Courtney Marie Andrews OLD FLOWERS

Courtney Marie Andrews
Old Flowers
Loose records

Deeply Passionate and Beautiful Break-up Album.

Having seen CMA (that’s how she signs her autographs btw – I’m not being rude) with a band and solo, I know there’s a lot of debate between her followers as to which musical setup suits her best.
Ever the fence-sitter, I can see virtue in both – and “Old Flowers” should satisfy both sides of the debate, as it’s a more stripped back band album than “Honest Life” and “May Your Kindness Remain” with only three performers – Courtney, Twain’s Matthew Davidson and Big Thief’s James Krivchenia  – and this pushes the emotion and heart-rending soul in Courtney’s voice to the fore; piano dominated songs take up most of the album and create an ambience of beautiful melancholy. In pre-release interviews, Courtney has clarified that the album was “inspired” – such an ironic word under the circumstances – by her coming out of a nine year relationship.
As a result, it’s cathartic and confessional.
In lesser hands such subject matter could have resulted in navel-gazing but not here. Focusing on the small moments and making them universal, CMA makes the acute details of personal experience speak to everyone who’s been through similar emotions…and that’s a lot of us.
In opener “Burlap String”, an early teaser release, she states she’s a “sceptic of love” and wishes for the gift of hindsight because “there’s no replacing someone like you” – it’s a razor sharp moment of regret.
“Guilty” which follows discusses the difficulty of letting go and starting again as feelings are still there, based around a Neil Youngesque piano accompaniment.
“If I told”, the tremulous first released track from the album deals with the danger of baring your soul and of the ineffable nature and mystery/uncertainty of attraction.
“Together or alone”  looks at the perseverance of feeling from the first moment onwards and there’s the speculation that maybe some time in the future that the pain of the current moment will be softened either “Together or alone” – there’s simultaneous hope and resignation throughout; it’s that moment when you’re not in or out of coping with feeling for the other person.
Mid album there’s “Carnival dream” with its “I may never let love in again” refrain and funereal snare  – I defy anyone not to well-up listening to this – it hits deep and hard and in the wee small hours it’ll have you in bits.
Title track “Old Flowers” changes perspective “You can’t water old flowers” – it’s that point where there’s a realisation that something good has gone but there’s the germination of strength –  “I’m on my own now – but I don’t feel alone”.
In “Break the Spell”  things get harder still  – it’s about the push and pull of trying to make something work and the conflicts, truths and lies that we want to believe and yet, deep down know aren’t true – about being in limbo.
If he could “break the spell”, then that would make things clearer and simpler. “It Must Be Someone Else’s Fault” takes the narrative into the realm of self-analysis and self-re-creation “I’ve gone bad but the world is good” with an underlying ache yet acceptance of one’s self.
Album closer “How You Get Hurt” ends on a note of emotional shutdown – if you don’t “let your guard down/You make a move and then it doesn’t work out” then there’s no pain – simple as – no romantic illusion here.
There’s a largely linear thread of an emotional journey throughout the album, but with ebb and flow as emotions well and subside on the path to separation – it’s an encapsulation of a pivotal point in life that many of us have experienced and in exploding the detail of her experience, Courtney Marie Andrews has created great beauty through her shared emotion.
Album closer “Ships in the night” goes for closure and  offers a pragmatic attitude and coping strategy and places the relationship in a longer term context.
There’s a largely linear thread of an emotional journey throughout the album, but with ebb and flow as emotions well and subside on the path to separation – it’s an encapsulation of a pivotal point in life that many of us have experienced and in exploding the detail of her experience, Courtney Marie Andrews has created great beauty through her shared emotion.
It’s no less than a “Blue” for the 21st century.

