Archive for the ‘Eliza Gilkyson’ Tag

Fervor Coulee’s Favourite Roots and Singer-Songwriter Albums of the Year 2018   1 comment

*the ones that weren’t bluegrass, blues, or ‘old stuff’ like compilations, reissues, and archival releases

This is the second run at my list. The first is lost somewhere on my hard drive, obliterated by the Blue Screen of Death. Reassembling the list wasn’t terribly difficult (although I did decide to cut back from thirty to twenty titles), but I do know some of the placings changed, which is natural: once past the ‘top five,’ albums could flip-and-flop a position or three all down the list. What was more difficult was recalling all my brilliance of opinion- so, that is lacking. Still, this is how I’m feeling today, and I think I am comfortable with this being representative of my Roots Music Opinion for 2018.  As always, these are my favourite albums of the year; it is not a ‘best of’…although, really it is!

  1. Mike Plume Band Born By The Radio– It took twenty-five years, but Mike Plume has emerged as the next great Canadian songwriter, a man who comfortably stands shoulder-to-shoulder with those who influenced him. It has been a long ride, filled with songs memorable and albums impactful, but full realization is achieved with Born By The Radio. The songs are comprised of images universal and personal. “Waste a Kiss on Me,” on which he again squeezes in Kerouac, “Mama’s Rolling Stone,” “Monroe’s Mandolin,” and “Western Wind” are as strong songs as Plume has created, and the instrumentation and energy from the MPB is the stuff of legend. An album without waver. One of two Steve Coffey album covers on the list! (purchased download) 
  2. Pharis & Jason Romero Sweet Old Religion– A pair of Canadian Folk Music Awards last month further embellished the repute of this  focused British Columbia duo, and well-deserved they were of the recognition. Pharis’ voice is a wonder, Jason is no slouch, and together their old-timey harmonies and instrumentation are things of wonder, while their songs are contemporary slices of the world past and present. A beautiful album replete with memorable performances. (serviced CD) 

3. John Wort Hannam Acres of Elbow Room– Alberta’s venerable folk songwriter went even deeper on his seventh album, sharing with listeners his innermost tribulations. Recent years appear to have (almost) got the best of Hannam, and he has poured his darkness and challenges into an expertly-crafted collection of songs that are inspiring and impactful while being just plain enjoyable. “Key of D Minor,” “The Quiet Life,” and “Ain’t Enough” are among the finest songs he has written and recorded, and the title track is a wonder: “where the dotted-lines turn to gravel” may become Fervor Coulee’s new tagline. John has long been a Fervor Coulee favourite, and that his album comes in #3 is testament to the strength of the Plume and Romero albums. (purchased download)


The new Word Press settings and features are turning what should be a twenty-minute copy and paste, insert the links, and publish activity into an hour of misery and wonky formats. Bear with me- I will try to fix upon publishing via editing. Sigh. 

4. Gretchen Peters Dancing With the Beast Reviewed here (serviced CD)

5. Ashleigh Flynn & the Riveters Ashleigh Flynn & the Riveters Reviewed here (serviced CD)

6. Hadley McCall Thackston Hadley McCall Thackston Reviewed here (serviced CD)

7. Rosanne Cash She Remembers Everything From first listen, and as she has since Seven Year Ache and Somewhere In The Stars hit the turntable at Climax Records 35 years ago, Cash drew me into her current state of mind. As she has long done, Cash is reflecting on current circumstances- politics, division, gender inequality, complexity of relationships- encouraging engagement at higher levels while ensuring her songs are listenable, intriguing, and nuanced. Beautiful, as ever. That she can address weighty topics without sounding didactic is a bonus. (purchased CD and vinyl) 

8. Craig Moreau- A Different Kind of Train Reviewed here (serviced CD)

9. Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore Downey to Lubbock– Albums like this are the reason I continue to listen to music with a passion that has only increased over forty+ years. Two Americana masters come together to create an album standing with everything they’ve produced across lengthy careers. Hearing Alvin sing John Stewart’s “July, You’re A Woman” gets Downey to Lubbck a place in the top thirty: the two originals (including the autobiographical, mood-establishing title track- “I’m an old Flatlander,” Gilmore sings) and the expertly executed covers sneak it into top ten territory. (purchased download) 

