For a variety of very personal reasons tonight’s gig was something of a ‘celebratory’ party for me and I couldn’t think of a finer pair of performers to spend the night with than local Delta Blues aficionados Monkey Junk plus the headline act, Matt Andersen from Canada was someone I’d been desperate to see for a few years.
John Nellist and Andy Turnbull; who make up Monkey Junk have been on the local music scene for a few years now but look and sound like they were born to…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on December 3, 2013 at 2:00pm — No Comments
Romantic Alt-Country from Downtown Frankfurt
I first discovered Markus Rill a couple of years ago when he contacted me via this very website asking if I would be prepared to review his CD Wild, Blue & True. I can’t say that I was enamored at the prospect of listening to a German-Americana act; but held an open mind as it had been released on one of my favourite labels - BLUE ROSE RECORDS.
The album was truly excellent and the follow up, MY ROCKET SHIP…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on December 2, 2013 at 2:00pm — No Comments
Personally I think it's been an amazing year for music and getting this list down to 10 has been a nightmare (I reviewed 91 albums for ND this year - with 3 more for January release).
1. Guy Clark - My Favourite Picture of You www.nodepression.com/profiles/blogs/guy-clark-my-favourite-p...
2. Quiet Loner - Greedy Magicians…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on December 2, 2013 at 11:00am — No Comments
I loved Durham’s previous offering, The Shovel v The Howling Bones so much, that when I handled this CD my hands began trembling; then I thought how could he possibly follow such a brilliant album….but….fear not….he has; and possibly even bettered it!
With baited breath I pressed ‘play’ and sat back in nervous anticipation then grinned with relief as a Native American – Delta Blues fusion footstomper oozed out of my speakers like wild mountain honey for the ears; and…Continue
A timeless collection of harmony drenched songs for the Indie generation
Last Summer I was invited to cover the inaugural Belfast Skyline Americana Festival and; while chatting to a group of seasoned veterans of the local music scene and a couple who are currently based in Nashville, the name on everyone’s lips was Stevie Scullion and his band Malojian.
Looking like refugees from the Arctic Monkeys, Malojian ‘stole the show’ with a 30 minute set of well…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on November 27, 2013 at 12:30pm — No Comments
Jumping Hot Club Remembrance Day Radio Show 2013
In the last 2 years I have achieved a long standing ambition by hosting my very own Americana and Blues radio show on two Tyneside Community Radio stations; but, sadly had to stop broadcasting because of work commitments.
Following the success of an episode last November I have dusted off the turntables again and recorded a 2 hour show that was broadcast on Hive Radio on Sunday 10th November…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on November 10, 2013 at 10:30am — No Comments
Although I recognised her name, Lowri Evans hasn’t crossed my radar so I was intrigued to hear her latest album CORNER OF MY EYE and I think I’ve just discovered a real gem.
Lowri has been singing and writing songs since she was a young schoolgirl and has released several albums in both English and her native Welsh language; leaving the still outrageously young woman to sound remarkably relaxed and confident throughout.
The title track which opens the album features…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on November 10, 2013 at 5:30am — No Comments
The voice of a ragged Angel combined with the banjo playing of the Devil
This album was recommended by a friend who knows I have reservations about Traditional Folk AND banjos; but after playing it many times now I am rapidly becoming a convert.
Mary James’ stage name, Mean Mary comes from the manner in which she plays the banjo rather than her fiscal attitude and boy; can she get a tune out of this much maligned instrument.
The title of opening…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on November 9, 2013 at 4:30am — No Comments
I often get asked what my favourite type of music is; and I often struggle to come up with a definitive answer but I am partial to Rocking Blues with a hefty dose of Rhythm attached; so I’ve been looking to seeing (and hearing) Big Boy Bloater since first hearing the band’s latest album The World Explained 18 months ago.
Following a hold up on the motorway I arrived just as the band were ending opening track Hey Funky; but the Gospel beat of the following…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on November 3, 2013 at 2:00am — No Comments
Back in March the current Crown Prince of the Blues; Joe Bonamassa played four concerts on four consecutive nights at four different venues in London and this ‘collectors box set’ contains each gig in all it’s powerful glory.