Released 24th July 2020
Review by Nick Barber


Paul McClure
I Love You In The Morning
Clubhouse Records

We rather like the ‘Rutland Troubadour’ Paul McClure, here at RMHQ; as there’s something ‘special’ about his songwriting and softly expressive voice that appeals to us (Mrs Magpie & I). He skirts what we know as Modern Folk and Americana without sitting comfortably in either camp; so will will put him into the Singer-Songwriter camp; of old.
We’ve been sitting on this release for a few weeks now, and my trusty i-phone keeps finding it and teasing me; as I’d promised to post my words on the eve of the release date.
As is the fashion; and something of a necessity both the A-Side, I Love You in The Morning and the B-Side Shoe Song Blues were not just written but recorded during #lockdown; somehow using modern technology remotely to bring the band together; which still baffles yet impresses me.
Whatever; these are two stunningly beautiful and simple love songs; something we don’t hear enough of these days; and the world is a slightly better place for their release.

Released 3rd July 2020

PITCH INVASION (Book) Adidas, Puma and The Making of Modern Sport.

Adidas, Puma and The Making of Modern Sport.
Barbara Smit.
Penguin Books

This will be a surprise for regular readers, as RMHQ doesn’t normally ‘do sport’, but being an Adidas ‘fanboy’ for nigh on half a century, I was asked to write this book review for a magazine a couple of years ago and thought I’d make an exception and share it with you.

