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JP Harris & The Tough Choices new album out now

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Album release: ‘Sometimes Dogs Bark At Nothing’ by JP Harris & The Tough Choices
Release date: Out now
Label: Free Dirt Records
More info: Artist website

  • UK Tour begins this Saturday in Scotland. Tickets here.

  • Featured: 10 New Country Acts You Need To Know In August 2018 - Rolling Stone

“...thoughtful, authentic music.” - Don Henley, The Eagles

“…has the rugged edges of outlaw, the danceability of honkytonk, and classic country’s beloved emotional candour - Harris has a timeless voice.” - Wide Open Country

After performing across Europe earlier this month, JP Harris is set to start his UK tour this Saturday November 10th with his full band, The Tough Choices, accompanying him. Including three dates in Scotland to kick things off, the critically acclaimed musician will also be stopping in Newcastle, Bristol, Oxford, Bedford, and headlining at the Omeara in London on November 16th.

With his latest album ‘Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing’ (released October 5th on Free Dirt Records), Harris is back after a four-year hiatus to remind folks what a lifetime dedicated to country music looks and sounds like. Sure to please fans of his hardscrabble earlier work, this new collection of songs finds the acclaimed songwriter and vocalist stretching himself both musically and personally.

In today’s musical culture, the word “authenticity” seems to have lost all meaning. What used to represent something bona fide and true is now just watered-down marketing speak, stamped onto press releases without a second thought. Born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1983, JP Harris doesn’t fancy himself a musician as much as he does a carpenter who writes country songs. However, his stranger-than-fiction story begins after the eighth grade, when he left home on a Greyhound bus in the middle of a summer night. And he’s never looked back.

For over a decade, Harris travelled the country, often alone, hitchhiking and hopping freight trains while making his living as a farm labourer, shepherd, woodsman, and carpenter, among many other titles. Still an in-demand carpenter to this day, Harris has been writing and performing country music for nearly ten years, releasing his debut album, ‘I’ll Keep Calling’, in 2012. He followed that release with ‘Home Is Where the Hurt Is’ in 2014, which only saw his star rise both among country fans and critics at major outlets like Rolling Stone. Even Eagles frontman Don Henley referenced Harris in a 2015 interview with Hey Reverb saying that Harris made “thoughtful, authentic music.”

Working with producer and Old Crow Medicine Show member, Morgan Jahnig, Harris tapped a handful of his favourite players, sent them acoustic demos, and gave some pretty unconventional instructions: “Take five days to think about these songs. Please write notes of whatever ideas come to mind. Please don’t talk to each other about it. Let’s all just get in the studio on day one and compare notes as we go.”

The resulting sessions featured a palpable spontaneity and creative energy, both of which manifest in an album that’s real, raw, and more akin to his live performance than anything Harris has put out thus far. “We took a counter-intuitive approach,” he says. “We had no pre-production. There were no rehearsals. We basically had a whole studio full of multi-instrumentalists, a six-piece band total, for the whole recording session. Everybody played at least two instruments. It was a really interesting way to do it and I think it helped us avoid anybody, including myself, overthinking the songs.”

Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing opens with ‘JP”s Florida Blues #1’, a hard driving country rock number that details some of Harris’ darker days touring Florida with his band, the Tough Choices. ‘Lady in the Spotlight’, an affecting song with layered strings, turns a critical eye to the stark gender imbalance and the seamy, predatory side of music industry.

Album highlight, ‘When I Quit Drinking’, is, as its title suggests, a tender look at one of Harris’ most personal struggles. ‘Gossamer’ strands of pedal steel complement the gentle quaver in his voice, underpinning some of his most personal lyrics to date.

After years of writing and playing, Harris is more in love with country music than ever before. He sums up his hopes for the album simply: “I’m just hoping that me coming to the table without gimmicks or cool-looking costumes or fancy vintage jeans—just the grubby guy I am with a sleeveless shirt and a pair of boots on—is enough to get people into the music.”

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The Steel Woods new album out 18 January 2019

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Album release: ‘Old News’ by The Steel Woods
Release date: 18 January 2019
Label: Thirty Tigers
More info: Band website

"Though there is not a shortage of Southern rock bands, few have the edge and darkness The Steel Woods bring to the table..." - Saving Country Music

‘Old News’, the new album from Nashville based southern-inspired rock band The Steel Woods is set for a January 18th release via Woods Music/Thirty Tigers. Centred around the soulful and commanding vocals of lead singer Wes Bayliss and the instrumental prowess of guitarist Jason (Rowdy) Cope, Old News makes a statement in the continuing evolution of The Steel Woods as a unit and the Bayliss/Cope combo as songwriters, something their 2017 debut ‘Straw In The Wind’ only scratched the surface of. Listen to the title track here.

Over the last two years The Steel Woods have built a loyal and passionate fan-base through their road warrior touring mentality and extraordinary live shows. Whether headlining or supporting artists such as Dwight Yoakam, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jamey Johnson, Cody Jinks, Miranda Lambert, Blackberry Smoke and many more, The Steel Woods consistently convert audiences with each performance. Click here for a full schedule of The Steel Woods tour dates.

The themes reflected on Old News range from perseverance (‘Wherever You Are’, ‘All of These Years’), to unity (‘Blind Lover’) to hope and resilience in the stand out title track ‘Old News’. Their belief in finding common ground through shared life experiences and a musical connection was inspired by the conversations the band had with people they met on the road.

As with their acclaimed debut album, The Steel Woods again included a Black Sabbath cover (‘Changes’), but also felt the need to acknowledge some important artists we have recently lost. The four tribute tracks honour Tom Petty (‘Southern Accents’), Merle Haggard (‘Are The Good Times Really Over (I Wish A Buck Was Still Silver)’), their dear friend Wayne Mills (‘One Of These Days’) and Gregg Allman (‘Whipping Post’).

Old News was recorded at Echo Mountain Studio (Asheville, NC) and Blackbird Studio (Nashville, TN) and features band members, Wes Bayliss (guitar/vocals/keys/mandolin/harmonica), Jason Cope (guitars), Johnny Stanton (bass) and Jay Tooke (drums/percussion).

The Steel Woods are a band steeped in Southern culture with a modern approach and powerful intensity in live performance. Though their style is apologetically Southern Rock and Rock, just pull back the layers to find lyrics that feature passionate storytelling and messages that resonate.

Brand new album from The Steel Woods, ‘Old News’, available for pre-order here.

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Frankie Davies debut album out 2 November 2019

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Album release: 'Wherever I Go' by Frankie Davies
Release date: 2 November 2019
More info: Artist website

Bob Harris has had the first play of the new single by Frankie Davies called 'Open Road' taken from her debut album 'Wherever I Go'. Frankie has described the song as articulating how she feels about the love between her and her partner and their journey together:

"I wrote this song after a big road trip with my partner," says Frankie, "...sometimes it's rough and we have no idea where we are going but actually it takes us to some place beautiful. More importantly, when it seems there is no more road left to take, we just turn a corner and carry on our adventure."

Listen to 'Open Road' on Bob Harris Country BBC Radio 2.

Listen to 'Open Road' on Spotify.

