Little Big Town – Sage Gateshead

lbt band
Little Big Town
Sage Gateshead.
Sunday 1st October 2017

Tonight’s romantic liaison with Mrs Magpie was planned many months ago; but the rota at work was changed in Mid-September meaning I was meant to be working 4pm till midnight; so I had to pull out all of the stops to swap days off; which only got agreed 36 hours hours before ‘curtain up’!
Phew.
Historically Country bands of the ilk of Little Big Town have totally ignored the UK and Europe, favouring the US of A to amass their fortunes; so it was no real surprise to see the Sold Out notice on the Sage website only two days after tickets came on sale.
The show opened with one of the hottest young songwriters in Nashville, Seth Ennis and his band.
Dressed casually in a grey sweatshirt, tight black jeans and Timberland boots he looked nothing like your typical Country star or even singer-songwriter; but then again I’m not his usual demographic judging by the screams from hundreds of young ladies at the start and end of each song.

seth ennis x
The songs? Good…..really good at times; especially Fast Girl and Three which were just perfect for his slightly gritty Country croak.
Accompanied by the lad with a mohican on an acoustic guitar Ennis turned to a piano for Think & Drive; a ‘Broken-hearted 2am drunks song’ as he introduced it; and while I thought it needed filling out with the rest of the band; it still sounded a beautifully brittle story.
With a set lasting only 30 minutes Ennis wasted a good 5 minutes ‘chatting’ and ‘interacting’ (Who wants to paaaarrty??? etc), when he could easily have included another song; but HEY….what do I know; as he still got a standing ovation from around 50% of the downstairs audience! He was certainly ‘very alright’ bordering on good……but …..a standing ovation? Kids today!
After the thirty minute intermission; the stage set had hardly changed for the headline act which slightly baffled me; as I was half expecting a big ‘show’……but it appeared Little Big Town wanted their show to be all about ‘the songs’ and with hindsight; that’s no bad thing at all.
Hiding in the shadows, the backing band built up the already palpable tension in the room for nearly two minutes before Little Big Town made their appearance, swathed in blue lights creating an air of mystery for their opening song Night on Our Side; then with a minimum of fuss as the roar of approval died down the stage lights came on and the band slid seamlessly into Happy People and the front three rows immediately got to their feet as Karen and Kimberley slickly glad-handed people without missing a note.
This was very much the tone for the whole concert; bang, bang, bang…….song/applause/song/applause/song; with very little chit-chat in between…..the Hits just kept on coming; without any overpowering light-show or attention grabbing backdrop of videos…..this really was a showcase for their songs.
One bit of audience interaction has to be reported though; after only 24 hours in the Region Kimberly Schlapman greeted the audience with “Hello GATESHEAD…….we know you’re NOT Newcastle!” Which was a lovely touch as this world class venue is on the much maligned South side of the River Tyne, and not the more famous Northern side. She then told a lovely anecdote about the nuances of our local accent……which went down very well indeed.
I knew very little about the band prior to tonight; so was really impressed with Take Me Down, especially when the guitarist who had been hiding in the shadows strolled to the front of the stage for a short and sharp solo……”play that funky geetar….kidda!”
Others that caught my attention were the new single Better Man, Rollin (which featured FOUR guitarists!), Tornado, Save Your Sin and of course the awe-inspiring Girl Crush.
As is my won’t on nights like this I’m prone to watching the crowd’s reactions to songs and singers; and this crowd doted on every single note from each singer as they each took a turn at lead vocals.

lbt girls
Surprisingly there appeared to be an under prepared tribute to the late Don Williams, which started so well with some beautiful four part harmonies on Lord, I Hope This Day is Good and I Believe in Love, out of nowhere they morphed into an Alicia Keys song then When Doves Cry! All really well sung; but what they had to do with Don Williams I will never know.
Then of course there was my “I know this song” moment. The sultry swampy-funk tune confused me but I sure knew the lyrics……DOH……Little Big Town had not only turned the Indie Classic Wonderwall into a Country song; but a spellbinding one at that. 10/10

