Trevor Sewell – CALLING NASHVILLE

trevor s

Trevor Sewell
CALLING NASHVILLE
Self-Release

The Blues Knows No Borders With Music This Good.

The old adage of ‘The harder you work, the luckier you get’ surely applies to Trevor Sewell from Sunderland in the NE of England.
Even Trevor would admit to being a ‘journeyman musician’ up until only a couple of years; making a living from his work but very much under the radar like so many others out there.
Then quite randomly in 2013 he received a letter saying he was in the running for a prestigious Blues Artist of the Year Award in Hollywood! Blow me down if he didn’t go on to win it; and after 30+ years become an overnight star!
Jump forward four years and he is about to release this; his fifth album in five years, recorded in Nashville, of all places with some friends; of whom a couple of names are well known around these parts; but more of that later.
Opening track Someday instantly made me sit back in my swivel chair……it’s the Blues Bub; but with the addition of a fiddle has a sweaty Country feel to it; and I like it a lot.
This is followed by Mountain of Gold; a tender ballad that wouldn’t be out of place at the Bluebird Cafe or one of the more hip venues in East Nashville; as opposed to the Working Men’s Clubs of the North East where Sewell served his apprenticeship.
I’ve said before I truly admire artistes that are prepared to step out of their comfort zone and Trevor does that from start to finish here. Of course his distinctive gravelly voice (think Chris Rea after 40 Benson and Hedges) and his top quality guitar playing make this a Trevor Sewell album; but who among his many fans (old and new) would expect some light night sultry Jazz tinged ballad like the beautiful 7 and 1/2 minute duet with Janis Ian? Me neither; but with Ms. Ian tinkling the ivories, Trevor Brewis’ rock solid drumming and Sean O’Bryan Smith on double bass sounding as if they have just left the Bluenote studio; it’s the perfect late night accompaniment for lovers everywhere.
Older fans will love and newer ones impressed by the fire and brimstone guitar and vocals  on Stand Next To Him and You Ain’t What I’m Looking For, as both are Blues Rockers of the finest order; and with Matter of Time shows Mark Knopfler how it’s done.
The biggest surprise for me is the high standard of songwriting here; not that Trevor was ever a poor songwriter….far from it; but the ballads Tear It Down and Blanket of Hope which is full of glorious female harmonies on the chorus too, take him into a league I never expected from a man primarily known for his guitar playing.
It’s probably because it’s the the biggest and best surprise here in every department, from stinging guitar interludes to the swirling B3 Hammond via a tight Muscle Shoals type rhythm section that the delicious duet with Tracy Nelson, Long Time Ago easily becomes the RMHQ ‘Favourite Song’ on CALLING NASHVILLE (An Americana Adventure).
Trevor’s trademark ‘Blues’ is the thread that weaves throughout the album; but he delves into many golden pots to create a true Americana Adventure for a starry eyed Mackem Lad.

http://www.trevorsewell.com/

Released July 25th 2017

Rocking Magpie TOP TEN REVIEWS Jan 1st – June 30th 2017

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Rocking Magpie
Jan 1st – June 30th 2017

The Rocking Magpie website has been going for two and a half years and despite a couple of personal ups and downs continues to go from strength to strength.
As a for instance when I checked the stats so far for 2017 we have already surpassed the figures for the whole of 2015 and should go past 2016 by the end of August!

Here’s our Top 10 Reviews for the first half of this amazing year.

1) Ian McNabb – STAR, SMILE, STRONG.
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/ian-mcnabb-star-smile-strong/

2) Danny and The Champions of The World – BRILLIANT LIGHT (Exclusive video & CD combined).
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/danny-the-champions-of-the-world-brilliant-light/

3) Chuck Prophet – BOBBY FULLER DIED FOR OUR SINS.
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/chuck-prophet-bobby-fuller-died-for-your-sins/

4) Rodney Crowell – CLOSE TIES
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2017/03/26/rodney-crowell-close-ties/

5) Colin James – BLUE HIGHWAYS
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2016/10/25/colin-james-blue-highways/

