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CD Reviews

Heather Downie - Nae Sweets For The Shy Bairns (Self Release)

It takes a listen to realise how brave and how decisive this album is and how much it demands your attention. The title NAE SWEETS FOR THE SHY BAIRNS, it quickly becomes apparent is very apt and as much a statement of intent or a manifesto. Harpist and Singer Heather was introduced to music at the...

Star rating: 
5

The Often Herd - The Often Herd EP (Self Release)

The Often Herd are a hybrid. Guitar, mandolin, an American fiddle player and a jazzy Double Bass player produce a hybridised Bluegrass topped with West Coast vocal harmonies. Recorded by this British band in Newcastle this is acoustic dance music with some fine trio vocal harmonies spun out over...

Star rating: 
4

Mo Pitney - Behind This Guitar (Curb Records)

Mo Pitney makes a tasteful Country sound as smooth as Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett's Five O'clock Somewhere. Twanging guitars, thoughtful lyrics and an easy on the ears voice, with that plaintive yelp of Melancholy. Pop Country with moments of real beauty and emotion. (MH)

Star rating: 
4

Darwin's Daughter - The Dark EP (Self Release)

DARK FIRES opens with the plaintive notes of a piano and Fiona Ruth's vocal. The music is atmospheric, filmatic, like the theme to a snow kissed thriller. Fiona, solo or layered has the feel of Judie Tzuke or Kathryn Williams. Moonlight is a delicate, hesitant lullaby, Fiona's voice against guitar...

Star rating: 
4

David Green - Unsteady on Our Feet (Self Release)

Debut album by Bristol-based singer, songwriter, novelist and physics teacher, whose easy almost throwaway delivery is just the thing that makes the songs entirely listenable. One of those albums which invites us into an entirely different world. Wish my maths teacher had been more like this. (AW)

Star rating: 
3

Will Stewart - County Seat (Cornelius Chapel Records)

Rolling Stone cites Alabama-born Will Stewart in its '10 New Country Artists You Need To Know' list and it's not difficult to see why. Americana's latest face delivers nine mature songs in this remarkable full-length debut. Deserving of several listens, and then some. (AW)

Star rating: 
4

Talk Show - Permanent Honeymoon (Wooden Piano)

Energetic guitar driven new wave pop rock with a touch of Boo Hewerdine intelligent singer songwriter. Dry Steely Dan delivery meets those big Stereophonics type guitar chords. Pedal steel, brass flourishes, sharp arrangements and a myriad of keyboards hold your interest to the end. (MH)

Star rating: 
3

OP3 - Lumina EP (Fluttery Records)

In just three pieces, OP3 take us on a short musical journey and as the cover art suggests, it's all light and shade, which is reflected in the three pieces. Ambient, reflective and tonally spacious, Lumina's three dreamscapes pave the way for an anticipated full-length album project. (AW)

Star rating: 
3

Qais Essar - The Ghost You Love Most (Premiere)

Enchanting instrumental music of a spiritual nature, written and performed by contemporary Afghan musician Qais Essar. His third album to date, the pieces feature predominantly, although by no means exclusively, the rabab, an ancient Afghan stringed instrument. (AW)

Star rating: 
4

Josh Rouse - Love in the Modern Age (Yep Roc Records)

New Romanticism re-visited by the Nebraska-born singer songwriter, now relocated to Spain, his acoustic guitar put aside in favour of keyboards, sax and moody 1980s synth-pop musings, reminiscent of Leonard Cohen's I'm Your Man in places, especially on the title song. (AW)

Star rating: 
3

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