Previous single 'High On Love' came with a playful new video that saw Frankie meandering home ‘the morning after’ around her local streets with the gorgeous landscape of Jersey as a backdrop. 'Wherever I Go' is released worldwide this Friday November 2nd. The album reached Number 2 in the iTunes Country Chart last week upon UK release.

Watch the video for 'High On Love' here.

Pre-order the album here.

“Wherever I Go is me, encapsulated.” says Frankie Davies, Jersey-born songwriter, on her highly anticipated debut album. This is an important release for Davies, in fact, she has said that the record “represents me, my journey and experiences over the last 4 years.”

In 2015 Davies released her debut EP ‘Dancing All Night’ out of which came 3 singles, critical praise and national airplay. In 2017 she began work on her debut album, recording with renowned Nashville musicians in the home of Country, and back in the UK with her all-female band. Davies has visited Nashville on many occasions to write and perform, once notably with BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris as one of just 3 UK artists selected to represent BBC Introducing in Nashville at the Americana Music Festival. She continues to enjoy support from Bob and his team on his radio shows and festival stages. In 2016, Davies was invited back to Nashville to perform at an international showcase at one of the world’s biggest Country festivals, CMA Fest.

Davies performs at the highest level touring the UK and wider Europe with some of the biggest names in Country Music including Maddie & Tae, Chris Young, Charlie Worsham, Mo Pitney & Josh Kelley. Closer to home Frankie has appeared regularly at the UK’s biggest Country Music Festival ‘C2C’, toured with UK favourites The Shires, supported Ward Thomas & completed her first headline tour in 2017.

2018 marks an important step in her story, the release of ‘Wherever I Go’, Davies’ debut album on the 2nd of November, something fans have been waiting to hear for a long time. Its variety of influences are tied together by Davies’ evocative vocals and addictive melodies that transport listeners through both painful and joyful moments in her life.

“In one sense this album is a showcase of lessons learnt from my beginnings and being young and naive in the music industry. From the rockier, You Don’t Know Me, written with Emily Linden, where I let my frustration pour out, to the contrasting Front Row Seat. The latter song is about an experience that broke me. I had been led to believe that a show I had been booked for would suddenly change my life. When it came to showtime there was only one person in the audience.” This confrontation with a harsh world at such a young age only pushed Frankie forward and adds a grit to her songwriting as well as moments of heart-breaking honesty.

“I went out and I played and from my disappointment, I discovered something truly valuable. Even if there is only one person to listen to my music they deserve my best performance. I am always grateful to anyone who wants to listen.”

'Wherever I Go' was released to the US and UK on October 26th before the worldwide release on November 2nd.

Album launch shows:

  • 7th November - Ruby's Lounge, St Helier, Jersey

  • 9th November - The Acorn, Penzance, Cornwall

  • 11th November - Gullivers, Manchester

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Ruston Kelly debut album out 7 September 2018

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Album release: 'Dying Star' by Ruston Kelly
Release date: 7 September 2018
Label: Rounder Records
More info: Artist website

The official music video for Ruston Kelly’s new single, 'Mockingbird', is premiering across Viacom platforms in an unprecedented partnership between CMT Music, MTVU and MTV Live. Watch/share here.

Of the song and video, Kelly shares, “I wrote ‘Mockingbird’ in a Dominican hotel, on the edge of a bed, at like six in the morning. I needed a release from a cyclical pattern of a doomed relationship. The kind that leaves you with less than what you went in with. But, what directors Stephen Kinigopoulos and Alexa King reminded me with their proposed story about a single mother, is even though I write about my own personal situations, it’s also everyone’s story: the human condition, our connected plight in a mad world. Regardless of how it’s expressed, we all struggle through something with hope on the other side. That’s this song and that’s this video. That’s also why I fell in love working with them immediately.”

'Mockingbird' is from Kelly’s highly anticipated full-length debut album, 'Dying Star', which will be released September 7 on Rounder Records and is now available for pre-order here.

Already receiving widespread acclaim. the album’s first track, 'Jericho', recently premiered to critical praise. Stereogum calls it, “… a warmly melancholy acoustic ballad in the vein of A.A. Bondy, Justin Townes Earle, or early Ryan Adams. It’s about learning to stand up for what you believe in, which seems as relevant now as ever. Kelly manages the feat of keeping his rich arrangement relatively minimal, so that when background vocals or harmonica rise up in the mix they really stand out.” Additionally, Rolling Stone declares, “‘Jericho’ finds Kelly channelling the dark minimalism of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska with a stark guitar-and-a-harmonica aesthetic,” while EARMILK states, “His unique voice contains this gentle raspiness that makes the vocal delivery of each track both haunting and comforting, while his complex guitar work adds to the overall catchy melodies.”

Dying Star was co-produced by Kelly and Jarrad K (Kate Nash, Weezer) and recorded at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, TX. It includes 14 songs written/co-written by Kelly and features Kelly (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, xylophone, harmonica), Jarrad K (12-string guitar, background vocals, electric guitar, Rhodes), Tim Kelly (pedal steel), Ian Fitchuk (piano, organ, drums, percussion), Eli Beaird (bass) and Kyle Ryan (banjo) as well as background vocals from Jon Green, Natalie Hemby, Kacey Musgraves, Kate York, Abby Sevigny and Joy Williams.

Of the album, Kelly comments, “A lot of my music is focused on suffering, or trying to understand the human condition through the lens of suffering…which probably sounds totally depressing, but it’s actually the flipside of that. Sometimes you’ve gotta go into that darkness—you need to get lost and then figure out for yourself how to find your way back. That’s the only way we can find pure joy, and really be thankful for the life we’ve been given.”

The release of Dying Star follows a breakout year for the Nashville-based artist, whose debut EP, Halloween, was released last April to widespread acclaim.

Born in South Carolina, Kelly started playing guitar under the guidance of his dad, Tim “TK” Kelly, a pedal steel guitarist who now performs in his band. Since his father worked for a paper mill and often changed job locations, Kelly grew up frequently moving, living everywhere from Alabama to Belgium, including time in Michigan—where the young one-time figure skater went to train with an Olympic coach in the hope of furthering his career, and where he first began writing songs. At 17, he moved to Nashville to live with his sister and went on to land a publishing deal with BMG Nashville, placing songs with several high-profile artists.

Praise for Ruston Kelly's recent single 'Jericho'

"a warmly melancholy acoustic ballad in the vein of A.A. Bondy, Justin Townes Earle, or early Ryan Adams." – Stereogum

‘Jericho’ finds Kelly channelling the dark minimalism of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska with a stark guitar-and-a-harmonica aesthetic.” – Rolling Stone

“His unique voice contains this gentle raspiness that makes the vocal delivery of each track both haunting and comforting.” – EARMILK
 

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Lucero new album out 3 August 2018

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Album release: 'Among The Ghosts' by Lucero
Release date: 3 August 2018
Label: Liberty & Lament / Thirty Tigers
More info: Band website

Nashville, TN – Memphis rock/alt country quintet Lucero has announced 2018 fall tour dates in support of their upcoming album 'Among The Ghosts', which releases on August 3rd via Liberty & Lament/Thirty Tigers. The anticipated new album has already received positive responses, including early coverage from Billboard, Garden & Gun, Rolling Stone Country and Brooklyn Vegan, with more to come. American Songwriter posted an exclusive premiere of Lucero’s new track 'Cover Me'. Click here to listen.