6) Robert Vincent – I’LL MAKE THE MOST OF MY SINS
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/robert-vincent-ill-make-the-most-of-my-sins/

7) Bruce Foxton – SMASH THE CLOCK
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/bruce-foxton-smash-the-clock/

8) The Haley Sisters – ALWAYS BY MY SIDE
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/the-haley-sisters-always-by-my-side/

9) Mark Eitzel – HEY Mr. FERRYMAN
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2017/02/12/mark-eitzel-hey-mr-ferryman/

10) Stephen Fearing – EVERY SOUL’S A SAILOR
https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/stephen-fearing-every-souls-a-sailor/

Thank you all for your continued support.

Alan

Noah Guthrie – THE VALLEY

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Noah Guthrie
THE VALLEY
Self-Release

Gleefully Pushing The Boundaries of Americana.

Apart from the albums I receive to review, for many years now I’ve used a site called Noise Trade to discover new and exciting artists across a broad musical spectrum. One of these acts was a young lad called Noah Guthrie who (as far as I understood) did quirky cover versions, in particular I’m Sexy and I Know It. With so much going on in my life I never bothered doing any research, so didn’t know that he was an established singer-songwriter and a regular cast member on the TV show GLEE!!!!!
Thankfully I didn’t know that latter snippet of information before I received and listened to his latest and second album; or the ‘music snob’ in me may have taken over.
THE VALLEY gets a hefty kick-start with a the peppy opening track Razor Blade; a major surprise for me with an clever story set to a fiery Alt. Rock soundtrack; with Guthrie’s distinctive rasping vocals sounding perfect for AM Radio.
Guthrie manages to go Country Rock on Love You Now; which follows, with his voice managing to swoop and soar like an Americana Eagle circling over the Nappa Valley while the band plays on.
It’s not just Noah’s voice that has taken me pleasantly by surprise (I can’t think of anyone else to compare him too apart from Robert Pant!!!) but his storytelling and way with words is extraordinary; with Till It Thunders and Beautiful Crime not just showing his gentler more acoustic side; but also his poetical with words too.
Mary is the cornerstone that the album revolves around; gentle acoustica alternating with a full-on Band full of shoe-gazing intensity supporting Guthrie’s breathy and breathless bittersweet love song. What’s not to like?
Which brings me to the battle for ‘favourite song’…..will it be the introspective brittleness of Beautiful Crime or the smart as a whip, yet brooding melancholia of title track The Valley or perhaps Calling Your Name when Noah sounds like he could break into tears at any moment; but no I’m going for the co-write with RMHQ favourite Matthew Perryman Jones, Pardon Me. A breakup song so powerful yet fragile at its core, you genuinely feel his pain with him, and will instantly hate whoever has broken his heart; such is the power of music this good.
The overall ‘flavour’ of the Valley takes me back to those early days when Americana was known as Modern Country and albums by The Jayhawks, Grant Lee Buffalo, Giant Sand and the like were pushing the boundaries of what we knew as ‘Country Music’.

Released June 23rd 2017
http://www.noahguthrie.com/

Chastity Brown at Jumping Hot Club, Newcastle.

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Chastity Brown
Jumping Hot Club
The Cluny
Newcastle

Friday 15th June 2017.

For a man who only three years ago went to at least two gigs a week ( 7 in 10 days once!) tonight was only my fourth gig of the year, so quite a big deal.
As is my won’t these days I quietly made my way into the Cluny basement as the applause was dying down for the first song from ‘The Geordie Dusty’…..’Little Mo’ Scott.
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen Mo over the years and tonight she was making her annual visit to the JHC; and with hindsight was the perfect foil for headline act Chastity Brown.
Mo regaled us with her inimitable versions of Ry Cooder’s Borderline, Norah Jones’ Lonestar and a gorgeously sleazy rendition of Love Me Like a Man; a hit for Bonnie Raitt but written by JHC favourite Chris Smither.
These songs (and others) were interspersed with self-depreciating jokes about age, eyesight and memory; much to the ‘mature’ audience’s obvious delight.
As the set came to an end, there were cries for “more” from the crowd and after a very quick con-flab between Shippy the Promoter and Geoff the MC Mo was told she had time for one more song. Surprised, she had a chat with her guitarist and multi-instrumentalist drummer they decided on the beautiful I Cry Myself To Sleep; and this crazy world seemed a slightly better place.

