Jackson Browne "Here" (Inside Recordings)
"This new track is really smashing. I really like the way the instrumentation kicks in after his first few lines - Amazing!"
- Mark Watkins Music Show / December 2009 -
Citizen K "Meet Citizen K" (Paraply Records)
"I like this. A lot. Could very well be one of this years best Swedish albums..."
- Indrag / November 2009 -
Keith Miles "Beyond The Headlights" (House Of Trout)
"Truth to tell, 'Beyond The Headlights' is a very pleasant mix of country,
folk, soul and blues influences!"
- Maverick Magazine / October 2009 -
Amy Raasch & Little Green, Gothenburg, 05.09.09
"At Kafé KoM you always feel welcome. It’s a hole in the wall in the area of Linnéstaden, Gothenburg; a simple place; small, friendly and usually filled with the crying tones of a blues guitar, or two. The musicians are often local, but on this particular night there’s a guest from Los Angeles.
An older gentleman, with maybe one or two beers too much behind those tight shirt buttons, bends over our table, and says: 'that band [Little Green] doesn’t sound like blues to me'. But his disappointment soon turns into a big groovy smile.
Little Green starts the show with their brew of bluegrass-affected folk/americana. This night the band performs in the absence of their fiddler Fred. But on the other hand they have a new rhythm section, and boy, how it swings! At times with a beat that’s closer to some kind of free form jazz than country. The bands self penned songs are in the company of some nice covers. Excellent versions of Steve Earles 'Copperhead Road' and Keith Miles gentle masterpiece 'Road I’m On' are among the finest.
After a break Amy Raasch enters the stage with an acoustic Martin guitar, a hard banging 'Version Of Me' and a presence that reveals her career as an actress. Little Green is doing an excellent job as back-up band. Especially since they never met her before, and only learned her songs from her album and the Internet.
Amy brings us songs from the album 'Love Or Inertia' and her impressive project '52 Songs In 52 Weeks' (as can be seen & heard at www.youtube.com/amyraasch). And she has truly fine stuff to choose from; the touching 'The Nearness Of The Blade', inspired by a young girls letter to Martin Luther King, the beautiful 'Neverland' and my personal favourite 'Missing', with a great sepia toned refrain that so deeply touches the soul; 'do you wanna sell lemonade/from my front yard'.
Her songs range from the edgy to the rootsy, from tenderness to a rockin’ anger and I hear influences from folk, indie, jazz, pop and singer-songwriters with their hearts on their sleeves. Amy’s heart is up there on the stage. It’s in her songs; 'they say that when/it has no food/the heart will start/to eat itself'. The lyrics are strong, dark, personal, literary and even leaves some space over for some good time humor.
And even though she is haunted by a nasty cold this evening she gives us a memorable show. She charms us with touching stories, bittersweet melodies and some crazy homemade chords.
I walked home with a big groovy smile on my face that night!"
- Honky Deluxe / September 2009 -
Hey Negrita "Burn The Whole Place Down" (Fat Fox)
"Hey Negrita haven’t released a 'Best Of' (yet), but until they do this isn’t far off. You’d be an idiot not to be first in the queue to purchase it!"
- Americana UK / August 2009 -
Charley Cruz & The Lost Souls "The Last Warrior" (White Indian)
"I've no idea, whether there's much of a roots-rock scene in the Netherlands, but it would be a shame, if geography left Charley Cruz & The Lost Souls swimming against the tide for the duration, as they clearly have talent and skill on their side, and will surely build on this, if they can get over to the States in any meaningful way. If they can, audiences will discover that 'The Last Warrior' is a formidable beast!"
- Whisperin' & Hollerin' / July 2009 -
Kimmie Rhodes "Ten Summers" (Sunbird Records)
"U.S. singer-songwriter Kimmie Rhodes is a real treasure, and one can only hope that the next ten years will prove as good to her as her first ten summers!"
- Country Music People / June 2009 -
Naomi Sommers "Gentle As The Sun" (American Melody)
"Third album from Naomi Sommers is an absolute joy! With a maturity of songwriting and arrangement well beyond her years, Naomi just has to be a name we'll hear more of. The genre is old-timey folk, but delivered in such a relaxed way, that you can't help yourself tapping away a foot, right there on the old back porch. Let it warm your soul - Magnificent!"
- Maverick Magazine / May 2009 -
Graham Nash "Reflections" (Rhino Records)
"To include almost fifty years of music in three compact discs is not a simple task, especially if you want to add extra value to an anthological project, giving it a flavor that goes beyond the one of a pure retrospective release. Thanks also to the precious contribution by Joel Bernstein, photographer and archivist of CSN&Y, Graham Nash manages to pack a well-balanced boxed-set, where the best things of his production are enhanced by six new songs, six alternate versions and twenty-one new mixes.
