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Tuesday 4 June 2013

June 2013

The postman has been kept busy delivering a vast array of musical packages in the past few weeks.
BRAD PAISLEY’s new album .”Wheelhouse” (Sony) is quite a strange album. There’s some really good stuff on it, and some really weird stuff too.  The track listing has 22 tracks, but there’s really only 17 !. There’s quite a few little soundbites, like track 7, which has some great guitar picking, but mixed with asian sounds and chants, a quaint “Yankee  Doodle Dixie”, and there’s even Eric Idle doing a little dittie called “Death Of A Married Man”. How did he get in there ?
The inside sleeve says that the record is “the sound  of an old farmhouse, the sound of seven band members  creating, collaborating, & High fiving!”. There is certainly a sound on some of the tracks, that to me, comes over as just noise.
But there are some really good tracks too.
“Southern Comfort Zone” , the first full track, has some southern soundbites during its 36 second intro,  like southern fried chicken, apple pie, rednecks, and even the grand ole opry. I preferred the more acoustic version that closed the album, without the soundbites.
Quite a few of the tracks have a humorous side. Tracks like “Karate” about a wife taking lessons on how to get back on her wife beating husband , or “Harvey Bodine”, a long suffering hubby, who’s heart stops, and gives him the best five minutes of his life before the defib machine kicks in , and brings him back to life.
Then there’s “Facebook Friends”, with perhaps a warning about how that website can ruin lives.
He has caused a bit of controversy with the track  “Accidental Racist”, which teams him up with rapper LL Cool J. I think it does a good job at highlighting how a simple Lynyrd Skynyrd t shirt can cause offence and misunderstanding. I didn’t think the song was offensive. I was just concerned that a rapper was heard on a Country record. Then, am I falling into the trap that the song is all about ?
It was a strange, but interesting album.  And it’s growing on me.

RON DAVIES may not be the best known songwriter in the world. He did, however, write over 600 songs, in his lifetime, providing hits for David Bowie, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Joan Baez and Helen Reddy.  His best known song, “It Aint Easy” was on Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust album, and also recorded by Three Dog Night and Long John Baldry.
Ron Davies, who died in 2003, is the big sister of Gail Davies, and it’s Gail who is the force behind this album, bringing together an amazing list of mainly Country singers, to perform 22 of her brothers songs on “Unsung Hero” (Little Chickadee).
When I say Country singers, I meet ‘A list’ Country singers. There’s Dolly, John Anderson, Crystal Gayle, Vince Gill and Alison Krauss amongst others.
Gail has carefully matched the songs to the singers, and come up with one beautiful tribute to her brother.
The album kicks off with Gail performing “One More Night With You”, and she later features a duet with her late brother on “ Steal Across The Border”.  Jeff Hanna,(Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) revisits “Dark Eyed Girl”, with his wife Matraca Berg, whilst that Bowie hit is handled in quite bluesy fashion by  Southern Fried visitor, Shelby Lynne.  Unsung Music City backing singer, Jonell Mosser, also turns on the blues on “Saving It Up For You”.
Mandy Barnett delivers “Long Hard Climb” in a soulful lounge style, whilst Crystal Gayle, has a very laid back approach to “True Lovers And Friends”.  Vince Gill , with harmonies from Kelly Hogan , deliver a beautiful romantic atmosphere on “More Today Than Yesterday”.
There’s also Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Robbie Fulks, and a beautifully emotional closing track by Bonnie Bramlett.
There’s plentry of stand out tracks for me.
John Anderson does a good version of “What Good Is A Secret” , and Dolly sounds as good as ever on the ballad “It’s Too Late”.
BR-549, who I never really understood when they were at their peak, really turned on the hillbilly Country sound on the rip roaring “Hey Honey I’m Home”. I just love this track.
Jim Lauderdale takes an incredible Country story song approach to “Have To Come Down”,  and I enjoyed John Prine’s take on the jolly “We Stayed Away Too Long”.
But my favourite track has to be Suzy Bogguss on “Back To The South”. This is reminiscent of Suzy’s early recordings, with a very simple, almost western, but not quite, approach  to the song.
Although not over familiar with Ron Davies’ music, this is a beautiful album which shows just how much we should have known his work.
Congratulations to Gail Davies for keeping his music alive with this project, for which proceeds will go to the W.O.Smith Music School, providing instruments and music lessons for under privileged  children. The album has been in the works for nearly a decade, and worth the wait.