10. Mary Gauthier Rifles and Rosary Beads– An early favourite this year, the album dropped in regard simply because I lost the disc in June: sometimes I really regret my propensity toward clutter. Had I had it all year, Rifles and Rosary Beads may well have rated higher on this list. Still, I bought the vinyl last week and I was immediately reminded of the recording’s intensity. Gauthier and her songwriting collaborators have delved as deep into the experiences of America’s military service men and women (and their families) as likely anyone has before done. The effect is lasting, with lyrical detail capturing the full-impact of service experiences shared in songs far-reaching and memorable. Mary Gauthier has been quietly building her career and artistic vision for twenty years- it is terrific to see her ‘break-through’ (again!) in 2018. (purchased download; purchased vinyl)

11. Florent Vollant Mishta Meshkenu Long one of Canada’s finest and most influential roots musician, Vollant has been making time-stopping music since Kashtin’s first album. As far as I have heard, he never falters; Mishta Meshkenu is as anticipated- rhythmic, energetic, and memorable. I don’t need to know what he is singing about to appreciate this album. (purchased download)

12. Roscoe & Etta Roscoe & Etta– Maia Sharp and Anna Schulze are about as rock ‘n’ roll as this list is going to get. I ignored this album when it arrived- to be fair, it came without cover art or notes, a simple advance disc housed in a clear plastic sleeve. Once I listened, I was won over. Rewriting “You Oughta Know” as “Stupid Pretty Face” was fair brilliant, but the strength of the album is found across the entirety of eleven songs. “Play On” and “Broken Headlights” are among the strongest songs heard this year. Roscoe & Etta is a terrific album. (serviced CD)

13. John Prine The Tree of Forgiveness– A master who refuses to compromise. The Tree of Forgiveness is a concise album, all the more powerful for its intensity. Little lightness here, Prine is on a mission to expose his human condition. (purchased CD)

14. Kaia Kater- Grenades– Where our favourite female, biracial, Canadian, old-timey clawhammer banjo player reaches way out to grasp the flowers at the end of the branches. Kaia explores her heritage and family throughout Grenades, creating an album singularly engaging and insightful. More mainstream, even pop-oriented, than previous Kater albums, Grenades is a natural progression. (serviced download)

15. Ashley McBryde Girl Going NowhereYeah, there is no room for music this good on country radio. (That clip brings this cynical and grizzled old man to tears. Seriously- the emotion!) No filler, these eleven songs alternately create moods and describe experiences that everyone can relate with, for good or bad. This is what country music needs to once again become. Fingers crossed; breath not held. (purchased download)

16. Eliza Gilkyson SeculariaReviewed here (serviced download)

17. The Gibson Brothers Mockingbird– A significant departure for the perennial bluegrass powerhouse, but not a jarring one. The lead and harmony vocal signatures remain, and that they’ve broadened their approach for this album isn’t something anyone within the paranoid, protectionist bluegrass collective should fear. As always, excellent songs. (purchased download)

18. Pistol Annies- Interstate Gospel– A little bit irreverent (The album kicks off with, “Jesus is the bread of life without him, you’re toast”) and a whole lot brilliant (“I Got My Name Changed Back,” “5 Acres of Turnips,” “When I Was His Wife,” and “Masterpiece,” being but four) their third album is somehow even better than those which came before. The trio of dixie chicks- Lambert, Monroe, and Presley- mine fifty-plus years of songwriting history to craft a set of original, self-written songs that is smart, sassy, and certainly superior to that clogging country music airwaves.  (purchased CD)

19. Leslie Satcher & the Electric Honey Badgers 2 Days in Muscle Shoals– While previous albums were enjoyable but uneven, everything comes together for Satcher on 2 Days in Muscle Shoals. A venerable rockin’ southern country masterpiece that dares you to not dance. (purchased download)

20. Joe Nolan Cry Baby A moody, soulful album of finely-tuned roots music. Last time I heard Nolan, he was busking at a farmers’ market. While good practice to test-run his songs, I hope Cry Baby takes him further down his hillbilly highway. (serviced download)

