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MIKE RITCHIE LOOKS BACK OVER 2015 ALBUMS – AND AHEAD TO SOME CRACKERS

New albums in the New Year already causing a stir – Cam Penner, Malcolm Holcombe, Dan Stuart, Norrie McCulloch, Lucinda Williams, Blue Rose Code among them.

 

Before then, here are some of my favourite releases of 2015 – in no set order. I have played all these artists on my weekly radio show, and often.

 

Enjoying myself with Celtic Music Radio and very grateful to the support I’m receiving, pleased by the kind comments about the show and I hugely appreciate the music sent or suggested by  excellent promoters, PR people, record labels and talented artistes themselves. Best wishes to you all for 2016 – and I hope all who create good music are heard by as big a number of listeners as possible. You have my admiration.

 

Here we go.

 

Iris DeMent – The Trackless Woods

Glorious set of piano led songs with lyrics taken from Russian poetry. Recorded in her living room and dedicated to her adopted Russian: just brilliant

Track:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl-52N00Rsk

 

 

David Corley – Available Light

Totally stunning debut ­– big boy music, meaningful, collar-grabbing and heartfelt. Probably my most played album of the year.

Track (explicit): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fb7V1XZHUzU

 

 

James McMurtry – Complicated Game

The incomparable Texan never fails to please. He shifted down a gear for most of these thoughtful tracks and continued to impress. This song zings along, mind you.

Track: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0BhwLamL_8

 

 

Michael Rank & Stag – Horsehair

Really hope he doesn't stay undiscovered for too long. This, like all his music, is pure magic. Sorrowful and dark with glorious duets to savour. Marvellous.

Track: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMWCyTQbSGI

 

 

Dark Green Tree – Secret Lives

Such a stunning album from the Edinburgh-based band played with no little style and moodiness.

Track: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fs3Q5Zkxouc

 

 

Mandolin Orange – Such Jubilee

Bought on a whim after scanning a Rolling Stone magazine article about 30 great albums we’d probably never hear. It was at number 30… it is gorgeous.

Track: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RREoo7HFabc&index=2&list=RD...

 

 

Malcolm Holcombe – The RCA Sessions

Cheating slightly as this is a retrospective of the irrepressible man’s career. But he did go back into the studio to re-record them all and each one is a gem.

Track: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juI6XO6vkWc

 

 

Phil Lee – Some Gotta Lose

Strangely enough didn’t rate this on first listen but it grew on me and in “Don’t Tell Me Now” he has created a sleazily, edgy classic.

Track: http://www.philleeone.com/audio/

 

Andrew Hawkey – What Did I Come Up Here For?

The man from wild hills sent me his album, filled me in on the back story, was pleased when I played it on the radio and met up again with the girl he let go in this song some 30 years later. Call me a softie. Great songs.

Track: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwujZ0xb2FI

 

The Mike & Ruthy Band – Bright As You Can

This is a mighty fine teasing mix of sounds – bluegrass, straight down the road country, alt folk, blues and soul. Delicious. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsH0On0Ny_c

 

And pushing hard and played a lot were:

 

Cale Tyson – Introducing Cale Tyson

Pharis & Jason Romero – A Wanderer I’ll Stay

The Wynntown Marshals – End of the Golden Age

Dean Owens – Into The Sea

Dave Rawlings Machine – Nashville Obsolete.

 

There will be some I’ve overlooked – that’s the problem with these summaries. Good fun, though.

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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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