Terry Robb CONFESSIN’ MY DUES

Terry Robb
Confessin’ My Dues
NiaSounds

Acoustic Blues Don’t Get Much Finer Than This!

I kept picking this album up and putting it down again; not because I didn’t think I’d like it ….. quite the opposite actually; I just needed to be in the right place at the right time, and most importantly the right frame of mind to do it justice, as this type of Blues needs to be cherished, admired and savoured like a fine wine.
Even though I’d not heard of Terry Robb before, it comes as no surprise to find this is his 15th album ….. yes ……FIFTEENTH!
Right from the first two instrumental tracks here Butch Holler Stomp and Still On 101 Terry Robb shows what not just an accomplished Blues guitarist he is; but with his majestic flourishes quite experimental too without ever deviating from the path carved out by Robert Johnson nearly 100 years ago. Damn right this is The Blues, with a capital T and B.
By track #3 How a Free Man Feels, Robb actually sings; and wowza what a voice he has too; clean and crystal clear which is perfect for the way he delivers this age old story.
While only ever playing an acoustic or Resonator and occasionally supported by a stand-up bass and drums, Robb can kick up quite a storm with his variant on Country Blues, with the title track Confessin’ My Dues and Keep Your Judgement both being the type of song that will fill the dancefloor at a dive bar or Honky-Tonk; and on Three Times The Blues aficionados of all persuasions will sit open mouthed at his mastery of the wooden instrument.
I’ve heard a lot of guitarists ‘like’ Terry Robb, from Stefan Grossman through to Joe Bonamassa but very few times have I been as awestruck as I was the first time I heard Death of Blind Arthur, as Robb flits between the Blues, Jazz and Classical in the blink of an eye.
Two entirely different songs tie for the title of RMHQ Favourite track; Heart Made of Steel is an acoustic trio sounding as ‘heavy’ as Cream ever managed with a lorry load of Marshall amps; and the track that precedes it, It Might Get Sweaty sounds like that’s exactly how these three cats felt in the studio at the end of the recording session; and it still leaves plenty of room for expansion when played live!
It’s when I discover acts like Terry Robb and records like this I despair when the Awards Season comes along and the ‘experts opinion’ of what constitutes The Blues is 100 miles apart from my own interpretation; but I can’t do any more than advise you to invest your hard earned money in this album to discover what Blues Music can and does sound like in 2019.

Released May 31st 2019
https://www.terryrobb.com/home3
https://musicmillennium.com/UPC/859730725024/Terry-Robb_Confessin39-My-Dues

Alvarez Theory SELF-TITLED

Alvarez Theory
Alvarez Theory
Self-Release

Dark, Moody and Eloquent Americana-Folk Crossover.

With so much music available these days for artistes to draw from, it’s no surprise that that the genre lines become ever more blurred.
In days of yore, Londoners Alvarez Theory would have been classed as ‘Folk Rock,’ albeit with the emphasis on ‘Folk;’ but with the judicial use of a banjo several songs crossover into what now is deemed ‘Americana’; which is also a lot more ‘hip’ in radio and magazine circles I would guess.
There’s an almost Canadian Gothic feel to opening track By The River, as Diana-Maria Diehl summons up her demons to to exorcise a love affair gone wrong; and the rest of the quintet play their respective instruments with quietly restrained anger; and a whole lot of passion too.
For a group from London Town, there’s a very North American feel to most of their songs; and when I say ‘North American’ I mean music made in the states either side of the Border that straddles USA and Canada, with the clear, cool and often rawness I associate with that area unfolding like a butterfly from a cocoon on Last of a String of Tempests and Bring Her Back to Life too.
The imagery that is evoked on songs like the desolately beautiful House That Stood The Storm and Big City, Empty certainly belay the fact that these songwriters life in London; and not some windswept hilltop cabin in the bleak midwinter.
Even though this is quite a simple album, of sorts; there’s a lot going on behind the words that hints at a group of probably classically trained musicians who are now performing music that they love and adore; which brings me to the two songs vying for the accolade of RMHQ Favourite Song; 1949 is one of those songs that sounds so intense you can hear a pin drop 50 yards away; but it still won’t break your concentration and the other, Mary McKinley is certainly a song I’d have presumed was from Canada or perhaps rural Ireland and features some heart-stopping harmonies and steel guitar, that juxtapose a song of majestic proportions; so the title goes to Mary McKinley!
It’s never made clear what, exactly an ‘Alvarez Theory’ is; but it’s fair to say that this darkly charismatic album of exquisitely constructed, performed and sung stories is well worth the investment if you have the time to immerse yourself in the Alvarez Theory’s musical world.

