Grey DeLisle BORROWED

Grey DeLisle
Borrowed
Regional Records/Hummingbird Records

Staggering and Cinematic Country Interpretations Of Old and New Contemporary Classics and More.

We do like a ‘cover song’ here at RMHQ with Bowie’s Pin Ups, Harry’s Nilsson Schmilsson which changed my life in the 1970’s plus everything by Joe Cocker and a host of individual tracks too.
So, where does a Country singer covering a variety of contemporary songs fit in?Well, dear reader; this album is going to be right up at the top of the tree!
As usual I hadn’t read the Press Release when I was downloading BORROWED and my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I heard the the acoustic Country interpretation of The Floyd’s Another Brick in The Wall! Okay; it’s not a new idea as such; with a couple of similar entities on TV adverts on the run up to Christmas ….. but …. Bloody Hell man!
Grey DeLisle somehow manages to turn this Prog Opus into a Country Noir tale that both The Handsome Family and Bobbie Gentry would be doubly proud of!
This followed by a harrowing version of Tonight You Belong To Me; I say harrowing and it is, as Grey plays her autoharp and whispers the words in a seemingly threatening manner …. but, trust me …. she would easily wrap me in her web, singing like this.
The arrangements here can be staggering at times; the little known Marc Bolan song, Girl is swathed in strings making it sound like it could be from a re-make of Gone With the Wind; and the staggering re-make of You Only Live Twice is obviously waiting for Tarantino to come out of retirement and create a whole movie around this song.
This followed by a Marvin Etzioni song written for the album; You Are The Light and here Ms. DeLisle takes on a Dolly Parton persona to squeeze every drop of pathos out of a deep and sadder than sad Modern Country song.
As the album progresses I can’t quite put my finger on who Grey DeLisle’s simmering and expressively clear voice reminds me of. Patsy Cline? Ashley Monroe? Emmylou? Stevie Nicks?
Sometimes the stories behind Country songs can be as good as the songs themselves; and I’d love to know the reason for including the intrinsically beautiful Valentine. It’s a fabulous song …. but …. written by her ex-husband Murry Hammond! Go figure.
Another song that needs a mention; is Julie Miller’s All My Tears; which takes the original and makes it really, really more special … if that’s possible; and it appears it is.
I could throw a dart at the track list and find a song I’m in love with; but for these purposes I need to narrow it down, doncha think?
It really should be Another Brick In the Wall, mostly for the effect it had on me and the listeners to my radio show; but I’m going left as centre, as I’m contrary like that.
The co-write between DeLisle and producer extraordinaire Etzioni, Borrowed and Blue has to be a contender; as is the haunting Willie We Have Missed You which closes the package; but there is one other that has been truly spellbinding; and that’s her cinematic variation of Georgia On My Mind, which with the inclusion of Willie Nelson’s harmonica player Mickey Raphael certainly makes it a cut above the rest.
I’ve got nothing else to say; I’ve been in love with this album for weeks now; months actually and you now get the chance to hear it yourself and realise that I do know what I’m talking about.

PS Not only is Grey DeLisle a fabulous recording artist; but a ‘voice’ on over 200 animations; not least The Simpsons.

Released January 6th 2023
https://www.greydelislegriffin.com/

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RMHQ Radio Show Ep31 @NovaRadioNE Newcastle

RMHQ Radio Show
Ep31
Nova Radio NE
Newcastle

SUNDAY 4th December 2022

Well; there’s a thing!
Every week I take a good while preparing the show, then everything stops family wise so I can do the radio show LIVE on a Sunday evening!

This week; because of England playing a key World Cop game that clashed, I did a pre-record on the previous Wednesday, something I did this once before in September when we were on holiday.
So, I was more shocked than anyone listening on Sunday night …. hearing Robert Plant & Allison Krauss instead of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins! There’s a sentence you didn’t expect to read …. and an easy mistake to make.
For some reason; the Nova Radio Super Computer re-played the September 4th Ep 17 show instead of the real one …. but fear not; here it is in all it’s glory.