Oh dear; I also faced a modern concert problem; two female characters from Viz Comic sitting/standing/dancing/drinking sitting directly behind me, who shouted their admiration for each song (especially the ballads) to each other until song #14 when my patience finally snapped and ‘words were exchanged.’ Defeated but unbowed they decided to dance/wobble in the aisle, only returning to gulp their pints and puff on their e-cigs. Kids today?
Hey ho; that apart I really enjoyed the whole show…….24 songs (with no filler) followed by two glorious encores; making for an exceptionally well paced evening….. what’s not to like?
Afterwards I heard someone bemoaning the fact that the venue should be booking likes of Toby Keith and Tim McGraw! Get real!! That shipped many years ago; so it was a wonderful surprise to see Little Big Town playing a UK Tour at venues that ‘only’ hold 3,000 or so fans; and hopefully they will go home and tell their friends of their welcome (and the merch they sold) therefore bringing even more Grade 1 Country Acts to our fair shores.

photo-set http://www.harrisonaphotos.co.uk/Music/Little-Big-Town/

Advertisements

The Remedy Club – LOVERS, LEGENDS & LOST CAUSES

remedy club

The Remedy Club
LOVERS, LEGENDS & LOST CAUSES
High Flyin’ Disc.

Damn Fine Country Music But With an Irish Heart and Soul.

Much as British Country Music used to be sneered at, Irish Country Music while hugely popular and profitable was laughable outside certain insular circles……even Daniel O’Donnell!
That is…..until now.
I’d never heard of The Remedy Club; nor its constituent parts of husband and wife KJ McEvoy and Aileen Mythen when I received this album last week; but only a few days later I found myself professing undying love on Twitter for my new favourite duo of all time…..and here’s why.
I immediately sat to attention like a Meerkat as the first notes from Aileen Mythen’s gorgeous voice filtered through the office air on opening song I Miss You, and then after a minute or so of luscious harmonies on a deeply sad love song; KJ enters the fray with some of the dirtiest Twang guitar you will ever hear.
To some degree this is two albums rolled into one; as both partners get to take lead, and each has a completely different style; with Aileen breaking hearts left right and centre with sad love-lorn ballads like Come On, Last Song or the Countriest Country song you will hear this year, This Is Love which all take you back to the era of Patsy Cline and Ruby Murray but with razor sharp lyrics that cut through the pathos like a hot knife through butter.
But; this gal ain’t no pushover as she proves she can Rock the Joint like any man can on Sweet White Lies; and I’m pleased I’m not the fella she is spitting the words out about!
KJ, on the other hand is pure Bakersfield straight outta Wexford. Big Ole Fancy is a cracking tongue in cheek look at the problems fame has caused him; and on Bottom of the Hill he sings “I gotta belly full o’ liquor/and a handful o’ pills/ain’t nobody gonna cure my ills”.
Hear it and you will hear the spirit of George and Hank in every note; which brings me to my ‘favourite song’ which breaks my heart to say it’s one of KJ’s, as I so desperately wanted it to be the Aileen song When Tom Waits Up.
But, Listening to Hank Williams is just so damn pure brilliant, it can’t be anything else. We’ve all been there; when things get so bad you just got to play some Hank; and KJ recounts his sorry tale while a honky-tonk piano rolls along beside some ace pedal-steel while the bass, drums and guitar strum gently alongside Aileen’s pearlescent harmonies…….and there is even a yodel for extra authenticity!
This is MY kinda damn Country music.
I don’t know why, but I’ve always been a sucker for a Country duo and The Remedy Club, with their clever and articulate songwriting, which straddle Classic and contemporary themes with ease, toe-tapping tunes and a slick as quicksilver band tick every box I have; and there’s absolutely no way you would hear this album and think it was recorded by anything other than two Americans in the heart of Texas or Tennessee; but it’s as Irish as a shamrock at it’s heart.

http://www.theremedyclub.ie

Released 8th October 2017

 

 

Jess & The Bandits – SMOKE AND MIRRORS

jess and bandits

Jess & The Bandits
SMOKE AND MIRRORS
Sonnet Music

Dancetastic and Thought Provoking Modern Country Music.

