Category: Uncategorized

More words about current favourites

Following on from my blog post yesterday here’s the first of what may well be a number of sequels…

I’d like to credit Alec Bowman, a film-maker, photographer and fine musician in his own right for introducing me to Arborist. Here’s a song I’ve been playing on repeat, A Northern View from their same name album.

Find out more

Rachel Dadd was a later discovery for me towards the end of 2019. This is from her album Flux. The chorus is a current ear worm.

This is lovely too, Ned Roberts from his Dream Sweetheart album. The Songbird is one of many fine songs therein.

I’ve been a fan of Rose Cousins music for ages now and this is found on her superb latest album, Bravado. It’s called The Fraud.

The combination of The Ballroom Thieves and Darlingside is a delight. This is a stand-out song for me from their Unlovely album.

My favourite albums of the last 6 months of the year: first installment


It’s that time of the year again. The music magazines are already publishing albums of the year from their perspective. Over recent times I’ve made it slightly easier on myself by dividing the year into two. So back in June I posted in three separate instalments the standout albums for me up to that point. And now here are the my favourites from the second half of 2018.

Before I post any further, I recognise there is always a risk, whenever you post a list like this, that another fantastic album or EP is just around the corner. I’ve got that covered anyway, I will post an addition in a few weeks from now should I stumble upon a few brilliant new releases that are too good to leave out.

Oh, and one other thing. I’ve always struggled with brevity, if you listen to the show regularly and my conversation between tracks you’ll understand I’m sure. So this is not a lovely neat list of 10 or 20 records. That’s just impossible to slim all the great records to that small number. And finally it’s not a list that is in any sort of order. It’s simply a random posting up of the records that have meant something to me with wherever possible a video of a track I like from the album or EP. I’ll filibuster no more, here’s the list…. Enjoy exploring and please feel free to post up any comments and indeed recommendations you may have for me for releases that are your favourites from 2018.

Jess Morgan – And I can’t keep still EP

Eliza Gilkyson – Secularia

Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus – Boygenius EP

Katherine Priddy – Wolf EP

Kristian Kjellvander – Faux Guernica

Rab Noakes – Welcome to Anniversaryville

The Milk Carton Kids – All the things that I did and all the things that I didn’t do

Jess Morgan – Blue Jay single

Steve Tilston – Distant days

Robby Hecht and Caroline Spence – Two People

Alden Patterson and Dashwood – By the night

Jason McNiff – Joy and Independence

Lera Lynn – Plays well with others

The Innocence Mission – Sun on the square

Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes – Some girls quite like country music

Amanda Shires – To the sunset

Drew Morrison and the Darkwood – Electric-Notes Wild

Elephant Micah – Genericana

Lori McKenna – The Tree

Kerry Devine – Away from the mountains

The Cowboy Junkies – All that reckoning 

M G Boulter and the Free – Blood Moon EP

Dan Webster – Devil Sky

Vanessa Peters – Foxhole Prayers

Grace Petrie – Queer as folk

Treetop Flyers – Treetop Flyers

Tunng – Songs you make at night

Drew Morrison and the Darkwood – Electric Notes Wild

Curse of Lono – As I fell

Me for Queen – Loose end

Gilmore and Roberts – A problem of our kind

Annie Dressner – Broken into pieces

Austin Lucas – Immortal Americans

Glorietta – Glorietta

The Willows – Through the wild

Ciara O’Neill – Arrow 

Martyn Joseph – Here come the young

Sinnober – Projection

David Berkeley – The Faded Red and Blue

Ed Harcourt – Beyond the end

Kitty MacFarlane – Namer of clouds

Phillip Henry – True North

Jesse Matas – Tamarack

Kelly Oliver – Botany Bay

John Smith – Hummingbird

Marc Ribot – Songs of Resistance 1942-2018

Nathan Bell – Love bones and stars

Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou Fair Lady London

Cam Penner – At war with reason

Karine Polwart, Steven Polwart and Inge Thomson – Laws of motion

William Fitzsimmons – Mission bell

Benjamin Folke Thomas – Modern man

Laura Gibson – Goners

Jess Vincent – Lions

Ben Kunder – Better human


27 November 2018 playlist

Eliza Gilkyson In the name of the lord from Secularia (2018 Red House Records) 

Simone Felice featuring Four Tet Puppet digital download single (2018 New York Pro) 

The Willows Better days from Through the wild (2018 Elk Records)

Gilmore and Roberts Just a piece of wood from A problem of our kind (2018 Gilmore Roberts Records)

Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage Way over yonder in the minor key from Awake (2018 Sungrazing Records) 

Jess Morgan Chinatown from And I Can’t Keep Still EP (2018 Drabant Music)

Kitty MacFarlane Dawn and dark from Namer of clouds (2018 Navigator Records)

Jesse Matas Walking human from Tamarock (2018 StoNote) 

Austin Lucas Immortal Americans from Immortal Americans (2018 Cornelius Chapel Records)

Talisk Montreal from Beyond (2018 Talisk Records)

David Berkeley This be dear to me from The Faded Red and Blue EP (2018 David Berkeley) 

Laura Gibson Goners from Goners (2018 City Slang Records) 

Peter James Millson Getting there from Low Key (as yet unreleased new album) 

Ciara O’Neill Arrow from Arrow (2018 Ciara O’Neill)

Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus Me and my dog from Boy Genius EP (2018 Matador Records)

Afel Bocoum, Damon Albarn, Toumani Diabate and Friends Tennessee Hotel from Mali Music (2002 Honest Jons Records)

Phillip Henry Reverence Revisited from True North (2018 Dragonfly Roots Records) 

The Band of Love Love don’t live here anymore from Folk Fever (2018 Mighty Village Records)

Grace Petrie Farewell to welfare from Queer as folk (2018 Robot Needs Home)

Lau She put on her headphones digital download double AA single with It’s hard to seem ok when you’re not (2018 Reveal Records)

Christian Kjellvander Strangers in Northeim  from Faux Guernica (2018 Tapete Records) 

Martyn Joseph Collateral from Here Come The Young (2018 Pipe Records)

Nathan Bell Metal from Love Bones and Stars (2018 Angry Stick Recording Company) 

India Electric Co In absence from Tablelands (2018) 

4 September 2018 playlist

Lera Lynn (featuring Rodney Crowell ) Crimson underground from Plays well with others: a duets album (2018 Single Lock Records) 

MG Boulter and the Froe Blood Moon from Blood Moon EP (2018 Hudson Records)

Tuung Battlefront from Songs you make at night (2018 Full Time Hobby Records)

Vanessa Peters Fight from Foxhole Prayers (2018 Idol Records) 

Grace Petrie A young woman’s tale from Queer as folk (2018 Grace Petrie)

Shake the chains (Nancy Kerr, Hannah Martin, Findlay Napier, Greg Russell, Tim Yates) from Shake the Chains (2017 Quercus Records)

Reg Meuross England green & England grey from Reg Meuross (2018 Stockfisch Records)

 Dan Webster freedom in suburbia from Devil Sky (2018 Paper Plane Records) 

Treetop Flyers Needle from Treetop Flyers (2018 Loose Music)

Jess Morgan Leytonstone digital download single (2018 Drabant Music) 

Ben Kunder Better Human from Better Human (2018 Ben Kunder) 

Erin Rae June Bug from Putting on airs (2018 Single Lock Records)  

Lindi Ortega Afraid of the dark from Liberty (2018 Shadowbox Music) 

Sweet Billy Pilgrim Asking for a friend from Wapentak (2018 Sweet Billy Pilgrim)

Jackie Oates The joy of living from The joy of living (2018 ECC Records)

Amanda Shires Leave it alone from To the sunset (2018 Silver Knife Records) 

Northern Flyway No barriers, no borders from Northern Flyway (2018 Hudson Records)

Karine Polwart Ophelia digital download single (2018 Hudson Records)

Me for Queen Jessica from Loose Ends (2018 Me for Queen) 

Curse of Lono And it shows from As I fell (2018 Submarine Cat Records)

Sons of Bill Easier (featuring Molly Parden) from Oh God Ma’am (2018 Loose Music)

Drew Morrison and the Darkwood Always from Electric-Notes Wild (2018 Storm Cloud Agency Records)

Orpan Colours Goodnight California from All on Red (2018 At the Helm Records) 

24 July 2018 playlist

Cowboy Junkies When we arrive from All That Reckoning (2018 Proper Records) 

Alden Patterson and Dashwood By the night from By the night (2018 Alden Patterson and Dashwood)

Hatful of Rain Oh the night from Songs of the lost and found (2018 Long Way Home Music)

The Innocence Mission Records from your room from Sun on the square (2018 Bella Union Records) 

Olivia Chaney A tree grows in Brooklyn from Shelter (2018 Nonesuch Records)

Lachlan Bryan & the Wilde’s In New York from Some girls quite like country music (2018 Lachlan Bryan and the Wildes)

