folk . americana . blues . rock&roll

WEEK STARTING 16 Apr

Genre pick of the week Cover of Lu's Jukebox Vol. 1: Runnin' Down A Dream: A Tribute To Tom Petty by Lucinda Williams.

Lucinda Williams

Lu's Jukebox Vol. 1: Runnin' Down A Dream: A Tribute To Tom Petty

    Award-winning, revered singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams is working to help independent music venues during this time with the announcement of Lu’s Jukebox. Scheduled as a sixepisode series of mostly full-band, HD video performances in-studio, Lu’s Jukebox will feature a themed set of songs by other artists curated by the multi-Grammy award winner. The first episode kicks off on October 22nd with Running Down A Dream: A Tribute To Tom Petty, featuring songs from his celebrated career in advance of his 70th Birthday.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Rebels
    2. Runnin' Down A Dream
    3. Gainesville
    4. Louisiana Rain
    5. I Won't Back Down
    6. A Face In The Crowd
    7. Wildflowers
    8. You Wreck Me
    9. Room At The Top
    10. You Don't Know How It Feels
    11. Down South
    12. Southern Accents
    13. Stolen Moments

    Anne Briggs

    The Time Has Come (Gold Vinyl Repress)

      ‘The Time Has Come’ is an absolute master class on words and guitar twisting into one another - the poetry goes beyond simple observation into deeply personal and profound lore. A timeless document of sweet and haunting melodies. My favorite record of all time.’ Ryley Walker. 

      "I've never written songs, regularly, because I never considered myself a song-writer. I've only ever really considered myself a ballad singer, which is what is most important to me. The stories... the ancient nature of the situations and the human condition. And obviously, it's changed so much over the centuries that those songs have been sung, but it always retains that essence of something that's universal... to humanity, and I've always wanted to touch that. I think I wanted to understand people; I think I wanted to understand myself. It's a way of finding the truth. I felt I belonged to that music.” Anne Briggs //

      Offering some of her first original compositions, ‘The Time Has Come’ was a break from tradition in more ways than one for Anne Briggs. Where previous recordings displayed the unaccompanied melodies of her voice, this album - originally released by CBS in 1971 - brings additional instrumentation in the form of guitar and bouzouki. The result is that her vocals are not submerged, but heightened - the plucked strings providing the perfect foil for her crystalline inflection. ‘The Time Has Come’ is a mix of Anne’s own songs alongside some notable covers (Lal Waterson, Steve Ashley, Stan Ellison, Henry McCulloch). All are graced with the quietly self-assured elegance of Anne’s playing, with sounds ranging from the breezy ‘Clea Caught A Rabbit’ to the terrible beauty of ‘Wishing Well’ - each song typifying the bouzouki or guitar style. To say that Anne was an accomplished picker is to do her something of an disservice - the intricacy of her finger-work rivals - and more often than not eclipses - any number of her contemporaries.

      TRACK LISTING

      1 Sandman's Song
      2 Highlodge Hare
      3 Fire And Wine
      4 Step Right Up
      5 Ride, Ride
      6 The Time Has Come
      7 Clea Caught A Rabbit
      8 Tangled Man
      9 Wishing Well
      10 Standing On The Shore
      11 Tidewave
      12 Everytime
      13 Fine Horseman 

      Willie Dunn

      Creation Never Sleeps, Creation Never Dies: The Willie Dunn Anthology

        “I Pity the Country,” is an unparalleled statement on the greed and hate created by humankind, recorded in 1971 and still unfortunately needed today. “It’s like the reason you’re supposed to make music,” said Kurt Vile about the song to MOJO Magazine in 2015.

        How did you first experience the poetry, music, and film of Willie Dunn?