After discovering them a few years ago at SummerTyne Festival I have to confess to loving Jess & The Bandits and their the poppier variety of Country Music.
Their 2015 debut album HERE WE GO AGAIN is still a staple in Mrs. Magpie’s car and a pleasure to listen to if you ever drives me anywhere.
So has their sound developed in the intervening years?
Yes…..and no.
The ever smiling Texan, Jessica Clemmons sounds breathless on opening track the almost evangelical I’m Still Not Going Home, which could be the band’s signature tune as she throws down a marker to the rest of the young upstarts on the circuit at the moment; especially the current wave of Brit-Country bands.
Oh Dear Lord, the title track which comes in at #2 is as close to a Classic Country belter as anything I’ve heard in donkey’s years, with Jess using her magnificent voice to full effect as a choir gives it everything behind her.
There is certainly something here for everyone as the band can Rock the boots off a Country tune with the hit single Kings of Summer, and their mellower side on the ballads Gone Girl and Already Written will reduce even the hardest heart to mush.
The changes come through subtly on a couple of very contemporary songs; the anthemic Start a War; about a lady standing up for herself in an abusive relationship and Game Changer which closes the record; shows the potential for a Stevie Nicks type direction in the future.
Not for the first (or last) time Mrs. Magpie disagree on what the best or favourite track is here.
She has gone for Kiss Me Quiet, with it’s echoes of Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood the way Jess purrs out the powerful lyrics.
Me? I’ve gone for White Lies; a timeless heart breaking tale of cheatin’, lyin’ and lovin’ that Jess and the Bandits tightly wrapped sound, makes you feel like it’s the only time this has ever happened before; which is exactly how that must feel when you’ve been cheated on.
While this is certainly on the Commercial end of the music spectrum that I adore; Jess Clemmon’s compelling voice and the Bandit’s impressive Country playing coupled with Jess’s mature and occasionally gut-wrenching songwriting show a band on the cusp of Stardom.

Released 15th September 2017
http://jessandthebandits.com/

My Darling Clementine – STILL TESTIFYING

mdc

My Darling Clementine
STILL TESTIFYING
Continental Song City

Our Favourite Husband & Wife Tear Up The Country Duet Rule Book!!

While a host of giddy young things are being hailed in the national media as either being the ‘saviours’ or even ‘inventors’ of British Country Music, Michael Weston King has been consistently releasing albums that defy the title ‘British’; and in the last few years alongside wife Lou Dalgleish has released three nigh perfect Country Duet albums and the collaboration with crime writer Mark Billingham created a whole new Country-Noir genre.
Still with a Country Heart, this latest release from My Darling Clementine shuffles the cards like a magician taking their now distinctive sound into it’s very own musical stratosphere.
I actually went ‘Ooooooooohhhh’ when the opening stanzas to first track Embers and Flames oozed out of the car speakers. What a way to capture the attention…….a great 60’s big band feel to the rhythm section, but red hot and bittersweet lyrics for the couple to spit out at each other as their relationship fizzles out like a spectacular firework always does; and the song contains my favourite saddest line ever “And the bedroom’s just for sleeping”. Oh dear…..that lyric hurts more than any other.
This followed by a Lou Dalgleish penned song, Eugene where Lou takes the lead and Michael tells his part from the shadows as a mournful brass band add just enough pathos to keep you from crying; but only just.
Two songs in and I was hooked like a musical heroin addict.
Oh Dear Lord I won’t forget the first time I heard Jolene’s Song…… another song from Lou’s pen; where she takes the place of the original Jolene and the resulting song has been worth the 50 year wait!