Songs get played for a variety of reasons; as usual …. I started with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins after a casual conversation a week ago when his name cropped up about a pub with a jukebox in Glasgow; and then I finally found the Wilko Johnson song that I should have played last week, but the computer had lost!
The other thing of note this programme was Chrissie McVie from Fleetwood Mac died. Serendipity played a hand here, as I was always going to play a track from Rick Berthold’s new Tribute to Peter Green, so instead of following the musical ‘sheep’ and playing Songbird; I went with It’s You I Miss from the 1960’s Fleetwood Mac incarnation.

Also hours before going in the studio it was announced that someone had bought the Bloodshot Records brand and catalogue …. any excuse to play The Waco Brothers, Kelly Hogan and Tift Merritt!

The show finishes with a song I’d lost; Steve Dagget’s Ballad of Jimmy Forsyth; a legendary Newcastle photographer in the 1050’s, 60’s and 70’s, who documented the West End around Scotswood Road, Elswick and Benwell where the Nova Radio Station is based…. so I bought another copy of the album off eBay!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Forsyth_(photographer)


Screamin’ Jay HawkinsI Put a Spell on You
Wilko JohnsonKeep on Loving You
Julie ChristensonJimmy Reed is King of the Blues
Dust RadioProblem and Remedy
Rick BerthodJumping at Shadows
Fleetwood MacIt’s You I Miss
Eli ‘Paperboy’ ReedDoin’ the Boom Boom
Rocky BurnetteMystery Train
North Mississippi AllstarsNever Want to Be Kissed
Helen McCookerybookCoffee and Hope
James HodderWilderness Road
Peach & QuietShoreline After a Storm
Rod PicottWashington County
Emily Scott RobinsonOld Gods (Theatrical Version)
MalojianAll I Need
Waco BrothersAll or Nothing
Kelly HoganWhispering Pines
Neko Case & The SadiesRated X
Billy StringsLove Like Me
Family ShilohIts Gonna Be a Longhorn Day
Jarrod DickensonLong Hard Look
Brian BlakeBook of Life
Laura Benitez & HeartacheA Love Like Yours
M Lockwood PorterCraig’s List Song
Heather Lynne HortonI Wanna Die in My Sleep
ShipcoteSometimes You’re Up
Steve DaggettBallad of Jimmy Forsyth

Brian Blake BOOK OF LIFE

Brian Blake
Book of Life
Self-Release

A Once In a Lifetime Americana Debut Telling a Blue Collar Family History

I’m never really comfortable reviewing ‘concept albums’ as I’m not always sure I ‘get’ what the songwriter is trying to get over.
Thankfully I do ‘get’ what Brian Blake wanted to convey here; a ‘family journey and tales thereof’ from the beginnings of the 20th Century right up to today; post-pandemic’ …. but fear not, dear reader it’s not as ‘heavy’ as that may sound; and plenty of individual songs will appeal emotionally to plenty of people who aren’t in any way related to the writer.
The opening song, Rice Field In The Distance is about Blake’s farmer Great Grandparents and how they struggled through the Great Depression and it certainly works as a story-opener; but also hints at the tales (the late great) Townes Van Zandt and Tom Russell have wove too, over the years and will leave plenty sniffling back tears.
If that’s you; those tears will fall during the following song Book of Life which follows on historically too; but could also be about families in the 21st Century who also have to ‘pack up’ and look for work across the other side of the country; and that country can just as well be the UK, Australia, Africa as well as the USA.
Just like everything that follows, Book of Life is a thoughtfully constructed song that uses a tight melody and delicate fiddle and guitar playing to squeeze the heartstrings.
While a lot subtler than Tom Russell’s The Rose of Roscree, which I loved; Blake’s stories aren’t as ‘theatrical’ in concept; yet could and should be seen and heard in the way they are on record; no doubt with associated back stories; but as I said, each and every one stands aloft on its own merits too.
I love the “Are we rolling” intro to the charming Meant To Be with its jaunty shuffling beat; I’m not sure which family member it’s about; and that doesn’t matter as it’s just a darn good Country song in its own rite.
Still with the ‘concept’ in mind; all families have dark sides and stories; and Brian Blake captures that bleakness exceptionally well in Wilson and the deep and intricate Little Boys; which both showcase why he is previously an Award Winning songwriter.
Be under no illusions, Blake’s family never go on to win the Lotto or become Hollywood Stars; these songs are all about the trouble and strife ‘everyman’ Blue Collar families face across the world; and each song could be about someone in your own family; which is how Move On J.D made me sit up and pay attention. Every family probably has a J.D in them; a veteran who returns scarred both physically and mentally; and lived in a time when these things were swept under the carpet and ignored …. and boy does Blake dig really deep on this harrowing tale.
Repeating myself again; as a ‘concept album’ this works very well; but so many if not actually every song stands on its own merits; which brings me to really special songs that have tied as my personal Favourites.
The album finale, Nothing Gold Can Stay is another that came along at the right time as Blake tells a tale of a small town dying and not knowing it; and I heard it the day after explaining to my son and his wife about how our family village was ‘officially graded ‘Category D’ (for death) in 1967 when the coal mine closed. Blake’s story mirrors our own and many more in NE England at that time.
The other, The Ott Hotel is just a cracking and indeed crackling Alt. Country/Americana song/story that again hints at being in the vein of TVZ or his antecedents, from Guy and Rodney to Steve and beyond ….. even making me lean forward at one stage so as not to miss a word or stark note.
This is an incredibly mature album for a debut; but when scratching the surface you find that Brian Blake has been near the top of the songwriting pile for quite a few years now; which makes me wonder why; on this offering it’s taken him so long to actually sing his own songs …. but the music industry has always been a mystery to me.

