Friday 3 December 2021

IN THE ROOTS OF MUSIC

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REVIEWS

Hourglass – Murray McLauchlan.

Hourglass – Murray McLauchlan.

It’s been a while since I saw the name of Murray McLauchlan on a new album, his recordings don’t turn up too often on this side of the Atlantic, but when they do the results are inevitably worth hearing. In a way McLauchlan is a contemporary of Bruce Cockburn in that...

Quantum Lyrics – The Story Song Scientists

Quantum Lyrics – The Story Song Scientists

Encounters at songwriting retreats can be very productive and the pairing of Findlay Napier and Megan Henwood at Snape Maltings resulted in 'The Story Song Scientists' EP. The latter being a collection of songs taking inspiration from the widest view of scientific...

Breaking Bach – Chris Newman.

Breaking Bach – Chris Newman.

With a decent pun for a title, Chris Newman flat picks his way through a selection of Bach’s sonatas. Newman’s guitar playing is of course exemplary in all kinds of genres but here he set the bar high so aiming for territory normally associated with John Williams or...

Let’s Get Happy Together – Maria Muldaur with Tuba Skinny.

Let’s Get Happy Together – Maria Muldaur with Tuba Skinny.

Maria Muldaur has always been happy to let her roots show and we’re not talking faded hair dye here. Linked with the New Orleans street collective Tuba Skinny, she’s got the balance about right, blues and jazz with jug band irreverence built in, it almost mirrors her...

The Seeds Of Love – Serious Sam Barrett.

The Seeds Of Love – Serious Sam Barrett.

“I wanted to make a traditional album, so that’s what I did.” So says Sam Barrett and just as his name indicates, he was serious about it. Naming his record after a book of folk songs gifted to him by his sympathetic wife, this is is serious trad and when it isn’t...

Ghost Owl – Brooks Williams & Aaron Catlow.

Ghost Owl – Brooks Williams & Aaron Catlow.

Having been asked by environmentalist film guru Simon Hurwitz to soundtrack a couple of his short films, singer guitarist and all round good guy, Brooks Williams it seems didn’t know when to stop. Opportune as it was what with a pandemic to sit at home and knock out a...

Talk About The Weather – Serious Child & Andy Ruddy.

Talk About The Weather – Serious Child & Andy Ruddy.

  I really liked the last album by Serious Child it was an attractive slice of breezy folk pop which ticked all the right boxes and promised further wonders to follow. I didn’t really expect then that he’d team up with another strumstrel yet here he is with Andy...

Estren – Teyr.

Estren – Teyr.

What do you do when you find yourself in a rural Finnish cabin surrounded by lakes, trees, bags of fresh air and not a lot else? You could always have a sauna followed by a bracing dip in the lake. No doubt Teyr did, for that was the situation back in 2018 which led...

Outstanding – Timba MM.

Outstanding – Timba MM.

Why just the other day I was having a chat with a fellow writer who asked what had been happening in Cuban roots music lately. The Buena Vista Social Club was after all a long time ago. Then what drops through the letterbox but this offering from Canada. Yes, from...

Watchhouse – Watchhouse

Watchhouse – Watchhouse

Watchhouse is the new name adopted by the act formerly known as Mandolin Orange. There's been something of a spate of acts changing their name because of a concern for unintended political messages in their original name. The Dixie Chicks becoming The Chicks, for...

LA – Katheryn Locke with Chodompa Music

LA – Katheryn Locke with Chodompa Music

Kathryn Locke describes herself as a “composer and wayward cellist.”  How she evolved to fit this description is a story in itself. She is a self-taught musician who allows her style and techniques to be informed by what she observes of the way other musicians move...

Iswat – Dag Tenere.

Iswat – Dag Tenere.

What do you play on a trip up the M6 for a week’s holiday in Galloway? Why obviously the desert blues. Having been a sucker for the snaking and twisting guitar lines of Tinariwen when their work first appeared on these shores, there was no doubt when the latest box of...

Life & The Land – Ben Walker & Kirsty Merryn.

Life & The Land – Ben Walker & Kirsty Merryn.

 There seems to be a whole cart full of releases celebrating the bucolic life around just now. This delightful EP was first mooted back in 2019 when Walker and Merryn shared a beer and philosophy about songs of toil. Simple, straightforward it’s chiefly her voice and...

A Lancashire Grace – The Oldham Tinkers

A Lancashire Grace – The Oldham Tinkers

Well, it's taken a while, but The Oldham Tinkers have come up with a follow up to their last record, 'That Lancashire Band' released in 1979. Of course, there’s been re-release and compilation albums in between but this is the first set of new recordings to appear....

Fallow Ground – Spiers and Boden

Fallow Ground – Spiers and Boden

There were whoops of delight around these parts when the rumour started circulating that John Spiers and Jon Boden were reigniting their duo. With live dates in their diary for 2021, it's pleasing to find they have a new record to draw upon too. It's called 'Fallow...

OX 15- Maartin Allcock.

OX 15- Maartin Allcock.

A postcode in case you were wondering, that once of Maartin Allcock who sadly passed a couple of years ago. At the time of recording he was happily grounded in the wider circle of Fairport Convention, his membership having been relinquished in 1996. ‘OX15’ is his...

Milestone – Duncan Lyall.

Milestone – Duncan Lyall.

When you’re chummy with the likes of The Treacherous Orchestra and locked in with Croft No Five you can’t help but be an eclectic thinker. Duncan Lyall is therefore a polyglot musical soaker and I don’t mean that as disparaging in any way, it’s a compliment totally!...

First Agnostic Church Of Hope And Wonder – Todd Snider

First Agnostic Church Of Hope And Wonder – Todd Snider

Pigeonholing musicians is a convenience for discussing music but it's a nuisance for the more creative artist who wanders a diverse artistic path. Almost by definition, what the latter creates is more interesting but tends to lead to cult status rather than mass...

The Butchers Of Bristol – Gadarene.

The Butchers Of Bristol – Gadarene.

If you spy a group of people with determined looks on their faces, carrying a couple of shot guns you don’t need to worry, your local banks and building societies are safe, it’s just Gadarene hunting down the bloke who’s reviewing their new album for Spiral Earth....

Reassembled – Bellowhead

Reassembled – Bellowhead

Artists have always been creative, and the pandemic has led them down all kinds of paths to creatively generate income. Whether a first or not, ‘Reassembled’ is a recording of Bellowhead’s live streamed performance from Stabal Mansion in December 2020. Its 74 minutes...