The Jayhawks XOXO

The Jayhawks
XOXO
Thirty Tigers

Hidden Secrets, Complex Stories and Charming Alt. Country Melodies.

I’ve had a troubled relationship with the Jayhawks over the years. Originally; via Hollywood Town Hall they were one of my ‘gateway’ bands towards what we now lovingly call Alt. Country, and not long afterwards I bought Tomorrow, The Green Grass, which for many years was a ‘go to’ album whenever the mood took me.
Then a couple of years later I saw them play on what must have been the Rainy Days Tour and, well ……. the dynamic had changed, for me.
But by then I was reviewing for magazines and a newspaper, so I had more than enough ‘new music’ to make me forget my ‘past love’.
Leap forward to 2014 and The Jayhawks were headlining SummerTyne Festival and I excitedly turned up, hoping to rekindle my musical love affair. Sadly I walked out after four or five songs. I forget why; but this wasn’t the Jayhawks I’d once been in love with all those years ago ……. the jaunty Americana/Country tunes I’d so adored were replaced with *miserabilsm of a type I didn’t need in my life at that time.
So, it was with tempered excitement that I pressed play on the car stereo last week ………. hmm, the sad and lonely acoustic guitar that opens Forgotten Town made my heart sink…….. but, when Gary Louris’s distinctive, world weary voice entered the fray and a band that seems to have corralled the best of Poco and, dare I say it ……. the early Eagles join him in on a maudlin song of infinite beauty! Even if nothing else matches the quality of this opening song, The Jayhawks may have just invented Alt. Alt-Country!
The guitars are slung low and tempo cranked up high on track #2 Dogtown Days ……….. all I can say is …….. the gang is back in town and on a mission!
I have no idea what has preceded XOXO in the last twenty years or so; and don’t really care; as these new songs are absolutely timeless, with Bitter Pill and Down To The Farm as well as the complex, Beatles influenced Illuminate all sounding like they could and should have been on an album that followed Tomorrow, The Green Grass, yet still sound as contemporary and edgy as anything their prodigies have released in the last twelve months.
When I say ‘timeless’ I mean it in a way that these songs, in all their ragged glory will appeal to fresh faced teenagers as well as their grey haired Grandparents, who were buying vinyl when it was the only format available in buildings we used to call shops.
There’s just so much to like here; not least Karen Grotberg’s songs; especially when she purrs her heart out on Across My Field and the tragically beautiful Ruby, which leaves me open mouthed every time I play it.
Before I get to my Favourite Song here; my copy has three ‘Bonus Tracks’ which; for once actually sound like they should be included on every copy; especially Karen’s haunting The Jewel of the Trimbelle and the stunning duet between Karen and Gary, Hypocrite’s Lament which is actually a contender for the title of Favourite Song; but as it might not appear on your copy is excluded from the race.
For my actual Favourite Track I’ve been torn between what will be the album ‘closer’ the powerfully evocative and love lorn Looking Up Your Number and the song title which made me smile; the cynical Living in a Bubble which is actually as apt in 2020 Britain as you’d hope the title would live up to; and it does.
So, with the toss of a coin I’m going for the rolling and rocking Living In a Bubble as it not just appeals to my sense of humour and musical tastes but to some degree, is a song that needed to be written …… and Gary Louris should be applauded for doing just that.
It’s a week after first playing this album, and I’ve discovered and uncovered many nuances and hidden secrets in most of the songs here, which have all evolved like butterflies from their chrysalis’s.
Perhaps ‘absence really does make the heart grow fonder’; but I think I’ve now fallin’ in love with The Jayhawks all over again.

PS Were I in a record shop, the cover alone would have intrigued me enough to want to hear the contents; and it certainly does live up to the artwork.

Released July 10th 2020
https://jayhawksofficial.com/

*Subsequently two friends who were there that night have totally squashed my ‘memory’ and praised the gig to high heaven …… perhaps it was me and not the band who were miserable that night?

Will Hoge TINY LITTLE MOVIES

Will Hoge
TINY LITTLE MOVIES
Thirty Tigers

Intense and Personal Rocking and Rolling Alt. Country.

