Category Archives: Country

EMMYLOU HARRIS-WRECKING BALL.

EMMYLOU HARRIS-WRECKING BALL. In 1995, Emmylou Harris was thirty-eight, and about to release the sixteenth album of her career Wrecking Ball. Emmylou hoped that Wrecking Ball would be the album that would transform her fortunes. Having enjoyed commercial success and critical acclaim between 1975 and 1981, Emmylou’s career had stalled. The problem was, she was no …

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THE WAR ON DRUGS-LOST IN THE DREAM.

THE WAR ON DRUGS-LOST IN THE DREAM. Philadelphia. Musically what does Philly mean to you? For many people, it’s Philly Soul. Back in the seventies, jump-suited groups like The O’Jays, The Detroit Spinners and Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes flew the flag for Philly. However, there’ more to Philly than Philly Soul. Much more. …

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END OF NEIL-HEADSPINNIN’

END OF NEIL-HEADSPINNIN’ Over the last couple of years, I’ve been documenting the rise and rise of End Of Neil, one of Scotland’s best up and coming singer songwriters. End Of Neil’s unique brand of acoustic folk has seen Neil Stewart continue to win friends and influence people. So, much so, that End Of Neil …

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WITHERED HAND-NEW GODS.

WITHERED HAND-NEW GODS. Five long years have passed since Withered Hand recorded their debut album Good News. It was released to critical acclaim and praised for its stark honesty. There was a reason for this. The man behind Withered Hand, Dan Willson was  a latecomer to music. He was already thirty when he wrote his …

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BOB FRANK-BOB FRANK.

BOB FRANK-BOB FRANK. In 2007, Jim Dickinson described Bob Frank as: “the best songwriter you never heard.” That’s no surprise. Jim Dickinson first met Bob Frank way back in the summer of 1963. Back then, Bob was part of a group of singers and songwriters hanging out in an old butcher’s shop in Crosstown Farmer’s …

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BOBBY CHARLES-BOBBY CHARLES.

BOBBY CHARLES-BOBBY CHARLES. Bobby Charles will always be remembered as one of the pioneers of swamp pop. He played a huge part in popularising swamp pop, not just in Louisiana, but much further afield. However, there’s more to Bobby Charles’ career than that. Much more. Bobby was also a successful songwriter. The story begins in …

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DOUG PAISLEY-STRONG FEELINGS.

DOUG PAISLEY-STRONG FEELINGS. For anyone yet to discover Doug Paisley’s music, you’ve been missing out on one of the most talented singer-songwriters of his generation. Born in Toronto, Canada, Doug has just released his third album Strong Feelings on No Quarter Records. Strong Feelings is a fusion of alternative country, Americana and folk. The album …

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MOGWAI-LES REVENANTS.

MOGWAI-LES REVENANTS. Next week, Glasgow’s very own Mogwai will release their eighth studio album Rave Tapes. This will be their first album in three years, since the release of Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will. However, during that three year period, Mogwai have been busy. They contributed the soundtrack to the French television series …

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THISELL-I.

THISELL-I. Never before have I reviewed an album that had been recorded in a disused school. That’s until I came across Swedish band Thisell’s debut album, I. I was recorded in a disused school during a seven day period in August 2010. For seven days, Thisell, their friends, family and even pets ate, lived, slept …

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RUNAWAY ORCHESTRA-RUNAWAY ORCHESTRA.

RUNAWAY ORCHESTRA-RUNAWAY ORCHESTRA. You’ll be hard pushed to find more enchanting album than the Runaway Orchestra’s eponymous debut album Runaway Orchestra, which has been rereleased by Brighton’s Mr. Bongo Records on 1st January 2014. I was going to say the Runaway Orchestra give ten familiar tracks a makeover. That however, would be an understatement. Transformation …

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THE BEST NEW ALBUMS OF 2013-PART 1.