What starts out as a lovely story, which sounds like something Catherine Cookson may have written; about an extended family in a quaint German town as the 19th Century turned into the 20th.
What could possibly go wrong?
WW1 actually.
Facts from this period are a bit sketchy; but when the elder brothers come back from the Front Line to join the youngest, Adolph who was too young to join the Army; the story soon revolves around two of the brothers; Adolph who quickly became a genius Artisan shoe maker and the other, Rudolph, a flamboyant salesman; who together not only built up two very successful business’s, making and selling running shoes, but changing in history and fashion in the process.
Although times were tough between the wars in Germany, sports and particularly running became very popular and Adi Dassler’s ever improving and ever lighter shoes meant the family business kept growing, and growing with Rudi taking over sales in 1923, leaving Adi in his factory office constantly experimenting and designing, using whatever materials came to hand.
The first of the twists occurs as the story moves into the 1930’s and Hitler arrives on the political scene.
Like everyone else in the country Adi and Rudy joined the National Socialist Party; with the younger sibling not appearing to have been an active member but Rudy, on the other hand embraced The Party and all it stood for.
Adolph’s first Marketing Masterstroke came when he talked his way into supplying footwear for the burgeoning Hitler Youth movement which swept the country.
Then, the first of the truly fascinating facts that you will discover, happens around the infamous 1936 Olympic Games themselves. It was no real surprise that Adi Dassler’s footwear were the shoes of choice for the German National Squad; as the Master Shoemaker’s many contacts finally came to fruition; but Adi was also made aware of a young American sprinter called Jesse Owens, who was winning races all over Europe and made it his business to make his acquaintance; and………Jesse Owens actually wore ‘Adidas’ shoes when he made history setting world records and winning four Gold medals.
You can’t tell from the photos; because the iconic Three Stripes hadn’t been thought of at that time; but ‘Adidas’ trainers they most definitely were.
As WWII beckoned Rudolph Dassler’s role in the National Socialist Party backfired as he was conscripted into a division of the Gestapo, while Adi was quickly returned home to run the family business, which was now manufacturing boots and rucksacks for the army!
Thankfully both brothers and their other siblings all survived; but the infamous ‘fall out’ slowly came to fruition over the next few years.
As the Dassler footwear business flourished, predominantly because they were in the American Quarter of Germany and Adi spotted that the GI’s played baseball and basketball in tatty canvas Converse sneakers…..he began making stronger and more supple leather versions; and when they discovered Adi had made the shoes worn by Jesse Owens; production went through the roof!
It’s not clear; but it’s surmised that the ‘Fall Out’ was brought on by everyone living in the same house and both men’s pushy wives believing that their respective husband deserved more accolades than the other with the rift finally coming to a conclusion in April 1948 when the brothers agreed to split the business. Adi, as he now preferred to be called originally named his new company Addas, which was also the name of a German children’s brand, so he added the extra ‘i’ and the Adidas legend was created.
Rudolph attempted something similar calling his company Ruda; but finally settled on the more aggressive sounding and sporty Puma.
At this stage, and when you take another look at the Jesse Owen photos; none of their shoes actually had anything distinctive on the side. Strips of leather did adorn their athletic shoes; but were normally self-coloured or dark scraps that were used to strengthen the pressure points.
Adi though, knew he needed something to make his shoes stand-out on both the track and shop shelves, experimenting with anything between two and six white stripes on each side; but eventually deciding on three white stripes; while the Puma ones just used one thick stripe.
The split wasn’t as simple as the brothers hoped; with Adi keeping one factory and it’s workforce on one side of the local river and Rudy a smaller factory and the company offices on the other with his sales team.
The next couple of years were difficult for both company’s, but as expected Adi’s new Adidas brand kept innovating and inventing; coupled with the shoemaker’s hard nosed approach to ‘product placement’ they quickly expanded into the burgeoning football market across Europe; culminating with the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, when unknown to anyone outside the company; he had *invented ‘screw in’ and interchangeable studs; which helped West Germany win the World Cup on a rain soaked and muddy pitch.
*there were already screw -in studs in England, but Adi never mentioned that!
All of this left Puma trailing in their wake; and to some extent they drift out of the main story as a whole new rival to Adi Dassler is soon to make an appearance.
With our hero Adi tucked away in his design room his devoted wife Kathe evolved into head of sales; and even began exporting product to Canada when International Sales of sports goods was virtually unheard of.
Still a family business at heart, Adi’s eldest son Horst enters the story in 1956 when the Olympics were held in Melbourne Australia.
The shenanigans began before the first race had been run; with Horst somehow managing to ‘convince’ some Customs men to impound a shipment of Puma shoes that were destined as giveaways to athletes; leaving the door well and truly wide open for the 20 year old to give away their exciting and light weight Adidas running spikes……which many victorious and ‘Amateur’ athletes took with glee.
Young Dassler made contacts left right and centre during these games; and several would eventually go onto high positions within the Olympic movement, as well as the seeds being planted for the Company’s ultimate world wide domination.
Flushed with what he saw as his own success, Horst felt restrained under his Mother’s watchful eye so following some volatile disagreements was eventually dispatched across the border in 1959 to run the family’s new French operation.
Over the next few years Horst does deals within deals, unknown to his parents only 40 miles away; making friends and influencing people in not just the Olympic movement but EUFA and FIFA too, alongside numerous individual International Committees; and growing his own division until it was soon bigger and more profitable than his parent’s German operation.
Your jaw will drop when you read how much cash swilled around in endorsements, both over and (mostly) under the counter in the next 40 years and the names that littered the newspaper columns a couple of years ago when the FIFA offices were raided; are all here too.
By the 1970’s Adidas was less about manufacturing the finest product, as it was Horst Dassler’s quest for supreme power in the sports industry; regardless of who got caught and hurt in his slipstream.
When the story arrives in the 80’s Horst is so arrogant and power mad he totally dismisses new brands Reebok and Nike; as he thinks he has every corner of the market covered; not realising fashions change on a whim.
This story is so fast moving, engrossing and convoluted; that by the time the Russians gave one Adidas executive a dog as a gift, everyone presumed it must be bugged and treated it as a spy!

Author Barbara Smit has done a remarkable job piecing together the 100 year story of Adidas, making it not just a history lesson but a roller coaster thriller too and will make an excellent TV Series.

Alan Harrison


First Rose of Spring

Pin Point Americana Pictures, Painted with Laconic Lyrics and Beautiful Imagery.