Celebrating 20 years together, Lucero returns to their early rock n’ roll days for the band’s ninth studio album as they pull back on the big arrangements and Memphis-styled horns of their recent work. With lead singer/songwriter Ben Nichols taking a more observational approach, 'Among The Ghosts' showcases his penchant for creating hauntingly vivid imagery with literary-inspired storytelling steeped in Southern Gothic vignettes. The result is an album that is more core Lucero and yet not quite like anything the band has done in recent years. Among The Ghosts is the sound of a band going back to their roots to discover a fresh perspective and cement their legacy for years to come. In recognition of their 20 year anniversary, Lucero just released a home movie-style video featuring entertaining personal footage captured during their earlier days set to the track 'For The Lonely Ones'. View it here.

Lucero has remained firmly rooted in their blue-collar ethos for two decades, building a loyal legion of fans along the way with their gritty, high-powered live performances and communal atmosphere. Keeping one foot firmly planted in a foundation of Memphis rock and soul, the band consistently brings it night after night, playing over 100 shows a year and continuing to pack houses all over. Lucero’s longevity and ability to evolve while engaging fans both new and old, proves that even after all this time they remain a relevant, dynamic force with staying power.

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Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real - new video out now

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Video premiere: 'Carolina' by Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real
Release date: Out now
Label: Fantasy Records
More info: Band website

  • Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real premiere their new video 'Carolina' (featuring Lady Gaga) with Rolling Stone. 
  • Band perform at The Garage, London on 10 July 2018.

Following the release their new, self-titled album via Fantasy Records, UK tour dates and a critically acclaimed appearance at C2C, Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real have now premiered a new video for album track 'Carolina' with Rolling Stone.

After a decade on the road, on their own and playing behind the legendary Neil Young, Lukas Nelson & POTR have developed into one of America’s most dazzling live acts, attracting a deeply devoted following.

With influences that range literate Texas songsmiths like surrogate ‘uncles’ Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings, to J.J. Cale, The Band, Clapton-era Delaney & Bonnie, Neil and of course, Lukas’ dad Willie Nelson, the new album has been hailed as a major leap forward by publications around the world including Rolling Stone, Associated Press, UNCUT, Mojo, Classic Rock, Country Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Texas Monthly, American Songwriter, Uproxx, All Music and many more.

Recorded at The Village Studios in West Los Angeles, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real was produced by John Alagia (Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer) and features the band’s new six-piece line-up: Lukas Nelson (guitar, vocals), Tato Melgar (percussion), Anthony LoGerfo (drums), Corey McCormick (bass, vocals) along with new members Jesse Siebenberg (steel guitars, Farfisa organ, vocals) and Alberto Bof (piano, Wurlitzer, B3). Jess Wolfe and Holly Lessig of the indie-pop group Lucius contribute angelic background vocals on five tracks and Lady Gaga added stirring vocals to 'Carolina' and 'Find Yourself'.  Elsewhere, the lilting, Glen Campbell inspired gem, 'Just Outside of Austin' features a classic Willie Nelson guitar solo, and piano from Lukas’ 86-year-old Aunt Bobbi.

Praise for ‘Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real’:

  • “At 28, Lukas is the real deal and deserves to be treated seriously independent of his father's legacy.” — Associated Press
  • "Lukas Nelson's live show is a thing to behold, full of frenetic energy and the singer-guitarist's infectious charisma." — Rolling Stone
  • “The sextet’s latest displays a newfound confidence, brokering country-soul, Southern rock, and R&B with some panache.” — UNCUT
  • "This self-titled affair mixes rattling good Southern soul with country-rock"
  • —Daily Express
  • “The band’s best work...the record is a huge leap forward for Nelson, whose improved songwriting prowess is evident." — Entertainment Weekly
  • "Lukas is a force to be reckoned with." — Uproxx

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Parker Millsap new album out 15 June 2018

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Album release: 'Other Arrangements' by Parker Millsap
Release date: 15 June 2018
Label: Thirty Tigers
More info: Artist website

Nashville, TN - Acclaimed singer/songwriter Parker Millsap will release his third full band album, 'Other Arrangements' on June 15th via Thirty Tigers. The anticipated new release showcases the 24 year-old's evolution as an artist who continues to create music without the confines of genre. 'Other Arrangements' spotlights Millsap's dynamic vocals on an original set of infectious songs with insightful lyrics. 

While his first two albums were praised for their philosophical and religious imagery, Other Arrangements plays more like a favourite rock radio channel from the 70’s. Moving effortlessly between rock, blues and pop, the new album also showcases Millsap's most dynamic electric guitar playing to date, especially on the explosive opening track (and radio single) 'Fine Line'. His literary thought-provoking writing style touches on themes of love, human struggle, passion and tolerance on the new album. 

Since the release of his critically acclaimed album 'The Very Last Day,' Millsap made his late-night television debut on 'Conan', and appeared on the acclaimed PBS series Austin City Limits as well as Bluegrass Underground. Millsap also had the honour of being asked to perform with Sir Elton John at the Apple Music Festival at London's Roundhouse, after which the Grammy-winning legend, who was already a fan, attended a live performance in Atlanta, GA proclaiming, "Last night in Atlanta I saw one of the best concerts I have ever seen…It restored my faith in music."  

Other Arrangements was co-produced with Grammy award-winning engineer/producer Gary Paczosa and Grammy award-winning engineer Shani Gandhi at Echo Mountain Recording in Asheville, NC and Minutia Studio in Nashville, TN. Along with band-mates Daniel Foulks (fiddle) and Michael Rose (bass), Millsap is joined by Paddy Ryan on drums/percussion and backup singers including Odessa, Shirley and Calvin Settles, and Jillette Johnson.

Millsap possesses a rare charisma on stage, and his live performances are intense and captivating. Don’t miss a chance to catch his moving show as he hits the road in support of 'Other Arrangements' this spring.

“He deserves to become a new Americana hero.” - The Guardian 

“One of the best concerts I have ever seen… It restored my faith in music." – Elton John 

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Wild Ponies tour and new album due 20 October 2017

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Album release: 'Galax by Wild Ponies
Release date: 20 October 2017
Label: Gearbox Records
More info: Band website

'Galax' pays tribute to the powerful music and rugged landscape of Southwest Virginia, where both Wild Ponies' members Doug and Telisha Williams were born and raised. There, in mountain towns like Galax, oldtime American music continues to thrive, supported by a community of fiddlers, flat-pickers, and fans. The stripped-back album nods to the band's history while still pushing forward. Recorded in the shed behind Doug’s old family farm in the Appalachians (steps away from the site where Doug and Telisha were married), 'Galax' returns Wild Ponies to their musical and geographic roots.

