RURA - Live at the Old Fruit Market

RURA Live at the Old Fruitmarket [Release date 11.09.20]

Rura releases this live album to celebrate the band’s tenth anniversary, recorded in February this year at the Celtic Connections festival, just before live shows stopped due to the pandemic.

Their line-up consists of Steven Blake (pipes, keys), Adam Brown (guitar), David Foley (bodhran, flute) and Jack Smedley (fiddle). They were joined for this show by a string section and various guest musicians including the band’s former singer songwriter Adam Holmes.

It is a lively, foot tapping set from ‘Dark Reel’, which starts slowly before building to a frantic crescendo featuring guest guitarist Chris Waite, through to ‘Mary’ and ‘Weary Days’, which feature former band member Adam Holmes. You could almost say they go prog folk on the two part ‘Horizons’ that closes the set in rousing style. Steven Blake’s pipes playing combines beautifully with the fiddle, flute and strings.

You can see why Rura are a leading light on the Scottish folk scene and this live album is a perfect pick me up. Impressive and a band to add to my ‘to see live’ list, as even on a CD you can feel the band’s and audiences’ enthusiasm coming through the music. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

JOSHUA BURNELL Flowers Where the Horses Sleep [Release date 04.09.20]

Joshua Burnell has won the Rising Star award at the 2020 Folking Awards, with his previous releases gaining airplay on BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music. He’s a talented chap of that there is no doubt, not only writing and composing all the songs on the album, but he covers so many musical styles. One minute you have a traditional sounding folk song ‘Joan of the Greenwood’ (if you didn’t know you’d think this was a Trad. Arr. song), which is preceded by ‘Outside’, a gentle acoustic number.

On ‘Two Stars’ you can see why he gains airplay, a beautiful song and a chance for him to show his talent on the piano. Also worth highlighting is ‘Labels’, a canny mix of folk and a pop melody, aiding by the backing vocals of Frances Sladen.

An intriguing album whose greatest strength is that it can’t easily be labelled, bar calling it a damn fine listen! ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

GYPSY PISTOLEROS - The Greatest Flamenco Glam Sleaze Band Ever!

GYPSY PISTOLEROS The Greatest Flamenco Glam Sleaze Band Ever! Golden Robot Records [Release date 28.08.20]

Gypsy Lee Pistolero is the main man and driving force behind the Gypsy Pistoleros, the greatest flamenco glam sleaze band ever according to this best of album title, although to be fair it is a limited field! He has assembled a new line-up and they have recorded a brand-new album ‘The Mescalito Vampires!’, which is due out next year. Until then you can re-visit their past, or if your first time, introduce yourself to the Gypsy Pistoleros.

They come across like a mix of Guns N Roses, New York Dolls and the Ramones jamming with a Tex Mex band. The covers will rip into your ears and have you bouncing away, be it ‘Livin La Vida Loca’ or ‘Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves’ (which keeps part of the original’s musical backing). Their original songs are just as much fun and frantic, be it ‘Ay Que Dolor’ or the band’s theme tune, ‘Pistolero, Pistolero’ – play that one at maximum volume.

Gypsy Pistoleros are great fun on album and I am betting they are even more fun & energetic live. This collection is a good summary of how the Gypsy Pistoleros have arrived to this point. Play it loud, enjoy and get ready for their next album… ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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