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After a very short break I nearly missed Chastity Brown’s sultry opening song After You from the magnificent Back-road Highways.
The singer, looking a vision in white (inc. a white bow-tie) was on fine form from the start, greeting friends in the audience as she introduced the second song Colorado, explaining why it had taken her four years to follow up the previous album….”I’m from Tennessee; we do thing real slow there.” She smiled and shrugged her shoulders.
The next hour and a half was packed with a mix of songs from both albums, including a really passionate delivery of If You Let Me and the sweeping landscapes of Drive Slow on album now sounding tightly wrapped and almost claustrophobic.

chas n luke
I can’t go any further without mentioning guitarist Luke Enyeart who provided heartbreaking accompaniment on his Bigsby enhanced emerald green Gretsch guitar.
Highlights are nearly too many to mention; but a song dedicated to her Mother back home in Tennessee featured the Cluny Evangelical Choir on harmonies and a new song, played solo called I Ask For Nothing really, really showcased her extraordinary voice.
The show came to an all too brief closure with her beautiful interpretation of the Nina Simone song Baltimore which tugged at the combined heartstrings of the audience.
One more thing; Chastity took the time half way through to thank Promoter Graeme Anderson for “taking a chance on her four years ago, when she randomly sent him an e-mail alongside 20 others in the UK asking for a gig.” Only Shippy and a guy in London responded (I was at that gig and suitably star-struck immediately) and ……the rest is history.

http://chastitybrownmusic.com/

https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/chastity-brown-silhouette-of-sirens/

https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/gig-reviews-2014-and-beyond/chastity-brown-jumping-hot-club-newcastle-2013/

Joe Bonamassa LIVE at CARNEGIE HALL (An Acoustic Evening).

bonamassa 2017

Joe Bonamassa
LIVE at CARNEGIE HALL (An Acoustic Evening).
Provogue/Mascot

Guitar Virtuoso Discovers His Brilliance Knows No Bounds.

Joe Bonamassa probably divides opinion among Blues and Rock fans more than anyone else has for decades. His fans can be like acolytes hoovering up everything he releases and taking any criticism personally; whereas plenty of others dismiss him out of hand as a ‘soulless showman,’ and in my humble opinion both sets are wrong.
Prolific, he’s now released 24ish albums in 17 years and while I’ve only been reviewing them for 5; my own feelings towards him and his music have certainly evolved from being in the latter camp – once describing him as a ’21st Century Alvin Lee – the fastest guitar in the West’ but more recently I’ve come to admire the way he constantly challenges himself and allows himself to evolve in a way I’ve not seen since the cusp of the 1960’s and 70’s.
My biggest criticism of Bonamassa’s earlier albums was that a) his voice was a bit too thin and b) his guitar playing was too fancy and long winded which were both highlighted on his many Live albums.
Both wrongs have been righted in recent years when he has ‘discovered his Roots’ and slowed things down; and LIVE at CARNEGIE HALL (An Acoustic Evening) really showcases the ‘new’ Joe Bonamassa.
The album opens with a ‘bang’ as the band throw everything they have at This Train and the addition of International artists playing a multitude of acoustic instruments make it almost unrecognisable from the album version. With so much going on behind him it should be impossible for Joe to make his own acoustic guitar stand out; but….. boy….does he manage it; and his now slightly worn-in voice sounds wonderful.
As the applause dies down a much gentler almost mystical sound filters from the speakers and again we get a completely updated version of Drive, which is taken into the territory I would normally associate with the legendary John Martyn.
More Classic Bonamassa songs are also turned inside out and come out the other side all the better for this refreshing treatment; never a lover of Dust Bowl I sat transfixed twice as I finally got to listen to the words; and I now I get to revel in some delicious bottle neck playing on the intro to Black Lung Heartache; and song really does become the atmospheric epic it always threatened to be.
As expected on previous live outings everything revolved around Bonamassa’s brilliant and technical electric guitar playing; but even allowing for the fulsome instrumentation included here, the songs are allowed to breathe letting the listener hear the beautiful stories that make up Get Back My Tomorrow and the gentle Mountain Time.
There are a couple of songs here that I wasn’t previously aware of, in particular Song of Yesterday from his Black Country Communion days; and the inclusion of some female backing singers and Bonamassa’s all-powerful acoustic playing had me thinking of Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen album; and probably that is as good a reference point for this record as any, especially because of the inclusion of Reese Wynans on piano.
I last heard Hummingbird on the Live at The Greek album and yet again; it is virtually unrecognisable in this beautiful format, and all the better for a ballsy Rootsy/Americana treatment that truly showcases Bonamassa’s skills on an acoustic guitar.
Unlike his previous Live Albums where everything plus the kitchen sink is thrown at the finale; tonight things slow down real, real slow for a beauteous rendition of The Rose which closes the night with more of a sigh than a scream, and works perfectly.
The production throughout is crystal clear with every instrument and voice being heard in it’s right place, behind Joe Bonamassa’s masterful guitar playing and endearing singing.

