The most profound musical experience I have ever had is easy for me to remember, and not at all difficult to explain. It’s going to sound a bit pretentious but, in one single moment, I felt I understood why music, and song in particular, is such an important expression of the human soul. It wasn’t […]Read more "ALL THAT YOU HAVE IS YOUR SOUL"
James P. McNamara has been around the block. He’s a Kansas City native whose urban poetry goes much deeper than simply re-iterating disaffected graffiti scrawled across his hometown. He digs down into the fabric of the built environment and comes out with a brightly descriptive narrative of man the animal in a zoo of his […]Read more "GRID MADE MORTAL"
Now that we are past the mid-point of the year, we have reached that juncture where music reviewers, bloggers and marketing types will begin to offer their unsolicited tips for the best album of 2015. This dreary occupation would excite my interest more if the category itself was a bit more imaginative. If for example, […]Read more "Other Things : The Wonderful World of Zen and the Art of Jollification"
Last Year, I reviewed an EP by Tír na nÓg entitled I Have Known Love and I thoroughly recommended it’s charms to my discerning readers. Bad luck if you weren’t “on it” as they say, for this polished gem released via the estimable Fruits de Mer label sold out pretty damn quick. However, it’s all […]Read more "Did Ye Ever Hear Tell of Tír na nÓg and The Dark Dance?"
There are few singers in the world today who work as hard as Kurt Elling to build strong bridges across musical boundaries. His latest album is called Passion World, and it lives up to its name as a global span of ardent emotions expressed in very diverse songs. Elling is, for my money, the finest […]Read more "Sense and Sensitivity: Kurt Elling Serves Up Both on Passion World"
Sean Taylor is an artist who can always be trusted to speak candidly. On his new album The Only Good Addiction is Love his latest songs are beautifully informed by inspirational poets, painters and writers. Nevertheless, the observations he makes are uniquely his own, and he remains (as ever) reliably truthful. This is the seventh […]Read more "Sean Taylor’s Message of Love"
Blink and you’ll miss it they say, or in my case, wander around with your eyes closed in complete daze and the whole world will pass you by. That can be the only explanation for not bringing Illuminate to your attention much sooner than this. Konrad Wiszniewski released this very fine CD at the back […]Read more "Return Ticket: It’s Lighting Up Time on Konrad Wiszniewski’s ‘Illuminate’"
I have to admit it; I really have a soft spot for thematic collections of songs and conceptual albums, and I’m fonder still of music that clearly draws inspiration from the natural environment. Whalebone are therefore pushing at an open door with As Turn The Seasons, a collection of instrumentals that cheerfully celebrates the changing […]Read more "Music For All Seasons From Whalebone"
They used to say that rock ‘n’ roll would never die, and you have to admit that it’s put up a pretty good fight over the last sixty years of its existence. It’s had many champions over the decades, but the latest is Raymond Meade, a Scots rocker who pulls no punches on Whydolise? If […]Read more "Rock On: Raymond Meade Lays It Down on WHYDOLISE?"
In July 1953, according to showbiz legend, the Jazz Voice of the 20th Century made the long journey from Palm Springs, USA to Dundee Scotland, only to be greeted by a tide of rampant apathy. The story goes that Ol’ Blues Eyes flopped spectacularly at the city’s cavernous Caird Hall in front of a small […]Read more "Frank Sinatra’s Visit to Dundee and Carnoustie – An Alternative Mythology"
A week is a long time to be lost for words, but it’s taken seven days to recover my wits after yet another outstanding performance from the jazzilicious Fat Suit. The fourteen-piece funk driven, jazz-informed and roots-minded ensemble have signally nailed down contemporary thinking on musical eclecticism, but they’ve also advanced in leaps and bounds […]Read more "Generation Jazz: Fat-Suit and Friends at The Gardyne Theatre 20.3.15"
If songs were paintings then Samantha Whates would be in demand as both a miniaturist and as a landscape artist. Most of her songs are self-portraits, but some place her as a figure in a landscape or, perhaps more accurately, a country of the mind. If this sounds unnecessarily convoluted, then bear with me. Trees […]Read more "The Girl in the Picture – New Songs from Samantha Whates"
It’s another night at Hospitalfield Jazz and another capacity crowd for an evening of the most visceral music ever made. This time it’s drummer Tom Gordon testifying on behalf of Count Basie with a seven-piece band punching big band classics well above it’s modest weight in numbers. As usual, there is a full house, warm […]Read more "A Gentle Punch – The Tom Gordon Count Basie Septet Live at Hospitalfield 31.1.15"
Jim Moray and Sam Carter must be valiant souls to put together a band like False Lights. Not only have they formed a rather expensive six-piece electric band, they also fearlessly describe the music they make as folk-rock. This is terminology that invites prejudice and preconception in equal measure, but it’s okay, you can put […]Read more "Wrecking Crew: False Lights Rock The Ages on “Salvor”"
If the only multinationals involved in takeover bids were bands like Dallahan, then I might not be so hostile to expansionist ambitions. The Edinburgh-based roots riot known as Dallahan draw their membership from very different countries, but their new album When The Day Is On The Turn is the happy result of enthusiastically shared cultural […]Read more "Dallahan: Great Company When The Day Is On The Turn"