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New album from Adam Cohen: We Go Home 

Adam Cohen's We Go Home - album cover

Album release: “We Go Home” by Adam Cohen
Release date: 15 September 2014
Label: Cooking Vinyl 
Listen on: Adam Cohen website

“I thought I’d learned my lesson on the last record. Apretty towering lesson.That what’s most important to me are my roots, my family, my home and ultimately ‘knowing thyself’.”

Three years ago and three albums into a career that began with his 1998 self-titled debut, Cohen decided that he and the music business should call it quits. Talked into giving it one last go, he released his best and biggest album to date. Like A Man (2011) was an elegant, intimate beauty. His songs, performed on a nylon-string guitar, both had a deep connection and engaged in deep personal conversation with one of his greatest musical influences, Leonard Cohen. Adam’s father. As MOJO said, this was an album in which Adam Cohen “set about a quiet rapprochement with his DNA.” It was also, as Leonard Cohen said, an album of “world-class love songs.” A critical and commercial success, it brought Adam a gold album, a long world tour and great anticipation for the follow-up.

In a break between concerts, he went into the studio and emerged with a new album, which he scrapped. It didn’t feel honest. “I realized that I needed desperate measures to keep me honest and also to relieve me of the anxiety of following up the only successful record I’ve ever made. However deliciously I had been in orbit, touring with that record, I needed to tap into something more terrestrial, more rooted and real.”

We Go Home, Cohen’s fifth album, is by all definitions homemade. He recorded his songs in rooms as familiar to him as his name. Since the band was playing in Europe, Adam decided to set up shop in the little white house on the Greek island of Hydra where he had spent much of his childhood. “Making an album in the comfort of home on makeshift equipment with this band of touring musicians who had become my family immediately offered a beacon of hope that no studio, or session players or priceless gear ever could.” They continued recording in Montreal, where Adam was born, in the house where he spent his earliest years. “I knew I was painting a target on my back, making my album in the so-called homes of Leonard Cohen, but they’re my homes too. These are the walls that saw me grow up the most and that I needed to come back to. My muse is my home”

Some of the themes on We Go Home continue the conversation that Like A Man began. “I want the songs to speak for themselves”, says Cohen, “but what I can say is that the songs on this record mostly chronicle conversations I’ve either had with my old man, or want to have with my boy”, Adam’s seven-year-old son Cassius, “and a few conversations I’m having with myself. And, of course, there are love songs.” What’s different is the tone—richer and fuller this time, more diverse, making the most of the three-piece band and three-piece string section from his tour. The nylon-string guitar is still there, but there are also piano songs - the title track’s tenderness and self-mocking humour recalling one of Cohen’s other great musical influences Randy Newman.

“My last album was about me finally claiming my belonging to a tradition and finding my voice within that tradition. My new album,” Adam Cohen states, “is about me raising my voice.”

We Go Home is released in September. Adam Cohen’s European tour, featuring the band and string section, begins in Denmark, culminating in a concert at London’s Bush Hall on 15th October.


Westward Ho! - the new album from Police Dog Hogan

Album release: “Westward Ho!” by Police Dog Hogan
Label: Union Music Store
Release date: 6 October 2014
Listen: on official Police Dog Hogan website 

With 8 members in the full line-up and instruments including guitar, accordion, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and trumpet, Police Dog Hogan draw their influences from many different wells. You could call it Americana, country-folk, folk-pop or even urban bluegrass, but it’s difficult to do justice to the sheer range of styles this band can bend to its will.

Their exuberant  mix of country-fried heartbreakers, belting anthems, foot-stomping singlaongs and souvenir tea towels made them a firm favourite on the festival circuit since forming in 2009.  “They’re one of my bands to watch,” says Radio 2 DJ Johnnie Walker. “Great songs, great musicians, and their live shows are really, really good fun.”

Police Dog Hogan’s second album, From the Land of Miracles, attracted praise from many quarters. “No one in their right mind would imagine that the band that play on the opening track Better Go Now come from anywhere other than the heartland of America,” said Maverick magazine’s 5-star review. “But some of James Studholme’s intricate guitar playing comes straight out of the traditional English folk book and would make Richard Thompson proud.”

