Frontier Folk Nebraska – Ghost on the Tap

Ghost on the Tap by Frontier Folk Nebraska is today’s Track of the Day.

I heard this for the first time earlier this afternoon, it was the last track played on this week’s edition of the  Cincy Music Spotlight podcast, hosed by Venomous Valdez.

Prior to this I’d never heard anything by Frontier Folk Nebraska, but have to say I was blown away by this track. Having looked at their website, it looks like this track was released as part of a Record Store Day split single with The Tillers, one of my favorite local bands. The vinyl is sold out, so I’ve just downloaded the track from their Bandcamp page.

As I type this I’m listening to their Live at the Southgate House Revival album and it’s a corker. This is one band I’ll be checking out later this year for sure.

One thing is for sure, they ain’t a folk band! And they’re from just over the river in Covington, Kentucky.

So check this out, my Track of the Day is Ghost on the Tap by Frontier Folk Nebraska

 

 

 

 

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Spending that gift card…

Being a vinyl lover, one thing I’m guaranteed to get every Christmas is a gift card or voucher for the local record store and this year was no exception, so I had my usual early January dilemma last Saturday, what do I get?

My step-son got me a $50 gift card for Plaid Room Records, my favorite record store in the Cincinnati store, and after a fair amount of deliberation, here’s what I came back with:

Robert JohnsonKing of the Delta Blues Singers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking through my collection, I’ve only got one track by the person Eric Clapton called “the most important blues singer that ever lived”. And that is Terraplane Blues on a 10″ single that New West Records released for Record Store Day in 2015, which had the original Robert Johnson version on one side and a Steve Earle version on the other. So when I saw this collection, I had to have it. I’ve just been reading the sleeve notes and it mentions that a lot of what is known about Robert Johnson came from either Muddy Waters or Will Shade of the Memphis Jug Band, both of whom I bought albums by in 2017.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-KingsSoul of a Woman released on Daptone Records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d meant to get a copy of this on it’s release in November 2017, but forgot all about it in all the Christmas and New Year activities. Again, other than a few Christmas singles and a track on the Oxford American Southern Music CD Issue No.17, featuring Georgia, I had no Sharon Jones in my collection, so this was a must buy too.

Porcupine Tree – On the Sunday of Life…released by Kscope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t usually buy much proggy stuff on vinyl these days, with the notable exception of Big Big Train, so I thought I’d indulge myself with this, the debut album from Porcupine Tree. I’ve got one Porcupine Tree album in my collection, In Absentia, and a couple of Steven Wilson albums, The Raven that Refused to Sing and a Sampler released in 2015. The debut album, although released as Porcupine Tree, is to all intents a Steven Wilson album, consisting of tracks from two previously released cassettes called Tarquins Seaweed Farm and The Nostalgia Factory. I’ve listened to the album a few times now, admittedly in installments, as it’s a double album. It’s a well weird album, spacey and trippy are the first words that spring to mind, with Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and Genesis influences readily apparent, to me anyway! The standout track to me is Nine Cats, so I’m adding Nine Cats by Porcupine Tree as today’s addition to Track of the Day playlist

And here’s an acoustic version from their Insignificance compilation

 

 

 

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S.Carey – Fool’s Gold

Fool’s Gold by S.Carey is today’s Track of the Day. It’s taken from his album Hundred Acres which is released on the Jagjaguwar label on February 23rd.

Sean Carey used to be drummer and backing vocalist for Bon Iver, not sure whether he still is, but that gives me an excuse to show this…

 

Have I ever told you… – Yes, I was at the Glastonbury Festival and saw Bon Iver’s amazing set, which featured S.Carey on drums.

Looking through my music collection, I’ve got his first album, All We Grow, which I bought after hearing a track, In The Dirt, on the TV series, House. I’ve also got his most recent release, the Supermoon EP, from 2015, which includes a wicked version of Radiohead’s Bullet Proof. I did a post about that release a couple of years ago, check it out here

One of the things I like about the Jagjaguwar label are their extensive notes on their artists’ releases. Check out the blurb on Hundred Acres

I can’t wait for the album, but in the meantime, Fool’s Gold by S.Carey is today’s addition to my Track of the Day playlist

 

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Erika Wennerstrom – Extraordinary Love

Extraordinary Love by Erika Wennerstrom is today’s Track of the Day. This is another one of those tracks I discovered on my Facebook feed, this time the recommendation came from 89.7 WNKU, my go to radio station since I moved to Cincinnati in September 2014 through to it’s demise last October. I need to write a post about that station, watch this space!

