Like a lot of people, Nora Kelly ended up with with a lot of time on their hands during the pandemic lockdown. For the alt-rock/punk musician who’d previously released a string of digital singles and an album with the band Dishpit, it was a time for thought and an eventual re-invention. Meeting with friends on the street and playing country music covers during Montreal curfews led to the formation of an eponymously named outfit – an act whose debut release ‘Perfect Pig’ showcases Kelly’s alt-country talents as if channelling bits of the Neko Case catalogue, combined with a love of the DIY approach of early Giant Sand.
“Time catches up to you…and comes for us all” sings Matty James Cassidy during the chorus of ‘After All’, an instant highlight from his 2020 full length release ‘Old Souls’. It’s a sentiment that really seems to fit, as for the artist formerly known as Matty James, it seems he’s had nothing but time to reach this point in his career. Over a series of independent releases, he’s honed his mix of rock, blues and country to the point where this album genuinely sounds like a work calling out for greater attention. For anyone previously aware of Cassidy’s work, it’s a record that will more than entertain and thanks to a stronger sounding band and a much better production value, he’s turned in some of his best songs to date. ‘Old Souls’ has very clearly been made on a bigger budget, although fans should not worry that “bigger budget” somehow translates into “smoother material”, or be a case of that old chestnut “selling out” (a favourite war cry by record buyers who fear change and aren’t musicians themselves).
2020 is already shaping up to be a busy year for Chris Robinson. Away from his Brotherhood, the sometime Black Crowes man is set to tour the UK in June with a re-formed Crowes and also give the world a debut album from another of his acts, Green Leaf Rustlers.