FolkWorld #62 03/2017

CD & DVD Reviews

Kit Hawes & Aaron Catlow "The Fox"
Big Badger Records, 2016

Artist Video

Kit Hawes (guitar, vocals) and Aaron Catlow (violin, vocals) are a Bristol based duo releasing their debut album with 9 original and traditional songs and tunes.
Hawes wrote the dramatic Folk song “The fighter”, he sings lead vocals, guitar and violin create an intoxicating pace and Catlow joins in singing, my favourite track is the stunning opener. Their version of the traditional “John Barleycorn” is within the best I ever heard and the title song is a traditional story of a fox stealing geese for his puppies, brought forward with much passion and soul. Catlow’s instrumental tune “Peddler’s leg” starts with a melancholic melody and accelerates the pace giving Catlow the chance to showcase his fantastic playing. Other highlights are “Lofoten” (Hawes/traditional/Catlow), a brilliant set of three tunes starting with a hauntingly beautiful tune, changing the rhythm and inspiring with their awesome playing together and the traditional “Country Blues”, a laid-back song.
The two excellent musicians are members of the 5-piece ensemble Sheelanagig, but with that exceptional debut album they certainly will make themselves a name as a duo.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Mean Mary "Sweet"
Woodrock Records, 2016

Artist Video

Florida native Mary James started making music at the age of 5, now she is based in Nashville TN and just released her 14th album with 13 new original songs. Being a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist Mary recorded some songs all alone, on others she’s accompanied by a bunch of excellent musicians.
Mary gives some brilliant solo performances like the folky opener “Sunshine”, she plays banjo, guitar, bass, keyboards and Cajon, or the melancholic instrumental air “Voice from a dream” featuring guitar and violin. David Larsen joins her on the rhythmic title song on bass, Mary snips her fingers and plays banjo. The two siblings Mary and Frank team up for “Sweet pickin’ balm”, Frank plays 12-string guitar and sings with his deep bass and Mary answers with crystal clear voice and gives the intoxicating pace on the banjo. My favourite is “Bad ol’ John”, a breath-taking Blues brought forward by Walter Cellini on bass, Mindy Wright on drums and Mary on guitar and going wild on banjo. Other highlights are the up-beat Bluegrass “Trumbull County Antique Tractor Show”, Mary on banjo and violin, Frank on 12-string guitar, Jim Brown on bass and Norton T. Miller giving the pace with spoons, bass drum and bell, or the Blues-rock “My own sweet time” featuring Larsen on bass, Allen Marshall on drums, Mary rocking on e-guitar and Jim Brown adding some sound effects.
Mean Mary is a virtuoso singer and multi-instrumentalist, her songs are captivating and she works with excellent musicians. Check her out!
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Teresa James & the Rhythm Tramps "Bonafide"
Jesi-Lu Records, 2016

Originally from Houston TX, Teresa James & the Rhythm Tramps are based in the Los Angeles area. They recorded their 9th album with 11 original songs in Santa Clarita hosting a bunch of great musicians.
Teresa sings and plays the Boogie piano on “I like it like that” (L. Pauling), Terry Wilson on bass, Billy Watts on guitar, and Tony Braunagel on drums keep it rolling. Jay Bellerose grabs the drum sticks and Red Young joins on organ for the title song, an intoxicating Blues-rock. Teresa’s singing is awesome whether it’s her soulful lament on the slow Blues “The power of need”, featuring Mike Finnigan on piano and Ron Dziubla and Mark Pender on horns, or her powerful Soul voice on “Hollywood way”, driven by Jim Christie on drums and Bellerose on percussion and showcasing Watts’ bottleneck guitar. Wilson wrote all 11 tracks, “My god is better than yours” co-written with Gregg Sutton, who sings a brilliant duet with Teresa on this heavy Blues-rock. Another highlight is the tongue-in-cheek Soul “What happens in Vegas”, may be referring to the movie Hangover.
Teresa James is a brilliant singer and Terry Wilson a fine songsmith, together with their band they create a splendid sound.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

