William Elliott Whitmore I’M WITH YOU

William Elliott Whitmore
I’m With You
Bloodshot.

An Exciting Voyage Of Country, Folk and Americana Discovery.

As regular readers know; much like my teenage years with Motown and Stax, then later with Stiff Records these days I’m always pre-disposed to anything released on the Bloodshot label.
Not everything always tickles my taste-buds; but 95% is a pretty good success rate; doncha think?
Before I received this a month or so ago I’d never actually heard of Mr Whitmore, although he has previously released 7 album (3 on Anti Records and one on *Bloodshot!) and even though his preferred instrument of choice is ……. the banjo I was still prepared to listen with an open mind (as always!).
Well, I’m glad I did; as this has been quite the voyage of discovery.
Although I shouldn’t have been; the ‘old timey’ feel of first track Put It To Use still took me by surprise. Banjo, fiddle and a grizzled vocal add together to give a Hill Country/Folk sound, which isn’t what I expect from Bloodshot ….. but why the Hell not; as it’s a bit of a dandy, now I’ve got my head around it.
Phew; William picks up his acoustic guitar on the next song, Solar Flare, and it’s nearly as clever as it’s melodious; and yes …… there is a melody and even a catchy chorus on what, to all intents and purposes is a Folk song.
For his eighth album; there’s something of a ‘sampler’ or ‘Best Of’ feel; as he never sits still, with no two songs sounding the same.
With that in mind; his distinctive worn and lived-in grizzly voice carries everything along like a wonderfully worn leather suitcase; ‘the tales it could tell’ ….. which is exactly what we get here.
I love the rambunctious Black Iowa Dirt and the toe-tapping Honky Tonk of My Mind Can Play Cruel Tricks On Me just as much as the passionate Alt. Country songs History and Save Ourselves; which is quite some feat when you take them out of context they sound as if they are by completely different acts.
Which is actually why I’ve become smitten with the whole damn album; every time I play it something new springs out to make me study his words as much as his cleverly constructed musical arrangements (even the solo acoustic songs are complicated).
This will most likely change tomorrow; and then again next week, but tonight I’m torn between two songs as my choice of Favourite.
I’m Here is the type of intricate Folk Ballad I normally associate with Rod Picott or Slaid Cleaves; and that’s high praise indeed.
The other; and I’m erring on the side of saying it is my actual Favourite Song here; is a brave choice for me as it’s played out on the banjo and a ‘talking Blues’ very much in the style of Tom Paxton; and yes MK Ultra Blues certainly is my Favourite, as it’s so very different from what I normally like …. and has really captured my imagination.
If I was to start re-discovering William Elliott Whitmore’s back catalogue, I could do worse than start with *KILONOVA (which it turns out I actually own!)
Whoops!
Bloodshot completists like myself are in for a nice surprise when they buy this; and I hope is existing fan base love it as much as I do; but if you are a Music Fan with a broad mind I urge you too to give this a try; I very much doubt you will be disappointed and pretty sure you’re going to find a few songs that will live in your sub-conscious for a long time to come.

Released 16th October 2020
https://www.williamelliottwhitmore.com/

BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
https://store.williamelliottwhitmore.com/


Roy Peak A WOLF AT THE DOOR

Roy Peak
A Wolf At The Door
Self-Release

The Acoustic Equivalent of Driving a Mini Cooper Around a Beautiful Hairpin Bend.

#DISCLAIMER
Singer-Songwriter, bass player extraordinaire, producer/engineer, poet, ace record reviewer and all around nice guy, The Legendary Roy Peak is a friend of mine and regular corespondent for these pages …… so I may be a tad over enthusiastic about this; his latest release ….. but hey; it’s my site so I can do what I want!!