Extraordinary Love is the first track to be released from Erika Wennerstrom’s forthcoming album, Sweet Unknown on the Partisan Records label This is her first solo album, for the past fifteen years she’s been leading the Heartless Bastards, who were initially formed in Cincinnati. They are now based in Austin Texas, but I did see them perform in Cincinnati a couple of years ago at the Midpoint Music Festival. If I remember rightly they performed in the grounds of the Christian Morelein brewery. At the time they were touring their Restless Ones album, which I bought a few days later and I still play on a regular basis.

As for Extraordinary Love, it’s an amazing track, lasting over six minutes, which, according to a Rolling Stone article was inspired a trip Erika Wennerstrom took through the Amazon, on an Ayahuasca retreat. OK, I have to admit that until reading the Rolling Stone article, I had no idea what Ayahuasca was.  A quick bit of research on t’interweb revealed that it wasn’t something I could indulge in, either here in the USA or back home in the UK.

The Rolling Stone article describes the track as a “droning technicolor epic” which is a pretty accurate description and I can’t wait to hear the full album when it is released in March.

In the meantime, here’s the video which supported the release of Extraordinary Love by Erika Wennerstrom.

And here’s my Track of the Day playlist:

 

 

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Lost Horizons – Ojala

Ojalá, is the debut album by Lost Horizons released on the Bella Union label. Up until three days ago I’d never heard of them! I came across them by a recommendation on Facebook by Lanterns on the Lake. Ojalá was mixed by Paul Gregory of Lanterns on the Lake and band member Hazel Wilde appears on one of the tracks on the album, Stampede.

Lost Horizons is a collaboration between Simon Raymonde and Richie Thomas, no I’d never heard of them either! I found out from the Bella Union website that Simon Raymonde actually runs the Bella Union record label and was the bassist in Scottish band, the Cocteau Twins. Now I have heard of them, but can’t recall any of their music. According to the website, Richie Thomas used to be drummer for an instrumental quartet called Dif Juz, no me neither. There are some serious gaps in my music history!

I do know a little about Bella Union, I’ve just looked at their artist roster and I’ve got albums by ten of their artists in my collection, including the aforementioned Lanterns on the Lake.

Have I ever told you.., I saw Lanterns on the Lake live, back in January 2012, at The Duchess in York. Apart from being an excellent gig, it was a memorable night in another way, as this was the first gig I took my wife too! She must have been impressed because we included a Lanterns on the Lake track on our wedding CD we gifted to our guests. Hopefully Bella Union’s lawyers aren’t reading this, otherwise I see a copyright case forthcoming. Just in case they are reading, I do know that at least two of the guests bought a Lanterns on the Lake album after the wedding!

By the way, I bought the Lanterns on the Lake with Royal Northern Sinfonia album in December and it’s brilliant!

Meanwhile back to Ojalá by Lost Horizons, while Messrs Raymonde and Thomas perform all the instrumentation, the vocal duties are undertaken by a stellar cast including Sharon Van Etten and  Tim Smith of Midlake, as well as Hazel Wilde from Lanterns on the Lake.

I gave the album a listen on Spotify and was instantly blown away by it, to such an extent that I ordered the album on vinyl that same evening, via my local record store, Plaid Room Records. So it should be making it’s way across the Atlantic in the next few days.

Here’s a video of Score the Sky from Ojalá 

I may be biased, okay I’m probably biased, but Stampede by Lost Horizons featuring Hazel Wilde is my favorite track, so I’m adding that to my 2018 Track of the Day playlist, which you can checkout below:

 

 

 

 

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Kscope, Vol.9

Kscope, Vol.9 has the honor of being my first download of the year and for the grand sum of $4.99 there’s a helluva lot of music, 12 tracks in total. Kscope describe themselves as Post-Progressive Sounds on their website. I’m not a huge fan of the current prog scene, so I don’t tend to find out about any new bands, apart from recommendations through the Big Big Train Facebook group, so the Kscope samplers are a good way of dipping into some of the latest releases.

Having listened to the album a few times now, there are, for me, a couple of stand out tracks.

Firstly Tear Down the Grey Skies by Tangerine Dream. I’ve always liked Tangerine Dream, I have two of their albums in my vinyl collection, Tangram and White Eagle, which I have to admit I haven’t played in a while, but hearing this track has made me want to give them an airing.

The second track to grab my attention was Things People Want by Paul Draper, who is someone I’ve never heard of before. Having checked out the blurb on the Kscope website apparently he used to be the lead singer of Mansun, who I’ve heard of, but can’t recall any of their stuff! This track is taken from his album Spooky Action, which I may be tempted to buy. This could be one of those occasions where I give it a listen on Spotify before making a final decision.

