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CD Reviews

Catherine MacLellan - Silhouette (True North Records)

This eagerly anticipated fourth album from Canadian singer-songwriter Catherine MacLellan comes hot on the heels of WATER IN THE GROUND (2009), her first release on True North Records, which in turn followed two independent releases, DARK DREAM MIDNIGHT (2004) and CHURCH BELL BLUES (2006). The...

Star rating: 
4

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion - Bright Examples (Ninth Street Opus)

The songs on BRIGHT EXAMPLES are unsurprisingly literate, in view of the fact that one half of this husband and wife team is a direct descendant of Woody Guthrie (granddaughter) whilst the other is the grandnephew of Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck. What is surprising is just how melodic...

Star rating: 
3

Jessica Lawson - Molly of the Tyne (Paper Plane)

West Yorkshire-based Jessica Lawson sees the autoharp as the perfect accompanying instrument for her voice, a confident voice imbued with a sometimes brooding nature, ideally pitched for the subjects she writes about. The five-track MOLLY OF THE TYNE EP is just a snapshot of what Jessica is all...

Star rating: 
3

Walter Strauss - Planet Solitaire (Redstone)

Virtuoso guitarist Walter Strauss brings something extraordinary to his guitar playing as he continues to explore World influences such as the West African music of Guinean band Ba Sissoko, Malian kamal'ngoni player Mamadou Sidibe and fellow Malian, the kora player Mamadou Diabate. Transferring...

Star rating: 
3

Michael Stegner - Fascination Nation (CMA Records)

There's a laid-back, somewhat unenthusiastic quality to Kentucky-based Michael Stegner's tenor voice, coupled with an occasional 'just-woke-up' crackle. His vocals seem to hang perilously from his melodies, and though they could easily let go and tumble down the stave at any moment, they don't...

Wendy Arrowsmith - Life, Love and Chocolate (Wee Dog)

Is there a better subject for an opening song on a record than chocolate? Sweeter by the Day incorporates a delicious chorus, where we are encouraged to dip our dreams in chocolate in order for them to grow sweeter by the day, which is all well and good until we discover the song's real message, a...

Star rating: 
3

The Woodshedders - O Dig (Shepherds Ford)

Second album release from Harper's Ferry, West Virginia-based quartet The Woodshedders following 2009's CATCH THAT YARDBIRD. O DIG is difficult to categorise simply because the music on it is so diverse. Once we settle into the standard alt-country opener Badger Blood , a number that has all the...

Star rating: 
3

Girls Guns and Glory - Sweet Nothings (Lonesome Day)

The fourth album by Girls Guns and Glory, a band formed in 2005 by Scituate Massachusetts-born Ward Hayden, brings a taste of hard rocking honky tonk music with eleven new and original songs. Joining a body of work that includes FIREWORKS AND ALCOHOL (2006), PRETTY LITTLE WRECKING BALL (2007) and...

Star rating: 
3

Hedy West - Ballads and Songs from the Appalachians (Fellside)

The three Hedy West albums produced by Bill Leader for Topic in the mid-1960s, OLD TIMES AND HARD TIMES (1965), PRETTY SARO AND OTHER APPALACHIAN BALLADS (1966) and BALLADS (1967) are all re-issued here in this special budget-priced two-disc release through Fellside. Fellside's Paul Adams is at...

Star rating: 
4

AL Lloyd - Bramble Briars and Beams of the Sun (Fellside)

Beautifully packaged two-disc collection of thirty-three traditional English ballads from one of the architects of the 1950's British folk revival. Based mainly on Francis J Child's English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Bert Lloyd recorded several volumes of these songs, which were never released...

Star rating: 
3

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