The Devil Makes Three "Redemption & Ruin"
New West Records, 2016

Artist Video

The Devil Makes Three are Pete Bernhard on guitar, Cooper McBean on guitar and banjo and Lucia Turino on double bass. Their new album is a homage to the musical legacy that has influenced them, 10 cover versions, one traditional and one original song.
They kick off with Robert Johnson’s intoxicating banjo driven “Drunken hearted man” featuring Jerry Douglas on lap steel. Muddy Waters liked “Champagne and Reefer” to get high and on Willie Nelson’s “I gotta get drunk” they are joined by fiddler Chance McCoy, creating an awesome Country Blues. “There will be a jubilee” is the only original track, an up-beat two-step with guest singer Emmylou Harris and great backing vocals. Other highlights are the traditional Bluegrass “Down in the valley” and the slow Blues “Angel of death” from Hank Williams Sr.
The Devil Makes Three usually play original songs, on their new album they prove to be a brilliant cover band. Check them out!

Listen to the full album exclusively @ NoiseTrade!
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

AJ Hobbs "Too much is never enough"
Booker Records, 2016

Artist Video

Californian singer/songwriter AJ Hobbs has teamed up with bass player Ted Russel Kamp to produce his debut full time album. Together with Jeremy Long (guitars, keyboards, pedal steel), Storm Rhode IV on guitars, John Schreffler on pedal steel, Audrey Richmond on fiddle, Brian Whelan on keyboards and Matt Lesser and Jim Doyle on drums they recorded 11 original songs and a cover version.
They kick off with the title track, an intoxicating up-beat Country Rock’n’Roll featuring nice guitar work, pedal steel, a powerful rhythm section and AJ’s beautiful singing. Merle Haggard’s “The bottle let me down” is a slow Country Blues about the danger of booze and “Eastside” a Blues ballad with a touch of Soul. He also re-recorded the title track of his first EP, “Shit just got real”, a funky Country Rock and Kamp added his romantic love song “A whole lot of you and me”. Another highlight is the charming duet of Hobbs with Dominique Pruitt on “Take it slow”, an up-beat honky-tonk co-written with the Californian songwriter.
AJ Hobbs has his roots in the desert of California and in Texas, both influences melt together in his music, though sometimes mainstream Country the guys inspire with their musicianship.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Dennis Jay "Western & Country"
Linkhorn Music, 2016

Texas based singer/songwriter Dennis Jay (vocals, guitars, banjo) has teamed up with producer Lloyd Maines (guitars, dobro, pedal steel, bass, percussion) to record 13 songs, 12 originals and a traditional, accompanied by some great local guest musicians.
They start with the jaunty Country Swing “Texas skies shining in a cowgirl’s eyes” featuring Richard Bowden on fiddle, Jay on acoustic guitar and Maines on steel and rhythm guitar, bass and percussion. Lisa Gamache sings a beautiful duet with Jay on “The thorns of your roses”, an up-tempo Country song with Terri Hendrix on harmonica, William Mansell on drums and Jimmie Scott Calhoun on upright bass. “Watch over you tonight” is a classic Country Folk performed by Maines on lead guitar, dobro, bass and percussion and Jay on acoustic guitar, singing and yodelling along and “Primicia (volver a visitar)” a rhythmic Tex-Mex song with Bukka Allen on accordion. The Country waltz “The lights of deadwood” is dedicated to the late singer/songwriter Kent Finlay and “Right up on the edge” is Mexican style Folk song with pedal steel and Richard Bowden on trumpet.
The music of Dennis Jay sounds typical Texan, his collection of songs includes classic Country & Western music, Folk and Tex-Mex and displays some of Austin’s most sought after musicians.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Doghouse Roses "Lost is not losing"
Yellowroom Music, 2016