There is a live Pineapple Thief track on the album, Alone at Sea, which I quite liked, but I’m not a fan of hearing isolated extracts from live albums, much preferring to hear the full album, but Pineapple Thief is a band I do want to hear more from, I have got a sampler featuring some of their tracks and some from Bruce Soord, one of the group members.

It was through an earlier Kscope sampler that I came across Bruce Soord’s solo album, which was one of my favorite albums of 2016

Talking of Spotify, I’ve started a new playlist for 2018 Tracks of the Day and I’m kicking it off with Things People Want by Paul Draper

I’ve just been on the Paul Draper website and by signing on too his mailing list I’ve got a download of a track from his first EP, called The Silence is Deafening.

Sorry just got sidetracked there, here’s the link to my 2018 Tracks of the Day playlist

 

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Breakfast in Bed/Simple Song

Breakfast in Bed/Simple Song

The first of my Record Store Day 2017 selections is a single released by Single Lock Records, John Paul White sings Donnie Fritts, Donnie Fritts sings John Paul White. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first came across John Paul White, as part of The Civil Wars, with Joy Williams. Have I ever told you I saw them live? Yes, we saw them at Leeds Metropolitan University on March 18th 2012.

After they disbanded I didn’t hear much about John Paul White until last year. He contributed Simple Song to the Southern Family album, which I have as a download, then he released his own album Beulah, which I bought on vinyl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also noticed that one of my favorite albums of last year, Cautionary Tale by Dylan LaBlanc, had been produced by John Paul White and Ben Tanner, co-founders of Single Lock Records.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I came across a tweet by John Paul White saying that he was appearing on a Pig and Vine Radio podcast. The podcast was hosted by a lady called Amy Collins, and is primarily about wine, but with “life insights and humor”.

So I checked out said podcast and it was most entertaining, and sure enough contained some “life insights and humor”.

Now I can’t remember whether he mentioned the Record Store Day release in the podcast, or whether I found out about it by checking out his website, but I had no idea who Donnie Fritts was!

Well it turns out he co-wrote Breakfast in Bed, the UB40 hit from 1988, featuring Chrissie Hynde on vocals. But this wasn’t the original version, the original was by Dusty Springfield, released twenty years earlier as the B-side to Son of a Preacher Man. This was recorded as part of the Dusty in Memphis album, which is near the top of my wish list of albums I need to add to my collection.

His co-writer on Breakfast in Bed was Eddie Hinton. Now I do know who Eddie Hinton is! I have four record collection called Dangerous Highway – A Tribute to the Songs of Eddie Hinton, which was released by Shake It Records, based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So on this single, we have John Paul White singing Breakfast in Bed and Donnie Fritts performing Simple Song. To give you an idea of how much I enjoyed it, I’ve just bought Oh My Goodness the latest album by Donnie Fritts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s a playlist based on this post, enjoy…

 

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The Gloaming – 2

I know it’s been a while since my lost post, but I’ve a good excuse, I’ve been on my holidays, or vacation, as they call it this side of the Atlantic. I spent the second week of my holiday in Ireland and while I was there I paid a visit to a cool record store in Cork, called Plugd, the cafe in the same building was called Gulpd which I thought was pretty neat.

One of the albums I bought was The Gloaming’s second album, 2. Not the most original title, but it’s a cracking album.

The Gloaming - 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gloaming have two major factors in their favor as far as I’m concerned, firstly their albums are released by Real World Records, one of my favorite labels and secondly, their vocalist, Iarla O Lionaird, used to be a member of Afro-Celt Sound System, who I love! Have I ever told you I’ve seen them live? It was at a Fleadh in Finsbury Park, back in 2001, if memory serves me right.

As for the album itself, one word, beautiful. I’ve just read a review from the Guardian, who call it “an exquisite album from a virtuoso band”. I can’t argue with that!

I’ve just found another reason to love this band, here in America, they’re signed to Brassland Records, a record label started by the Dessner Brothers of The National, another of my favorite bands. Have I ever told you….

The Brassland Records website has a page devoted to notes on the album’s songs by Iarla O Lionaird. One of the notes which particularly appealed to me was about the song  Fainleog (Wanderer), which is about a “superhero of the ancient gaelic world Fionn Ma Cumhail, who apparently coined the phrase, that the most valuable thing in all of creation was The Music of What happens. Now I’ve never heard that phrase before, but again I can’t argue with that!

