Most people wouldn’t argue with the theory that Johnny Cash’s musical rebirth in the 90s introduced the legendary country icon to a whole new audience. Under the watchful eye of producer Rick Rubin, Cash applied his distinctive style to some great rootsy material and covered tunes by Beck, Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, Tom Petty and Depeche Mode along the way.
This Minneapolis based garage rock band is entirely unpretentious. At no point do these musicians stretch too far beyond their garage-ish musical limits – limits that are occasionally just a little too obvious – nor do they display any kind of ego. By their own admission, J. Eastman & The Drunk Uncles are rather shambolic. Still, a fairly loose and carefree attitude has got them so far and this third release works very much on a maxim of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Or in the case of the Uncles, it might even be “if it sounds a bit broke, let’s swill some booze and knock things about until they sound better.”
True to their word, bits of ‘No Capo Required’ do indeed sound sloppy. That said, you’ll have heard sloppier…and sometimes from bands who actually genuinely believe they’re the very acme of musical perfection.
Blending various singer-songwriter elements with a UK themed Americana style and more than a touch of adult pop, Ferris and Sylvester’s debut EP ‘The Yellow Line’ was very much a bright spark in 2017. After that release, it seemed to be a case of onward and upward for the duo, with an increasing social media presence and some great reviews for their follow up single – the decidedly pop-oriented ‘Better In Yellow’, released at the end of the year.
In the last quarter of 2015, Mason Summit left a lasting impression with his third album ‘Gunpowder Tracks’. Exploring various avenues of pop, Americana and folk, the singer-songwriter showed a talent and knowledge of influences that stretched beyond his years. With the world awash with great music in the digital age, it didn’t quite reach the size of audience it deserved but, for those who actually heard it, the feeling was unanimous – this was an unexpected gem that set expectations high for a follow up.
A singer songwriter from Rhode Island, Kate Mick loves the banjo. In fact, she loves it so much, it’s the only instrument featured on her 2016 full length ‘Undertow’. The idea of voice and banjo alone has probably sent a few people running for the hills, but given time to adjust, there’s actually something about such a simple concept that works: not only is Mick adept with her chosen instrument, but she’s a fine songwriter. Recorded live in an otherwise empty theatre on one night, this album’s ten songs take a voyage into a land of extremely haunting Americanaville; a land populated by broken shacks, gas lamps and a real focus on introspection. It should be a much tougher listen than it actually is, but Kate has one of those voices that just lifts everything…a voice that’s steeped in sadness and yet still has the ability to woo.