Monday, 11 November 2013

Gilded Palace Radio Show (Nov 11th 2013)

Brand new Drag The River tracks (two of 'em!), brand new Chris Mills… and brand new Joel RL Phelps. Is it Christmas already?!

Listen now at (try out the 'beta player': use the link on the TR home page and scroll through to 'Gilded Palace') 

Drag The River - Witchita Skyline - Xtra Mile
Drag The River - Not That Kind - Xtra Mile
New Country Rehab - Lizzy Dying Of A Broken Heat - Kelp Records
Chris Mills - When We Were Young - Loud Romantic
Richard Buckner - Surrounded - Merge
Mark Eitzel - Decibels and Little Pills - Decor
Villareal - Low Cloud Revisits - Numbskull
Danny & The Champions Of The World - Stay True - Loose
Joel RL Phelps & The Downer Trio - Exiting the Garden - Damnably
Barton Carroll - Avery County I'm Bound To You - Skybucket
The Tillers - I Gotta Move (feat. JD Wilkes) - Muddy Roots Music
Jellyfish - The King Is Half - Undressed (acoustic) - Omnivore
The Jamie Freeman Agreement - Steel Away - Union Music
David Newbould - Don't Give Up On Love - David Newbould
Eric Taylor - Molly's Painted Pony - Ruby Blue
Downtown Mystic - Everything - Sha - La Music
Allison Brown - Something Holy -
Pert Near Sandstone - The Story of You Me & Your Mama - Per Near Music
John Parkes - Lincolnshire - AAZ
Morning Bride - The North Sea - Imprint Records
Kreg Viesselman - Tin Cups - Continental Song City
Yarn - Clay Pigeons -
The Sadies - So Much Blood - Yep Roc
Michael Meeking And The Lost Souls - Are You Listening? - At The Helm
Bonehoof - Peggy Powler - Bonehoof

Friday, 8 November 2013

Gilded Palace Radio Show (Nov 8th 2013)

Already a tremendous year for and Americana releases (The Rockingbirds, John Moreland, Willard Grant Conspiracy), competition for the Festive Fifteen 2013 just got tougher with the release of the new album by Canadian maestros, The Sadies. They have long been Gilded Palace favourites, and indisputably one of the greatest live bands around. 

Over the last couple of albums, they have started to produce records that demonstrated a maturity of songwriting beyond the stunning slick instrumentals and fiery cover versions they had made their trademark. And, now, with Internal Sounds, I really believe they have cracked the formula that marries the power of their live sound with some really strong self-penned songs, not to mention a production job from Dallas Good that showcases the band’s talent at its highest point yet. And this in a year when they also found time to contribute to their kin-folk project, The Good Family Album – they look apparently unstoppable!

For many years, we’ve told people they are *the* band to see on stage: Internal Sounds marks them out as a band to be reckoned with on record too. The album’s out now on Yep Roc, with UK and European shows planned for the spring of 2014. Can’t wait to see them again…

Gilded Palace Radio Show - playlist until November 11th 2013

The Sadies - Another Tomorrow Again - Yep Roc
Barton Carroll - Every Little Bit Hurts - Skybucket
Mark Eitzel - What the World Holds Together - Décor
Ha Ha Tonka - The Past Has Arms - Bloodshot
Have Gun, Will Travel - Silver and the Age of Opulence - This Is American Music
Will Johnson - Little Raider (Fuel/Friends Music Blog session) -
Mike Gangloff- Queen Of The Earth, Child Of The Skies - Blackest Rainbow
Jadea Kelly - Powell River - Darth Jadea
The High Bar Gang - Sinners - True North
Yarn - Lay Down Your Lovin Heart - yarnmusic
Erich McMann - Keep Me Lovin You - erichmcmann
Jonn Prine - It's a Big Old Goofy World - Oh Boy!
Tim Grimm - Blame It On The Dog - Cavalier
Annie Lou - Take Your Leg Off Mine - Annie Lou Music
John Paul Keith - Everything's Different Now - Big Legal Mess
My Darling Clementine - Let's Be Unhappy - Continental Song City
Asheligh Flyyn - New Angel in Heaven - Home Perm
Scott Cook - You Don't Find Out in the End – Groove Revival
Stephen Fearing - The Half - Life Of Childhood - Lowden Proud
Session Americana - Gold Mine - Continental Song City
Sage & The Saints - Would I Run – Sage Music
Bo Porter - It Ain't Like My Baby - Holy Smokes
Jerry Paquette - Back Porch Blues - Raincoast Music
The Snakes - The Last Train - Bucketfull Of Brains
Michael Meeking And The Lost Souls - Ride On - At The Helm
The Tillers - Tecumseh on the Battlefield - Muddy Roots