Iona MacDonald (vocals, guitar) and Paul Tasker (guitar, banjo, vocals) are the Doghouse Roses from Glasgow. They came together with 11 self-crafted songs to relaunch their project with their third studio album featuring Craig Laurie on drums, Steph McGourty on bass and a few guest appearances.
Iona’s hauntingly beautiful singing on her melancholic story “Pour” is accompanied by fine guitar sounds, Jo Shaw’s harmony vocals and the moderate pace of drums and bass. John Alexander joins on acoustic guitar for the tender guitar ballad “To decide” by Paul and Laura-Beth Salter plays the mandolin on “The whistle song” (Paul/Sara Reith), dazzling mid-tempo folk. Iona wrote “Weather the storm”, an intoxicating rock song with Alexander on e-guitar, or “Fairground”, a charming Americana featuring a duet with Katie McArthur and Jez Hellard on harmonica. Paul wrote the Country Rock “Diesel engine” presenting a duet with Biff Smith and the Slovenian Dejan Lapanja on electric lead guitar.
The songs were mostly written individually during their 2 years long break, but finally they ended up on the duo’s brilliant new album.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Sharon Goldman "Kol isha (A Woman’s Voice)"
Own label, 2016

Singer/songwriter Sharon Goldman (vocals, guitars, keyboards) was raised in the Jewish community of Long Island, when she discovered Manhattan’s open mike scene she burst out to make her living with music. On her latest album, produced together with Stephen Murphy (guitars, harmony vocals) and featuring some excellent musicians, she dives deep into her Jewish origins, myths and female power.
Craig Akin on upright bass joins the two on acoustic and slide guitar for the soulful Blues “Song of songs”, Sharon inspires with her smooth and powerful voice. Cheryl Prashker on percussion, Mark Dann on bass and Murphy on electric and acoustic guitar create the rocky pace, Abbie Gardner adds the sound of the dobro and Sharon sings a breath-taking hymn on “Lilith”. She adds a lovely cover version of Eliza Gilkyson’s “Rose of Sharon”, performed solo on piano, to her 12 original songs. “The Sabbath queen” is a light-hearted song in a relaxed mid-tempo Latino pace featuring Prashker on percussion, Akin on upright bass, Murphy on acoustic and Sharon on classical guitar. Other samples are the melancholic slow waltz “In my bones” presenting Dan Hickey on drums or the charming ballad “The bride” with Laura Wolf on violin, Prashker on percussion and Sharon on classical guitar. Another highlight is the title song, Brian Prunka on oud, Sharon on acoustic guitar and Murphy on e-guitar play an oriental style tune driven by upright bass and percussion and Sharon sings in English and Jewish.
Sharon Goldman is an excellent singer/songwriter and together with Stephen Murphy and guests she has recorded a brilliant album.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Kern "False Deceiver"
Own label, 2016

Artist Video

Brendan McCreanor (uilleann pipes, whistles, vocals), SJ McArdle (vocals, guitars, mandolin, harmonica) and Barry Kieran (fiddle) are the Louth based band Kern, together with producer Trevor Hutchinson on double bass and Eamonn Moloney on bodhràn they recorded 4 original songs and six traditionals for their debut album.
They play traditional sets like "Misty" featuring the march Fingal's weeping, the up-beat tune Mist on the mountain, Michael McGoldrick's slip jig Farewell to Whalley Range and the final tune Mist on the meadow. These instrumental tunes are a perfect showcase for their brilliant musicianship. McArdle is a fine songwriter and adds the melancholic song "Leaving", mesmerized by whistle and pipes, the rhythmic anti war song "The hard wind" or the dramatic "Haggard floor". Traditional songs like "Rocks of bonnie Gibraltar" or the final set "William Taylor/The tempest" complete their program.
The music of Kern is traditional contemporary folk brought forward by brilliant musicians, recorded and produced by one of the most famous and talented double bass players of Irish folk, Trevor Hutchinson.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Mississippi Heat "Cab driving man"
Delmark Records, 2016

