JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE – Kids In The Street (New West NW6389)

KIds In The StreetTen years into his career, now dry, married and an expectant father, Justin Townes Earle is understandably in energised form on Kids In The Street. With producer Mike Mogis behind the desk (and on baritone guitar), he’s drawing on both classic soul and blues influences, case in point coming from the get go with ‘Champagne Corolla’, a swaggery mid-tempo rock n roller with Chuck Berry DNA and blasting horns. His answer to ‘Pink Cadillac’, it appropriately gives way to Bruce-tinted heartland roots rock nostalgia of the farfisa-backed ‘Maybe A Moment’, while, pedal steel weeping all over, ‘What’s She Crying For’ is pure honky tonk country, a mood echoed on the saloon-piano backed quick waltz ‘Faded Valentine’.

Indeed, it’s a stylistically diverse set throughout, ‘What’s Goin’ Wrong’ a lazing, laid back and sunny dose of swing with Dixieland clarinet, 15-25 a funky, loose limbed piano driven New Orleans groove that has its antecedents in things like Bill Medley’s ‘Little Latin Lupe Lu’ and ‘Same Old Stagolee’ a throwback to old school dusty folk blues, complete with vibraphone.

Earle’s said that the album’s more about looking out than in, and the simple fingerpicked acoustic title track, a reflective acoustic picked ballad with a steel-stained reflection on the changes that have taken place in the Nashville neighbourhoods of his youth as gentrification has taken away their character.

Getting back to that Latin blues’n’soul groove, ‘Short Hair Woman’ with its horns and organ is another itchy shake and shimmer in celebration of the sort of woman he wants while, staying with the old school blues ‘If I Was The Devil’ is a slow organ driven lope, and ‘Trouble Is’ has a more percussive goodtime swing. It ends on a quiet note, ‘There Go A Fool’ finding him in 60s slow dance soul territory amid baritone guitar, brass and Corina Figueroa Escamilla’s back up harmonies. No fool he, now fully his own man, Earle has never sound so assured, so relaxed and so deserving of a major breakthrough.

Mike Davies

Artist’s website: www.justintownesearle.com

‘Maybe A Moment’ – official video:

Welcome To The Folkies

With Oscar fever rising to a climax it’s time to say “Welcome To The Folkies” – the 2016 Folking Awards. We’ve sifted through the albums and performances of 2015 – always a long and difficult task punctuated by bouts of thumb-wrestling to settle disputes. Adopting the pattern followed by everyone else, here, in no order of precedence, are our nominations. With the exception of one category we have restricted our choices to British acts.

All nominations are 2016 Folking Awards winners.

Welcome To The Folkies

Soloist Of The Year

Steve Tilston
Sam Carter
Kathryn Roberts
Steve Knightley
Ange Hardy

Best Duo

Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin
India Electric Co.
Show Of Hands
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman

Best Band

Blackbeard’s Tea Party
Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band
False Lights
Merry Hell

Best Live Act

The Demon Barbers XL
Blackbeard’s Tea Party
Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band
CC Smugglers

Best Album

Layers Of Ages – Peter Knight’s Gigspanner
Head Heart Hand – Megan Henwood
The Girl I Left Behind Me – India Electric Co.
It’s Not Your Gold Shall Me Entice – Elle Osborne
Disco At The Tavern – The Demon Barbers

Best Musician

Dan Walsh
Peter Knight
P.J. Wright
Chris Leslie
Kris Drever

Folking’s Rising Star

Will Varley
Sam Kelly
Wes Finch
India Electric Co.
Chris Cleverley

Best International Artist

Gretchen Peters
Tom Russell
Gandalf Murphy And The Slambovian Circus Of Dreams
Justin Townes Earle
Los Lobos

To give the awards a further edge, we opened the vote to our visitors and run a public poll in all of the 8 categories (as listed above).

The Public Vote closed Sunday 28 February at 20.00 hours and “The Folking Winners” have now been announced here at: http://folking.com/the-folking-winners/

If you would like to consider ordering a copy of an album for any of our award winners (in CD or Vinyl), download an album or track or just listen to snippets of selected songs (track previews are usually on the download page) then type what you are looking for in the search bar above.

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us

Justin Townes Earle – new single and video


Absent Fathers was recorded alongside Single Mothers as a double album, but as Justin began to sequence it, he felt each half needed to make its own statement and they took on their own identities, so they were released as separate albums within 3 months from each other.Single Mothers was released in September 2014 via Loose Music and, combined with Absent Fathers, the double album perfectly showcases exactly why Justin Townes Earle is considered a forefather of Contemporary Americana. Hailed as an album that’s “showing the world that alt-country can be pretty dope,” (Noisey/Vice), Single Mothers has had great radio success, with plays across the BBC.

The albums were recorded live with his four-piece touring band with only days of rehearsal leading up to recording to keep the ideas fresh. No overdubs, no other singers, no additional players – just a real, heartfelt performance capturing the moment. In fact, his songs ‘Picture in a Drawer’ and ‘It’s Cold in This House’ are only Justin, his guitar and his pedal steel player Paul Niehaus.

‘Call Ya Momma’ – the official video:

Artist’s website: www.justintownesearle.com

Texan fiddler-singer-songwriter Amanda Shires released new album ‘Carrying Lightning’

Texan fiddler-singer-songwriter Amanda Shires announces her first headline tour of the UK & Ireland in April & May, including shows at this year’s prestigious Kilkenny Roots Festival, accompanied by Rod Picott on guitar and Todd Pertll on lap steel.

Widely regarded for her regular collaborations with Justin Townes Earle, Jason Isbell and Rod Picott, Amanda is taking a deserved turn in the spotlight, promoting her spellbinding new album Carrying Lightning – see below for full tour itinerary & album details.Amanda will also be recording sessions during the tour for Bob Harris’s BBC Radio 2 Sunday show and Barry Marshall-Everitt’s House Of Mercy during the tour.“Carrying Lightning builds on the evocative alt-country of 2009’s excellent West Cross Timbers, showcasing both the breathless immediacy of her singing voice and the plainspoken elegance of her songwriting voice. Full of Tom T. Hall’s wry humor and Leonard Cohen’s dark intimations, these are songs full of dark undercurrents and uncertain desires.” American Songwriter

Artist web link and tour dates: http://amandashiresmusic.com/