Beautifully Intense, Eloquent and Just the Right Side of Melancholic Singer-Songwriter.
I don’t know an awful lot about Singer-Songwriter Dylan Rodrigue; but I’d love to meet his Dad. Apparently the family lived in a Hippy style, Yoga based community in Northern California, with the young Dylan being brought up on a diet of `’quiet, peaceful and introspective music’ until……. when he was aged 7 his Dad snuck a copy of Who’s Next into the kids bedroom! Let’s just say it changed his outlook on life! Leap forward to today and Dylan is now releasing his second full-length album of self-penned songs that criss-cross both genres from his early life discovering music. The opening song White Moon is a timeless and powerful four minutes that captures the attention and opens the door to a collage of musical delights. For me Rodrigue is very much at his best with an acoustic guitar in his hands, especially when the windswept production and ethereal harmonies combine on Some Kind Of Heaven and especially the red raw, articulate and introspective Living in Color which closes the album. Somewhere deep inside his chest I believe there’s a poets soul lurking; how else can you explain the delicate stories on Self Love and the fragile piano led, tearjerker Living This Way? Be under no illusions Dylan Rodrigue isn’t a self-pitying songwriter, these songs while deeply personal sound like they are for and about anyone and everyone; none more so than the Alt. Rocker Money Game, which had my car speakers shaking in the dashboard! Perhaps it’s the post-Christmas funk I’m in; but two songs have really touched my heart; it may have been the third or fourth time I played the album when It’s So Funny caught me unawares and Rodrigue’s world weary and pleading voice made me listen very intently to his words; and I felt blessed at discovering such a richly talented wordsmith. But it’s the other song, Minimize The Damage which has taken the title of RMHQ Favourite song on a rather excellent album. It’s certainly intense and just the right side of melancholic; but there’s also something darkly beautiful and empowering in the way Rodrigue fights back the tears as he pours out his shattered heart and dreams to only you (and me). Who knows if Dylan Rodrigue will go on to win a Grammy or earn a million dollars from his music; but what I do know is that everyone who buys Cat’s Game will cherish it for life.
These days with the internet, music in all its forms appears to be all around us at the press of a button yet when I was growing up in the 1970’s you had to save up your pocket money to buy a new LP every month or two, and then you had to loan them to friends in exchange for something they owned and you didn’t; which was the only way to discover new music as, apart from the Sainted John Peel, BBC radio hardly ever played the music I liked and on TV we had 50 minutes per week on the Old Grey Whistle Test. Perhaps that is why my/our generation value music so much; it was hard to come by! Which brings me to the only musician that I own every single album they’ve recorded and a handful of bootlegs too; ladies and gentlemen I give you……. the Pride of Ireland…….Mr. Rory Gallagher. Thankfully for fans like me, Rory’s brother Donal now owns and controls the back catalogue; releasing artefacts on an occasional basis that he feels his persnickety brother would have approved of; making releases like this something of an event in British (and Irish) music circles. It’s pretty much a given that Rory’s IRISH TOUR ’74 double album is his best work (I can give you an argument about Live in Europe; but we’ll keep that for another day) and I also own a bootleg LP of one of the two Cork concerts that made up the original album; but among Gallagher fans the Holy Grail has always been a recording of the almost mythical Belfast concerts between Christmas and New Year of 1974; and here they are…in all their remixed glory. You may or may not remember, but Belfast at that time was in disarray with a virtual Civil War going on and the city continually being brought to its knees by bombs of all shapes and sizes; and to his credit Rory Gallagher; a regular visitor for many years; along with Rod De’Ath, Gerry McAvoy and Lou Martin kept their word and played two sold out dates that have gone down in history; as for 48 hours a truce was declared by the paramilitaries on both sides, so the concerts could take place. Has the wait been worth it and does the world need the other two concerts? Hell yes! While the box set (3 x concerts at 2 discs each, a CD of unreleased noodling’s and messing around during the sound check at the Dublin concert, a DVD and a marvelous magazine/booklet) is aimed at the completest market I would heartily recommend this to any aspiring electric guitarists as this is a Masterclass in playing the instrument; with Rory and band being at the very top of their game making the duplicate songs noticeably different on each disc as the guitarist bounces off the audiences in ways that the majority of guitarists can only dream of doing. Some