In my defence I am a genuine fan of his and most especially his world weary and tattered singing style; and add to that some haunting pedal-steel from Brian Homan and you will immediatly know why I let out a huge sigh via an enigmatic smile the first few times I’ve heard opening track Walk With Me (There’s a Wolf on The Prowl); which just might be Roy’s finest song to date.
The mood takes a massive left turn on Far From Nowhere; with Roy sounding angry and angsty in a Folk-Rock troubadour stylee that I normally expect from the likes of RMHQ Favourites Malcolm Holcombe and/or Ray Wylie Hubbard …… which isn’t a bad thing at all.
At only 7 songs long; this is a short journey the singer takes us on; but that still includes some scary musical hairpin bends.
Even as a fan and a friend, Evel Knievel was and no doubt will remain to be a huge surprise every time I hear it.
An acoustic guitar instrumental that somehow still manages to rekindle imagery of the mad motorcyclist of my youth.
This is immediatly followed by the much gentler love song, Your Heart which steps gently into Guy Clark territory but via a very pained voice poring his broken heart out.
When you listen to as much and as varied a collection of music as what I do, it’s easy to become a bit jaded; but every now and again albums and more usually individual songs can restore my faith in the power of music.
Here; and still using my ‘hairpin bend’ metaphor’ Roy does that not just once; but twice.
And a Wolf Will Devour The Sun AND Queen of the Knock-out Rose are both the acoustic music equivalent of driving around the Lake District in a 1970’s Mini Cooper with suspect breaks but a superb stereo system!
The first; And a Wolf Will Devour The Sun is obviously not a song to be taken literally; poetry set to music, I guess but nonetheless something I advise you to listen to when you need something of a gee-up.
Queen of the Knock-out Rose on the other hand is a sad and thorny Country Love Song that could be from Hank or John Foggerty’s lost back catalogue.
Which all leaves us with only more song; Daughter of the Sun.
Phew.
Gentle? Deep? Heart shredding? All three actually; and add in Byrdsian harmonies behind Peak’s voice which simply aches with longing; and you will know why it’s quite simply my Favourite Song here; and in a week when I’ve been listening to some very important albums; my Song of the Week too.
Because Roy is a friend I’ve walked away from this review twice; just in case I’ve gone overboard with my words; and …. do you know what?
I don’t think I have.
I can think of 5 or 6 ‘famous’ singer-songwriters in this genre who sound a bit like this; and if this was released under their names the likes of No Depression, Americana UK and Brooklyn Virgin would be collectively wetting their knickers with excitement ……. but as this is Roy Peak, there’s probably only a handful of website will get to hear it …… and then shout its glory from the rooftops.
Trust me here ……. squander the kids College fund on a Bandcamp download then thank me later.

Released October 2nd 2020
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
https://roypeak.bandcamp.com/album/a-wolf-at-the-door

https://www.roypeak.com/


Milk Carton Kids & Ryan Bingham NEWCASTLE

Milk Carton Kids & Ryan Bingham
Tine Theatre and Opera House
NEWCASTLE
January 29th 2020

I’m a fan of Texan singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham; but The Milk Carton Kids have passed me by; with their reviews being handled by the Legendary Roy Peak in Americae for us. So, with both acts on this double bill being popular on RMHQ I was pretty excited to attend tonight; especially as it was going to be in one of my favourite; if under used venues in the City Centre.
Baring in mind how ‘popular’ Milk Carton Kids are; I was disappointed to see a few empty seats in the downstairs area; especially as there were a couple of dozen people sitting in the balcony; but perhaps they got a better view up there.
Bingham came on stage to muted applause; but that was more to do with the house lights still being on rather than any slight; as the raucous applause and cheering that followed many of his songs would prove.
His opening song; The Poet set the tone for his 50 minute set; slow, moody and deeply personal with his grizzled voice and nippy guitar picking settling the crowd down very quickly.
As he re-tuned his guitar he told a delightful story about how his Mother had initially instilled a love of music in him as a child and also bought him his *first guitar.
This led into the deeply personal Tell My Mother (I Miss Her So) which brought the loudest applause for a support act’s song than I’ve heard in years.


