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Archive for the ‘English pieces’ Category

Jeffrey Halford & the Healers – West towards South

maandag, mei 6th, 2019

 

Floating Records 1 93483 47746 6

convincing director

On his tenth album, bluesy singer-songwriter and guitarist Jeffrey Halford outlines the lives of two American brothers in five songs written by him alone and five together with keyboardist, oercussionist and co-producer Adam Rossi.

He plays them together with his Healers: Rossi and bassist Bill MacBeath plus a handful of guest musicians: Scott Amendola and Rob Hooper – drums, Dave Coltrara and Kevin White – bass, Tom Heyman – guitar and steel guitar, Mark Karan and Don Rossi – guitar and Alyssa Joy Claffi – fiddle. You can clearly hear that Halford also worked with MacBeath, Rossi, and Heyman on predecessor “Lo-fi dreams” and with the two last ones on “Rainmaker” as well. The sound is as close as it is loose and the songs seem to be played live.

Halford combines elements from (more…)

Ethan Johns and the Blackeyed Dogs – Anamnesis

zondag, mei 5th, 2019

Three Crows Records

5 052442 014522

magic memories.

From the opening notes of the first of seventeen songs on his fourth album, singer-songwriter and producer Ethan Johns takes a new direction. However, the short opener ‘The invitation’, a cross between ambient and symphonic rock, is misleading: the other songs appear to be more firmly rooted in English folk and americana than his earlier work.

Johns recorded them live in his studio in the English countryside with his Blackeyed Dogs, with whom he already made ‘The Silver Liner’ in 2015.

Drummer Jeremy Stacey, bass player Nick Pini, keyboard player Stephanie Jean Kid and fiddle player Georgina Leach also sing enthusiastically and, moreover, all had a voice in the organic production. The renowned producer Johns apparently felt more of a band member than anything else, although he wrote all the songs.

The more than twenty years that he lived in the US are more clearly audible than on his previous albums: (more…)

Trouble holding back – Helen Rose

maandag, februari 4th, 2019

www.helenrosemusic.com

lively old soul

There are ten songs on singer-saxophonist Helen Rose’s first full-length album, of which she only co-wrote three. Marvin Etzioni was one of the other writers, whereas the original Lone Justice bass player also was the (co-)composer of four other songs. He arranged the traditional ‘When the levee breaks’ too, together with Rose and Ben Peeler.

While he is important behind the scenes, the 24 year-old Rose is exactly that in the spotlights: she proves to be a versatile and extremely convincing singer in different genres.

One of the highlights is the musically careful ‘Flatlands of North Dakota’: that song is a direct reference to Bobby Gentry’s ‘Ode to Billie Jo’ because of the string section’s ominous countermelody and the thematically related lyrics of a woman who wants to escape North Dakota no matter the cost.

There are parallels with Rose’s life: (more…)

For the loss of divinity – Rich DePaolo

zondag, december 30th, 2018

www.richdepaolo.com

undiscovered treasure

Because the American singer-guitarist Rich DePaolo released his eleven song debut himself in 2003, it did not ring any bells here, although he has built a solid reputation in his hometown Ithaca by playing with others and producing them.

After the only 48 seconds long, but depressing sound collage ‘One gun salute’, with which his album opens, DePaolo impressionistically recalls the assault on flight PanAm 103 in 1988 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. He makes that huge tragedy poignant by his personal, pessimistic point of view.

Striking too is the solemn melody, (more…)

Killed for kings – Rich DePaolo

donderdag, december 27th, 2018

www.richdepaolo.com

treasure trove

The first of the twelve songs on singer-guitarist Rich DePaolo’s second album is ironically called ‘More of the same’. DePaolo’s debut ‘For the loss of divinity’ contained comparable songs, but was already self-released in 2003, so few will know that. Apart from that fact, in that song he sings about stars that want to remain stars whatever the cost, something he clearly does not dream of, nor can dream about: above all he is a producer, an engineer and a guitar player for others.

That song is an ideal prelude for his album, because (more…)

All that’s left – Michelle Lewis

maandag, december 17th, 2018

www.michellelewismusic.com

songbird

Michelle Lewis already recorded the first of her two albums and two EPs in 2004, but she is still unknown, alhough the American singer-songwriter also performed in Europe.

