On the first two Worry Dolls releases, Rosie Jones and Zoe Nichol promised great things. On a pair of self-financed EPs, the duo sounded absolutely captivating with their abilities to write narrative driven songs and perform close harmonies. Hard graft on the live circuit saw them share stages with Cara Dillon, Rachel Sermanni and the legendary Joan Armatrading, as well as many others. Their first full length release promised a much deeper voyage into country music and ‘Go Get Gone’ does not disappoint.
In 2016, Real Gone celebrated it’s seventh full year online. This year also marked the sixth year we’ve given away new music at the end of the year. Now a staple of the RG catalogue, the free album-length download is looked forward to by a core of our supporters and in turn helps bring new readers and listeners to our site.
2016 hasn’t been quite as notable for new music compared with a couple of years previously, but that’s not to say it hasn’t thrown up some great stuff. On the first of Real Gone’s free compilations for 2016, we take a look at a broad selection of tunes from punk, country, singer-songwriter fare and more… [a selection of metal oriented artists can be found over here]. If you’ve been paying attention to our website over the past twelve months, a few of these names will be familiar. If not, it’s time to say hello to new music. If you find a couple of things to love, our work here is done!
Thanks to a long running MTV show, the idea for rock bands to rework their wares acoustically – or, indeed ‘Unplugged’ – reached the point of frenzy in the 1990s. That MTV show saw appearances from the likely (Neil Young, Bob Dylan), to the more interesting (REM, Alanis Morrissette), right through to the completely unexpected (Nirvana, Staind, Pearl Jam). Naturally, some performances worked better than others – it showed how Staind, in particular, just didn’t have the spark or the songs for the format – but, nevertheless, the idea of the acoustic show proved popular with audiences across the globe. Years on from MTV’s peak popularity, the acoustic format still endures: in 2016, we saw acoustic albums from Status Quo, Peter Frampton, Jimmy Somerville and more… Even UB40 got in on the act – with disastrous results.
At their best, the original eight man UB40 were an unstoppable band of brothers taking reggae music to every corner of the globe. With millions of record sales to their credit, it has been said that – save for Bob Marley – they were the genre’s most successful ambassadors. Some may knock 1983’s ‘Labour of Love’ as a lightweight covers record or middle class dinner party music, but it’s unlikely that those detractors have ever even heard Eric Donaldson’s version of ‘Cherry Oh Baby’ or Laurel Aitken’s ‘Guilty’, let alone Dandy Livingstone’s own ‘Version Girl’, so in many ways, in making a covers record, UB40 were making a more than valid musical point. Their 1980-89 catalogue is peerless. The many albums they released between 1991-2008 also have points of interest.
In 2008, the unthinkable happened: vocalist/guitarist Ali Campbell left the band. Keyboard player Mickey Virtue joined him. The six other band members were joined by vocalist Duncan Campbell and embarked on the next phase of their career. In 2013, the ever popular Astro jumped ship and joined Ali and Mickey in their musical endeavours, leaving behind what he dubbed “a rudderless ship”.
Written across five continents, Zach Ashton’s fifth album – as it’s title very much suggests – is somewhat of a musical travelogue. Introspective, mellow and possessing an old spirit, these songs come across like the ultimate late night, almost smoky listen, with the Mexican-born singer-songwriter recounting experiences with the people and places that inspired him and seemingly on occasion left him slightly angsty. It’s one of those records that creeps into the subconscious slowly – an affair where the music eventually leaves an indelible mark, where once it just felt like pleasant listening material. Like the best of the quiet Josh Rouse or the less obtuse Ryan Adams, these songs come with a timeless feel.