Will Hoge? Hmmmmmm …… Will Hoge?
The name rang a bell; but with so many albums flowing through RMHQ in the last three years my ever dissolving memory couldn’t place him. So I did what you would do; checked my previous reviews and Hey Presto!
Silly me ……….. I love Will Hoge!
Sure enough memories of long car journeys with his 2017 release ANCHORS blasting out of the windows came flooding back as soon as he began singing Midway Motel and that distinctive Twangy guitar sound filled the room.
While most every song here sounds deeply personal; they also tick many boxes for the listener too; even if you haven’t actually lived Hoge’s words they live out the romanticism (and the dark side of his Tiny Little Movies) which is also all I adore in Alt. Country, Country Rock and/or Americana.
The anthemic The Overthrow follows; sounding like Springsteen fronting the Heartbreakers singing a Neil Young song! Seriously; and trust me here; when played live those guitar and drum solos will last eons and you won’t care a jot!
Hoge describes himself as a Rock n Roller at heart; and even a cursory listen to Con Man Blues will tell you he’s not wrong! Angry, angsty and awesome in equal measures and destined to scare the bejasus out of your neighbours the next time you have a BBQ in the backyard.
As with all of the best; Hoge can put just as much anger and angst into an acoustic song; and here Is That All You Wanted Me For and All The Pretty Horses fill a gap that my heart has been waiting for all year.
I’ve only ever seen Will Hoge play solo; but imagine hearing the melancholia of My Worst or the sweet laid back Country tunes The Curse and The Likes of You with these musicians filling the silences ever so delicately must be an experience worth travelling long distances for.
Selecting a Favourite Song was never going to be easy here; as just about every song has its own merits in that regard, with some being Radio Friendly and others being destined for very personal playlists that no one else has access to; and that’s probably where I’m going with Maybe This is OK.
Again, Hoge has written an intense song from his own experiences that somehow manages to be about me too …… clever that; isn’t it? My interpretation of this Petty/Springsteen hybrid, is that it’s about someone who has made many mistakes in his life; but has actually come through it all reasonably well …….. which may sound like it’s about you too?
2020 is proving another very special year for the music we bring you on RMHQ and although it’s still only June; TINY LITTLE MOVIES (which neatly describes Hoge’s songs) will undoubtedly be in our year end Top 20 reviews; and also has the capacity with just a smidgen of luck, to be a game changer for this excellent singer-songwriter; and ‘performer’ too.

PS Somehow or other I appear to have missed MY AMERICAN DREAM from 2018 ……. there’s a PR out there who owes me an apology.

Released June 26th 2020
https://www.willhoge.com/
Buy it HERE https://www.willhoge.com/shop


Will Hoge TINY LITTLE MOVIES

WILL HOGE
Tiny Little Movies
Thirty Tigers

Classic Songwriting, Hunger, Enthusiasm And Inspired R&R Passion.