Released May 24th 2019
https://www.thealvareztheory.co.uk/

Izzy Heltai ONLY YESTERDAY (EP)

Izzy Heltai 
Only Yesterday (EP)
Self-Release

Beautifully Articulate Cross-Generational Folk Music.

I don’t know much about Izzy Heltai apart from he comes from Northampton in Massachusetts and has a voice that can best be described as ‘interesting’; but it’s also quite perfect for his spell-binding modern Folk Songs.
There are only four songs here; but each one is a perfectly formed parcel of intense loveliness in its very own rite.
I regularly say that it’s a case of ‘Right time/right place’ for music to have an effect on you; and as I sit here tired and weary on a sunny Good Friday morning, contemplating life, love and the Universe as it’s my birthday tomorrow; Friday and a one the younger me could never have imagined me reaching Izzy Heltai has been a wonderful companion in the last couple of hours.
The first song; and current single Marching Song is a very powerful and deeply personal statement from this young man; whose frazzled voice somehow struggles to soar and hit the high notes….. but manages every time. For a track that has a guitar piano, bass and trumpet (possibly a cornet?) alongside a big voice; there’s lots of space there two for the listener to contemplate on Heltai’s heart rending story of broken love.
Then on Stuck in Stone the judicial use of echo gives a sad tale enough pathos to break even the hardest of hearts with consummate ease; and that’s taking nothing away from the singer’s rather muscular love story.
I absolutely adore his use of metaphor in the final track Mountain; comparing such a massive land mass to the mistakes he’s made in his relationship; and if you don’t quite get the message…… that cello and trumpet will make you go weak at the knees anyway.
Then there’s my Favourite Song by a country mile; Common Sense. To the casual listener a simple Folk Song with a bit of a back story……. but you couldn’t be further from the truth! Listen….. actually listen to Heltai’s compelling words and the way the melody and instruments creatively shadow and shroud his dark story like a velvet cloak. This is the sound of a songwriter ‘finding his true muse’ and the world is a better place for this song being there.
In four short songs Izzy Heltai has the capability of crossing the musical generation gap with articulate ease in a way I’ve not heard for many a long year. He very much already has his own distinctive ‘sound’; but one that can and will appeal to fans of acts as diverse as Leonard Cohen, Ed Sheeran, John Prine, Nanci Griffiths and Gretchen Peters too. #Fact.

Released April 19th 2019
http://www.izzyheltai.com/home

https://izzyheltai.bandcamp.com/album/only-yesterday

Ben Bedford THE HERMIT’S SPYGLASS

Ben Bedford
The Hermit’s Spyglass
Cavalier Recordings

Idiosyncratic Guitar and Folk Songs That Paint Vivid Pictures In Your Head.

