Neil Young’s entire catalog is available to stream for free on his newly launched archival website. Wow!!! – Thanks Neil
A review of Dark Matter – click here.
special 25th anniversary edition
here’s a re-issue of some really beautiful – magnificent music.
J J Cale & Eric Clapton: Call me the breeze
k.d. lang performs “Constant Craving” on MTV Unplugged.
Dark Matter – August 4th 2017
Dark Matter, Randy Newman’s first album of new material in nine years, is due August 4 on Nonesuch; vinyl on August 18.
Taj Mahal & Ry Cooder: Statesboro Blues”
amazing stuff – play it loud!
His last album: Chuck
You would have heard many songs over the decades – but this is something new.
a couple of pieces of music to take you away after a busy day.
New Album: So You Wannabe An Outlaw
A new Steve Earle album is due out soon – this time, with a few friends, moving back to his roots – being country music.
Review: Lyle Lovett Greatest Hits 2017
It has been a while since we have seen a ‘greatest hits’ by Lyle Lovett – and this collection is one to have.
Dear Willie Nelson heard rumours about his own death.
Music Review: Rhiannon Giddens: Freedom Highway, February 2017
My comments have nit changed much from my previous post on Rhiannon Giddens: This 2017 album features a woman with a strong and beautiful voice – singing folk songs of America – making very beautiful Americana music.
Ry Cooder – Jesus on the Mainline (Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017)
Wonderful music from Ry Cooder – see Youtube below..
Sgt Pepper’s 50th birthday
I cannot be! That it is 50 years since at around 11pm when I was suppose to be asleep in bed, that I heard this music coming from the lounge room.
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.
Randy Newman on PUTIN
Time for some fun – and a new song from Randy Newman…
Review: Blue & Lonesome
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?
Review: Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins
Released February 2017. Rating 4/5 – highly recommended.
A review: Neil Young – Peace Trail
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.
Review Suzanne Vega: Carson McCullers Lover Beloved
One very nice recording just out by Suzanne Vega.
Click on image for a story about Leon Russell 1942-2016
Shine A Light – Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad. 2016 Billy Bragg & Joe Henry
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.
Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker
Yes, there’s a new album out by our man, Leonard Cohen.
George Monbiot & Ewan McLennan – Breaking the Spell of Loneliness
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.
Music Review: Keep Me Singing, Van Morrison 2016
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
Review: Colvin & Earle June 2016
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
Review: Tracy Chapman Greatest Hits 2015
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.
Music Review: Bluenote Cafe, Neil Young (2015)
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.
Music Review: Carlo Emerald Acoustic Sessions 2013
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.
Coming Forth By Day , Cassandra Wilson, 2015
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.
James McCurtry, Complicated Game 2015
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.
Rhiannon Giddens: Tomorrow Is My Turn, Feb 2015
This album, the first for Rhiannon as a solo artist, features a woman with a strong voice who is singing songs about women written by women. Rhiannon Giddens wrote just one —the last one. The musicians on this album do a fabulous job – and together it is one beautiful experience. Some people may have some difficulties, as she has collected 10 songs from very different sources.
John Mayall: A Special Life, 2014
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.
Review: Shadows in The Dark
Bob Dylan, 2015
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.
Avonmore, Bryan Ferry, 2014
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.
Albums by Joan Osborne, including Bring It On Home, 2012
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.
Music to be enjoyed
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.
Give My Love To London, Marianne Faithfull, 2014
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.
for all those lying bastards out there!
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.
Mary Gauthier, Trouble & Love, 2014
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.
New Steve Earle Album Announcement
There’s a new Steve Earle Album due in February 2015.
J J Cale’s last album, Roll On
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.
Jesse Winchester – his last two albums:
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.
The music of the Cowboy Junkies
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.
New Album announcement
Jackson Browne – standing in the breach
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.
