Saturday, 15 June 2019

Weekly Blog Post 16th June 2019: The Old and the New

The four artists dominating this week's round up certainly fall into the 'old and new category' to differing extents. Jill Jackson and Old Man Luedecke have featured before, while Greg Felden and Lucy Isabel had that stamp of brand newness when copies of their latest releases reached me a short while ago. Choosing which of the four to lead off with is an option of fine margins, but a late submission of one of Canada's finest folk 'n' roots operators is a worthy starting point.

A couple of album reviews, a brace of festival appearances and a gig in Leicester brought the music of Old Man Luedecke to my attention between 2012 and 2105, although contact has been a little scarce since. This is likely due to focus elsewhere rather than artist inactivity; a situation now rectified with the release of EASY MONEY. To ease the concern that something has been missed this is actually the studio follow up to 2015's DOMESTIC ECCENTRIC, and the good news is that it barely took a single listen to get back into a musician steeped in the sounds and culture of their native Nova Scotia.

The power of a stellar opening track should never be underestimated and the title track does this in epic proportions for Old Man Luedecke. If 'Easy Money' doesn't get you singing from play #1 nothing will. 'Sardine Song' is another track that will bring a smile to your face and help bond with the record. Let's hope Chris 'Old Man' Luedecke resumes the extensive touring in the UK that he used to do and brings these songs to the live table.

A quick switch of music medium and a brief word on this week's sole gig. Jill Jackson brightened up a wild, wet, damp and miserable Midlands evening with another engaging show at the Kitchen Garden in Birmingham. An impending motherhood announcement had dominated the artist's social media in recent days and with only two gigs in the book before the short enforced break, a successful sign-off ensued.

The phrase 'an evening with' didn't prelude this gig, but its ethos dictated how the evening unravelled. No support and a single span set exceeding an hour and half provided the framework for a gentle informal exchange of personal anecdotes, many which have evolved into songs. This personable approach met with the approvable of an audience dominated by Jill Jackson devotees. They were treated to an artist opening up on many fronts and one whose songwriting future is still likely to be family focussed, but from a different perspective. A third consecutive June return to the Kitchen was promised for 2020, and it will be interesting to see what the future holds, musically and lyrically.

The importance of the lead off track has already been raised earlier in this piece and proved a sound blueprint that American artist Greg Felden followed on his new album MADE OF STRINGS. To state that 'Every Time' towers above its peers on this album is maybe a touch disingenuous to the other songs, but this track is one hell of a belter. (Check out the quirky video accompaniment below). The rest of the record is pretty good too.

Lucy Isabel is the second newcomer to introduce this week and anybody taking a punt on her new album RAMBLING STRANGER is following the tracks of a winner. The twelve songs heralding this record draw influence from the folk and rock world, which these days seeks solace in the welcoming arms of Americana. The songs excel on numerous fronts, first and foremost to catch the ear in a crowded room.

On more familiar territory, good news for fans of Don Gallardo with a decent selection of tour dates announced. Having supported his music for a few years now, catching one of these shows is highly recommended.


Friday 5th / Saturday 6th July  – Maverick Festival, Suffolk
Sunday 7th July – Dog & Partridge, Marchington
Monday 8th July – The Flowerpot, Derby
Tuesday 9th July – Compton Parish Room, Chichester
Wednesday 10th July – St Pancras Old Church, London
Thursday 11th July – Little Country Smokehouse, Kettering
Tuesday 16th July  – B Bar Barbican Theatre, Plymouth
Wednesday 17th  July – The Kingsdown Vaults, Bristol 
Thursday 18th July  – Kitchen Garden CafĂ©, Birmingham
Saturday 20th July – Tingestock Festival – Tingewick Village Hall

More on Don will follow later, but in the meantime check his new single with Lilly Winwood

Just before we finish, a quick mention for another album getting its UK release this week. GOLDEN DAYS by Canadian outfit Union Duke, with the genre tag 'Bluegrass/Canadiana' accompanying the download copy, has been available for quite a while in other lands, but a reboot for a new market is no harm. A classic case of the tag proving accurate and merit is derived from digging into these sounds.

New albums on the way:

Aaron Watson - Red Bandana Release date 21st June
Beth Bombara - Evergreen  Release date 9th August
Annie Bacon & her OSHEN - Nothing Stays The Same Release Date 19th July
The HawtThorns - Morning Sun Release Date 9th August
Sam Baker - Horses and Stars Release date 23rd August

More next week including the first festival action of the summer. Fingers crossed for the weather to take a turn for the better. 

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