What do you do when you are a world-wide, iconic elder statesman of Texas, nay American, popular music and you reach the ripe old age of 87? Well, if you’re Willie Nelson and you’ve just won your 13th. Grammy for last year’s critically acclaimed “Ride Me Back Home,” you go straight back in the studio and lay down 11 new tracks for your 70th. studio album.
Yes, there have been 69 previous releases.
The word “legend” just doesn’t do this man justice.
Originally scheduled for an April 2020 release “First Rose of Spring” has been held back, due to the world-wide Coronavirus pandemic, until Friday 3rd. July.
Again, paired with his long-term friend Buddy Cannon as producer, they co-wrote 2 of the songs while the other 9 have been carefully selected from contemporary and traditional song-writers.
Opening with the title track First Rose of Spring, which was composed by the young song-writing team of Randy Houser, Allen Shamblin & Mark Beeson, we are welcomed with a slow, love at first sight ballad that could have been written by Willie himself and really sets the tone for the other 10 tracks.
Blue Star and Love Just Laughed are the 2 tracks that Willie and Buddy co-wrote and again they undoubtedly hit the high standard that the great man just keeps maintaining, even as the years roll on and on and on.
I’ll Break Out Again Tonight provides a heart-wrenching prisoners dream, with a laid back pedal steel guitar adding to the lights out delusion whilst Toby Keith’s Don’t Let The Old Man In fits like a glove; with the hard hitting chorus of
Ask yourself how old you’d be
If you didn’t know the day you were born”.
Stealing Home is another Classic Country ballad that would bring a tear to a glass eye, reminiscing and looking back on an idyllic childhood with the chorus ending with:
damn old Father Time for stealing home”.
Just Bummin’ Around composed by Peter Graves is a slightly humorous, uptempo western-swing tune, whilst the surprise of the album is a completely new song written by Grammy winning, contemporary hit-maker Chris Stapleton, entitled Our Song.
I almost selected Yesterday, When I Was Young (Hier Encore) as my favourite. A superb cover of a 1964 Charles Aznavour chanson which was Roy Clark’s biggest ever country hit in 1969, but my vote goes to We Are The Cowboys.
This is a cover of another long-time hell-raising, outlaw Texan, the one and only Billy Joe Shaver, that has a haunting, home on the range type harmonica backing, to drive home the chorus of :-
We are the cowboys the true sons of freedom
We are the men who will get the job done
We’re picking our words so we won’t have to eat them
We’re rounding them up and then driving them home.
It’s a scene stealing tune about life in the Lone Star State and even more poignantly, it’s written by another walking, talking, fabled Texan.
The pictures painted with such laconic, pin point lyrics simply put the icing on the cake of yet another wonderful set of songs.
How does he keep on doing it? Willie Nelson is truly unique and, as ever, conveys real feelings through his music and makes every song his own.
Released in 3rd. July 2020
Jack Kidd “Messin’ with the Kidd” on Tuesdays

Robert Lester Folsom AUTUMN LAMENT

Robert Lester Folsom
Autumn Lament
Abacus Records

A Perfectly Balanced Mix of Alt. Country Love Songs That Sound Perfect For Both Chevy Vans and Toyota Hybrids.