people reading this may think I’m a hypocrite as I’ve spent the last 10 years or so poo-poohing anyone who does a guitar solo over a minute and a half; yet I’m asking you to wallow in the 17 minutes and 40 seconds of In Your Town during the Belfast concert or the 19 minutes of the same song at Dublin; but hey….we were all young once. As was always the case; there is very little chat between songs apart from Rory nervously repeating the titles of songs and the names of band members when they’ve contributed a spellbinding solo of their own; but who needs stories when it’s the music we want to hear? Ask yourself; who amongst us doesn’t want to hear versions Messin’ With the Kid, Laundromat, In Your Town, Tattoo’d Lady and Bullfrog Blues that have lay hidden, covered in dust for forty years? Oh… my…. God; these concerts took place FORTY YEARS AGO but they still sound as fresh as anything I’ve heard in that time and will remain so when my Grandchildren listen in another 40 years. I can’t really say anything else; Rory Gallagher’s music will always be timeless to me and Blues Rock just doesn’t get any better than this; especially his guitar playing (check out the famous Jimi Hendrix quote) but Rory Gallagher could also write a damn fine song too and sing it in such a distinctive way it takes a very brave musician to cover them. Trust me; Rory Gallagher IRISH TOUR ’74 DELUXE VERSION is worth every single penny of your pocket money.
Scorching Set of New, Old and Truly Authentic Country Songs.
Think about this for a minute; how come a man who was at the forefront of what we now know as *Ameripolitan or whatever we are calling ‘Real Country’ these days, is having to fund his latest album via his fans on IndieGoGo? Mercifully Jason Ringenberg doesn’t let such things worry him too much; he just ‘Keeps on Keeping on’; playing gigs wherever and whenever he can; albeit as himself, or with The Scorchers or more likely as his alter-ego Farmer Jason; for which the music world owes him an enormous debt. I’m a fan, by the way. Enough of that……. ‘give me the lowdown on the music’ I hear you ask. Oddly, for a singer-songwriter album, the title track, which opens the album, Stand Tall is a glorious instrumental, well worthy of a John Wayne or Clint Eastwood soundtrack, and features our hero in the heady mix somewhere, while the band conjure up Technicolour images of the Old West. ‘That’ distinctive and definitive Country voice comes out of the speakers like a Tennessee storm a moment later on Looking Back Blues; which is as Country as Country gets in 2019 as Jason loosely sings about life’s missed chances, with more rhymes than a children’s poet. That’s the beauty of this fellas songs; they can make you dance, sing and any old thing you want to when you hear John The Baptist Was a Real Humdinger or John Muir Stood Here or more likely his remembrance of the time the Nashville Scorchers supported The Ramones on a month long tour of Texas in ’82 on God Bless The Ramones. What a way with words and music this guy has! This, dear reader is exactly where Country and Punk collided to beget Cow Punk. As per usual not everything here is 99 mph; Ringenberg can break your heart into smithereens with his delicate ballads; and Here in the Sequoias is the perfect antidote to the whiz-bang songs that surround it. Long term fans will always expect a drinking song from Mr Ringenberg; and Many Happy Hangovers To You sounds like it’s destined to be included in any future sets by the Scorchers; and if/when it does expect a full house to know every single word and extol them with ecstatic force and glee. If you’ve ever seen Ringenberg play you will know his pre-ambles are often as entertaining as the songs themselves; plus you will realise he’s a well read young man too, which brings us to I’m Walking Home, about a teenager who was virtually kidnapped to join the Confederate Army; but it’s the tiny details in each verse, coupled to a superb Celtic-Military tune that make this song stand out from just about everything else I’ve heard from this era; and I’ve heard a lot! As a fan-boy I am pre-programmed to love absolutely everything that Jason Ringenberg has ever recorded; but even I can still be surprised by his undoubted talent and story-telling, which brings me to two wonderful songs that must tie for the title of RMHQ Favourite Song. Bob Dylan’s Farewell Angelina is a stunningly beautiful song that had my heart twisted in knots the first two times I heard it; and now two weeks later it’s still unravelling to reveal even more depth to a magnificent tale. The other is a theme Jason has touched on before; but on his exquisite version of Jimmie Rodger’s Hobo Bill’s Last Ride he dips into the Country Music play book and comes out with an absolute tearjerker, which doesn’t just include a classy melody but finds our hero regaling us with a yodel or two, too! For a man who thought his music career was over after losing his muse; and thinking he’d lost his fan base……. this album is setting the bar very high indeed for everyone else in 2019!