Born and bred in Franklin, south of Nashville, Will Hoge has been recording for some 20 years now and is not your typical Country Music artist with just 3 chords and the truth; no he’s more your blue-collar song-smith, displaying sharp, perceptive, piercing and sometime witty lyrics more in the vein of Mellencamp, Springsteen or even Steve Earle.
From my own perspective, I was in the dark and completely oblivious to him until November 2016. Following a social media exchange with some like-minded music loving friends, they opened my eyes to Will Hoge.
I then delved into his back catalogue and subsequently have acquired just about all of his recorded works. So, I’m an unabashed fan and excitedly looked forward to hearing this latest offering.
What sticks out a mile is how lively and upbeat the music is, thanks to using his tight 3 piece road band, who collectively deliver well worn rock & roll, with amplified guitars, and high levels of energy that takes you to Motown, to Metal and eventually ….. almost CBGB’s style Punk like songs, that all benefit from some wonderful melodic hooks and then Hoge’s unique, gravelly voice.
I’m told they rehearsed the various arrangements for 4 days solid in East Nashville before descending on Trace Horse Studios and recording each song live to emphasise the raw chemistry of the band.
Midway Motel welcomes you into the album, with a strong back-beat from Allen Jones’ snare drum and lyrics that tell you this is not a 5 star Hilton “Not alone, there’s a bible and a telephone, with a TV that flashes off and on”. Maybe This is OKs theme could be autobiographical and almost sounded like one of Crowded House’s better numbers, whilst we have a relationship dichotomy with Even the River Runs Out of This Town, here Hoge reflects on the inevitable split with his girlfriend
I love you so much, I ain’t asking you to stick around”.
Then the tempo gets lifted up a few notches with That’s How You Loose Her before accelerating into Thom Donovan’s almost Johnny Marr type guitar riff that rips into Con Man Blues.
I almost chose The Likes of You as my favourite track with it’s gentle rhythm, Knopfler guitar sound and it’s nostalgic references to his new found love.
However, this evocative track was eventually trumped by the final of these 11 fine songs with All the Pretty Horses.
On this, Hoge and his band are supplemented with some background strings to create pathos and clarity to yet another failed relationship via these heart-wrenching lyrics:
You know the Mona Lisa, Just another rich mans daughter,
  Ended up with nothing but a broken down smile,
Don’t listen to the voices, You know just what the choice is
Time to wave goodbye, To all the Pretty Horses”  
When Will stretches his voice, stressing “what the choice is” it sent the proverbial shivers down my spine, and that hasn’t happened for some time. Will Hoge provides classic songwriting, covering various styles and genres, delivered with the hunger of youth, a genuine enthusiasm plus an amplified and inspired passion.

https://www.willhoge.com/
Review by Jack Kidd
“Messin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com 

Released in 26th. June 2020

Elijah Ocean BACK TO THE LANDER

Elijah Ocean
Back to the Lander
Heartland Records

New Songs From The Gilded Palace of Sin in Lucky Town.

When I first got into this ‘scene’; one of my ‘go to’ labels; was Glitterhouse, from Germany, who had the rights to a staggering amount of Americana and Alt. Country stuff that I could barely afford to buy, but did anyway.
A few weeks ago a German musician, called Tom Mess, whose 2017 album FORGET EVERYTHING (and ROCK! ) was a hit at RMHQ; has now formed his own record label in a bid to become an overnight millionaire (or perhaps to share his love for great music – you decide); and this is the first release.
First off; I love the cover as it’s very reminiscent of those CBS albums that my brother had in his collection, that I wasn’t allowed to touch …. or so he thought.
Then, as soon as I heard Elijah Ocean, from Maine, US of A croon the first few bars of Back to Lander, I knew that this was going to be 100% Quality ….. and it is.
That opening track is a slow burning Country Rocker (as we used to call them) in the vein of Poco or The Eagles; melodies, sizzling guitar and a gut-punching harmonica that combine on a story straight out of Smalltown America that will break your heart….. and conjure up your very own imaginary video.
There’s more than a touch of that ‘old school’ Country Rock here; rather than what we now call Alt. Country; but whichever way you fly; you are gonna love and adore the imaginative words and melodies in River of Red, Lily of the Valley and Last Night in Montana; or I’m a Dutchman!
It’s not clear from my copy if this is Ocean’s touring band, or session musicians or just his friends backing him; but whoever they are, they manage to capture the ‘magic’ we all dream of hearing on record exceptionally well; and if it is his touring band; the world is in for a treat when they rock up to the Whore’s Arms in the Backside of Nowhere and blow your minds when they play Loveland or the bouncy and dancelicious Ou on The Runway; and if you are Under 25 you will be discovering your Most Favourite Band of all time, that night!
Tucked away in the middle too, are a couple of rawer, slower tunes; The Places That We Came From and Lily of the Valley that evoke memories here of Lucky Town/Human Touch Springsteen; and that’s no bad thing as these two albums have aged far better than you’d think.
On an album full of ‘potential singles’ and sing-along ear-worms; selecting an RMHQ Favourite has been easier than I’d expected; as yesterday, Mrs. Magpie told me which song I liked best; and as a woman ‘she is never wrong’ (????) but I can’t actually argue this time; as Came Down From Denver, is an absolute doozy as it details two lovers, a singer and his girlfriend on a road trip stopping off at Graceland on their way to Cheyenne ……… let’s just say that it’s the best damn song Gram Parsons ‘never wrote’ #wink.
In recent years this type of (West Coast) Country Rock has had something of a resurgence via Sturgill Simpson, Sam Morrow and our own personal favourite Sam Outlaw; and I think I can add Elijah Ocean to that list of quality singer-songwriters who are flying the flag Good Ole Country Music.
Mr Ocean has been around for a few years now; and this is his 6th full length album; and received praise over the years from some influential publications, but ……… well; let’s just say the cream may take time to rise to the top; but it eventually does and let’s hope this is the album to do just that.

