Kelsey Waldon NO REGULAR DOG

Kelsey Waldon
No Regular Dog
Oh Boy Records!

Sprinkling Her Very Own Brand of Country Stardust To Create a Series of Mini-Soap Operas

While avoiding the actual Press Release, I obviously had to read the email that accompanied this album last week; and seeing it was being released on John Prine’s Oh Boy Records! meant I was 99% sure I was going to like the contents; then seeing Shooter Jennings’ name as producer and his band featuring as backing added the extra 1% before I’d even heard a note!!
My ‘Spidey-Senses’ were confirmed after only a minute or so of first song; No Regular Dog, which is very much the type of Modern Country Music that both I and Mrs Magpie love to bits. There’s enough pathos in Kasey’s voice to fill a bathtub and when that ‘warble’ arrives in the chorus I genuinely choked up.
Alongside a couple more, later track #2; Sweet Little Girl has a big production from Jennings; but instead of smothering Walden’s vocals he/they somehow manage to capture the spirit of the story in a way I’d normally associate with early Loretta and/or Reba recordings … and I’m not exaggerating at all.
Recording since 2007; Kelsey Walden still has a lot to say in her songs; and I’m sure I won’t be the only one who will revisit the harrowing tale of Small Town America (or England) History Repeats Itself, or the heart squeezing Simple As Love and the stunning Progress Again many, many times as while being very personal to the singer; also open up doors from my own life and plenty of other listeners too.
While Jennings’ sympathetic production and the arrangements of the songs themselves make for perfect listening at home; I’m pretty sure Ms. Waldon will be touring these songs without a band behind her; and certainly not one of this quality; so you have to see past what you are hearing to imagine her standing alone on a stage somewhere in East Treestump, Nowheresville on a Thursday night ….. and even then; You Can’t Ever Tell and Backwater Blues will blow you away, such is the strength and intimacy in the writing … and of course the delivery.
Never having heard Kasey Waldon previously has made this album an absolute delight from start to finish; with the word ‘quality’ turning up 6 times in my handwritten notes over the last few days; and two songs received 3 stars too!
These are the fabulous Honky Tonkin’ Peace Alone (Reap What You Sow) which again tugged at my heartstrings while also making me return to a couple of times in my own life that I’m not too proud of …. and Kelsey somehow makes that sound romantic; plus Doug Pettibone’s searing guitar interludes and Aubrey Richmond’s outstanding fiddle playing will draw even the most casual of listeners into the fold.
The other is actually the most ‘obvious’ of songs to become a Favourite; but in my defence I’d already given Season’s Ending 3 stars before I knew it was actually about John Prine …. and when I read the story behind it as it gently eased out of the office speakers I had to wipe some dust from eyes more than once; so Season’s Ending takes the well deserved accolade of RMHQ Favourite Song.
Like many of her contempories Kasey Waldon takes the minutiae from her everyday life and loves then adds her very own brand of stardust to create a series of mini-soap operas that somehow gel together to make for a fascinating and thought provoking album that will never stray far from the house stereo.

PS …. It turns out that Kelsey Waldon was raised in the Western Kentucky town of ….. Monkeys Eyebrow! Please, please, please let that be true and can someone send me confirmation that it really does exist.

Released 12th August 2022
https://www.kelseywaldon.com/

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Physical copies https://ohboy.com/collections/kelsey-waldon
Downloads https://kelseywaldon.bandcamp.com/

RMHQ Radio Show Sunday 10th July 2022

RMHQ Radio Show
Nova Radio NE
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Sunday 10th July 2022

Episode #9? Where does the time go?
On the hottest day of the year I was sweating cobs in the studio but still managed to get through the two hours without taking my clothes off!
As usual we have a heady mix of old and new Americana and Roots Music for you delectation …. enjoy.