'Galax's track list is filled with upright bass, acoustic guitar, twin fiddles, Telecaster, banjo, pedal steel, mandolin, harmonies, gang vocals, and even some stripped-down percussion. Every song was recorded live, never once pausing the process to listen to the performance they'd just captured. It wasn't until Wild Ponies returned home to Nashville that they finally heard the wild magic documented during those mountaintop sessions.

Bridging the gap between old and new, the album features revered Old-Time players Snake Smith, Kyle Dean Smith, and Kilby Spencer from its namesake, Galax, Virginia, and some of the band's favorite musicians from Nashville: Fats Kaplin, Will Kimbrough, Neilson Hubbard and Audrey Spillman to create a modern masterpiece with traditional folk influences.

The band will tour heavily in support of 'Galax 'with dates across US and Europe.

Although they're based in Nashville, Wild Ponies have always looked to Southwest Virginia — where bandmates Doug and Telisha Williams were both born and raised — for inspiration. There, in mountain towns like Galax, old-time American music continues to thrive, supported by a community of fiddlers, flat-pickers, and fans.

Wild Ponies pay tribute to that powerful music and rugged landscape with 2017's Galax, a stripped-back album that nods to the band's history while still pushing forward. Doug and Telisha took some of their favorite musicians from Nashville (Fats Kaplin, Will Kimbrough, Neilson Hubbard and Audrey Spillman) and met up with revered Old-Time players from 'Galax', Virginia (Snake Smith, Kyle Dean Smith, and Kilby Spencer). Recorded in the shed behind Doug’s old family farm in the Appalachians (steps away from the site where Doug and Telisha were married), it returns Wild Ponies to their musical and geographic roots. 

Growing up, a young Doug Williams spent many an hour watching and learning as his grandfather played banjo alongside local musical legends like Snake and Kyle Dean. Although both of his grandparents have now passed away, they would surely be proud to see Doug and Telisha gathered in the shed with Snake, Kyle Dean, Kilby, and a diverse handful of the best musicians from Nashville. The result is a broad, bold approach to Appalachian music, created by a multi-cultural band whose members span several generations.

Wild Ponies proudly dive into their old-school influences with songs like 'Pretty Bird' — a rendition of the Hazel Dickens original — and the traditional mountain song 'Sally Anne'. "My grandfather used to say, 'It oughta been the goddamn National Anthem!'" Doug says of the latter song, which kicks off the album with gang vocals and fiddle. Even so, don't mistake 'Galax' for a traditionally-minded folk album. Wild Ponies offer up plenty of contemporary material, too, building a bridge between past and present. The lyrics reflect a similar mix of old and new, with Doug and Telisha Williams writing songs inspired by family heirlooms (including a wooden-bound, 70 year-old book of poems written by Doug's grandfather, whose lines form the basis of "Here With Me"), the Catawba tree on the farm, the nostalgic pull of one's birthplace, a mother's tough lough, leaving and believing, and the cyclical natures of death and love. Although named after the town in which it was recorded, Galax looks far beyond the southwestern tip of Virginia for its source material. 

"We didn't want to go home to Virginia and just make an Old-Time record," explains Doug. "We wanted to make something that still sounded like Wild Ponies. We asked everybody to stretch and reach towards something new, something different. We wanted to not only reconnect with our roots, but learn how those roots can also weave into our current world."

Once everyone had arrived at the farm, Neilson Hubbard set up a makeshift studio in the shed. Just a few nice microphones in a circle. There’s no cell phone signal on the mountain. No WiFi. No distractions. Instead, everyone focused on making raw, genuine music, filling Galax's track list with upright bass, acoustic guitar, twin fiddles, Telecaster, banjo, pedal steel, mandolin, harmonies, gang vocals, and even some stripped-down percussion. They recorded the songs live, never once pausing the process to listen to the performance they'd just captured. It wasn't until Wild Ponies returned home to Nashville that they finally heard the wild magic documented during those mountaintop sessions. 

Released on August 25th on Gearbox Records, 'Galax' salutes Wild Ponies' traditional roots while exploring new, progressive territory. It's an album about the pieces of our past that stick with us, informing our present while pushing us toward a future. An album about a town, a country, and a world that's forever spinning toward something new. An album that redefines Wild Ponies' sound, while highlighting influences that have always rested just beneath the surface.

"We'll always be the pinball that bounces between folk, rock & roll and country," says Telisha, "and this Old-Time style will always weave its way through everything we do. It's been there from the start, even on the loudest songs we've made. It only took us a couple of days to record it, but this is the album we've been making our whole lives. We just needed the right people and the right songs to finish it."

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The Remedy Club debut album 8 October 2017

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Album release: 'Lovers, Legends & Lost Causes' by The Remedy Club
Release date: 8 October 2017
Label: High Flying Disc Records
More info: Band website

The Remedy Club, the Irish husband-and-wife Americana/Roots duo comprising KJ McEvoy and Aileen Mythen, will release their debut album 'Lovers, Legends & Lost Causes' on October 8th via High Flying Disc Records.  

The duo are known for their tight vocal harmonies and intelligent songwriting while McEvoy has been singled out for praise as a guitar player of great expressiveness and technical aplomb and Mythen for her stunning vocal performances.  

'Lovers, Legends and Lost Causes' features the accomplished string playing of Kj’s sister Eleanor McEvoy who joined forces with a sterling troupe of Ireland’s hottest musicians.  The album was produced by The Remedy Club at Astakalapa Studios, Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland and mixed in Nashville by 5-time Grammy award winner Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson) and Mark Petaccia (Jason Isbell, Lindi Ortega).  

According to Mythen, “We wanted to create an album of music that we would like to hear ourselves while also paying homage to such musical heroes as Tom Waits, Hank Williams and Django Reinhardt. The style of music fits really well with me personally at this point in my life. I think it’s important to have honesty in the music and singing these songs feels very truthful.” 

Nowhere is this sentiment more evident on the album than in its’ lead single 'Come On', with its’ starkly honest refrain and wonderful vocal performances, which highlights the chemistry between the two.   

McEvoy adds, “Although we’re influenced by different musical styles, including blues, folk and rock n’ roll, our country influences are very much to the fore on this album. There are three main themes running through the album, with songs about Love (‘Last Song’, ‘I Miss You’), Legends (‘When Tom Waits Up’, ‘Listening to Hank Williams’) and Lost Causes (‘Bottom of the Hill’, ‘Get Away With It').” 

The Remedy Club will tour through Autumn 2017. 

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Deer Tick new albums due 15 September 2017

Album release: Deer Tick Vol 1 & 2 by Deer Tick
Release date: 15 September 2017
Label: Partisan Records
More info: Band website

For the first time in four years the acclaimed and beloved band Deer Tick announce the September 15 release of a long-awaited new album...actually, two. Never a group to stand by conventional protocol, the celebrated Providence, RI quartet will release two separate albums of original material, Deer Tick Vol. 1 and Deer Tick Vol. 2 (Partisan Records), recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN. The two albums complement each other yet reflect completely contrasting styles, both of which accurately represent the two distinctive musical personalities of Deer Tick — quiet and thoughtful / loud and raucous. Listen to the beautiful 'Sea Of Clouds'  from Vol. 1 and the garage punk-infused 'It’s a Whale' from Vol. 2. 