Listen now at (try out the 'beta player': use the link on the TR home page and scroll through to 'Gilded Palace') 
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Monday, 30 September 2013

Gilded Palace Radio Show - Sept 30th 2013

New show available to stream at
Playlist goes something like this... yes, TWO songs from The Sadies' new album: it's that good!

Gilded Palace Radio Show Playlist: Sept 30th to Oct 13th

The Sadies - The Very Beginning - Yep Roc
Have Gun, Will Travel - Take Me Home, Alice - This Is American Music
Danny And The Champions Of The World - Let's Grab This With Both Hands - Loose
Austin Lucas - Rings - New West
Del Barber - Hen House Manifesto - Six Shooter
The Mother Hips - Song for J.B. -
Yarn - Shine The Light On -
Robbie Fulks - When You Get To The Bottom - Bloodshot
Barton Carroll - Pauline - Skybucket
The Horse's Ha - Conjured Caravan - Fluff And Gravy
Nathaniel Rateliff - How to Win - Nathaniel Rateliff
Real Ponchos - Can't Win 'em All - Real Ponchos
Eric Taylor - Texas, Texas - Munich
Tim Grimm - Rovin' Gambler - Cavlier
Annie Lou - The Plaid Parade - Annie Lou Music
Kayleigh Leith - Feelin' Bout You - KL Music
The Coal Porters - Barefoot On The Courthouse Lawn - Prima
Joe West & The Santa Fe Revue - Hometown Shit Beer - Frogville
Audrey Auld - Drinking Problem - Reckless
Peter Cooper - Much Better Now - Red Beet Records
Ashleigh Flynn - Dirty Hands and Dirty Feet - Home Perm
Rod Picott - All The Broken Parts - Welding Rod
Session Americana - Barbed Wire - Continental Song City
The Howlin' Brothers - Big Time - Continental Song City
The Sadies - Story 19 - Yep Roc

Listen now at (try out the 'beta player': use the link on the TR home page and scroll through to 'Gilded Palace') 

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Monday, 8 April 2013

Gilded Palace Radio Show (April 8th 2013) - Session with Glossary and Austin Lucas

As if I couldn't contain my excitement about the Austin Lucas & Glossary tour hitting Brighton, I wouldn't have dared entertain the prospect of them both coming on to the Gilded Palace Radio Show. As things turned out, it almost didn't happen: Brighton has some terrible traffic when it wants to and we had to bail on original plans. Wouldn't want them being late for their first UK show, now, would we...?

Fortunately, we eventually squeezed in a chat the following morning before they skipped town for the next show, so  - if what you hear sounds a little hurried... well, it was! Still, we managed a couple of songs and a couple more words with Joey, Kelly and Todd from Glossary.  I look forward to welcoming them back when hopefully we'll have time to elaborate on Joey's plans for "saving No Depression" and the band's habit of naming albums after text from books (Cormac McCarthy, Charles Hale and Steven Pinker). If the reception for them in Brighton was anything to go by, they *will* be back.

Then, despite growing anxiety about the time, Austin took over the microphone and (with Kelly) gave us a beautiful rendition of Alone In Memphis from his forthcoming release on New West (New West!), Stay Reckless.  The album features Glossary backing up Austin on all songs, and - if the Brighton show is anything to go by - it will sound something like planets aligning.  I know I'm incapable of objective assessment here, but ask anyone who was there; it was an incredible gig!

Oh, yes, and as if that weren’t enough – we also have new music from The Sadies (and kin) - any other week that would be headline news itself. The Good brothers, Dallas and Travis - along with band-mates Sean and Mike - have recorded an album with their mum, cousin, dad and uncle. You may already know that 'dad and uncle' comprise two of Canadian roots-royalty, The Good Brothers, so expect this album to have many generations of 'chops'. I'll tell you more a little later...

Enjoy the show!