With an average age comfortably over 40 (23-year old trumpeter Emily Norris is something of an outlier), Police Dog Hogan offer more in the way of experience than innocence. While the members hold down a variety of what might be described as “day jobs” (their banjo player Tim Dowling is a writer and Guardian columnist; lead singer James Studholme runs an advertising production company), they take the music very seriously, and keep up a rigorous touring schedule, recently playing to sell-out crowds at Bush Hall, the Borderline and various venues across the UK, as well as festivals including Camp Bestival, Cornbury, Maverick and Kendal Calling.

This September the band are exporting their unique take on Americana to Nashville, playing two showcase gigs at the Americana Music Association awards. After that they return to the UK to play a string of dates in October, November and December.

Their third album Westward Ho! is due out on the influential Union Music Store label in the autumn. That title - part swashbuckling exhortation, part melancholy seaside postcard - goes some way toward encapsulating Police Dog Hogan’s sound: bold and infectious country-folk wedded to a wry, reflective and deeply English sensibility.

Westward Ho! is produced by the Oysterband’s Al Scott. “I loved Al’s production of the June Tabor & Oysterband’s Ragged Kingdom record, which I think is a classic,” says James Studholme. “He has a certain clarity and  attack, going right back to the Levellers. When I found out he was producing a new CD for our label mates Hatful of Rain (The Morning Key), working with him suddenly sounded like a possibility. He was busy touring with Oysterband, but we were prepared to wait.”

Among its songs of hard won experience, Westward Ho! includes the track Home, a collaboration between Police Dog Hogan and the Music in Prisons charity. This version of Home came about as the result of a joint live gig with Platform 7 - a band made up of ex-prisoners under the wing of Music in Prisons - and was recorded with the aid of several members of the group.

“We’d seen Platform 7 perform,” says Tim Dowling, “and had long talked of doing a show together, but I don’t think any of us were prepared for the impact this song had on the audience. When it came to recording it, we knew that was the version we wanted.”


New EP from Roxanne de Bastion

Roxanne de Bastion EP cover

EP Release: “Seeing You” by Roxanne de Bastion
Release date: 22 September 2014
Label: Hidden Trail Records 
Listen: on official Roxanne de Bastion website

“Recalls moments of Martha Wainwright, Joni Mitchell and, more contemporarily, Laura Marling” - Artrocker

“If you ever get a chance to go see her live – definitely do!” - BBC Introducing

Seeing You was recorded in London and produced by Ben Walker (radio 2 Folk Award Nominee). The EP contains 4 new tracks of cutting and clever lyrics, delivered with what BBC6 producer Tom Whalley said to be “one of the most perfect voices [he’s] ever heard”.

Roxanne de Bastion was born in Berlin and grew up both in England and Germany until she set out on her own, leaving Berlin for London, equipped only with her guitar and a one-way ticket. The young troubadour tours throughout the UK, mainland Europe and the United States, all on trains and busses. She self-released her debut album The Real Thing, produced by Gordon Raphael (The Strokes / Regina Spektor) in 2013 and has since then been invited to speak at music industry panels on the subjects of DIY music, copyright and the future of music, along side Fran Healy (Travis) and Ed O’Brien (Radiohead). She has already been championed by Tom Robinson on BBC6, John Kennedy on XFM, Ruth Barnes on Amazing Radio, as well as MTV and Radio Eins in Germany. With Seeing You, Roxanne de Bastion continues to forge her own style and a unique approach to a classic musical genre.

Musically, Roxanne’s compositions are routed in the music of the 1960’s, but the tone of voice is very much her own and the stories told are expressed in a way that could only be now. Her lyrics range from introspective journeys in Seeing You and Same Moon, through to observations on instant gratification and repetition (Rerun) and the tearing down of the East Side Gallery in Berlin, Roxanne’s town of birth (Wasteland).

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