Always considered the feather-weight of CSN&Y, the Ringo Starr of the 'American Beatles (that's what they called Crosby Stills Nash & Young in the early 70's), Nash seems to me closer to McCartney for the common romantic vein and for a certain taste for well-crafted pop songs, which stands for ‘popular’ music indeed, both traits that emerge as the stylistic figure of 'Reflections'. The theme of this musical journey through five decades is Graham’s voice, indifferently at ease with the pop tunes of the Hollies, with the delicate and introspective mood of the folksinger, and – when electric guitars come up front – with the rocking numbers.
The booklet, as in the Rhino box dedicated to Crosby, is spectacular. With its 152 pages, this is a small book embellished by Graham comments to each song and by the huge number of photos, most of them unpublished.
To select the final track-list, Graham has tried 44 different ones, listening to them and looking for the best combination for almost a year and a half: 'With all the concerts we've done and all the live stuff that we recorded, it was a little difficult, but there will be other box sets. We haven't stopped here. As I say, this is a milestone, not a millstone. Even though I looked backwards on my career to put out this box set, this isn't stopping me from moving forward'. Dedicated fans will be looking forward to these releases. Meanwhile, even those who know Graham’s discography in details will enjoy experiencing again the beauty of these songs through the new mixes: It will be like discovering new colors in the garden of your backyard."
- Buscadero Magazine / April 2009 -
Amy Speace "The Killer In Me" (Wildflower Records)
"For quite some time Lucinda Williams' 'Car Wheels On A Gravel Road' was the best album I had ever heard, but this is an even stronger piece of work! Everything about the album seems to be perfect; the production, the music, the lyrics, the voice, the musicians - It all seems to be in perfect harmony with one other!
This is first class Grammy material - A marvelous album! Although 2009 has just started, I can't imagine we will receive a better album this year. Don't ask me for a favorite song because I can't tell you. All of the songs are so damned good, that I simply can't decide!"
- The Country Startpage / March 2009 -
John David Souther "If The World Was You" (Slow Curve)
"This is the kind of hybrid album that we get from Lyle Lovett, whom he resembles on 'In My Arms Tonight'. Although made in Nashville, there is mainstream, modern and Latin jazz, country and rock, not to mention some Spanish singing. The musicianship is very high and Souther is backed by piano, double bass, sax, trumpet and drums.
Are there any songs that will become country/rock standards? Certainly! I'll Be Here At Closing Time', 'In My Arms Tonight' and 'The Border Guard', where he looks at the barriers set up by his woman; 'Love has a border, some kind of an order, beyond that border, I don't belong'.
That could be a comment on his right to make any kind of music he chooses, and if you think of The Eagles making a jazz album, this would be the result."
- Country Music People / February 2009 -
The Plastic Pals "Good Karma Café" (Polythene/Plugged)
"Defining a band as 'power-pop' always seems to be damning it with faint praise, for now matter how sophisticated its manifestation, there is something inescapably lightweight about the appellation. The Plastic Pals are a case in point, for despite the fact that they even refer to themselves as power-pop, they are far more interesting than that term would suggest, blending psychedelia, alt-country, garage rock, and post punk into their robust sound. There are especially hints of the Paisley Underground and it is thus entirely natural that erstwhile Green On Red keyboardist Chris Cacavas guests on a couple of tracks.
Yet whilst the Plastic Pals wear their influences on their sleeve, they successfully shape them into their own image and although there might not be a great deal of originality on display here, they are never unimaginatively derivative. Opener 'Here Comes The Sun' is a perfect example of their ability to produce vibrant and visceral songs which tap straight into rock's collective unconscious. With the exception of the alt-country leanings of the title track and the more overtly post-punk 'Suicide Bomber', many of the songs conform to this same pattern and whilst it might grow a little predictable over the course of the album, it is impossible to dispute their facility for the template.
Throughout, Håkan Soold proves that he is a forceful, distinctive vocalist and despite the Swedish origins of the band, there are none of the problems with diction which so often plague those singing in a second language. Mention must also be made of guitarist Anders Sahlin, whose extensive soloing defines the sound of the band. His leads on songs such as 'The Best Kept Secret' or 'Long And Lonely' are a glorious combination of wiry and melodic, often recalling the work of Chuck Prophet. The fact that guitar solos are such a prominent feature of the band's sound is a testament to their rock classicism and when they engage with that tradition so successfully, it is difficult to complain."
- Americana UK / January 2009 -