Released December 2019
Vinyl April 2020
http://www.elijahocean.com/
https://elijahocean.bandcamp.com/album/back-to-the-lander
www.facebook.com/heartlandrecords

A.K and the Brotherhood OH SEDONA!

A.K and the Brotherhood
OH SEDONA!
Paraply Records

Fabulously Authentic Americana/Scandicana Hybrid

I never cease to be amazed regarding where the Americana ship docks around the world; as in this instance a songwriter in a part of Sweden you couldn’t find on a map (if you could even find Sweden first!) has spawned a fabulous band an album of truly authentic Americana/Alt. Country.
Whoosh!
Opening track California Freebird instantly whisks the listener away to a winding coastal road in a red sports car with the roof down and the stereo turned up to 8.
This is followed by the more gentle For The Long Run, with Alo Karlsson himself at the piano; and pouring his heart out with a slight crackle in his worn and weary voice. Is it a love song? Is it a break-up song? It’s a bit of both; and bares repeated plays if you are ‘in that mood’.
There are days when I wonder where songwriters get their ideas from; and there’s a top song here that falls into that category; the twisted love song Like The Devil Reads The Bible; and you guessed it ……. it’s a Hellfire and Brimstone Honky Tonker that will have audiences shouting along and punching the air on each and every chorus.
Like me in the UK I guess Alo has always looked on America through rose coloured glasses; and the romantic imagery in his songs here appear to reflect that; with the fabulous duet with Sofia Loell, Big City Sidewalks sounding as authentic as if the couple lived in Nashville, New York or even Nantucket; and not rural Sweden.
The songs here are nearly all deeply personal; and certainly written from the bottom of his heart; with the Country Rockers Miles and Memories, Halfway To Anywhere and Man Up having the ability to make you want to dance with tears in your eyes.
I doubt AK and the Brotherhood are destined to fill Arenas around Europe; but I can only imagine how cool it will be seeing them in a full and sweaty club on a Friday or Saturday night cranking out Halfway to Anywhere and Where All The Dreams Go!
I’ve played Oh Sedona! really loud in the car and also at about 5 in the living room; and that’s thrown up two very diverse songs as my Favourite Tracks. (Living on) Tupelo Time is a charming laid back tale of finally making it to Elvis’s home town, in the mould of Poco or maybe even early Eagles; and it’s a belter.
The other is a gentle Country shuffle full of maudlin fiddle playing, tinkling piano, brushed drums and oh so sweet guitar, called Guiding Light that will make you smile in recognition of the way AK describes his life on the road; but constantly thinking of his Guiding Light back home.
In the current economic climate AK and the Brotherhood are very brave playing their own songs when they could probably make a better living being an Eagles or maybe even Tom Petty covers band; but more power to them; and if there’s an even braver American promoter reading this; you could do a lot worse than bring this band to the US of A!

Released March 2020
https://www.facebook.com/AKandthebrotherhood/

The Remedy Club TRUE HAND, TRUE HEART

The Remedy Club
TRUE HAND, TRUE HEART
Independent Self-Release

A Big Country Sound Straight Outta Nashville via Ireland.

