Sunday, 30 June 2019

Weekly Blog Post 30th June 2019 - Take Me Out to the Ball Game

The weekend when Major League Baseball held its first regular season game in London racked the brains for songs about America's past time with at least some remnants of an Amercana twist. It was tough to look past the first one that came to mind, even when the world wide web was accessed with the necessary search credentials. So Chuck Prophet's 'Willie Mays is Up at Bat' got the nod as the baseball inspired song to share on this historic weekend, at least in the world of transatlantic sports exchange. One less familiar track that prompted some interest was 'Third Base Dodger Stadium' by Ry Cooder. The twist in the lyrics featured the experience of a Mexican native reminiscing about losing his home when a whole area in LA was bulldozed to make way for the new ballpark in the 50s. The irony of the song was its lack of bitterness.

To perfect a geographical segue, California the home of this week's standout album as Jade Jackson finally releases her follow up to the excellent 2017 effort GILDED. Buying into the style of infused indie-Americana created an anticipation for this record and from the first bars of WILDERNESS, disappointment was nowhere to be seen. The benefit of a substantive opening track has long sought merit and 'Bottle It Up' knocked it out of the park to borrow a cliche from the earlier theme. Countless spins of this album cemented its place among the year's favourites as we hit the halfway mark with all the goodwill of its predecessor intact and subsequently built upon. Pushing the opening track close in the standout race is the supremely cool 'Long Way Home', more temperate than the other, but still loaded with appeal. We just need more Jade Jackson UK dates than the scheduled solitary London one when she comes to Europe later in the year.

Runaway June and Jade Jackson may reside a fair distant apart on the ever widening spectrum of country, roots and Americana music, but both artists released an album on 28th June with endearing merit. Runaway June clearly fall into the country pop camp and provide proof that every now and then decent material can transpire the gloss. Their album BLUE ROSES immediately acted as a reach out record from first listen. Appealing content tipped the balance from that which drives me away from this style While similar leaning music frequently falls short on many grounds, it was refreshing to connect with one that had clear influence from artists who have provided the framework for much of my country music listening over the last decade and half. An album likely to hang around for a while yet.

Following the first festival of the summer reported on during last week's blog, the live fix for the last seven days was restricted to a solitary gig on familiar ground. Irish Mythen first crossed my path when playing a memorable set on the main stage at Cambridge Folk Festival last year. Almost twelve months later, it was another festival, this time Black Deer, which attracted the Canadian back to our shores and tagged on was a couple of lower key shows including an appearance at the Kitchen Garden in Birmingham. Many apt phrases describe Irish Mythen, from 'force of nature' to 'one with a full-on whole hearted on-stage presence'. A sample of what thrilled a Cambridge audience last year carried over to a well attended Kitchen show, a venue described by the artist as one with a 'big heart'. To say that Irish Mythen's brand of politically charged folk mixed with a healthy smattering of heartfelt sentiment leaves a massive impression on a gig is a profound understatement. There may have been more subtle and adaptive gigs at the Kitchen Garden; this was not one of them as nothing was left outside the door. Raw, powerful and damn right enthralling.

There were two other album releases in the directory for Friday 28th, with both artists likely to feature in festival coverage later in the summer. Thom Ashworth is an English folk singer scheduled to play the Sunday of Moseley Folk Festival at the start of September. His new album HEAD CANON leaves the listener in no uncertain terms where he stands in terms of style, content and impression. The Resonant Rogues have released an album titled AUTUMN OF THE WORLD This group from North Carolina described as a 'folk-Americana-Gypsy jazz quartet' are set to spend the month of July on British soil including a couple of sets at Maverick Festival next weekend. Both albums come across as decent efforts, but there's no substitute for checking them out yourself, along with Jade Jackson and Runaway June. Over to you.

The Resonant Rogues · July 2019 · UK Tour

Wed 3
The Atkinson - Studio
Thu 4
Cafe #9 
Fri 5
Maverick Festival 2019
Sat 6
Maverick Festival 2019
Sun 7 
Maverick Festival 2019
Fri 12
Rudrynr. Caerphilly
Rudry Music Festival
Sat 13
Green Note
Sun 14
Norden Farm Centre for the Arts
Mon 15
The Bell Inn
Thu 18
The Hyde Tavern
Fri 19
Fanny’s Meadow Festival
Fri 26
Worth Matraversnr. Swanage
The Square & Compass
Sat 27
Beer and Bluegrass Festival

The week in summary:

Album Releases Friday 28th June:

Jade Jackson - Wilderness
Thom Ashworth - Head Canon
The Resonant Rogues  Autumn of the World
Runaway June - Blue Roses

Gigs Sunday 23rd June to Saturday 29th June
Irish Mythen - Kitchen Garden Tuesday 25th June

Albums on the way:
Oh Susanna - Johnstown (20th Anniversary Edition) due out on 30th August
Session Americana - North East due out on 13th September
Annie Keating - Can't Stand Still due out on 30th August
I See Hawks in LA & The Good Intentions - Hawks with Good Intentions due out on 6th September
Angela Perley - 4:30 due out on 30th August

Finally, Chuck with a baseball homage to San Francisco Giants centre fielder Willie Mays to commemorate a weekend where the game's oldest rivalry - Boston Red-New York Yankees set up camp in East London.

Couldn't go without a bit of Ry Cooder.

More in seven days.

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