Honourable mentions: D. B. Rielly Live From Chester (#21, and bumped by the late arrival of the Pistol Annies) reviewed here, Vivian Leva Time Is Everything (reviewed here), Steve Forbert The Magic Tree, Mandy Barnett Strange Conversation, J. P. Harris Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing (reviewed here), Edward David Anderson Chasing Butterflies (reviewed here), Kevin Gordon Tilt and Shine, Amos Lee My New Moon, Tim Easton Paco & the Melodic Polaroids, Mark Erelli Mixtape, Mariel Buckley Driving in the Dark, The LYNNes Heartbreak Song For the Radio (reviewed here)and Thomas Stajcer Will I Learn to Love Again? (reviewed here)

There you have it, my favourite singer-songwriter (-ish) albums if 2018. Hopefully my choices lead you in a direction you find satisfying; my list is likely different from others’ you’ve encountered. Later this month we will finalize my Top Ten albums of the year. Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. 


Eliza Gilkyson- Secularia review   1 comment


Eliza Gilkyson
Red House Records

Eliza Gilkyson has been making incredible music since long before I bumped into her with the release of Lost and Found sixteen years ago. Like Mary Chapin Carpenter (without the long-ago popular acclaim), Shawn Colvin (without the hit, and who duets on the engaging “Conservation,” a song built upon a poem from Gilkyson’s grandmother), and John Gorka (without the beard), Gilkyson has woven in-and-out of what I believe is the keenly coined “spare urban folk approach,” or—less charitably, perhaps—coffeehouse folk.

Like her contemporaries, her name occasionally appears on Grammy nomination lists, but she remains unknown to all but those most engaged with folk and contemporary adult music. Secularia isn’t likely to make Gilkyson a household name, but it offers discriminating listeners fresh opportunity to appreciate her talents.

With songs like “Dreamtime” and “Lifeline” Gilkyson explores the spiritual—not religious— bonds that unite us as democratic, accepting inhabitants of a challenged society. Like most of her albums, excepting her most recent The Nocturne Diaries which was a bit more rambunctious, Secularia is an introspective and fairly quiet album, one which requires effort on the part of the listener to engage: the grooves aren’t necessarily gonna grab you and inspire shuffling around the kitchen. Rather, these 12 songs envelope and embrace the listener, sharing their secrets and charms with an intimate manner.

Within “Conservation,” Gilkyson and Colvin sing of the continuous cycles of Earth: “I have no god, no king or saviour; no world beyond the setting sun. I’ll give my thanks for one more day here, and go to ground when my time has come.” Utilizing close harmony, the pair create a nourishing song of faith and assurance. I trust that the Tosca String Quartet joins Gilkyson on the equally compelling “Reunion,” a song that soars with emotion. [My download copy did not have accompanying song notes.] The gloves come off on “In The Name Of The Lord”hypocrites, beware.

Fellow Texan-by-choice,  the late Jimmy LaFave joins Gilkyson on a fiddle-rich take of the gospel folk standard “Down By The Riverside,” and when his voice joins her on the refrain—man, I almost lost it. An addition to his significant legacy, certainly. “Instrument” is a challenging ode, a song of self-reflection, I believe.

Secularia is a musical postcard of joy, peace, and hope, one that embraces the positivity and community of Odetta, Pete Seeger, and Woody Guthrie. Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

For lonely fools who sing their best alone in the dark.

Fervor Coulee’s Favourite Roots & Bluegrass Albums since 2000   1 comment

I’ve been writing about music since 2000. Naturally, I’ve heard a lot of great music, have written about much of it, and have often put together a list of favourite roots and bluegrass albums of the year. And, I will do the same again this year. For perspective and to sprinkle some flavourful anticipation, here are my favourite roots and bluegrass albums for each year (based on my notes, lists, and digital footprints) since 2000. In the case of 2006, where my favourite roots album was a bluegrass album, it is listed alongside my ‘second’ favourite bluegrass disc of the year.