There seems to be an endless trail of girl singers in Nashville these days. Occasionally we hear one who is just that bit different than the rest, and stands out from the crowd. Probably Gretchen Wilson was the last one that stood out, but now, along comes a 24 year old Texan beauty called KACEY MUSGRAVES, who is certainly making waves in Music City these days.
Furthermore, her debut album, “Same Trailer, Different Park” got a UK release (Decca) following a list of accolades from the likes on NPR who named her “best new artist of 2012” , and the Washington Post who called her “country music’s new real deal”.
She certainly stands out from the pop laden Country female vocalist style that we’ve gotten used to.
As a vocalist, she sounds sweet, homespun and downhome , but as an artist, she’s the full package. She co-wrote all twelve tracks, plays acoustic guitar and harmonica on the album, which features her debut hit record “Merry Go Round” , which Rolling Stone listed in it’s Top 50 songs, off genres, of 2012.
Most of the songs are pleasant ballads that Kacey smothers with her sweet vocals, like cream on apple pie!  The opening track, “Silver Lining” stands out, as does “Dandelion” and “I Miss You”.
I really enjoyed the bouncy “My House”, which features some catchy harmonica, and clever lyrics, not to mention, her southern twang. It’s a song that really works for me, and is my favourite track on the album.
“Step Off” and “Follow Your Arrow” are both quite catchy little numbers , whilst “Stupid” shows a girl with a bit of attitude. “Blowin’ Smoke” is a bit heavy for me , but, overall, a really enjoyable album. Kasey Musgraves is one of this year’s biggest discoveries.

Any Country trio of ladies are instantly going to be likened to The Dixie Chicks, but I’m pleased to say that PISTOL ANNIES are different, and we all get a chance to find out why with the release of their second album, “Annie Up” (Sony) over here.
The Pistol Annies are a supergroup of female singer songwriters, at varying stages in their solo careers. Miranda Lambert has been an established artist for several years now, with several hit singles and CMA Awards under her belt. Ashley Monroe has been getting rave reviews for her recently released debut album, and the third member is Kentucky born Angaleena Presley.
They collaborated together on the writing on all of the songs, sharing the lead vocals, and harmonising together beautifully throughout the album.  Their southern accents add to the charm.
They cover a whole range of emotions, from being “Loved By A Working Man” through to “Being Pretty Aint Pretty” to “Unhappilly Married” , “Trading One Heartbreak For Another”  and  the bluesy accapella opening track “I Feel A Sin Coming On”.
The lead single from the album is the catchy “Hush Hush”, probably the most pop track on the album.
I liked the friendly advice song “Dont Talk About Him Tina”, whilst “Damn Thing” is a quirky uptempo fun number, with some nice banjo and bass. It’s different to anything else you’ll hear out of Nashville this year.
Other softer ballads include “Dear Sobriety”, “Girls Like Us” and the gorgeous closing track “I Hope You’re The End Of My Story”.
It’s a superb album. The sort of album you didn’t think Nashville produced anymore.
Girl power !