Gilded Palace Radio Show Playlist: April 8th to 22nd 2013 (stream 24/7 at
The Good Family - Coal Black Hills - Latent
Pert Near Sandstone - Ship Of Fools - Pert Near Music
The Revelers - Des Fois -
Cam Penner - Rivers Forgotten - Rawlco Radio
Nels Andrews - Starboard - Nels Andrews
Christa Coutour - Hopeless Situation - One Hand Clapping
Rich Mahan - I’ll Get Off The Booze - Snortin Horse
The Rockingbirds - Fixing The Roof In Your Dream - Loose
Glossary - Keep It Coming - Last Chance (US)/Xtra Mile (UK)
Glossary - Shoulder To Cry On (live in studio) - Last Chance (US)/Xtra Mile (UK)
Glossary - Little Caney (live in studio) -
Austin Lucas - Alone In Memphis (live in studio) -
Austin Lucas - Nevada County Line - Last Chance/ Hometown Caravan
Jenny Ritter - Cold House Song - Jenny Ritter
Melissa Greener - With The Weather - Melissa Greener
Stray Birds - My Brother’s Hill - Stray Birds
Sacri Cuori - Silver Dollar - Decor
Ha Ha Tonka - Close Every Valve To Your Beating Heart - Bloodshot
Stuart Warburton - Fragile Heaven - Big Hat
Anders & Kendall - We Were On Fire Babe - Nine Mile Records
Woody Pines - Railroad Vine - Woody Pines
Rachel Hosking - Parting Glass -
Dubl Handi - Shout Little Lula - Dubl Handi

Monday, 25 March 2013

Gilded Palace Radio Show (March 25th 2013) - Session with Dave Harding (Richmond Fontaine)

It can’t be easy making your way as a songwriter, let alone striking out after a successful stint as a ‘mere’ musician in a band. So, I guess you’d have nothing to lose by compounding the above and moving five thousand miles to start a life in a new country. Dave Harding would know… he’s done just that.

Best known as the bass player and founding member of Richmond Fontaine, Dave has just released his second solo album, You Came Through (on Fontaine imprint, El Cortez). A few months before its release, he also upped sticks from the band’s adopted home of Portland, Oregon, and headed for Denmark with his (Danish) wife and infant son.

Dave has just topped up his English, though, with a short tour of the UK. Dates were booked for the most part through a network of Fontaine fans who have become friends – thanks to the band being just as happy (happier?) to share a beer with fans at the venue bar as to stand on stage and perform a set.

Although there was no Brighton date (this time) I was delighted that Dave made time to visit and record a session and interview for the Gilded Palace Radio Show – and, of course, share a glass or two afterwards! Highlight of the session for me was a gorgeous rendition of Shores Of Cornwall from the album (a song on which Dave doesn't sing on the record, but pulls off brilliantly in the studio).
Three songs are played live and one more selected from the album. Dave also chose a few songs for the playlist from bands with whom he and the Richmond Fontaine guys have become good friends. I am sure I’m not the only person grateful to them for introducing me to Grand Champeen (Fontaine have been their greatest ambassadors over here, as well as covering the GC song ‘Broken Records’ in their set). In addition to Grand Champeen, we’re treated to Stiv Canterelli, Dolorean and Peter Bruntnell. OK, most of them may not be unusual on a GP playlist ;-) 

You can pick up You Came Through via Dave’s Bandcamp page: and ‘befriend’ him on Facebook

Nyd showet! Dave’ll tell you what that means…

Gilded Palace Radio Playlist (March 25th - April 8h 2013):

Jason Molina - Let Me Go Let Me Go Let Me Go - Secretly Canadian
Phil Lee - Blues In Reverse - Palookaville
Rita Hosking - Where Time Is Reigning - True North
Rich Mahan - Math - Snortin Horse
Gurf Morlix - Gasoline - Rootball
Stray Birds - Heavey Hands -
Barney Bentall - 4 Went To War - True North
The Rockingbirds - Til Something Better Comes Along - Loose
Dave Harding - Shelley's Song - El Cortez
Dave Harding - Western Wind (live in studio) - El Cortez
Dave Harding - Shores Of Cornwall (live in studio) - El Cortez
Stiv Cantarelli and the Silent Strangers - Cornerstone Blues - Stove Pony
Dave Harding - Judgement Day (live in studio) - El Cortez
Grand Champeen - Broken Records - Munich
Peter Bruntnell - Domestico - Loose
Dolorean - Hard Working Dogs - Partisan
Woody Pines - Like I Do - Peach Fork
Glossary- Trouble Wont Last Always - Last Chance (UK tour starts Friday!)
Austin Lucas - Somewhere A Light Shines - Hometown Caravan (EU)/Last Chance (US)
Pharis and Jason Romero - Come On Home - Lula Records
Stream the show anytime at (link to player on front page or click through to the Gilded Palace page)


