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Supine Orchestra
Album:Oil On Beaverboard
Label:Half Eaten
This is the band's critically acclaimed second album. It continues to plough their calm, unruffled and slightly jaded view of the world with aplomb and conviction; gently placing an original stick in the country/folk/acoustic ground. From catchy pop gems like "My Imaginary God" through an eclectic, sometimes oddball mix of 13 carefully crafted, melodious and thought-provoking songs; this is perfect music to dig out when skies are sunny, the beer's chilled and the smell of new mown grass is on the wind. Just don't poke around too much in the lyrical undergrowth, there may be worms.

Ian Siegal
Album:The Dust
Origially released mailorder only, Ian Siegal's "The Dust", finally gets a full release. It is as fine an album of troubadour blues as you'll find east of the Delta. With a combination of self penned and covers, he gets to take the genre through a real spin. Songs about hard drugs and alcohol link back to 1920s ear blues sensibilities. Sex, love and travel all find their way into the songs as does the musical support of the likes of B J Cole, Sam Hare and Nikolai Torp. Born too late for the 60s blues revival, he manages to capture that spirit in his material, as he bleeds it out of his soul.

The Shee
Label:Shee Recordings
Not quite sure of the best way to describe The Shee's sound, but if they were playing at your house it would be one hell of a party. Bluegrass, traditionally inspired Scottish songs and tunes and old timey all vie for space on the accurately names "Decadance". It's got everything the slow and sultry, hold you partner close songs, and real up in your face dance tunes. This is the sort of music that can fill anything from a front room to a full concert hall and still have energy enough to launch an assault on the foyer. Girls just wanna have fun? Oh yes and more.

The Piney Gir Country Roadshow
Album:Jesus Wept
Label:Damaged Goods
If The Cramps had been a country band, I'm pretty sure they would have sounded like The Piney Gir Country Roadshow, loud, brash, oozing in attitude, in short, the essence of good time music distilled to moonshine strength. As the title implies, "Jesus Wept" gives it's western swing bucket loads of irreverence, it's got a real swagger to it, it knows exactly what it is and if you don't like it well that's your problem, because this is a record that's really going to enjoy it's carousing, the phrase rebel rousing could have been invented for it. Yeeeehaah!!!!

Label:Kila Records
The previous Kila albums didn't really do it for me, there were stand out tracks, but as a whole they couldn't hold my attention for an entire album. Then I managed to see them play a full live set and something clicked. I returned to their albums and found I enjoyed them more. "Soisin" is the first album the band have released since then and It's completed the process of getting me hooked. The trick with Kila is just to let the album wash over you. Once I'd taken my review head off, I found an album that took the world weariness away and left contentment and relaxation in it's place.

Saloon Dogs
Album:Shooting Star
Label:Self Released
Born from the ashes of The Bogarts, Saloon Dogs recorded their debut album, "Shooting Star" way back in 1996. It's taken fourteen years and the imminent reformation of the band for it to see the light of day. It's aged well, hopefully like it's audience. There's ten songs on the album, each exploring concepts of love, having both male and female vocalists, in the shape of Billy and Marie MacInnes, really allows them to focus on the subject from all angles, from one night stands, friends with benefits to deep sould searching stuff all against a Housemartinesque rock attitude.

The Wrights
Album:Red And Yellow, Blue And Green
Label:Self Released
The Wrights need to spend more time touring the highways and byways of England, it's the only reason I can think that they haven't cracked the UK market in the same way of some of their contemporaries, well that and RCA not understanding its artists. Shannon Wright has got a real smokey sultry voice that was made to sing americana Adam Wright plays to get the best out of it. "Red And Yellow, Blue And Green" is an album that gives the bird to big label politics and lets the artists show exactly what it is their good at, i.e. writting and performing songs with a real sense of belief.

The Hepburns
Album:How The Fallen Are Mighty
Label:Radio Khartoum
There's not enough humour in music. It's a difficult game to play, it's a very thin line between something sophisticated enough to take repeated plays, like Bonzo Dog, and being a novelty band compared to the Baron Knights. The Hepburns are very much on the right side of that line. Their music comes with a twinkle in it's a eye, a sly grin on it's face and a really good pop sound and some delicately used tuba. It's not all humour, there's a good amount of social commentry wrapped into these songs. If there's a group that needs their own anthem it's the late night garage operators.

Jenna And Bethany Reid
"Escape" is subtitled, 'The Story Of Jan Vallsrud And The Shetland Bus' and is essentially the story of a world war two Norwegian resistance fighter told in both narrative and instrumentals. Shetlander Phil Goodland delivers Martyn McLaughlin's words, whilst Jenna & Bethany Reid, who have both performed In Norway, provide the dramatic traditional tunes that deliver the spirit. The album is well executed and highly evocative and carries the tale of one mans courage from one generation, though another and onwards. To do that it has to be top of its game and it is.

Afro Celt Sound System
Label:Real World
Taken from the five albums Afro Celt Sound Systyem recorded for Real World, "Capture" is a two CD set, "Verse" and "Chorus" that covers the songs and tunes of the band respectively, some twenty five tracks in total. Collected together like this, compressing fifteen years of music into two volumes, you really get a sense of whaty impact the Afro Celt Sound System had on music and how that influence changed along with the band. With guests like Sinead O'Connor, Robert Plant and Peter Gabriel all making contributions during their tenure you get a sense of the bands place.

Steven L Smith
Album:Outside Of Tupelo
The rise of Americana seems to have put hard country rock onto the back foot. With "Outside Of Tupelo", Steven L Smith helps it stagger off the ropes and get right back in the ring. From pole dancing temptresses to thieves on the road to redeption, from hony tonks to homesteads and all points in between, this is an album that's got the music of the South in it's heart. This is a country rock as it used to be, straight out of Nashville and onto the road. It's one of those albums that makes yo realise you'ld neglected an old friend because you'ld found something new. Welcome back.

Album:Mares' Tails
Label:Radio Khartoum
If you like your folk with a gothic edge than you would do well to explore "Mare's Tails" from the dark imaginings of Cavil. No where is this more noticeable than on "Planespotter" Often mocked as one of society's stranger tribes, obsessed with collecting numbers and well ordered, Cavil gives them a more dreamy side obsessed with the poetry of flight and thoughts of far reaching journies. It's a deep and reflective album, one that takes a while to get into. This is an album that needs to be coaxed into delivering it's finest moments, give it the time it needs.