Husband and wife, KJ McEvoy and Aileen Mythen aka The Remedy Club’s last album Lovers, Legends and Lost Causes not just took me by surprise in 2017; but my peers across the printed word world too; as no one had heard of them yet the album was filled to the brim with (Alt.) Country classics from start to finish.
Well, here we now have the ‘difficult Second Album’ and ……… #SpoilerAlert …… they don’t make it sound difficult at all; and have captured the Nashville ‘spirit’ that we all love and usually have to fantasise about with ease and grace.
I was filled with anticipation as I pressed ‘play’ for the first time and must have looked like a cartoon character as the Indie-Country Sweet Symphony bounced out of the office speakers. Nothing previously prepared me for the combination of McEvoy’s grungy guitar, Aileen’s honeyed voice and a Hammond organ swirling around like a Kilkenny mist …… phew; it’s a stunner.
I already knew the title track True Hand, True Heart, which is a veritable Twang Fest; and this one song alone suggests that recording this album in the heart of Nashville was money well spent.
While seamlessly flitting between Alt. and Country Remedy Club appear to be well on the way to creating their own distinctive ‘sound’; with the duo sharing vocal duties on songs that best suit their strengths; with Aileen taking lead as the couple stepping tentatively into some kind of George and Tammy territory on Let The Good Times Roll; which is not only a veritable Twang Fest; but features some liquid pedal-steel too.
Another thing, which needs to be commented on is the sequencing; something that can often make or break an album; and here it’s amazing; with KJ and Aileen sharing lead duties on the thoughtful I Got You which is followed by Aileen breaking your heart on the ballad Time Waits Won’t Wait For Me; then as you try to get your breath back they crank the tempo skywards with more Indie-Country on I Survived.
Now it’s Favourite Song time; phew… this is difficult; do I go for Aileen sounding sultry to KJ’s worldly wise on the deliciously timeless ballad Taste of Gold which closes the album; or the mildly raucous Fire and Gasoline (which I now actually know all the words to the chorus)?
Both are well worthy; but I’m going to choose ………. the darkly spirited Reclaim; with Aileen using her voice as nuclear device as the music builds and builds until you expect everything to boil over; but mercifully they all pull back at the brink; leaving you with a sweat on!
For a teeny tiny Country, Ireland has produced a staggering amount of World Famous and World Class musicians over the last 100 years or so; and it’s no great stretch of the imagination for Remedy Club to be thought of as Best in Class too.

Released March 27th 2020
https://theremedyclub.ie/home
https://theremedyclub.ie/album/1526535/true-hand-true-heart

Lilly Hiatt BRIGHTEST STAR (Single)

Lilly Hiatt
BRIGHTEST STAR (Single)
New West

With so much going on inside and around RMHQ since the New Year I very nearly missed this little beauty ……. and the news of the new album in a few weeks time too!
Lilly Hiatt is set to release her latest album, Walking Proof on March 27th via New West Records. The 11-song set features guest appearances by Amanda ShiresAaron Lee TasjanLuke Schneider, and Lilly’s father, the legendary singer-songwriter John Hiatt.
John’s appearance on “Some Kind Of Drug,” marks the first time the pair have appeared together on one of her records.  

Walking Proof is the much-anticipated follow up to Lilly’s breakthrough Trinity Lanewhich appeared on many year-end “Best Of” lists and Lilly also received an “Emerging Act of the Year” nomination from the Americana Music Association. 

Walking Proof will be available on compact disc, across digital platforms, and vinyl too.
A Limited Edition Aqua/Turquoise Vinyl Pressing featuring a Black & White 12 x 12 insert of the cover artwork will be available at Independent Retailers.
A strictly limited to 500 colored copies, autographed by Lilly Hiatt, and featuring a Black & White cover artwork insert packaged with a box of colored pencils is available for pre-order now via NEW WEST RECORDS
 www.NewWestRecords.com 

Lilly Hiatt Walking Proof Track Listing: 

1. Rae 
2. P-Town
3. Little Believer 
4. Some Kind of Drug 
5. Candy Lunch 
6. Walking Proof 
7. Drawl 
8. Brightest Star 
9. Never Play Guitar 
10. Move 
11. Scream 

www.LillyHiatt.com 

Kailey Nicole KAILEY NICOLE

Kailey Nicole
Kailey Nicole
Self-Release

Silky Smooth Contemporary Country Straight Outta Vegas via California.

