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
Hearth Music are purveyors of some fine music which we’ve had the pleasure on listening to and talking about on BS for a few years, now the folks at Hearth Music have released a digital roots magazine, KITHFOLK, the publication is a full magazine design and style with some great original content supported by eye catching visuals and links for further investigation, the publication is quarterly and you can read the first edition by clicking here
Exclusive interviews with Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré, Smithsonian Folkways artist Elizabeth Mitchell, New Orleans roots activists Rising Appalachia and anarcho-folk legends Blackbird Raum. Lots of album reviews and streamable audio. Video premiere from Jon Pontrello of the Moondoggies, and an audio premiere of one of the world’s rarest 78rpm recordings. Northwest-based content like stories of logging camps in the 1970s and a poem/story from Northwest Native American culture. Beautiful original graphic design throughout.
KITHFOLK is a quarterly magazine, so expect Issue #2 sometime in May 2014.
KITHFOLK is designed for the iPAD!! iPhone and tablets too. Just download the Creatavist app and search for KITHFOLK.
Danny George Wilson is back with album number eleven, six with the wonderful Grand Drive, one solo release Famous Mad Mile and four with The Champions of the World – Chris Clarke, Paul Lush, Steve Brookes and Geoff Widdowson for Stay True the core line-up were joined in the studio by fellow ‘Champs’ and Beat Surrender favourites, Rosalie Deighton, Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou and Dreaming Spires brothers Robin & Joe Bennett as well as pedal steel maestro Melvin Duffy and members of Ahab and London-based bluegrass outfit Foghorn Leghorn.
Stay True will be released in all formats and is available on and CD / Vinyl from Loose’s online store where you can pre-order ahead of the September 16th release – and I strongly recommend you do as it’s a fantastic collection of tunes and the best release yet from Danny and his band of brothers whose recordings just get better and better, this time distilling some of the finer elements from six decades of popular music and blending them into an irresistible collection of soul infused country roots through the eleven original tracks that never sound forced, rushed or shoed in and Stay True to the vision for the album which was recorded earlier this year over a five-day period at Reservoir Studios in North London with bass player Chris Clarke (ex Rockingbirds) and Danny himself at the helm “catching sleep on the control room sofa, recording deep into the night, friends and musicians dropping by, inspired by the great soul, country and rock n roll of Stax, Muscle Shoals, The Band, Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham, Dion DiMucci, Van Morrison…Ronnie Lane meets Ronnie Spector!”.
The album has an instant appeal kicking off with a perfect piece of autobiographical nostalgia that sets the stage perfectly for the album, the opener (Never Stop Building) That Old Space Rocket is Danny recalling hitchhiking with his father to a Fabulous Thunderbirds show and reminding us all of how events shape us and the importance and magic of dreams, before sliding effortlessly into track two Cold Cold World which is one highlight of many from the album.
Track three is real heartbreaker and the vocal highlight on the album a classic cut of blue-eyed soul with Danny’s vocal taking centre stage, track four seamlessly rolls out next over a steady backbeat with some lovely steel and guitar embellishment to accompany the singers entreatment to a loved one, by this time I’m struggling to listen to the rest of the album because I’m spending so much time hitting repeat on the tracks I’ve already enjoyed, but eventually I rock ‘n’ soul my way through the eleven tracks and can report back, and I know it’s clichéd and an oft used phrase but the album really is ‘all killer, no filler‘ and put together wonderfully well, I’m not sure how much the time was spent sequencing the album but it fits so very well together and has become my new favourite musical comfort blanket stitched together lovingly like a patchwork quilt it’s the sum of its parts – highly recommended and straight into top spot for my album of the year.
24 The Railway Hotel, SOUTHEND
25 Also Known As, BANBURY
26 The Chattery, SWANSEA
27 Windmill, BRIXTON
28 South Street Arts Centre, READING
29 Hare & Hounds, BIRMINGHAM
13 Old Oak Bar, CORK
14 Whelans, DUBLIN
15 The Goats Toe, Bangor, BELFAST
16 Cleeres, KILKENNY
20 Pivo Pivo, GLASGOW
22 Town Hall, STORNAWAY
24 The Cluny, NEWCASTLE
28 The Bullingdon, OXFORD
29 The Donkey, LEICESTER
30 The Palmeira, BRIGHTON
01 The Maze, NOTTINGHAM
03 The Railway, WINCHESTER
Last October I made a Kickstarter recommendation and put my money where my mouth was to support Bonnie Whitmore’s latest music venture, I’ve had a copy of the recording for some weeks now and it’s very remiss of me not to give it a mention before, but prompted by an email from the wonderful This Is American Music it’s time I reminded the one or two who occasionally read my musings that the album is now available to buy after the success of the Kickstarter campaign.
Departing from the country flavoured music of her previous album Bonnie delights us this time with a ten track serving of roots pop that lets her show of her vocal talents to the full, recommended listening and another winner from Bonnie the TIAM team.
Bonnie is touring in the US and Canada in June and July check with her site for updates and more dates.
June 27 Denton, TX @ Dan’s Silverleaf
June 28 Oklahoma City, OK @ The Blue Door
July 2 Minneapolis, MN @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge
July 3 Winnipeg, MB @ TBA
July 4 Saskatoon, SK @ Rock Bottom (The Fez)
July 5 Edmonton, AB @ Avenue Theatre
July 6 Bonnyville, AB @ Bonnyville House Concert
July 7 Calgary, AB @ The Ironwood
July 8 Lethbridge, AB @ The Slice
July 9 Waterton, AB @ Waterton Park
July 10 Winlaw, BC @ Cedar Creek
July 11 Penticton, BC @ Voodoo’s
July 12 Vancouver, BC @ Kozmik Zoo
July 17 Los Angeles, CA @ Hotel Cafe
(more dates to be announced soon)