Released November 18th 2022
https://www.brianblake.net/

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RMHQ Radio Show Ep30 @NovaRadioNE 27th Nov 2022

RMHQ Radio Show
Episode 30
Nova Radio NE
Newcastle

27th Nov 2022

I’d intended starting tonight’s programme celebrating Wilko Johnson, guitarist with the original Dr. Feelgood in the 1970’s. then Ian Dury’s Blockheads and a succesful solo career …. but the Super Computer somehow lost the track of his I wanted to play; but Roxette and something from the new incarnation who are still carrying the torch had to suffice.
There is also plenty of other eclectic songs; old and new from my collection for your listening pleasure … with one particular story and song I want to draw your attention too.
19 year old Faye Fantarrow was drawn to my attention earlier this year, then dramatically fell off my radar … until last week when I saw that a fundraising concert on her behalf was coming to Fire Station in Sunderland. It turns out she has a brain tumour and a hospital in USA can perform a ‘revolutionary operation’ ….. #FightForFaye …. you can help financially here
https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/abigail-thompson-2

Then of course there’s the music ……

Dr FeelgoodRoxette
Dr FeelgoodKeep Under Cover
Beth HartBang Bang Boom Boom
Drive-By TruckersShake and Pine
Charlie MusselwhiteDrifting from Town to Town
White BuffaloHeart and Soul of the Night
Maple Run BandTears of a Fool
Garrison StarrThe Devil in Me
John PrineLonely Just Like Me
Bonnie Raitt & John PrineAngel from Montgomery
Judee SillJesus Was a Cross Maker
Will HogeMy Worst
Faye FantarrowBOOM
Lake PoetsWindowsill
The BandStage Fright
Robbie RobertsonBroken Arrow
Todd RundgrenIn My Mouth
Love on DrugsNever Walk Away
Native HarrowHeart of Love
Robbie FulksAmerica is a Hard Religion
Kelly HoganI’ll Go To My Grave Loving You
Father John MistyI’m Writing a Novel
Bobby DoveHaunted Hotel
Lindi OrtegaCigarettes and Truckstops
Blackie and the Rodeo KingsKick My Heart Around
LindisfarneWinter Song

Maple Run Band USED TO BE THE NEXT BIG THING

Maple Run Band
Used To Be The Next Big Thing
Self Released

Seamlessly Going Through the Americana Gears on Some Interesting and Insurgent Country Backroads.

We loved the debut album by Maple Run Band a couple of years ago; so when this arrived after it had already been released (forgivable from an Indie act doing their own promotion) it went straight onto the office hi-fi; and only three songs in took preference over the large ‘to do’ pile …. sometimes music ‘gets’ me like that.