While listening to the sharp as a tack There’s Nothing That You Can Tell Me (That I Don’t Already Know) I was reminded of the Beautiful South, then the penny dropped that Paul Heaton’s Countryish album last year with Jacqui Abbott completely ripped off My Darling Clementine! Fancy that….and the track is a humdinger too btw.
My Darling Clementine have never been your ordinary duo/band; as they are very theatrical in everything they do or perform, with each and every story conjuring up Technicolour images to go with the song. Friday Night/Tulip Hotel; a tale of sad infidelity is a perfect example and the jaunty Tear Stained Smile is just the same with the listener picturing the singers playing out their roles while tapping the toes at the same time.
Two Lane Texaco fits that description too; but this inspired tale of a decaying small town somewhere in rural America demands that the video would be in sepia.
Mrs. Magpie is a fan too and after playing the album while doing the ironing last weekend she decided that Yours Is The Cross That I Still Bear; a Soulful story about a couple ‘going through the motions’ was her favourite song; while I went for the out and out love song…..Since I Fell For You. But then again, I’ve always been a soppy romantic and the line “Now I stand by by your side/I understand the Sin of Pride” should be tattooed across my heart.
I love the way Michael and Lou aren’t prepared to ‘go through the motions’ with their music and are prepared to push their own boundaries to create something vibrant and exciting, without alienating their core fans.

http://mydarlingclementinemusic.co.uk/about/

Released June 2nd 2017

Sarah Shook SIDELONG

sarah shook b

Sarah Shook
SIDELONG
Bloodshot

Turn Left at Janis, Then Right at Lucinda and Go Straight Past Loretta.

How do they do it? Bloodshot Records I mean. They keep finding acts that I just need to listen to.
On the album cover Sarah Shook from North Carolina has the look of the only girl at school who had both the Clash and Johnny Cash albums and knew all the words too.
The quaintly titled Keep The Home Fires Burning is a raw slice of Country with a Rockabilly beat, and Sarah sounding just the right side of angry, sings as if she’s defying the listener not to like her. But if like me you know the really ‘good stuff’ doesn’t come out of those shiny building in Nashville you will like it; despite her sneer.
Sarah Shook doesn’t look old enough to have had all of the heartbreak that she writes and sings about[ but that’s the joy as she has one helluva imagination as expressed in the fiery No Name and later in Solitary Confinement when she sounds like Patsy Cline on steroids, “drinking him off her mind!”
Bloodshot used to describe itself as the ‘Home of Resurgent Country’ and boy does this young lady live up to that billing on songs like Nothin’ Feels Right Like Doing Wrong and the Punky Country Rock of Misery Without Company; and I love the way the rebellious singer is going to Make It Up To Mama by getting another ‘heart tattoo’!
As a man of a certain age I don’t normally like profanity in music; but the way Sarah describes her life – she could be the offspring of a late night relationship between Janis and George Jones; Fuck Up is the only title imaginable; and I’m pretty damn sure it will be the sing-along highlight of their concerts.
Highlights are too many to list but I will give you two songs as my favourites; the title track Sidelong is as dark a Country song as I’ve heard in years, with Snook sounding on the verge of tears at times on a wonderful piece of writing.
The other is along a similar dark romantic path; but Dwight Yoakam is about that period when that relationship is just about still hanging by a thread;  “I’m drinking water tonight cuz I drank all the whiskey this morning”(“Dwight Yoakam”) pretty damn fine writing in my opinion.
Many years ago there used to be a band on Bloodshot with leather jackets, tattoos and quiffs called the Riptones who opened the Rockabilly door for me. They took what the Stray Cats did, but stripped it back to the bone and added kerosene……and now Sarah Shook and the Disarmers have taken up that mantel with a vengeance; and I can’t wait to see them play live in a hot and sweaty club.

http://disarmers.com/

Released April 28th 2017

Sam Outlaw – TENDERHEART

Sam Tenderheart

Sam Outlaw
TENDERHEART
Thirty Tigers/Cooking Vinyl

The New King of Laid Back Country Strikes Again.