I suppose I have to issue a Disclaimer here; as the Producer of this release from Robert Lester Folsom was none other than our very own Roy Peak; who sent me an early copy.
As I regularly tell people when they talk about the extraordinary amount of albums we get through here at RMHQ, “You should see the size of the box with the ones that we don’t review!”
So to some degree, every album we review at RMHQ has to merit not just our precious time to listen to them; but your precious money to purchase them…… #BuyDon’tSpotify!
So; just because Roy was involved didn’t mean this album would necessarily pass our stringent barriers.
Just like when we were kids in a Record Shop, the first song has to catch my attention in one way or another; and the instrumental title track, Autumn Lament does that with ease. The uber-cool steel guitar and assorted instruments that combine to create an interesting and atmospheric tune to lead an album was a brave but worthy decision; and works far better than it should.
The first actual song, It’s Not You follows and the mood is something akin to those 1980’s albums that led into what we now know as Alt. Country; not quite Country enough to be Country and not enough zing to make them Country Rock either; but more than good enough to to still be listened to twenty years after release.
Perhaps that’s because several of these songs have lain dormant since the late 70’s, only to be brought to life earlier this year for this ‘Song Cycle’ about Love and relationships; which shouldn’t scare you; as each song appears to be here on merit; as opposed to ‘filler’ to move a ‘Rock Opera’ along.
Perhaps Robert will be disappointed in me; but I’ve just enjoyed listening to Winter Warning, Dancing With Piano In The Rain and Waiting For Summer on their own merits, without worrying about any narrative that links them together.
Presumably with the aid of the Legendary Roy Peak, Folsom comfortably manages to toy with our emotions using every gift a songwriter and musician has in his tool box; juxtaposing the gentle acoustic heartbreaker One More Song with the claustrophobic Hop Hop Hop Hop Hippity Hop and then closing the album with the down home Southern fried See You Later, I’m Gone, which genuinely sounds like Jason Isbell covering The Lemonheads.
That last song was going to be my Favourite Song for a couple of weeks; but recently the dark and brooding Missing You X 7 has evolved and unraveled in a way only repeated playing can do; so this now wins the title; but both are well worth checking out before buying the album.
I’d not heard of Robert Lester Folsom prior to receiving this album; which is a sad surprise as he seems to be quite ‘the big deal’ around Florida and South Korea too! Which is no surprise as he’s got a singing voice that burns into your Soul and songs that are certainly the equal of many of his current peers.

Released May 2020

Chris Riley CESTRIAN

Chris Riley
Nice Mind Records

Sharp and Canny Folk Songs From the Traditional to Contemporary

Like many ‘local singer-songwriters’ around the globe, Chris Riley has to adopt many guises to make a living; and we’ve previously reviewed two of his previous diverse releases; the Irish influenced Folk trio The Dicey Rileys and his Rhythm & Blues combo The False Poets, but here he throws caution to the wind and goes completely solo!
The opening song Syracuse features a deceptively clever acoustic intro which is sure to catch your attention; and Riley’s warm and expressive voice; hewn from the Durham coalfield takes us on a delightful journey to love in a foreign field.
The next track, Pocket Full of Rhymes could have been an alternative album title; as it’s the cornerstone for most every other song here; a gently observational and autobiographical song about the life of a wandering troubadour.
Like all of his peers in the Folk World; be that traditionalists like Ralph McTell and Tom Paxton or romantics such as Jackson Browne or James Taylor; Chris Riley manages to find beauty and interest in many things around us all, the things most of us miss and he manages to make Mad Machine into a brilliant example of a songwriter’s art.
Here Chris explores the dark side of life too on Gaia’s Answer and When The Roses Bloom, with both making me sit quite still and really focus on the lyrics each time I’ve listened.
As a collection of songs created over many years, it’s nice to hear his various influences and styles filter through each and every song, from Traditional Folk (both British AND American) through a bit of Country and coming out with some experimental, nee Prog Folk at the end!
Love songs you ask? Of course – the brittle Autumn Colours will send a shiver down your spine, and When The Roses Bloom too, but don’t expect ‘Moon in June’ imagery.
Then there’s the instrumental Fistful of Quavers nodding to the Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns as it does; as well as my wife’s favourite snack at the same time. But; there’s also the creepy and poetic The Dirge; which is almost cinematic in concept and the guitar work tips towards the work of both John Williams and Martin Carthy, if such a thing is possible.
Although both are absolutely lovely; I’m by-passing Kirsten’s Song and the charming Charlotte’s Tune in my quest for a Favourite Song, and debating between two tracks. The first, and this is quite sad for a Reviewer of Universal acclaim like what I is; I’ve been sorely tempted to go for the title track Cestrian; simply because of the title ‘Cestrian’ (i.e a dweller of Chester le Street, which is about 4 miles from where I live and a drinking area which I regularly frequented in my youth); but the bizarre, almost Prog-Folk instrumental actually misses out to Fortune All Around Me; a wonderful song which evoked memories of the teenage me discovering Ralph McTell and Richard Thompson and the dark and evocative delights of British Folk Music which, when done well; is as good as any other style of music in the world; and Chris Riley has written and produced a minor gem with this one.
Chris Riley is probably too old with a day job to boot, to tour the world bringing his songs to adoring audiences of all ages; but thankfully his music will always be available to download and also buy on Compact Disc (for the hipsters out there) and bring joy to you and yours in the comfort of your own homes for years to come.