I’m not even out of January and I have already received albums for release as far away as June! So choosing which albums to write about is proving just as difficult as last year …… but the quest to bring you the very Best and most Interesting Roots Music continues unabated; with the aid of coffee and ginger biscuits.
Today it’s the new album/EP from Vegas-born, California-raised and now Nashville resident, Kailey Nicole. With that rich cultural background it’ll come as no surprise to find opening track Brand New Day is a smooth contemporary Country song in the mode of the UK’s Shires or the type of song that would be introduced to just about any of the female singers on the Nashville TV series; but before the ‘producers’ got their hands on it and added everything but the kitchen sink. By the way; Ms Nicole has a delightfully clear yet gutsy voice that rings every ounce of emotion out of her words not just here; but every other song too.
There’s an awful lot to like on this EP; especially for Mrs Magpie who has been spotted more than once tapping her feet to the vibrant beat of track #2 Diamonds and Coal and the heartfelt and introspective Change My Ways; which deserves a much closer listen on another day; as I’m sure it’s going to unravel like a ball of wool.
There may only be six songs; but that’s more than enough to capture the attention of a weary old hack like me; so what are they going to do to someone searching for the next Hit for a diamante encrusted Country Superstar?
With that in mind (sadly) the mega-bouncy Tennessee is a sure fire radio hit surely? Preferably for Kailey herself; but it will do her bank balance no harm at all if Faith or Shania were to pick it up.
Kailey Nicole’s burgeoning talent shines throughout; but there are two really special songs here that are squabbling to be Our Favourite; I’m particularly taken by the acute observations and fiery rock of Country Love Song; but Mrs M ‘advises’ me that the rather lovely ballad Save Me For a Rainy Day is by far the best thing here and a Hit in the making ….. and as you all; know she’s ‘never wrong’. (#Sigh)
Coincidentally I’ve been listening to this around the time of The Grammys; now I’m not saying Kailey Nicole deserves such an Award; but I much prefer the excitement of discovering a new talent like hers; than any of the hoary old big label acts who peaked in the last century have to offer in 2020; if they have anything to offer at all.

Released January 24th 2020
https://www.kaileynicole.com/


Cave Flowers CAVE FLOWERS

Cave Flowers
Cave Flowers
Self-Release

Laid Back LA Country Rock With a Seattle Post-Punk Edge To It.

YAY!
What a way to start a New Year!
I actually received this album just before Christmas; and while I had promised myself (at Mrs. Magpie’s suggestion!) that I would not listen to any new music over the holidays I sneaked it onto my i-phone for a secret listening session in the car. (Such hi-jinks is how many marriages break up, I’m assured).
Well ……. these self-confessed Country Rockers ‘blew me away’ as quickly as opening track Best Lonesome Friend; an intense alt-love song sung via a breathy rasping voice that sounds like the singer could break into tears at any second; which is always a winning combination around these here parts.
While everything revolves around the songs from singer Andy McAllister; you can’t forget the meticulous time keeping from drummer Ryan Wykert and bass player Ben Coil, or indeed guitar player extraordinaire Henry Derek Elis; who hides in the shadows throwing out musical laser beams with the greatest of ease too; all together reminding me of bands like Crazy Horse and the early Heartbreakers too.
A good solid band is only one part of the equation; for me it’s ‘the songs’ that separates the wheat from the chaff; and Cave Flowers have songs enough to satisfy even a weary old soak like me.
Friendly Reminders is a dashingly fine laid-back Country song, in the vein of Poco but with a massive sting in the tail when you listen closely to the lyrics; and it’s a similar story with Midnight Movie; which sounds like it was written after McAllister had immersed himself in the the Eagles first album for two days solid.
There’s plenty here for Americana fans to enjoy; with the imagery the band conjure up in Hideaways and The Stranger conjuring up their very own videos if you have even the lightest imagination in the world …… the pictures just unravel automatically as the words ooze out of the speakers.
Although this sounds like ‘Classic’ Country Rock or Americana; McAllister slips in some social commentary into Little Worries and the impassioned Renters Life, both of which are well worth hunting out in their own individual rite.
By the very nature of the band forming in LA there’s a refreshing laid back feel to the way these songs are delivered; but McAllister’s native Seattle post-industrial background sneak out in his songwriting; most especially in The Stranger and the ‘pedal to the metal’ Country Thrash of Great Hits too.
Then; as is my won’t I must choose a Favourite Song; and while this is a complete Album; ‘all killer – no filler’ three songs really do stand out; and bode well for a healthy future for Cave Flowers.
The magnificent Upper Hand has an unexpected dark crunch; but a very welcome one, plus it’s full of some clever wordery in the songwriting too.
Track #3 Country Fan is a real ole Doozy and is set certain to be a fan favourite when played live; and I’m sure there are still enough Internet Radio Shows out there brave enough to give it a play or two.
Then there is my absolute Favourite Song here; Trick Tears. Turn the lights down low, sit back and let Cave Flowers take you into a beautiful stratosphere inhabited by Eleanor Rigby and all of the other lonely people ….. tragically beautiful sums it up.
From start to finish this is the type of Good Ole Country Rock that has you tapping your fingers on the steering wheel as you mouth the words in a vacuous attempt at harmonising.