Chicago based Electric Blues line-up around Belgian harmonica player and main songwriter Pierre Lacoque have released their 12th recording within 25 years of history. The current line-up features singer Inetta Visor, Michael Dotson (guitar, vocals, songwriter), Giles Corey (guitar, vocals), bass player Brian Quinn, drummer Terence Williams and keyboarder Chris “Hambone” Cameron. Together with a few guests they recorded 14 original songs and two covers.
They start off with “Cupid bound”, a Chicago Blues featuring Kenny Smith on drums, Sax Gordon on tenor and baritone sax and a stunning guitar solo by Dotson. The intoxicating title track, co-written with Cameron, is driven by Ruben Alvarez’ percussions, Williams and Quinn and highlights virtuoso piano, sax and harmonica playing. Visor’s powerful lament on “Flowers on my tombstone” is breath-taking and Lacoque treats the harmonica superbly accompanied by Sumito Ariyo on Blues piano and Corey plays an awesome duet with Lacoque on “Icy blue”, an up-beat R&B song. Dotson wrote three songs on which he sings the lead vocals, “The last go round” is a shuffling Blues-rock and perfect showcase for Lacoque and Dotson. On the rocking “Luck of the draw” they are joined by Dave Specter on guitar who duels with Lacoque and Visor and Lacoque introduces the slow Blues “Mama Kaila” before Visor takes the lead with her warm and powerful alto. Another highlight is “Smooth operator” (Clyde Otis/Murray Stein), Gordon on sax and Alvarez on percussion join the line-up to add a touch of Latino Soul.
Mississippi Heat, based in Chicago, also feels at home in the Delta, their musical style reaches out all over the Blues world. Lacoque is a brilliant songwriter and harmonica player and he has gathered some of the finest musicians to record one of the best Blues albums of the year.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Ann Kirrane "Behind Yon Mountain"
Own label, 2016

Artist Video

Clare singer and concertina player Ann Kirrane has released her sophomore album with 7 traditional songs, 7 cover versions and an original song. The recordings were made together with co-producer Garry O'Briain (piano, guitars, mandocello), Seamie O'Dowd (mandolin, harmonica, guitars), Seamus McGuire (fiddle, viola), Roman Greene on fiddle, Dermot Byrne on accordion, Eamonn Cotter on flute and Padraig Stevens on percussion.
Ann sings Irish traditionals like "Óró Johnny", a wonderful rhythmic song with virtuoso playing together of accordion, concertina and fiddle, American folk songs like the beautiful slow waltz "The blackest crow" or the famous English song "Maid who sold her Barley", a rhythmic and mesmerizing performance. She chose to cover the romantic love song "Belfast love" from Northern Ireland's Finbar Magee, Brendan Graham's sad Irish Gaelic ballad "Crucan na bPáiste" or Leonard Cohen's melancholic "Song for Bernadette". The lively original song "Headin' back to Doolin" was co-written with her friend and percussion player Padraig Stevens.
Ann Kirrane has a beautiful soprano voice and together with Garry O'Briain and the band she gave those well known songs her personal touch.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Bernie Pháid "Síol"
Own label, 2014

Article: Irish Heartbeat

Bernie Pháid (vocals, ukulele), singer from Dingle Peninsula, teamed up with ex Lunasa guitar player Donogh Hennessy to produce an album with 9 traditional songs and one cover. In addition they invited a bunch of great Irish musicians and singers featuring Pauline Scanlon, ex Cherish the Ladies fiddler Winifred Horan, Trevor Hutchinson on bass or Beoga percussionist Eamon Murray.
Bernie kicks off with the beautiful traditional Blues ballad "Trouble in the mind", Hennessy on guitar, Cleek Schrey on fiddle and Martin Brunsden on bass accompany her soulful singing. "The cuckoo" is a rhythmic song driven by guitar, bass, percussion and Jake Hoffman on banjo, Bernie adds her gorgeous voice and the sound of the ukulele. Horan plays the strings on Tony Small's folk song "Ghosty Ryan" and "Ruben" is an up-beat Bluegrass featuring, ukulele, guitar, fiddle, bass, percussion and the voices of Peter Winne and Kyle Morgan. Together with Scanlon she sings "Nead na Lachain", Hutchinson plays bass, Hennessy on guitar and Murray on bodhràn complete the line-up. American singer/songwriter Jefferson Hamer is specialised on child songs and he joins Bernie for "Coal Creek", a heartbreaking ballad accompanied only by guitar.
Bernie Pháid has a hauntingly beautiful voice and together with those brilliant musicians she has recorded a stunning album with traditional songs from Ireland and the United States.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Deb Ryder "Grit Grease & Tears"
BEJEB Music, 2016

