Oh how we wish for more voices to be critical of the current political class and their hangers-on – and I include many journalists as being hangers-on.
Oh how we wish for more voices to be critical of the current political class and their hangers-on – and I include many journalists as being hangers-on.
Time for some fun – and a new song from Randy Newman…
Once upon a time thought The Rolling Stones were one of the great rock’n’roll bands – who also occasionally sang the blues. In between those early years and now there was not a lot of great music from the Stones – loads of concerts and a mix of music – some good and some ok. Would they ever make great music again?
Here’s a highly recommended album for those who want to hear good Americana with a touch of rock. This is a best of Paul Thorn-2016 album – two discs. Rating 4/5
I think the reviewer has it about right for this new album by Neil Young – Peace Trail. Click on the image for the review inThe Guardian.
Feel like some laid back almost soporific songs as if you had wandered into a quite bar or club. And some music that does not quite follow current americana, rock, blues or jazz trends.
Here’s an album of all of that and a little more. Admittedly I am a fan of Howe Gelb and Giant Sands music – but this is not his usual fare. Yes it still has that Arizona feel but it is very laid back – and enjoyable.
One very nice recording just out by Suzanne Vega.
Click on image for a story about Leon Russell 1942-2016
Here’s a fun story about two musicians and how they made this album. They hopped on the train and then jumped off at stops along the way to record a song – while making sure they were back on board as the train left. And yes – the music is good stuff. Definitely worth a listen if you are a follower of Billy Bragg and Joe Henry. Click here for more on the album.
Yes, there’s a new album out by our man, Leonard Cohen.
A collaboration between the writer George Monbiot and musician Ewan McLennan seeking to use music and word to open up the issue of loneliness and bring people together.
Here’s an album for the many Van Morrison fans. They will love it.
A new song from Nick Cave – one you may need to stop and listen to especially when you realise when he wrote it – just after his son had died. Continue reading Nick Cave
Join two wonderful voices, join two approaches to making music and two lives that have crossed over several times, and you have two marvellous talents – and the result – a great album. Many of the songs are original – and some are covers. It’s all good stuff.
Recommended: Rating 8/10
The first track from his coming album, A Version of Now – which is to be released July 15
Time to play this again – After The Goldrush – where it all began so many years ago.
Natalie Merchant recently appeared on NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
Video above for Brandy’s new single (2016) and for her 2013 album – click here.
Australia Day is as good a day as any to replay this video clip – just a reminder of what we used to be – but as yet are yet to put aside.
The first thing to say is that tis is a great collection.
It is a new collection made by Tracy. The title – Greatest Hits – does not quite sit easily with this selection.
If you like Neil Young’s music, then this album must make its way into your collection. This is Neil Young at his best and doing so as a Blues musician.
The music is from live recordings from 1987 – 1988 and is more or less based around his studio album, This Note’s For You .
Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings (2015)
It is the done thing for musicians to cover other musicians songs and to do new arrangements of those songs rather than just attempting to mimic them.
here’s another opportunity to enjoy Natalie Merchant – Equestrienne
Find a Way To Care – John Mayall (2015)
For all the many John Mayall fans this is great news. A new album and even better, John and his band are in top form. There’s more than usual use of keyboards and a few with strong brass instruments.
I have had the pleasure of recently discovering the wonderful talent of Amy Helm. While her music is probably somewhere in the style of Americana and alt/country, there is a great mix of other styles in there, from blues and gospel and more. She makes great music.
Recommended: rating 8/10
Neil Young has released a 10-minute short film, Seeding Fear. Click here for the link.
This album takes a slightly different direction to the two albums I had previously reviewed – click here. And while I am enjoying listening to this album, I still prefer the other two.
On this 2015 album William Elliott Whitmore has moved slightly away from hos more folk/ americana sitting on the porch style – to having some fun with a small band with various moods and styles, some being a little more rock & roll than previous.
Leonard Cohen: Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, 2015
Here’s an album for the fans of Leonard Cohen. The album has a number of well known songs that had been revisited during a number of live performances. He has added a couple of new ones. This is great listening (provided you love Leonard Cohen and his music).
I have reviewed Caro Emerald’s music before. It is great! I recently came across some acoustic versions of previous songs that had been released but may now be hard to find. Luckily I found a copy and there are several of the songs online.
Here’s an album by a great jazz blues singer who continually crosses over genres in her many albums. This being a year of celebration of Billie Haliday (her 100th Birthday), Cassandra Wilson has taken a selection of Billie’s songs and covered her music not by doing an imitation, but by making the songs her own.
This music may not be joyful enough for everyone, but if you like a touch of Americana with blues, rock and folk along the lines of a great singer/songwriter, then this could be for you.
If you already like the music of Steve Earle, then this is easy for you. This is a good album. It is not quite his usual. Steve is having some fun and is accompanied by close colleagues – The Dukes. The music is Texas blues, Steve Earle style. This form of blues takes several directions, wandering across Americana, a little Delta, a southern stomp here and there and a little southern grizzle along the way.