KENNY CHESNEY continues to be one of America’s biggest Country sellers, but still hasn’t cracked the international market, despite his albums regularly getting released here.
Columbia have just released his latest , “Life On A Rock” over here.
His music has a definite summer sound, and this continues on this album.
There are lazy summer days songs like “That Time Of Day” , “Lindy”, and “Happy On The Hey Now”.
And there’s the beach ballads like the album’s title track (and he’s not singing about being stuck on Rockall!) , and “When I See This Bar”.
“Spread The World” sees Kenny take up Bob Marley’s mantle, by teaming up with The Wailers, on a song that has a bit of the Marley magic, without taking Kenny too far out of his zone. Shows just how close the genres are.
But to even up the score, it’s Willie Nelson who joins Kenny on the equally tropical  “Coconut Tree” .
It’s quite a pleasant album to listen.

KAREN LYNNE is one of Australia’s best known singers, having visited our shores a good few years ago now. She has a number of albums under her belt. Despite her last album being straight country, in recent times her music has been more influenced by bluegrass, and her latest offering, “Shine Your Light”, I’d label as “bluegrass gospel”.
For this, her 10th album , she went to America to record . She had previously resisted that temptation, in support of the Australian recording industry. But getting to record an album like this in Tom T Hall & Miss Dixie’s studio in Franklin, Tennessee was too much of a temptation, and, how it has paid off for her.
The album kicks off straight into a honest downhome  jolly number called “Little Mountain Church House” , which really sets the tempo for a good time album. “Will There Be Any Stars”  is a catchy song, which has everything, good vocals, lovely harmonies, dobro, fiddle, mandoilin , bass  and banjo. A great track.
“He Loves To Hear You Shout” , “Lord Lift Me Up” and “Walk Slow” are also good numbers for radio play.
There are some more serious numbers, such as “Your Presence  is My Favourite Gift” and  “Where Jesus Is” (featuring Daryl Mosely)  . I also enjoyed “A Living Prayer”.
Karen also covers the classic “In The Garden”, and Dolly’s “Coat Of Many Colours”. Miss Dixie pulled out the stops, to arrange for, not Dolly, but sister Stella to join with Karen in the studio on this one. Karen’s vocals are so suited to the song, and Stella’s harmonies are beautiful.
I just love Karen’s voice . This is a beautiful album.

Whilst I cannot deny that TIM McGRAW is one of Country music’s superstar’s, I personally have never considered him to stand out from the many other male singers in Nashville these days.
However, his latest album, “Two Lanes Of Freedom”  (Big Machine/Decca) did catch my attention.
There’s certainly some good stuff on the album, which was released here to coincide with his appearance at the c2c festival in London.
The title, and opening track, is a good commercial, radio friendly number, which caught my attention.
In a similar vein are “Southern Girl”, and “Mexicoma”, which  has a strange sound to it. But It’s quite catchy, and works for him.
There are several power ballads, like “One Of These Nights”  and “Highways Dont Care”  which suits Tim’s style well, but just don’t stand out for me. The latter sees Tim team up with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, which probably just triples the blandness. But no doubt will get three times the US radio play!
Softer ballads, like “Friend Of A Friend”, “Book Of John” , “Annie I Owe You A Dance”  and “Number 37405” really work much better for him.
I really enjoyed “Let Me Love It Out Of You”, a nice ballad which closes the album.
And “Nashville Without You” , another of the softer ballads, stands out as the best track on the album, and I’ve heard it on radio here, so I’m not alone in that opinion. As his homage to Music City, it’s probably the most Country number Tim has done to date.
The sticker on the CD case states “15 New Songs”, but one of them, “Truck Yeah” is on twice, one with a live version, so it’s just 14 tracks. The duplicate song, itself, is more of a rap number, certainly not Country, so once was too much, let alone two versions.
But all things considered, one of Tim’s best albums to date.

WILLIE NELSON recently turned 80, and celebrated with the release of “Lets Face The Music And Dance” (Legacy) .  It has to be said that this album leans more towards the lounge jazz sound than Country, but Willie is no stranger to that. It reminds me of his “Stardust” album, which he made in 1978, and remains to this day, one of his biggest sellers.
Song’s included here include Irving Berlin’s title track, and “Marie, The Dawn Is Breaking”, as well as the classics, “You’ll Never Know”, “Walking My Baby Back Home”  and  “Twilight Time” .       He does lift the tempo with a bit of rockabilly on Carl Perkins’ “Matchbox” , whilst Country fans will recognise “South Of The Border” and “Shame On You”.
He has one self penned number on the album. “Is The Better Part Over”.
Willie’s long time fans will enjoy this album. It didn’t do much to hold my  attention though.

