TIM HOCKENBERRY Tim Hockenberry [Release date 04.03.16]
You know with an ex-America’s Got Talent performer (Hockenberry made the semi-finals in 2012) you’re going to get a decent vocal performance.
And his debut release doesn’t disappoint in that respect – his whiskey soaked vocals blending elements of Ray Charles, Joe Cocker and Tom Waits that are perfectly suited to his easy listening brand of Americana.
Having made a career over 20 years performing sparse and intimate covers, it was only post ‘Talent’ that Hockenberry moved to performing his own songs – following a chance meeting with vocalist and producer Natasha Miller who’s helped reshape his musical direction.
And it’s one familiar to the mainstream Americana revival – the sort of material you would expect from Don Henley and co, Stephen Bishop and Marc Cohn – washing over you like warm molasses, with the musical accompaniment – much of it provided by Miller’s brother Justin – mandolins, acoustics, banjos, wurly piano, organ, pedal steel and 12 strings providing the perfect back drop to Hockenberry’s vocals.
It’s a release aimed squarely at the American mainstream market, Huckenberry’s image on the sleeve – relaxed in a comfy chair, with open necked shirt, and drinks trolley in the background is the epitome of a corporate exec relaxing away from the ‘boardroom’. Hardly rock ‘n’ roll, but almost certainly indicative of his likely market. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
JOSH HARTY Holding On [Release date 08.04.16]
I wasn’t overly enthused by Josh Harty’s last outing – Nowhere (2011) – a short, seven track Americana debut album from the North Dakota songsmith.
A sparse affair, focused on Harty’s Wild West ghost town vocals underpinned by some subtle finger picking and plaintive support, I concluded it was unlikely to raise him above the ranks of ‘also-rans’.
Well, Josh is back, with a new album, a band, and over here for a March / April tour. And whether it’s the fact the songs have been written, demoed and broken in on the road, or the more fulsome sound provided by the addition of Scott Beardsley (drums), Chris Boeger (bass), Blake Thomas (guitars, banjo, Hammond), Chris Wagoner (mandolin, lap steel, dobro, violin and electric guitar), Rusty Lee (piano, Hammond, and Wurlitzer) and a handful of others contributing percussion and backing vocals and piano, Holding On is a different proposition.
With a broad country ‘twang’ to his vocals and set that nicely straddles the rock / country / blues divide, Holding On – is both atmospheric and gripping, and marks him out as a contender in the overcrowded Americana market. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.
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Power Plays w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
BEFORE FIRE Dead Eyes (indie)
SCOTT & MARIA Never Give Up (indie)
CORELEONI Queen Of Hearts (AFM Records)
BERLIN Transcendance (Cleopatra Records)
PHIL CAMPBELL These Old Boots (Nuclear Blast)
PHIL LANZON Blue Mountain (Phil Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records UK)
Featured Albums w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 SOLEIL MOON Warrior (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 ROXY BLUE Roxy Blue (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS Dragons (Magnolia Music/Thirty Tigers)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
JAMES STEVENSON Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over (2013)
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