John Mayall was making his form of blues in the sixties, in the seventies – and now in the 21st Century he is still pumping it out. How cool is that! Back in the seventies no-one could have imagined that we would be listening to the same guy in 2014 as he turned eighty.
I am sure there are plenty of people who are not taken with much of Dylan’s later music. It has been very much a mixed affair. I am sure that there will be plenty of people who will not get this new album by Dylan. The songs and Dylan’s treatment of them do not fit easily with any category.
Bryan Ferry’s album, Avonmore, concentrates on the failure of love. Obviously something to do with his most recent marriage and divorce. The music links directly back to former albums such as Boys and Girls (1985) and Bête Noir (1987) as well as Roxy Music’s Avalon (1982).
The production is pure Bryan Ferry. His music continues. What’s age got to do with it? He’s 70 years young and still making music. Good stuff.
This was my first album by Joan Osborne despite her longish career. This album is for those who love to hear blues and rhythm & blues music being revisited by a talented singer. This is not about simply duplicating the former versions. Rather Joan Osborne and her musicians have delivered some great music through their own soul interpretations.
Caitlin Canty sings Neil Young’s Unknown Legend
I noticed a rave review online for a singer I had not noticed before, Caitlin Canty. After some further research and listening to the online samples, I dutifully downloaded her music to hear the whole album.
All was going OK, but I was not that enthusiastic on the first listen. No worry, this often happens. I was about to put aside for the night – when I came upon the second last track.
This album from Marianne Faithfull sees her return to a style close to that of her 1979 album, Broke English – which remains a great piece of music. I recommend this music. Those who have followed her music will really enjoy this album.
Eric Clapton & Friends – The Breeze: An Appreciation of J J Cale (2014)
I am going to keep this short. I have for a long time liked the music of J J Cale. I also happen to like much of , but not all, the music of Eric Clapton. I am aware of many collaborations between J J Cale and Eric Clapton. They are, were, a natural mix and between them we have some great music to enjoy.
One song, True Lies, is obviously based on some of her own relationship experiences. However her lyrics point the finger at people any of us have been unlucky to have known.
If you have read my former post on Mary Gauthier (click here,) you know that I very much like her two former albums. This album is hard blues country by a very talented singer songwriter about love gone wrong. Through the eight songs, Mary lets us in on the thoughts and reactions she worked through as she dealt with the end of a relationship. It hurts.
There’s a new Steve Earle Album due in February 2015.
The song I ma referring to is a tune by J.J Cale, The Problem. It is from his wonderful 2004 Album To Tulsa and Back.
In fact one wonders whether such people are in the minority! Our current Federal Government is made up of people who would have trouble being classed as human and everything they are doing clearly shows that they lack humanity.
If you haven’t already – have a good listen. It will be worth it. As usual, he has stuck mostly to his usual style being somewhere out there between okie folk, blues, roots music and a bit of americana. All good stuff.
This is difficult for me as someone who has liked much of Annie Lennox’s music. I have always thought she was going to get even better with age. But as she said in an interview, the rage is not there now that she is happy with life. This new album by Annie Lennox is about revisiting some wonderful jazz and blues numbers, but..
This new album is due out 4th November. There’s a video online of one of the songs. The Deluxe album will contain two discs with two versions of the sons. One with the full orchestra/big band and one as an acoustic. Yes that is Neil with a ninety piece orchestra. I have been online and listened to the full album of the orchestral version.
Love Filling Station (2009) & A Reasonable Amount of Trouble (2014)
This was a shame as he was indeed a very gentle and quiet personality with an eye on the world.
This group of talented Canadians has been making fantastic music for a couple of decades. I cannot remember how many times I have sat back, often with my headphones on, and allowed their music to take me away from all the troubles hanging around. These days life is much more peaceful and the music is even better.
I have downloaded and listen to this album just the once. I have read quite a bit about this latest gem from Lucinda but was prevented from listening to it earlier due to some international travel and an online problem I was experiencing. But all this was solved at last this afternoon and I have been sitting here, with headphones on, making my way through this wonderful album. If you have not already gathered, this is a great album.
It is great to see established singer/ songwriters being relaxed in his approach to music so that he brings together an album of new and original songs.
Something to enjoy . A new video online by Natalie Merchant. The track Lulu is from Natalie Merchant’s 2014 album.
Sometimes you buy an album then life gets in the way and you do not get to the chance to really get into the music. This has happened several times to me with the music of Beth Orton. It was a case of bad timing.
I have had albums by Beth for a decade or more but it was only very recently, last week in fact, that I was able to dedicate serious time to sit and listen to her albums. I am recommending her music and would love to see a stage performance. Just dreaming!
By the time you read this the new album by Lucinda Williams may have been released. All the reviews have been very positive and given the previous albums have been amazing, this definitely bodes well for another great listening experience. As you may have gathered, I rate Lucinda Williams very high on my list of musicians.
Linton Kwensi Johnson, Paris Live, 2004
The world would be a better place if we treated everyone kindly, be open about things, and listened to more music!
Linton Kwensi Johnson, more time, from Paris Live, 2004
We have been bombarded recently with a lot of neo-conservative rubbish about how everyone needs to work longer hours and stay in work for more years. There’s so much indoctrination being put about how people need to do more and expect less. I disagree.