For a young man; Bingham has packed a lot into his years; which tends to end up in his songs, which come from the ‘Sing About What You Know’ guide book; and with songs as diverse as Jingle and Go, Broken Heart Tattoos and Crazy Heart in the locker; he’s a welcome torchbearer for the legendary Texan Songwriter Troubadours who came before him
His first *guitar got another mention later when he told us about the first tune he ever learnt to play; which I’m not going to spoil as it’s a key part of his set; but it got both chuckles and ‘aaahhs’ from the receptive crowd.
The final two songs; South Side of Heaven and Crazy Heart itself felt like an encore; especially as their introductions received loud hoots, hollers and applause before Ryan’s world weary voice once again sang about his world weary wisdom, in a way that belies him not actually headlining.
*Disclaimer
The next part of the evening is being written an hour after a ‘Twitter Spat’ with both the band and some fans (most who weren’t at the gig!) regarding an incident that I will talk about later.
I will try not to let this ‘colour my words’ and just refer to my notes.
During the interval there was a distinct buzz of anticipation in the bar; and I’m pleased to report that there was a very diverse mix of ages in attendance; which makes a nice change for Roots gigs in Newcastle.
The dapperly dressed duo arrived on stage to tumultuous applause and whistles which stopped in the blink of an eye as they stood by the single microphone and went into the winsome Younger Years (?) which was full of delicious harmonies and sublime finger picked guitar from both chaps; reminding me of those early Simon and Garfunkel records.
With a smile and a nod to acknowledge the applause Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan regaled the adoring masses with a masterful A Sea of Roses; and as it ended the long haired Pattengale ‘complained about the clicking from a/the photographer’s cameras’ and instead of the ‘first three songs’ being allowed for photographs he requested they cease immediatly.
At this stage I was already back in my seat after realising that the act was going to remain stood at the mic for the rest of the gig; and I saw one other making his way to the back; which left the third of our infernal trio; who began packing his cameras away (out of view …. or so he thought). Had events stopped there; all would have been fine and dandy; but our friend Kenneth got his eye on him; and taking on the guise of Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory began to make fun, nay torment this chap …… to the amusement of several in the audience.
This went on for nearly five minutes, with Joey Ryan trying to mediate and get the gig back on track; but ‘Sheldon’ wouldn’t let it lie and kept interjecting.
Eventually sanity was restored and the concert continued; with a rather nippy Bluegrass song; that really emphasised their dexterity on guitar but their wondrous harmonies too.
Seeing how ‘judgmental’ their fans are; I’m not going to guess at the song titles in my notes; and very few were introduced in the traditional manner; although I did recognise Broken Headlights and it’s whispered harmonies; Maybe It’s Time and New York; which was a definite highlight for me.
Perhaps I’m not bright enough or perhaps even educated enough to ‘get’ Pattengale’s wacky sense of humour (I think the woman behind me was in danger of peeing herself at one stage; she was laughing so much); but he was easily distracted from the job in hand………. teasing Ryan about a song ‘written for a funeral’ and ‘hearing Ryan sing a particular song for the first time’ …. then deliberately putting him off by pretending to waltz to the off-beat.
Then there was the obligatory gag about accents when someone called out a request (The Only Ones btw; and rather splendid it was too as they sung it ‘off mic’); and again; he just didn’t know when to pull up the metaphorical drawbridge.
Although 70% of the audience seemed genuinely surprised; the duo came back for the contractually obliged encores; Hope of a Lifetime and The As and Clay followed by a very slow and wearisome Michigan; when the night was crying out for something up-tempo (they must know a feisty Bluegrass song that would fit the bill; or at least Wake Up Little Suzie!)
As we all know music is very subjective; and we all like different things in different ways. Tonight Milk Carton Kids were technically exceptional; and their harmonies are up there with the very best of all time; but if you didn’t know individual songs in advance (as my brother didn’t) nothing really stood out of the pack.
If it hadn’t been for the Twitter spat/attack this morning towards my alter-ego I probably wouldn’t have spent the last two hours writing this review.

Photo-Set Ryan Bingham https://www.harrisonaphotos.co.uk/Music/Ryan-Bingham/

Photo-Set Milk Carton Kids ?