Ep 9Hank WilliamsLost Highway
10th JulyHank JrI Like It When It’s Stormy
Tony Joe WhiteOne Hot July
ZZ TOPCheap Sunglasses
Zoe WilcoxFour On The Floor
Shakey GravesBig Time Nashville Star
Shemekia Copeland (ft Sonny Landreth)Done Gone Too Far
Rory GallagherWalkin’ Blues
Patty GriffinJust The Same
Sturgill SimpsonLivin’ The Dream
Laura CantrellAll The Girls Are Complicate
Kane GangMotortown
Malcolm HolcombeThe Music Plays On
Chris DoverIt’s a Difficult World
Tony BengttsonWhat I Wouldn’t Give
Joe PugHymn #35 revisted
Chastity BrownLoving The Questions
Mink DevilleLilly’s Daddy’s Car
Detroit CobrasBad Girl
Martin Stephenson & Jim HornsbyLeft Us To Burn
Johnny CashI Hung My Head
Ryan Law & ShelterCool, Cool, Cool
Daniel MeadeChoking On The Ashes
Ward Hayden & The OutliersWhen The Hammer Falls
Rain PerryWhat’s Wrong With You?
Richard ThompsonWall of Death

Sam Outlaw and Ruthie Collins at Jumpin’ Hot Club, Newcastle.

Sam Outlaw and Ruthie Collins
Jumpin’ Hot Club,
Gosforth Civic
Newcastle.

A recent change in my work circumstances means that I can get to a lot more gigs than at any time in the last 6 years … and I can’t think of a better way to start than the double header of Sam Outlaw and Ruthie Collins.
Perhaps it’s because of the lack of gigs I’ve been to recently, I totally messed up my time of arrival at the venue; thinking ‘8pm start’ meant the doors open then ….. when it actually meant that the first act; Cheyenne Meadows was actually on stage as we signed in!
Thankfully there were two spare seats near the middle of the hall.
It turned out the raspy voiced singer was actually the producer of Outlaw’s recent album Popular Mechanics and was only meant to be part of the star’s backing band/duo but Sam had insisted he play a few of his own songs too …. which was very magnanimous and meant I/we got to hear Ice Cream Mountain about his ‘fantasy’ of owning his own theme park and Rose Length; a rather lovely love song about ‘keeping someone at arm’s length …. plus a rose.’
His turn was over very quickly and before we knew it Sam Outlaw was introducing Ruthie Collins; whose recent album COLD COMFORT was a favourite of ours last year; and a big part of the reason that I rushed home to get changed and drive across Newcastle.
Her first song, Cheater; about “the worst first date ever” actually received a longer intro than the song itself; as did the second too ….. although both were every bit as good as I’d hoped; her preambles didn’t bode well for a support slot.
Thankfully the self-depreciating singer knew her weakness; and somehow managed to keep the rest of the intros to a bare minimum; which gave us time to hear the rather gorgeous; Gram Parsons influenced new song Old Keys and the heartbreaker Hypocrite in all their glory.
With an album to promote and new songs waiting to be recorded; it was a surprise and a rather excellent one at that; when Ruthie dropped in Dolly’s Jolene halfway through her set; and hearing stripped right back to the marrow really brought out the pathos in a song that’s probably taken for granted by millions of people across the world.
When the lights came up it was good to see some ‘old faces’ from the pre-covid days; and pleasantries were suitably exchanged.
But …… earlier I wasn’t sure what I was seeing in the shadows was right; but yes ….. there were two fellas dressed like Cowboys coming into Tucson after weeks on the trail. Yep ….. Stetsons, boleros etc and the obligatory boots no doubt in downtown Nashville …. what’s that about?
Hey ho ….
We were suitably watered and refreshed when Sam Outlaw, Ruthie Collins and Cheyenne Medders made their way onto stage baring cups of tea; and not just any old tea but lemon and ginger tea!
How Rock and Roll is that?
With only two other acoustic playing musicians alongside him; I was fascinated to hear how he would fare with songs his recent Country Rock inspired album; but more of that later.
He started his set with one of our favourites; Keep It Interesting, from Angeleno and judging by the response at the end was a favourite of a lot of people.
Over the next few songs it was easy to see and hear why Sam had selected these two musicians to support him on stage; Medders guitar playing was exemplary throughout and Ruthie was the perfect foil be that in the stories behind the songs and/or her voice matched perfectly in her harmonies and the occasional duet.
Highlights?
So many I think; Won’t Be Lonely Anymore featured a super cool duet between Sam and Ruthie; Language of Love, from the new album …. to me was much more preferable as it was raw and intimate; whereas on Popular Mechanics it sounds like a good ole Country Pop song and perfect for FM radio.
Tonight; Mrs Magpie’s favourite Sam Outlaw; again was stripped back to the marrow and the judicious use of Medders’ intricate guitar playing made it even better than the LP version she told me afterwards; and who am I to disagree?
This was followed by another two RM Favourites; Bougainvillea, I Think; about a woman who used to live next door was spellbinding and the title track from the album it came from, Tenderfoot was as good as I’ve heard him sing it ….. again having Collins and Medders alongside him did the song no harm at all.
On the original album Sam duetted with Sarah Darling on Forever and Always; making it a very special song from his back catalogue; but tonight Ruthie Collins really earned her corn by taking this song onto a whole new level; and had us eagerly discussing its merits in the cart on the journey home.
Being the magnanimous Cowboy he is; Outlaw allowed (?) Ruthie a song of her own in the middle of his set; and she really set the hair on the back of my neck on end with her rendition of It Must Have Been Love.
When the trio finally left the stage I checked my watch and couldn’t believe the time ….. they’d played for over 90 minutes and it had gone be in the blink of an eye …. and there were encores to come.
As usual at a Sam Outlaw gig; the encores are done ‘off mic’ and in and among the audience.
The first was Country Love Song; which was absolutely wonderful and right in front of us!
Then; as promised twice by an over excited Ruthie; the trio launched into a ragged and fun Return of The Grievous Angel which was the perfect end to a fabulous gig….. now I’m planning another venture out of the house next week ….. watch this space.