Deer Tick Vol. 1 showcases the folk-driven, roots/rock style with right amount of grit, that Deer Tick is known for. Lead singer/songwriter John McCauley is a masterful introspective and observational songwriter, who documents inner struggles and external conflicts with a perfect balance of heartfelt sincerity and wry wit. The opening track Sea of Clouds encompasses all of what brought so many fans to Deer Tick in the first place, and also what kept them there. Guitarist Ian O’Neil’s 'Hope is Big' and drummer Dennis Ryan’s 'Me & My Man' expand on the group’s already dynamic range.

On Deer Tick Vol. 2, the band turns it up and lets it fly with an injection of punk-inspired garage rock at it’s finest. Clever lyrics, infectious hooks and captivating melodies pack Vol. 2 with bassist Christopher Ryan skillfully laying it down with authority and attitude.The propulsion of opener 'Don’t Hurt', edgy pop of 'Jumpstarting' and rowdy punk of 'It’s a Whale'  reveal that there was an obvious Jekyll & Hyde approach to recording Vol. 1& Vol. 2. Vol. 2 closes with boisterous 'Mr. Nothing Gets Worse', with all three singers taking a verse on a song that would have made The Replacements proud.

Deer Tick defines the term outlier. Their ever-evolving style has never been claimed by any one scene or genre. They encompass key elements of indie-rock, country, punk, pop, Americana, folk and so much more, which is what makes it difficult to nail them down. With Deer Tick Vol. 1 and Deer Tick Vol. 2, the question really is, why would anyone want to?

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Ron Pope new album 'Work' due 18 August 2017  

Album release: 'Work' by Ron Pope
Release date: 18 August 2017  
Label: Brooklyn Basement Records
More info: Artist website 

This fall, Nashville-based independent artist Ron Pope will embark on an international headline tour making stops in New York, London, Chicago, Nashville, Washington D.C., Boston, Philadelphia and more. See below for a full tour itinerary. Pope’s latest studio album, Work, is due August 18 on his own Brooklyn Basement Records and follows last year’s critically acclaimed Ron Pope & The Nighthawks, of which Entertainment Weekly said, “Heavier, deeper, bigger, louder. The warm glow of the West, and a heavy meditation on classic sounds of the South seeps out.”

Earlier this spring, Pope performed 'Baby, I Love You' at Carnegie Hall as part of The Music of Aretha Franklin tribute show. His recorded cover of the song and accompanying in-studio video premiered on Glide in celebration of Franklin’s 75th birthday. Of the new cover, Glide proclaimed, “Taking on Aretha is a daunting task, but with Pope’s vivacious voice and the top notch players behind him, this rendition is blessed with is on unique wow factor while retaining its original luster.” The new record’s lead single 'Bad For Your Health' premiered on Team Coco who call it “seriously addictive.” Most recently, Relix debuted the new album’s second single 'Let’s Get Stoned'.

Work marks Pope’s seventh studio album. To date, he has surpassed one million monthly listeners on Spotify, sold out shows in more than 20 countries, sold over 2 million digital tracks, had over 200 million streams on Spotify, 630 million plays on Pandora and 150 million views on YouTube.

The album was recorded completely in analog at Welcome to 1979 in Nashville, TN where Pope and his fellow musicians locked themselves in the studio for one week until completion. Work was co-produced and recorded with Grammy award-winning engineer Ted Young, his third consecutive collaboration with Pope. The lead single, “Bad For Your Health” was co-written by Pope and Jonathan Tyler.

Of the new recording, Pope says, “This album follows me from when I was thirteen and a teacher told my mother that I’d probably end up in prison; I started messing around writing songs that year. It’s been mostly uphill ever since.

Appearing on the album are Jay Collins on sax (Gregg Allman Band), Mike Riddleberger on drums (Bleachers), Andrew Pertes on bass (Savoir Adore), Kai Welch on keys/accordion (Abigail Washburn, Glen Campbell), Jeff Malinowski on guitar (Frances Cone), Alex Brumel on guitar/pedal steel and Charles Ray on flugelhorn/trumpet plus guest vocals on select tracks from Mary Richardson (The Banditos), Katie Schecter, Molly Parden and Vanessa McGowan.

Last summer saw the release of the feature-length documentary One Way Ticket by Kelly Teacher (No Cameras Allowed, Austin To Boston). The film follows Pope and his band on the road and during recording sessions for Ron Pope & The Nighthawks in Lake Blue Ridge, GA. In the film, Spotify’s D.A. Wallach notes, “Here’s a guy who’s figured out how to do this basically by himself and is really proving the power of streaming music.”  

Pope’s music has been featured on NBC’s 'The Voice', CW’s 'Vampire Diaries', '90210', and multiple seasons of FOX’s 'So You Think You Can Dance', which sent two of his albums into the top 100 on iTunes simultaneously. Pope also guest starred as himself in Season 3 of the show 'Nashville'.

Press reaction to date

“Sincere, slick, and catchy” – Q  
“One listen and you want to hear Ron Pope again and again and again” – Maverick  
“Lovers of The Band, Allman Brothers and The E Street Band will find lots to enjoy here” – Daily Mirror  
**** - The Guardian, live review  
**** - Daily Express  
“Gorgeous church-pew harmonies… fine songcraft” – The Independent  
“There’s a retro heart in the swagger of his bluesy song writing” – Daily Telegraph  

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Hannah Aldridge album 'Gold Rush' due 16 June 2017

Album release: 'Gold Rush' by Hannah Aldridge
Release date: 16 June 2017
Label: Rootsy Music
More info: Artist website

In literature and in songwriting, the American South is where writers go to face their fears. Hannah Aldridge doesn’t just dip her pen into the well of the South, the Muscle Shoals native embodies it. With every song, she’s facing down demons of a life once lived from substance abuse to failed relationships and scars from the lashes of the bible belt.  

'Gold Rush' is Hannah Aldridge’s second album, a follow up to her 2014 debut 'Razor Wire'. While that album launched her career, drew the attention of music writers and sent her touring across the world, 'Gold Rush' shows a more mature and introspective artist with more life experience - and music experience - under her belt.  

The honesty Hannah Aldridge crafts into each track is off-set by her stubborn, maybe defiant, nature, which gives her music a hopeful silver lining.  

“I start writing with ‘this is how I’m feeling and I need to talk about it.’ Doing that helps me sort out my own thoughts on it. My music is an introspective look at the things that happened in my life. It’s me trying to sort through and put feelings into words,” she said. 

Hannah Aldridge is the daughter of Muscle Shoals legend Walt Aldridge. An Alabama Music Hall of Famer, Walt Aldridge is a prolific and decorated songwriter of countless Number One and Top Ten hits recorded by the likes of Lou Reed, Reba McEntire, Travis Tritt, Earl Thomas Conley, Ricky Van Shelton, Ronnie Milsap, and Conway Twitty.  

Mixing her personal life and the sounds of her hometown, Hannah Aldridge’s new album also draws in influences from across the rock genre. Working with people with one foot in country music and one foot in rock, Hannah Aldridge makes a fresh kind of Southern Rock styled by Southern Gothic storytelling. You can hear it in 'Gold Rush'’s ode to burning out, or in the yearning of 'Burning Down Birmingham', and anthem-for-the-lonely 'No Heart Left Behind' – a track that is shot-through with wild riffs.  

