|Samantha Fish||#15 Podcast||American Dream|
|Johnny Winter||#15 Podcast||Mean Mistreater|
|Wonders of The Yukon||#15 Podcast||Rachel and the Goofs|
|The Agency||Local||#15 Podcast||Poor Robin|
|Amy Speace and Orphan Brigade||#15 Podcast||Shotgun Hearts|
|Jesse Brewster||#15 Podcast||Bitter Pill|
|Mary Karlzen||#15 Podcast||Try to Find|
|Jerry Leger||Gateway||#15 Podcast||Den of Sin|
|Dillard and Clark||Gateway||#15 Podcast||Out on The Side|
|Hannah White and Nordic Connection||#15 Podcast||Pay me a Compliment|
|Ian Segal and the Mississippi Mudbloods||#15 Podcast||Bayou Country|
|Annie Oakley||#15 Podcast||How Could I Have Known? (Single 16 April)|
|Jeff Crosby||#15 Podcast||Hotel Bibles|
|Robbie Fulks||#15 Podcast||Sarah Jane|
|Ivan Brown||#15 Podcast||He’s Old He’s Six|
RMHQ Music Hour
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 Podcast||The Old Guard|
|Clint Roberts||#12 Podcast||Nothing left to say|
|Malcolm Holcombe with Iris DeMent||#12 Podcast||Brother’s Keeper|
|Alabama Slim||#12 Podcast||Rock Me Baby|
|Bobby Rush||#12 Podcast||Smokestack Lightning|
|Matraca Berg||#12 Podcast||Black Ribbons|
|Markus Rill||Gateway||#12 Podcast||The World’s Biggest Fool|
|Steve Earle||Gateway||#12 Podcast||Devil’s Right Hand|
|Buck Owens||Gateway||#12 Podcast||Close up the Honky Tonks|
|The Odd Birds||#12 Podcast||Better Days|
|Rob Heron Teapad Orc||Local||#12 Podcast||Drinkin’ and Carryin on|
|Emma Scarr||#12 Podcast||When I Used to drink|
|Emma Scarr||Poetry||#12 Podcast||Don’t make me go back|
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 Hotshots||1st Band Booked||#11 Podcast||Guitar Swing|
|Big Town Playboys||1st Name Band||#11 Podcast||You gotta do more for my baby|
|Davinia and the Vagabonds||#11 Podcast||Magic Kisses|
|Chuck Prophet||#11 Podcast||Bad Year for Rock and Roll|
|Kim Richey||#11 Podcast||Chase Wild Horses|
|Dale Watson||#11 Podcast||Aint that livin’?|
|Howlin’ Ric||#11 Podcast||Leg Shakin’ Mama|
|JD McPherson||#11 Podcast||Firebug|
|Sarah Shook||#11 Podcast||Heartache in Hell|
|James Hunter/Howlin Wilf||#11 Podcast||I GOT MY EYES ON YOU|
|Laura Cantrell||#11 Podcast||The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter|
|Everly Brothers||#11 Podcast||Crying in the rain|
|Chastity Brown||debut||#11 Podcast||Colorado|
|Otis Gibbs||debut||#11 Podcast||Ghosts of our Fathers|
|Gem Andrews||#11 Podcast||Come a Long Way|
|Willie Nile||#11 Podcast||Grandpa Rocks|
|Waco Brothers||#11 Podcast||Plenty Tough Union Made|
|Be Good Tanyas||#11 Podcast||For the Turnstiles|
|Danny and the Champs||#11 Podcast||Just Be Yourself|
|Sam Baker||#11 Podcast||Migrants|
|Mary Gauthier||#11 Podcast||Cigarette Machine|
|Martin Stephenson||#11 Podcast||Big Sky New Lights|
|Frazey Ford||#11 Podcast||Money Can’t Buy|
|Holmes Brothers||#11 Podcast||Promised Land|
|Alejandro Escovedo||#11 Podcast||Rosalie|
|Dave and Phil Alvin||#11 Podcast||Rattlesnakin’ Daddy|
|Hubert Sumlin||#11 Podcast||Blues is here to stay|
|Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham||#11 Podcast||Cry Like a Baby|
|Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay||#11 Podcast||Mr Wonderful (EXCLUSIVE)|
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.
Country Doesn’t Get More Country Than This.