http://www.samoutlaw.com/
https://ruthiecollinsmusic.com/
http://www.cheyennemedders.com/

http://www.jumpinhot.com/

Mick Mullin MULLIN’ IT OVER

Mick Mullin
Mullin’ it Over
Self-released

A Trad Country- Gospel Album Cleverly Straddling Camp and Sincerity.

Mick Mullin certainly has the right geographical and cultural credentials for the music he’s making – “The son of a Kentucky coal miner’s daughter and a Tennessee Bible editor, ” growing up in Nashville surrounded by the sounds of his family’s beloved Baptist hymns, classic Rock ‘n’ Roll and, of course Country.
This, his second full length release is a collection of traditional Country tunes with enough quirks and loveable oddness to entertain absolutely everyone throughout.

“Thank God they Closed the Honky Tonks” has the tongue-in-cheek seriousness of many a Country tune sitting musically somewhere between Hank Snr and Alan Jackson – Mullins’ delivery is quite idiosyncratic – no disrespect but he has an old sounding voice that belies his younger looks!

“Bristol 1927” tells the story of the historically famous recording sessions that kickstarted the Country genre and features backing and shared vocals from Hannah Juanita and it shuffles along in a pleasant and steady waltz time.
A sense of place and time is similarly evoked on “August in New Orleans” which features saxophone to add a little of a jazzy, Western-swing feel into the musical mix -it also features the hilarious refrain of “it’s too hot to love you darling”, which anyone who’s been to Louisiana at that time of year, will heartily agree with!

“Lettin’ Love Speak for Itself” is laced with bluesy dobro and awkward emotions expressed honestly – and it works. Taking a different turn is “Small Black Gun” which tells the story of “Long Black Veil” from the viewpoint of the real killer in the song – it borrows from the rhythm and musical setting of the original and it follows in a long country tradition of “answer” songs. It’s an interesting musical curio, especially for fans of the genre.

The Twang and Blues quotient goes up a notch with the walking bass driven “Foolish Son;” before things take a more tongue in cheek/emotionally dark turn on “Keep All my Roses” telling the all too common tale of a relationship gone mega awkward when he finds his partner “alone in bed with another man/my dear friend and the drummer of the band” – but the show must go on; of course.