River Whyless Born in the right country from Kindness, a rebel (2018 Roll Call Records) 

Gilmore & Roberts Poison digital download single with Dr James (2013 Navigator Records)

Luluc Sculptor from Sculptor (2018 Sub Pop Records)

Jason McNiff Amanda from Joy and Independence (2018 At The Helm Records)

Toby Hay Leaving Chicago from The Longest Day (2018 State51 Conspiracy) 

The Milk Carton Kids Younger years from All the things that I did and all the things that I didn’t do (2018 Anti Records)

Rab Noakes Gently does it from Welcome to Anniversaryville (2018 Neon Records) 

Megan Henwood Brexit blues digital download single (2017 Dharma Records)

Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker Bathed in light from Seedlings All (2018 Rough Trade Records)

Juliana Daugherty Light from Light (2018 Western Vinyl Records) 

Bennett Wilson Poole Hide behind a smile from Bennett Wilson Poole (2018 Aurora Records)

The Self Help Group Smile club from Dead Stars (2015 Union Music Store)

Serious Child You wear the smile from Empty Nest (2018 TCR Music) 

Faeland Strings from At My Swim (2018 Green Sage Records)

Gretchen Peters The boy from Rye from Dancing with the beast (2018 Scarlet Letter Records)

Hadley McCall Thackston Butterfly from Hadley McCall Thackston (2018 Wolfe Island Records) 

Anna Egge Last Ride from White Tiger (2018 Story Sound Records) 

My songs of the year 2017

A little late in getting started on this but here goes. This is the start and I’ll be adding to it in the weeks to follow.

Neil McSweeney – Land of Cockaigne

Jeremy Tuplin – Where the light ends

The Weather Station – The most dangerous thing about you

Reg Meuross – Faraway people

Anna Tivel – Dark Chandelier 

Her Crooked Heart (Rachel Ries) – Adrian

Terra Lightfoot – You get high

Romantica – Let the light go through you

Courtney Marie Andrews – Honest life

Jack Harris – Vanished birds

The Small Glories – Old Garage

Charlie Dore – Dennis and Rose

Martha Tilston – Stories

David Hosking – Someone will catch you 

Winter Mountain – Sunlight, good roads

Lisbee Stainton – The dance upon nothing

Rachel Baiman – Shame

Benjamin Folke Thomas – Finn

Joan Shelley – The push and pull

Peter James Millson – Green

Penguin Cafe – Wheels within wheels

John Smith – Joanna

Co-Pilgrim – Thank my stars

Bedouine – Dusty eyes

Chris Tye – Stronger in numbers

William the Conqueror – Cold Ontario

Offa Rex – The Queen of Hearts

Shake the Chains – Shake the Chains

Ags Connolly – Slow burner

David Rawlings – Airplane

Edgelarks – No Victory

Joana Serratt – Trapped in the fog

Martin Simpson – Blues run the game

Simone White – Harvest

David Ramirez – Time

Caroline Spence – Softball

5j Barrow – Seagreen dress

Sophia Marshall – Bye bye

Julie Byrne – Follow my voice

Charlie Fink – Firecracker

Aimee Mann – Patient zero

Billy Bragg – Not everything that counts can be counted

Police Dog Hogan – Devon Brigade 

Chuck Johnson – Labradorite eye

Ned Roberts – Drifting down

The Barr Brothers – Queens of the breakers

The Worry Dolls – Train’s leaving

Daria Kulesh – Gone

Peter Oren – Anthropocene

Alice Howe – You’ve been away so long

Daisy Chapman -Good luck song

Favourite releases of the first 6 months of 2017 – part 3

Jack Harris The Wide Afternoon

I remember seeing Jack Harris play a set in the Saloon stage at Truck Festival a few years back. I really like what I heard and made a mental note to investigate his excellent music further. And when Winter Wilson appeared on the show to do a live session in 2016 I asked them to choose some tracks they enjoyed by other artists or bands. It just so happened one of them was by Jack Harris, Sylvia Plath’s Lullaby, a superb song from The Flame and the Pelican.

So I was delighted when I discovered Jack had a long awaited new album out, produced by Gerry Diver, a fine producer. The album is The Wide Afternoon. Listen to it and you can completely see why fellow singer songwriter, and another Quiet Revolution favourite Anais Mitchell describes him as “a priest of song” and Q magazine refer to him as “a unique lyrical mind”.