Released July 3rd 2020


Matt Hill
Quiet Loner Records

Modern British Folk Songs With an Expressive and Melodious Americana Undercurrent.

Aha! The Artist Formerly Known as Quiet Loner is back and (*Spoiler Alert) better than ever.
Matt Hill; for it is he is nothing more than a Folk Singer; and I don’t say that lightly. In whatever guise he takes, Matt’s songs are deeply rooted very firmly in the style of music we associate with Woody Guthrie, Tom Paxton and our very own Richard Thompson; imaginative, articulate and always fascinating stories with a historical basis that are destined to educate and entertain in equal measure.
When you read the lyrics to opening track Stone & Bone it feels like the poetry of Hardy or Larkin; but add a jaunty tune that includes a banjo, electrical guitars, a musical saw and a throbbing bass and you get a fabulous Folk Rock song about the ‘dead’ rising from the graveyard that the Square Mile Financial District in London is built on, rising and taking control!
Obviously I’m not doing it justice …… but it’s a fabulous start to a fabulous album.
One of my own ‘adages’ is ‘ don’t dismiss them; because all old people have stories to tell;’ and Matt proves that with his delightfully dark Save Your Pity; sung in the first person of a man on his death bed telling those around him to ‘Save Your Pity’ as he’s had quite the life, and a life most would never have guessed from looking at his wracked body.
When you get to know Matt you quickly find he’s quite the historian; and as I said earlier; in the mould of Woody and Paxton can put whole swathes of history into a lovely three minute song; and that’s exactly what he does with Billy’s Prayer; a tale of a young man from Salford (Manchester) who left his home in 1890 to make a new life across the Atlantic where he became the legendary boxer Battling Billy Marchant, who went on to become a hero in WWI too.
Preceding this is The Exile of DH Lawrence which details the last few years of one of England’s finest story tellers; who had been banished from his home country and left to die in Taos, New Mexico; and Hill captures the tale quite magnificently; especially the judicious use of feedback-guitar in the background.
Sometimes Matt Hill can’t stop himself; and actually introduces the song Four Corners himself; and in fairness this lifts a song about minutiae in a village in the writer’s family home of Nottingham; into a Classic Folk Song set to a parlour Jazz beat that will stick in the mind for days afterwards.
Boxing and history rear their head again in Bendigo; and Hill again, manages to unearth detail and diamonds from a life long forgotten; but sounds like it could easily be made into an actual film!
As I keep saying, Matt Hill is first and foremost a Storyteller and even when he writes a Love Song it’s always going to be complicated and personal; and that’s exactly what you get with the mystical If Love Should Rise and to some extent; Roll Me Out (In The Middle of The Night); which closes the album; too ……. no matter how bad you think life is; there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
This is a really special album in many ways; with each individual song being well worthy of praise but two songs stand above all others. Gary Gilmore’s Last Request should really be my Favourite Song here, as it taught me something about this ‘two bit’ killer’s story that I didn’t know; but more importantly it told me how special Johnny Cash really was; by actually answering the request to be Gilmore’s last phone call. Trust me; this is what Folk Music is really about.
My actual Favourite Song is Chains; and when I first heard it earlier this year it passed me by; but as 2020 had progressed it has taken on a life of it’s own as it’s very subtle and modern song about Slavery, past, present and future. Where it written or recorded today I’m sure it would have sounded a lot angrier; but it wasn’t and is even stronger the way Matt Hill’s distinctively warm voice sounds so sad; and when the haunting choir drift in and out for the first time; tears will come to your eyes.
There is a depth to Matt Hill’s storytelling and songwriting; Folk with an Americana undercurrent, that seems out of step with most everything else I hear in the idiom these days and I can’t recommend this album highly enough.