THE BEST NEW ALBUMS OF 2013-PART 1. On the last day of the year, I always publish my list of the best albums I’ve reviewed during 2013. This year, I’ve expanded it to my top thirty albums. That’s a reflection of the quality of music released during 2013. What follows is an eclectic selection of …

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THE BEST NEW ALBUMS OF 2013-PART 2.

THE BEST NEW ALBUMS OF 2013-PART 2. JUANA MOLINA-WED 21. Previously, Argentinian singer-songwriter Juana Molina has been described as a musical visionary. Comparisons have been drawn to legendary Beach Boy. These comparisons aren’t hype. No. Far from it. Juana Molina is an alternative to bland, anodyne music. This is cerebral, intelligent music of substance. Variously …

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THE BEST NEW ALBUMS OF 2013-PART 3.

THE BEST NEW ALBUMS OF 2013-PART 3. RODDY WOOMBLE-LISTEN TO KEEP. Back in 2006, when Roddy Woomble, the lead singer of Idlewild, released his debut album My Secret Is My Silenced, Idlewild had just enjoyed the most successful period of their career. Their third album, 2000s 100 Broken Windows was certified silver, while 2002s The …

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THE KINKS-MUSWELL HILLBILLIES.

THE KINKS-MUSWELL HILLBILLIES. By the time The Kinks released Muswell Hillbillies in November 1971, they were no longer as successful in Britain. Their last three albums had failed to chart. The last Kinks album to chart in Britain was 1967s Something Else By The Kinks. It had reached number thirty-five. After that, 1968s The Kinks …

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END OF NEIL-GAS STATION COFFEE.

END OF NEIL-GAS STATION COFFEE. In an age when artists take years to record an album, it’s refreshing to come across an artist as prolific as End Of Neil. During 2013, End Of Neil has released a trio of E.Ps. The first of this trio was Less, released back in April. Then six months later, …

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VAN MORRISON-MOONDANCE.

VAN MORRISON-MOONDANCE. When Van Morrison released his third album, Moondance, in February 1970, little did he know he’d just released not only a classic album, but an album he’d never surpass. This wasn’t unexpected. After all, two years earlier in February 1968, Van Morrison has released Astral Weeks, an album which was a game-changer. Astral …

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ISRAEL NASH GRIPKA-ISRAEL NASH’S RAIN PLAINS.

ISRAEL NASH GRIPKA-ISRAEL NASH’S RAIN PLAINS. One of music’s best kept secrets is Israel Nash Gripka, who recently released his third album Israel Nash’s Rain Plains on Loose Music. A fusion of Americana, classic rock, psychedelia, alt country and folk, Israel Nash’s Rain Plains is a musical coming of age for Israel Nash Gripka. Israel …

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BOPPIN’ BY THE BAYOU-MORE DYNAMITE.

BOPPIN’ BY THE BAYOU-MORE DYNAMITE. Back in May 2013, Ace Records released Bluesin’ By The Bayou, a compilation of “low down, dirty and greasy blues from Louisiana.” With some zydeco thrown in for good measure by compiler Ian Saddler, Bluesin’ By The Bayou was a potent musical cocktail. The music on Bluesin’ By The Bayou …

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END OF NEIL-LESS E.P.

END OF NEIL-LESS E.P. The last time we heard from Stirling-based singer-songwriter End Of Neil, he’d just released his My Games E.P. During the six tracks on My Game, End Of Neil introduced us to a diverse cast of characters. Many of them are complicated. Some of them are troubled. All of them are intriguing. …

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LEE HAZELWOOD-TROUBLE IS A LONESOME TOWN.

LEE HAZELWOOD-TROUBLE IS A LONESOME TOWN. There aren’t many artists whose careers took as many twists and turns as Lee Hazelwood. Having left the US Army, Lee worked as a disc jockey, whilst forging a career as a songwriter. The first hit he wrote and produced was Sanford Clark’s 1956 rockabilly hit The Fool. Two …

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