Justin Wells: The United States

The title is a pun: it’s about life in the USA in these divided times but it’s also about the fact that we have more in common than differences, particularly the fact that we’re all born, live and die. “This record starts in the womb, and it ends after death,” Wells says of the album. […]

Courtney Marie Andrews: Old Flowers

This new album sees Andrews reflecting on a failed relationship, and the hurt caused has resulted in her best album to date. We played some of her older albums this week and they’re nice but not much more than that; this new one is crisp and tight, and while the songs are not really any […]

Jeffrey Foucault: Blood Brothers

When we started this reviewing lark we’d sometimes have a record of the week, although we usually forgot: this week it would be this. Foucault’s from Wisconsin so this is Americana with some of the twang of country. He has an evocative voice and the songs are all good. We’ve not felt this much settled […]

Harp and a Monkey: The Victorians

This is a joy of an album, something a little different and with plenty of interest for the listener. The title seems to be from the fact that they’re from Manchester and sing of tales from the city’s industrial history; they’re a band that tells stories set to music. The cover sleeve is a peppered […]

Matt Patershuk: If Wishes Were Horses

This is a warm and likable album that combines the blues, country and rock. Patershuk says of the album: “It’s a mixed bag, which is how I like my bags. You’ll hear country and western, folk, rock ‘n’ roll, singer songwriter and blues songs.” And you do. Opener The Blues Don’t Bother Me is a […]

Sam Lewis: Solo

Lewis is a grizzled looking American dude and sings the songs you might expect; modern life and its many facets, just him and guitar. He’s good because he has a soft voice, lyrics that can be thoughtful, amusing or silly, and makes honest, simple music. This is just him and an audience in what sounds […]

Gill Landry: Skeleton at the Banquet

Landry — formerly of Old Crow Medicine Show — wrote these songs while spending the summer in small-town Western France. He doesn’t say, but we bet 80s-vintage Leonard Cohen was being played as he wrote; Cohen of that era will spring to mind when you play it. Musically, its dominated by Landry’s soft baritone; the […]

West My Friend: In Constellation

Canadian folk trio West My Friend have roped in a symphony orchestra and choir to go with their regular guitar, mandolin and accordion for this new album. If your record collection is stuffed with 50s style crooners and big bands accompanied by an accordion, this is for you. For the rest of us, it’s an […]

Jason Aldean: 9

The name sums it up: this is Aldean’s ninth album so he’s called it 9. This lack of subtlety sums up the enterprise. Not that it’s bad: it’s what a certain style of country should sound like, that style being the music to accompany drivers along the endless roads of rural states, or to play […]

Silverlake 66: Ragged Heart

(Band photo: Jason Quigley). Once you know Silverlake 66 (Maria Francis and Jeff Overbo) are from the US and play country / folk / Americana as it should be played, you can guess the sound. They’re breaking no new ground but they do it well, simple music, plain beats and straightforward lyrics that’s in no […]