Recorded at Creative Workshop in Nashville, Hannah Aldridge worked with Muscle Shoals writers such as Mark Naramore, Tosha Hill, Matt Johnson and Brad Crisler and artists such as Andrew Combs, Ashley McBryde, Don Gallardo, Ryan Beaver, and Sadler Vaden on “Gold Rush.” She teamed up with Jordan Dean and M. Allen Parker, who were instrumental in working on her new album, and finally finishing by calling on her Dad, Walt Aldridge, to master the record. In total, Hannah Aldridge compiled a team of distinct talents to work with her. With their help, Hannah Aldridge has put together a progressive, creative and memorable body of work. 

“It’s about being self-destructive,” Aldridge said of her new album. “That is the underlying tone. The album goes back to when I was younger, and after touching on that, to now. In ‘Aftermath,’ the very first line is: ‘I was born in a crossfire.’ It starts from day one.”  

Hannah Aldridge will tour the UK in summer 2017 – details announcing soon.

Press reaction to date

“Listening to Aldridge’s music is a sonic treat” – Billboard  
“Aldridge’s songs are deep, intelligent, and very powerful” – No Depression
“In the running for best Americana debut this year” – American Songwriter  
“An important album” – Americana UK  

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Loudon Wainwright III ‘Surviving Twin’ Live March 2017

Tour announcement: Loudon Wainwright III - ‘Surviving Twin’ Live
Tour dates: March 2017
More infoLeicester Square Theatre

'Surviving Twin' is a posthumous collaboration in which Grammy Award winner Wainwright connects some of his best songs with the writing of his late father Loudon Wainwright Jr, the esteemed LIFE Magazine columnist. The performance is a game of creative catch between son and father, exploring issues like birth, loss, parenthood, fashion, pet ownership, and mortality. In a one man show, Wainwright recites a selection of his father’s compositions interspersed with songs from his own catalogue. 'Surviving Twin' has never been previously performed in the UK. 

Loudon’s illustrious career as a songwriter, humourist and actor, spans over two-dozen albums. He collaborated with Joe Henry, on the music for Judd Apatow’s hit movie 'Knocked Up', penned music for the British theatrical adaptation of Carl Hiaasen’s novel, 'Lucky You' and also recorded several songs for HBO’s 'Boardwalk Empire'. His songs have been recorded by many including Johnny Cash, Mose Allison, Earl Scruggs, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright and Bonnie Raitt. 

As an actor, he hit the screens early in his career playing Captain Calvin Spalding, the “singing surgeon”, on the American television show, M*A*S*H and has subsequently appeared in films directed by Martin Scorsese, Hal Ashby, Christopher Guest, Tim Burton, Cameron Crowe, and Judd Apatow. 

A limited edition, deluxe hardback programme including an 18 track CD of show excerpts will be available exclusively at the performances.  Listen to the tracks here

Leicester Square Theatre, London 9th, 10th, 11th (inc. matinee), 12th March 2017. Tickets available now.

Press reaction to date

“The sardonically humorous singer-songwriter delivers a moving meditation on father/son relationships.” - The Hollywood Reporter 

“…a bristling, acerbic, ultimately affecting family album of a show, with father-son resentments, hostilities and resemblances laid out for all to see, alongside the love and self-loathing.” - New York Times

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Jim Lauderdale album 'London Southern' out 3 February 2017

Album release: 'London Southern' by Jim Lauderdale
Release date: 3 February 2017
Label: Proper Records
More info: Artist website

Award winning singer and master songwriter Jim Lauderdale releases a striking new studio album 'London Southern' on February 3 2017 and will take part in the hugely popular Transatlantic Sessions tour in February, starting in Glasgow at Celtic Connections and then touring the UK.  

Himself recipient of the Wagonmaster Award at this year’s US Americana Honors & Awards, a special lifetime achievement honour reserved for the most valuable contributors to the course and history of the format, presented to him by George Strait, Jim has been invited to present an award at the second UK Americana Awards in London next February. 

Recorded in London at Goldtop studios and produced by Neil Brockbank and Robert Trehern, London Southern features co-writes with Dan Penn, Joan Oates, Odie Blackmon and Kendell Marvell alongside six Lauderdale solo compositions and a host of celebrated guest musicians. 

The making of London Southern in Jim’s own words: 

"Making London Southern was my first time recording in the London area. It’s something I had wanted to do for a long time, but more important was getting to work with Nick Lowe's band and with his co- producers Neil Brockbank and Bobby Irwin.  I had been such a huge fan of Nicks and was able to be his support act back at different times in ‘94 and ‘95 which was a huge break for me. So fast forward 20 years later and this record came together. We recorded over several sessions at the Goldstar Studios in Balham. In my opinion Neil Brockbank is one of the best producers, engineers, and mixers out there. Period.  Tragically, Bobby Irwin has passed away and I dedicate this record to his memory. He was well loved by his friends and family and is terribly missed."

"Some of the songs for the first session were written or started in Glasgow, Liverpool, or London after gigs in the few days before starting. Back in the States, before going back for second rounds of sessions, I wrote with new co writers John Oates (If I Can't Resist, Different Kind Of Groove) and Dan Penn (Don't Shut Me Down, What Have You Got To Lose). Neil got me to add strings to "I Love You More" which I had never tried before. He had great ideas and made this a different sounding record than I had ever gotten to make.  It was a real pleasure and inspiration to play with the musicians and some of the songs were written during the recording. Ready for more."

Jim Lauderdale is both a ‘songwriter’s songwriter’, who has written/co-written many modern classics for iconic artists, as well as an intuitive sideman who has enhanced the music of a bevy of esteemed musicians. As a solo artist, he has created a critically acclaimed body of work spanning nearly 30 albums of imaginative roots music, encompassing country, bluegrass, soul, R&B and rock. 
 
Throughout his three-decade career, Lauderdale has helped pave the way for the current Americana movement, recording albums and writing songs that cross genres from country, rock, folk and bluegrass. Jim has written many classic songs for iconic artists and worked with some of the finest performers in traditional and modern music, including Robert Hunter, Ralph Stanley, Elvis Costello, George Strait, Buddy Miller, Lucinda Williams, John Oates, Solomon Burke, Lee Ann Womack, Old Crow Medicine Show, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Blake Shelton, the Dixie Chicks, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, and Gary Allan among many, many others. He co-hosts a weekly radio show on SiriusXM with Buddy Miller, "The Buddy & Jim Show," and is also co-host of Music City Roots, the weekly live and radio, podcast and PBS series. 

Jim has won two Grammys and been honoured with the SESAC Inspiration Award, the prestigious American Eagle Award from the National Music Council along with Kris Kristofferson and in 2016, the aforementioned US Americana Music Association’s Wagonmaster Award.  