Even Rolling Stone once said of Jason and the Scorchers “they single handedly re-wrote the history of rock’n’roll in the South”
The Bangles, The Three O’Clock, Dream Syndicate & Rain Parade. 3 x 4 Yep Roc
Sunshine Mixed With a Little Bit of a Musical Hurricane.
Where to start with this box of musical delights? Back in the mists of time these four bands, in their fledgling state were part of the burgeoning Paisley Underground, with everyone going on to some modicum of success (most notably The Bangles of course, but The Dream Syndicate have had some big hits and both The Three O’Clock and Rain Parade have had their day in the sunshine too). Back in 2013 all four bands played a charity gig for EDUCATION THROUGH MUSIC https://etmla.org/#newsletter ; afterwards several band members wanted to follow it up with some kind of album; and now 5 years later…. here it is! I like the concept behind the project, with each band recording a song from each of the other three, and putting their own unique ‘stamp’ on the new work. It’s not meant to be a ‘spoiler’ as such; but there are pleasant surprises around every corner; none more so than the opening track Getting Out of Hand, a Bangles song given a punchy and harmony laden 60’s, Byrds-like reworking by The Three O’Clock. This is followed by The Bangles themselves, ditching the kitsch on The Dream Syndicate’s That’s What You Always Say taking it deep into Jefferson Airplane territory and coming out the other side not just unscathed, but actually quite sharp actually. That’s the joy here; I didn’t previously know any of the songs and apart from the Hit period of the Bangles the other three bands are pretty much unknown quantities to me…… so discovering songs like The Dream Syndicate’s When You Smile being turned into a Hippy masterpiece by Rain Parade and The Dream Syndicate themselves rocking the house down with She Turns to Flowers is worth the entrance fee alone. The distinctive ‘Paisley Underground’ signature sound is all prevailing here; and even though there are four very different bands involved; the concept works fantastically well, sitting the almost mystical When You Smile by Rain Parade between The Three O’Clock’s nod to Traffic via Tell Me When It’s Over and The Bangles going all Folk-Rock with Talking In My Sleep with hardly any seams showing. As I said earlier, there really are surprises around every corner; which brings me to the two songs I’m undecided about which will take the title of RMHQ Favourite Song; first is The Bangles with an explosive song from Three O’Clock called Jet Fighter and the other is The Rain Parade recreating the Mersey Sound on the Bangles Real World; and probably because it’s so haunting and delicious I’m going for the latter. While this is very much a homage to the late 1960’s music that changed the world, by a bunch of bands with their roots firmly in the 80’s; it’s as classy and relevant as just about any other ‘Pop album’ I’ve heard in the last 5 or 6 years. Congratulations to all concerned!