There’s no doubt that BILL ANDERSON is still one of Nashville’s true legends. He has charted over 80 hits on the Country charts, including 7 Number One’s, in a chart career stretching from 1958 to 1991.  But he is also an amazingly successful songwriter , having written for artists as diverse as Ken Dodd, Aretha Franklkin and  Dean Martin , and is still writing hits today for the likes of Kenny Chesney, George Strait and Brad Paisley.
Over 30 of his biggest hits were self penned, and many of his hits are included in a new Humphead double CD release in the UK, “The Definitive Collection”.   You’ll recognise titles like “Tips Of My Fingers”, “Happiness”, “Mama Sang A Song”, “Golden Guitar” and “Still”, but this 50 track collection, also features a few duets with Jan Howard and Mary Lou Turner. There’s also his version of “Three Times A Lady”, which really doesn’t fit into this collection, but 49 out of 50 aint bad.
To be honest, many of the recordings do sound dated by today’s standards, but, for me, that adds to the nostalgic influence of this collection from a performer, who is still influential in Music City today.
There’s also an 8 page booklet, features sleeve notes by Maverick magazine’s Alan Cackett,

Back in 2006, ALAN JACKSON recorded an album of hymns, which, if we were to believe the hype, he just recorded for his mom, and was never intended for general release. The album went on to top the Country charts, and gave fans a new insight into the quiet man’s life.
Now Humphead have released “Precious Memories Volume II”, a delicate album of old time church favourites, accompanied by the most basic of musical arrangements.
Included are such standards as “Amazing Grace”, “Love Lifted Me”, “There’s Power In The Blood”, and “When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder”.
It’s a beautifully recorded work of art, but is just so laid back. There’s no energy in the production whatsoever, which may be deliberate.
If this wasn’t Alan Jackson, I doubt if this album would create any reaction at all. But it is Alan Jackson, and it’ll be another big seller, I’m sure.

ERIC CHURCH is one of the newer names in Nashville over the past few years. His album “Chief” won last years CMA Album Award, and he did get quite a bit of airplay over here for his “Springsteen” single a few months back.
His sound is more rock than Country, but has come over several times, on tracks like “Country Music Jesus”, “Hag” and “Jack Daniels”.  However, his latest album (released here on Humphead) is called “Caught In The Act”- a live album.
As I’ve said before in these pages, you have to do something different with a Live album.
Eric has captured his live show on the album alright – pretty much a rock show, and a screaming audience that just  kills off any appreciation you may have for the music.
If you want to listen to Eric’s music, this is not the album to do it with.
It’s just Noise- nothing else.

JOANNA MOSCA was born in Connecticut, and raised in New York , where she studied acting, which isn’t the normal upbringing into a career in Country music. As she moved into music, she  had a Top 30 on the Adult Contemporary charts, but she’s now found her way to the attention of Country music. She was, indeed, listed in the CMA’s “New to watch” list for 2012. Well it’s maybe taken a little longer, but Joanna has arrived with a 6 track mini album, “Let It All Begin”, produced by singer Bryan White, and featuring a duet with  Lonestar’s Ritchie McDonald.
The EP features the catchy single “Dream  On Savannah”, which is really radio friendly and should get her some good airplay.  “Where Does Good Love Go?”, the duet with Ritchie McDonald, is probably the strongest track on the CD. Again, it should get her noticed.
Whilst most of the tracks are quite uptempo, she does a mean ballad on “I Guess That Says It All” .
Certainly a name to look out for.