It would be all too easy for me to skip past this album as I am being inundated with Review albums from the great and the good in the musical world; as even though he’s a Kerrville New Folk Winner Ben Bedford is highly unlikely to headline Coachella or Glastonbury and is even less likely to win a Grammy; but even on one cursory, background listen you instantly sense you are in the presence of a very special singer-songwriter indeed.
With hindsight I think it’s Bedford’s idiosyncratic guitar playing that really caught my attention last week; but then again his cracked and worn voice; from years as a lonely troubadour I’m sure is the type that only a Mother or me could love too.
Then of course there are Ben Bedford’s songs; starting with Morning Rise a Folk Song from the Tom Paxton end of the spectrum, and so simple yet prophetic I found myself taking a deep breath so as not to miss a word or note.
For one man, a guitar and no fancy post-production wizardry Ben Bedford surely can capture your attention with the beautiful and melancholic vivid vivid pictures he paints in your head with the dark Little Falcon and Coyotes as well as the introspective Morning Conversations too; which is quite some achievement.
Back to Bedford’s guitar playing; for someone who isn’t Richard Thompson or indeed Bert Jansch on the beautiful instrumentals Thunderstorm and Quiet on the Green Hill he manages to captivate and intrigue without ever singing a word.
I’m trickily undecided regarding my choice of Favourite Song here as I rather like Moon and March End a whole lot, but it is just edged out by Morning Coffee; another very simple idea and concept but one that I, you and everyone around us will associate with; so that’s the one.
Is this Americana? I guess so as Ben Bedford is American and these are American stories; albeit with more than a cursory nod in the direction of some of the 1960’s British Folk Singers that were inspired by the likes of Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs and later Guy Clark.
Expect to see Ben Bedford in a Coffee House, pub backroom near you or perhaps even a tent at Glastonbury, go check him out if you can…… you won’t be disappointed.

Released UK March 29th 2019
http://www.benbedford.com/

Patty Griffin PATTY GRIFFIN

Patty Griffin
Patty Griffin
Thirty Tigers

A Glorious Tapestry of Modern Folk Songs with an Occasional Jazzy Tinge.

Patty Griffin is one of those singer-songwriters who can fill auditoriums all across the world and be hailed to the rooftops by the Great and the Good of the industry (inc. Robert Plant, Bob Harris and me) but no one you know has ever heard of her, or her songs.
Here we find Ms Griffin embracing her inner-Earth Mother on the cover and to some degree on the songs therein too, as they are more even more personal and intense than on her more recent albums; and without giving anything away too soon…… the world is a much better place because these songs exist.
Guitarist to the Stars, David Pulkingham gives opening song Mama’s Worried a sensitive Jazzy feel, as Ms Griffin inhabits a broken hearted Mother who’s husband has disappeared. Try to imagine, if you will Ella Fitzgerald singing a Dolly Parton song in a Chicago nightclub at 3am. But then again; it’s better than that.
The mood remains quite melancholic on the emotionally charged River; which follows and was the first song to be released from this record to huge acclaim by fans and critics alike. Take only one casual listen and you know you are in the presence of greatness.
I’ll get it out of the way quite early; but friend and fan, the Rock Behemoth Robert Plant makes two appearances here; What Now and Coins; and with hindsight both do have the merest hint of some Led Zeppelin mythological folky intros; but if I’d not read it it was Percy in the background on harmonies I’d not have known it was him; but I might have guessed at Jimmy Page playing the acoustic guitar; but it’s not……it’s mostly Patty Griffin herself.
‘Folk Music’ is a very broad church and means different things to different people; and Patty Griffin embraces many of them across the 13 songs on this album; oddly enough the Celtic themed Boys of Tralee has a very English spine to the way it’s constructed, and I can only imagine you will be able to hear a pin drop when it’s sung live.
As happens when a songwriter gets to ‘a certain age’ they find themselves looking back on the life; as the Jazzy vibe returns on Hourglass, a romantic tale of still feeling young and capable of ‘dancing at six o’clock in the morning’; although I think Patty may be looking through rose coloured glasses; but there’s no harm in dreaming, is there?
There’s a rather beautiful song here called Where I Come From, which paints a rather sad picture of what has become of this once vibrant town; but still the narrator cleverly tells us that ‘in the September sun, as the light is dying, it’s still most beautiful as the day goes down.’
As you know music effects you in different ways at different times; and the intense darkness surrounding many of the songs on this album have caught me like silky fog this evening and are perfect for the mood I’m in……. there ain’t no laughs here!
Had a Good Reason is as stark a tale of a woman walking out on her young family as you will hear in Country Music; just don’t expect Shania or Carrie to ever cover it; they wouldn’t dare…… this is so raw you can smell the tears.
What to choose as a Favourite Song this evening? The sad eyed loneliness of What I Remember? It is a great song, and I found myself staring at the speakers as Patty crooned:
“Life is a foreign land
Impossible to understand
Once we had the precious bird in hand
And let him slip away.”
Or should I choose the clever look at the world we live in, in The Wheel? It certainly has its merits; but no; as regular readers will already know….. I’m a sucker for a love song; no matter how bitter and twisted; which album closer Just The Same most certainly is!
All we hear is Ms Griffin and a crystal clear piano pouring her heart out about loving a man who perhaps doesn’t deserve her all encompassing and pure love she has for him.
“Nothing could ever make me love you less
Though I confess I’ve tried and I’ve wished I could
We weren’t the worst and we weren’t the best
But just beneath it all
Maybe a little good.”

