Trapper Schoepp: Primetime Illusion

Schoepp is one of those artistes who sound like they’re going to be big, just because they’re so good. We thought it was a band but Trapper Schoepp is a real name of just one person, and Primetime Illusion is his third album. He writes songs about life, but in the same way as Squeeze […]

Beans On Toast: A Bird In The Hand

Beans On Toast (aka Jay McAllister) sings the same song over and over; the words might change but his musical accompaniment has a small range, and exists to make words melodic. He’s a mate of, and like, Frank Turner, just less grand. Early on, he explains his modus operandi to listeners, saying he’s “at it […]

Ray Cooper: Between The Golden Age and The Promised Land

Cooper is known to folk fans as Chopper: he joined Oysterband in 1987 after bassist Ian Kearey left, himself leaving the band at the end of the Ragged Kingdom tour in February 2013, to pursue a solo career. (He was also in 3 Mustaphas 3 and OK Jive). In a self-penned biography, Cooper says of […]

Shred Kelly: Archipelago

Shred Kelly should be bigger, if they could only get some more variety. They blend folk and rock — almost prog in places — that makes individual tracks interesting, but leaves the listener unsure as to what they’re about. The punning name doesn’t help; they’re not a joke band. The title track opens and promises […]

Katie Melua: Ultimate Collection

The PR says it’s 15 years since the release of Katie Melua’s debut album (Call Off The Search) but we reckon it’s only five years … it’s only listening to Ms Melua’s music that makes it seem like 15. It’s true! We never meant to be mean about this; we were expecting nice folky pop […]

Neil Young: Songs for Judy

Recent Neil Young live albums can sometimes be of the “I guess you had to be there” kind: the recording is not the same as the actual event, and even for die-hards, they can be a bit meh. Songs for Judy is different. Young’s guitar tech and tour photographer Joel Bernstein taped live shows from […]

The Trials of Cato: Hide and Hair

If you like folk and you’ve not heard of The Trials of Cato, we suspect this will change before the year is out. They produce folk that is recognisably traditional, with the commercial mass-appeal of Seth Lakeman and the musical prowess of a shredding metal guitarist. The people who don’t like this will probably be […]

Karine Polwart: Laws of Motion

Folk singer Polwart doesn’t need to sing or play instruments to sound good — as she proves on I Burn But I Am Not Consumed, she can talk mellifluously; it’s almost a disappointment when she starts to sing. I Burn But I Am Not Consumed is a good start to the album. In the opening […]

Tom Odell: Jubilee Road

NME famously gave a previous Odell long-player a zero-star review, calling his music “offensively dull”. The review was itself gratuitously offensive — Mr Odell Snr wrote in and complained — but after listening to this a number of times, we think NME did have a point: it’s not offensive, but it is dull. He’s a […]

John Smith: Hummingbird

Smith has always seemed to be the musician’s musician: the people we know who like him are musicians. We tried one of his albums once, but it was a little too workmanlike (sorry, “critically acclaimed”). This new one is much better, evidenced by the fact that we’ve been sent a review copy. They must be […]