No Substitute For Handsome is the debut long-player from Nashville based singer-songwriter Kent Goolsby and his band The Gold Standard, the ex-frontman of roots rockers the The Only Sons – who released three fine albums before splitting a couple of years back.
This album see a stylistic shift for Kent as he adopts a contemporary country-blues mantle for this fine collection of original songs with a sound that sits comfortably side-by-side with Americana artists including Justin Townes Earle and Joe Pug; the album was recorded and produced by Glossary frontman Joey Kneiser who also helped out with vocals, drums and percussion on the album , the studio line-up including Kent’s wife Anna on backing vocals, Steve Daly (Guitar & Mandolin), Dan Eubanks (Upright Bass), Roy Agee (Trombone) and Chris Housman (Fiddle).
The album will be a self-release and available from early next month, though you can pre-order direct from the man himself now.
Rest & Be Thankful is the second solo LP outing for Argyll based singer-songwriter Joe McAlinden formally of the BMX Bandits and Creation Records act Superstar who were originally signed to the iconic label in 1992 by Alan McGee and went on to release half a dozen albums he’s also collaborated with, amongst others, Teenage Fanclub and Big Star/Alex Chilton.
Rest & Be Thankful takes it’s title from a inscription on a stone near the junction of the A83 and B828 , the original stone was placed there by the soldiers would built the road in 1753 and later replaced by a commemorative replica at the top of the long and steep climb out of Glen Crose and a traditional rest point for travellers – the beautiful location features in the video below. The album was recorded in a makeshift studio in a fisherman’s croft on the shores of Loch Fyne by McAlinden and members of his live band Stuart Kidd, Eric Lindsay and Marco Rea, then mixed and produced at West Heath Yard in London by Edwyn Collins & Seb Lewsley with guest performances from James Walbourne, Paul Cook and Bart Mosh.
The ten track release is a crafted collection of harmonic soulful songs with gorgeous melodies and embossed with great guitar work and flashes of brass, it’s out now on AED in the UK and available on vinyl as well as digital and CD, Slumberland are looking after the US release.
Kathryn Williams sings with beautiful clarity on her interpretative homage to confessional poet Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar, a musical project that grew from an open commission from Writing North in 2013 to write a song commemorating the 50th anniversary of the novels publication. The writers muse was released and a ‘revelatory re-reading’ of The Bell Jar provided the inspiration which led to an initial five-song set that where subsequently performed last year at Durham Town Hall alongside a reading by writer Andrew Wilson from his book ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song – Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted’.
Though not the first to draw inspiration from Plath’s life and work (there’s a wonderfully eclectic playlist here to enjoy) this thoughtful interpretation has genuine depth and the connection made by Williams led to the creation of more songs over the ensuing months including a collaboration with Ed Harcourt to create the beautiful Cuckoo – my personal favourite from the nine-track release, the album is out today on One Little Indian and available on vinyl too – highly recommended.
Kathryn is currently on tour promoting the album:
Wed 17th June – The Black Swan, York
Thur 18th June – The Burgess Foundation, Manchester
Fri 19th June – The Victoria Theatre, Halifax
Sun 21st June – The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
Wed 1st July – The Kitchen Garden Café, Birmingham
Thur 2nd July – Octagon Chapel, Norwich
Fri 3rd July – Ramsgate Music Hall, Ramsgate
Sat 4th July – The Folk House, Bristol
Wed 8th July – The Green Note, London
Thur 9th July – Cluny 2, Newcastle upon Tyne Tickets
When We Were Young is the debut solo release from Melbourne based Cat Canteri who also plays drums and sings with Aussie alt-country band The Stillsons, the album came out last year in Australia and now has an official release in the UK having already garnered praise in the UK including airplay on the venerable Bob Harris’ show on BBC.
The album of all original material features Cat on drums, guitars and keyboards with studio guests including members of The Stillsons, amongst the self-penned tracks the artist ponders family, the fragile nature of relationships and anorexia; stylistically the influences delve into 70s SoCal and polished contemporary Americana which marry perfectly to Cat’s warm vocals. Two instrumental tracks punctuate the album the first a comma at track 7 (with hints of lounge jazz) and a full-stop to close the album out providing a little time to contemplate before hitting the repeat button, though relatively unusual on albums of this type the wordless tracks fit very well in the context of the whole album, enjoy with late-evening sunshine and a chilled glass of white.