Quick plays: JULIA HENNING, SARAH BORGES, JENNIE DEVOE, GIRLS,GUNS AND GLORY

Julia Henning - Fledgling

JULIA HENNING Fledgling (www.juliahenning.com)

In days gone by, record companies would sift the wheat from the chaff and, generally speaking, you got a fairly finished product.

But in the digital age it’s every man, or woman, for him / herself and there’s a plethora of independent artists emerging across the globe on a daily basis.  One of the current up and coming batch of female singer songwriters,  is South Australian Julia Henning – something of a child prodigy recording her first single at age 9 and first album 13.

Now with a band in tow and with the crowd funding backing, Fledgling is her indie debut on the world stage.  Details though, even on the world wide web, are sparse but Henning is aiming for the market place occupied by the likes of Sarah McLachlan and fellow Aussie Missie Higgins, with whom she shares a number of vocal phasing similarities.

And Fledgling is a pretty decent ‘first shot’ even if it has something of a ‘work in progress’ feel to it.  The most impressive numbers are the sparse piano led numbers like ‘Another Day’ where her are allowed space to breathe.  Elsewhere, Fledgling is a little choreographed and might have benefited from the guidance of a more experienced producer.

One to watch, if not yet the finished article.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

JENNIE DEVOE – Radiator

If potential were measured by the size of your PR pack, then Midwest based blues / gospel singer songwriter Jennie Devoe would be destined for greatness.  And she may well be.

Recorded in Bath and produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey, The Eels and Tracy Chapman) Radiator focuses on DeVoe’s unusual ‘black’ drawl – a delivery that sits firmly in Millie Jackson territory and somewhere between a young Rod Stewart and Shelby Lynne.

A stilted delivery makes her voice somewhat unique – a rare quality in these autotune days – and one that would be more than ‘at home’ in a late night West End late night gentleman’s drinking establishment.

A spot on the next Jools Holland series is as inevitable as night follows day – DeVoe’s vocal style supplemented by chiffon tops and corkscrew hair giving her a retro Sixties child image.

Recorded live on 2 inch analogue tape with no overdubs Radiator has a complementary organic retro groove, but in terms of material is, perhaps – the Tony Joe White inspired ‘All That Sugar’ apart – a little lacking in mainstream crossover appeal and, at times, a little pedestrian.  But for disciples of Macy Gray, Diane Krall and Beth Hart it’s manna from heaven.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

Sarah Borges - Radio Sweetheart

SARAH BORGES – Radio Sweetheart (Lonesome Day Records)

On a short October tour with regular touring partners Girls, Guns and Glory, singer songwriter is known for combining punk and pop with influences as diverse as Dolly Parton and Hank Williams.

Radio Sweetheart is her first album since breaking up with her long time band The Broken Singles with whom she released four critically acclaimed albums.  The track ‘Start Again’ neatly sums up her re-emergence with an album that edges her far closer to the mainstream than her previous output.

Only on ‘Record On Repeat’ does the ghost of Sid Vicious get an restrained airing and elsewhere the material is far more in Sheryl Crow territory, although the production is, at times a little thin and patchy giving the overall set something of a ‘demos’ feel.

But her vocals have a real radio friendly sound and with a little more polish Sarah Borges could be a contender.  But for now Radio Sweetheart is very much ‘work in progress’.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

GIRLS, GUNS AND GLORY Good Luck

On a short UK tour supporting singer songwriter Sarah Borges, Boston based Girls, Guns and Glory’s sound is based on old school country married to early rock ‘n’ roll and blues.

Americana Artist Of The Year in the 2011 Boston Music awards, the foursome – Ward Hayden (vocals / guitar), Paul Dilley (electric and upright bass and piano) , Josh Kiggans (drums percussion) and Jim Hersch (lead guitar / banjo) – take their inspiration from Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran and Buddy Holly, and in lead singer Hayden Ward they have a truly radio friendly vocalist.

But ultimately vintage rockabilly is a niche market and one that’s likely to divide opinion.  Best suited, perhaps, to a live audience and a good night out.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley


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Power Plays w/c 9 October


ALMANAC Losing My Mind (Nuclear Blast)
TRIGGERFINGER Colossus (Mascot)
MIKE PETERS & THE ALARM Heroine (indie)
WICKED STONE Another Round (indie)
FOZZY Judas (Sony Music)


Featured Albums w/c 9 October (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 DANTE FOX Six String Revolver (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 FOZZY Judas (Sony Music)
14:00-16:00 JARROD DICKENSON Ready The Horses (Decca)



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