Bloody Hell! Patty Griffin just described my marriage in four exquisite lines!
I don’t know if anyone will agree with me; and perhaps this a misty eyed ‘age thing’ on my behalf but this album somehow feels like it bookends everything that has come and gone since Tapestry and Blue.
Perhaps I’m being a bit over romantic about a bunch of songs; but I listen to more music than the average bear Boo Boo, and PATTY GRIFFIN by Patty Griffin is a very special record indeed; and will find itself in pride of place in many record collections for years to come.

Released March 8th 2019
https://www.pattygriffin.com/

Jane Kramer VALLEY OF THE BONES

Jane Kramer
Valley of the Bones
Self-Release

Even More Well Crafted Scrumptious, Thoughtful and Deeply Personal Songs.

When we reviewed Jane Kramer’s last album Carnival Of Hopes we said ”
Scrumptious, Thoughtful and Deeply Personal Songs ” and I’m pleased to say not a lot has changed in the interim; apart from Jane seems a lot more comfortable in her deliciously distinctive voice.
With my background I tend to fear songs called Hymn; but the first line of this opening track
My hippy Mamma didn’t make me go to church
So I found God in the fireflies and digging in the dirt

soon put me at ease; but then again Chris Rosser’s gentle guitar playing and dreamy harmonies were always meant to do that anyways on this song of a woman finding her inner strength in a cruel world. *Apparently this song was meant as a ‘homework assignment from Mary Gauthier!
When I finally got to read the Press Release, I found (as usual) that an awful lot of hard work, involving an awful lot of people helped make these songs all sound incredibly gentle and relaxing; although when you scratch the surface…… darkness often lurks beneath.
With Summer on the horizon; Jane Kramer’s delightful songs full of wit and wisdom on a wide ranging collection of subjects with all being smart and very well constructed; but some are actually highly addictive.
In the smart Soap Opera, Macon County, Jane takes on the role of the narrator who has to return to her home town; for reasons unknown and the way her relationship with Joseph ‘with the kind eyes’ gently develops until ‘she puts lipstick on/in case I smile’ is rather beautiful in a cracked way; and the chorus “Macon County, I ain’t letting you drown me” will break your heart.
It’s a brave man who will compare a songwriter on only her third album as the equal of legends like Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lucinda Williams, Nanci Griffith and the afore mentioned Mary Gauthier; but that is the case here, with songs as complex as Two Broke Kids, Valley of the Bones and especially I’ll See Your Crazy and Raise Mine; which is as good a Country song as Loretta or Reba ever recorded and if Dolly ever hears it, expect her t base a whole album around it!.
Then; there is even one song here that will tear your heart apart; it’s unbelievable the sheer anguish and bravery that Kramer fills Child with, yet it still remains completely accessible especially any parent, who when they hear it will find tears running down their cheeks and they won’t know how to stop them; but won’t care.
As someone without a musical bone in their body (is the ear a bone? I don’t think so) I love it when songwriters sing about ‘life on the road’…… and in this case Jane Kramer’s Singin’s Enough manages to stay sad enough to engage us; while still romanticising “singing her Folk Songs in a bar while the College Boys shout out for Freebird!”
To some greater or lesser degree Jane Kramer takes us on a right royal emotional roller coaster ride here; and while I was tempted to go for the insightful Wedding Vows as my Favourite Track; and it would be well deserved; but then I listened a bit more intently to the jaunty and clever Waffle House Song (the title alone should lull you in….. but that’s a ‘false sent of security…. trust me; this is a powerful song!) then I’ve been drawn back to a song that made me smile as I kept having to take deep breaths the first time I really listened to it.
Saint Carrie of the Storms is an astute and sharp-witted tale of sibling rivalry that you don’t understand or appreciate until it’s (almost) too late; which is all part of growing up, isn’t it? Jane Kramer manages to make her personal story feel like it could be about me and my brothers or you and your sister; clever that.
Jane Kramer has been singing and songwriting for twenty years now; and that apprenticeship has surely blossomed with the intricately clever and fascinating songs on Valley of the Bones, which transcend the Folk and Country genres and make this a real Singer-Songwriter album.