Crooked Jades2000 The Crooked Jades The Unfortunate Rake Vol. 1; SlowdragSlowdrag Ploughin’ It Right to the Fence

Paul Burch2001 Paul Burch Last of My Kind;  Del and the boysDel McCoury Band Del & The Boys

Doc Watson2002 Doc Watson & David Hold Legacy;  Lost in the lonesome pinesRalph Stanley & Jim Lauderdale Lost in the Lonesome Pines

Kate Campbell2003 Kate Campbell Monuments; DTTWDown to the Wood Up All Night

Maria Dunn 32004 Maria Dunn We Were Good People; Jimmy MarinAudie Blaylock, J.D. Crowe, Paul Williams, and Kenny Ingram A Tribute to Jimmy Martin

Bruce S2005 Bruce Springsteen Devils and Dust; Reams TroubledJames Reams & The Barnstormers Troubled Times

Dale Ann 12006 Dale Ann Bradley Catch Tomorrow; David DavisDavid Davis & The Warrior River Boys Troubled Times

John Wort Hannam 12009 John Wort Hannam Queen’s Hotel; Dale Ann BackDale Ann Bradley Don’ t Turn Your Back

Mary Gauther2010 Mary Gauthier The Foundling; SteeldriversThe Steeldrivers- Reckless

Dave-Alvin-Eleven-Eleven2011 Dave Alvin Eleven Eleven; dale ann southDale Ann Bradley Somewhere South of Crazy

dunn2012 Maria Dunn Piece By Piece; earl brothersThe Earl Brothers Outlaw Hillbilly

Guy_Clark_My_Favorite_Picture_of_You2013 Guy Clark My Favorite Picture of You; Walk along johnJohn Reischman Walk Along John

Eliza-Gilkyson2014 Eliza Gilkyson The Nocturne Diaries; laurie_kathyLaurie Lewis & Kathy Kallick Sing the Songs of Vern and Ray

JWH-final-printtext-FULL-RED-BG-rev1lowres2015 John Wort Hannam Love Lives On; Dale Ann PocketDale Ann Bradley Pocket Full of Keys

cds1882-201603221219022016 Mark Erelli For a Song;  untitledLaurie Lewis & the Right Hands The Hazel and Alice Sessions

Fervor Coulee’s Favourite Roots and Bluegrass Albums of 2017 coming next week. Or the week after…

Special Consensus & Eliza Gilkyson reviews   Leave a comment

eliza-bigIt has been a busy week here in the Fervor Coulee bunker, and the fruit of that labour has beenjohn-denver_country-boy-tribute posted over at the Lonesome Road Review in the form of two reviews.

First up is my review of the new Special Consensus album, abluegrass tribute to John Denver.

Also up is my review of the new Eliza Gilkyson album, The Nocturne Diaries.

Both of these albums are absolutely incredible, beautiful stuff.

Special Consensus, riding a career high since joining forces with Compass Records, are approaching their 40th year under the guidance of Greg Cahill, a banjo master. On this new album Country Boy, they are joined by bluegrass and Americana luminaries including Dale Ann Bradley, Jim Lauderdale, John Cowan, and producer Alison Brown. What holds it back from a 5 star label? Two too few songs, that’s it.

Eliza Gilkyson. Man, my words are truly inadequate. I’ve only been listening to her for ten or eleven years, but over that time I’ve come to respect her every bit as much as I do Tom Russell, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Rosanne Cash. Every time I think about Gilkyson, I remember the time- about six or eight years back- that I saw her join a First Nations circle dance at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival: the look of sheer bliss on her face as she danced has stayed with me ever since. Magic.

I appreciate everyone who visits Fervor Coulee- I hope you are finding writing of interest. Keep in touch, Donald



Eliza Gilkyson- Roses at the End of Time   1 comment

Eliza Gilkyson Roses at the End of Time Red House Records

I fell for Eliza Gilkyson’s voice, music, and outlook some years ago shortly after really hearing her for the first time. Land of Milk and Honey was an album I became absolutely enamoured with and I continue to consider “The Ballad of Yvonne Johnson” (while having little to no sympathy for the woman who participated in the murder of and committed indignities to another human) one of the great songs of the last decade. Hearing her perform and seeing her participate in a dance circle at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival some years later cemented my opinion. She’s magic.

