Ben Calvert & The Swifts
Album:Festive Road
Label:Bohemian Jukebox
There is a touch of the storyteller about Ben Calvert & The Swifts, the songs have a strong and, at times, whimsical narrative to them. The feeling is enhanced by rich strings and keyboards, that give the songs a depth in which to endulge themselves and just as a decaying building can be more interesting than pristine ones, the tracks on "Festive Road" benefit from being a bit of kilter, whistling songs especially. Whilst comaprisons with the Divine Comedy are almost inevitable think in the style of rather than copy. There is something of the eccentric personality to the album.
Wooden Horse
Album:What Comes Around
Label:Self Released
Country blues, blues and bluegrass, well the sound of the south generally, take you pick of any delta county, great harmonies and superb playing, especially in the finger picking department, means that "What Comes Around" has the potential to be an Americana classic. A real achievement for Wooden Horse an English duo consisting Jamie Knight and Ben Church who write the majority of it so well I almost clocked Old Crow Medicine Show's "We're All In This Together" as one of theirs, the parallels get that close, if that ain't a contradiction.
The Bacon Brothers
Album:Philadelphia Road - The Best Of
It is said there is no more than six degrees of separation between pretty much anyone on the planet and Kevin Bacon. "Philadelphia Road - The Best Of The Bacon Brothers" pretty much takes it down to one click. Along with brother Michael, Kevin has recorded six albums as a duo, so arguably a complilation album was a little overdue. Distilling their work down to one album works well, they've never really set the world alight, but there's not a bad track here either. Predominently country rock in sound, the duo have been releasing albums since 1995.
James Deane
Album:Diamonds & Hearts
Label:Denzil Records
Singer songwriter James Deane may not have the emotional intensity of his e lacking namesake, but he does know how to put together a song. He's also assembled a great group of musicians around him ensuring that there is real life in his blues & country rock laden album, "Diamonds & Hearts. There is a subtitle on the sleeve 'Beautiful song and chorus' it's difficult to argue against the description, particularly when harmonising with backing vocalist Mim Grey. There's a good pace to the album, it feels uplifting, has a real warmth to it.
Maini Sorri
Album:Someday Vol 2
Sweden's Maini Sorri follows up her mini album "Someday" with a full length release, "Someday Vol 2". As the name implies it is an extension of the themes she established with the earlier cut, namely well polished pop songs. Sorri has a distinctive voice that is well suited to this sophisticated, layered, pop style. The album charts an emotional journey, encountering love in a number of it's forms and whilst it sounds good, it doesn't really push at any boundaries, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Again the highlightis the song sung in her native Swedish would have liked more.
Thursday's Child
Album:Far To Go
Label:Self ReleasedR
Thursday's Child are a duo consisting Chris Pyam and Ken Punshon who write and perform every song on this album and a fine song book it is to. "Far To Go" consists some thirteen tracks that have been written in a traditional style and covering many different aspects of life, politics, family traditions, witchcraft and simply getting older. In short its a remarkable album for it's reach, "When the Coffins Come Home" is a beautifully poetic tribute to Royal Wootton Bassett and a fitting way to sign off an enchanting set of songs.
Circus Envy
Single:Say Something
Label:Blue Book
Having delivered some great festival performances and a stunning album, "Secrets", Circus Envy are, hopefully, set to end of the year with a top single, "Say Something", from aforementioned album. Hopefully by focusing the attention onto a couple of tracks, the band will get the airplay they deserve and continue to reach wider and wider audiences. Hardgraft will certainly get you part way along the road, but talent is what gets you there in the end and whilst a little luck does no harm, you've got to have the underlying abilty and this crowd do in abundance.
Gavin Adam Wood
Album:Souls Apart
Label:Banana Records
Gavin Adam Wood is a new singer/songwriter on my radar, but as "Souls Apart" is his debut album that's not a surprise. Predominently written during 'a magical summer on the River Cam', the album has the feel of a man swept along on a tide of emotion, finding beauty in the world around him. Each song seems to pull out another series of thoughts, sometimes as a stream of consciousness, sometimes more composed reflective way. It's a real balladeers album, one which my wife assures me is best enjoyed with a bottle red wine, chocolate and imagination.
Liam Tarpey
Album:Warm Up My Bones
Label:Self Released
Having picked up his first guitar at six and been playing live since eight, it was almost inevitable that the blues was going to infuse Liam tarpey's soul. With time at uni and solid touring in Spain to hone his craft he returned to the UK to record "Warm Up My Bones" during which time he found kindred spirits in bass player Rob Millard and drummer James Taylor. The result, a hard rocking blues album, with that fuzzy around the edge sensation that sets the nerves a jangling, chalk up one more to the man at the crossroads.
Jerry Leger
Album:Traveling Grey
Label:Golden Rocket
"Traveling Grey" is Jerry Leger's fourth album and was until Amazon delivered some of his back catalogue to my door, the only one I owned. Hailing from Newfoundland, Leger writes and performs the sort of songs that will be getting performed in bars and honky tonks long after he's pulled of his boots for the last time. This is an album of songs you'll want to sing as well as hear. The characters he writes about are strong and often in that fascinating bad boy sort of way, they'd kill you as soon as look at you, but make great songs, a nod to Stagger Lee and Tom Dooley.
The Thinking Men
EP:Mirror Test
Label:Self released
As reference points go, Siouxsie & The Banshees and Iggy pop & The Stooges aren't too bad, now take that indie/new wave sound and over lay a bit of blues and left bank theater and you'ld be starting to get an idea what Norwich's sound like. There is a bit of an acquired taste to The Thinking Men, but once sampled, "The Mirror Test" isn't easily forgotten. Subsequent plays seem to bring out different tangents from both song and sound. It looks like East Anglia's Shaneolinski may have a challenger to his off the wall crown.
The Lennerrockers
Album:High Class Lady Best Of The Lennerockers
If you missed the clue in the name, a look down the track titles, "Huddersfield", "Skifflebilly Pop" and "United Kingdom Of Rock 'n' Roll" might convince you that The Lennerrockers were a classic, homegrown rockabilly, rock 'n' roll band ala Matchbox, Polecat & The Jets, but they hail from Germany. "High Class Lady - Best Of The Lennerockers" is good honest rock 'n' roll of the type that's been played for nigh on sixty years and they do a cracking job of it. The songs may be new but this is an album with it's feet firmly rooted in the fifties and it's having a real good time.

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