Dear Leonard has a new album out 23 September 2014. The title is ‘Popular Problems‘. When questioned about the tone of the new songs, Leonard responded that the world seemed to be confronting all forms of crisis right now. However he added with a smile that he is ‘closet optimistic’.
I wandered into this exhibition with some doubts given the title. I have long been sceptical of the direct link that some artists and authors make between music and the visual arts. This is not to say that some visual artists may be influenced by some music or rhythms.
Neil Young has published an online song asking the question about ‘who is gonna to stand up and save the earth?’. The song contains comments about the damage being done to the earth and that we need to take on the big corporations. click here for the song
Geraint Watkin’s albums have been few and they have not commanded a lot of attention. I suspect this is because of the idiosyncratic mix of music styles.
This 2014 album by Geraint Watkins has dominated the car stereo for quite a while now. It is fun to hear the music close up. This album is recommended if you like this sort of mix.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) definitely needs to ensure that its profile as a broadcaster identifies with the many communities within Australian society. It has recently moved on this by using a slightly revised version of a very popular song by the band, Hunters & Collectors. I have a problem with this choice.
Yes Folks, maybe some of you thought that Leonard Cohen’s 2012 album, Old Ideas, may have been the last album from this genius. Not so. L Cohen has announced that there is another to be released just after his 80th birthday this year, 2014.
I have already posted a review of Carmel’s music. Click here. As I said earlier Carmel McCourt’s music is to be enjoyed, and to be enjoyed often. It was a nice surprise to see three new tracks uploaded for purchase. Click here. Not sure why they are called ‘lost recordings’.
I had previously posted about the extraordinary goings-on whereby we were seeing a rise in the number of vinyl albums being bought. Good heavens! It continues to this day with an amazing increase in the numbers being bought. The trouble is the supply to meet the demands.
Brandy Clark is one of those singer songwriters who has worked with others, written songs for other artists, but has only now (in 2013) taken on launching her own album of songs.
I start my comments by saying that 12 Stories is recommended.
If you already know John Hiatt’s work, this is the 22nd Album, then I can recommend you add this album to your collection. It is that good. If you are unfamiliar with any or most of his albums, than start right here. It is that good.
Paul Costigan, 28 July 2014
Puss N Boots have released an album (due out today) titled No Fools, No Fun.
Puss n Boots are the band formed by three successful musicians, Sasha Dobson, Catherine Popper, and Norah Jones. The three perform individually under their own names and as support musicians to many others. They are busy people.
There’s not much more to say about Eliot Fisk & Paco Peña than as stated online: Eliot Fisk looks like the happiest man on the planet. Watch that face as he plays guitar. Between performing music by J.S. Bach and partnering with the world’s best flamenco guitarist, Paco Peña, Fisk can barely control his joy.
Paul Costigan, 7 July 2014
It was in a Newcastle (NSW) cinema that I first experienced the power of Joe Cocker’s voice and his music. It was 1971 and they were showing Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Somehow the advertising may have confused some, as not long after the movie started several older people departed. Those that stayed were rocked out of our heads!
Here’s the title track from John Hiatt’s new album
Click here for more information
Paul Costigan, 5th July 2014
Seeing a CD put out by Leon Russell throws up a host of memories. I remember the first time I saw him perform and heard that voice. That was back with the release of the film, Joe Cocker and Mad Dogs and Englishmen. (there’s a review of Joe Cocker to follow soon)
In between there have been countless albums, several of which have found their way to my collections.
Aaron Neville’s voice is the real thing. He is now over 70 years old and he sounds fantastic. Having several of his CDs in my collection, it was with heightened interest that I approached this one given the publicity that he was revisiting songs from his own childhood.
If you are interested in some fantastic new versions of doo-wop music, then this album will bring you hours of pleasure.
Giving Up Everything
From the new Album – Natalie Merchant (2014)
I am still listening to Natalia Merchant’s new album (released May 2014). While doing so, I have come by this video release of one of the tracks – Giving Up Everything.
a conversation with Natalie Merchant
about her new album, titled Natalie Merchant (2014)
Still to listen at length to this whole album, but already convinced this one is very good.
These two albums were released in the early 1960s and they still hold up; they sound great.
The release of these albums was a landmark at the time as it saw this successful singer-songwriter cross over from his usual rhythm and blues and gospel singing to interpret classic country & western music.
This labour of love is a live tribute album to Ray Charles. The album is of a 2009 performance by Willie Nelson, Wynton Marsalis, and Norah Jones.
I have reviewed a similar collaboration by Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis that was previously released – Two Men With The Blues (Live) 2008 – for my comments on that album – click here.
I am not sure when I became interested in Americana music. Some people think Americana is another part of American country music. Not for me. It sits somewhere between country, rock and at times a there’s a little of the blues and ever now and then throw in a folk ingredient.
This is roughly where I put these two albums by Mary Gauthier. She has since put out three others and is due any week now to release another.
Over the years there has been a massive increase in the recognition of women musicians. It would therefore be a natural expectations that important music magazines would reflect this achievement. Then again, why such optimism?