Released March 1st 2019
https://www.janekramermusic.com/
https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/JaneKramer





Delta Ladies HILLBILLY TRANCE

Delta Ladies
Hillbilly Trance
Self-Release

It’s Folk Music Jim; But Not As We Know It!

Music? Doncha just love it? It can make “you laugh, sing, dance and just about any old thing” to paraphrase Rod and the Faces; but someone somewhere hundreds of miles away from you can also have the ability to tap into your rawest emotions and make you realise that you aren’t ‘alone’ after all.
Over the last few days I’ve been corresponding with Vicky Martin from the Delta Ladies who was politely asking if we/I would give her band’s latest release a listen, and gave me a bit of background. Nothing odd in that, as we get offered review albums every day … 24/7 yet nothing prepared me for the haunting/passionate/cracked opening track Thieving Boy!
Technically and in spirit, it’s Folk Music……. but Folk Music like I’ve never heard before!
I’m not doing it any justice if I say it’s two fiddles (one acoustic and one electric) plus a keyboard and Vicky Martin’s warmly mystifying vocals on a song that will eventually unravel in a way I doubt I’d ever expected.
This is followed by a 46 second banjo instrumental lament, called Redcar Steel Blues that I wanted to last an hour. Yes, you read that correctly…… BANJO INSTRUMENTAL, but Delta Ladies say more in that short time than feted journalists have managed for years about the death of the steel industry in the North East.
This duo? trio? band? ensemble? (and their friends) are so smart and clever they even include two versions of the same song (others tempos are also available), Rock of Ages and although they share the same words are polar opposites! The first version is Gospelish in essence with some staggering violin playing and a harmonica that will set your hair on end; and the second is a ‘Trance’ version which is bizarre to the Max; yet totally captivating; especially when heard on headphones.
Even when Delta Ladies go wandering off into Hippyland on Seventh Day Blues they kept my interest such is their mesmeric way with a tune and a random set of acoustic instruments.
The nearest to a ‘Commercial’ track here Devil’s Work Today, is a twist on the ‘Crossroads’ theme with some very modern and scary lyrics.
The title of RMHQ Favourite Track has been a tussle between the fabulously sloppy Blues Jam Praise The Lord and the 11 minute epic Hear Me Calling which closes the record; and I’m probably plumping for the latter as it meanders and twists and turns like a river, occasionally rolling along but always with a sense of fear and menace in the background.
By far and away this album isn’t for everyone (I’m hiding it from Mrs. Magpie, that’s for sure!) but for those of us who adore challenging music that doesn’t follow the straight and narrow path it will never be far away when we need a dose of beautiful misery.
Cleverly mixing traditional Folk Music with hints of Rootsy American and snippets of World Music as the whims suit them, this ever expanding trio from the *Norf Landin Delta take us on a tour of the darkest recesses of our broken hearts and tortured souls, but leave us feeling thoroughly cleansed and more peaceful as the last notes fade away.

#This will mean nothing to 99% of you; but the band that instantly sprung to mind when I first played this was String Driven Thing, a Folk Rock band from Glasgow who flirted around the outskirts of Prog in the 1970’s and whom I fell head over heels with; and still adore 40 years later.