In the last couple of years there’s been a slew of new, young Stetson wearing Country singer-songwriters; at the very least some are ‘good’ but a couple, and I count Sam Outlaw as one ….are truly exceptional, as his 2015 debut ANGELENO proved.
Less than two years later he returns with more of the same; but with added maturity and occasionally ‘edge’ to his writing.
Throwing us the first curve ball Sam goes deep, really deep on opening track the sweepingly atmospheric Everyone’s Looking For Home. A slow burner of a ballad finds Sam Outlaw in a very dark place, and the inclusion of an almost funereal sounding Mariachi band adds an extra dimension to an already beautiful song.
Bottomless Mimosas, which follows is one of those songs that make you go “OOOOOHHHH!” when you here it. The gentle guitars, strummed bass and the tsch-tsch of the drums eventually melt behind Outlaw’s softly expressive voice and when the (now cheery) Mariachi band drift in the world and its troubles all drift away into the sunset. What’s not to like?
Outlaw lays his ‘feelings’ out on the line for all to see and dissect on several songs here with She’s Playing Hard To Get (Rid Of) and the Modern Classic that is Now She Tells Me gently squeezing your heartstrings until you gasp for breath.
In real life Sam Outlaw is in a very happy and stable relationship; but boy can he write a tearjerker! Diamond Ring and Two Broken Hearts are both the type of Country songs you pray to hear on FM radio, but never do because Music Row don’t write ’em like this any-more…..but Sam Outlaw does.
When it comes to selecting a ‘favourite track’ I don’t set any parameters; you don’t do you? Music doesn’t work that way…….the best songs just ‘touch you’ for no reason that makes sense.
Here I finally pulled it back to three songs…..the album is so good it could be any actually; with the odd subject matter of Bougainvillea, I Think being an extraordinary song and beautiful with it. Sam looks back to his late teenage years when he would sit and ‘drink beers and chat’ with his matronly next door neighbour neighbour, whose name and the ‘flower she would wear’ he can no longer remember. Not a tale of love (lost or unrequited) just a woman with lots of life stories he once knew who is slowly being erased from his memory as he himself grows older. Quite delightful.
The title track TENDERHEART does what a title track should do; encapsulate what the album is all about and this one does it with grace and style. A cleverly worded song with a gorgeous melody and is as Country as Country gets these days.
But, as the shuffle mode on my I-Phone has been trying to tell me the award goes to All My Life. Compared to the rest it’s quite a simple love song (the best ones always are) Sam tells us that he’s travelled the world ‘looking for a wife’ and there she was in his home town all along! It’s a bit of a Romeo and Juliet theme as my favourite line suggests “We are still to young/and your father owns a gun/I think you are just the girl to make me settle down.”
It’s a fun little ditty with a razor sharp sense of humour and Outlaw’s trademark worldly wise observations in every line…..all coupled with a classy melody too. A WINNER.
The album closes with another sad heartbreaker, Look At You Now and as it fades to the groove you will take a deep breath, sigh and either press Play or turn your disc over to side 1 again and drop the needle onto track #1 and before you know it it will be 3AM and you haven’t gone to bed.
Country Music comes in many shapes and formats, and I pretty much love all of it but on a long sunny day nothing beats slipping on a Jimmy Buffett, Lyle Lovett or perhaps Don Gibson and now we can add Sam Outlaw to that list.

http://www.samoutlaw.com/
Released April 14th 2017

Jim Lauderdale – London Southern

jim-lauderdale

Jim Lauderdale
London Southern
Proper Records

Landmark Album For Country’s Wagonmaster.