As is oft the case with Americana and Country musicians that, if you scratch away the new ‘plaid’ veneer you quite often discover that they either lived on a diet of Heavy Metal or Punk in their teenage years; which brings us to The Flesh Eaters. Under normal circumstances we ‘Don’t do Punk’ and only ever review albums we like, but under rare circumstances if they offer something new, innovative and/or interesting; we will give it a go. With all that in mind there was only one single factor that made me want to peel away the wrapping on this ‘mid-life crisis’ album of LA Punk circa 1981…… and that is the name Dave Alvin! You have no idea how difficult listening to this racket has been for me and my refined (if slightly damaged) ears …….. the things I do for you! Where to start? The Flesh Eaters have had many incarnations over the years; but this version id deemed the ‘All Star Edition’ and includes Alvin of course, plus Blasters drummer Bill Bateman, John Doe on bass, DJ Bonebraker from X and Steve Berlin (Blasters AND Los Lobos) on sax plus singer and all around Renaissance Man Chris Desjardins; only ever played a handful of gigs, but did record one album A Minute to Pray/ A Second to Die in 1981. Opening track, the Gothic Black Temptation is a bit like turning the key in a rusty Oldsmobile, as it coughs into life you find that this 8-Track is stuck in the machine and is your soundtrack for a 90 mph midnight race around the back streets of Shitsville late at night, and you only have Chris D wailing and howling like Dave Vanian of the Damned albeit on steroids for company! This is followed by House Amid The Thickets, a weird hybrid that makes me think the band had been up all night listening to the Doors, Beefheart and Sun Ra to find some ‘inspiration’; and inspired it most certainly is! Personally I only ever dabbled with UK Punk, and my knowledge of American Punk is very limited indeed; especially as there was very little of it that ever crossed the Atlantic; and that what did didn’t tickle my taste buds. Which is why songs like the mangled Green Manalishi and the fiery Pony Dress are lost on me. On the plus side; the musicianship is superb…… quite the opposite of what they must have sounded like nigh on 40 years ago I presume; especially Alvin’s searing guitar licks on The Wedding Dress and The Youngest Profession, where he duels Steve Berlin on sax, as Chris D’s vocals to virtual somersaults. Unlike the Punk songs I recall; this album reminds me more of Alex Harvey’s inspirational and scary albums than it does the Pistols or Ramones. There’s a whole lot going on in every song, with the likes of Cinderella, My Life To Live and She’s Like Heroin all being some kind of crazy Heavy Metal/Jazz-Rock fusion, rather than the 3 minute and two chords that littered the John Peel radio show in 1977-80. HA! I guess I have to give you a Favourite Song, now……hmmm….. the epic 14 minutes of Ghost Cave Lament, certainly has its merits in a mystical Prog-Punk way; but I’m going to select The Wedding Dice as it’s the nearest to a commercial Rock song here; although I doubt there’s a radio station anywhere in the world who will play it. From start to finish it’s evident that everyone concerned is having the time of their lives; and I will repeat myself that the musicianship is truly excellent; but that’s no surprise when you know who the individuals are. As an album; I have no idea who will buy it and when they would play it…… but……. I bet these guys put on a breathtaking and unforgettable live show.