Released 6th July 2020


Will Hoge
Thirty Tigers

Intense and Personal Rocking and Rolling Alt. Country.

Will Hoge? Hmmmmmm …… Will Hoge?
The name rang a bell; but with so many albums flowing through RMHQ in the last three years my ever dissolving memory couldn’t place him. So I did what you would do; checked my previous reviews and Hey Presto!
Silly me ……….. I love Will Hoge!
Sure enough memories of long car journeys with his 2017 release ANCHORS blasting out of the windows came flooding back as soon as he began singing Midway Motel and that distinctive Twangy guitar sound filled the room.
While most every song here sounds deeply personal; they also tick many boxes for the listener too; even if you haven’t actually lived Hoge’s words they live out the romanticism (and the dark side of his Tiny Little Movies) which is also all I adore in Alt. Country, Country Rock and/or Americana.
The anthemic The Overthrow follows; sounding like Springsteen fronting the Heartbreakers singing a Neil Young song! Seriously; and trust me here; when played live those guitar and drum solos will last eons and you won’t care a jot!
Hoge describes himself as a Rock n Roller at heart; and even a cursory listen to Con Man Blues will tell you he’s not wrong! Angry, angsty and awesome in equal measures and destined to scare the bejasus out of your neighbours the next time you have a BBQ in the backyard.
As with all of the best; Hoge can put just as much anger and angst into an acoustic song; and here Is That All You Wanted Me For and All The Pretty Horses fill a gap that my heart has been waiting for all year.
I’ve only ever seen Will Hoge play solo; but imagine hearing the melancholia of My Worst or the sweet laid back Country tunes The Curse and The Likes of You with these musicians filling the silences ever so delicately must be an experience worth travelling long distances for.
Selecting a Favourite Song was never going to be easy here; as just about every song has its own merits in that regard, with some being Radio Friendly and others being destined for very personal playlists that no one else has access to; and that’s probably where I’m going with Maybe This is OK.
Again, Hoge has written an intense song from his own experiences that somehow manages to be about me too …… clever that; isn’t it? My interpretation of this Petty/Springsteen hybrid, is that it’s about someone who has made many mistakes in his life; but has actually come through it all reasonably well …….. which may sound like it’s about you too?
2020 is proving another very special year for the music we bring you on RMHQ and although it’s still only June; TINY LITTLE MOVIES (which neatly describes Hoge’s songs) will undoubtedly be in our year end Top 20 reviews; and also has the capacity with just a smidgen of luck, to be a game changer for this excellent singer-songwriter; and ‘performer’ too.

PS Somehow or other I appear to have missed MY AMERICAN DREAM from 2018 ……. there’s a PR out there who owes me an apology.

Released June 26th 2020
Buy it HERE


Tiny Little Movies
Thirty Tigers

Classic Songwriting, Hunger, Enthusiasm And Inspired R&R Passion.