Video: review Music
Lulu, Natalie Merchant
Something to enjoy . A new video online by Natalie Merchant. The track Lulu is from Natalie Merchant’s 2014 album.
Beth Orton and Sugaring Season (Deluxe Edition) 2013
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!
Music online: Lyle Lovett and friends
Music Review online
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!
Music Review online
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.
Music Announcement: new album from Leonard Cohen
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’.
Review: Visual Arts
Colour Music at the ANU Drill Hall
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.
Music: Neil Young asks that question.
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 Watkins, Moustique, 2014
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.
Hunters & Collectors: Throw Your Arms Around Me (1986)
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.
New Album forecasted for Leonard Cohen
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.
Announcement: Music online
Carmel: three new tracks available online
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’.
Music Stories – about the sales of Vinyl Albums
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.
12 Stories, Brandy Clark 2013
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.
Terms of My Surrender, John Hiatt 2014
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.
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.
a real gem on NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
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
Joe Cocker: Mad Dog 1970 to Fire It Up 2013
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!
New Release Notice
New CD to be released mid July: John Hiatt, Term of My Surrender.
Here’s the title track from John Hiatt’s new album
Click here for more information
Paul Costigan, 5th July 2014
Leon Russell, Life Journey, 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, My True Story 2013
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.
Ray Charles: Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music, Volumes 1 & 2
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.
Willie Nelson, Wynton Marsalis, and Norah Jones
Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles (2011)
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.
Mary Gauthier’s Mercy Now ( 2004 ); and Between Daylight and Dark (2007)
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.
Music: How Women still are overlooked by Rolling Stone Magazine
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?
I have posted this for no other reason than to remind anyone of the talent of Nick Cave.
Paul Costigan, 2 May 2014
Neil Young recording Needle of Death
Neil likes to do things just the way he wants to. Having followed his music now for many decades, I am not surprised by this latest little piece. Neil in a box!
music: Billy Bragg on busking
To help her nail her first gig, musician Billy Bragg went along to share his tips for success.
William Elliott Whitmore: Field Songs (2011) & Animals in The Dark (2009)
While his sound is definitely within the broad Americana set, his folk-blues voice makes him sound much older than he is, which is in his mid thirties. At times he sounds something like an old style preacher with a husky tone. Most of his songs centre around the American landscape, farming, life and death and all things in between.
Music: Billy Bragg on NPR Tiny desk concert
something from a musician who has stuck to his principles of speaking out on social and political topics – and has fun as well. Have a listen – about 20 minutes
Paul Costigan, 5 April 2014
Sade & The Hotheads
Creating some headlines, especially in the UK, is this folk rock, pop band of players. The music is mainly written by the band with the lead singer being the singer songwriter. The band has been around for a few years now and the lead singer, originally from the US, moved to London in the 1990s.
Review: Music on DVD
Eric Clapton, Crossroads Guitar Festival
The Crossroads Guitar Festival series was made in 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2013. I have just finished watching the 2013 version and yes it is more of the same as with previous concerts. All good stuff. Eric Clapton has arranged these as a charity for a drug treatment centre in Antigua.
Eric Clapton has invited his colleagues to perform songs and each usually does a song or two – with Eric making the occasional appearances.
Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis
Two Men With The Blues (Live) 2008
Then add an individually styled country singer, who has stayed outside the mainstream country music, and has produced a huge number of records often with different approaches and different bands.
Sam Lee and Friends
It was while researching the actor, Juliet Stevenson, that I was led to the music of a band in which her stepson was a player. Sam Lee is a collector of folk songs and then publishes and performs them through a wonderful use of instruments and song.
Suzanne Vega: Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles. 2014
If you are one of the many who enjoyed Suzanne Vega’s words and music, then I can almost guarantee that you will love this new album. This new album is Suzanne Vega at her best.
Her humour is there as is her wonderful grasp of story telling and wisdom of dealing with some of the big life issues – although she has layered some of this with a little folklore approach.