The last time John Murry came to Newcastle he and his band had were all laid low with the flu, a fact that Murry reminded us of at the start of his solo appearance tonight. Nevertheless the band soldiered on to deliver an understated but heartfelt performance; that belied their dilapidated states and possibly even added poignancy to the songs about addiction, loss and betrayal. Tonight Murry had come alone; simply a songwriter and his guitar for an ‘intimate’ evening among…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on March 2, 2014 at 10:00am — No Comments
Classic Rock songs get an unplugged and feisty makeover
For whatever reason 2014 appears to be the year of the ‘covers album’ with the great and the good releasing their own versions of other people’s songs. Some I’ve heard have obviously been contract fillers but a couple have merited more than two listens; and in the case of The Covers Collection by Sandi Thom; it just might be the album that changes her career for the better.
‘Covers albums’ are…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on February 22, 2014 at 8:00am — No Comments
Lyrically astute singer-songwriter serves notice on his Peers
This is Robby Hecht’s third album and just goes to show what can be achieved by serving an apprenticeship and learning your craft; as every one of the 12 songs here tells its own story and when combined create an album that will end the year on many critic’s Best Of lists.
Opening with the upbeat but maudlin (if such a thing exists) I Don’t Believe It Hecht narrates a harsh break-up in a…Continue
Subtle, Nu-Folk that owes a debt to the bedsit writers of the 70’s
Folk Music; and in particular English Folk Music, generally leaves me unmoved and a bit bored; so it takes something special to hold my attention, and Carrie Tree has managed that with ease.
The press release that accompanied the CD lists the usual suspects that Carrie was ‘influenced’ by but, if my memory serves me correctly she owes a lot more to Judee Sill and Sandy Denny than Ray…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on February 15, 2014 at 1:30pm — No Comments
Grown up Country music
I first received this album over a year ago and loved it instantly; but due to record company hassles it never actually got released. Katie has now taken the Mastertapes and shined some rough spots and roughed up shiny bits and is now releasing the album herself in the format she originally wanted it to sound.
All of the songs on the album were written by Katie in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia or latterly in her new home in…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on February 3, 2014 at 2:00pm — No Comments
Alt-Country just got itself a Classic album.
Let’s get the negative stuff out of the way; the album cover looks like it could have been a Leon Russell Bootleg designed by a stoned hippie and the band’s name; Hard Working Americans is at best in poor taste and at worst patronising.
Now the good stuff; the band was formed and is led by Todd Snider who corralled a bunch of friends to create an album of songs by some of his other friends; that (in his opinion)…Continue
Folk music takes a left turn and ends up in New Orleans
I first encountered Holy Moly and the Crackers at a Music Festival two years ago when it would be fair to say they ‘stole the show.’ Soon afterwards they released their debut album FIRST AVENUE which was critically acclaimed but cruelly ignored by the nation’s radio stations.
Holy Moly and the Crackers are literally fizzing with ideas; no sooner had FIRST AVENUE hit the shops, when a proposed Folk Opera…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on January 30, 2014 at 2:30pm — No Comments
Irish troubadour pours his heart out on his ‘break-up’ album
Born and brought up in Belfast but more recently a resident in Australia, this is Andy White’s 11th album and he uses every canon in his armoury to articulately tell us he has ‘moved on’ after a traumatic break-up and things are now alright; but could be better.
Opening track Driftin’ harks back to the singer’s Power-Pop days on Stiff Records with slightly psychedelic guitars, overdubs…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on January 30, 2014 at 1:00pm — No Comments
Classic Country just found itself a new Honkytonk hero
I discovered Sturgill Simpson last year when he recorded a session for Daytrotter and his songs were described as being full of ‘cheaters, heartbreakers and kicks in the balls,’ which was good enough for me.
This debut album, arrived at Christmas amid a pile of other new releases; but has been played every day since; often as a palette cleanser when I’ve had to suffer yet another whiney singer-songwriter…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on January 28, 2014 at 1:30pm — No Comments
It was only by some meticulous planning that I found myself in London for this gig; and that was because I desperately wanted to see support act, Malojian’s London début.