Personally I love live music and have travelled all over the UK to see an assortment of acts; but invariably Concert DVD’s (and albums) leave me nonplussed. So; sitting through 9 hours of concert footage and a further four hours of ‘behind the scenes’…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on November 2, 2013 at 6:30am — No Comments
The day before this show I was invited to cover a different gig at the prestigious Sage Concert Hall (money was involved). So, I invited my friend Steven K Driver from the prestigious purveyors of Northern Gothic pop music, The Agency, to cover this gig on my behalf. Here are his thoughts:
Ghost Republic, the latest long player for alt country collective the Willard Grant Conspiracy, is one of those albums that may at first prove a challenge to some listeners. However,…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on October 29, 2013 at 3:00am — No Comments
Although not a fan of this iconic trio myself, I took my elder brother along as an early 65th birthday present and also as reference point when I didn’t recognise a song.
The backing band set a nice groove and tumultuous applause greeted the elderly trio as they made their way to centre stage and seamlessly opened a concert that was to last the thick end of three hours. Carry On and their only Top 30 hit Marrakesh Express had the row in front of us swaying and…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on October 18, 2013 at 5:30am — No Comments
The Blues has a loud and proud history in the UK and the latest flag bearer is a girl; Joanne Shaw Taylor, who can play a Gibson Les Paul as well as any of the elder statesmen who flock to her gigs, and with SONGS FROM THE ROAD you can hear why.
Joanne recorded this album at the…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on October 16, 2013 at 1:00am — No Comments
Soulful, introspective Americana and a voice of an angel
I should start by apologizing to Drew Holcomb for taking so long to review his album; but I found it dull at first; then a couple of songs eventually took my attention and now I think it’s in the running for my album of the year!
There is a melancholic 1970’s feel to opener Another Man’s Shoes; but even on first listening I thought this song stood out like a beacon as Holcomb uses great…Continue
Driving to the venue I had to pass the 2,000 capacity 02 Academy which had a Sold Out notice above the door, for a young singer-songwriter that I’d only vaguely heard of; yet Master craftsman Slaid Cleaves was playing at the Cluny (capacity 300) just over a mile away and tickets were still available on the door.
Thankfully there was a good ‘walk up’ for Slaid; but I still despair that our young music fans have such narrow tastes and are influenced by a handful of teenage…Continue
The delightful Amy Speace opened tonight’s proceedings with a mix of old and new songs so good; I was left scratching my head wondering why she’s still not headlining UK Tours.
She has an exquisite voice (not a million miles away from Emmylou in her younger days) which, matched with her dark and brooding songs, like The Hunter are a musical marriage made in Heaven. As the short set flew by Amy introduced The Sea and the Shore which needed a ‘good strong…Continue
21st September 2013
After a spectacularly bad day at work, there was only one thing that could clear my mind; a hefty dose of superior Blues Rock was in order and the combination of local guitar slinger Mitch Laddie and the magnificent Royal Southern Brotherhood was the order of the day.
Playing in front of a home town crowd, The Mitch Laddie Band were the perfect warm up for The Royal Southern Brotherhood’s first night of a European tour, getting an already excitable…Continue
A mountain of an album from a Blues-Rock legend
Serendipity is a funny thing. A couple of months ago I was at a gig where the (next big thing) guitarist kept going on ever more meandering guitar solos, so I kept asking my friend (in a stage whisper) “Is this Nantucket Sleighride?” That song has been a lifelong template for boring, self-indulgent guitar solos. Then I received a padded envelope through the post from a trusted record label and, lo and behold, what…Continue
Beccy Owen was already onstage when I tried to make my way quietly into the rear of the Live Theatre, but she still managed to illicit several ‘tuts’ from fans who had arrived on time. Although I’d not seen her before, I was aware of Beccy playing around the local music scene for several years. I was astounded to find she is actually a Southerner from down Yorkshire way, were she now lives. She still had plenty of fans in attendance, who all hung onto her every word, cheering…Continue
Added by Alan Harrison on September 24, 2013 at 2:30pm — No Comments
I was a huge fan of Elton John in my teenage years and still argue that Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is the greatest double album of all time. But, not long after that, the drink and drugs took their toll on his career and he started to believe his own hype. Subsequent releases became increasingly flamboyant and over-produced, in line with his lifestyle.
That said, these later albums appealed more to my wife and her friends than Tumbleweed Connection and…Continue