RANCE NORTON was one of the Texan names at the Caithness Festival this year, and had just released his second album, “Here We Go Again” (Heart Of Texas) just before his visit.
The young traditionalist’s first album contained mainly well known covers. This album , whilst still containing covers, has some lesser known songs. Writers include Dallas Frazier, Ray Pennington, Justin Tubb, Mel Tillis & Moe Bandy.
With players like Justin Trevino, Bobby Flores and Jake Hooker, you know you’re in for a treat.
Stand out tracks’s for me include the opening twin fiddles on “This Time I Wont Cheat On Her Again”, “Texas Dance Hall Girl” (which sounds like “Cool Water” in the intro, and “Loves Comes From The Other Side Of Town”. His cover of Moe’s “I Never Miss A Day Missing You” is also worth a listen , as is the duet with Frankie Miller (the Texan one) on “Nashville Drunkard”.
I enjoyed his live set in Halkirk, and really enjoyed this album.

I’m always impressed with the music that comes out of The Faroe Islands. With a population of just 48,000, they have a very healthy music scene.  Of course, Evi Tausen  was one of the big hits at this year’s Caithness Festival. But one of the members of her band, was also promoting his own album.
JENS MARNI came over in Halkirk as a bit of a rocker, but his album, “Anywhere You Wanna Go” proved to be a really good listen. He has a sound that would be hard to put in a box. Certainly not pure Country, but there are Southern rock and West Coast influences. I can certainly hear a bit of Doobie Brothers, for example.
There are some quite rocky/pop numbers, most notably, the catchy “You’re The Greatest” and the opener, “Heart Talking”.
But Jens really excels in his ballads.“It Was You” is particularly impressive, as is “Never Let My Angel Down”. I also enjoyed the rather different “Every Bluebird Needs To Fly” , which has a much simpler backing, and lets Jens vocals come to the fore.
For it not being an all out Country album, I found it a really enjoyable listen.
And another from that musical mecca in the north- The Faroes!

Nobody can deny that PHILOMENA BEGLEY is an icon of Irish Country music. Last year she celebrated her 50 years in the business, with a number of concerts and a TV special on BBC Alba.
Her latest album, “How I Love Them Old Country Songs” (H & H label), does have a nostalgic feel to it.
As well as the title track,  Philomena has a nice mix of new songs , including “I Aint Over The Hill” , written by Isla Grant, to her versions of classics like “Sentimental Journey”  and “Dont Tell Me How The Story Ends”.  There’s also her versions of “Raglan Road”, “The Story I Tell You Is True” and “It Only Hurts For A Little While”, which has a rather different arrangement to the other tracks.
Stand out tracks for me are the lively “Burning Old Memories” and “Taste Of Life”, but there are a couple of collaborations worthy of note.
“All The Road Running”, is a duet with her son Aiden Quinn, who is keeping her legacy alive. It’s a nice Irish favoured number , which was featured on the BBC Alba special.
There’a also a bonus track, “Country Girls Never Grow Old”, which features last year’s Caithness Festival visitors Moore & Moore. It’s a catchy fun number, which I think owes more to Debbie & Carrie, than Philomena, but fits nicely into the theme of the album.
Great to hear Philomena still going strong, and sounding as good as ever.

One of the acts that I was particularly impressed with, at the Caithness Festival was  JASON McGILLIGAN, and I’m  pleased to say that his album, “Looking Out My Backdoor” is just as entertaining as he was on stage.
The young Irishman had appeared at ease as he won over the Halkirk crowd, and this album finds him running through a varied set of songs with similar style.
There are classic songs like Slim Whitman’s“ When My Blue Moon Turns Turn To Gold”  and Marty Robbins’ “My Woman, My Woman , My Wife” through to lesser known songs like Del Reeves “Landmark Tavern” and Vince Gill’s “Love Never Broke Anyone’s Heart” .
There’s a rocking “Danny Boy” to close the album, which works really well.
A good album, and well worth looking out for this young man. He’s one of the best performers to come out of Ireland for a while.