I’m not even sure what drew me to this Mini-Album/EP last week. The CD cover is uninspiring; I’d obviously never heard of Byron Dowd before and while the Press Release eloquently describes Dowd’s back-story and name checks all the usual songwriters that I’d expect to see these days; but absolutely nothing prepared me for what I was about to hear ….. at all.
The maudlin intro, with some extremely sad fiddle leads into a tragically world weary male singer and a Country Song of the finest hue; full of knowing strength and wisdom.
My eyes nearly popped out of my head the first time I played A New Way; and had to put the Sunday paper down and go back to the beginning. The tale of a young man full of self-doubt; could and should be called Pawn Shop Guitar; as that’s the golden thread that weaves this gorgeously sorrowful story together; and just may be a tad autobiographical.
The next song; High Road takes a similar path; as Dowd recounts something his Father once told him not long before he died; telling the son to ‘always take the high road and and show character; no matter what.’ Ain’t that the truth, brothers and sisters.
As a bench mark; this track alone sounds like something Willie Nelson could have wrote recently and Johnny Cash recorded on his American series …… yup; it’s that damn good and indeed, poignant.
Now I’ve been into this album for a few days; choosing a category for it to settle in hasn’t been easy; but while the storytelling is pure Americana; I can’t see past this being a good ole fashioned Country Album in the vein of Waylon, Willie and those first couple of Sturgill albums.
Raindrop is a perfect example; it’s not quite Honky-Tonk but I can easily imagine Dowd singing the soul out of it one Friday night in some dusty and almost empty bar, just off an unlit highway; then on the Saturday night standing proudly pouring his heart out in a packed concert hall in the centre of the same City.
To some degree picking a Favourite Track out of these five songs has been difficult; but the final two are both exemplary examples of a songwriter; and a Country Songwriter at that, stumbling on a seam full of gold and digging deeper than many would think necessary.
Both songs have rather clever and neat twists to them; which I don’t intend spoiling; but Gasoline is a tale of retribution from a faithful brother who tells us;
“My sister called last Sunday
The pain in her voice I heard
Twenty somewhat stitches
Over a few just little words.“
then add the amazing fiddle of Milo Deering to eke out ever more pathos and you have a song that will haunt you forever more.
The finale, Millertone is another song, tenuously ‘about a guitar’ and blew me away when the penny dropped. As I say I’m not spoiling the ‘twist;’ but imagine the waitress in Neil Young’s Unknown Legend having a Mother who worked in the same small town restaurant and ……… a young musician starts talking about his guitar ……. no; check it out and prepare to smile like a ninny while you sob your heart out.
I don’t recognise any of the musicians featured here; but they and the arrangements are subtle and clever; always adding to the song and never threatening to over shadow the singer’s ‘barroom baritone,’ just always doing enough to keep your attention on the words; and the words are what this mini-album is all about.
Apparently Dowd’s self-titled album in 2012 flitted around the top of the AMA Charts; but fame and fortune didn’t follow, so he packed away his stage gear and got on with life, until his son asked why he had so many guitars ……. and HIGH ROAD is the result.
Released November 30th 2020
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
WILL WE EVER BE FREE?
As you know we receive a lot of singles at RMHQ; and the vast majority have to fall by the wayside simply for logistical reasons; but this single is as fascinating as it is poignant and prescient.
The Covid19 lockdown has been a difficult time for many people, none more so than the over 70’s.
But for legendary Irish Country singer Brendan Quinn it’s been a very productive time and he’s now releasing his lockdown themed single “Will We Ever Be Free” and is announcing a full album too.
“Not being able to do what I’ve been doing for 50 odd years came as a bit of shock! says Brendan, “Everything just stopped last February …… no more music.
I had a 14 day tour lined up for May, gigs and festivals over the summer, all cancelled.
But I tried to stay positive, I walked most every day and started to stream gigs live on FB from my front room.
I did it every day for 100 days and I reckon I sang about 700 songs. I really enjoyed interacting with all the folk online but it’s just not the same as playing in front of an audience but it kept me connected to my music.”
Released September 18th 2020
Stoney Creek Records
“A Big Sugar-Rush of Country Pop Goodness.”
Back when CMT used to play music videos, they could always be relied upon to provide a selection of Classic Country-Pop female artists – if the channel hadn’t morphed into a lifestyle and reality channel, then Lindsay Ell would surely find her place in whatever the modern equivalent is. HEART THEORY, which is described as a concept album around the seven stages of grief; places uncomfortable emotions into an accessible format.
