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.
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
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.
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.
Dark Green Tree – Secret Lives
Such a stunning album from the Edinburgh-based band played with no little style and moodiness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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