*Norf Landin is really North London btw

Released August 2018
https://www.deltaladies.com/

Mandolin Orange TIDES OF A TEARDROP

Mandolin Orange
Tides of a Teardrop
Yep Roc Records

Intimate and Lucid Lo-Fi Meets Bluegrass in a Country Juke Joint.

Mandolin Orange aka Andrew Marlin & Emily Frantz have been around for ten years now and have previously released 5 albums, with each gaining praise, sales and momentum which have launched the couple/duo into the lower echelons of the Big League, yet I don’t believe I’ve heard a single note, let alone a song prior to receiving this album a month ago.
How odd is that? Or is it?
Perhaps it was because they hail from the Folksier end of the spectrum, which I normally don’t go out of my way to find music…… but the fault it appears was solely mine……. I’ve now fully fallen in love with this album and two of their previous releases too.
With their small, but perfectly formed touring band in tow, the couple holed up in the studio for a lot longer than on previous records; which has allowed Marlin’s intimate and darkly winsome songs to evolve and grow into something very special indeed.
The wordplay and story-line in opening track Golden Embers is both understated and spectacular in equal measures; and when you add Emily’s breathtaking violin playing to Andrew’s softly expressive vocals; you can’t do anything other than sit back and let it all waft over you like a Summer breeze.
Not that it’s blatantly obvious; as each individual song stands alone and is here on its own merits; but after reading the Press Release and then playing the album there is a silvery theme linking each track; as Marlin delves into his past writes about the years following his Mother’s death at an early age.
This knowledge helps explain the unsettling, yet beautiful melancholia that fills Mother Deer and the George and Tammy influenced duet Lonely All The Time.
As I said earlier, each song has its own merits and showcases Marlin’s clever and very mature writing skills; with Suspended in Heaven and the heartbreaker When She’s Feeling Blue, somehow bridging the gap between Bluegrass and Lo-Fi with sumptuous ease.
Perhaps because the songs are so personal to him, Andrew Marlin takes the lead on most songs; but when Emily steps forward on Into The Sun and Like You Used To she sent a tingle down my spine in a way that reminded me of the first time I heard Nanci Griffith.
I’ve picked my Favourite Song here partly because it is a wonderful song and tune; but because the title made my smile when I first saw it on the CD Sleeve. My British friends will know immediatly why it would catch my attention; but the ‘joke’ may pass by the people in North America; as The Wolves is the nickname of a famous football (Soccer?) team in the UK! Mercifully this tightly wrapped and intense song of despair and fear is a million miles away from anything so frivolous.
I will tell you how good it is…….. prior to writing this review, I turned the lights off and pressed play on the Hi-Fi just so I could get into the right frame of mind to hear it in all its primal glory.
I’d barely heard of Mandolin Orange a month ago…… but after immersing myself in TIDES OF A TEARDROP I’m an unadulterated fan now.

Released 1st February 2019
http://www.mandolinorange.com/

Ashley Monroe SPARROW (Acoustic Sessions EP)

Ashley Monroe
Sparrow (Acoustic Sessions)
Warner Music Nashville

Brave, Honest and Raw Reworkings of Her Hit Songs.