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Country Lips new album due 6 January 2017

Album release: 'Till The Daylight Comes' by Country Lips
Release date: 6 january 2017
More info: Band website

Merging Backwoods-style blues with honky-tonk, boot-stomping rhythms, the 8-piece powerhouse known as Country Lips deliver a sound more associated with the wild, raucous West than the grit and grunge of America’s Emerald city. The spirit of unadulterated, whiskey-fuelled country rings true however, via a rollicking sonic presence and ramshackle charm – and they take their chances siding with musical outlaws like George Jones, Johnny Paycheck, and the Louvin Brothers over the homogenous sparkle of more chart-friendly players. 

New album 'Till The Daylight Comes', recorded in Seattle and produced by Randall Dunn (Master Musicians Of Bukkake, Sunn O))), Cave Singers) is an ode to alcohol-ravaged, small-town romance, bringing to mind the destruction and debauchery that bopped and swirled around country-heavyweights like Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard. When playing live, it’s worth noting too, they have an absolute blast with the friendly warning that "in one set you’re likely to see five different lead singers, swapping soloists, all manner of hoots and harmonies, and (at least) one spilled beer." 
 
First up bringing the two-step and shimmy, is driving guitar number, ‘Laundromat’ – the protagonist asking for a woman’s hand-in-marriage amid the washing machines where he works. Here the lucky lady will even get her clothes washed for free if she chooses to take him up on his offer…‘Grizzly Bear Billboard’ meanwhile, gains a lot of impact via its schmaltzy, electric-guitar shimmer, presenting us with a wistful, sexed-up tale of a past destructive romance – as ridiculous in its forthrightness (“we were going at it like a demolition derby”) as it is in its air of regret. 
 
Songs like ‘Reason I’m Drinking’ and ‘Bar Time’ sound lovelorn, telling tales of lonely nights drinking their paycheques at the bar and are heightened by unashamedly forlorn lyrics; ‘The only friends I have are up there on that shelf’ for example. Even so, all are delivered with a tongue-in-cheek self-awareness that can’t help but raise a smile. 
 
'Til The Daylight Comes' often conjures up the well-worn tropes of heartland-Americana – yet these lazy bartenders, low-hanging lights and sweating beer bottles sit dangerously alongside pool cue clashes, cowboy cacophony and kicked-over bar stalls. Leave all notions of modern country behind and come join the Country Lips party now! 
 
Country Lips are: 
 
Austin Jacobsen – bass, Trevor Pendras - electric guitar, vocals, Miles Burnett - drums, vocals, Hamilton Boyce - electric guitar, vocals, Alex Leake - acoustic guitar, vocals, Jonah Byrne – fiddle, Kenny Aramaki – keys and Gus Clark - accordion, mandolin
 

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Ron Pope & The Nighthawks - self titled debut album out 8 Jan

Album release: Ron Pope & The Nighthawks
Release date: 8 January 2015
Label: Brooklyn Basement Records
More info: Band website

Ron Pope & The Nighthawks’ self-titled debut album is out January 8 on his own label Brooklyn Basement Records. The band will celebrate at New York’s Irving Plaza on January 9 before kicking off a 31 city tour across the U.K. and Europe before traversing America. 

Following his fifth studio album in 2014 and extensive worldwide touring, the Nashville based Pope began recording new music written on the road with his favorite Brooklyn-based musicians who later too the name The Nighthawks. The recording began in Lake Blue Ridge, Georgia followed by a loft in Louisville and finished up at The Magic Shop in New York. The final album was co-produced by Pope and Grammy award winner Ted Young (The Rolling Stones, Kurt Vile, Grace Potter) with Paul Hammer, Alex Foote, Andrew Pertes, Alex Brumel, Alan Markley and Michael Riddleberger of The Nighthawks.  

While recording, the band enlisted filmmaker Kelly Teacher (“No Cameras Allowed,” “Austin To Boston”) to create “One Way Ticket,” a feature-length documentary following the band as they record their debut album and tour the U.S. The film uses the story of Ron Pope & The Nighthawks as a backdrop to explain the state of the contemporary music industry and how to forge a career in the new digital age. “Here’s a guy who’s figured out how to do this basically by himself, and is really proving the power of streaming music,” says Spotify’s D.A. Wallach in “One Way Ticket.” The film will screen at this year’s SXSW and you can watch the trailer HERE.

 As a solo artist, Pope has sold over two million singles to date and averages 15 million spins a month on Pandora. His songs have been streamed over 126 million times via Spotify, with over 100 million YouTube views and over 14 million plays on Soundcloud. His music has been featured on NBC’s “The Voice,” CW’s “Vampire Diaries” and “90210” and multiple seasons of FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” which sent two of his albums into the top 100 on iTunes simultaneously. Pope also guest stared on Nashville as himself last season.  
 

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Los Lobos new album 'Gates Of Gold' released 25 Sept

Album release: 'Gates Of Gold' by Los Lobos
Release date: 25 September 2015
Label: Proper Records
More info: Band website

Los Lobos, the Grammy winning East L.A. legends comprised of David Hidalgo, Louie Perez, Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano and Steve Berlin, are back with an all new full length studio album, 'Gates of Gold,' which will be released September 25th on Proper Records. Their first collection of new songs since 2010, the album was produced by the band who continue to hone their multi-faceted sound and fresh storytelling.

The 11 tracks showcase a band that continues to keep it real. Their songs are snapshots of true life moments with themes ranging from the immigrant experience in America to melancholic ruminations on impending mortality. The music is as dynamic, eclectic yet distinctive as ever. Thoughtful, darkly romantic and spiritual lyrics are enhanced by slow burning blues rock, impressionistic soul, traditional Mexican folk music or straight ahead garage band jams. The band will embark on an extensive tour this year in support of the album (see confirmed dates below). In addition, a new biography of the band, 'Los Lobos— Dream in Blue' written by Chris Morris—will be released in September by the University of Texas Press.

Los Lobos are entering their fifth decade, as the humblest of musical icons, having racked up countless accolades for their uncompromising artistry. With four Grammys in hand and the respect and admiration of their musical peers, the band still hearken back to their beginnings as 'the soundtrack of the barrio' and remain a cultural touchstone for a community.

Their accomplishment is reflected in the effortlessly spontaneous approach to recording. Says Cesar Rosas: 'When I listen to our catalog, doing things more spontaneously in the studio has led to some of our best work.' Adds Louie Perez: 'Unlike many bands that write, gather and catalog material between studio releases, Los Lobos prefers to create their magic on the fly when they decide it’s time to record.'

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Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers new album - Loved Wild Lost

Album release: Loved Wild Lost by Nicki Bluhm & The Gamblers
Release date: 9 October 2015
Label: Republic of Music
More info: Band website

With 'Loved Wild Lost', Little Sur recording group Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers fully affirm a current place in the long winding continuum of the California Sound, born of folk, rock, country, psychedelia, blues, and pop, as ageless, adventurous, and ever-adaptive as the Golden State itself. The new record – which follows their much lauded self-titled 2013 debut – sees Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers teaming with producer Brian Deck (Iron & Wine, Josh Ritter), their first time working with an outside collaborator. The result is the critically acclaimed band’s most compelling collection thus far, its richly layered sound the ideal foundation for Bluhm’s remarkable voice and resonant lyrical gifts. Further colour comes from San Francisco’s Magik*Magik Orchestra (Death Cab for Cutie, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds)whose complex arrangements serve to amplify the indelibly universal themes of Simpler Times and the captivating single Waiting On Love.

