Singer-songwriter, fiddle and guitar player Laurie Lewis has recorded a new ‘live’ CD with long-time collaborators Tom Rozum (mandolin) and Nina Gerber (guitar) with special guests Tristan Clarridge (cello) and the The T Sisters (vocals), One Evening in May last year 2013 at the Freight and Salvage venue in Lewis’ hometown of Berkeley, CA. and captures the essence of the artists thirty year career in American roots music as a respected crafter of songs and live performer, the album features eleven Lewis originals most of which were written and a few months earlier, the playing is seamless and the translucent vocal fits wonderfully well with the narrative songs, including my favourite Barstow.
Laurie Lewis – Barstow
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On their second album Our Lady of the Tall Trees the Seattle based bluegrass pairing of Cahalen Morrison (guitar, banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, lap slide, vocals) and Eli West (guitar, banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, vocals) were more than impressive creating an album of contemporary bluegrass music that was much revered by their peers and the press, their latest album more than lives up to their growing reputation and finds the pair on top form creating another top quality album.
Produced by Grammy-winning artist Tim O’Brien the album was in the Colorado Rockies at the Swingfingers Recording Studio and features supporting players including Ryan Drickey and Brittany Haas on fiddle and Erin Youngberg on bass with Tim O’Brien adding his not inconsiderable talents on mandolin and bouzouki too, together they’ve created an album that’s subtlety more uplifting than it’s predecessor; American roots music that manages to deftly combine acoustic bluegrass and Appalachian folk with both authenticity and originality.
Down In The Lonesome Draw
Livin’ In America
With an upcoming tour planned for Ireland and the UK there’s a great chance to go and see these guys in their element kicking of in Essex at the end of April there’s a local date at The Walker Theatre (Theatre Severn) in Shrewsbury on May 3rd.
Wed Apr 30: The Garret Sessions at Queens Head, Fyfield, Essex
Thur May 1: The Green Note, London
Fri May 2: The Workhouse, Presteigne, Powys, Mid Wales
Sat May 3: The Walker Theatre (Theatre Severn), Shrewsbury
Sun May 4: The Cross Inn, Haverfordwest, Pembs
Tues May 6: Red Rooms, Cookstown
Wed May 7: Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey, Co Donegal
Thur May 8: Whelan’s, Dublin
Fri May 9: Baltimore Fiddle Fair, Co Cork, Ireland
Sun May 11: Jumpin Hot Club, The Cluny, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Mon May 12: FREE
Tues May 13: House concert, Edinburgh
Wed May 14: House concert, Edinburgh
Thur May 15: Acoustic Music Club, Kirkcaldy
Fri May 16: Glenbuchat Village Hall, Aberdeenshire
Sat May 17: The CatStrand, New Galloway
Sun May 18: The Barrels Alehouse, Berwick-upon-Tweed
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Progressive bluegrass played with verve and dexterity by The Railsplitters, the four piece band hailing from the Colorado Rockies serve up a set of tracks combining their original songs and instrumentals alongside interpretations of Randall Hylton’s Room at the Top of the Stairs and the Osborne Brothers Lonesome Feeling.
All four members make vocal contributions to the album and collaborate to develop and interpret songs they’ve written individually, Lauren Stovall (guitar), Dusty Rider (Banjo, Pedal Steel), Peter Sharpe (Mandolin) and Leslie Ziegler (Upright Bass) got together in 2011 and have already collected a pair of coveted awards Pickin’ in the Pines in 2012 and RockyGrass in 2013, the playing is crisp and true with the vocal switching adding something extra to the sound and giving the band added flexibility in their repertoire.
The band’s debut is another fan funded success with the band raising nearly $10K from a successful Kickstarter campaign to cover the costs of the recording process and CD production.
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Canada has an impressive track record when it comes to female roots bands and the Vancouver Island based trio Sweet Lowdown continue that tradition admirably, with a solid touring background in their homeland and the US over the past couple of years they are now bringing their talents to the UK with a tour running from mid-April to, appropriately, May which is the title of the bands second studio release behind which they are touring, the twelve track release features ten original compositions and two traditional songs and follow on from their eponymous release in 2011.
The Sweet Lowdown – Please Take Me Home
All three band members contribute vocally and when they put their voices together the harmonies have a seamless purity that’s captivating and when combined with the trios adept playing the whole package is executed very nicely indeed, personally the fiddle playing was the stand-out for me though all the contributions are impressive, the The Sweet Lowdown are Amanda Blied (guitar), Shanti Bremer (banjo) and Miriam Sonstenes (fiddle) and you can catch them in the UK at one of these fine venues.
The Sweet Lowdown – Big Wave
Wednesday 16 Sarratt, Herts. The Cock Inn
Thursday 17 London Green Note, Camden
Friday 18 Chagford, Devon Ring O’ Bells
Saturday 19 Calstock, Cornwall The Old Chapel
Sunday 20 Bath The Bell NB. Lunchtime Show
Sunday 20 Bristol Kingsdown Wine Vaults
Monday 21 Worth Matravers, nr. Swanage The Square & Compass
Tuesday 22 Birmingham Kitchen Garden Café
Wednesday 23 Towersey, Oxfordshire The Three Horseshoes
Thursday 24 Winchester The Railway
Friday 25 Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire SpArC Theatre
Saturday 26 Langholm, Dumfries & Galloway The Buccleuch Centre
Sunday 27 Stranraer The Grapes
Monday 28 Liverpool The Caledonia
Tuesday 29 Nottingham Malt Cross
Wednesday 30 Menai Bridge, Anglesey The Victoria Hotel
Thursday 1 Newcastle The Cluny 2
Friday 2 Wath-Upon-Dearne, South Yorks. Wath Festival