The Legends of Tomorrow DON’T GO TO NASHVILLE

The Legends of Tomorrow
DON’T GO TO NASHVILLE
Self-Release

Old Songs, New Songs and Songs to Stir Your Folk Rocking Heart.

I thought I was finished with reviewing music from 2019 when this EP arrived in the Christmas post and I found myself with a free morning; and nothing to do.
While I thought I had my ‘finger on the pulse’ of Northern Irish Roots Music; I’ve not heard of Colin Harper nor his friends aka The Legends of Tomorrow; but trusted the source PR Company so give this EP a listen.
Without it being a ‘spoiler’ in any way, all 5 songs here are very, very different in style, content and even musical genre not least because each is sung by a different singer ; Mickey Rafferty (The Minnows), Ciaran Gribbin (Leya/INXS/solo artist), Paul Casey (solo artist), Janet Henry (solo artist) and Lyndsay Crothers (Wookalily); but ……. that’s no hardship at all when you give them a chance to breathe.
The title track Don’t Go To Nashville is a right ole ‘piss n vinegar’ America song about the current trend of British songwriters rocking up in Nashville and spending their Summer Holidays (and savings) to join up with locals to write ‘the next big thing’. It’s a very cleverly constructed song with a sharply observed story; although there just may be a hint of jealousy in the off beat!
I actually agree with the sentiment; because apart from or two specific songwriters in the RMHQ ‘Circle’ who have history with this source and indeed actual success; I receive numerous Press Releases from acts stating that they have spent time in Nashville writing songs with people I have; and never will have heard of; sorry but it just doesn’t impress; unless the songs are actual zingers; and they invariably aren’t.
This is followed by a melodic Indie Rocker in the mould of Icicle Works or The The, called When It’s Gone which touches on the changes; both physical and emotional that surround us every day; especially the iconic buildings that we grew up with that are disappearing and being replaced with bland 21st structures.
Next up, Liberation is the type of 1970’s Folk Rocker that I used to sit listening to with my massive headphones clutched tightly to my ears as I tried to unravel the meaning of life; and I never found them, but that doesn’t stop this delightful tune with delicious harmonies being something that I can recommend wholeheartedly to you.
I feel guilty about not making the final song Greta Thunberg At The End of Time my Favourite Song; as it’s very much a ‘song of our times’ and Lyndsay Crother’s vocal performance is spellbinding as she battles, like the young Swede with a cacophony that builds around her.
But; my Favourite Song here, People On The Highway is actually a Bert Jansch song that Harper and friends have dusted down and lovingly tidied up by adding a gorgeous modern Folk Rock tune featuring some inspirational violin playing from Martin Hayes too; and Janet Henry sings her heart out like a siren on the rocky cliffs beckoning the casual listener in with her soft yet dangerous charms.
All five of these beautifully constructed songs, that straddle Americana and British Folk Rock with consummate ease, are a lovely if angsty antidote to all of the false bonhomie and political nonsense surrounding me and indeed you at the moment.
RMHQ Recommends.

Released November 11th 2019
http://colin-harper.com/news/

Bloodshot Records TOO LATE TO PRAY: (Defiant Chicago Roots)

Various Artists
Too Late to Pray: Defiant Chicago Roots  (BSHQ 25th Anniversary Compilation)
Bloodshot Records

Here’s to Another 25 Years of Insurgent Country and Defiant Roots! Ching-Ching Chaps and Chapesses!