The title track, Used To Be The Next Big Thing is one of those songs that very few songwriters get to write in their careers; it’s so good it is already in my Top 10 songs of 2022! ‘Write about what you know’ they6 say; well Trevor Crist has done just that; and then some ….. his use of imagery on a song about a musician looking back on a stalled career is genuinely exceptional and will make 90% of musicians that hear it; nod sagely. While I’ve never been a musician; it also becomes a metaphor for my career about twenty years ago … and will many other music fans.
That melody only whets the appetite for what follows; a mild barrage of Modern Country songs, with an Americana spine; but steeped in Traditional Country values and sentiments, starting with Track #2 Loretta, a heart-worn tale of a lover who left ‘without ever saying goodbye’.
OK, this is an ages old Country theme; but the drole and sad manner in which Crist sings; best described as ‘worn down’ and the band intimately playing their instruments makes for a very memorable 4 minutes or so.
It’s hard to say where Maple Run Band fit in these days; but I recently saw Jason Isbell and I’m pretty damn sure they would have made a better support act than the one I saw that night; especially songs like the tragically beautiful Birmingham and Still Believe which would have fit in seamlessly with his fans.
There’s a delightful change in tempo as we go through the gears; not least when drummer Nicole Valcour gets a spot in the limelight singing Mud River, with Crist supplying breathless harmonies and then the band cruise down the Country highway on a sunny day with Tumbleweeds and When You’re Around; and in between they go for the heartstrings with the snappy Tears of a Fool; which has hints of Merle and Waylon on the chorus if I’m not mistaken and as usual; all sound ‘believable.’
Speaking of which, album closer Sunny Day doesn’t conjure up those exact images as Crist goes all maudlin on a tale of grief and sorrow with ironic undertones …. which appeal to me like you wouldn’t believe; and the soaring harmonies remind me (and absolutely no one else of Chris and Pauline Adams from 70’s Folk/Prog Rockers String Driven Thing!)
For my Favourite Song I’m actually going left of centre, although Sunny Day and the opener Used To Be The Next Big Thing would be stand out tracks on any album released this year or next; but ….. the break-up song, Damned Old Song is the sort of story I wish Johnny Cash could have picked up on during his American series of albums; perhaps there’s still time for someone of that ilk to pick up on it and make Trevor Crist, Nicole Valcour and bass player, ‘Spence’ Spencer aka Maple Run Band the a second opportunity at being The Next Big Thing!

Released 11th November 2022
https://www.maplerunband.com/about

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Cowboy Junkies at Fire Station, Sunderland.

Cowboy Junkies 
The Fire Station,
Sunderland 

November 23rd 2022 

Timing is everything of course and sometimes things just click into place, as they did for me 23 years ago when by chance I happened on Cowboy Junkies at The 1999 Sweetwaters Festival in New Zealand.
That festival; a highlight of a yearlong trip for me, for its organiser Daniel Keighley it was a disaster. Allegedly, there was a contract taken out on his life after Sweetwaters collapsed, with him owing creditors millions of dollars, ultimately Keighley was jailed for fraud.
Fast-forward to November 23rd 2022 and Cowboy Junkies land at The Fire Station, Sunderland described as a ‘vibrant, mid-scale live music venue housing a brand-new state-of-the-art auditorium’.
It’s a world away from that baking hot field in Auckland but more than any other artist I witnessed at that doomed festival, it was the music of Cowboy Junkies that has stayed with me over the intervening years. 

Now, and indeed since their inception in 1986 Cowboy Junkies continue to interpret songs by other artists.
Tonight, the band take to the stage and go straight into David Bowie’s ‘Five Years’; the opening track from Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and from Cowboy Junkies latest release Songs of the Recollection, which Margo tells us that the first ‘half’ would constitute songs from that album; then a longer set with ‘the songs you’ve come here to hear.’
The band built the song to powerful effect and Margo Timmins vocal swelled in an unexpected manner. For sure, she is no longer the gentle songstress she once was, from the off tonight, there’s passion and anger in her voice.
From a Bowie cover, it’s an effortless transition into The Velvet Underground’s Sweet Jane.  

