general questions but also the room to go off piste.
He was happy to oblige.

I asked Jarrod what his angle was when he started pulling songs together for ‘Big Talk’. 

He told me when he first started writing the songs there wasn’t really a theme in mind.
‘I was just writing as I do for any record. But the years following the previous record and my experiences certainly influenced what I was writing about and it became clear early on that there was a theme to the new record. That theme was one of resilience and defiance. Not allowing the circumstances you’re in and the obstacles you face to dictate how you live your life and not letting them win. Once I had a handful of songs written, I wasn’t trying to stick to that theme but that is what kept coming out.’
(I think so many of us can relate to this theme!)

‘For those that aren’t entirely sure what I’m dancing around here – my last album ‘Ready the Horses’, much like this one, I made on my own. It was a totally independent affair – self financed and produced. We shopped it around several labels and it ended up getting picked up by a label primarily based in the UK.
Which was a good thing – or so we thought.  It’s a story as old as time. That relationship wasn’t a particularly harmonious one. The people who were handling the record at the label didn’t give it much care or attention and we struggled to get plans set in place.’

‘This happens all the time to thousands of artists but when you’re in the middle of it it’s frustrating.
You hope to find a group of people dedicated to helping you get a record out and support it but in this case they became more of a hindrance than a help and we spent about a year and a half getting the rights back to the record.
They were essentially going to shelve it for most of the world where it would never get released.
And I didn’t like that. As you can imagine.’

‘So that’s where songs like ‘Buckle Under Pressure’ came from. That song I wrote entirely in my head – I’m not one to usually do that.
I need an instrument in my hand to work it all out at the same time. But I was making the 12 hour drive from Texas back to Nashville. It was the day after this record label told me they were going to shelve the record, they weren’t going to give us the rights back either. So this was me gearing up for that fight.
Which we won.
We got the rights back which doesn’t always happen for a lot of artists. But we did win and this was me saying I’m not going to back down.’

‘I think that song with its attitude and defiance, paved the way for a lot of the record. Not only geared toward my experience with the label but the music industry in general.
Streaming has made it nearly impossible for independent artists to make a living out of their art.
How we’re all on the road all of the time now just to have any chance at making a living.’ (Jarrod chuckles)
‘Well, making a living is almost a pipedream in our world.’

‘Thankfully I love being on the road and I would tour 300 days a year if given the opportunity, but it’s also a necessity for people like us. So those were some of the themes that were tied into this record.
And of course then the pandemic hit just as I was getting ready to go into the studio so that played a part as well. There are a couple of songs that deal with that and also the political landscape that was happening at that particular time, not that it’s changed all that much.
So all of that is in there. I’m happy with the way it turned out and I hope other people are as well.’

I tell him I think the record sounds really good.
It puts me in mind of Tom Petty (Jarrod appreciates that comparison).
I tell him he’s knocked it on the head with the ‘3:30 minute song length 10 song’ beauty. It’s a tip of the hat to craftsmanship when you can get everything you want to say and structure the song in such a way that you really can stick to a 3:30 minute window. Jarrod says ‘I remember being told that by publishers.
‘I really like the song but could you trim 15 seconds off’ and I’m like, man, I don’t think in those terms.
It was a nice surprise to see that a lot of the songs did hover around that 3 minute mark because it doesn’t always happen that way.’ I add it’s not just a radio or publishing thing but also when a fan is listening and ‘oh! The song is over!’ they’ll go back and listen again.
I know I do that. 

I ask Jarrod about his team. Who came first and what does that look like now? Did you find them or did they find you?

‘A bit of both actually. Some of it hasn’t changed all that much.
I have a friend called Joe Haddow who has been my manager now for a good number of years.
It’s been a labour of love on his part because it’s not helping him pay the bills.
He helps any way he can.
We’ve had a few different UK and European agents.

We now work with Beth Morton (United Talent Agency) for UK and Europe and a new agent in North America named Joy Collingbourne (MOB Agency), although she’s from Yorkshire.

In fact both of my agents are Yorkshire women which I’m happy with. I’ve had the same publisher for a good number of years, although the guy I started out with passed away a few years ago and a family member has taken over.

In terms of the team not much has changed because we’ve been independent from the beginning. But the way we are getting the music out has become more independent and in a controlled way.’

I asked Jarrod about censoring his songs or not being afraid to tell it like it is.

‘No, I’m not afraid to share my feelings on any subject, that said, I do think there is a way to be tactful or not too blunt. If you’re too specific about your own gripes and grievances it’s harder for someone else to connect to it when what you’re experiencing is a universal thing.

Choosing your words wisely but not sugar coating them either.’

