February 4 2018 is the 1st International House Concert Day, The European House Concert Hub and FSR are celebrating by organising the 1st International House Concert Festival. Talk to Rob Ellen if you would like to be involved.

 

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Presenting Davy Cowan's "Little Town" our 2017  Christmas Song

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RACHEL LAVEN —LOVE & LUCCHESES (Self-Released)

 

www.rachellevanmusic.com

 

Young Texas singer-songwriter Rachel Laven is making waves in her home state, and with her winner of the Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Award last year and a finalist of the Larry Joe Taylor Showcase (2017) the now 24 year-old, 15-year veteran of the stage gains her debut album release in the UK. “Finish Line” opens the album, and I though arguably a little too polished and like other country albums it warms the listener quite nicely. With it out of the way the material becomes stronger, and the following track “Each Other’s Shoes” that was recorded in England (as was “Only Thing Familiar) she digs deep into her reserve. Impressive she is too as she performs a stunning love ballad with imperceptive ease. So well crafted are the lyrics she had me hang on to every word.   

 

“Do You Dare” is an infectious number with a lot of drive from the rhythm section and also has exciting fiddle (Andrew White) and superb piano (Scott Burns). “Love & Luccheses” is a more sedate affair, and with it followed by the sombre ode “Only Thing Familiar” calming qualities are strongly represented. The latter with its twin fiddles courtesy of Simon Rosellys and Andrew White plus backing vocals from Rebecca Rosellys it possesses much beauty. While the pedal steel guitar (Smith Curry) laced “The Moon” and twangy (it too contains some mighty guitar work), “Don’t Put Me In A Town” as she sings ‘don’t put me in a town with more churches than bar’, ‘don’t put me in a town where the sun don’t shine and the forecast is gloomy all the time’ the Texas songbird produces two truly outstanding numbers. Ever pressing forward, the rhythmic affair punches the air with much flair, and with Laven’s vocals possessing a familiar feel and vibrancy to one Kelly Willis both songs, and Laven are keepers!  

 

Sobering ballad “Something Like Heaven” has her lay bare her emotions and fears. As her and the band (Marc Sauceda, lead guitar; James Hill, B3 organ; Daniel Almodova, bass; Sean Sankey; lead acoustic guitar, drums) nail fellow singer-songwriter Walt Wilkins’ (her mentor) heart-felt ballad. When it comes to aching ballads it pours with the emotion and heartache associated with traditional country music her best performance would be hard to match never mind beat. “Someone Like You” is a little ragged and doesn't quite fit the bill. “Wrong Time” I felt was way stronger and made of stronger substance. For one it is far more meaningful. “Song For Mary” is a pleasant solo recording (Laven and her guitar)as she wraps up Love & Luccheses in caring fashion.

 

It is Laven’s third full-length solo album; she also has a solo EP with her bluegrass band, Sweet ‘Shine & Honey to go with three albums made with the family band, The Lavens). I can’t but help think Rachel Laven has a fantastic career ahead of her. 

 

                                                          Maurice Hope 

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1
Rod Picott
70 pts.
Out Past The Wires
Welding Rod Music
GC,AN,LM,SZ,TK
2
JW Roy & The Royal Family
62 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,PJ,DH
3
Steph Cameron
61 pts.
Daybreak over Jackson Street
Pheromona
ML
4
JD McPherson
54 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
AR,RK,LK
5
Sarah Morris
53 pts.
Hearts In Need Of Repair
Independent
 
6
Turnpike Troubadours
52 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
MA,GF
7
Chris Hillman
51 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
 
8
Hayward Williams
39 pts.
Pretenders
Why River Records
KG,JB,JBO
9
Joe Henry
38 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
 
10
Jim White
37 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
JJ
12
Margo Price
35 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
 
11
Mark Martyre
35 pts.
Rivers
Independent
MF
13
Mavis Staples
32 pts.
If All I Was Was Black
Anti
HO
 
Peter Oren
32 pts.
Anthropocene
Western Vinyl
RB,HB
15
Fred Wickham
29 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
 
16
Jeffrey Martin
27 pts.
One Go Around
Fluff & Gravy Records
HDB
17
Blitzen Trapper
25 pts.
Wild and Reckless
Lojinx
JDO
 
Jeff Crosby
25 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records
FCE,FC,JS
19
Dori Freeman
24 pts.
Letters Never Read
Blue Hens Music
 
 
Hardpan
24 pts.
Hardpan
Blue Rose Records
WR
21
The Deep Dark Woods
21 pts.
Yarrow
Six Shooter
JF
22
Lilly Hiatt
20 pts.
Trinity Lane
New West
TJ
 
Tom Russell
20 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
JAB
24
Eilen Jewell
19 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
MW
25
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
FS

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