‘Here we are in Sunderland’ Margo tells us, ‘trying to sell some records’.
Track 3 on Songs of the Recollection is The Rolling Stones No Expectations and tonight’s re-working features some beautiful lap steel work by Jeff Bird, then it’s The Cure’s Seventeen Seconds, which is introduced by Margo, who is as always flanked by a vase of flowers, with tales of the band hanging out at Toronto’s punk club The Edge during the late 70’s/early 80’s.
For a Canadian band there is of course the obligatory Neil Young cover to address and tonight on Wearside, Cowboy Junkies bring a brooding darkness to ‘Don’t Let It Bring You Down’.
A couple of minutes in and Michael Timmins dense power chords build a rich backdrop that he softens only to allow Margo to emphasise the lines
 ‘Don’t let it bring you down, It’s only castles burning, find someone who’s turning and you will come around’. 
The song delivered with an unexpected level of depth and resonance; the excellent sound system in The Fire Station augmenting some really fine musicianship.  

After a short break, which I’m sure Margo Timmins needed considering the amount of tea she consumes, the band returned the stage now bathed in green.
Another thing about tonight is the first-rate lighting that adds to the atmosphere of what certainly feels like an occasion.
The opening song of the second set is a Junkies’ original; taken from their 2018 release All That Reckoning –‘The Things We Do To Each Other’, then it’s ‘A Common Disaster’ lifted from their 1996 album Lay It Down, which leads into ‘Sun Comes Up, It’s Tuesday Morning’, followed by a lengthy reworking of ‘Working On A Building’ – a track taken from The Trinity Sessions; the recorded version coming in at just under 4 minutes.
Tonight’s version extends to what feels around 12 minutes and the band’s extensive psychedelic-blues wig-out is reminiscent of The Doors at their best.
Jeff Bird’s soaring harmonica and Michael’s guitar work had me in a dream state and when Margo riffed ….
 ‘If I was a drunkard,
If I was a liar,
if I was junkie, a teacher’ my eyes closed and it was the 60’s all over again; and I was with Jim Morrison’s in Los Angeles rather than in Sunderland on a chilly 2022 autumnal night.  

From that high-point, bass player Alan Anton and drummer Peter Timmins left the stage while Michael, Margo and Jeff Bird took it back to acoustic territory with ‘Something More Besides You’ followed by ‘Rake’ (by the great Townes Van Zandt).
Before performing ‘Angels in The Wilderness’, taken from their 2012 album The Wilderness; Margo tells us she had spent the perfect day ‘watching folks walking their dogs on the beach’.
If that was her perfect day, listening to Cowboy Junkies in this state-of-the-art setting was my perfect evening.  

What followed, was possibly the most poignant song of the night.
Earlier in the day the news had broke that Wilko Johnson had passed away, so when The Junkies performed Vic Chesnutt’s ‘Flirted With You All My Life’ and the repeated refrain ‘oh death, clearly I’m not ready’ swirled around the room, I thought of Johnson and reflected on his considerable contribution to the British music scene.
I was still dwelling on that thought through the conclusion of the set which inevitably included the classic, Blue Moon Revisited (Song For Elvis)  a song Cowboy Junkies have made, if not their own, very close to it. 

Cowboy Junkies have clearly maintained the qualities that have sustained them for 36 years but certainly, from what I recall of that festival performance in 1999 they have broadened their horizons and Margo Timmins has become more assured; her vocals now Bluesy and a lot more dramatic.
Yes, the sibling trio of Michael Timmins (who throughout had sat, head down, hunched over his guitar), Peter on drums and Margo along with mainstay collaborators Alan Anton (bass) and Jeff Bird (lap-steel, harmonica, percussion and mandolin) for me, epitomise Cool; both musically and visually. 
I’ll leave the last word to their compatriot, Neil Young – ‘Long may they run’. 

