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, […]

Molly Tuttle: When You’re Ready

This is Tuttle’s debut, as long as you don’t count an earlier EP, and if you want slick, commercial rock/country, it’s pretty well perfect. Tuttle is a guitar virtuoso — lots of people can say that, but she was crowned instrumentalist of the year at the 2018 Americana Music Awards, and was not only the […]

Carson McHone: Carousel

Forget all those bands with a new slant on country: McHone is from Austin, Texas, and she’s playing country as it should be played. You get fiddle, steel guitar and lyrics about broken hearts (hers) and no-good men (also hers, sadly). With Maybe They’re Just Really Good Friends you get the picture from the title, […]

The Vegabonds: V

The Vegabonds are from Alabama and play likable southern rock meets country. It’s music to play in bars and tap your toes too, reflecting on that gal you lost, but enjoying happy memories rather than bitterness. It’s not music for crying in your beer. Opener Partyin’ With Strangers is in many ways a work of […]

Julian and Roman Wasserfuhr: Relaxin’in Ireland

The emphasis here is on the relaxin’ not the Ireland, so expect no fiddles or jigs. It’s the Irish attitude that inspires the Wasserfuhr, and it’s a nice album for those who like chilled jazz. We often complain about ill-judged covers of popular songs but the Wasserfuhrs manage cool covers of songs that shouldn’t work […]

Catherine McGrath: Talk Of This Town

We’ve got nothing bad to say about this but we feel we should make some effort to be critical: “Catherine McGrath pulls the wings off flies” or “Catherine McGrath would eat your last Rolo” perhaps. McGrath is from Northern Ireland, learned guitar from her grannie and performing from watching her parents play on stage. She’ll […]

Caiti Baker: Zinc

The PR for Australian singer Caiti Baker claims it’s a “really cool and classy mix of pop, hip-hop, blues, 90s R&B and neo soul”. It’s true that it’s classy, and it’s mostly cool, too, but the mix of genres is a weakness to our ears. You might disagree and singers such as Caro Emerald do […]