I’m an unadulterated fan of Bloodshot Records and starting with the LP ‘Straight Outta Boone County’ which I bought in a Public Library Sale for 50p, their compilations have been a constant source of discovering great new acts over the years !
Staggeringly, this offering is celebrating 25 years of Bloodshot Records and their ‘Insurgent Country Music’ roster, both old and new.
The ‘new’ comes right at ya, without any warning ……… when Wyatt Earp and The Free For Alls prove Honky-Tonk music can be as contemporary as any other category, while still retaining the magic that filled the airwaves back in the 50’s and 60’s with the gloriously feisty The Last Honky Tonk in Chicago.
Bloodshot have always had very obtuse and diverse musical tastes (much like us here) and their compilations always reflect that; daring to give us Folk and Lo-fi from acts like Half Gringa with their delicately constructed Wearing White, Joybird’s Sweetness and Bethany Thomas & Tawny Newsome whose Dinosaur is a left of centre Lo-Fi minor masterpiece that only Bloodshot would have the nerve to release.
Then they juxtapose these with Straight Up Country in every format known to the world; from The Hoyle Brother’s celebration of Twang on A Little Bit of Buck; and in another universe The Western Elston’s Everly Brothers sounding Toast That Lie would be played 24 hours a day on Country Hits Radio, and Brendan Kelly & the Wandering Birds manage to scare the neighbours with their grizzly Alt. nay …… ‘Insurgent’ Country ballad Lay Me Down.
This being Bloodshot there is also a host of new songs from old acts associated with this great label; Jon Langford’s Hillbilly Lovechild go as left of centre as Country Music gets with the rollicking I Am a Big Town, and when I first heard Brett Sparks from The Handsome Family turning Leonard’s Tower of Song into a Western Swing Trip-Hop Gothic missive my heard spun 360 degrees; but do you know what? I’ve come back several times and it just gets cooler and cooler each time.
Two acts I saw on the back cover really excited me as I hadn’t heard anything from either in yonks; with Sway, Freakwater still have the ability to make two voices and a banjo hit you right between the eyes like virtually no other act in existence; the other is Kelly Hogan (who is the only woman in the world I would leave Mrs Magpie for) does what she does best; using her beautiful voice in a way we normally associate with Patsy Cline to not just break your heart; but mend it too with the shimmering Gotta Have My Baby Back. #swoon
With so many delights to choose from, it’s like being a kid on Christmas morning being asked “What is your favourite?” Do I pick the Honky-Tonking delights of Tammi Savoy & the Chris Casello Combo and If It’s News To You? or perhaps the mournful Alt. of Big Sadie? But then again Robbie Fulks’ Lonely Ain’t Hardly Alive is rather amazing too.
Okay …… I’ve picked one; but this more than likely will change tomorrow ……… ta da! The RMHQ Favourite Song on this outstanding compilation is ……… the best grungy Cowboy Movie theme tune never to make it onto the big screen ……. Los Galos and Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! RMHQ says play this song loud and be proud to support Insurgent glories!
Bloodshot Records  have gone and done it again; capturing the glory of everything I and I hope you love about Insurgent Country and Defiant Roots music in 22 fabulous songs; and long may they continue.

Released 8th November 2019
https://www.bloodshotrecords.com/
Buy it here https://www.bloodshotrecords.com/album/too-late-to-pray

among the 22 runners and riders

Cliffs & Caves DEFIANCE (single)

Cliffs & Caves
Defiance

Towards the end of most weeks we get inundated with singles, which is fine …… but I’m an old fashioned Music Snob that still loves albums, so they hardly get featured.
Unless they are very special.
Somehow I missed out on Cliffs & Caves EP earlier this year ….. it’s on all my devices and I vaguely remember it; but miss it I did.
Then, last night this video single arrived; and as I’m prone to saying, ‘it was a case of right place/right tome!’
Even without reading the accompanying Press Release it’s pretty damn obvious that this powerful song is about ‘standing up for yourself’ both, figuratively and literally, be it personally or as a nation ….. powerful stuff indeed and sung with barely channeled venom; albeit in an ethereal lo-fi manner (listen and that will make complete sense.)
Now; where’s that EP?

Released October 4th 2019

The Orphan Brigade TO THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

The Orphan Brigade
To The Edge of The World
Proper Music

Intensely Beautiful and Windswept Tales of Love, Life and Dreaming.