The young singer-songwriter, from Belfast appeared nervous as he performed a handful of songs from his album The Deer’s Cry before a smattering of 40 people spread sparsely around the hall. Opening with Watch The Rain Stevie quickly won over the hardy few who weren’t talking loudly at the bar…Continue
If Lucinda ever fronted Fleetwood Mac, this might be the outcome
At 10 years old Amelia White bought the 1968 Martin D-18 that she still uses today, from her brother and subsequently battled her parents for the next 8 years because she said she wanted to have a career in music; eventually leaving home to to pursue her dream.
Several albums later and a career largely in the shadows of Nashville and beyond brings us to OLD POSTCARD which is something of a…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on January 22, 2014 at 2:30pm — No Comments
After my musical hiatus towards the end of 2013 a career change means my weekly radio show on Tyneside based Hive Community Radio Station; is BACK. Every Sunday afternoon (GMT) I will be bringing you the best in Classic and Brand New Americana, Roots, Blues, Country, Folk and even a couple of left-field tracks that should and will appeal to readers of No Depression .
This week we bring you new tracks by Sturgill Simpson who is causing quite a stir in the UK, Amelia White,…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on January 19, 2014 at 11:30am — No Comments
Four fresh Country love songs on a EP
I first encountered Jarrod Dickenson when he was a support act in a London pub three years ago and his album The Lonesome Traveller was a favourite the following year.
As with the majority of artists these days he has to make a living by constantly touring; so for an upcoming UK and Ireland tour he has emptied his piggy-bank and recorded this delightful EP to give his fans something new to take home.
Added by Alan Harrison on January 9, 2014 at 2:00pm — No Comments
Singer-Songwriter produces a great big sound on a very small budget
Like so many of his contempories, Jimmy Livingstone has spent a life time sofa surfing and doing a variety of menial jobs to make ends meet while he dreamt of making an album with his name on the cover.
Too often the end result isn’t worth the sweat and tears; but in this instance the record companies appear to have missed a diamond in the rough who has a timeless voice that will stop you…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on January 8, 2014 at 2:00pm — No Comments
Two old friends make music in the corner of your sitting room
Martin Stephenson must be one of the most prolific singer-songwriters in the music industry and because he’s no longer bogged down by the vagaries of Record Labels he can make and release albums when the mood or muse takes him.
For BUMPER BROWN he has got together with long-term friend and occasional band member Jim Hornsby to record some songs and tunes in the Skip Records Studio ‘just because…Continue
Classic bar band Rhythm & Blues Boogie from Vancouver
No Sinner are fronted by former Canadian child-star actress Colleen Rennison, who has a near-perfect R&B voice that fits perfectly into this powerhouse Blues Band.
The tub-thumping title track "Boo Hoo Hoo" opens the album in a stylish crash, bang, wallop fashion that sets down a marker for what’s to follow. The diamond-edged production features Rennison’s voice over some searing guitar solos and…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on January 5, 2014 at 5:30am — No Comments
Coming of age album for music fans of a certain age
I’ve been a fan of Bap Kennedy’s music since the Power-Punk days of Energy Orchard in the late 1980’s and own every solo album he’s recorded and I can honestly say LET’S START AGAIN and THE SAILOR’S REVENGE are by far the best albums he’s ever made.
After touring and recording for nigh on 30 years Kennedy looked and sounded like he’d had enough with the music business; but the spark was re-kindled when he…Continue
It's me again! With time on my hands I've recorded 2 one hour podcasts celebrating my favourite albums and gigs from 2013.
The album show doesn't exactly reflect the Top 10 I did for No Depression; but I included tracks from a couple of albums I hadn't reviewed and it balanced the programme.
For financial reasons during the last five years I've only been to gigs in the North East of England; but this year I was invited to the inaugural Belfast Skyline Festival and I…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on December 29, 2013 at 9:00am — No Comments
Jumping Hot Club Christmas Party
Local lad, Martin Stephenson has been a regular visitor to the Jumping Hot Club in various guises for the best part of the Club’s 28 years and in recent years has been the headline act at their Christmas Party.
This year the Saturday show sold out in record time and a second gig on Monday was quickly added; which also sold out. This was the gig I managed to see.
I first saw local singer-songwriter, Paul Handyside…Continue
As I've said before earlier this year I hosted an Americana/Roots radio show on local Community Radio Station - Hive; based in Jarrow, Tyneside, England.
The original concept was based around local Americana and Roots music promoters The Jumping Hot Club's gig guide; but anyone who has read my reviews will know I have a very eclectic musical taste; so boundaries were pushed in all directions - giving me a large and loyal following.…Continue