Opener “Hits me” is pure Swiftian glossy pop (Taylor, not Jonathan btw) which addresses the shock of grief – she’s “happy ‘til it hits me.”
“How Good” embraces stop-start-loud-soft dynamics and begs for someone to take a chance on her, before the musical mood shifts on “I Don’t Love You,” which develops a wider lyrical observational field about not loving someone any more but missing them all the same – even in a quieter track, the epic production magnifies and forces everything into a mainstream form.
“Want Me Back” takes the classic theme of the singer being the best option for the former partner and slams it right back them, anthemically speaking, whereas “Get Over You” takes a more cynical approach towards a former relationship where the other is again the one who needs to get themselves sorted.
“Wrong Girl” which follows is in the same vein, with the singer rebuking the role of a servile victim over 2 minutes and thirty-six seconds of running bass and power chords.
There is a narrative shift on “Body Language of a Breakup” from first to third person which is used to universalise the experience under review, with didactic pre-choruses reinforcing the affirmative observations in the hook.
“Good on You” takes things down musically and tries to adopt a more philosophical approach to break-up. The semi-ironic title again wrestles with the difficulty of a break-up before a Carlos Santana-esque guitar break flutters in and out of the part-rapped vocal.
“The Other Side” takes a more reflective and positive approach – AAAA rhymes, fluid guitar and strings put this firmly in the pop corner, which is wholly appropriate for such cathartic expressions of emotional recovery. “Go To” takes the loud-soft brick-wall limited approach beloved of the Nashville Broadway party bus crowd and rocks out on hedonism, before things slow down on the reflective life diary of “Make You” which holds back on the big rush choruses for a gentler pop-ballad feel.
“Ready to Love” completes the emotional journey of the album with its double-tracked vocal lines and euphoric mission statement tag-lines.
The whole album is one big sugar-rush of Country AND Pop goodness, perfect for commercial radio, with every track pulling out all the hooky lyrical, production and musical stops to grab the listener’s attention and even, heartstrings.
Released August 14th 2020
Buy – Don’t Spotify https://lindsayell.tmstor.es/?lf=53a15b0882483f9d311b5f220961d267
Reviewed by Nick Barber
Back to Paradise (A Tulsa Tribute(To Okie Music)
A Heartfelt Labor of Love To The Great Music of Oklahoma.
Back To Paradise: A Tulsa Tribute to Okie Music? That means 17 Songs Written by Leon Russell, JJ Cale, The Gap Band, Jesse Ed Davis & a host of Others you may not have heard of, but will love discovering.
Even though tribute albums are always a labor of love, they can sometimes be hit or miss.
Just because you love a song, doesn’t mean you’re able to pull off a convincing version of it. Doing justice to the songs of Leon Russell, J.J. Cale, the Gap Band, Dwight Twilley, and Hoyt Axton, amongst others, is no easy feat. So when twenty notable Tulsa, Oklahoma musicians decided to record this album of classic Okie Country and Rock’n’ Roll tunes, they went the next logical step and traveled to Leon Russell’s famed Paradise Studio, and for four days, made a mostly live ‘in the studio’ performance recording of their efforts.
Produced by Jason Weinheimer & Them Tulsa Boys—with a fun party vibe throughout, you can tell these cats were having fun, fun, fun! Because of that, these songs certainly bring the Tulsa Sound to the masses.
They don’t reinvent the wheel on any of these songs, but thankfully don’t go the paint by numbers route, either; giving a nice reverence to the material, and an understanding that what made this music special wasn’t just the location, but the sum of its parts.
Gospel back-beat drums, funky bass, and relaxed grooves all frequent the tunes here alongside some great and soulful vocalizing by Paul Benjamin who bookends the album with the J.J. Cale song “I’ll Make Love to You Anytime,” and a version of “Mona Sweet Mona” originally done by Teegarden and Van Winkle.
John Fullbright, gets to go full gospel on “Crossing Over,” a Steve Ripley tune, then showcase his vocals on both a Leon Russell song, and a Hoyt Axton classic too, namely “If the Shoe Fits” and “Jealous Man.”
