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Lucy Wainwright Roche
With both Wainwright and Roche genes in her DNA, it may have been determined that Lucy Wainwright Roche was born to be a multi-instrumentalist singer songwriter. Not being one to throw away the advanatages of natural selection, she set out to do just that. "Lucy" her debut album follows two successful eps and fully vindicates her decision to give up teaching and persue her music fulltime. This is an album from the left field that harks back to the heyday of Greenwich Village with a floaty' almost
whimsical feel, that keenly observes how people interact.
Tickled Pink may not be the most prolific releasing band, but an album from them means it's going to be one heck of a ceilidh season at festivals up and down the land, because it means that the band members have put their other projects on hold and Tickled Pink are going to hit the road. If you haven't seen them live, and you should, then go out "Ceilidh" get a few friends around, clear some space in your lounge and prepare for a goodtime. In fairness this is much more than just a ceilidh album, it's
an instrumental masterpiece empowered to give you a grand ole time.
Album:Close Up, Volume 3, States Of Being
As the title implies, "Close Up, Volume 3, States Of Being" is the third in a series of album that sees college and bedsit doyene, Suzanne Vega, revisiting her back catalogue and re-examnining her songs and basically it got me doing the same, pulling out the orginal albums and see how the years have changed the way she wants them to sound. The main difference is that the songs now have a harder edge, particularly those from the first two albums. The album reminds me of her gigs, where she always
seemed as though she wanted to kick against the world.
Walsh & Pound
Album:Walsh & Pound
"Walsh & Pound" is like welcoming back an old friend. The album feels like a few musician friends have gathered in the kitchen, cracked open a bottle wine and just started playing songs and tunes for the sheer enjoyment of it. (Dan)Walsh & (Will) Pound have delivered an album that sounds like a musical banter session, sometimes the conversation turns to serious subjects and at others loose a frivilous. Banjo and gob iron together always have that rough around the edges, kinda improvised feel, but at no
time do you lose sight of the quality coming your way. Delightful.
Album:Looking Up Feeling Down
Label:Black, Brown And White
If having Bert Jansch and Eric Clapton playing together for the first time on your debut album doesn't put a bit of pressure on you as a singer/guitarist it's difficult to imagine what will. Of course it helps that Paul performed on Bert's last two albums, but this time it's his turn to shine and there is no doubting that with "Looking Up Feeling Down" shine he does. A mixture of traditional and self penned tunes delivered in a country blues style with a big string band sound, this album feels as rich as
loam and easily as deep and lush, running over with life and harmony.
Album:Cashmere If You Can
I don't think it's a coincidence that the sleeve theme for this album is books as this album feels like it's Chris Difford's autobiography. The music has got that London sound that helped Chris of co make their name and establish their reputations and in many ways this is the album that explains how and why Squeeze were what they were, what made Chris Difford tick. "Cashmere If You Can" reflects the darkness of youth, the stupid things you do and if you're lucky those moments of realisation that
take you in a different direction as you grow into your life.
Album:This Is The Place
"This Is The Place" appears to be more a state of mind than a location. Singer-songwriter Dan Wilde, has delivered an album that has a real intensity and asks a lot of the people that populate his songs. Emotional cowardice and walking away juxtaposition with the emotional damage of staying behind, the quality of the lyric writing shows an accomplished and the way he pulls it off with out making the album sound like a prelude to suicide also shows that he understands how music works. This is an
album that plays on the emotions and waltzes your heart.
EP:Molly Of The Tyne
I think there's something about the way an autoharp is played that causes it to infuse a certain warmth in the music. That really provides a stark contrast when it comes up against a song as powerful as "Lorelai" a country song about child prostitute that is one of the hardest hitting songs I've heard in ages. Jessica Lawson wrote all of the tracks on the "Molly Of The Tyne" EP and shows herself to be a real emerging talent as a songwriter. She populates her songs with strong characters and puts
them in harsh environments and harsh environments can have a singular beauty.
Southern Tenant Folk Union
On first listening, "Pencaitland" didn't really float my boat, it all seemed a little pedestrian, as if it was trying to find somewhere to go. Then the WB Yeates inspired song, "An Irish Airman Forsees His Death" clicked and Southern Tenant Folk Union's new album started to fall into place. The arrangements that draw on a mainly bluegrass/celtic mix, with emphasis on the former seem to catch an inner strength that is reflected in the left of centre determination of the communities captured in the
lyrics. Even so I still think it needs a tad more bite
"Diamond land" is an album of straight talking and universal truths. Soldiers that survive wars are still impacted by them, people that are real heroes rarely see themselves as such and when your heart is hurting songs tend to be about what you want. Dan Webster doesn't move too far from the singer/songwriter protest singer track, but what he does is keep his songs original, personalises them and gives delivers his perspective, one well worth listening to. There's a soft pop rock thread that gives
the words a solid frame to deliver their poetry from.
Album:The Dreamed And The Drowned
It's when you realise that these are the songs that didn't make previous album, that you understand just how great an observational songwriter Reg Meuross is. "The Dreamed And The Drowned" is an album that most songwriters would hold up as a pinnacle of their writing and I guess the same is true of Reg, the "Unreleased 2006-2011" sub-title may make you question why these haven't been on an album before, don't question, simply enjoy the songs. This is what the art of the singer/songwriter is about
being able to turn a song on a coin.
The Carrivick Sisters
Album:From The Fields
Somewhere in Kentucky, there's a duo singing folk songs in a Devon. It's part of a celstial vocal exchange program, as that would be the only logical reason that The Carrivick Sisters keep turning in album after album of bluegrass blood harmonies to die for. In fairness there's a fair amount of death in the songs as well, such is the nature of folk music. "From The Fields" is an album that'll gladden the heart of anyone who gives it a listen. How can you not like an album that features a track, "The
Mouse, The Bird & The Sausage"? Indulge your eardrums with a luxurious treat.