A Golden Voiceand a Red Hot Way With Words on hisBlue Collar Stories
Well; my dears, what better and more fascinating way to start a New Year than discovering a singer-songwriter getting a second wind that leaves him with the world at his feet? In this fractured world we now inhabit Murphy opens his latest album with a semi-political song of ‘hope’ in When People Come Together, a song that invokes memories of the counter culture in the late 60’s but couldn’t be more relevant today if it was wearing a a pair of skinny jeans that are torn at the knees. Plus; it’s all the better for Murphy’s powerful, yet world weary vocal performance and a whole lot more here. While he will probably crop up in the Country section of record shops and/or collections; but Kaz Murphy is the latest in a long list of story telling troubadours that straddle the Country/Folk divide with ease, and in the case of Thunderhead, Somebody Could Be Me and Forget About The World Tonight; he shows good grace and eloquence too. For a relatively ‘simple sounding’ album, there’s a whole lot going on here and a whole lot to like with not just the subjects Murphy sings about; but the passionate way he delivers his words in the gorgeous Blue Devil Sky, Stella Rae and especially the claustrophobic song for the downtrodden; All I Wanna Do Is Work. I love the ‘echo’ on Where You Come From, a song that is very close to my own heart although Murphy’s smart words are for and about someone very different from me; but as with the hero of this song, I left my home village 40 years ago, but as Murphy sings: “Your spirit never really leaves, where you come from.” Which is why I still tell people that, “I live in Washington, but come from Craghead in Co. Durham.” It wasn’t a real surprise to find that Slaid Cleaves’ friend Scrappy Jud Newcomb produced this collection of ‘Blue Collar’ tales; which brings me to the two songs tangling for the accolade of RMHQ Favourite Song; A Sunny Day and Rise Me Up. A Sunny Day is a bit of a misnomer for a timeless tale that tips a wink to Johnny Cash in words and delivery, and would have fit perfectly well into Cash’s American Series, where he still alive today. The other, Rise Me Up features some spectacular mandolin playing (an expression I never thought I would type!) and is a more upbeat, almost Gospel song that closes the disc and just makes my heart pound with life, love and hope, which is why it just about squeezes past the post to be my Favourite Track here. He’s been around a long time; but Kaz Murphy is a new and exciting find for me and I just hope he visits the UK some time soon, because he will find a warm welcome for his songs in the Americana Clubs that litter our little country, like diamonds in the road.
I’ve professed many times on here my love for The Blues and when it comes with a bid splosh of Rhythm too……. my heart just goes bippitty bop; and that’s how I’ve felt each time I’ve played this fabulous second album from New Yorker Will Vincitore! I have no idea why her 2016 debut album BETTER DAYS never got reviewed here; but it’s still on the office shelf and gets dusted off every couple of months; but ……. and here’s a ‘spoiler alert’ ….. her follow up is even better; in a grown up and ‘been around the block’ kinda way. Opening track Just Ain’t The Same bubbles, boils and simmers as Willa pours her heart out on a sizzling break-up song about an affair with a very controlling man……. yowza…… what a way to start an album! Not for the first time this year I’ve got an album that straddles the Blues and Soul divide with style and panache; Willa gets low down and sad on the late night Bluesy ballads Choices, It Is What It Is and the delightful These Days, which even features some sweet George Benson style guitar too. But, no one trick pony, Willa Vincitore can get her Funky Soul on when she wants too with the feisty I Love You Baby and Bite Me with both showing a woman who’s not to be messed with; but the type who draws you to her like a moth to a flame! There’s one cover here; Annie Lennox’s Money Can’t Buy It, which I don’t recognise but that doesn’t matter as it fits in seamlessly and could easily have come from Ms. Vincitore’s pen anyway. Choosing a Favourite Track isn’t as easy as I’d hoped; as the first few times I played the album the Power-Ballad Need a Little Help stood out; as it reminded me of Aretha circa Who’s Zoomin’ Who? with it’s punchy (and danceable) melody and super-cool liquid guitar from Karl Allweier but now I’m being drawn back to the rinky-dinky Everything Hurts on which Willa lists all the ailments that she’s going through now ‘she is middle-aged and caught the flu’ but, bizarrely she makes it all sound quite sexy! HA HA HA HA. But there’s also the touching These Days, with it’s neo-political thread weaving through a cool vibe; and shows Willa really has a great way with words and a melody; so I’m going for These Days with it’s wailing saxophone solos, as it’s a song that could and should be an anthem for people everywhere. So, in conclusion Willa Vincitore is a fantastic songwriter who uses melody’s like a switchblade and has a soulful voice that can go way, way down low and also hit notes that only dogs can hear…… what are you waiting for; go buy it!