Monday, 11 March 2013

Gilded Palace Radio Show (March 11th 2013) - Save Your Money for... Glossary

Not for the first time, the Gilded Palace Radio Show features two hours of musical foreplay climaxing with Murfreesboro, TN's incredible Glossary. But as the end of March approaches, the prospect of finally seeing the 'real thing' is almost too much to contemplate.
For me, it’s been ten years coming but at long last Glossary are about to embark on their first UK tour. It’s a short tour and in some small (but perfectly formed) venues, but if you’re reading this (and are a fan of our kind of music) you really do need to catch this band. Why...?

Reminiscent of the melodic rock of Tom Petty (Shaking Like A Flame)...
... or the soulful swing of the E-Street Band (These City Lights Shine)...
...and a band not afraid to flaunt their love of UK rockers like Thin Lizzy (‘Save Your Money For The Weekend’ or ‘Lonely Is A Town’).

They’ve won friends in the likes of Lucero (who put out Glossary’s 'Feral Fire' album on their own label) and Austin Lucas (whom we must thank for giving us the chance to see them in Europe at last). Their tour will see them perform with Austin, as his backing band, as well as playing their own opening set. Seven albums into their career, one could arguably write a different (and killer) set-list for each of the shows.
In case Austin is also a new name on you, here he is with a new track - I doubt even the addition of Glossary could improve this ;-)
Austin Lucas: Alone In Memphis (Couch By Couch West, Austin)
And now Glossary have signed to Xtra Mile Records in the UK (home of Frank Turner, Chris T-T, Tim Barry et al) for their latest release, Long Live All Of Us. The album will get a UK release in April 2013. They have been with the excellent Last Chance Records in the US for a couple of albums now - not least, I'm sure, because LCR has a tasty way with coloured vinyl ;-)

You can get off to a good and free start by downloading their excellent 2007 album, The Better Angels Of Our Nature, from the band’s own website: yes, FREE – I told you they were good people! See you down the front!

Austin Lucas and Glossary UK Tour March 2013:
29th March – The Palmeira, Hove (Tickets)
30th March – Windmill, Brixton (Tickets)
31st March – Wharf Chambers, Leeds
1st April – Banshee Labyrinth, Edinburgh (Tickets)
2nd April – Star And Garter, Manchester (Tickets)
3rd April – The Croft, Bristol (Tickets)

Gilded Palace Radio Show Playlist: March 11th to 25th 2013 (stream 24/7 at
 1) Son Volt - Living On - Rounder
2) Gurf Morlix - My Lifes Been Taken - Rootball
3) Dave McGraw & Judy Fer - So Comes The Day - Dave McGraw & Judy Fer (UK tour in March)
4) Great Peacock - Take Me To The Mountain - This Is American Music
5) Anders and Kendall - Getttin Ready - Nine Mile Records
6) Christopher Rees - Knock On My Door - Red Eye Music
7) Dave Harding - Judgement Day - El Cortez (touring UK until March 16th)
8) Chris Mills - The World Some Sad Hour - Circus 65
9) Erin Enderlin - Lover Don't Go (Nick Lowe cover) - Fiesta Red
10) Caramel Jack - Gone To The Moon - World Of Furr
11) Small Shipwrecks - Camera Marks A Point - Small Shipwrecks
12) Hans Chew - Old Monteagle & Muscadine  - 3 Lobed
13) Rob Lutes - Things We Didn't Choose - Lucky Bear
14) Daniel Pearson - Factory Floor - Saint In The Woods
15) Lisa Richards - Every Star -
16) Michael Hurley - The Revenant - Fundamental
17) Black Prairie - Jump Up Jon - Sugar Hill
18) Black Prairie - Winter Wind - Sugar Hill
19) Pharis and Jason Romero - Long Gone Out West Blues - Lula
20) John Wilkes Boothe - The Possum - self-released
21) Old Man Luedecke - This May Hurt A Bit - True North
22) Jarrod Dickenson - No Work For A Working Man -
23) Diablos - Sleep A Whole Lot Easier - Wrong Guy
24) JP Harris & The Tough Choices - Badly Bent - Cow Island
25) Glossary - Shout It From The Rooftops -

Monday, 25 February 2013

Gilded Palace Radio Show (Feb 25th 2013): Been Gone So Long...

