Albums of the Month – March 2020

our top picks for Mar 2020

Tami Neilson – Photo: LTTL

Top New Releases – March 2020

By Rob Dickens

Teddy Thompson

Heartbreaker Please

Thirty Tigers

8 May 2020

Teddy Thompson with Kelly Jones – Photo: LTTL

Teddy Thompson has been quietly forging his own musical path, away from the shadow of being son of Richard & Linda Thompson. His previous albums have been well-regarded and he has been successfully showing his producer chops (three excellent Dori Freeman albums are proof of that).

Now his last solo effort was in 2011, so a new offering is long overdue and it is a wonderfully crafted collection, melodious and melancholic as it documents the emotion of breaking-up and life in New York City. His high-pitched vocals full of yearning and reflection.

“Here’s the thing,” Thompson sings: “you don’t love me anymore. I can tell you’ve got one foot out the door.”

Here’s a clip of the first single, the title track, released on Valentine’s Day:

via Hearth Music


Tami Neilson


Outside Music

14 February 2020

It was a bolt from the blue. Seeing Tami Neilson perform a couple of times at the Port Fairy Folk Festival almost twelve months to the day. The best-dressed and most colourful person on the rather large festival site, she stunned the audience with her powerful, soulful roar.

This ex-pat Canadian, now living in New Zealand, does justice to her talents with Chickaboom!, a heady blend of rockabilly, country and rock ‘n’ roll. “I wanted to write an album of punchy little songs, popping firecrackers that, when stripped back to nothing but a guitar, percussion and two voices, would still go boom!”. Tami Neilson has unquestionably hit the bull’s-eye.

Here’s a perfect exemplar of the liveliness of this release:

via The Groove Merchants


Rose Cousins


Outside Music

21 February 2020

Rose Cousins – Photo: LTTL

JUNO-winning songwriter Rose Cousins has recently been touring with Patty Griffin and I was struck when listening to the former’s latest offering of the similarities between the two. Serene vocals with an immense range and songs that pierce the heart of the listener.

This time round, Cousins produces the record, showing a level of maturity and confidence, while enlisting her network of talented colleagues. She booked some studio days with the intention of making a single, discovered a common thread which turned into a whole album. The Toronto-based musicians appearing here with great effect are Joshua Van Tassel (drums), Robbie Grunwald (keyboards), Brian Kobayakawa (bass) and Dean Drouillard on electric guitars.

Bravado is another wondrous release from one of the most sublime artists around.

Read our review of her previous release – 2017’s Natural Conclusion which garnered a Grammy nomination.

Here’s the video for “The Lullaby (My Oldest Love)”:

via Sacks and Co


Drive-by Truckers

The Unraveling

ATO Records

31 January 2020

Drive-by Truckers – Photo: LTTL

It has been the longest gap between Drive-by Truckers releases, over three years in fact. A lot has happened in that time, many things disturbing. As singer Patterson Hood puts it: “watching so many things we care about be decimated and destroyed”.

To make The Unraveling, the band settled in to Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis Tennessee for over eighty hours, recording mostly live with their regular producer David Barbe and the industry’s most feted engineer Matt Ross-Spang.

The end result is one that is toned down sonically, more measured perhaps than past efforts, but this aids the raw emotion and message coming through – the questioning, disgust and anger jump out inescapably.

A remarkably powerful statement on modern life and political/social division.

One of my favourite tracks on the collection – “Thoughts and Prayers”:


Nathaniel Rateliff

And It’s Still Alright

Sta Records/Concord

14 February 2020

This another case of an artist paring back and coming up with more. Somehow, despite seeing them live three times, I missed the r ‘n’ b/dance vibe train of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. I admit I am in the minority.

Initially creating a solo album around the theme of a marriage gone south, things shifted dramatically when long-time friend and producer of the Night Sweats’ two albums Richard Swift, fell ill from the complications of alcohol addiction. Swift died in 2018. 

So And It’s Still Alright becomes a very poignant exploration of the fragility and uncertainties of life, coping with personal loss and finding the strength, not just to carry on, but to find happiness. It’s an acoustic and emotional triumph, the best thing that Nathaniel Rateliff has shared with us to this point.

Rateliff says, “I think this album is a reminder that we all go through hardship, but regardless of the hardship everything ends up where it’s supposed to. Regardless of where I’m at after Richard’s death and my divorce, and getting older, I still continue to live and I still continue to find joy. I think that’s the theme of the record.”

Here’s the excellent title track:

via Thrillhill Music


Brandon Dodd

What A Way To Die

14 February 2020

Brandon Dodd – back in 2016 at AmericanaFest – Photo: LTTL

Brandon Dodd joined Kasey Chambers‘s band at just 19 years old as her guitar player. Now at 24, his debut solo release hits many marks. His drive and talent has led him on a resolute journey which provides much notable content even for someone relatively young.

The honesty of youth shines through on What A Way To Die, songwriting from the perspective of still fresh eyes with plenty of insight and hope.

The album came to life at The Rabbit Hole Recording Studio in New South Wales run by Dodd and Chambers where he has worked as a producer and engineer on many other artists projects.  Co-produced by himself and Damian Cafarella, this album is a telling reminder of Dodd’s talents. And you get the strong impulse that we are going to hear this young man’s name and music a lot more.

Here’s “Like A Diamond”:

via Thrillhill Music


our top picks for Mar 2020

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Author: Rob Dickens

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