Neil Young and Stray Gators: Tuscaloosa

It’s unlikely to win any new fans but it’s a good Young album for old ones. Tuscaloosa features The Stray Gators, Young’s band between 1971-73, playing five songs from Harvest, not long released. His self-titled debut and After The Goldrush also supply tracks. Young is on top form, the band knows his moves and he […]

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 […]

Chas Rigby: Pearls

This is doubtless unfair on Chas, who’s probably 6’ 4” with pecks like a gladiator, but we imagine him as one of those underweight singers with less hair than they once had, who turn out to have led interesting but ultimately tragic lives, maybe some drugs and an arrest or two, but all giving them […]

Mak Grgic: Balkanisms

Solo classical guitar albums are not our favourite bag but this one looked like it might be better than average and so it is. The Balkans are famed for their folk music, noted for complex rhythms; you normally hear it in electric “gypsy” folk or punk bands. While the album consists of Mr Grgic noodling […]

Luke Sital-Singh: A Golden State

Sital-Singh is clearly a man who is serious about making music, and is good at it. He has a sound he wants to make. As with all music now — and Amazon is appalling for this — it’s apparently become illegal to give people bad reviews unless it’s someone you want to snigger at, like […]

Jon Deak: Symphonic Tales

This entertaining album stands repeated listens; Deak is a man who clearly enjoys his music. He is the young composers advocate of the New York Philharmonic, where he founded the award-winning Very Young Composers Program in 1995. His interest in making music accessible to younger listeners is clear. Two of the works are for full […]

David Gray: Gold in a Brass Age

We can’t have been unusual in seeing Gray at Glastonbury (on the telly) promoting White Ladder and buying the album; we seem to remember that while he was doing ok before, the Glasto show pushed the album out to the masses. Like other bands before and since (Dido, James Blunt) Gray was then everywhere — […]

Jesse Mac Cormack: Now

It’s always interesting what one album makes you listen to: after this it was Duke Special, aka Peter Wilson, a songwriter from Belfast, we turned to.  Duke Special is not a household name; Jesse Mac Cormack, similarly a solo bloke who sounds like a band, with synth supplying percussion and instrumentation, is probably heading for […]

Elephant Sessions: What Makes You

Elephant Sessions’ claim to fame is that they blend trad folk (they’re from the Highlands) with indie rock, which means they have an electric rhythm session, plus electronic dance beats, and mandolin and fiddle. Peak Elephant Sessions is possibly the bit in Colours where it all drops down to an electronic kick drum and ambient […]

Ben Bedford: The Hermit’s Spyglass

This album tells a day in the life of Ben and Darwin the Cat in a farmhouse (“The Hermitage”), a proper little house on the prairie (Illinois). Some of the tracks are short — opener Morning Rise is only 1:20), and he gulps Morning Coffee in the same time. Some are instrumental, such as The […]