She writes about the most wonderful stuff, some of which is distinctly unpleasant. “Death in Arkansas” is the album’s only non-original and comes from her brother Tony. (BTW, the previous sentence marks the first time Tony Gilkyson has been mentioned without reference to Lone Justice. Damn!) Without gruesomeness, the soul of the departed reflects on the changes that have occurred in the decades since his death; over acoustic backing of guitar, bass, fiddle, and banjo, Gilkyson sings the evocative lines, “And the lone dogs howled and the crows would caw, When there was a death in Arkansas.”

“Blue Moon Night” sets the tone for the album, establishing a mood that is both ethereal and substantial. The instrumentation haunts while Gilkyson’s voice sways and calls; on this single number, one is reminded of Jane Siberry at her focused best. The title track- either about the death of a partner or an enduring love, and perhaps those thoughts aren’t mutually exclusive- is beautifully sung and played; the song is plainly arranged and Gilkyson’s voice conveys the emotions of a life lived with love.

Gilkyson, as she does always, covers a lot of ground during Roses at the End of Time’s forty-seven minutes. She offers more than a nod to those appreciating her gifts in the light-sounding “Looking for a Place” and recognizes the struggles and hopes for those who illegally migrate in search of a better life in the beautiful-sounding “Vayan al Norte.” She pays more than passing notice to Townes Van Zandt in “Midnight on Raton,” capturing similar hopes and loneliness as he did on “Snow on Raton.” And as one doomsday passes as I write these words on May 21, 2011, Gilkyson imagines another coming in “2153” as the humans of the future “bought and they fought and they twittered.”

I’m sure Roses at the End of Time will be as valued to those who discover it as Land of Milk and Honey, Paradise Hotel, and Beautiful World are to me.

Thanks for spending time at Fervor Coulee. Donald

Red Horse- Red Horse   Leave a comment

When I opened the envelope this album arrived within a couple months back, I took one look at the cover- before reading the names or anything else- and thought, ‘Why is Red House sending me a Tom Russell album?” Of course, they weren’t but the painting gracing the cover immediately revealed itself to me as a Russell; his distinctive use of colour and shape identified itself to me within a second.

As impressive as the cover art is, the music contained on the disc is equally memorable and, yes, distinctive. My review has been posted to Lonesome Road Review.  I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts, too. Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald

Red Horse

Red Horse

Red House Records

4 stars (out of 5)

By Donald Teplyske

With three of the most appealing voices in modern folk, Red Horse is composed of Eliza Gilkyson, John Gorka, and Lucy Kaplansky.

For this exciting collaboration, each of the singers selected a favoured number from their colleagues on which to take the lead. They also revisit one of their own songs within this harmony-rich setting. Sung by Gilkyson, “I Am a Child” is a familiar highlight, but the writer’s own material is not overwhelmed by the Neil Young classic.

There is a focused gentleness about the project indicative of the mastery these singers bring to their craft. Mature and thoughtful, not a word is wasted and neither is an instrumental ornamentation misplaced. Gorka’s resonant voice at turns contrasts and blends with his companions. Gilkyson carries within her voice the wisdom of the ages while Kaplansky brings some pop nuance, softening the largely introspective lyrics.

The only new song is Gorka’s “If These Walls Could Talk,” a haunting piece that fits nicely with the mood generated by Kaplansky’s interpretation of “Sanctuary.” The aura of Stan Rogers surrounds “Coshieville,” sung by Gorka.

Reminiscent of a folk festival session captured for posterity, Red Horse brings together wonderful songs, voices, and instrumentation to celebrate the hopefulness that must permeate the heart of the troubadour.