Courtesy the Folkin’ Magpie downbytheriver9.com 
https://cowboyjunkies.com/

Photo-Set courtesy Harrisonaphotos https://www.harrisonaphotos.co.uk/Music/Cowboy-Junkies/

The White Buffalo YEAR OF THE DARK HORSE

The White Buffalo
Year of the Dark Horse
Snakefarm Records

Heavy Alt. Country Concept Album that Bleeds Timeless and Personal Americana

This has an odd story behind this review; as I saw the initial reviews go out on the day of release, only to wonder why I hadn’t been sent a copy, but downloaded two tracks to play on my radio show anyway.
Then a few days later the PR (one of the good guys!) got in touch asking if I was intending reviewing it. I replied that I’d not received it!
Profuse apologies on both sides later (as I’m having major e-mail problems with Outlook) and a download was received in minutes.
It’s been a bit of a ‘heavy’ listen; as the artist himself says about it;
My forthcoming album is a sonic and lyrical journey of one lunar year in one man’s life” .
“Four seasons in 12 songs… Loosely based on my twisted truths and adventures.”
I’ve now played it on and off for a week or so; in between other releases and it’s now grown on me as has the concept.
It’s up to you how you play this album; be it the ‘conceptual/cerebral version’ or as I’ve enjoyed it best; a series of very good, thoughtful and personal songs that will unravel the more you hear them.
The story starts with the intense Not Today, with Jake Smith aka The White Buffalo ‘wishing the earth a Happy New Year’ and wondering what it has in store for him. Personally I really like the theatrical production; and especially the gruff and impassioned vocals that draw you in as if his words will protect you from the metaphorical storm.
The fuzzy fade out bleeds straight into the chilling Winter Act 2 …. can you see what he’s doing here?
The song itself is quite dark; but all the more intriguing because of that. Smith drawls his way through in a style I recognise; but can’t put my finger on.
I may upset Smith; but while I like the narrative he employs; it’s not absolutely necessary to wallow in the deep delights of Love Will Never Come/Spring’s Song and C’mon Come Up Come Out, which like a few sound like the sort of things Leonard Cohen wrote in his latter years had he took an Americana path; and the musicality throughout is truly exceptional by the very way.
THE YEAR OF THE DARK HORSE is certainly not ‘easy listening’ and I think it best heard in a room on your own; not least because Am I Still a Child and Love Song #3 are both tear inducing to the max.
52 Card Pickup …. is …. well…. different; and certainly one of those songs that will suddenly ‘catch your attention’ and make you go WOW! (Eventually … it certainly did me.) Following on from that with it’s spine chilling piano and electric keyboard interplay, album closer Life Goes On and Heart Attack are both quite Alt. Rock in approach and give some light (relatively) to the shade that most other songs cast.
For my Favourite Song it’s been an easy choice; although the anti-love song Donna and the Waitsian She Don’t Know I Lie both certainly have their merits; Kingdom For a Fool is the most commercial song here and the story/lyrics; again Waitsian in concept show what a powerful thinker and writer Jake Smith is and sitting shoulder to shoulder with the very best around these days.

Released November 11th 2022
https://thewhitebuffalo.com/

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The Great Divide PROVIDENCE

The Great Divide
Providence
Self-Release

A Spectacular Harvest of Glistening New Songs Farmed From the Hopeful Fields of Red Dirt Alt-Country.

Three decades ago, I was in a totally different life place and nowhere physically or musically near Stillwater, Oklahoma: but if I had been, I bet these Red Dirt Alt-Country giants would have been a totally irresistible riot to experience in a County Store or Music Hall.
Perhaps then it is my own brand of ‘Providence’ for this album to land on my doorstep from RMHQ.
For a band who have just recorded their first album in 20 years, there is an understandable level of interest, expectation and intrigue and it feels like a new Dawn for this well-seasoned band.

The opener ‘Wrong Is Overrated’ encapsulates the whole album in one fell swoop. It’s as catchy as it is confessional, assessing the damage which contributed to the band’s break up in 2003 (rock n roll stuff of too much drinkin’ and in-fightin’) with a mature acceptance of his share of the blame from frontman and songwriter Mike McClure.
His self-assured driving vocals power the track and easily convince me of his sincerity, interwoven with a deep joy that time has healed and paved the way for a glorious reconciliation.
The Country dirt has been dug deep as is tradition with this band, to hit gritty sharp edged-rock with a hefty guitar riff that reels you in so fast that you believe no matter how the rest of the album pans out, it’s been worth the spin for this track alone:

I’m a little older now and my memories are faded
Of when I made such a mess, when things got complicated
And all the things that I love the best
Are things that I have sometimes hated
But I caught myself before I got too jaded

The band ease back after all that drama with “I Can Breathe Again”, a dreamscape, soul tuggin’ ballad. It’s delectable with melodic steel layering a bygone pathos and the bright lead guitar playfully expressing newfound joy as a backdrop to this exquisitely produced track. It portrays the love story between frontman Mike McClure and his wife Chrislyn Laurence.
‘My Sweet Lily’ expands this theme more as he sings
You’re my redemption for the miles I have travelled.
No doubt this relationship is key inspiration for the songwriter’s new creative chapter.

