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 […]

Bob Bradshaw: Queen Of The West

The music is warm and rich but we find Bradshaw’s vocals a little dry (which we would also find fault with Bread over), but there’s a lot going on. He has lots of ideas and the band is good, his voice just fails to excite us. That aside, it’s a meaty album with a lot […]

King Calaway: Rivers

Manufactured bands are nothing new, but this is the first country band we’ve seen. It’s probably giving websites whose names include “rebel” and “outlaw” collective heart attacks. King Calaway are your stereotypical boyband, five singers who don’t write any of the tunes. They seem to have had money thrown at them and have — it […]

Jess Klein: Back To My Green

Klein is more country than Americana, though there’s also something of the Laurel Canyon about her, thanks to her voice (mezzosoprano say the sleeve notes). Somewhere between county and lively Carole King. With a touch of Motown thrown in. The album — her 11th — is a mixture of styles, which may or may not […]

Grateful Dead: Aoxomoxoa

The Grateful Dead inspire absolute devotion among their aging fans. We’re too young to be fans, but even so we trekked to the Dead’s house in San Francisco (we were in the city, it wasn’t a special journey). This album is a 50th anniversary reissue and it is reportedly their most experimental. While we’re still […]

Jesse Dayton: Mix Tape Volume 1

This is a song of covers, except Dayton puts a twangy spin on them, muscular country meets rock ‘n’ roll. If you always felt your favourite tunes would be improved by deep country guitar licks, this is for you. We won’t pretend to have heard of him. We guess he’s big in the US, as […]

Native Harrow: Happier Now

This is a really good album. It’s greater than the sum of its parts: the tunes are ok, her voice (Native Harrow is Devin Tuel — nearly Devon Tool, of which a harrow could be an example, though we doubt that’s why she picked the alter ego) is ok and the general air is of […]

Sam Baker: Horses and Stars

This is one of the most remarkable albums we’ve had in some time. Baker half sings and half talks and plays gentle electric guitar, but his songs tell a powerful story of normal folk and it has a real power. He looks like a beardless Kris Kristofferson, comes from Texas and has a gravelly but […]

Maren Morris: Girl

Morris plays country pop and it’s hard to criticise this album as, within its genre, it’s flawless. As carefully aimed at various demographics as Ed Sheeran, mind. Morris made her name three years ago with her major-label debut, Hero, which sold by the Ford F-150 load. She comes from Texas but has moved to Nashville, […]