That is surprising for anyone who listens to the ten carefully arranged songs on her third album, because she mixes (more…)

Goin’ gone – Kat Danser

maandag, december 17th, 2018

Black Hen BHCD0087

living blues.

Canadian singer-guitar player Kat Danser planted her feet even firmer in the blues than on predecessor ‘Baptized by the mud’, a title which is exemplary for her rootsy approach.

On that album from 2013 Danser already worked together with master guitarist/producer Steve Dawson and they continue that co-operation in the eight songs she wrote and two covers by Sam McGee and Mississippi Fred McDowell.

Dawson did not only produce the album, he also played the guitar, something he did on her previous one too. He also brought along drummer Gary Craig, bass and mandoline player Jeremy Holmes, fiddler and mandoline player Matt Combs and saxophone and harmonica player Jim Hoke. They accompany Danser’s (more…)

Malford Milligan & the Southern Aces – Life will humble you

woensdag, oktober 31st, 2018

 

Stagger Lee/Royal Family Records RFRCD-29083

 

Malford Milligan’s masterpiece.

 

The Afro-American Texan singer Malford Milligan and guitarist-singer Jack Hustinx have known each other for more than twenty years.

Milligan’s solo album Sweet cherry soul from 2002, produced by Hustinx, sealed their friendship and was the start of leading Dutch roots band the Shiner Twins, founded by Hustinx.

Hustinx also produced Milligan’s thirteen new songs and played both the acoustic guitar and rhythm guitar again. They also wrote five new songs for it.

They completed the rootsy collection of (country) soul songs with two songs from Hustinx’ own album Over yonder and six ballads from their friend Stephen Bruton and Charlie Rich, amongst others.

At Milligan’s request, Hustinx brought Over yonder’s Southern Aces back together again.

Drummer Nicky Hustinx, bassist Roelof Klijn, keyboardist Roel Spanjers and guitar players Hustinx and Eric van Dijsseldonk leave each other room, but their singer too, with (more…)

Kara Grainger – Living with your ghost

woensdag, augustus 29th, 2018

Station House Records SHR 0101

overpowering.

For her fourth album singer-guitar player Kara Grainger recorded twelve songs with New Orleanian Anders Osborne as her guitarist, plus a grooving rhythm section consisting of drummer J.J. Johnson, bass player David Monsey and keyboardist Ivan Neville, while hornsmen play in two songs.

Grainger wrote six of the songs alone and five with others, four of which with Osborne. Together they produced the album, deliberately choosing a direct sound.

Her sensual, lazy vocals are at the centre of it, accompanied by Nevilles hovering and wailing organ, but most of all by her guitar and Osborne’s, because both of them play electric and slide solos.

The two of them shaped the album like a gig: (more…)

John Lester – Fathers and sons

maandag, oktober 2nd, 2017

Ambit Acoustic Records 974005

www.johnlestermusic.com

 

Layered diary.

 

Singer and bass player John Lester’s fourth solo album is an alternative family tree: the ten songs deal with his relationship with his two sons, his wife, his father, his mother and his grandfather.

Lester recorded the songs with drummers Tim Bulkley of Michael Orbano, guitarist Paul Tiernan and occasional keyboard players. He played various basses and acoustic guitars and ukulele for the first time.

The latter instrument led to a fictitious conversation between the grandfather Lester did not know and his mother. In Through your eyes  Lester wants to see the world like one of his sons, who has a serious eye malfaction, and in The beautiful princess of never come true he wonders why expectations about boys and girls are so deeply embedded.

The text got shape after a performance by his other son in a dress at a school party. That Gretchen Peters sings along and her husband Barry Walsh plays the piano, is logical: Peters’ son was born a girl, but changed sexes in the end.

Just because of his family Lester lashes out hard in a supple way to president Trump in Train song (Don’t let freedom fade away): Everything we are tomorrow/comes from the stance we take today.

Once again, he shows his talent for beautiful and equally catchy melodies, in which virtuosity is secondary to ambiance. His singing is just as swinging as it is enjoyably hoarse in lyrics about themes that are autobiographical and universal at the same time.

That way Lester makes supple, layered songs for grown-ups with influences from jazz and singer-songwriter

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