        In a Montreal coffeehouse during the mid-1960s? On a CBC Indian Magazine broadcast with host Johnny Yesno? At a Toronto record store or Native Friendship Centre at the turn of the 1970s? Waiting outside of the Mohawk Nation Longhouse? Maybe in your parent’s record collection on the Rez? A White Roots of Peace gathering? Pow wow? The Mariposa Folk Festival? Or was it that Save James Bay Benefit back in ‘73? On a good friend’s stereo? Sitting around a crackling campfire? How about an old NFB film reel or VHS tape in high school? Or while attending Manitou College? A German concert hall in the 1980s? Maybe a direct action protest on the colonial streets of Canada? Busking in Ottawa during the 1990s? College radio? At Willie’s celebration of life service in 2013 alongside Alanis Obomsawin and Willy Mitchell? LITA’s Grammy-nominated Native North America (Vol. 1) compilation or the very anthology you hold in your hands?
        There should be no judgment for coming to things when you do. All that’s important is remaining open to life-changing messages such as these…

        With “Charlie,” Willie was the first to deliver the devastating story of Chanie Wenjack and the Canadian residential school system to the music community, nearly 50 years before the much-celebrated Secret Path, yet ignored outside of Indian Country and the folk festival circuit. Dunn’s film technique, featured in 1968’s The Ballad of Crowfoot (NFB), predates the “Ken Burns effect” to great effect. Are you catching the drift? Willie Dunn was not only a trailblazing leader in his time, but well ahead of the curve, simply without the PR push and big money backing of major label players.

        “He was our Leonard Cohen,” said singer-songwriter Eric Landry about his musical hero. The only difference is that Willie refused to play the Hollywood showbiz game. In talent, he is Cohen, Dylan, and Cash rolled into one and along with Buffy Sainte-Marie, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, and A. Paul Ortega, brought a new set of perspectives and realities to the folk music tradition. Willie spoke directly to his people and Mother Earth through his creations, not only from experience but by examining his roots and connecting with the world in which he lived. We are humbled to help honor Willie Dunn. May he never be forgotten… PEACE


        TRACK LISTING

        The Ballad Of Crowfoot
        Peruvian Dream (Part 1)
        Charlie
        Broker
        I Pity The Country
        Crazy Horse
        Louis Riel
        School Days
        The Carver
        O Canada!
        Down By The Stream (Starlight Maiden)
        Rattling Along The Freight Train (To The Spirit Land)
        Pontiac
        The Pacific
        Nova Scotia
        The Dreamer
        Sonnet 33 And 55 / Friendship Dance
        Wounded Lake
        Métis Red River Song
        Son Of The Sun
        The Lovenant Chain
        Bear And Fish

        Elephant Micah

        Vague Tidings

          RIYL: Jason Molina, Bonnie Prince Billy, Bill Callahan, Damien Jurado.

          The raw inspiration for Vague Tidings came from a 2006 DIY tour of the 49th state. It was a trip that went off the beaten path sometimes a bit too far for comfort. Now, over a decade later, listeners find Joe O’Connell aka Elephant Micah stationed at a creaky spinet piano, singing about the Alaskan sky. Throughout, his lyrics take a new angle on a pet theme: human encounters with the natural world.

          Vague Tidings places these encounters in the American West and, at times, in its sci-fi corollary, outer space. Its imagery draws from the allure of Alaska, the idea of Western prosperity, and the human relationship to wilderness more broadly. Often, O’Connell sings about the goal of capturing and commodifying nature. In poetic sketches of resource extraction industries and dark sky tourism, frontier lust runs amok. Pipelines catch fire and stars disappear, all to the tune of a stark, uncanny Americana. Vague Tidings is a sustained, hallucinatory rendering of this theme. In style, its eight songs follow a switchback path between foggy incantations and mountain anthems. Made with a small cohort of acoustic instrumentalists, the record is rough hewn, but easy on the ears. To put Vague Tidings down on tape, O’Connell assembled some of his favorite musicians in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area, where he’s lived since 2015: Libby Rodenbough (Mipso) bows and plucks a detuned fiddle, Matt Douglas (Mountain Goats) breathes life into various woodwinds, and Matt O’Connell (Lean Year) sets the pace on a two-piece drum set. Their loose, imaginative playing pushes Vague Tidings beyond the singer-songwriter genre into something richer in texture. Ultimately, this is foreboding but spacious music, with plenty of room for reconsidering life on earth.

          Jason McNiff

          Dust Of Yesterday

            Songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist, Jason McNiff releases his 7th full length album, Dust Of Yesterday. Produced and engineered by Roger Askew (Joe Strummer, Wilko Johnson, Christy Moore) the album was recorded throughout the summer and autumn of 2020 in Roger's home studio in Eastbourne, UK. It features McNiff's signature acoustic guitar work throughout with significant contributions from Beth Porter (of Eliza Carthy's band) on cello and Basia Bartz (most London based folk bands) on violin.