With three years and hundreds of live shows behind them since the release of their debut, a period of creative growth and personal reflection was spurred, giving rise to songs like Love Your Loved Ones which explores life’s seismic shifts, in what Nicki describes as “the struggle to retain the energy and optimism of youth as life becomes more complex.” Together, Deck and the band made a conscious effort to hone The Gramblers’ sound, fusing a framework of archetypal musical idioms into something unique and universal, its individual elements complementing and counterpointing the songs’ deeper themes.

“On the last record there’s a little bit of soul, a little bit of country, a little bit of rock,” Nicki says. “This record, we were trying to make it much more cohesive.”

Also enlisted in songwriting duties is multi-instrumentalist, and Nicki’s husband, Tim Bluhm. The quintessential Golden State journeyman musician, known for two decades as singer/guitarist/primary songwriter in beloved SF rock ‘n’ rollers The Mother Hips, first assembled The Gramblers in 2008 to serve as Nicki’s road band in support of her two Tim-produced solo outings. The line-up soon gelled into its current state, comprising Nicki’s childhood friend, guitarist/songwriter Derek Ney, bassist Steve Adams, rhythm guitarist Dave Mulligan, and drummer Mike Curry. The Gramblers no longer being just a vehicle for Nicki’s songs, but a full-blown band experience. Nicki’s “favorite living songwriter,” Tim-penned songs like High Neck Lace allow his beloved to articulate herself on a vast array of subjects, spanning aging, personal politics, intense psychological observation, the search for meaning, and the very mysteries of life itself.

“Our music definitely hearkens another era,” says Nicki Bluhm, “but at the same time, we want it to be contemporary. Reflective of now even though it nods to other times. We want it to be vintage modern.”

Keep an eye out for Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers to tour the UK in January 2016. 

Press reaction to date

  • “a modest, melodic gem [that] neatly combines the rustic vibe of The Band with the more polished approach of Buckingham/Nicks-era Fleetwood Mac.” – American Songwriter
  • a slow-burner, with keening steel guitar and eddies of strings surrounding Bluhm’s warm, inviting vocals,”The Wall Street Journal
  • Bluhm is sexy and soulful, showing a bit of Janis [Joplin], Etta [James} and Amy [Winehouse] in her vocals.”Boston Herald

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Larkin Poe return to the UK this July for headline shows

Tour announcement: Larkin Poe UK shows
Tour dates: July 2015
More info: Band website

They say madness runs in the family. They say the same about creativity and passion. That's good news for Larkin Poe's sister duo Rebecca and Megan Lovell, the descendants of tortured artist and creative genius Edgar Allen Poe, who return to our shores for another headline run of live dates this July. The Atlanta-based sisters released their debut album ‘Kin’ last year, to a raft of press and radio attention, and have seen their UK following swell in the wake of a string of sold out live shows – shows that cementing their reputation for high-energy, joyous performances.

Hot on the heels of a tour in support of Elvis Costello, new single ‘Stubborn Love’ surfaces on 31 July too - a highlight from the debut album, and a song that really gets to the crux of Larkin Poe’s internal relationship, offering some insight into how they tick, both as people and artists. “Every time we fight in a hotel room / Stubborn love keeps pulling us on through.” they sing. It invites us to join them on their journey, be there for the good times and bad, and come out singing full volume at the end. The band comments;

“Having just wrapped up a 3-week tour with Elvis Costello in the UK, we are so excited to be launching straight into a Larkin Poe tour. We'll be hitting the road afresh and in support of our new single, "Stubborn Love"! All told, it'll be two months straight of touring... As sisters on the road, our bond is a strong as it's ever been and we feel that "Stubborn Love" is the perfect anthem for this tour!”

Press reaction to date

A sinewy blend of lap steel, electric guitar riffs, blunt rhythm and their tightly knit vocal harmonies…A fun energetic ride…”  - Uncut

Slick, bluesy rock, with a few real highlights”  - The Guardian

"Best Discovery at Glastonbury 2014" - The Observer

“…swings between swampy rock and moody pop, gilded with sororal harmonies” - Mail On Sunday ****

“…bristling with a Seventies classic pop rock sheen of sinuous riffs, snappy handclaps and cheeky call and response vocals… These are 12 perfectly honed tracks” - The Telegraph ****

Bluegrass rooted sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell turn up the heat on this debut”  - Daily Mirror **** 

Sugar High has the echoes of Melissa Etheridge & Sheryl Crow at their very best but the guitar playing is pure Tom Petty meets Vince Gill.” - Maverick *****

Sweetness undercut with Spice” - Rock N Reel *****

Great harmonies and fine guitar… a thrilling duo in full flow” - Daily Express *****

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The Complete American Recordings of Johnny Cash

Album release: Complete American Recordings by Johnny Cash
Release date: 11 May 2015
Label: USM

USM are proud to present the Johnny Cash American Recordings LP boxed set, a classic black box housing all studio albums released between 1994 and 2010 on 180gm vinyl. 

American Recordings is the 81st album by the country singer Johnny Cash after he was approached by producer Rick Rubin and offered a contract with Rubin's American Recordings label, better known for rap and heavy metal than for country music. Under Rubin's supervision, he recorded the album in his living room, accompanied only by his guitar.  His successful collaboration with Rick Rubin was in part due to Rubin seeking a minimalist sound for his songs. The album was hailed by critics and many declared it to be Cash's finest album since the late 1960s, while his versions of songs by more modern artists such as Tom Waits and Glenn Danzig helped to bring him a new audience. 

American Recordings received a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album of the Year at the 1994 Grammy Awards.  In 2003, the album was ranked number 364 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Unchained is the second album in Johnny Cash's American Recording series and contains songs by Tom Petty ("Southern Accents"), Soundgarden ("Rusty Cage") and Beck ("Rowboat"). Unchained received a Grammy for Best Country Album and Cash was nominated for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his version of “Rusty Cage”. American III: Solitary Man was notable for being Cash's highest charting solo studio LP since his 1976 One Piece at a Time. Between Unchained and Solitary Man, Cash's health declined due to various ailments, and he was even hospitalised for pneumonia. 

American IV: The Man Comes Around is the fourth album in the American series by Johnny Cash and his 87th overall, released in 2002.  This is the last album released before his death in 2003.  The majority of songs are covers which Cash performs in his own sparse style, with help from producer Rick Rubin. For the song "Personal Jesus", Rubin asked then-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante to re-work an acoustic version, which featured a simple acoustic riff that stripped down the song to a blues style. 

American V: A Hundred Highways is the 93rd overall album and a posthumous title by Johnny Cash released on July 4, 2006.  The liner notes of “Unearthed”, a box set composed of outtakes from the first four entries into the series, claim "around 50" songs were recorded during the American V sessions before Cash's death on September 12, 2003.  However, only two albums worth of material were released, including American VI: Ain't No Grave, which was released in February 2010. 

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