Chicago born Blues singer Deb Ryder teamed up with drummer Tony Braunagel to produce her third album. Together with her husband and bass player Ric Ryder and her band including Johnny Lee Schell (guitar, slide guitar) and Mike Finnigan (piano, Hammond B3) she returned to the Ultratone Studios in Studio City CA to record 12 original songs. Additional guitar players Kirk Fletcher and Albert Lee, harmonica players Pieter van der Pluijm and Bob Corritore, horn players Joe Sublett (tenor saxophone) and Darrell Leonard (trumpet), Jim Pugh on piano and special guest Sugaray Rayford complete the line-up.
Deb wrote 11 songs and starts with an up-beat shuffle featuring the two mighty horns and a stunning Hammond B3 solo, “Ain’t gonna be easy”. Deb’s breath-taking duet with Sugaray Rayford on “Get a little steam up” (Brian Alterman/Ric Ryder) is backed by two guitars, including Kirk Fletcher, and the band’s funky Blues-rock. The title track is a perfect showcase for the guys, a slow Blues stomp featuring Deb’s powerful pleading answered by Bob Corritore’s wailing harmonica and driven by the shuffling pace of the band. Then Deb mesmerizes on the beautiful slow Blues “Lord knows I do” and rocks on the West Coast Funk “Panic mode” introducing Jim Pugh on piano. Albert Lee joins in for “Just her nature” and Kenny Gradney adds the pulsating bass lines to the intoxicating groove. Another highlight is the gospel flavoured Blues “Rivers forgiveness” presenting Pieter van der Pluijm on harmonica.
Deb Ryder is a great songwriter, she has a powerful Blues voice and the excellent choice of musicians resulted in a brilliant album.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch "Champagne Velvet"
Underworld Records, 2016

Artist Video

Texas based trio Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch recorded their 3rd album with 14 original tracks by Jason Elmore (vocals, guitars) in Dallas, Mike Talbot on drums and Brandon Katona on bass complete the line-up.
They kick off with the up-beat jump Blues “House rockin’ Boogie #7”, intoxicating pace, powerful guitar and passionate singing. Then they slow down for the sleek shuffle “Double my money” and the smooth slow Blues “Midnight in Memphis”. The Nashville shuffle “Land of plenty” tells the tale of hard luck and trouble of a man and the instrumental title track is a jazzy swing driven by a brilliant bass line and the discreet drum pace leaving space for Jason’s fine guitar playing. My favourite song is the acoustic lament “Green to gone”, Jason plays the slide guitar, Brandon acoustic rhythm guitar and Mike adds some percussive accents. They finish with “Mary Jane”, an up-beat rocking and rolling Boogie.
Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch stick to the classic Blues trio format, guitar – bass – drums. You’ll be surprised how powerful and rich this can be.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Jennifer Licko "Sing"
Own label, 2016

