Old Crow Medicine Show: 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde

For fans of Bob Dylan, folk, bluegrass or country, this is going to be pretty close to a perfect record. In the sleeve notes, Old Crow’s Ketch Secor says Bob Dylan inspired him to go into music and that Dylan is “the greatest spinner of rhyme and couplet since Shakespeare”. You can take it that […]

Andrew Combs: Canyons Of My Mind

You could call this country — he’s a Texan based in Nashville — but much of the music leans towards the classic ballady pop of the likes of James Taylor, or the folk of Gordon Lightfoot, with “proper” country only cropping up in a couple of tracks. The classic/old-fashioned nature of his approach continues in […]

Jarrod Dickenson: Ready The Horses

Good as Laura Marling is, she’s beaten into second place by this superb album from Dickenson. From the moment it starts playing, it’s a joy. Hailing from Waco, now living in Brooklyn, Dickenson has a honeyed, soulful voice and writes semi-acoustic soulful blues and country tunes. Like Marling, the music is reflective and mature, and […]

Sarah Darling: Dream Country

This charming album has enraptured us in the Review Corner this week. The sleeve is simple, with a celestial, dream-like air about it; the Bandcamp (or Pledgemusic, whatever) donors are presented in a star map, each supporter a small place in heaven. Imagine fluffy pink and unicorns, and you get a feel of the general […]

Courtney Marie Andrews: Honest Life

Musician Courtney Marie Andrews has been on the road since she was 16, when she left home in Arizona for her first tour. She travelled up and down the West Coast, busking bars and cafés. Then for a decade or so she’s was a session and back-up singer and guitarist for nearly 40 artists, including […]

The Travelling Band: Pinhole Sounds Volume 1

This is technically an EP but it’s also a mini-album, a sampler of work from The Travelling Band and bands they like, featuring Jo Rose and Pit Pony, Barbarisms and A Dyjecinski. It came out in November and it slipped by us; searching on the internet, it appears to have been scandalously overlooked. The origins […]

Dr John Cooper Clarke and Hugh Cornwell: This Time It’s Personal

The original new wave poet and Strangler produce an album of their favourite tunes. Given that an early Stranglers classic was Walk On By it’s perhaps no surprise; what is a surprise is how good Cooper Clarke’s voice is; think Richard Hawley. Nearly as good as Walk On By is their cover of MacArthur Park, […]

Scott Fagan: South Atlantic Blues

Bowie’s gone, Lenny Cohen’s gone but never fear — here’s Scott Fagan, the best sixties folk/soul singer you never heard of. Play this without knowing the backstory and it’s attention-grabbing: one assumes it’s a young dude channeling the sixties, but confidently: he makes no concessions to modern tastes and his voice is powerful in the […]

Will Varley: Kingsdown Sundown

He’s an interesting guy is Mr V. He began playing open mic nights in London in the early 2000s, then set up Smugglers Records with the band Cocos Lovers (who we last saw at Green Man). He released his debut album Advert Soundtracks in 2011 and toured the album on foot, and has since toured […]

Copland: Appalachian Spring / Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

The themes of these two pieces are almost opposites yet the music is quite similar — presumably why they have been paired — both pieces being bouncy and crisp, the liveliness of the speakeasy life portrayed in the first piece (Hear Ye!) matching the crispness of the pioneer life in Spring. Hear Ye! Hear Ye! […]