 

 

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Jason Isbell – Taft Theater – 15th June 2016

Every now and again you go to a gig where everything is just perfect, the venue is great for the event, the support act kick up a storm and the main act turn out to be even better than you’d hoped for. Wednesday night at the Taft Theater in Cincinnati was one of those nights!

Being a Brit, I was looking forward to seeing Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. To my shame I never saw him perform live in the UK, only seeing him on TV, most notably at the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony in London. He kicked off his set at the Taft with I Still Believe from his England Keep My Bones album, starting off the song on his own, with the Sleeping Souls joining him on stage one by one. The audience enthusiastically took up his offer to join in the chorus. He followed this with The Next Storm from his most recent album, Positive Songs for Negative People, another barn storming anthem. Apart from this great opening, the highlights for me were Peggy Sang the Blues, a song, he told us, about his grandmother giving him his first taste of whisky at the age of ten, and Dan’s Song, which he’d written for a recently departed friend. The one low point, for me anyway, was the audience participation slot with a guy being brought on from the crowd to play (badly) a harmonica solo! Other than that, it was a superb energetic set, which more than got the crowd warmed up for the main event.

I’ve seen Jason Isbell a couple of times prior to the Taft, firstly back in the UK, at the London Palladium in April 2012, supporting Ryan Adams. That night he performed a brilliant, but short, solo set. I then saw him a couple of years ago at the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta, that time with a full band. With it being a festival, again his set was far too short, so to say I was looking forward to seeing him perform a full set was a bit of an understatement!

And he didn’t disappoint!

The concert covered all eras of his career, with three songs from his time with the Drive-By Truckers. The best of these for me being Decoration Day. I saw the Drive-By Truckers a few weeks ago at Bogarts, and I have to say when Jason Isbell and his band rocked out, they were more than a match for the DBTs. The bulk of the set-list was taken from his two most recent albums, Southeastern and Something More Than Free, and that was fine by me. Southeastern for me is just a classic and one of my favorite albums and it was great to hear some of these songs performed live. Different Days and Stockholm were standouts for me, but Cover Me Up, just blew me away. The new songs sounded even better live, Hudson Commodore and Speed Trap Town being highlights for me. He also threw in Alabama Pines, a song I love.

For the encore, he performed Elephant and Flying Over Water from Southeastern, sandwiched between these two was Sing Me Back Home, a beautiful Merle Haggard song.

It was a great set, with a great band, including his wife Amanda Shires, and the show was enhanced by a brilliant set design and spectacular lighting.

Now the evening could have ended there and I would have left for home feeling more than satisfied, but I was lucky enough to meet Frank Turner after the show.

And what a great guy he is. He had time for everyone and was more than obliging, posing for photos and signing autographs. I found out he’d just been touring with Gogol Bordello, somewhat different to Jason Isbell!  Apart from talking about previous gigs he’s performed in my old town, he mentioned that he was returning to Cincinnati for the Midpoint Music Festival, how good is that?

So all in all, one superb night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mississippi Fred McDowell

A few weeks ago I purchased a Seasick Steve single from Third Man Records, on which he covers two tracks by Mississippi Fred McDowell. I’m no expert by the way, I only knew that after reading the Third Man Records blurb about the single. Anyway the other night I was flicking through my Instagram account and saw a video from my local record store, Plaid Room Records, showing their most recent restocks and lo and behold there was a Mississippi Fred McDowell album.

So I called in Plaid Room Records the next day and snagged this beauty,Mississippi Fred McDowell, a self titled album released by Everest Records, Archive of Folk & Jazz Music.

Fred McDowell

 

 

 

 

 

And get this, it only has one of the tracks that Seasick Steve covered on his Third Man Records single, that track being Levee Camp Blues, how neat is that?

Mississippi Fred McDowell - Side1

Mississippi Fred McDowell Side2

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a great piece about Mississippi Fred McDowell on the Mississippi Blues Trail website. Apparently You Got To Move, which is also on this album, was covered by the Rolling Stones on their Sticky Fingers album.

One of the best pieces in the article refers to his friend and neighbor, a certain Eli Green, who, and I quote “was said to possess magical powers”! Eli Green wrote a song called Write Me A Few Lines, which became one of Mississippi Fred McDowell’s signature tunes and was also covered by none other than Bonnie Raitt! Have I ever told you…

Just reading the sleeve notes and he was discovered by folklorist Alan Lomax, who described him as  “a bluesman quite the equal of Son House and Muddy Waters, but, musically speaking, their granddaddy.”

Check this out…

 

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