It's happened! The new Rockingbirds album is out - a mere 17 year wait for fans of the band. Truth be told, most fans probably never thought there would be another Rockingbirds album.  It is impossible for me to overstate what an influence this band has had on me. Since first hearing them in 1992, when they were on the cusp of releasing their seminal debut, I’ve probably played their music more than any other artist. Aside from the acknowledged greats, they were the first ‘real’ country band I got into. Namechecking Gram Parsons and covering John Hartford, they were a signpost to so much great music. Their first (self-titled) album remains an essential purchase for any self-respecting country/rock fan - from the UK or anywhere else. 

For a moment they were the darlings of the music press and made it onto 'Top Of The Pops' and 'Later...' (they even made a charity single!). Then after a second (almost as wonderful) album, they split. Alan Tyler continued writing an performing under his own name (and with The Lost Sons Of Littlefield, also a great band, whose two albums are also recommended) and other members went on to perform with the likes of Edwyn Collins and Manic Street Preachers.

And then, after almost 20 years, they were back! Reunion gigs had me travelling the country to get my fix while I could – I daren’t imagine they would be together for long, let alone record an album.

They did, though, and it’s out today (25th February) on Loose. It almost picks up where 'Whatever Happened To..." left off in 1996. Alan Tyler has lost none of his laconic lyrical wit: "Til Something Better Comes Along" and "Brand New Plan" both being perfect examples of how to shrug at the world seemingly passing you by. They - and many of the other songs - also happen to be as good as anything he's written. 

The Return Of The Rockingbirds is the name of the album: understated as ever. Guess it’s up to the rest of us to give them the fanfare. Buy this record - it's only SEVEN quid from the label! For a limited time, Loose have also been kind enough to make a Soundcloud stream of the entire album available. Find it here:

Gilded Palace Radio Show: Feb 25th - March 11th 2013
Charlie Parr - Jimmy Bell - Tin Angel/
Justin Rutledge - Kapuskasing Coffee - Outside Music
JP Harris & The Tough Choices - Gear Jammin' Daddy - Cow Island
Vic Chesnutt - When I Ran Off And Left Her - New West
Lisa Richards - First Sin -
Wandering Woods - Depths Of Hell -
Southern Tenant Folk Union - A Relic Of A Reasonable Mind - Johnny Rocks
Jarrod Dickenson - Aint Waiting Any Longer - Jarrod Dickenson Music
Anders & Kendall - Let’s Get Lost - Nine Mile Records
Knife In The Water - Party - Glitterhouse
Jim Roll - You - Telegraph
Mary Gauthier - Last Of The Hobo Kings - Proper
Rob Lutes - Its Not Over - Lucky Bear
Mark Eitzel - It's Alright - Décor
Annie Keating - Leap Of Faith -
Phil Lee - Chloe - Palookaville
Matt Woosey Band - Elsie May -
Grand Champeen - That’s Never Why - Glurp
Glossary - Save Your Money For The Weekend - Liberty & Lament
TMGS - Evening Blues - I Have A Tiger
Rose's Pawn Shop - The Well - Roses Pawn Shop
Annabelle Chvostek - Some Have All - Borealis Records
Bean Pickers Union - Sometimes I Just Sits - Inseam Records
The Rockingbirds - The Lonely And The Drunk - Loose

Monday, 4 February 2013

Gilded Palace Radio Show (Feb 4th 2013): Take That To The Bank, Charlie...

New show up (Feb 4th) with brand, stomping new Charlie Parr, power-pop bliss from Belgian kids TMGS and an excellent, Townes-worthy track from Utah kids, Wandering Woods. The future of music is in good hands! 
Charlie's new album, Barnswallow, is available from his site on both vinyl and CD (and also released by Tin Angel Records in the UK). Check out his session for Simple Folk Radio, recorded last year...

