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Reviews

Tom Russell - Folk Hotel (Proper)

Criminologist, Teacher in 70s civil war beset Nigeria, Taxi Driver, Songwriter, Musician, Artist and crucially, early architect of the genre we now call Americana, Tom Russell inhabits a musical world that he helped create. From Russell’s own distinctive painting on the album cover, part bleak...

Satuo - Earned (Self Release)

Vienna-based band Satuo release their third album EARNED, which combines the five-piece band's Austrian, Italian and Finnish musical roots with a dozen easily accessible songs, each imbued with a distinct folk/pop sensibility, whilst at the same time borrowing from French and American influences...

Madam Tsunami - Long Way From Home (Self Release)

The graceful, fiddle-led instrumental that opens LONG WAY FROM HOME might well suggest an album of gentle, airy folk tunes. However, what follows this arresting intro is a collection of foot-tapping songs, infectious melodies and compelling lyrical inventions. Led by Aberdeen-based Kiwi musicians...

Occidental Gypsy - 44070 (Self Release)

Fans of Django-brand jazz may already know Occidental Gypsy, either via the band's stunning 2011 debut OVER HERE (which featured a superb Western Swing take on Michael Jackson's Thriller !) or by attending one of their utterly engaging live performances. The New England quintet has been building a...

The Emily Askew Band - Alchemy (Self Release)

Transforming old styles into new is a notion I always respond quite well to - as long as it doesn't include suddenly bursting into inner city rap midway through with an 'explicit' sticker slapped onto the CD sleeve. The Emily Askew Band handle this material with delicate detail, both instrumentally...

Massa Dembele - Mezana Dounia (Izniz)

Recorded in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso, in the eastern region of Mali, this relatively short album, just eight compositions rendered in about 30 minutes, bears all the hallmarks of the enchanting traditional music of the jeli, whilst playing the kora-like kamala n'goni, not normally associated with...

Sarah-Jane Summers - VIRR (Eighth Nerve Audio)

When Sarah-Jane Summers confided in me, "it doesn't fall wholly within the traditional genre", little did I know precisely how far removed from your common or garden fiddle tunes album VIRR actually is. Highly experimental at its core, the twelve-track concept album explores the sonic possibilities...

Quetzal - The Eternal Getdown (Smithsonian Folkways)

The extensive sleeve notes contained within the handsome 44 page dual language illustrated booklet, detailing thoughts on social justice, race, anger, frustration, disillusionment and hopelessness amongst the indigenous peoples of Latin America, almost overshadows the music found within. One of the...

Warsaw Village Band - Sun Celebration (Jaro)

Opening with a swell of shimmering violins, dripping dulcimer notes and pounding percussion, SUN CELEBRATION proceeds with unrelenting currents throughout. This seventh album by the Warsaw Village Band marks twenty years of the Polish octet with a double-disc plunge into the rushing waters of the...

Duane Forrest - The Climb (Traaxx Music)

"Oh I was sitting at the edge of the sea" sings Duane Forrest at the start of the first song, backed by the ambiance of waves on an expansive tropical beach. Steam of consciousness lyrics, spilling over with evocative detail draw you in from the start. His warm and inviting voice is backed by a...

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