Artist Video

North Carolina based singer/songwriter Jennifer Licko has her roots in Scotland and on her latest album she honours her heritage with 6 Scot Gaelic dance and work songs. She adds 3 original songs and a cover which can’t deny they have Appalachian roots. Jennifer was joined by producer Patsy O’Brien (guitar, bass, mandolin, banjo, whistle, percussion, vocals), Ronan Moloney (flute, bodhràn) and two fiddlers, Patrick Mangan and Dylan Foley.
Jennifer sings “Light the way”, a beautiful light-hearted Americana accompanied by guitar, flute and bass. Foley plays the fiddle on the traditional “Fill iu o” and Jennifer inspires with her crystal-clear Gaelic chant driven by guitar and bodhràn, O’Brien adds some whistle, mandolin and banjo sounds. Mangan takes over the fiddle for “Ruidhlidh”, an intoxicating working song with Jennifer’s virtuoso singing, brilliantly arranged by O’Brien. Then the guitar opens for the mesmerizing ballad “Flying high”, whistle and flute dancing with Jennifer’s voice. The slide guitar kicks off the traditional “He na milibhig”, Scot Gaelic songs meet Appalachian sounds, Mangan adds the fiddle and handclaps and guitar create the pace. Finally she pays credit to her Appalachian home with Bill McKay’s “Some roads lead on”, a melancholic lament.
Jennifer Licko is a brilliant singer and talented songwriter, her Gaelic songs are breath-taking and the English songs are beautifully crafted.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Magic Car "Meteorites"
Tiny Dog Records, 2016

British actor, singer and songwriter Phil Smeeton has written 12 songs for the new album of Magic Car, his band featuring singer Hazel Atkinson, Martyn West on guitar, Doug Ebling on drums and producer John Thompson on bass.
Hazel sings the hauntingly beautiful opener “Fritz’s Beach”, a romantic ballad with virtuoso mandolin playing driven by a cool moderate pace, and the Blues harp kicks off “Only in America”, Phil sings the Blues to the wailing sound of the slide guitar. Then Hazel rocks the listener on “Manwhippa!”, an intoxicating Blues-Rock accompanied by acoustic and electric guitar, bass, piano and percussion, and mesmerizes with her crystal-clear voice on the lovely ballad “Till the end of time”. Phil sings the title song, a melancholic slow waltz, and “The bends”, a Country song with Hazel’s beautiful backing vocals.
Hazel and Phil are accomplished singers, the band is brilliant and the songs cover a wide range of mainly American styles, a wonderful recording.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club "The Commandments According to SCAC"
SCACUnincorporated; 2016

There is no shame in being my second favorite band from my former home state of Colorado, when the great Woven Hand resides there. But Slim Cessna, Munly, Dwight Pentacost, and their merry cohorts have cooked up some fascinatingly catchy, yet dark songs over many years now. This band will get you dancing while exploring the dark rural landscapes of the new west. Here, they take on the Ten Commandments with exciting acoustic and electric arrangements along with the usual variety of intriguing vocal lines. The Old Testament works well in the west and this excellent album should have you exploring its ideas and your memories. There are many fine bands navigating dark Americana, but the Denver bands have already mapped it out quite thoroughly.
© David Hintz

The Feelies "in Between"
BarNone; 2017

The Feelies were at the forefront of the ‘indie’ scene, not that they may particularly care to have that label. But what they did back in the post punk days in a club called Maxwells in Hoboken, New Jersey (as well as New York City), was to latch on to an Americana feeling and incorporate it into urban and edgy musical structures that were presented with pop hooks as well. Other bands flocked to this style, but the Feelies had that certain quality that kept them far more interesting and quietly important than most of their followers. The new album is not quite as edgy as some of my favorites of the past, but the songwriting is still top notch at creating their urban Americana atmosphere. The opening songs showcase this as well as a smooth rocker like ‘Gone, Gone, Gone’. And the droning nine-minute reprise of the opening cut is there as a reminder of how the Feelies can stretch out a catchy song into an expansive journey. It is exciting to hear that they can still create such a fine record, only their second in the last 25 years in this, their 40th anniversary.
© David Hintz

Snowapple "Illusion"
ZIP Records; 2015

Artist Video

This is an exciting release that hits all the right buttons for me when I look for something in folk that sounds of now as well as ancient days of old. This band is basically three women from the Netherlands who take some of the moves from Elly & Rikkert and Chimera and bring in everything from electronic looping to operatic moves to shape their fine songs. They also move from the ethereal to a solid roots based singing without any awkward shift in sight. If you like the Unthanks or even Faun Fables, this one should easily appeal to you. I hope folk fans everywhere give Snowapple a listen. They are moving forward in a familiar and exciting manner.
© David Hintz