It’s only now I am realising that this is an album stacking the brightest of layers.
Heartfelt songs for his partner and appreciation for his band of brothers who have emerged stronger for this fresh start, together leads us nicely to “Good Side”.
The sun drenched, hope-laden vocals grab you from the off, the jaunty guitar raises the mood to a feel-good factor eleven and yet it is the dazzling dancing organ keys of Bryce Conway which hog the brightest limelight, deliriously bubbling positivity.
Very apt as Bryce was instrumental to encouraging The Great Divide back into the studio after such a long break.

This band’s irresistible journey carries on with the heavier weight ‘Set It All Down’, a post-pandemic wish for us all to make a fresh start to the rest of our lives.
Understandable after such a long break releasing new material, we get their message loud and clear: time is precious and shouldn’t be wasted!
Cue the surprise track on the album for me, ‘Slipping Away’ is a reggae-steeled Twangtastic exceptional up-tempo slice of good times, making me want to kick shoes off and feel the sand between my toes as I dance.
The keys bounce the surf with the whole track radiating holiday happiness whilst reminding us that time stands still for no-one.

‘Heaven Is High’ and ‘Until We Cross’ explore more spiritual themes, both awash with serene hope but my favourite song just happens to be the final track and what a way for this band to wrap things up!

‘Infinite Line’ hits us like a runaway train running on a full tank of Bluesy Rock with the organ keys again raising the temperature to one of sizzlin’ hot coals that glow a warning for us all to make every day count.
Having reached an age myself where some good friends have been lost, this final song has lyrics inspired by exactly that and it really strikes an emotional chord:

“Nothing hits ya quite as hard
As when you start losing friends
I bet you think that they’ll be there
With you until the end
And in a way I suppose they are
If you keep them in mind
Keep ‘em in your heart as well
And they’ll show up all the time
They’ll show up right on time”

Older, wiser but a band brimming with fresh spirit and energy, this is one glistening release in which they showcase a brand new crop of mature Red Dirt songs. A comeback that will no doubt please their loyal fan-base and at the same time scoop up many more new followers along the way. I can vouch for that.

Review by Anita Joyce
https://www.tgdmusic.com/

Released 28th October 2022

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Amelia White ROCKET REARVIEW

Amelia White
Rocket Rearview
Self-Release

The Perfect Accompaniment for Closing the Curtains, Turning the Big Light Off and Wallowing in Its Skewed Passion and Beautiful Melancholia

Even by her standards opening track, Devil’s Gonna Take You Alive is deliberately dark in context and musically too. Certainly not my idea of a ‘perfect opener’ but it’s certainly attention grabbing, that’s for sure.
You think you’re living your best life
But the devils gonna eat you alive
pull out your card and buy another round
Playing the big shot, 
The devils gonna eat you alive