Favourite track? That’s easy…..How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live? An age old tale that is still a soundtrack for 2017 and Joe Bonamassa sings the bones out of it!
There’s next to no chit-chat between songs but if you want that there is also a DVD available too which has the addition of a Behind the Scenes film, with Joe talking about guitars (fancy that!), lots of photos and an extra song, and for audiophile there’s even a 3 x LP release too.

Released 23rd June 2017

https://jbonamassa.com/

 

Sam Baker – LAND OF DOUBT

 

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Sam Baker
LAND OF DOUBT
Self-Release

A Daring Approach From a Brilliant Songwriter Creates a Bold and Beautiful Record.

It’s a challenge for any singer or band with even a modicum of success to have to choose between recording the same songs but with different titles; or do they evolve and develop; making new music that may alienate their fan base.
Thankfully Sam Baker has taken the latter route over 5 albums in 13 years and a combination of masterful storytelling and a very distinctive voice have managed to bring in new fans with every record without ever losing the original fans.
Without reading the Press Release in advance the delightful semi-classical guitar which opens track #1 Summer Wind took me by surprise and then when Sam more narrates than sings the song I sat back with a puzzled expression on my face. The song is even slower than normal and includes a de-tuned (?) guitar and some sweet trumpet playing from Don Mitchell which sent a shiver down my spine. As soon as it finished I pressed ‘repeat’ and the penny immediately dropped; this wasn’t going to be a ‘normal’ album……in some ways it’s a conceptual piece; but by golly it’s staggeringly good!
Only a few songs here; Margaret and Say The Right Words for example, are ‘typical’ Sam Baker songs in as much as they are very literate, deeply personal stories; but even Say The Right Words has Mitchell performing like an Angel on the trumpet again towards the end.
Without spoiling anything for you several tracks are referred to as ‘interludes’ which left me baffled at first’ then halfway through I realised that these short orchestral pieces work perfectly; cleansing the mind ready for the next song.
A brave thing to do; but when Song of Sunrise Birds (interlude) bleeds into The Feast of St. Valentine you know you’re not listening to an ordinary record…….LAND OF DOUBT isn’t ‘ordinary’ at all.
With that in mind, Peace Out can only be described as poetry set to music, with Sam talking through the first voice and even his singing voice hardly picks up the pace; leaving me with a fluttering the stomach and a big smile as it ended.
As a Sam Baker fan of quite a few years I absolutely love this album and salute the man’s courage for trying something different; but the title of ‘favourite song’ must go to an actual ‘traditional’ folk song; but a song that is as good as anything this great songwriter has ever penned. Some Kind of Blue whizzes us back 40 odd years to the Vietnam War as Sam tells the story of “a quiet young man/too shy to get a date.” But young Charlie enlists and before he knows what is happening he is on a jet then “crawling in a tunnel/where the fallen Angels dwell.” The irony of the chorus “Charlie fighting Charlie” isn’t lost on the character nor will it audiences. Eventually Charlie returns home and marries; but……..”crawling through a tunnel/with a loaded .45/was the only time he felt alive.”
Sadly there are thousands of Charlie’s across the Western world feeling the same way 40 years later.
The title track; which closes the record is a singular radical change of mood, with Baker again taking on the role of narrator on a very atmospheric and even claustrophobic song which brings the whole album to a powerful conclusion and owes a debt to to the Beat Poets and Gil Scott-Heron. If I still had my radio show I would play it every single week for a month.
LAND OF DOUBT is quite a departure from what we expect from an Americana/Folk singer; but don’t worry (spoiler alert!) this album is truly exceptional and takes him into the musical territory I associate with Randy Newman, Tom Waits and even the likes of Nick Cave; and Sam Baker is there on Merit.