Walkin’ Talkin’ Dancin’ Singin’- July 19, 2010   Leave a comment

Another week passes. Looking forward to catching at least one day of the Calgary Folk Festival this coming week- plans are to be in attendance on Saturday. The week following I’ll be heading up to Stony Plain for the Friday of Blueberry Bluegrass- I’m wanting to catch Fred Eaglesmith there as I’m interested in the reception he’ll receive. I was exchanging email with a New York friend a couple weeks back and she caught Fred while he was in NYC to film Letterman. She expressed that she and hers quite enjoyed the show, although this was tempered with the comment that “the Willie P. Bennett days are long gone.” I understand what she means- it seems like Fred is one of those folks who just can’t stand still with his music- things are always changing. What I find consistent is the quality of his live performances, so I’m looking forward to that evening in Stony Plain. 

This week’s listening was typically broad. 

The album I most enjoyed this week.

Greg Brown- Dream Café I heard the title cut on the radio about three weeks ago, and fell for it in a big way, especially the line where he sings- words to the effect of- “I still smell the lilacs in the corner of the dream café.” Inspired to hear more, I looked on the shelf but couldn’t find the song on the Brown set I thought it was on (Dream City got confused with “Dream Café” in my wee, over-taxed brain.) This week, in anticipation for seeing Brown at the Calgary Folk Festival, I took another look and was surprised to find this album on the shelf. Things surface when they need to. A beautiful album with “I Don’t Know that Guy” standing out. Listening to Greg Brown can change the course of your life because he makes you attentive to details you may otherwise overlook. Like the smell of lilacs in a café. 

Kim Beggs- Blue Bones I reviewed the album in last week’s column. An unassuming album that reveals its treasures with every listen. Perhaps my favourite album of the past few months, and an early favourite for my 2011 Polaris ballot. 

Lonesome Traveler- Looking for a Way An acoustiblue band out of- I think- Colorado. Just received as it was assigned to me by Aaron at the Lonesome Road Review. 

Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby- Two-Way Family Favourites I didn’t care for their album of last year, which was a surprise because individually they are faves. “Whole Wide World” is in my top 50 songs of all-time. This short little collection of covers is more enjoyable, some of it a bit predictable but in other places quite shocking- “Endless Wire,” anyone? The song I was most looking forward to- “Living Next Door to Alice”- has some strange vocal effects in it and these distracted me a bit. I’ll listen to it more, and will give the previous collection a do-over as well. 

Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane At Carnegie Hall I’ve been reading the Harry Bosch novels of Michael Connelly of late and the main character listens to instrumental jazz while contemplating his cases. This album was mentioned in one of the most recent novels read and the story behind the release- the tapes were found in an uncataloged box at the Library of Congress- appealed to me. On my next visit to the local library I decided to flip through the jazz stacks (not really expecting to see anything of interest, but thinking that maybe it was time to follow Bosch’s lead, much as I have previously followed Rebus’ listening) and as I turned to leave the cover of this one caught my eye for some reason- the simple blind-contour drawings jumped out at me- and I recognized the title. The album itself doesn’t do much for me, but it was an enjoyable listen. I suppose I look at jazz the same way some others look at bluegrass- I don’t understand where it is coming from, I don’t really understand it, so it doesn’t really appeal. Still, it was nice to listen to the music behind the story. 

Jimmy Webb- Just Across the River A real surprise. Terrific and reviewed below. 

Red Horse- Red Horse Red House artists Eliza Gilkyson, John Gorka, and Lucy Kaplansky get together to swap songs- via long distance- in an eminently listenable manner. Oliver di Place writes about it much more eloquently than I could- “I’ve got a foolish heart, but I’m not an idiot,” sings Eliza. Yup. And I recognized Tom Russell’s painting style on the cover as the disc slipped out of the mailing envelop. 

Miles Davis- The Birth of Cool Picked up at the library. 

Kiss- Gold I’ve been watching too much of Gene Simmons Family Jewels of late. For my dollars, the best of the ‘unscripted’ celebrity promotional series if only because the massively ego-ed Simmons is consistently undermined- in the gentlest manner possible- by his sharp-witted children. Unlike other celebrity reality t.v. kids, Sophie and Nick seem like entirely non-bratty, non-self-indulged, well-adjusted people. I have likely bought a dozen different Kiss packages over the years, going back to grade seven and my purchase of The Originals. I usually listen to the sets once or twice and then trade them in. The last time I wanted a Kiss fix, I bought this double set and determined that I would hold onto it simply because I knew the day would come when I really wanted to hear “Firehouse” one more time. A solid set with a fair amount of filler- never has a band ridden a dozen superior songs- all recorded in their first decade- further. 