The Delines almost passed me by a few years ago; but out of mild interest I went to see them at the Jumpin’ Hot Club……… and my head nearly exploded with excitement! For me, the legendary Wily Vlautin was just a constituent part as I couldn’t take my eyes off the mesmeric singer Amy Boone; who combined abject shyness with raw star quality; and when she sang…… ooohhheee Mama! So, when this album, which has been four years in the making following a horrific car accident which has necessitated God knows how many operations and skin grafts as well as having to learn to walk again for singer Amy Boone; arrived in the first week of December I immediatly cleared the boards for a whole day when I could immerse myself in ‘the magic’ and ‘magic’ it undoubtedly is! The fiercely atmospheric Lo-Fi opening track Cheer Up Charley really does set the mood for an hour or so of velvet tinged sad songs that will both cheer you up and make you cry; sometimes both at the same time. Vlautin’s songwriting and subject matter is a bit left of centre; but still Country to the core as he places Boone right in the middle of Lonelyville in the title track The Imperial and later; in That Old Haunted Place his tragic words make Amy Boone sound akin to Bobbie Gentry trying to sound like Dusty Springfield; and the result is electrifying. With that in mind; there is a certain Gothic – Lo Fi charm to Let’s Be Us Again and Holly The Hustle, both of which are so deep you soon find yourself wallowing chest deep in their misery and loneliness; but with a rye smile on your face. There’s a ‘wicked irony’ to this style of Country Music; as Vlautin allows you to listen on many levels; but when you start peeling away the layers that make up Eddie and Polly or He Don’t Burn For Me you know you are in the presence of greatness; and that includes the talent interpreting his words in a way that will make your spine tingle. We all know Vlautin to be an accomplished story teller and author; but as I read the lyrics to Where Are You Sonny and/or Waiting On The Blue it’s plain to see; and hear from Boone’s beautiful renditions that he has a Poets soul and way with words. The inclusion of the stark Roll Back My Life transcends any of Vlautin’s previous works by a late night Country mile. The song may or may not be specifically be about Amy’s last few years, but it could be about mine or possibly yours too. Almost Waitsian in context and delivery, it is so atmospheric and gentle you will get lost in it; which is why it is our Favourite Track here; even if it did make me cry. If I were writing for a different publication it would certainly be 5/5 as it is a rare piece of art masquerading as music, unfurling as it does at its own pace, showcasing not just a stellar imagination but a singer, in Amy Boone that conjures up the heartache of Janis alongside the majesty of Dusty and the world weariness of Bobbie; while very much sounding unlike anyone else in the world.
Melodious and Introspective Songs From the Recesses of a Dark Soul.
Now I’ve played this album a couple of times I’ve now read the accompanying Press Release and it’s a good job I’ve done it in that order; as who wants to hear from a singer-songwriter with a Masters in English Lit. who has come out the other side from substance abuse to go on to earn a Master of Divinity degree with a PHd in Religious Studies and becoming an ordained Methodist Minister? Not many I would guess. But………. John Kilzer from Memphis TN, ain’t no ordinary Singer-Songwriter! Opening track Flat Bed Truck is a weird Beatles/Country hybrid…… no, seriously…… there is something distinctively Beatlesish in the melody and production; but the subject matter is very much Smalltown, Middle America and the combination works when it most obviously shouldn’t. In the nicest possible way this album of quite dark stories is actually very ‘easy on the ear;’ which comes down to Kilzer’s astute use of melodies and actual ‘catchy tunes’ to accentuate his very literate and clever story telling. Woods of Love and It, alongside a couple of others have a delightful ‘English Pop sensibility’ …. think The Beatles or Kinks; but just like Flat Bed Truck John Kilzer’s story is 100% Americana to the core. These songs were either written or culled from notes he made when he was in a ‘thin place’ a few years ago; but went back to in readiness for making this album; which probably explains his clever and intricate use of light and shade in Hello Heart, Rope The Moon and the rather splendid Twinkle of Love, which sounds like it could easily be converted into a Torch Song by any one of a number of young female singers looking for a Hit single. Kilzer’s Americana Roots comes to the fore on the Alt. Country Soft Rockers woods of Love, Dark Highway and The American Blues, which are both as tightly wrapped as a drum yet you will find yourself carelessly singing along with the chorus of both. For the accolade of RMHQ Favourite Track there are two songs that are so good you can’t slide a cigarette paper between them; so the title is a tie between the astute and very introspective title track Scars and the dark ode to his home Memphis Town, which is possibly the illegitimate younger brother to Marc Cohn’s Walking in Memphis and is exactly what Americana music was invented for. John Kilzer has been in and around the music scene for a very long time; recording albums and writing minor hits for others; and coupled to the his own ‘life, lived well’ he has combined absolutely everything (plus his love of a melody!) to create a rather fabulous album that will age like a fine wine; or more likely a fine bourbon!