Then In The Time follows in a ‘talking Blues’ ala David Olney style; sounding like it has ben stolen from a Robert Mitchum political film-noir soundtrack.
It’s apparent this early thar ROCKET REARVIEW isn’t likely to be the background to your next loft apartment supper party; this dear readers is grown up Alt. America full of narratives that need your full attention from start to finish; with some you won’t fully appreciate for weeks or months.
Two in this ilk are January and June which I like a lot, but need more time for the story to unravel …. and I’m prepared to invest the time; same with Hands Are Like Faces; although it seems ‘obvious’ at first there are still things in Amelia’s poetic writing style that isn’t as ‘obvious’ as you’d at first presume.
I’ve been a fan of Amelia’s music since I first reviewed OLD POSTCARD in 2014, when I worked for a magazine and have eagerly followed her trajectory ever since; it would be wrong to say she’s stalled here by a long stretch; but songs like the beautiful and delicate No Sound, Edge of the Blues and the heartbreaking Beautiful Sun (and the songs from recent the collaboration with Brett Ryan Stewart) are more suitable for small and claustrophobic clubs than the Concert Halls her previous releases deserved.
Perhaps it’s just me; but many albums in my collection come out in different seasons; they just suit the mood of Summer and Spring better than Autumn and Winter; and vice versa ….. and releasing ROCKET REARVIEW in October is genius as these songs and the overall album are the perfect accompaniment for closing the curtains, turning the big light off and wallowing in the skewed passion and beautifully melancholic My Way Home (with it’s haunting pedal-steel and tremoring vocal performance)
I grew up here where the paint is peeling
Daddy’s cigarette smoke stained the ceiling 
And I I”m finally finding my way home

confederate flags and boarded up bars
Moonshine shacks muscle cars
I’m finally finding my way home”

and the angry and angsty Fighting, which not just features Amelia’s trademark guitar playing but uses it like a bladed weapon to get our attention.
As is the case these days, there are no obvious ‘singles’ here; but there are plenty of songs that will get airplay on student radio and/or community stations around the world, as they are perfect sharing material for late night listening; which is where I’m going for my choice of Favourite Song.
The title track Rocket Rearview is multi-layered and probably the cornerstone for joining what goes before and what follows; partially claustrophobic but Amelia’s voice swoops and soars just like the ‘Rocket’ she sings about. This is the a-typical song that is going to take you several plays to unravel; is it as dark and dangerous as some of the lines suggest or is Amelia playing mind games with us?
Gotta cup of coffee black and coal
White knuckles shake on the rocket ships controls
I packed a bag I fed the kids 
He said you’ll always regret this
And were drifting off 
Blasting major Tom
Shooting through Time and space
Goodbye human race
.” 
Slightly less cerebral, but just as intelligent and articulate; Waltzing With Your Ghost is the one song that probably tips its’ hat at her previous Alt. Country heritage; but is still loaded with Noir sensibilities that will real you in like a Raymond Chandler novel; and keep you in her web of mystery.
It would be wrong of me to say this was Amelia White’s best album; as it’s so very different than anything that has preceded it. What it is, is one of those albums that if you ‘get it’, you will play to death for the first month after purchase than put in a safe place for those grew Autumnal nights when only this and a bottle of quality ted wine will suffice.

Released October 2022
http://www.ameliawhite.com/

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RMHQ Radio Show Ep 29 @NovaRadioNE

RMHQ Radio Show
Episode 29
Nova Radio NE
Newcastle

A fun week musically, going to three gigs for the first time in living memory, and another two planned for next week …. plus some fabulous new albums arrived for early 2023.
Plus of course albums I’ve been listening to for weeks are now getting released; which is always exciting.
This week’s radio show was another eclectic mix of old, new borrowed and Blues (plus some Cajun too!)

The EaglesOl’ 55
Larkin PoeLips like cold diamonds
Sam CookeOnly 16
Daniel MeadeShooting Stars and Tiny Tears
Tift MerrittDusty Old Man
Alicia BluePicasso Blue
Handsome FamilyJust Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
Jackie LevenStraight Outta Caledonia
Steve PledgerSame Smile/Same Words
Grey DeLisleAnother Brick in the Wall
Ryan AdamsTob Young is To Be Foolish
The Countess of FifeGoodbye Motorcycle Guy
Holly ReesBack of my Hand
Samuel James TaylorRage and Fight
Courtney Marie AndrewsBreak the Spell
Robert Connely FarrBlue Front Cafe
Robert JohnsonLove in Vain
Dave ArcariLooks Like You’re Walking on Water
Big Harp GeorgeJust Calm Yourself
Big Boy BloaterI Get The Feeling Someone’s Watching Me
Elizabeth MoenClown Song
Sidney Brown & Jo-El SonnerFee Fee Poncho
Leroy BroussardLemonade Song
Matt OwensGo Easy on Yourself
Amelia WhiteTrue or Not
Nigel Warne ft Lauren HousleyTo the Edge
Kinky FriedmanWanderin’ Star