Released June 16th 2017

http://www.sambakermusc.com

Justin Townes Earle – KIDS IN THE STREET

jte cd

Justin Townes Earle
KIDS IN THE STREET
New West Records

The Definitive 21st Century Singer-Songwriter Album.

I’ve got a lot to say about this album and Justin Townes Earle himself; but don’t want to bore you!
Let’s start at the beginning …..I first discovered JTE via a download of YUMA in 2007 and loved the raw way he wrote and performed his songs; and it was only when HARLEM RIVER BLUES was one of my first ever reviews that I discovered his father was Steve Earle…honestly; so I’ve been a fan of Justin’s music for its own worth; without the baggage or lazy comparisons.
First of all, this is his most accessible album since HARLEM RIVER BLUES and shows a new maturity in his songwriting and perhaps even subject matter; starting with the sleazy Rock n Roll opening song Champagne Corolla, which is a timeless doozy of a tune that will light up any room it’s played in.
This followed by a slower more Countrified song called Maybe a Moment; where JTE’s distinctive voice has never sounded warmer or more charismatic…..which actually sums up the whole album btw.
While I’ve loved his deeply personal songs on previous albums; Justin uses his imagination here more than ever before and shows what a staggeringly good storyteller he has developed into.
15-25 opens with a crash and is followed by some cool barrel-house piano before our man slouches in front of the microphone and regales us with an autobiographical look at his younger self; all set to a Rockabilly beat and when her purrs “I never had any regrets” and “I’m kinda lucky I survived” you kinda know he is singing from the heart.
The beautiful title track KIDS IN THE STREET follows immediately afterwards and finds the singer in reflective mood remembering his innocent days in East Nashville then seeing those same streets today.
That old school Rockabilly sound creeps back in when the snappy Short Hair Woman rolls out of the speakers and fills your senses like a sweet perfume; and again on
I’ve always had a hankering for Justin’s bluesy songs, which are few and far between and Same Old Staggolee and the atmospherically Gothic If I Was the Devil which it bleeds into, is a delightful way to spend a 10 minutes and bodes well for the day JTE finally makes a whole album in this ilk.
Which brings me to ‘favourite track’ time. One of the ‘teaser songs’ that has filtered out in the last couple of months closes the record and has haunted me since I first heard it; There Go A Fool hints at a whole new exciting direction for Justin and should be my #1; but when I first heard him crooning Faded Valentines I went weak at the knees; so that is my favourite track here by a Country Mile.
Since Justin Townes Earle first came onto the scene 10 years ago he has never released a bad album; although some of the individual songs have been challenging as he repeatedly bore his soul in public; but here he shows a new maturity in his writing and storytelling. plus at times, a mischievous sense of humour.
Producer Mike Mogis took him way out of his comfort zone in Nashville to record in Omaha and that added ‘edge’ coupled to his recent marriage, sobriety and impending fatherhood appear to have combined to create the album Justin Townes Earle has always been capable of making and will be the one his contemporaries will be judged by. 10/10.

https://www.justintownesearle.com/home

Released May 26th 2017

Pierce Edens – STRIPPED DOWN/GUSSIED UP

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Pierce Edens
STRIPPED DOWN/GUSSIED UP
Self-Release

Mighty Fresh Sounds From North Carolina Singer-songwriter.

