It is time for our monthly round-up of a few of the new albums sent to me by those lovely folks at ReviewShine. As always, there have been far too many to choose from so, with apologies to the many fine musicians we're leaving out, here come four of the best.
We kick off with the closest thing we have this month to a celebrity - Marvin Etzioni, once of Lone Justice and since then a prodigious sideman, songwriter and producer. Marvin has gathered some of his better-known mates around him - the likes of Richard Thompson, Steve Earle, Buddy Miller and (on today's choice) Lucinda Williams - to help him interpret his songs, some old and some new. Called "Marvin Country!", the album hits the streets on 17 April. It's a double album and, as with most double albums, there is some filler on there that could have been excised. But there is more than enough good stuff to make it worth checking out.
"Lay It On The Table" - Marvin Etzioni (with Lucinda Williams)
We'll stick with the duets. Dylan Guthro is a young Canadian singer-songwriter whose debut album, "All That's True", came out earlier this month. The album as a whole is pleasant if not overly distinctive, but there is enough to suggest he is worth keepng an eye on for when he finds his own style and voice. For me, though, the stand-out track is this duet and co-write with fellow Canadian, Breagh MacKinnon.
"Sing To Me" - Dylan Guthro (with Breagh MacKinnon)
Still in Canada, next up is Brock Zeman. I must admit I had never previously heard of him but his latest album, "Me Then You", is apparently his ninth. I am going to have to start searching out his back catalogue. There is something about his voice and his songs that reminds me very strongly of Chuck Prophet, which can't be a bad thing. The similarity is particularly strong on this little cracker.
"Triple Crown" - Brock Zeman
We finish off with Blue O'Connell. I chose Blue for three reasons: its a good record, she has a bionic ear (I am not sure what that is but I think I want one), and she used to have a radio show called "The Eclectic Woman Show". That sounds like our kind of show. Her album, "Choose The Sky", is her debut but distils over thirty years of musical experience. Half the tracks on the album are instrumentals. Now I am not normally a great one for instrumentals, but I really like these. It could be because there is something ethereal and otherworldly about them. Or it could be because I am an old hippy and they make me think of the Incredible String Band - this one especially.
"Innermission No. 50" - Blue O'Connell
And now for something completely different, as requested by my old friend Mr Jackson.