If Jason is new, then PAUL KELLY is even fresher. He’s been performing around the North West of Ireland for quite a few years now, but “ So In Love” is his debut album, and a really good album it is.
He features a good mix of Country numbers like Gene Watson’s  “Fourteen Carat Mind”  and  Hoyt Axton’s “Della & The Dealer” alongside  Irish numbers like The Saw Doctors’ “ Clare Island” and Sean McCarty’s “Shanagolden”.
There’s a couple of duets, with Bernie Kelly joining him on the Dave Edmunds/Carlene Carter classic “Baby Ride Easy” and Georgette Jones on “Lost Love”.
There a fair number of original tracks  that Paul co-wrote, including the albums title track, the Georgette Jones duet, and a cracking opening track, “The Hooley”.
A superb debut.

BEN REEL  is an Irish singer songwriter, who has just released his 6th studio album, “Darkness & Light”. The album, of all self penned material, was recorded at his home studio in Armagh.
It’s not all Country- it’s not meant to be. There are rocky tracks, folk and pop too, but there are a few tracks that we Country fans will enjoy.
“River Of Time” is quite a melodic number, as is “Watershed”.  There’s a Roy O influence on “You’re Not Alone”.
“Heart Just Wont Heal” has quite a strong Americana / Dylan feel to it, as does “What is Done”.
“Before Your Time” is the stand out track, with it’s opening “Whiskey is a dear dear friend of mine”
I did enjoy the album. Quite a good listen.

I don’t know much about CAMPBELL SCOTT, but his self penned album, “Scottish Working Man” tells quite a story.
With the strongest Scottish accent I’ve heard on record, he lives in France, and recorded this album in Prague. But his homeland is in the forefront of his mind, with the songs of the album.
His voice is not the most tuneful, and the instrumentation is fairly basic, but that all adds up to give the album quite a homesome charm.
He’d probably be more at home in a folk club, but there are some Country influences, especially on the lilting “Tennessee To Loch Maree”, and the closing track “Going Home To Scotland”. Both have some nice steel licks.
There’s also some Rock’n’roll on “Boy Who Cant Say No”, but it’s the more folksy numbers like “Beautiful” and “Fair Farfochan” , which  Campbell sounds most comfortable with.

MICHAEL J RAMPLIN is a traditional Country and gospel singer songwriter from Lancashire, who will reach his 70th birthday this year. In his life, he has lived a lot of what you would hear in Country songs, but Michael has lived to tell the tale, found god, and Country music, which he has always loved since hearing Webb Pierce back in his Merchant Navy days.
This is unashamed old time Country music, which you don’t get too many British artists trying to keep alive. But here, the singer songwriter has an all self penned album  of traditional Country music.
There’s a lot of his influences showing through, notably on “Hank Singing On The Radio”, “Johnny Cash Led Me To Jesus”, and even a duet, “There’s Only One Name”, with George Hamilton IV.
Michael doesn’t have the best voice in the world, but what you hear is 70 years of life in a dozen Country songs.

MIKE AIKEN is something of a travelling troubadour. The Virginian has just released his 6th album, “Captains & Cowboys”  (Northwind), which has apparently been two years in the making. But I think   it’s probably been a lot longer. The versatile singer songwriter captures his own life as a ocean crossing sailing captain (he’s lived on a sailboat for the past 20 years) , but has also raised horses and made his living as a farrier.
The song subject here is as varied as his life, from “Virginia” and “Coal Train” to “Take The Boy Fishin’”, and “Put A Sail On It” to “Night Riders Lament”.
It’s an enjoyable album, with quite a variety , from the honky tonk-ish “Bring Out The Bourbon”  and “Your Memory Wins” to the lilting “Dance With The Wind”.
One of the stand out tracks isn’t his own, but Country Joe McDonald’s folk anthem “Save The Whale”. Mike does a refreshing take on the song, giving it renewed life.
Quite an interesting album. One you’ll certainly hear on the radio.