A Drifting Cowboys style intro then leads into a cover of John Prine’s “You Never Even Call Me by My Name” – Mullins’ cover takes the song back to its classic country core and it’s a perfect arrangement.
Mullin even finds the time to take a new look at “Long Black Veil” through the eyes of the real killer on the hauntingly Gothic “Small Black Gun.”

The biggest musical shift takes place on the penultimate track, Wouldn’t it Be Wonderful, where a Hammond organ leads into a string-backed, Gospel influenced song that might not affect a non-believer like me too much lyrically; but which easily wins more Religious thinking listeners over musically; and that Country-Gospel theme closes the albumin a more uptempo manner with the Bluegrass flavoured “Do You Know Where You’ll Go?”

All in all, this is a release worthy of the attention of any fan of older, Traditional Country and Gospel too – cleverly straddling the line between camp and sincerity at different points …. and often at the same time!

Review by Nick Barber
RELEASED October 29th 2021
https://mickmullinsongs.com/

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https://mickmullin.bandcamp.com/album/mullin-it-over-2

The Flatlanders THE TREASURE OF LOVE

The Flatlanders
Treasure Of Love
Rack’em Records & Thirty Tigers

A Timeless Set of Old and New Classic Tunes That Define Americana.

As the publicity shouts, this is the first album from the legendary combo in twelve years and therefore … expectations are high.
Content-wise, lockdown has given the trio the chance to collect and finish recording songs of their own songs and a few covers that have appeared in their live sets, but had never been fully realised in the studio until now.
The covers chosen suit the harmonies and heartbreak that have laced the Flatlanders’ output over many years – the Everly Brothers’ “Long Time Gone” sounds just as fragile as that earlier take, but now adds a wry world-weariness.
Initial single release “Sitting on Top of The World” is a rollicking turn-taking ear-worm, whereas “Give My Love to Rose” is as much imbued with the spirit of Johnny Cash as you’re ever likely to hear in the 21st Century.
Arrangements throughout are unfussy and wrought from the road; with the story and the timbre of the voices to the fore.
Allocation of song to voice is strong too – Jimmy Dale Gilmore’s tremulous tones suit the melancholy title track “Treasure of Love;” whereas Ely and Hancock tend to take the narrative course on songs like “Satin Shoes” and “Mobile Blues”.
In the trio format, there’s a good mix of turn-taking and two and three part harmonies, which offer a great deal of light and shade – “Ramblin’ Man” being a perfect example of where the egos retreat for the benefit of the song.
With fifteen songs to go at, there’s plenty of variety too – favourites for me are all the ones where Jimmy Dale Gilmore takes the lead; but especially “The Ballad of Honest Sam” with its Western imagery and mythology – timeless and Classic.
One low spot for me is the inclusion of the jokey “Mama Do the Kangaroo,” which is no doubt a live crowd-pleaser, but which sounds somewhat one dimensional and jars against the other material on offer – still, when you’ve got a skip button and fourteen other excellent tracks, I’m not complaining.
Twelve years did you say?
Let’s hope it’s not that long before The Flatlanders’ catalogue is further expanded, based on this timeless set of Classic tunes, old and new.

Review by Nick Barber

Released 9th July 2021
https://www.theflatlanders.com/

BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
https://recordstoreday.com/UPC/787790341659





Vincent Neil Emerson SELF-TITLED

Vincent Neil Emerson
Vincent Neil Emerson
La Honda Records / Thirty Tigers

A Reflective, Thoughtful and Warmly Human Set of Texas Singer-Songwriter Tales.