The Chieftains featuring Ry Cooder- San Patricio I read a review of this somewhere and it was quite unfavourable but the story of the disc- Irish immigrants to the US (among others) who went to fight alongside the Mexican forces in the mid-1800s- captured my imagination. The Chieftains so are so versatile, and I thought the album made for very interesting listening. 

Great American Taxi- Reckless Habits I’ll be reviewing this one in my next column as the band is appearing as part of the Central Music Festival in Red Deer in mid-August. A solid set of country-rock tunes, highlighted by the title track about Gram Parsons. 

D.B. Rielly- Love Potions and Snake Oil Some album are ‘all over the place’ and as a result, don’t work as a whole. Rarely do albums as fractured as this one keep it together and provide an enjoyable and refreshing listening experience. I’ll listen to this one more, and will review it…eventually. 

Mickey Jupp- Long Distance Romancer and Shampoo, Haircut, and Shave Sophisticated pub-rock at its finest. As I do with Wreckless Eric, I go back to the Stiff days with Jupp although I didn’t listen to his music with the same ferocity I did Eric’s, Rachel Sweet’s or Lene Lovich’s. During the summer, I have nights when I can’t sleep, and had a couple of those this past week- whatever novel I was reading was more appealing than sleep. While reading, these two discs came off the shelf. Nothing fancy, but solid and enjoyable- which seems to be my word of the week. 

Kim Beggs- Wanderer’s Paean Purchased via download because of my interest in Blue Bones. I have her second album around here somewhere, but can’t find it. I can’t imagine that I would have traded it in at the used store, but perhaps I lent it to someone and never got it back. I love her voice and approach to folk music. 

The Pogues- Rare and B-sides I don’t do this very often, but a couple weeks back I found a four-disc bootleg collection on the ‘net and downloaded it. I already have likely half of these recordings on the album reissues and various singles and collections, but I was interested in having the full slate of odds and sods from The Pogues. Again, insomnia listening. A cracking set- their b-sides are as interesting as everything else they recorded. 

Andre Williams & The Sadies- Red Dirt  

Johnny Darrell- Singing it Lonesome As I think I’ve written before, I always discover new music within the Oxford American music issues- artists that I’ve always needed to hear. Johnny Darrell was written about in an issue from several years ago but was only read last February. Since then, I’ve found his music in a few different places. When I’m listening to Darrell, I don’t have a more favourite country singer. 

John Hiatt- Warming Up to the Ice Age, Riding with the King and Bring the Family Got on a bit of a roll one afternoon last week. While the first two were recorded during a commercial low, they were the first albums of his I heard and I thought they were brilliant. I actually caught him live in Edmonton at the nearly empty Howlin’ Wolf (at least I think that is what it was called) in mid-May 1987 just before he released Bring the Family. One of those shows that go down in the ‘I’m glad I went’ category; it was magic and has only gotten better in my memory. I only stayed for the early show because, when I phoned home to tell my wife-to-be that I was staying for the late show as well, she informed me that I had missed a call from a school in Saskatchewan who wanted to talk to me about a job. As this was the first positive call I had had since finishing university the previous month, I skipped out on the late show, went home to return the call, and ended up starting my teaching career in La Loche. So I traded a second Hiatt set for the start of my career. It was a fair trade, I think. 

Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band Hyde Park, 2009 June 28 A typically fine set- uptempo and inspired with an almost flawless setlist- I just don’t get “Outlaw Pete!” 

Jackson Browne & David Lindley- Love is Strange En Vivo Con Tino Disc 2 

Townes Van Zandt- For the Sake of the Song, Our Mother the Mountain, and Townes Van Zandt The first three albums within the Texas Troubadour set, which has just been reissued by Charley- four discs, seven plus albums- for $22 on These ones came up in the 300-disc jukebox this week as something else finished up. What can you say about Townes? He knew how to write a song. Too bad he didn’t know how to live.