Henry Padovani "I Love Today"
Repertoire; 2016

Even as someone embedded in the punk rock days of the late 1970s, I only now have learned that this Corsican guitarist was the original guitarist of the Police and was even on an early single. And although he has had Sting and Stewart Copeland play with him on previous solo outings, don’t expect anything like ‘Roxanne’ here. This is more of an experienced lounge folk with a bit of blues, and plenty of exotic European touches in the accompanying tones. Maybe the passing of Leonard Cohen has his music on my mind, but the vocal style here is certainly in the same arena, maybe with a slight Skip Spence twist now and then (although far more rational than that). Once you grab on to Padovani’s style (and it is not that tough), this record can really grab you and keep your attention, even at its quietest moments.
© David Hintz

Auburn "Love+Promises"
Scarlet Records; 2016

This record is recorded in Nashville and has that slick production you may expect along with top-notch musicians. But it is not a clichéd country sound by any stretch of the imagination as there is a mannered worldly approach to the tempo and atmosphere of these songs. Vocalist Liz Lenten deserves much of the credit as the quiver in her voice and the seemingly impossible way she combines playful and solemn tones work wonders in shaping this into something unique and personal. Well done
© David Hintz

Kyle Fosburgh "Night Falls, Day Breaks"
Own label; 2016

Kyle Fosburgh’s music has been discussed several times before on the pages of Folkworld,[60] and it is always been a positive discussion, at least when I have been involved. His acoustic guitar work always has a delicacy and classiness to it and little has changed here. He works through shifting chords and little fills with great touch. His vocals are also delicate but clear in delivering these ten songs. There are a few you have heard before such as ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ and ‘Will the Circle Be Unbroken’, but I preferred the songs I have not heard before. ‘Jewel on the Water’ has a melancholy feel, but there is a sense of moving forward that keeps me tuned in and following the song along its journey.
© David Hintz

Samson’s Delilah "Unfinished Humans"
Own label; 2016

Although are plenty of rock moves and pop hooks here, you cannot escape the depth of the African beats and folk melodies in this music. There is a bit of that great Walkabouts style in the songwriting and alternating male and female lead vocals. But the rhythms are more unique brining in reggae and Zimbabwean or Malian styled guitar strikes. It is playful, even while reaching deep and is quite hard to resist. So why bother? There is even a fascinating take on Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. Or perhaps a song like ‘Glencoe’ that sounds like it could be an outtake from Heather Jones and Meic Stevens. There is a lot of variety and it all works.
© David Hintz

Carrie Newcomer "The Beautiful Not Yet"
Own label; 2016

Artist Video

Carrie Newcomer has one of those rich folk voices akin to Bridget St. John or Anne Murray. The instrumentation is light and playful the way the mandolin plucking interacts with the acoustic guitar—all with an acoustic bass and light percussion occasionally setting a subtle beat. There are piano cuts that almost have a Karen Carpenter feeling with considerably more depth than the Carpenter brand of pop music. Ultimately this is a solid folk/singer songwriter outing with many of the songs giving you a pleasant, yet haunted mindset (there is a song ‘Haunted’). Newcomer is a veteran in full stride of her songwriting and performances.
© David Hintz

Joseph Parsons Band "The Field, The Forest"
Blue Rose Records, 2016

Artist Video

This is a two CD set, although it probably should be called two EPs featuring twelve original songs. Parsons split the material as he explores light and dark themes equally. Also, he takes his rootsy folk style and lets it rip into intense rock moments on ‘The Forest’ half of this record. It is all quite earnest with a focused delivery and fine musical accompaniment. Although based in Germany this has a modern American sound throughout with fine English vocal delivery. Quite simply, this is a solid folk rock recording—maybe a bit of folk here and more rock there.
© David Hintz