Danny Lynn Wilson Peace of Mind SwingNation Records
The Roots Swamp Has Turned Up Another Classy Singer-Songwriter.
Santa has only just been and there are still chocolates and mince pies to be eaten, yet here I am typing out my first review of 2019; because the reviewing world never stops revolving, does it? Choosing the first RMHQ Album of 2019 wasn’t ever going to be easy; but the name Danny Lynn Wilson caught my attention weeks ago; primarily because the cover art is eye-catching and one of our favourite British singer-songwriters is called Danny Wilson; he of Danny & The Champions, Grand Drive and latterly Bennett, Wilson, Poole; plus the stable this arrived from has given us some cracking Blues albums over the last couple of years. Then I played first track When Will The Loving Start, with its opening lines delivered by a droll and world weary voice; “The world is no place for a man with a heart Drag you down, tear you apart Turn you ’round, turn you out” I knew immediatly I was in the presence of a very special talent indeed. This ain’t what I was expecting at all; it sure ain’t the Blues as I recognise it, but what it is is excellently crafted Roots Music with a nod of the head in the Folk with a side-turn at the Blues corner. The accompanying bio is quite vague, but it appears that this is Wilson’s fourth album in a long and lofty career playing every juke joint from Beale St. to Brooklyn via Banff, Bakersfield and Baton Rouge. All of that experience on the road comes across in every line of every song; especially the well crafted High Water and Peace of Mind; which can only have been written after a lifetime of ‘experiences’ on the road and indeed in life itself. Like the best of songwriter’s Wilson finds subject matter and metaphors in the unlikeliest of places; but when he does, as with the well crafted rockers Arkansas Trotter and Too Many Hounds he is as sharp as a razor; making me scribble down notes as I was stopped at traffic lights so as not to forget my initial feelings. Our man’s long and varied background comes to the fore on the Olde Time Swing of the cutesy love song Fuss ‘n Fight and the charming Galway Bay which closes the album in the most delightful of manners. In these days of political turbulence all over the world Danny Lynn slips in two very subtle but politically astute songs that deserve some intense listening; Sympathy For Your Man and Middle Class Blues will both touch the hearts of the working men and women like me and you that don’t know what this or next year will bring us. In some or indeed many ways this is a ‘crossover’ album as Danny Lynn Wilson seamlessly flits between several Roots styles; but never letting them jar which is why selecting my first Favourite Song of 2019 has been difficult; as both the introspective song about a dwindling love affair Shine Is Off and the heartfelt and touching Love Only You are both worthy of the title; but I will go for the former as it is somewhat of a cornerstone for the whole album; and captures the magic of Danny Lynn Wilson’s songwriting a little bit better and cleverer than the latter. Surprise, surprise…….. Roots Music in 2019 is shaping up to be every bit as good and exciting as the last three years of RMHQ have been and I can’t think of a better way to start the New Year than introduce you to Danny Lynn Wilson and his songs.