Born and bred in Franklin, south of Nashville, Will Hoge has been recording for some 20 years now and is not your typical Country Music artist with just 3 chords and the truth; no he’s more your blue-collar song-smith, displaying sharp, perceptive, piercing and sometime witty lyrics more in the vein of Mellencamp, Springsteen or even Steve Earle.
From my own perspective, I was in the dark and completely oblivious to him until November 2016. Following a social media exchange with some like-minded music loving friends, they opened my eyes to Will Hoge.
I then delved into his back catalogue and subsequently have acquired just about all of his recorded works. So, I’m an unabashed fan and excitedly looked forward to hearing this latest offering.
What sticks out a mile is how lively and upbeat the music is, thanks to using his tight 3 piece road band, who collectively deliver well worn rock & roll, with amplified guitars, and high levels of energy that takes you to Motown, to Metal and eventually ….. almost CBGB’s style Punk like songs, that all benefit from some wonderful melodic hooks and then Hoge’s unique, gravelly voice.
I’m told they rehearsed the various arrangements for 4 days solid in East Nashville before descending on Trace Horse Studios and recording each song live to emphasise the raw chemistry of the band.
Midway Motel welcomes you into the album, with a strong back-beat from Allen Jones’ snare drum and lyrics that tell you this is not a 5 star Hilton “Not alone, there’s a bible and a telephone, with a TV that flashes off and on”. Maybe This is OKs theme could be autobiographical and almost sounded like one of Crowded House’s better numbers, whilst we have a relationship dichotomy with Even the River Runs Out of This Town, here Hoge reflects on the inevitable split with his girlfriend
I love you so much, I ain’t asking you to stick around”.
Then the tempo gets lifted up a few notches with That’s How You Loose Her before accelerating into Thom Donovan’s almost Johnny Marr type guitar riff that rips into Con Man Blues.
I almost chose The Likes of You as my favourite track with it’s gentle rhythm, Knopfler guitar sound and it’s nostalgic references to his new found love.
However, this evocative track was eventually trumped by the final of these 11 fine songs with All the Pretty Horses.
On this, Hoge and his band are supplemented with some background strings to create pathos and clarity to yet another failed relationship via these heart-wrenching lyrics:
You know the Mona Lisa, Just another rich mans daughter,
  Ended up with nothing but a broken down smile,
Don’t listen to the voices, You know just what the choice is
Time to wave goodbye, To all the Pretty Horses”  
When Will stretches his voice, stressing “what the choice is” it sent the proverbial shivers down my spine, and that hasn’t happened for some time. Will Hoge provides classic songwriting, covering various styles and genres, delivered with the hunger of youth, a genuine enthusiasm plus an amplified and inspired passion.
Review by Jack Kidd
“Messin’ with the Kidd” on 

Released in 26th. June 2020

Ruth Patterson SINK OR SWIM (Single)

Ruth Patterson
Pink Lane Records

The first time I ever saw Ruth Patterson was when Holy Moly and the Crackers played the JHC Home Fries at SummerTyne in 2012. On that day Conrad stole the show as lead vocalist; but there was something ‘special’ about the fiddle player when she sang her one and only song.
Subsequently her role in the band has built and built (as well it might) with Conrad eventually taking a step backwards as Ruth spent more time in the spotlight; and coincidentally the band’s success has grown accordingly.
Still an integral part of Holy Moly Ruth has now decided to take a sharp left turn, creatively and release her very first dark and brutally honest single under her own name ……. and according to me; the world is a better place for it!
Here’s Ruth’s own prose about the song:

“This is about living with mental instability and the battle to keep our heads above water”, Ruth states of ‘Sink or Swim’. “It’s written about a panic attack I had last year and I really felt like I was drowning… the loss of control, disappearing reality, not knowing when it will end.
Mental health problems are very prominent in my family and, growing up, it’s something that we were always able to talk about,” Ruth continues. “I am very fortunate to see my mental health as “normal”. We are all a little bit nuts and I think it’s part of being human. Being super sensitive,I feel everything around me in a really intense way: emotions, feelings,weather, sounds. Experiencing life in high definition can be wonderful but also destructive.At times, it can feel like an electrical storm in my head.
I guess this song is me sharing my own experiences and hopefully it will connect with other people that maybe feel the same way.It seems with everything that’s going on, the whole world is living in a state of anxiety. We’ve all lost a sense of control as our reality is so rapidly changing. Now, more than ever, we need to have these conversations.”

Released June 26th 2020