The album offers 11 new songs inflected with folk and blues. The overall sound of the album is fascinating in itself, Gerry Diver weaving in violins and eerie percussion. There are songs of dangerous men, literary women, stolen horses, waterlogged houses and vanished birds. All in all another brilliant release from the Welsh singer songwriter.

Devon Sproule The Gold String

I’ve been a fan of Devon Sproule’s music since I was sent a copy of her 2007 album Keep Your Silver Shined.  A great album and I’ve followed the  Canadian/American musician’s career since then. A couple of releases have followed that one on Coventry-based record label Tin Angel Records and an excellent collaboration with Mike O’Neill called Colours.

So I was really pleased that Devon released a new album this year, The Gold String. And as you might imagine it’s another superb record. Great live too, I was lucky enough to catch Devon at The Greystokes in Sheffield in March. But don’t just take my word for it, here’s what others have said “Sproule’s lyrics glance off each other arrestingly, juxtaposing images.” (Financial Times) and “Her quirky affectations bring to mind Bjork, and forays into the dark, Michelle Shocked.” (Village Voice).




Favourite music of the last 6 months of the year – the final blog entry

Robb Johnson – My Best Regards

I’ve enjoyed Robb Johnson’s music for years now. I like his social conscience and the political dimension that come through in many of his songs. Check out his back catalogue and songs like Hope St Tomorrow Afternoon, Be Reasonable and many more. He also does humour extremely well and tenderness, songs that will bring a tear to your eye, such as the gorgeous Don’t close the bar. But these are from his previous albums yet the new album My Best Regards is full of songs that are equally as compelling as the ones I’ve mentioned already.

On the album Robb is joined by pianist Jenny Carr and bassist John Forrester, as well as his son Arvin playing drums and percussion. The songs cover subjects from the personal to the political; from birthdays to migrations; from late night bus stops to the Sidmouth promenade; from Babbacombe Model Village to Franz Kafka and Prague. They additionally cover new babies in Hollingdean, MPs’ 10% pay rises, and Turkish red wine and charity shops in Broadstairs. My standout track, if I have to select just a mere one song is When the Tide Comes in recorded with the Palestinian singer Reem Kelani. I must have played it a good few times on the show. And I can envisage it finding it’s way onto a future playlist too.

Check out my Best Regards, I feel certain you’ll like it.

Joe Purdy – Who will be next?

I must acknowledge that I’d not come across Joe Purdy until I received a copy of this album in the post. I try and discover as much new music as I possibly can but sadly some good stuff can escape under my radar. But with Joe Purdy better late than not at all.

This record is excellent, an American singer songwriter with a Dylan-like vocal style in some respects. In fact he’s been described as planting his feet deep in the tradition of folk artists such as Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs.  Right up my musical street, protest songs for 2016, Joe’s been referred to as a passionate observer and participant of our times. Yep, I’d concur with that. He’s a great find, only wish it hadn’t taken me quite so long.

Children of privilege is my current favourite song from the album. Have a listen here.



Favourite releases of the last 6 months of 2016

It’s been a fine year for quality music. This continues my personal favourite releases of the year from the latter half of 2016.

Once I’ve completed this I’m going to set myself an additional challenge which will be to distill from all my favourites the 20 must buy albums of 2016. Added to this I’ll also go for my 20 songs of the year selected from the full list of my favourites for the whole of the year.

Ruth Theodore – Cactacus

Ruth started creating her own music as a teenager, teaching herself guitar and busking on Southampton High Street. She’s lived in London since 2006.

I first discovered her gorgeous music in 2010 with her album White holes of mole hills. Captivated by this I’ve tried to keep an ear out for her music ever since so was delighted when I was sent a copy of her current album Cactacus which is released on Aveline Records in conjunction with her own River Rat Records. The other difference with this album is that whereas previously Ruth has produced her own records, for Cactacus the acclaimed producer Todd Sickafoose who has worked memorably with Anais Mitchell and Ani Di Franco, two artists I’ve been a longstanding fan of the music of.

The songwriting is outstanding and subject matter is varied. Many standout tracks with ‘The Carcass And The Pride’, ‘Everything is Temporary’, ‘Kissing in traffic’, ‘Loop Hole’, ‘You Can’t Help Who You Love’ ones that I’d like to draw particular attention towards. Cactacus is definitely one of those albums I just keep going back to and I’m can pretty much guarantee you’d do the same if you got yourself a copy.

