mon 19/02/2018

Americana

Reissue CDs Weekly: Chris Hillman

In 1976, when his first solo album Slippin’ Away was released, Chris Hillman could look back on being a founder member of The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers, two of America’s most important bands. He had also played alongside former members...

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CD: Beth Nielsen Chapman - Hearts of Glass

In a career spanning almost 40 years, Beth Nielsen Chapman has been sparing with her album releases. She’s been twice nominated for Grammys and many may still think of her as primarily a songwriter: “This Kiss”, of which she was co-writer, was a big...

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I'm With Her, Bush Hall review - folk supergroup debut album to treasure

Fresh from Celtic Connections in Glasgow, I’m With Her stepped out at Bush Hall in west London for their only England date before embarking on a major US tour. Sarah Jarosz, who plays guitar, banjo and mandolin, Aoife O’Donovan, guitar, and Sara...

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CD: First Aid Kit - Ruins

With the tragic passing of Cranberries lead singer Dolores O'Riordan, I've been thinking a lot about the importance of the soundtrack to youth. I spent days wailing along to "Ode to My Family", raging out to "Zombie" or bouncing around the local...

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Albums of the Year 2017: Tom Russell - Folk Hotel

A regular reviewing gig inevitably opens the ears to lots of “stuff”, what with the CDs (and downloads, so irritating to review from) dispatched by hopeful PRs and Spotify (great for browsing, crap for artists) offering the opportunity to dip in and...

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CD: Christmas with Elvis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

It’s that time of year again, and we’re forced to endure crap Christmas songs while waiting to pay for milk and loo rolls. The fingers of one hand are sufficient for listing the world’s only good Christmas albums and songs: Phil Spector’s Christmas...

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CD: Neil Young + Promise of the Real - The Visitor

Not since the 1960s has there been so much global shit to protest about! The Sixties, of course, gave us the protest song – and how well the best of them have worn. “Masters of War” and “With God On Our Side” are timeless classics. “Give Peace a...

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CD: Mavis Staples - If All I Was Was Black

The queen of R&B is no stranger to struggle – the Staples Singers, led by Pops, played a key role in the 1960s civil rights movement, emerging from the gospel circuit as so many great black singers did. Mavis’ first paid gig was with her family...

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Richard F Thomas: Why Dylan Matters review - tangled up in clues

A year ago, Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, his work commended by the committee "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition". The media response was like no other and we admirers felt...

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Glengarry Glen Ross, Playhouse Theatre review - Christian Slater is gently charismatic

American classics dominate the straight plays in London’s West End. Whenever a producer wants to revive a straight drama, they will inevitably look first at the back catalogue of Tennessee Williams or Arthur Miller or, in this case, David Mamet....

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CD: Angel Olsen - Phases

An underground American star since 2010’s Strange Cacti EP, Angel Olsen’s distinctive brand of indie folk-rock was propelled to new heights in both Burn Your Fire For No Witness (2014) and then last year with MY WOMAN. After years of touring,...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: The Residents

80 Aching Orphans ought to be hard work. A four-CD, 80-track, 274-minute overview chronicling 45 years of one of pop’s most wilful bands should be a challenging listen. The Residents have never made records which are straightforward or were meant to...

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