While I wouldn’t say I was a ‘fan’ of Jim Lauderdale, I do own three albums that I still play occasionally and when I had my radio show would play the occasional track, and at least twice as the subject of requests; so I was thrilled last week when this, his latest release dropped onto the hall carpet.
Opening track Sweet Time is a delightful Country shuffle in the mode of someone like Charly Pride or Vince Gill; and it wouldn’t take too much of a leap to imagine any of today’s ‘Hat Acts’ covering in a bid to add authenticity to an album. The title London Southern comes from Lauderdale recording he disc in the Goldstar Studios in London, England with his friend Nick Lowe’s band and when you know that; you can hear a slightly different tone to Lauderdale’s regular approach on songs like the stunning Different Kind of Groove Sometimes and Mrs. Magpie’s favourite song here, What Have You Got to Lose with its sumptuous background harmonies.
Tucked away towards the end of the album is deep and meaningful song; when Jim gives us a full throated Country warble, along with some Memphis style soulful trumpet and sax…..I Can’t Do Without You is trademark Lauderdale but somehow as fresh as a daisy too.
The Twangtastic Don’t Shut Me Down and You Came to Get Me will both make feet all around the world get the urge to dance, and show that Lauderdale can still write great songs in any style he desires.
It’s fascinating to realise that this songwriters-songwriter isn’t afraid of a challenge; as shown by the choice of co-writers on a couple of songs included here, not only has he wrote two with the legendary Dan Penn but another pair with the ‘Blue Eyed Soul’ star John Oates and it’s one of those If I Can’t Resist; which reminded me of Wicked Game by Chris Isaak; and certainly wouldn’t sound out of place on a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack.
Love songs come at you from all directions on this record; but the late night piano, heart stopping double bass and sweeping strings that accompanying a crooning Jim Lauderdale on I Love You More just melted my heart the first time I heard it and there’s been a tiny tear in the corner of my eye each subsequent play. I’m not aux fait with every song he has ever written; but I doubt he’s ever written one more beautiful, making this easily my favourite song here.
It’s shameful to discover that after 27 previous albums and too many hits for other stars too numerous to mention spread over a career spanning 27+ years that legendary songwriter Jim Lauderdale’s solo albums have only ever troubled the Country Music Charts twice; and then only at #47 & #67!
Will London Southern fare any better? Who knows; but if I’m any judge I’m pretty sure it will go Top 10 in the UK AMA Charts pretty damn soon after release; showing what great taste British Country Music fans have 😉

Released February 3rd 2017

http://www.jimlauderdale.com/

The Backyard Devils – Honky Tonk Heartbreaker

backyard-devils-a1

The Backyard Devils
Honky Tonk Heartbreaker
Self-Release

Just Add Cold Beer and Whisky For a Perfect Saturday Night.

I guess it was the cover art that caught my eye last week when I was looking for something to play while I did the ironing (honest!) and after five or six songs I actually found myself doing an involuntary two-step!
The 90 mph Twang-attack that opens track #1 Rambling had me raising my eyebrows and when Erik Arsenault’s gravelly, road-worn voice kicked in I knew I was going to love this album…..let that be a lesson kids; Cover Art and the first track is ‘still all important.’
On paper there’s not a lot different between The Backyard Devils and 99 other Hillbilly/Bluegrass/Old-Timey bands I receive music from; but the joyous way this band sound on the break-up songs, especially The Stanley Brothers’ How Mountain Girls Can Love and their own Pack Your Bags makes for a very special group of musicians indeed.
The musicianship here is outstanding from start to finish; but I must congratulate the Devils themselves and George Belliveau for the razor sharp production that highlights every single instrument without ever overshadowing the vocals.
Somehow; and this is the magic that a great songwriter can create, songs like Gospel, All I Want to Do and the lonely heartbreaking ballad Feeling Stoned instantly sound like you’ve known them all your life; although they were all written just for this album.
For Sons of Canada these guys manage to out-Country most Americans I know on
For what it’s worth I don’t think there are nearly enough Truck Driving songs in Country Music these days; but the Devils rectify that wrong with two absolute belters…..Hard Times is as good as anything I’ve heard since Commander Cody made Truck Driving sound sexy; and then Scott H Biram’s aptly named Truck Driver had me smiling and (mentally) punching the air on every chorus.
Baring in mind where Country Music comes from I can’t remember the last time I heard a Cowboy song; and yet again that wrong is righted here with the sadly romantic Cowboy; which is certainly a contender for ‘favourite track’ and could also be great funeral song; but don’t tell Mrs. Magpie!
Oh Lordy Lord! If there is a TV producer out there considering making a programme in the vein of The Dukes of Hazard I’ve found the theme tune for you…..and the story therein has all the hallmarks for the script of the first episode……Bernie Mountain Sinners is that very song and you will love it too; trust me.
I’ve I’ve raved about all of these songs, my ‘favourite song’ must be special, mustn’t it? Hell yes! I’m So Easy is….well…..I think I once met the girl he falls in love with; but I managed to escape her clutches…..and what a cool tune too.
There you have it; an intoxicating mix of Bluegrass, Honky-Tonkin’ Country and a smattering of fancy dan Rockabilly ……..what’s not to like……some days I love my job!