Arising and evolving out of a tradition of Texas songwriters such as Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and Steve Earle, Vincent Neil Emerson throws his contribution to that body of sound with gusto; and comes out with his own distinct take, on this self-titled release.
There are elements of these listed influences scattered through the album – “Learnin’ to Drown” is vocally very Steve Earle in essence, and opener “Texas Moon” has the melodic feel of a young Guy Clark (and a bit of non-Texan John Prine too?) while “The Ballad of Choctaw-Apache” is very much in the Van Zandt story song mould.
Such pigeon-holing would do Vincent Neil Emerson a disservice though – those are just starting points to get a handle on where his music has been birthed form, inspirationally, and there’s a lot more personal observations and experience too in this album.
The aforementioned “Learning to Drown” is a cathartic release, dealing with Emerson’s father’s passing:
And I thought about closin’ the door
And endin’ it all
Like my father did before
But it ain’t worth
All the people who won’t see me anymore

Then there’s the earlier released single; “High on Getting By” which is a man coming to terms with the terms of our existence
Well I been drunk
On the ideas of my future
And I been high
On gettin’ by”
.
Both are musically framed with washes of acoustic stringed instruments like mandolin and fiddle along with keyboards around a picked guitar and Emerson’s caramel vocals.
Vincent Neil Emerson has certainly done his dues on the road, playing with friend Colter Wall, The Turnpike Troubadours and Charley Crockett too; and that road-toughness and sensitivity to other musicians is prominent throughout his own songs.
Stylistic changes such as shifts into bluegrass territory on “High On the Mountain” and the Western Swing flavoured album closer “Saddled Up and Tamed” are handled and sequenced with careful placing – big praise must go to producer Rodney Crowell here too; who has forged a big and warm sound throughout; yet still managing to make each song sound ever so intimate at the same time.
There are gems of lines to be found everywhere:
I pulled into Austin
‘Cause Fort Worth ain’t the same
” from “High on the mountain” is one of many that will bring a wry knowing smile to any listener’s face.
Over the ten tracks of the album, there’s a great deal of variety and depth but at the same time, there’s a clear Vincent Neil Emerson “sound” that is more than a just a composite of his influences.
If Country singer-songwriter is your bag and you’re missing some of those that have left us and are looking for the next wave to roll up on the shore, you could do worse than getting your feet wet on this thoughtful and warmly human showcase of Vincent Neil Emerson tunes.

Review by Nick Barber
Released June 25th 2021

https://vincentneilemerson.com/

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Europe https://store.hmv.com/search?searchtext=vincent+neil+emerson

USA https://www.roughtrade.com/us/vincent-neil-emerson/vincent-neil-emerson/lp?ffm=FFM_5f0bcd518e4383be50f59a3a1b9739de

RMHQ Music Hour Ep:15

It’s April already and the Music Hour is getting ever more listeners every episode …… thanks for being there.
This week’s edition features exciting new tracks from Wonders of The Yukon, Amy Speace, The Annie Oakley, Mary Karlzen and Jesse Brewster.
A Modern Blues Classic from Johnny Winter follows the wonderful Samantha Fish in our Blues section; and our Gateway Record is from Canadian singer-songwriter Jerry Leger and is quite a surprise; but a pleasant one.
I’ve slid in quite a few of my ‘favourite songs’ from the last few years and the show closes with a song I heard by the bass player in Slaid Cleaves band, which made me contact Slaid’s wife Karen to buy the album it came from and sent hard cash via the post as this was long before the Internet and Paypal were a twinkle in anyone’s eye!
Samantha Fish#15 PodcastAmerican Dream
Johnny Winter#15 PodcastMean Mistreater
Wonders of The Yukon#15 PodcastRachel and the Goofs
The AgencyLocal#15 PodcastPoor Robin
Amy Speace and Orphan Brigade#15 PodcastShotgun Hearts
Jesse Brewster#15 PodcastBitter Pill
Mary Karlzen#15 PodcastTry to Find
Jerry LegerGateway#15 PodcastDen of Sin
Dillard and ClarkGateway#15 PodcastOut on The Side
Hannah White and Nordic Connection#15 PodcastPay me a Compliment
Ian Segal and the Mississippi Mudbloods#15 PodcastBayou Country
Annie Oakley#15 PodcastHow Could I Have Known? (Single 16 April)
Jeff Crosby#15 PodcastHotel Bibles
Robbie Fulks#15 PodcastSarah Jane
Ivan Brown#15 PodcastHe’s Old He’s Six