While 99.99% of the population will never have heard of the members that make up The Orphan Brigade, I can’t help but think of them as a ‘Roots Supergroup’; how else can you describe the combination of Neilson Hubbard, Ben Glover and Joshua Britt? Answer me that?
On the back of their superb HEART OF THE CAVE, they have come up with another stunning golden concept based around living on Northern Ireland’s rugged West Coast (although many of the songs easily transfer to many other similar territories).
Just like their previous release I’m struggling to find a convenient peg to hang these songs on; they certainly have a Folk thread to them, but is it simply Irish or probably Celtic in origin, but also quite Americana at times and a couple of songs are on the verge of ‘Folk Rock’…… so if you’ve got this far, I will leave the final decision to you.
While certainly not a fan of bagpipes in any form, but the haunting (Irish) Pipes intro; courtesy Barry Kerr is the perfect way to start these dark and gloomily beautiful tales of life, love and dreaming.
This is followed by Mad Man’s Window; an atmospheric song that could easily come from any of Robert Plant’s solo albums and conjures up some amazing visions as a really taut drumbeat and combination of traditional acoustic instruments battle with the singer to gain your attention; and the winner is you.
Just when you think you are getting a handle on The Orphan Brigade they keep throwing musical time bombs that will catch you unawares hours after playing this record. Well, that’s what happened to me with the Fairhead’s Daughter and Black Nun yesterday.
The songs and stories will reel you in anyway, but for a ‘Folk album’ these songs are generally best played LOUD …….. especially Dance Me To The Edge of the World and the exceptional Banshee (*but other belters are available too).
All of these songs and constructions are quite complex; but courtesy of some classy production, all are easily accessible with the glorious Under The Chestnut Tree, Children of Lir and of course, Captain’s Song (featuring Mr John Prine) being prime examples.
While each individual song is its very own little vignette, adding them together in this fashion and with this particular running order makes it all become a bit of a ‘Theoretical Soundtrack’ hence selecting a Favourite Song very difficult indeed; but To The Edge of The World (Children’s Reprise) is simplicity itself and quite beautiful too; whereas the finale Mind The Road is as deep as it’s windswept yet the ghostly love song Isabella is the personification of a timeless song; and therefore takes the accolade.
Today has been the perfect day for writing this review; as the variable Autumn weather has been the perfect accompaniment for the light and shade that makes up this glorious LP.

Released September 27th 2019
http://www.theorphanbrigade.com/the-band





Hoth Brothers WORKIN’ and DREAMIN’

Hoth Brothers
Workin’ & Dreamin’
Self-Release

Putting The Folk Back Into Country, But With a Razor Sharp Contemporary Edge

It doesn’t seem like 5 minutes since we reviewed Bard Edrington V’s album ESPADIN and here he is again with a new and very different concept alongside fellow singer-songwriter, Boris McCutcheon (and honorary Brother Greg Williams and Hoth Sister Sarah Ferrell) .
Sadly; as is the case with many musicians Edrington and McCutcheon occasionally have to take on other work to supplement their income; and in the Winter of 2017 they found themselves pruning fruit tress; and as is their won’t the pair got to talking about music; and the kernel of this album was sown.
Both men completed their imminent solo albums and set about recording this in February.
Without spoiling it, it took me a couple of plays for the jaunty opening track Trees of Heaven to unravel and reveal a subversive Folk Anthem that sounds powerful in its own rite today; but I guess this sing-along Gospellish tune will take on a life of its own in the ensuing years; as not just America, but the whole damn world goes to Hell in a handcart!
While the production here is quite simple; it’s a deliberate ploy allowing these songs to breath and grow the more you listen to them/
While the Hoth Brothers bill themselves as a Folk Act; Whiskey and a Woodstove, Horses Are Made of Wind and Fault Line are 100% Country songs, with spines that combine Bluegrass, Hill Music and even a smidgen of Western Swing in the choruses.
Another thing is apparent all the way through the album, is that the Hoth Brothers know how to create a melody; something that is often missing on albums and songs by their contemporaries; with Chili Line and both being remarkable stories; but ones you can also dance too (if you have a good sense of rhythm).
While I’d prefer acts like this to be signed to $1 million contracts and selling albums by the cart load; it’s a good thing that isn’t always the case; as self-releasing albums allows Bard and Bruce to write and record songs like Wild Robby, Flint Hills and especially the delightful Bitter Frost without having some guy in a bad suit chomping on a Cuban cigar hanging over their shoulders asking “Where’s the single?”
While there’s an obvious ‘old-timey’ feel to most songs here; there’s also a real contemporary ‘edge’ to several sets of lyrics; none more so than January, written in the immediate aftermath of President Trump’s inauguration; and because of the way they treat the subject matter ……. this song is easily the RMHQ Favourite here. Check it out ASAP.
To paraphrase what they themselves say “It’s a long ride, 16 songs in all ……. but it really is a journey of truth and wonderment from start to finish.”