            His first album since leaving London - McNiff is now based in Hastings - Dust of Yesterday is an elegy on moving away from a beloved place and a lament for lost youth. We are treated to a musical tour of McNiff's life to date, from his 8-year residency as a Flamenco guitarist in a Spanish bar in Waterloo (Damaged Woman) to hopping the northbound train from King's Cross, hiding in the lavatory up to Nottingham (A Load Along). All the songs on Dust of Yesterday, in one way or another, speak of the past. But it is not bleary-eyed nostalgia.

            "I read somewhere that it is possible to literally change the past and I became very interested in this idea. It so happened around the same time that I discovered the Greek/Egyptian poet, Cavafy. In his poems he would talk about the past, but the memory is not a thing of the past, but something that is still part of him in the present. I could relate to that. "

            Musically, Jason is influenced by the British acoustic guitarists (Jansch, Graham, Wizz Jones) and the great folk/rock troubadours of the 60s and 70s. He loves Mark Knopfler in the early days; the English teacher turned reluctant rock star, singing about Leeds and Newcastle and sounding like JJ Cale. For McNiff, the lyrics are central, and he has been especially captivated by those considered poets and writers as well as musicians. He loves literature and cites Hemingway, Chekhov and the aforementioned Cavafy, as major influences in his work. ( He has 'translated' Hemingway's 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' into a song on a previous album, 'Nobody's Son')

            Jason McNiff was born in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1974 to an Irish father and Polish mother. Academically gifted, he did well at school and went to the University of Nottingham to study French and Russian. He fell in with the Folk & Blues scene in that city before moving to London in the mid-nineties to do another degree in English Lit. He was just in time to catch the Bert Jansch residency at the 12 Bar club. For 6 months, every Wednesday night, McNiff would be in the front row of Soho's tiny club learning fingerstyle from the master. He would later sign his first record deal with Snowstorm Records, a label run by Bert's brother-in-law and found himself opening for Bert on numerous occasions. 


            STAFF COMMENTS

            says: This wonderful collection shines with the sort of understated beauty and accomplished but uncomplicated melodic phrasing you'd hear in a Jansch record, but brought to the modern day with unhurried production and brittle, tender vocals. Beautiful.

            TRACK LISTING

            1) For The First Time
            2) Try For The Sky
            3) Wherever I Choose
            4) Mary Jane
            5) Dust Of Yesterday
            6) Tom
            7) If You Could See Me Now
            8) Damaged Woman
            9) A Load Along

            Taking cues from Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane at their most delicate, renowned Welsh harpist Amanda Whiting's mesmerising Jazzman full-length LPAfter Darkarrives as soft as moonlight to gladden the soul and delight the ear—without forgetting to bring the swing.

            Summoning the nocturnal mood suggested by the album's title, Whiting's harp flows and cascades, dances and alights, broods and haunts, informed by a deep understanding of both classical and jazz music, ultimately revealing a top-drawer composer with rare melodic gifts at the top of her game. From the melancholy opening track 'Time Stands Still' to the more rhythmically unorthodox 'Who Knows' to the achingly beautiful title track, the album is underpinned by a supportive band, John Reynolds on drums and Aidan Thorne on bass, who are perfectly suited to engage in an effortless, intimate musical dialogue.

            Already an inveterate international jazz festival performer with Matthew Halsall's Gondwana Orchestra, Whiting has supported and performed with a diverse range of Djs and jazz and pop artists including Jamie Cullum, DJ Yoda, Rebecca Vasmant, True Jazzchild, Danii Minogue, Jazzanova, and Chip Wickham (who features on three tracks onAfter Dark,adding a touch of the graceful warmth for which he has been so justly acclaimed). And as Jazz harp teacher at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and RNCM, Amanda is as warmly received in the lecture hall as the concert hall. Be sure to to expect more from Amanda in the not too distant future.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Time Stands Still
            2. Messed Up
            3. Who Knows
            4. Stay For One
            5. Strut Your Stuff
            6. After Dark
            7. Leave Me Be
            8. The Feist
            9. Gone
            10. Just Blue
            11. Back To It
            12. After Dark (Remix)


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