Tobin Sprout "The Universe and Me"
Burger Records; 2016

As a key part of the Dayton music scene once upon a time, I am always happy to follow along with my fellow Daytonians and their musical successes. And Tobin Sprout has had plenty as a key member of Guided by Voices for so many years. He starts off this solo album with a fiery Bob Mould sounding rocker before settling into a folkier GBV effort. He then hits several points in between in an eclectic Sebadoh style that fits well into the GBV canon. While the vocals are a bit softer and more innocent, the songs are also more fully realized for the most part. Nothing quite sounds like an outtake, although they are short and to the point. A few songs may be too twee or simplistic, but most showcase a solid individual perspective with plenty of experienced sounds of the recent history of indie music. And why not, as Tobin Sprout helped invent it.
© David Hintz

The Wedding Present "Going, Going…"
HHBTM Records; 2016

Although not a folk band and more of a post punk band with nice pop hooks, the Wedding Present is still worth a listen for rock fans who enjoy quieter odd folk patterns. First off, this is the band whose ex-members went on to form the wonderful Ukrainians who revved up Eastern European folk music to wonderful extremes. And this release opens with several instrumental cuts that cover ambient folk territory such as in ‘Sprague’. But ultimately the high quality songwriting in the indie rock style comes forth. Saying indie rock simplifies the music of David Gedge too much, as his music is driving, catchy, and of the quality that it could work in a variety of formats. If you are music fan of any type, the Wedding Present is a gift you should be giving yourself. This record is as good a place to start as any in the back catalog.
© David Hintz

Matt North "Above Ground Fools"
Round Badge Records; 2016

Veteran Nashville drummer Matt North and his band toughen the twang here. It is full-blooded Americana with country rock moves and occasionally pulling back to a folkier outing. There are good stories here, which always elevates the Americana style. And with a title like ‘Cronkite and Cosell’, I was quite anxious to hear the lyrics (younger people are excused from the specific experience, but it is great history). The music here is solid enough to keep me engaged and I really enjoyed the blunt ending on ‘I Sold it all’. Ultimately Matt North’s story telling keeps him above the large stack of likable, but average Americana folk-rock releases.
© David Hintz

Alonso "Alonso"
Own label; 2017

If you like flamenco guitar style as well as modern and classic pop music, Alonso just could be a perfect match for you. The light lead guitar is clear and counters the melody of the electronics and rhythm guitar. It all comes together in a pleasant atmosphere with percussion that will keep you more likely to get up and move rather than drift off in the music. The vocals are soulful and although you could call this worldly, I am not sure which world it is from. So well done to Alonso for this clever combination of styles into a comfortable complete package that has not ever crossed this desk before.
© David Hintz

Brinsley Schwarz "It’s All Over Now"
Megadodo; 2017

You may know the band Brinsley Schwarz (named after the guitarist), although they may not be quite as famous as their buddies Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe (a member), and Graham Parker. If you weren’t aware of the connection, they have a version of Lowe’s classic ‘Cruel to Be Kind’ that pops up quick enough on this album. This album is 25 years old and through a variety of missteps has finally been released, on vinyl record, for the first time. It offers plenty of evidence that this band was an effective bar band that often elevated the music to much classier levels. All of that is present here, as every move is smart and on point. I don’t find it overly exciting, but I never really did for albums from these particular musicians. It is taken in best as an accumulation of a long live set where it really hits home. There is some country twang in here too, as the singer songwriter folk rock style does flash American roots at times. It’s well worth a listen and fans should be quite happy. I am always happy when every good album gets a proper release.
© David Hintz

R. Stevie Moore and Jason Falkner "Make it Be"
Bar None Records; 2017

If you like clever songwriting that knows how to rock and avoid being cute, you should pull up a chair and dig into this. There are some roots showing here and there, but it is mostly pop hooks and gutsy delivery on display. The lyrics are fun and there are odd little experimental interludes here and there to keep you on your toes. The touch of psychedelic folk rock of ‘She’s Going Out’ will put you in a time warp as well and showcases their fine vocal work. Steer clear of this if you can’t handle eclectic music, but the grounding is there if you favor that certain flair that makes some music stand out. This record certainly takes familiar forms and stands clear of many others around these days.
© David Hintz

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