RMHQ Music Hour Podcast Ep:12

RMHQ Music Hour
Episode 12
March 19th 2021

Where does the time go? It’s Friday already …. and the weekend starts here.
Episode 12 and the listening figures are going up every week (as are the older ones too btw) …. so thanks for listening.
This week we even have an actual 2021 Grammy Winner with a track from Bobby Rush’s RAWER THAN RAW album; as well as a runner up in the same category; young Alabama Slim’s THE PARLOR album.
I’ve included two songs from Markus Rill’s Gateway Choices …… both Classics in their own rite (according to me).

New music comes from the fabulous Emma Scarr The Ontarians, Odd Birds and Clint Roberts; all well worth checking out on these very pages.
Speaking of Emma Scarr, she also brings a bit of culture to proceedings with a beautiful poem.
Local music is Rob Heron and the Teapad Orchestra; a band that genuinely defies categorisation and guarantees and a bloomin’ good night out.
Then there are a few songs from albums you may never have heard; but should have, Slaid Cleaves, Matraca Berg and a duet between Malcolm Holcombe & Iris DeMent.

As you may have suspected, I have a new catchphrase ….. What’s Not To Like?

Slaid Cleaves#12 PodcastThe Old Guard
Clint Roberts#12 PodcastNothing left to say
Malcolm Holcombe with Iris DeMent#12 PodcastBrother’s Keeper
Alabama Slim#12 PodcastRock Me Baby
Bobby Rush#12 PodcastSmokestack Lightning
Matraca Berg#12 PodcastBlack Ribbons
Markus RillGateway#12 PodcastThe World’s Biggest Fool
Steve EarleGateway#12 PodcastDevil’s Right Hand
Buck OwensGateway#12 PodcastClose up the Honky Tonks
The Odd Birds#12 PodcastBetter Days
Rob Heron Teapad OrcLocal#12 PodcastDrinkin’ and Carryin on
Emma Scarr#12 PodcastWhen I Used to drink
Emma ScarrPoetry#12 PodcastDon’t make me go back
Ontarians#12 PodcastSunblind

RMHQ Radio Show JUMPIN’ HOT CLUB 35th Anniversary Special Pt’s #1 and #2

RMHQ Radio Show
Jumpin’ Hot Club 35th Anniversary Special Pts #1 & 2

Bringin’ the Jive Since ’85

35 years ago this week in 1985 two young men. Graham Anderson and Adam Collerton booked their first act for the Jumpin’ Hot Club; and now in 2021 they are still announcing gigs from new and ground breaking Roots Acts in 2021.

The list of acts they’ve brought to the North East of England just goes on and on; with many household names in the Roots World making their first tentative steps into Europe courtesy of this nomadic club.

As a very minor cog over the last twenty years I’m proud to bring you two one hours shows highlighting the diversity of acts, if not an actual Best Of …….

Here’s Part #1

Hokum Hotshots1st Band Booked#11 PodcastGuitar Swing
Big Town Playboys1st Name Band#11 PodcastYou gotta do more for my baby
Davinia and the Vagabonds#11 PodcastMagic Kisses
Chuck Prophet#11 PodcastBad Year for Rock and Roll
Kim Richey#11 PodcastChase Wild Horses
Dale Watson#11 PodcastAint that livin’?
Howlin’ Ric#11 PodcastLeg Shakin’ Mama
JD McPherson#11 PodcastFirebug
Sarah Shook#11 PodcastHeartache in Hell
James Hunter/Howlin Wilf#11 PodcastI GOT MY EYES ON YOU
Laura Cantrell#11 PodcastThe Whiskey Makes You Sweeter
Everly Brothers#11 PodcastCrying in the rain
Chastity Browndebut#11 PodcastColorado
Otis Gibbsdebut#11 PodcastGhosts of our Fathers
Gem Andrews#11 PodcastCome a Long Way
Willie Nile#11 PodcastGrandpa Rocks
Waco Brothers#11 PodcastPlenty Tough Union Made
Be Good Tanyas#11 PodcastFor the Turnstiles
Danny and the Champs#11 PodcastJust Be Yourself
Sam Baker#11 PodcastMigrants
Mary Gauthier#11 PodcastCigarette Machine
Martin Stephenson#11 PodcastBig Sky New Lights
Frazey Ford#11 PodcastMoney Can’t Buy
Holmes Brothers#11 PodcastPromised Land
Alejandro Escovedo#11 PodcastRosalie
Dave and Phil Alvin#11 PodcastRattlesnakin’ Daddy
Hubert Sumlin#11 PodcastBlues is here to stay
Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham#11 PodcastCry Like a Baby
Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay#11 PodcastMr Wonderful (EXCLUSIVE)