It’s amazing how much the banjo is featured on CD’s these days. DUBI HANDI are a Brooklyn based duo, featuring Hilary Hawke and Brian Geltner. Their album, “Up Like The Clouds” is essentially a banjo album. There are a number of instrumentals, and songs featuring both members as vocalists.
Apparently Appalachian music like this is big in Brooklyn, and I have to say, it’s a nice listen.
Three of the tracks are written by Hillary, including the catchy instrumental “Pickin’ Chicken Breakdown”, which a certain Caithness band may be interested in.
Most are covers of traditional’s including “New River Train” , “Cluck Old Hen” and “Poor Ellen Smith”.  As a stand out track, I particularly enjoyed the slower “Undone By Sorrow”, which features some nice vocals by guest Zara Bode.
A nice listen.

WOODY PINES has built up quite a following over here, through his regular visits of late. The banner on his website says “Viper Jazz, Ragtime & Country Blues”, which does quite a good job at explaining the mix that you’ll find on his new album, “Rabbits Motel”.
It’s a good fun sounding mix of resonator guitar, with a bit of banjo and harmonica. There’s a couple of traditional numbers, a couple written with banjo player Felix Hatfield, and the rest is all Woody.
Slower numbers like the bassy “Heartbreaker”  mix nicely with the more uptempo numbers, like the old timey “Keep Youre Hand  Off”, and the more modern sounding “Like I Do”.
There’s even a couple of train songs in “Railroad Vine” and “Train That Carried My Gal To Town”.
Nine of the ten tracks were recorded in Ohio, but “Hobo And His Bride” was recorded in a makeshift studio in a lock-up garage in Lanarkshire.  It fits in nicely to the rest of the album.

RUTH MOODY is a singer songwriter, born in Australia, but resident in Canada, where she has firmly established herself as one of The Wailing Jenny’s. But she has also been pursuing a solo career, and her latest album, “These Wilder Things” (True North) is released to coincide with a UK tour, which featured a date in Glasgow last month, and 6 nights at London’s Albert Hall, opening for Mark Knopfler.  Knopfler plays on the album, as does folks like John McCusker and Jerry Douglas .
All but one of the songs on the 10 track album is self penned. The exception is a cover of Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark”.
Many of the songs are slow ballads, including the title track , a beautifully constructed 5 minute masterpiece.
But there are a few more uptempo moments, like “One And Only”, which really shows off her vocals.
Recorded primarily in Toronto, although additional recordings came in from as diverse locations as London, Nashville, Winnipeg and Oregon.

DYLAN SNEED is certainly a new name to me, but he has toured Europe, even before this debut album appeared. “Texodus” is quite an apt title for the Austin, Texas native, who left the Lone Star State, and now calls Hartsville, South Carolina home. But you cant take the Texas out of the boy!
The album, which was funded through an internet site called, is a personal journey from the title tracks story of leaving home, through friendship (All Around Me) and relationships (Love You Like I Do, Keep You Still, Under The Sheets).
He even sneaks in a rather different cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. It’s really stripped back instrumentally, and fits nicely into the album.
My favourite track would be the uptempo “Climb The Wall”.

From Canada, JENNY RITTER is a singer songwriter with a fresh distinctive voice.  She first got herself noticed playing in a band called The Gruff for ten years, but is now firmly a solo artist in her own right, with her latest album “Bright Mainland” just released.
As well as writing all eleven songs on the album, this talented lady also plays guitar and banjo, alongside some impressive studio musicians.
The banjo injected tracks certainly caught my attention, including “We Must Sing” , which has quite a folky feel to it. “You Missed The Boat” also appealed to me. It’s probably a bit more radio friendly than the rest of the album.
But “Resolute” was, for my money, the strongest track on the album. It’s really melodic, and suits her vocals best.
An interesting voice, which I’m sure we’ll hear more of in the future.

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