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Wednesday 30 May 2012

ReviewShine Time

Last time out we posted a track that was forcibly removed on copyright grounds. Today, by contrast, we have got some acts who are keen to be heard. And I am keen that you should do so, because you'll be the ones who benefit. Yes, it's time for our monthly round-up of a small selection of the albums kindly sent to me via ReviewShine.

A few weeks ago I went to see Michael Chapman in concert. When introducing "That Time Of Night" he mentioned how thrilled he was that Lucinda Williams was covering it on an upcoming tribute album. I said to myself at the time it was an album I needed to track down. Hey presto, a couple of weeks later there it is in my in-box. It's called "Oh Michael, Look What You've Done" and it came out yesterday on Tompkins Square.

The guest list is pretty eclectic, but then so is Michael himself, and the quality is uniformly good (which is rare on this sort of album). As well as Big Lucy we have, for example, Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth leading in to Maddy Prior from Steeleye Span. But the track we have selected for you today is by the man who supported Michael at that gig a few weeks ago

"Fennario" - Hiss Golden Messenger

Next up is our old friend Kathryn Caine from Charlottesville, whose "Down Home Girl" album we featured in this slot way back when. Her new album "When I Was His Wife" is in the same country/ bluegrass vein but is an even better album. I put that down mainly to the quality of the writing, the excellent vocals and musicianship being almost taken as read. Yet notwithstanding the many strong originals like "Forget About Me", the track I have chosen is the one cover version on the album - a very soulful version of a favourite old hymn.

"Abide With Me" - Kathryn Caine

We now move on to a couple of acts that are new to me. The first is Mike & Ruthy who are based in good old Woodstock (that's New York not Oxfordshire) and appear to be honorary members of the Guthrie clan, having worked with both Arlo and Sarah Lee. Which probably explains why they were asked to premiere a previously unrecorded Woody Guthrie song, "My New York City", which is the lead track on their new seven-song EP, "The NYC EP". And a very good song it is too, although my personal favourite is this next one which rounds off the EP. For me it has the feel of the recordings Mark Olson and Victoria Williams made together as the Creekdippers - particularly Mike's vocal.

"Raise Your Glasses High" - Mike & Ruthy

Speaking of Olsons, we finish with Dave Olson. He's no relation as far as I know, although he is based in St. Paul, next door to Minneapolis where Mark is from. His blurb describes him as having "a heartfelt delivery and a knack for catchy melodies" which I think sums him up pretty well. Both of these qualities are very much in evidence on his new album "No October". The blurb then goes on to say he has "a seasoned voice" which I am not sure is quite right. "Seasoned" is usually meant as a euphemism for "raddled" or "shot" but that certainly isn't the case here. There is something of Thad Cockrell about Dave's voice - not as pure but very affecting. Enough of my rambling - see for yourselves.

"Old Birds Sing" - Dave Olson

We finish off with a video that would have fit in very well with the Afrobeat post earlier in the week had I received it in time. It is by an outfit called Sheriff Ariff & The Wali Sanga, the song is called "Family Tree", and it is featured on their new EP "The Kraken" which you can download for free on Soundcloud or Bandcamp. Check it out.

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