Southern Tenant Folk Union – Join Forces

I’ve loved the music of Edinburgh based roots/americana collective Southern Tenant Folk Union since they emerged in 2006 so always look forward to a new album from the band. Since their last release, The Chuck Norris Project, the the membership of the band has changed a little however Pat McGarvey remains a constant and has been joined by Scottish singer songwriter Rory Butler, fiddle player Katherine Stewart, percussionist Steve Fivey and from Inverness, double bass player Craig Macfadyen.

In trying to find a name the band chose the ground breaking multi-racial tenant farmers collective from the new deal/dustbowl era the Southern Tenant Farmers Union. They’ve been described in the music press as ‘A folk band for the Occupy era – passionate, political and mischievous’ and Join Forces, which is their 7th album, and it’s predecessor 4-track EP What would you give for a leader with soul, are influenced by politics and social justice. And their sound is influenced by bluegrass, folk and americana.

Lewis and Leigh – Ghosts

I’ve enjoyed Al Lewis’s solo releases, particularly his Battles album from a few years back. On that he was joined on a number of the songs by Sarah Howells from the Welsh duo Paper Aeroplanes.  He sounded great on his own but I loved him collaborating with a female voice.

Over the last 18 months Al has put out three EP’s with American singer songwriter Alva Leigh. Their voices sound excellent together. Al is from North Wales originally and is now based in South Wales and Alva Leigh is from Mississippi but moved to London with her husband in 2012. After the EP’s I was very much hoping a full length album would emerge and this was released in September, entitled  ‘Ghost. It’s a collection of self-penned originals recorded in January 2016 at Urchin Studios in London with Matt Ingram.  My advice is get a copy and then work your way backwards through the EP’s.


Favourite releases of the first 6 months of 2016 continued

Well this is the last entry for my blog charting my favourite releases for the first 6 months of this year. Completed just in time to get ready to compile my favourites from July onwards!

Norrie McCulloch – These mountain blues

I like an amazing number of singer songwriters and bands from Scotland. This blog thus far has identified quite a few of them. 2016 saw me add a name to the list, that of Glasgow purveyor of americana or ‘celticana’, er, perhaps not the latter. Scottish Americana is the term that the esteemed Folk Radio UK have used so that’ll do for me. Dave McGowan of Teenage Fanclub and Belle and Sebastian can be found assisting Norris on the album along with Stuart Kidd and Marco Rea. The whole record, surprisingly for these digital times, was recorded wholly in analogue in an ancient building in Stirling, as opposed to a traditional recording studio. The album had a timescale of 3 days for recording. The end result is beautiful. Norrie has travelled across the Southern states of the US and the album resultantly has both an American and Scottish feel and sound to it.

Favourite track from the album? Hmm, where to start. OK, today I’ll opt for the wonderful title song. Check it out for yourself.

Peter Bruntnell – Nos da comrade

I first heard Peter Bruntnell’s music on the wonderful Whispering Bob Harris’s Radio 2 show. The album was Normal for Bridgewater back in 1999 and that was my introduction to this superb singer songwriter’s music. Peter delivers americana with a British influence.

He’s based in Devon and has made a slew of fine albums since Bridgewater was released. Not da Comrade, the Welsh for goodnight comrade incidentally, is the latest of these and was recorded in Peter’s home studio. The opening song on the album Mr Sunshine is very topical as I write this, well worth having a look at the video on Peter’s site.

The songcraft throughout is of the highest level, songs that draw you in and absorb you. Willy Vlautin of the sadly no more Richmond Fontaine has described Peter as his favourite singer songwriter no less. Add to this that the NME claimed that “Peter Bruntnell’s records should be taught in schools” acclaim from Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, Jay Farrar, John Murry or Kathleen Edwards who all concur that Peter Bruntnell is a writer with rare and mysterious qualities you really can’t go wrong if you buy a Peter Bruntnell album.

Richmond Fontaine – You can’t go back if there’s nothing to go back to

I mentioned Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine earlier. His band have made consistently excellent, finely crafted albums since they formed in Portland, Oregon in 1994. Vlautin is also a novelist which when you listen to his songs you can understand how he might translate that songwriting talent into writing compelling novels.

Willy formed The Delines, another fine band a few years back and maybe with the new project and the work as an author he felt it was time to bid farewell to Richmond Fontaine. I’m glad that we will still be able to enjoy his music yet I’m pretty certain I’m not the only one with a penchant for quality americana/alt-country who’s going to miss Richmond Fontaine.

I’ll leave you with a favourite song from the album, difficult to select just the one, I could have peppered this blog entry with them, but I’ll go for this song….