Soul singer Branjae gleefully pulls off “Tramp,” most notably a duet between Carla Thomas and Otis Redding, while Sarah Frick blows the doors off with a rocking good version of the Dwight Twilley song “I’m on Fire.”
There are surprises of the pleasant variety around every corner; none more so than Tulsa musician Jesse Aycock shining on “Tulsa County” and “Black Cherry;” but my favorite on this compilation has to be his exceedingly soulful version of the Gypsy Trips’ “Rock ‘n’ Roll Gypsies.”
Another fantastic track is when Charlie Redd and Briana Wright get together to hoot and holler their way through a rousing redo of the Gap Band’s “I Yike It,” with a “so cool it’s hot” instrumental opening by the studio band, who likewise did a bang up job on J.J. Cale’s “Ride Me High,” too; giving everybody a moment to cut loose.
A labor of love, lovingly and convincingly pulled off by twenty great Oklahoma musicians.
Review by the Legendary Roy Peak
Released August 28th 2020
#BuyDontSpotify here https://hortonrecords.bandcamp.com/album/back-to-paradise-a-tulsa-tribute-to-okie-music
The Painful and Beautiful End Of Country Heartbreak and Heartache.
You should know us here at RMHQ by now; we love music in all shapes and sizes; but best of all it’s discovering the ‘rusty gold’ that normally lies in the shadows, but deserves its time in the spotlight as much as a Million Selling Star from Tinsel Town.
Such an act is Victor Camozzi; who sounds like he’s had one Helluva Life and with even a shred of common sense should have given this malarkey up by now and got a proper job.
But, as he says when he paraphrases Townes Van Zandt:
“I do this, not for the sake of shaking my ass or trying to be a Star…it’s the song, man. It’s just the song.“
And, #Spoiler Alert …….. if I’m any judge of an album, the world is a better place because of the songs on this album being in circulation.
Even the album title appealed to me, Black Dog was the expression Winston Churchill used to describe his depression; then a cursory flick through the song titles gave the impression that this wasn’t going to rubbing shoulders with The Chicks or Taylor Swift in Walmart!
Opening track Broken Hearts Roll sets the scene quite perfectly; a fabulous backing melody with occasional stinging electric guitar licks support a voice that sounds like it’s been through the emotional ringer more than once; on a tightly wrapped song that sounds like he romantically believes there still will be light at the end of the tunnel.
Phew ……. track #2 Jar Full of Tears is the type of droll tearjerker that I’ve been waiting for both Steve Earle and even Mary Gauthier to write for years; but even they can’t conjure up the sad imagery that Victor manages with consummate ease.
Personally I hope these songs have been written over a few years; because the pain that virtually bleeds out of See You In My Dreams and The Wrong Thing At The Right Time or more especially the saddest song Hank never wrote; Even The Whiskey would surely be too much for one man to take from one woman, wouldn’t it?
You should understand that these songs aren’t for blasting out of the car hi-fi; these are so personal they need the comfort of a big armchair in a room with the light fading into darkness to get the best out of them; and if you haven’t already got a broken heart of your own; you will when you hear Camozzi fighting back the tears himself when he sings See You In My Dreams and more pertinently The Good Times.
The title track Black Dog as as dark and miserable as you’d expect ….. or in my case, hope for. The brave way Camozzi describes these most innermost feelings is as brave as it is beautiful ……. just don’t expect to hear this song on the radio; even Leonard Cohen fans will think it a bit too sad for public consumption …….. but I know it’s a song I will come back to time and time again.
Bring your own tissues and wine.
Camozzi’s songwriting is ‘up there’ with the best of his generation IMHO, which brings me to the two songs I’m debating between for my accolade of Favourite Song ………. the razor sharp Ride at Dawn which sounds a bit like Kris Kristofferson singing Tom Russell after a night out with Willie and Cash; and the other; which is the type of song any songwriter can sit back and re-read and be extremely proud of; Horses I Won’t Ride.
I’ve listened to it on the office stereo several times; but actually cried the first time I played it through headphones ……. man; can Victor Camozzi write a sad song and make it as beautiful as a dusty desert rose.
This is Victor’s fourth album; but his first in six years; and if there is any justice at all in the crazy world of American Music will be the one that turns the corner for him; but I don’t know the effect that these songs will have on him singing them 5 nights a week on a World Tour.
Released 4th July 2020
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 http://www.lionheartradio.com