When I ask him about his most surprising fan support – either from far flung places or fans that surprise him – he goes straight to the UK.
‘The UK is our biggest audience and has been for a long time. It’s been very grassroots, growing it over a decade of touring and doing support gigs for other people and gaining loyal fans that way. I’ve been very grateful for that.’ 

‘During the pandemic and lockdown, we were doing these weekly live stream shows for about a year, almost every week, and I couldn’t believe how many people were tuning in every week and tipping very generously which was a huge part of how we managed to survive while not being able to tour.
We are very lucky to have a humble but very loyal fanbase primarily in the UK but also parts of Europe and here in the US.’

Is there anything about this record or the tour that you’re really excited to share or any surprises? ‘Well first and foremost we’re just happy to be back on the road again. It’s been a long time coming.
We, along with so many others, were sidelined for so long. Both musicians and music fans.
We’re thrilled to have a lot of dates coming up. I’m approaching it carefully – there is still plenty that could go wrong. We are still seeing tours get cancelled because of Covid.
We’re gonna be as safe as we can be to make it happen.
We’re delighted to be doing a full band tour in the UK for the first time in a handful of years. It’s gonna be a lot of fun.’

Who makes up the band?
‘The band is a group of friends and my wife.
Claire is the mainstay, singing and playing percussion. She navigates the ship.
And we have Joe Haddow, my manager, who is a drummer as well.
One of the best people to have on the road. Our buddy JP Ruggieri, who has played guitar on my last few records. He also mixed this new record.
He’s one of these guys who is annoyingly talented at a lot of different things. He’s such a great guitar player but also great at mixing and recording. He also has a record coming out (March 10) so he’s going to open all of the shows.
And then we’re rounding it out with another dear friend of ours, David Ford, who’s gonna play in the band and then in Ireland he’ll be playing opening sets as well.
We’ve all toured together over the years so it’s nice to get the gang back together.’

With streaming over the pandemic and the need to keep the home-fires burning, as an independent artist often we have to think outside the box – we have to generate alternate revenue streams.
I ask Jarrod if there is anything that he’s stumbled upon that has proven to be a lovely thing to offer or include that helps both financially but also the fans enjoy?
‘Not really, we’ve offered test pressings and handwritten lyrics, but mostly touring and selling merch.
Now, that said, Claire and I have stumbled upon a little side hustle that is not at all music related.
When we moved into the house we’re currently in, we started trying to furnish it.
We both love mid-century furnishings and quickly filled up the house and realised we could turn around and sell the pieces we didn’t want to keep.
It’s like treasure hunting that we both enjoy and a little extra cash in the bank.’

I ask if there is a favourite find – like an antique bedframe.
‘A couple of chairs and coffee tables. An Adrian Pearsall chair we found at an estate sale and we bought it for far less than you should be able to buy it for which is why it’s in our house.’

I turn the conversation back to the new record.
Where did the name of the record come from?
‘Big Talk is a line in Bamboozle.’
(I tell him I like it for its New Orleans/Delta blues sound which he replies ‘that was what I was going for.’)
‘I should say this is the second album title that David Ford has come up with a winner. On ‘Ready the Horses’ it was ‘Ready the Horse’ which was a line from ‘Goldrush’.
He said you should make it ‘Ready the Horses’, it sounds more inclusive and just sounds better and then I’m thinking oh, shit, he’s right, that does sound better.
This record was going to be ‘Promises and Big Talk’ and he said ‘nah, kill that off. It should just be ‘Big Talk’. Damn, he’s right again!’ (I say maybe this is David’s side hustle and Jarrod says maybe but he won’t make any money from it and we share a laugh.)

With just a couple minutes left to chat, we touch on what happens after this tour. What does the future hold for this record? ‘Hopefully festivals. We’re throwing our name in the hat. So hopefully be back over for that. And more dates in mainland Europe as well.
A lot more touring in the States. And then just see where it goes. Hopefully more touring, more writing and more recording. That’s pretty much all I’m after. Keep the cycle going. To keep doing what I’m doing.’

And merch for fans?
‘CDS, vinyl, hopefully a new T-shirt and probably some little strange merch item people will like.’

I feel the new album would be a great album to see performed live.
So get to a gig if you can.
They’re anxious to get over here and get it started.
I’m sure their pent up pandemic energy will be evident and I wouldn’t miss it.
And you won’t meet a nicer guy.
Go out and support him and his great band on tour dates mid-March in the UK. Stream or buy ‘Big Talk’ now. 

Review by Kristine Hughes

RMHQ Radio Show Ep:36 @NovaRadioNE

RMHQ Radio Show
Nova Radio NE

February 19th 2023

With last week’s show not being available on the Nova Radio ‘listen again service’ I repeated a couple of tracks from that show; then halfway through I received a text saying the glitch was fixed and the show was now available ….. so forgive me brethren if you think I’m losing my mind.