Shantell Ogden ONE STEP CLOSER: Songs to Recover By

Shantell Ogden
ONE STEP CLOSER: Songs to Recover By
Hip Farm Chic

Essential and Uneasy Listening About The Dark Side Of Life in 2021.

While the Covid Pandemic and assorted Lockdowns have been a bloody nightmare for all of us in a million different and very personal ways across 2020 and 2021 (we have had our losses too at RMHQ) music has been not just a lifeline; but a Silver Lining in many ways.
With the household names generally going ‘woe is me’, being stuck at home has given many of us the opportunity to listen to some of the new music from ‘lesser known’ artists and actually buy their albums/singles/EP’s or indeed put something in the Tip Jar when they have streamed gigs from their living room to yours.
That said; health organisations across the world have reported a corresponding increase in addictions of all kinds; what with being stuck at home with nothing to do but eat, drink and worry or worse.
Shantell Ogden has collided both of these worlds by recording a back to basics acoustic album of songs about addiction in all its guises.
This is Country Music kids and those who know Shantell’s previous albums, will already know what a good songwriter she is; and while there might not ‘be many laughs here’ it’s certainly not as doom and gloom as it might be.

The powerful and very sad St. Augustine starts the album and; as I did you will sit in awe at the story as it unfolds; about someone who tries and tries to quit ‘the needle’ but keeps falling back into the same old trap time and time again.
This is the ‘real deal’ Country Music that Music Row and the Hat Acts choose to ignore; but much like many of the songs that follow; there’s a ‘terrible beauty’ in Shantell’s words and melody that will have you wiping some imaginary dust from your eyes.
We all know someone like the character in Who Comes First? In this story it’s a man; but it could just as easily be a woman ……. because the ‘cheating isn’t with another woman’ it’s something worse.
I dread using the word clever to describe songwriting; but it genuinely is the best was to describe the way Shantell gets us to invest in Trouble Road or High Way Calls without actually passing judgement; or feeling sorry and stepping aside; it’s actually about help to deal with the problem (even if it is over and over again).
In her defence Shantell does give as much ‘light’ as there she does ‘shade’; but even the songs of Hope; One Step Closer and the finale Hand Up won’t exactly have you dancing in the aisles; but they do show that there is another life without whatever is hurting you.
Choosing a Favourite Song feels a bit grubby; but when you hear Devil Comes Knockin’ you too will feel a shiver down your back as a solid gold Country Hit comes oozing out of your speakers like a spitting cobra; with a Steel Guitar.
This song; and More Than You Know too, honestly sounds like they are destined for an album by someone a whole lot more famous than Shantell Ogden; but they won’t sound anywhere near as raw and honest as when Shantell Ogden sings them; ebut it might mean we get to see Shantell in her party frock at the CMA’s.
ONE STEP CLOSER: Songs to Recover By is as far from Easy Listening as Country Music will ever get; but instead it is essential listening; especially if you know someone struggling with any form of addiction …. you aren’t alone.
Hundreds of albums will be donated to those in recovery programs across the U.S. In addition, fan-funded concerts are also being planned to share the music live.

It is our hope that this music will touch hearts and inspire healing,” adds Shantell.

Released February 19th 2021
https://www.shantellogden.com/

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https://www.shantellogden.com/store