Charlie Parr: Simple Folk Radio session:

Gilded Palace Radio Show (Feb 4th - 19th 2013) Playlist:
J.P. Harris & The Tough Choices - Return To Sender - Cow Island
Old Man Luedecke - Jonah And The Whale - True North
Charlie Parr - Henry Goes To The Bank - Tin Angel/
Kelly Joe Phelps - Tight To The Jar - Rounder
Blueflint - P45 - Johnny Rocks
Ha Ha Tonka - The Outpouring - Bloodshot (touring UK April/May 2013)
Fred Eaglesmith - 6 Volts - AML
Austin Lucas - Four Wheels - Last Chance (touring UK March 2013 - with Glossary!)
Glossary - Days Go By - (touring UK March 2013 - with Austin Lucas!)
Society - I Do Belong -
Daniel Pearson - Rat Race -
Drew Nelson - St Jude - Red House
Kevin Deal - I Need Revival - Blindfellow Records
Southern Tenant Folk Union - An Duil - Johnny Rocks
The Wooden Sky - Bald Naked and Red - Loose
Damien Jurado - Wherever I May Lay - Secretly Canadian
Wandering Woods - Bethany -
TMGS - Coastlines -
Rob Lutes - Natural Disaster - Nine Mile Records
Annabelle Chvostek - Ona -
Christopher Rees - Sing Out Loud - (new album out now)
Quiet American - I Will Be The One - Boulder Acoustic Society Music
Fuzzy Lights - Summer’s Tide - Little Red Rabbit
Salter Cane - We Are David - Black Ship
The Rockingbirds - Stop The War - Loose
Rebecca Pronsky - Rise Up - Nine Mile Records

Monday, 28 January 2013

Gilded Palace Radio Show (Jan 21st - Feb 4th 2013

I'm more excited than normal about the latest show, featuring as it does a track from the forthcoming new album from The Rockingbirds. Only twenty-one years since their debut (and a less totemic 18 years since their second)! It warms my heart to see them recording again: without a doubt, one of the major reasons why I'm still into the music I enjoy. Along with The Jayhawks, Uncle Tupelo and Green On Red et al they were a seminal influence (and the main - only? - one from the UK). 

The album, The Return Of The Rockingbirds is out on Loose Records on February 25th. I've so far played my promo copy as often as my family's collective sanity and patience will allow. Luckily 'Mrs. Scorcher' is also a big fan from back-in-the-day too :-)

Here's a video from when they (we!) were 'ickle': before we all had video cameras in our phones. So glad someone had the foresight to capture this...

The Rockingbirds at The Diorama, London... '91? '92?:

Also, completely bowled over by the new track from TMGS. They're from Antwerp, Belgium and you can download the featured track (Headed Home) from their website They don't even tap you up for your email address - how generous! You'll want to keep in touch though.  I'm really looking forward to hearing the album, 'Rivers And Coastlines: The Ride' - available on CD from Green Cookie and on vinyl from I Have A Tiger.

TMGS: Headed Home (from the album Rivers And Coastlines: The Ride'):

Playlist for the Gilded Palace Radio Show (Jan 21st-Feb 4th 2013):
Slobberbone - Write Me Off - New West
The Rockingbirds - Brand New Plan - Loose
Kevin Deal - There Goes The Neighborhood - Blindfellow Records
Larkin Poe/Thom Hell - Leave - Edvins Record
Vanessa Peters - Grateful -
Anders and Kendall - Dreamers On The Ground - Nine Mile Records
Bean Pickers Union - Tranquility -
Adrian Crowley - Alice Among The Pines - Chemikal Underground
Willard Grant Conspiracy - The Great Deceiver - Loose
Matt Andersen - Make You Stay - Bustedflat Records
Kelly Joe Phelps - Spit Me Outta The Whale - CRS/Black Hen (UK tour cancelled: get well soon, Kelly Joe!)
Fred Eaglesmith - Cigarette Machine - AML (on tour in the UK February 2013 - including Brighton show at the Palmeira on Feb 15th: tickets here)
David Bazan - Harmless Sparks - Undertow Music (Brighton show Jan 31st!)
Southern Tenant Folk Union - Chest Freezer - Johnny Rocks
James Yorkston - A Short Blues - Domino (on tour March 2013)
TMGS - Headed Home - Green Cookie/I Have A Tiger (download this track at
The Wooden Sky - Child Of The Valley - Loose
Dave Harding (Richmond Fontaine) - Wayfarin Blues - El Cortez
Thea Hopkins - Lilac Sky -
Jason Eady - Forget About The Truth -
Old Tire Swingers - 1838 -
Birds Of Chicago - Humbolt Crows -
Rose's Pawn Shop - Danger Behind The Wheel -
Glossary - When Easy Street Gets Hard To Find - (Glossary are on tour in the UK - you really should not miss them! They're opening for Austin Lucas and then playing as his band. Been a long time coming ... Brighton tickets here)