Where to start?
To coincide with her Sold Out (mini) UK and European Tour Ashley Monroe is releasing this ‘digital only’ astonishing acoustic reworking of 5 songs from the ‘Hit Album’ Sparrow ; as if it was actually necessary……. but thankfully she has.
I really liked Sparrow; but Mrs Magpie loves it beyond words, and when I drove her car last week it was back in the CD player; and last December she was on the verge of not speaking to me when it didn’t make my Top 20 albums of 2018.
Although there really were more worthy albums for me last year; my one criticism was the ‘big production’ that is the hallmark of Nashville these days; and what I think of as a ‘wrong’ has now been ‘righted’ here.
None more so than the first song Orphan; which to some degree I’d actually forgot but in this version with Ashley’s amazing voice somehow sounding even more haunting as a piano, violin and cello bring out the story and words like a chilly January wind.
The tragic Hands on You with only Ashley, an acoustic guitar with some occasional violin flourishes follows, and sent a shiver down my spine the first time I played it; and when Mrs. Magpie was listening the other night she turned to me and nodded (which I think means more than a Grammy Award).
Perhaps it’s because I like the simpler things in life that these stripped back to the bare bone songs have taken on a new lease of life for me. The ‘hit single’ Wild Love now sounds like something you would turn to after midnight on Friday night when it’s all gone wrong and you are feeling very, very sorry for yourself…….. and you only have the energy to press ‘repeat play’ every three minutes.
The original Paying Attention has become a bit of a favourite of mine; and here it becomes a really stark and even borderline Gothic Tale as the acoustic guitar gets strummed so angrily you half expect a string to snap; and whoa, whoa and thrice whoa……. the cello lives up to it’s reputation as an instrument of darkness too.
The only surprise in Ashley Monroe being signed to Warner Brothers is that she is signed to Warner Brothers! From first discovering her via LIKE A ROSE in 2013 she has always struck me as a driven character who does things her way; or no way……. which isn’t kinda how the big labels like to work.
With that in mind this EP is something of a brave decision for both singer and label; as in this setting there isn’t anywhere to hide; not that Ashley would ever dream of doing such a thing when it comes to her singing; and all of that dangerous magic combines on what is the RMHQ Favourite Song here; the bitterly raw and honest Keys to the Kingdom; which was my Favourite on the original and here finds Ms Monroe sounding like the great singer; and indeed songwriter she has always been destined to be.
I doubt this will find it’s way into Mrs. Magpies car; but more than likely it will inhabit that special shelf on the rack for albums that will take me to a ‘special place’ as and when I need them.

Released February 15th 2019 (Digital Only)
http://www.ashleymonroe.com/

Daniel Seymour & Mark Robinson CHUG IT DOWN AND GO.

david and mark a

Daniel Seymour & Mark Robinson
CHUG IT DOWN AND GO.
Blind Chihuahua Records

A Little Taste of What Makes Americana Great.

In all honesty this album has been a bit of a challenge for me; not that I didn’t like it from the get go; but simply because there’s just so much going on it’s been damn difficult to get a handle on what to file it under!
Many moons ago I reviewed a Mark Robinson  *album for a prestigious UK magazine and I once saw Daniel Seymour play bass alongside David Olney; and it appears that the dynamic duo have either supplied songs for or produced albums by many of RMHQ’s favourite Alt. Country acts over the years; but none of that prepared me for ‘this’ mish-mash of Rootsy Americana.
The rambunctious and stomping title track Chug It Down and Go opens the album in the finest of fashions, with Robinson on Resonator, Seymour slapping the living daylights out of an upright bass and Mr David Olney supplying sublime harmonica….what’s not to like.
This followed by the Cajun flavoured and accordion driven One Eyed Blue which will bring even a wooden leg back to life; as will the delightful guitar rag that is 19th Street Ramble and the charming Dixie Waltz which closes the album; and is every inch as delightful as the song’s title would suggest.
In between though there’s the world weary Slow Moving Train which sounds like either an out-take from the Band’s debut album, or something Levon Helm may have recorded many years later; yet Gypsy Moon and First Fool both take us back to the crooning Country we associate with the 20’s and 30’s but Take On Me Down The Road somehow manages to incorporate Jug Band Music and the type of Field Workers Blues that John Hammond Sr first discovered and all those white English boys turned into Rock & Roll in the late 1960’s!
With that last description in mind I’m pointing you to Bare Foot Gal featuring young David Olney again on a root’n and toot’n harmonica while the other two strum a banjo and blow a kazoo for extra authenticity.
Just like the rest of the album; it will leave you with a warm smile on your face.
As a stand alone album this isn’t always a cohesive listen; but I’m sure that if you were to see Daniel Seymour & Mark Robinson in a downtown bar or more likely at a Folk Festival somewhere you would find yourself desperate for something to take home; and in that setting this collection of songs will make complete sense.

Released November 9th 2018
http://markrobinsonguitar.com/chug_it_down_and_go

*PS….. Sue from the PR Company has just sent me a copy of that original review from 2010!

Mark Robinson MaverickReviewNov2010