Quick plays: AMELIA WHITE, EDDI READER, THE O’s, THE SWEET LOWDOWN

Amelia White - Old Postcard

AMELIA WHITE Old Postard [Release date 10.03.14]

East Nashville-based singer and songwriter Amelia White wasn’t encouraged by her parents to pursue her musical dream.  But their disapproval lit a fire as she listened to Neil Young, Beatles, Stones, and Muddy Waters, and wanted to be them.

Leaving home at 18 she cut her teeth on the Boston folk scene where she was equally at home in the subway and rock clubs, but her journey terminated in Nashville twelve years ago where’s she’s recorded four albums.

Old Postcard, her 6th long player, despite the Nashville base, is an Americana/ rock crossover album reminiscent of classic Tom Petty and delivered with a soft vocal drawl that carries elements of Stevie Nicks and Marianne Faithful.

At times – such as on the album’s title track with its propulsive drums and echoing guitars, the Stones driven ‘Mary’s Getting Married’, the Stevie Nicks Dreams influenced ‘Get Your Cowboy On’, and ‘River Of My Dreams’ with its snarling Neil Young style guitars – it’s a compulsive ride.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

EDDI READER Vagabond [Release date 03.02.14]

I’d like to say I enjoyed Eddi Reader’s latest long player, but unfortunately – despite the fact that it’s undeniably beautifully crafted, late-night listening – it’s a little melancholic for my taste.

To be fair, the set – recorded ‘live’ in Mark Freegard’s Kyoti studio in Glasgow with Roy Dodds (drums) and Ewen Vernal (double bass) creating a platform for Boo Hewerdine’s steady rythms (guitar) and with Eddi singing, sometimes playing guitar or piano and Ian Carr (guitar) solos and Alan Kelly’s accordion floating in and out – is varied.

But for the most part it marries downbeat folk infused with Billie Holiday-era jazz and blues.  Unless your second name is Holland, then you really need to be in the mood for this sort of music – although the wistful Celtic ‘Brain Na Rainich (Fairy Love Song)’ is rather fine.

Her first new studio album for 5 years, Vagabond is unlikely to widen Reader’s appeal, and while it’s undoubtedy a ‘niche’ product, I suspect fans will not be disappointed.  But if you’re not familiar with the lady’s solo work and last real reference point is Fairground Attraction, then you’re probably best looking to get your kicks elsewhere.   ***

Review by Pete Whalley

THE O’s Thunderdog [Release date 24.02.14]

Most people on this side of the pond will be unlikely to have heard of The O’s – Dallas, Texas duo Taylor Young (vocals, guitar, kick drum) and John Pedigo (vocals, banjo, Lowebro, harmonica, tambourine).  But the folk-pop-country-rockers are about to get major exposure for their third album – Thunderdog – when they open for Del Amitri on their A to Z Of Us tour – their first in over a decade ‘every hit’ tour.

While The O’s thigh slapping, foot stomping brand of banjo driven Americana may be more usually associated with the folk/ real ale scene, the pop sensibilities they display on Thunderdog, not only sound distinctly similar at times to Justin Currie and Co, but make them the ideal aperitif to Del Amitri’s main course.

Two for a tenner?  Perhaps not with today’s inflated gig prices, but patrons with a spare tenner will undoubtedly be queuing for a copy of Thunderdog at the merchandise stands on the January/February Del’s tour.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

The Sweet Lowdown - May

THE SWEET LOWDOWN May 

Originally released in 2012, The Sweet Lowdown – Amanda Blied (guitar), Shanti Bremer (banjo) and Miriam Sonstenes (fiddle) – an award winning acoustic roots trio from Victoria, Canada are making their latest release available on this side of the pond to coincide with their April/May UK tour.

Back home, the album won the 2013 ‘Roots album of the year’ gong at the Vancouver Island music awards and the band also received a Canadian Folk Music Awards nomination for vocal group of the year.

It’s a rootsy, timeless, bluegrass affair with three piece harmonies and an old time groove, with girls giving a wide berth to mainstream/ crossover territory.  But hey, there’s some quality playing and sweet harmonies at play here, so if you’ve a weakness for traditional banjo/ fiddle roots music then The Sweet Lowdown are well worth checking out.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley


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Power Plays w/c 14 October (Mon-Fri)

SANGUINE Ignite (Odyssey Music)
GOODBYE JUNE Switchblade Heart (Earache)
SAINTS OF SIN Nasty Love (indie)
SCARLET REBELS Heal (indie)
FLYING COLORS The Loss Inside (Mascot)
KEYWEST C’est La Vie (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 14 October (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 DANGER ZONE Don’t Count On Heroes (Pride & Joy Music)
12:00-13:00 ECLIPSE Paradigm (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 GALLAGHER & LYLE Live at De Montfort Hall, 1977 (The Store For Music)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

ROBIN TROWER In The Line Of Fire (1990)



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