As always excites me, there were six brand new songs in tonight’s show; all probably ‘exclusive first plays’ …. which is why I love doing these shows; but then again re-introducing legends like Emmylou, Gram, Bonnie and Charly Pride to a new generation helps too.

Rory GallagherPistol Slapper Blues
Feenstra & SimpsonYour Eyes Give You Away
Lindi OrtegaCigarettes and Truckstops
Dyer DavisDog Bites Back
Kirsten AdamsonMy Fathers Songs
The White BufalloHeart and Soul of the Night
Holy Moly and The CrackersRed Hot
Withered HandWaking Up
Janis IanBetter Times Will Come
Our Man in The FieldSwansong
Wesley HannaBack to The Honky Tonks
Alejandro EscovedoRebel Kind
Bennett Wilson PooleCry At the Movies
String Driven ThingTravelling
Robin AdamsPushed & Pulled
Elizabeth MoenClown Song
Joe Louis WalkerWeight of The World
Bonnie RaitAll Alone With Something To Say
Phil HooleySome Say
Angelica RockneAge of the Voyeur
Daniel MeadeChoking On The Ashes
Steve DaggettOver a Beer
Charley PrideIs Anyone Going to San Antone?
Elles BaileyHalfway House
Emmylou HarrisSweetheart of the Rodeo
Gram ParsonsOoh Las Vegas

Kirsten Adamson LANDING PLACE

Kirsten Adamson
Landing Place

Down to Earth Wisdom, Set Alongside Tightly Crafted Melody and Lyrics

My first encounter with Kirsten was when I caught her in a duo with ahab’s (no capital or it’s a different band!) Dave Burn – The Marriage – in the Den at Cambridge Folk Festival 2019.
On that occasion, the duo remarked that they were probably rusty as they coming back into performance after a timeout (they weren’t) , so I was looking forward to hearing new material – but then we all know what happened over the next couple of years and I didn’t catch up with the duo until The Marriage played at the Ramblin’ Roots Revue in High Wycombe in 2022.
Kirsten clearly had been musically busy in the meantime – as well as new material from the duo, she’s also brought this solo album forth – and most enjoyable it is too.

The opening two tracks cover both sides of the parental spectrum – opener “No other Mother”
you’re a fighter/you’ve been through it
speaks of respect for her matriarchal role model
You’re like no other mother – and you’re mine”.
Kirsten’s voice has an ineffable but recognisable Scottish quality and this is equally reflected in Dean Owens’ melody in the wonderful “My Father’s Songs”, a coming to terms with a father lost and found, given great poignancy for anyone knowing of Kirsten’s late father Stuart.
It’s a proud, celebratory and emotionally conciliatory anthem.

“Stars on the South Coast” is a tale of a relationship as a road trip, both literal and metaphorical- and name checks singing harmony to a “Courtney” (Marie Andrews?) song; which may be a first. Again, Gaelic tinged melody and narrative combine to create a fine mix.
“Coals and Ashes” is set in a minor key which reflects its more emotionally pragmatic, yet determined lyricism “These coals won’t turn to ashes”…

Mid-album “I Will Sign” thumps along on the toms as our heroine ledges to “sign away my secrets” – and more.
It’s a tale of commitment and uncertainty.
This duality is also reflected in “Up and Down” –
sometimes the saddest songs don’t always hit the spot” –
it’s a rumination of the effect of music on our mood – it’s a more sophisticated second cousin twice removed of The Smiths “Rubber Ring” in terms of its subject matter, the common link being the redemptive power of music.
“Time With You” is gentler in musical tone, with pads and drones underscoring picked guitar and the simple acceptance that “All I want is time with you”, a plea for more connection in a frantic world.

“They Deserve Better” chugs gently along with a staccato acoustic guitar under a missive of finding – and creating the right kinds of role models amongst a neo-liberal, materialistic world.
“Useless at Being Alone” moves from the universal to the more personal in musically militaristic waltz time.
Steinbeck would approve, in that he said similar things about the need for companionship and fellow humanity.
This personal vein is mined further on “What Happens When You Don’t Follow Your Heart” – its musical tone, tremulous vocal and lyri cs both imply a melancholy outcome
I’m OK, but feelings don’t lie”
The final track “Without Warning” ups the tempo to take things out about the volatility of life -both good and bad.
It’s a fitting ending to an album where there is thread throughout about wrestling with life’s extremes and having the strength to accept and deal with whatever comes your way – the confidence and down to earth wisdom, set amongst songs where there’s a tightness about the crafting of melody and lyrics – make this into a strong and thematically homogenous second release.

Review by Nick Barber
Released February 3rd 2023