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Scott Cook - All My Moonlit Rambles (Groove Revival)

I hadn't heard of Scott Cook before receiving this (his third) album. I’m setting about acquainting myself with the other two.

Lyrically I think he’s up there with the likes of Prine or Smther as well as  contemporaries like Adam Carroll and (fellow Canadian) Old Man Luedecke. He has a snappy, witty, unpretentious way with words.  At times he also reminds me of NQ Arbuckle (although his singing register is higher).  They have the same easy but acerbic wit (see ‘The Lord Giveth and The Landlord Taketh Away’)

There’s an easy, laid-back feel to the album as if the songs came effortlessly. They’re not lightweight though: ‘Song For The Slow Dancer’ and ‘The Lord Giveth (And The Landlord Taketh Away)’ are the standout tracks, both with a strong thread of politics running through them. It’s the politics of the layperson though: those of us who are continually perplexed at the ways of the world, with a sense that the majority of us are not the central concern of those few in charge.
“We just hang around, drinking coffee from a paper cup. They say it’ll trickle down, but it just keeps tricklin’ up”… sounds about right to me!

‘Go On Ray’ is another stunner. A eulogy to Scott’s grandfather, which any of us with a much-loved grandparent can identify with. It has the feeling of someone retelling their favourite stories, and in being so specific and personal reminds me of plenty of stories about my own grandfather. I think if it had been less specific it could have come off as mawkish (you know, all bland sentiment) but instead it’s incredibly powerful.  Remember that Prine fella I was talking about…? Yeah, that one.

Listen: (selected tracks including some from Moonlit Rambles)
Buy: (CD prices in Canadian dollars)

Anais Mitchell - Young Man In America (Wilderland)

I’m a late arrival at the Anais Mitchell party. Guess there’s only so much time and so many records to listen to. Whatever, I’m in with both feet now. This is a stunning, magical record.

Reminiscent of Elle Osborne's Slowly Slowly Got She Up (Folk Police) for the clever way in which arrangements elevate the songs to something unique and compelling. Reminds me too of the mood and inventiveness of Laura Gibson’s Beasts Of Season. Producer Todd Sickafoose (that man again) does an excellent job, and his production doesn't ever overwhelm the songs.

For the most part, the music has as much to do with texture and mood than ‘traditional’ concerns like rhythm or melody. Scratching violins, shuffling tambourines, breathy wind instruments (so sparse it’s not really clear what instrument it might be). Although you wouldn’t describe it as a ‘happy’ record can imagine they had some fun recording the album: “Oh wait, let’s try this!”

When they want to they strip things right back: for instance, when she sings on ‘Coming Down’, " I never felt so high...I never laughed so loud", it's her voice that captivates you. There's very little else, save for sparse piano.

There are almost too many ‘hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck’ moments to count. I could (and have) happily listen to this record over and over again in one sitting. Just don’t plan to do anything else when you put it on. In a word, beguiling.

Listen: (oddly no audio on Anais’ site, but a few videos of Young Man tracks including a cover by Bon Iver)

Damien Jurado – Maraqopa (Secretly Canadian)

This is Damien’s second album working with Richard Swift and the partnership continues to expand the scope of arrangements and broaden his palate. Often likened to a modern Nick Drake, even that comparison doesn’t do him justice. The psychedelic ‘Nothing Is The News’ harks back to his (sonically) heavier material, but what follows is (stylistically at least) all over the map.   

Be it bossa nova on ‘This Time Last Year’, call-and-response children’s choir on ‘Life Away From The Garden’, Spector-producing-Kraftwerk on ‘Reel to Reel’ – all are excellent. Once in a while the production is pared back (a bit) to remind us that at the core of all this playfulness sits Jurado’s magnificent heart-melting voice and songs ('So On, Nevada' might be my favourite on the album)

For me, he rarely puts a foot wrong, on record or on stage (his solo show at Take Root in 2010 is still one of my favourite ‘live’ performances: stunning…). I guess it still frustrates me that others get most of the attention, but if you like Father John Misty you really should check out Damien Jurado (Damien was a big champion of J Tillman before the latter’s stint with Fleet Foxes brought him to wider attention).

