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.

 

Flyinshoes Review

Welcome to FSR our Roots Music Reviewers & Pod/broadcasters Community

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

Merry Christmas (& a guid New Year) from Medicine Music.

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Rob Ellen

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www.charlierothmusic.com

Well I haven’t heard all of Charlie Roth’s previous six albums, but I suspect that Cactus Tartan Heart is his best work yet. Inspired by his recent troubadour travels around the British Isles, Charlie seems to have distilled his own particular melange of Celtic, country and folk music into something that touches the pure source of these things, threading the strands together so that his version of Wild Mountain Thyme can sit comfortably alongside his own bottom-of-the-bottle honky tonk song, Lonely Bar, and sound like natural company for each other.

        Half of these songs are Charlie’s own work; two co-writes, two from the (British) tradition and one each from Jack Hardy and Tim Henderson complete the line-up and, in a subtle way, every strand of folk music seems to make an appearance. Social commentary, sentimentality, love songs, humour and a strong feel for the core truths of life are married to gently beautiful music making. Charlie’s knack for a natural melody and the understated beauty of his guitar playing (and that of his sidekick, Kurt Rodman) is at the heart of the music but, in a quiet sort of a way, this is a really rich production. More than a dozen other musicians play their part in these songs, participating in arrangements that gently enhance each one. There’s an ironically cheerful shuffle on the hard times song, Baltic Avenue, that features some nicely boozy trumpet playing from Tom Pattock; we get the full Irish monty, complete with whistle and bodhran, for Jack Hardy’s fine song about an Irish migrant worker, Uley Mill Song, and on the song that closes the album, Cactus Heart, an elegant arrangement of acoustic guitar, viola and bodhran keeps things warm and intimate. The cherry on the top of it all for me is Charlie’s take on Wild Mountain Thyme. This is possibly the best version of this old standard that I’ve ever heard; Charlie’s vocal is utterly sincere, he really sounds like he’s crooning to the lass of his fancy, whilst the arrangement is utterly gorgeous. There’s some beautiful playing on the hammered dulcimer from Paul Imholte that sounds like a mountain burn in springtime – absolutely excellent stuff.

         Sometimes you become aware that it’s Charlie’s singing that is the real star of this album. For a mid-western American he sounds remarkably Irish to me when the song calls for it. I don’t have Irish ears, obviously, but he seems to be able to inhabit the world of his Irish songs quite as comfortably as he sings his more obviously country/Americana numbers.  He travels from the wry humour of Wadayagonado to the desperate pleading of Holy Mother of God and sounds completely at one with the feel of the song – and with the tradition of each idiom – every time. I was fortunate enough to be witness to Charlie’s pied piper charm when he was over in the Highlands last year and I’m so pleased he’s been able to nail on record what makes him such an engaging performer; he has an absolute devotion to song and a child-like enthusiasm for all the wonders that the world of song can unfold, so these twelve songs are just a sample of what he can do, and just possibly the finest slice of transatlantic folk that you’ll hear this year. Finally, an added bonus is that the cover of the cd features one of Danny Schmidt's many excellent photographs; Danny is a fine songwriter himself and keeps a photoblog that is a joy to follow.

John Davy

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www.euroamericanachart.eu

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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