Released September 16th 2019
https://www.hothbrothers.com/workin-and-dreamin
https://www.bardedrington.com/
http://www.borismccutcheon.com/









Don Cherel HANDMADE CONTENT

Don Cherel
Handmade Content
Self-Release

Modern Folk Songs with a Country Soul

Probably better known as a film maker and writer, we find Modern Renaissance Man Don Cherel in very reflective mood on his debut album as a singer-songwriter.
Looking at the films he’s made ( https://www.imdb.com/name/nm5905734/ ) it’s oddly pleasing to find that he’s an old ‘Folkie’ with a ‘Country Soul’ at heart.
Opening track Love’s a Funny Thing, that if it was any more laid back, it would be horizontal; yet is the perfect accompaniment for a cold beer or chilled white wine on a sunny evening; and the clever lyrics will have quite a few listeners pursing their lips and thinking “Ain’t that the truth Brother!”
Sitting hear listening, with my feet up and headphones firmly in place, Don Cherel’s insightful songwriting is often deceptively wrapped up in a Soft Rock backing; but listen carefully to Just Because or Man of Steel and you will realise that you are in the presence of a very articulate and clever man of words.
Cherel has a velvety sheen to his vocals that will draw you in to Brown Eyed and Blue or possibly Miracles Happen; and when you are ensnared the stories unravel in such a way you will find yourself rewinding just to clarify where the twists and turns in the tales are; and what they mean.
As a ‘man of a certain age’ the first names that sprung to mind when I first played this CD last week were Tom Paxton and James Taylor; and while I’m not saying that Don Cherel should be revered in those lofty echelons; but after listening to this album quite a few songs have made me smile, especially the final two songs Fish and Whistle and I Do Fly I bet Don has quite a few of their albums in his collection.
but one which brings me to the two songs that I have to seperate to choose a Favourite Track.
Sue Ellen stands out as it is a dark and brooding Alt. Country shoe-gazer that reminded me of someone from my younger days and the rolling acoustic lament, sung as a glorious duet (with an unnamed female on my copy) Can’t Love You Like I Used To probably took me back to that time in my life too and therefore takes the accolade; but is one of only a handful of songs here that isn’t ‘radio friendly’; but sometimes deeply personal songs like this need to be kept as a bit of a secret, don’t they?
There’s a whole lot to like here; none more so than the subtle instrumentation from the musicians that surround, yet never come close to over playing their hand in this rather lovely record.

Released 27th September 2019
https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/doncherel


Jono Manson, Eliza Gilkyson, Terry Allen THE CHRISTIAN THING

Jono Manson, Eliza Gilkyson, Terry Allen
THE CHRISTIAN THING
Kitchen Sink Studio

Normally labels and artists send me their singles via downloads, but in this case Jono Manson sent an actual CD with artwork and everything. As a confirmed non-believer I felt obliged to still give The Christian Thing my full attention for four lonely minutes.
An hour later I was drenched in melancholia after playing it non-stop; then this very Sunday morning, in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton, Ohio mass murders, I put it back in the cd player and just sat there listening intently….. over and over again.
First released in 2017 it appears to have been dusted off and gussied up for a re-release in late July 2019; but if ever a song was ‘of its time’ it is The Christian Thing, which isn’t preachy in the slightest but a song trying to bring all sides together in our troubled times.

http://www.jonomanson.com/