As I’ve said before there are no definitive reasons for some of the albums getting reviewed at RMHQ; as in this case the album title STRIPPED DOWN/GUSSIED UP caught my attention as I occasionally use the term ‘All gussied up’ when I go out gallivanting of a weekend.
Well; I’m mighty pleased I did find this remarkable album from Pierce Edens.
His bio tells us that her grew up in North Carolina playing Appalachian Folk until he discovered……PUNK ROCK! Weirdly those two worlds clash/merge on several songs here, none more so than the opening track Sirens. An angry electric guitar fights an acoustic as Eden’s gravelly baritone swoops and soars on a an almost primal song that scratches at your brain until you let it in.
At times Eden’s magnetic voice sounds like a whiplash, a slow methodical build up…..then…..crash he punctuates a sentence or chorus emphasising his point in I Can’t Sleep.
Other times his voice is so low you find yourself tilting towards the speakers so as not to miss his magical stories; Further Down and Daffodils; the latter is almost like something from Thomas Hardy in spirit.
Regular readers will know how much I like an expressive gravelly voice; and that’s exactly what Pierce Edens has; in other hands songs like The Devil There Too or It’s Alright, It’s All Wrong wouldn’t be half as memorable or even interesting; but the way Edens drops his lyrical bombs kept me enthralled from start to finish each time.
The one song I’m not sure about his his treatment of Tom Waits’s Mr. Siegal where he gets a bit carried away trying to ‘out Tom Waits’ by screaming and shouting. It’s good; but could have been a bit more tempered at times.
Which brings us to my ‘favourite track’…..an easy choice this time; track #2 Here which starts with some beautifully played acoustic guitar before Edens seeps in; presumably with his eyes tightly shut as he forces each word and phrase out with as much understated power as possible.
Not always an ‘easy listen’ and certainly not ‘commercial’ enough for most people; but I’ve rather fallen in love with STRIPPED DOWN/GUSSIED UP which is actually a fair description of the contents within the record sleeve…..funny that.

Released June 2nd 2017
http://pierceedens.com/

David Olney – DON’T TRY TO FIGHT IT

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David Olney
DON’T TRY TO FIGHT IT
Red Parlor Records.

The Renaissance Man of Americana Strides Ahead of The Pack.

It’s very difficult to keep up with David Olney; apart from his weekly Video reports (Vlog?) and radio show on Nashville’s WXNA he tours more than Dylan and hardly a year goes by without a new album of fresh new material; which always stand up alongside the best of the rest.
A friend and cohort of everybody who is worth knowing in Nashville’s (and Americas) Americana and Alt. Country world David Olney is surely due a big old Career Retrospective Double Album/box-set as by my reckoning this is Olney’s 30th album in 36 years; but until then there is NEW MUSIC to listen to…….
WOAH! I wasn’t expecting the opening electric guitar/sax salvo that breaks out of the speakers on If They Ever Let Me Out which opens the record. Olney’s trademark leathery, world worn voice then slithers over the band like a King Cobra on a tightly wound, almost claustrophobic Southern Rocker with the singer taking the character of an inmate pacing his cell dreaming about his release day. Trust me; only David Olney could right a song like this and deliver it with such élan.
As expected you have to expect the unexpected with this guy’s records; we get a Tex-Mex flavoured love song with Innocent Heart, some Leon Russell New Orleans Voodoo-Rock with the title track Don’t Try to Fight It, Cool Chicago Blues on Sweet Sugaree, plus beautifully weird Eastern Psychedelia with Situation and with Yesterday’s News Olney finally gets to record a song he wrote in his youth and it comes out as a sweet and mellow nod to the Laurel Canyon era; but first and foremost he is a teller of stories and the genre he chooses for them is secondary.
Crack in the Wall, like that opener is another tightly wrapped Country-Rocker featuring some sublime electric guitar from Blair Hogan on a song that out Alt’s the current swell of Alt. Country bands…….Olney Rocks!
On an album that sweeps you along like a night train, with hardly any time to catch your breath David Olney has never sounded finer (#discuss) than on the lilting Folk ballad Ferris Wheel, which takes us back to those heady days of first finding love; and I can’t think of a better metaphor than a Ferris Wheel at a fairground to describe those exciting highs and lows the way David and co-writer John Hadley manage.
But; my favourite track here is when David ends the disc with the cinematic and atmospheric Big Top (Tornado), a powerful and imaginative ‘talking Blues’ with a Southern Rock/Blues spine that is so left of centre it deserves a whole album based around it or, at the very least a 20 minute 12″ re-mix!
What more can I say? I’m pretty sure some reviewers will call this David Olney’s ‘Masterpiece;’ I can’t judge as I think I’ve only heard about ten of his previous discs but I can say that I doubt I will hear 10 better and more memorable albums in 2017!