The sessions were evidently productive: there is a wealth of additional material, not on the album but available elsewhere. Emusic has a Maraqopa Sessions ‘ep’ and there were a trio of seven-inch releases around ‘Record Store Day’ last year. All deserve to be tracked down.

AJ Downing – Good Day (Charkansas)

Ah, that fine Texan tradition of great songwriters with three names (Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jerry Jeff Walker, Billy Joe Shaver et al). AJ Downing bucks that trend only slightly, keeping the forenames to initials – but he does not come up short on the songs. If like me you felt a little let down by the last Hayes Carll album (overbearing production, buried vocals…) then AJ Downing’s Good Day is for you too.

Opener ‘My Wagon Just Wont Roll’ makes for a perfect start: drawling vocals, excellent guitar playing, references to Davy Crockett and a tongue wedged as far into his cheek as it’s possible to get without choking.

I already mentioned the great guitar playing, and the whole band sounds tight: pedal steel from Kim Deschamps and piano from Ian Maclagan both deserve a mention. The songs range from Todd Snider doing honky-tonk to something approaching swampy, dark Ray Wylie Hubbard  - ok, not tremendously eclectic, but I wouldn’t want them any other way, and I doubt fans of either of those two would be disappointed with this album.

Lyrically it’s not all light-hearted. He gets the bit between his teeth more than once. ‘American Junkie’ is a great example. “... but I ain’t hooked on drugs, I’m hooked on schemes and dreams and never having enough’. Another example (and the song on the album that will undoubtedly garner most attention) is ‘Willie Had We Never Been High’. In its chorus he sings about the desire to smoke weed with the Red-headed Stranger. Hilarious, but as he points out – if you think this song’s about dope, I’m afraid you ain’t got no hope. Instead it’s a brilliantly funny metaphor about achieving your goals before your days are up…

This is AJ’s third album. Once again, it’s the first I’ve heard. I really have got some catching up to do.

James Hand - Mighty Lonesome Man (Hillgrass Bluebilly)

James' story still bears telling, although long-term followers of GPOS will know it. After a lifetime making music in his hometown of West, Texas (pop. 2,500) James Hand released his first internationally available album in 2006 - at the age of 54. It was an honour for us to be allowed to play a part in James’ first visit to the UK later that year. The show he and his band played at the Hanbury still ranks among the best and most memorable we hosted.

So I was delighted to receive news that James had a new album out this year. I was even happier, upon hearing it, to find it stuffed with great tunes. There are no surprises, no curve balls: this is straight down the line, classic country music.  James has always known how to write great ‘relationship’ songs. He’s lost none of that knack here – ‘Mighty Lonesome Man’ and ‘Lessons In Depression’ retain enough self-deprecation to stop them being maudlin. ‘Please Me When You Can’ is laugh-out-loud funny, thanks to his disarming delivery. The revelation on this album is his handle on the human impact of social concerns. ‘The Drought’ is something special, but ‘Old Man Henry’... wow! A true show-stopper, and a life-lesson lyric the likes of Chris Knight would be proud of. I won’t spoil the story but I reckon we’re now going to have to start comparing him to Johnny Cash (as well as Lefty Frizzel and Hank Williams).

Apparently there’s also a film dramatising his life already in production (there is a darker story to tell, although it’s not one James has ever relied on to sell records). And the stars continue to champion him – Willie Nelson and Dale Watson were already fans, now Kris Kristofferson has joined the chorus. In spite of all the potential hoop-la, I still can’t imagine James courting the media spotlight: rather like Malcolm Holcombe, he’s almost too humble to be a star.

PS The CD has two 'bonus' tracks not on the vinyl release – one a diverting but unnecessary cover of ‘Get Rhythm’. Rather like the cover of ‘Mona Lisa’ on the last album (Shadows On The Ground), I guess they’ll please some more conservative listeners, but to my ears these covers have potential to diminish the value of James’ own songs.  I’d leave them out if there were ‘Slim’ originals to take their place.