Released January 31st 2019
http://caveflowers.com/

Scott Walker THE ROCK HOUSE PROJECT

Scott Walker
THE ROCK HOUSE PROJECT
Self-Release

Real Deal Texas Bar-Room Friday Night Country That Rocks.

No …… not ‘that’ Scott Walker, this is the Americana Scott Walker; but yes it’s an easy mistake for anyone to make.
I did! The initial e-mail asked if I’d be interested in Scott Walker’s new album.
Of course I said yes; as the British Avant-Garde maverick hadn’t long died; so a posthumous release wasn’t too far-fetched an idea.
The next e-mail contained a link to a ‘stream’; which is not my favourite medium; so a CD was posted off. A week later I received a note saying I owed £13.60 in ‘unpaid takes’ for a package from S Walker in the USA. Had it been anyone else I wouldn’t have paid up …… then imagine my disappointment when I saw that this wasn’t who I thought it was and was actually a man in a straw cowboy hat!
But; £13.60 in the hole; I looked at and thought, “this had better be bloody good!”
Well, I’m still typing so make your own mind up.
Straddling the Alt. and Country barbed wire fence with grace, opening track Fourteen Days is a droll stroll in the dessert, with Walker pining for his love who has been gone for the Fourteen Days of the song title; and the melancholic mood is well worthy of someone like Dave Alvin or maybe The Old 97’s in their heyday.
Deja Vu follows and the mood takes us into the Border Country with a slow burning Tex-Mex melody supplemented by some divine fiddle playing from Kabina Wilson nearly had a cactus growing out of the stereo.
I have no idea at this stage how famous ‘this’ Scott Walker is in his native State; but listening to the worn and tattered Country Rock of Glide Dyna Glide and the Texan certified Twang of Brother Tumbleweed, Just Passing Through and the lovely Lights of Amarillo make me want to see this band on a Friday night in a dive bar somewhere seedy in the Lone Star State; or even in London on one of the stages at Country to Country …… because trust me; this is as authentic as Country music gets.
It’s a reasonable argument that Scott doesn’t tread to far away from the staple Country themes of loving, losing, drinking, driving and sometimes all four at the same time; but he can really tell a fine tale and isn’t afraid to use a melody to reel the listener in.
Which brings me to two rather special songs here that are worth my entrance fee on their own.
Doing The Right Thing Wrong, is the type of Country that I’ve loved since the 1970’s British Pub Rock boom; and Walker’s feisty guitar, Clayton Jones’s rinky dink piano playing coupled to John Simmons’s wailing harmonica create a sound that is fundamentally ….. The Real Deal!
That’s not even my Favourite Song! That title goes to the truck driving ballad I-35, which conjures up the same romantic Americana imagery that Little Feet and Commander Cody did when I was a long haired young man, barely out of school. It’s a timeless theme; and one that Scott Walker and Band put their combined hearts and soul into every single word and note.
Yup …… it looks like my money was well spent after all; and it looks like ‘this’ Scott Walker is destined to become as popular as ‘the other’ Scott Walker at RMHQ in the coming months.

Released October 25th 2019
http://scottwalkermusic.com/