Released March 31st 2017
http://www.davidolney.com/

Curse of Lono SEVERED Submarine Cat Records

curse of lono1

Curse of Lono
SEVERED
Submarine Cat Records

Tightly Wrapped, Dark and Cinematic Americana.

Somehow managing to blend the harmonious Twang of the Byrds with the songwriting of Nick Cave, Curse of Lono’s EP came along just at the right time last Autumn; capturing the gloomy zeitgeist that was all pervading at RMHQ just perfectly.
Jump forward six months; and we are still enjoying a good wallow in musical melancholia…..so, bring on the Curse of Lono LP!
The album opens with Five Miles High; an illegitimate step-brother to the Byrds Eight Miles High; with harmonies to you could drink and enough psychedelic Amaricanesque guitar to light up a motorway.
The song is quite deep and mystical; but Felix Bechtolsheimer’s world weary voice draws you in like a siren on the rocks.
While Curse of Lono are only two years old; Bechtolsheimer wrote these songs over a 14 year period; knowing that sooner or later he would find a fitting band and producer to bring them to life.
For a British band, Curse of Lono can make you feel like you are sitting in a Texas saloon bar (Send For the Whisky), lonely Mid-Western Motel (Each Time You Hurt) or perhaps the JFK Airport Lounge (He Takes My Place) with the greatest of ease…..they just ‘get’ America and Americana. The way the narrator describes the minutiae in that latter heartbreaker (He Takes My Place) put Felix up there with the likes of Slaid Cleaves and Otis Gibbs around these here parts.
Apart from Felix Bechtolsheimer’s identifiable voice the main thing that makes Curse of Lono stand out from the crowd of British pretenders is the way they use guitar effects to emphasise the mood of different songs; even making one sound like a pump-organ on Welcome Home.
The perkiest song here, Pick Up The Pieces has the feel of someone like Paul Simon or Don McLean on mogadon…..but don’t let that analogy put you off, because it’s excellent; dark and mysterious certainly but excellent and will stick in your brain for hours afterwards.
While I adore this album for what it is; an actual album two songs particularly stand out; the Country-Blues of Just My Head with it’s opening line “Its hard not to drink like a man/when the ghosts that surround you insist that you can”…..it’s when I hear songs like this that I realise how powerful music can be; but I have yo hark back to a song from that EP that features here and has matured in that year like a fine whisky. London Rain still has a minor Doorsian feel to it but oddly enough hints of the Jam in Down in the Tube Station (After Midnight). The edgy atmosphere Bechtolsheimer and friends conjures up, of the darker side of a fractured relationship that is as frightening as it is figurative.
I fear for the success of SEVERED by Curse of Lono as Summer is just around the corner and this is best listened to late on a windswept rainy evening; but I guess a lot of readers here inhabit that world 12 months a year anyway!

http://www.curseoflonoband.com/

Released April 7th 2017