It's time for our monthly round-up of some of the goodies I've received via ReviewShine. This month we have a couple of artists who have featured here before, a tribute to an old favourite, and a couple of folks who are new to this blog. As usual, apologies to all for keeping things brisk and business-like, and not remotely doing any of them justice.
First of the returners is Kelsey Waldon, whose 2011 album "Anybody's Darlin'" I really liked. She has a new six-track EP out now called "Fixin' It Up" - she clearly has a thing against the letter "g" - and, if anything, it is even better. Its a good mix of straightforward country and the more sparse, folky style of the likes of Gillian Welch - as heard on the track I've chosen today. All of them are carried by Kelsey's excellent voice.
"Dreaming Woman" - Kelsey Waldon
The voice is also the stand-out feature of our other returning artist, Jeanne Jolly from Raleigh, North Carolina. Raleigh is the only place I have ever visited where I have inadvertantly ended up having a late night drinking session with a lady fishmonger. It is also the only place I have eaten something revolting called "hush puppies" and been called "bubba". None of these things are directly relevant to Jeanne's new album it must be said.
Jeanne's new album, out now on +FE Music, is called "Angels" and it is a very worthy follow-up to last year's "Falling in Carolina". Much of the album is in the folk/country style we would expect, but on a few tracks she expands the musical palette and generally it works well. Never better than on the single, "Sweet Love", which harks back to her early days as a jazz singer. It has a really nice vibe to it and suits her voice extremely well.
"Sweet Love" - Jeanne Jolly
Next up we have "Lowe Country" which, as the title punningly suggests, is a country tribute to Nick Lowe. It actually came out a few months back on Fiesta Red records in the US, but has only just come to my attention. The general quality is excellent - as you would expect with an album featuring the likes of Ron Sexsmith, Hayes Carll and Chatham County Line - and, if that wasn't reason enough for you to buy the album, proceeds go to victims of 2010 Nashville floods and 2011 Texas wild fires. It is very hard to pick one stand-out track, but I have gone for this one from Caitlin Rose, mainly for the tinkling piano.
"Lately I've Let Things Slide" - Caitlin Rose
In the number four slot, we have someone I've admired for a while but never got round to featuring before, the marvellous Piney Gir. Her new album "Geronimo" has been out in the UK for a while and has just been released in the US. I hope she won't mind me saying that I have found some of her previous albums like "Peakahokahoo" a little hit and miss, but when she gets it right her perky pop is sure to put a smile on your face. I'm pleased to say the quality control is much higher on the new album and you will be smiling and/or singing along from start to finish. Particular favourites include "Oh Lies", "Outta Sight" - which has a distinct whiff of the Troggs' "With A Girl Like You" about it - and this one.
"Here's Looking At You" - Piney Gir
We round things off with Irish singer-songwriter John Cathal O'Brien, whose current album "Acid Week" is available at Bandcamp for a bargain $2.99. At that price you would be foolish not to snap it up. In some respects it is a very simple album - mostly just him and his guitar, and the tunes aren't overly complex. But the more you take in the lyrics and his distinctive voice, the more compelling it becomes. If that sounds a rather luke-warm recommendation, that is because of my poor powers of description, not any reservations about the record. Its an excellent listen.
"Warsongs" - John Cathal O'Brien
While I was listening to "Acid Week", John's voice and the style of his songs provoked a nagging memory of someone else. It took me a while to place it, but then it came to me - Nick Garrie, the late 60s singer-songwriter whose lost classic "The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas" was reissued a few years back. Here's the title track - see whether you agree.
"The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas" - Nick Garrie
To round things off, and a propos of nothing at all, here are Chuck Prophet and Daryl Hall with a great version of Allen Toussaint's "Soul Sister" (now there's a line I never thought I would write).