http://www.backyarddevils.com/

Released UK 20th February 2017

Released Canada 17th Dec 2014

Guy Clark – The Best of the Dualtone Years

guy-clark-z

Guy Clark
The Best of the Dualtone Years
DUALTONE

A Consummate Collection Of A Master’s Latter Years.

Guy Clark? Where do I start? On a recommendation from the owner, a retrospective of his early recordings (priced £5.99) was one of the first Americana CD’s I ever bought in the long gone Goldrush Records, Perth Scotland and proved not to be just a gateway into his work, but that of Townes, Rodney, Nanci and Steve Earle….. and the rest is history.
By the time Guy signed for Dualtone Records in 2005 he was something of a ‘forgotten man’ and the industry probably presumed his best years were long gone.
As this retrospective of the Dualtone recordings proves…..how wrong they were!
This perfectly balanced Double Album opens with Rain in Durango, then saunters through Hemingway’s Whisky and My Favourite Picture of You……PHEW……find me a songwriter in the last 20 years who has wrote a better song than any of those three and I will be surprised….and remember this was meant to be the ‘tail end’ of Clark’s career!
Since his death in 2016 he has been mentioned a lot in the Press Releases I receive as an ‘inspiration’ and occasionally a ‘mentor’ for many much younger singer-songwriters; and you can hear and feel why that would be the way he couples simple observations with a beautiful way with words on songs like Out In The Parking Lot and Tornado Time in Texas to draw the listener in and keep them entranced.
Not a young man when he recorded Cornmeal Waltz but his voice sounds timeless and almost ethereal as he recalls the heady nights of his youth…….and I pretty much guess that there was a twinkle in his eye whenever he sang it.
For younger listeners there’s even the addition of four of his earlier/classic songs with The Cape, Dublin Blues, L. A. Freeway and the quirky Homegrown Tomatoes from his 2011 Songs & Stories album……which is well worth checking out for the stories alone.
As the vast majority of existing Guy Clark fans will already have the four albums these songs are culled from the ‘carrot’ for them is the inclusion of three previously unreleased songs.
I’m normally cautious about such things; but all three ‘demos’ fit in perfectly with what has gone before, with the first being the simple and haunting Just To Watch Maria Dance, then a co-write with Hal Ketchum The Last Hobo but Time, a collaboration with Marty Stuart shows that not all the good songs made it onto disc.
I could push a pin into the track list and tell you that song was my favourite; but I will point new readers to two songs that encapsulate everything I love in Guy Clark’s writing and singing.
As a master-craftsman who spent many long days making…..no creating handmade guitars, The Guitar is a love song that only a true musician could write and his attention to minutiae is astonishing; as is his own guitar playing.
The other is one of the ‘live recordings’; The Cape …….”A song about jumping off a garage” as Clark introduces it is…..well, just you go and find it and tell me you didn’t have tears in your eyes too.
Guy Clark will be sorely missed; but his legacy lives on in these songs and others; all of which will be studied and played for decades to come.

RELEASED March 3rd 2017

http://guyclark.com/

Edward & Graham -Menomonee Rd. (Single)

edward-and-graham-n

Edward & Graham
Menomonee Road (Single)
self-release

This arrived over night and has been a fixture on the RMHQ turntable all day.
With a joint background so bizarre it defies description…..(one of them was in a Metal band!) Johnny Edward and Evan Graham Dunn have discovered the Alternative side of Country music and come out of the traps like a rocket with this single/song.
Another track is promised for March and an album….some time later.

http://www.facebook.com/edwardandgraham
http://www.edwardandgraham.com

released 20th Jan 2017