Albums Of The Month – April 2021

Our Top Six Releases April 21

Melissa McClelland, Whitehorse – Photo: LTTL

Top Six Releases

April 2021

Our Top Six Releases

By Rob Dickens

Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra


Jansen Records

5 March 2021

The Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra is based in Oslo, Norway and was founded after some of the members were inspired by the Oscar-nominated Belgian movie ‘Broken Circle Breakdown’. By 2020, they surpassed five million plays on YouTube, and their channel had gained over 30,000 subscribers.

In the summer of 2021, the band was supposed to travel to the US to be the house band at the Dollywood Amusement Park. They were also handpicked to play the digital version of the International Bluegrass Music Awards (IBMA) in September 2020.

One standout feature of Migrants is the perfect blend of bluegrass, folk and Americana material. There are also the soaring harmonies and the pristine arrangements as the musicians share time and space with elegance.

A gorgeous triumph.


Via Jansen Records

Jimbo Mathus & Andrew Bird

These 13

Thirty Tigers/Cooking Vinyl Australia

5 March 2021

An extremely fertile collaboration. Andrew Bird (folk/traditional singer, actor) with sixteen records to date joins with Jimbo Mathus, best known for his work with the swing revival band Squirrel Nut Zippers. Their friendship dates back twenty-five years, but at the turn of the century their career paths diverged.

The collaboration began in 2018 when they started exchanging the fragments that grew into this set of thirteen songs, all written by the pair. Produced by Mike Viola, the first half of the album was recorded in early 2019 and the second was finished in early 2020.

These 13 is about human connection, it is intelligent and personal. Every song was recorded live to analog tape, with Mathus and Bird singing and playing on opposite sides of a lone RCA 44 microphone.

Beautiful music without artifice.



Via Jo Corbett Publicity

Joe Pug

The Diving Sun

Nation of Heat Records

19 March 2021

Joe Pug is an acclaimed musician, songwriter, deep thinker and podcast host (‘The Working Songwriter’). His output has continually been at the high watermark and The Diving Sun continues that trend.

What began as a process of collecting archived session files for a B-sides album morphed into an obsessive remix, then a full-on album process with entirely new songs. The album brings together lost tunes from Pug’s various studio sessions with producers Duane Lundy and Kenneth Pattengale (The Milk Carton Kids), along with new songs recorded in quarantine.

The romance of “The Diving Sun”, the glorious opener “Crescent Bridge” and the bitterness of “Wild Kind of Longing” are just a few of the delights of this collection, proving again Pug’s supreme lyrical dexterity.


Via Thrillhill Music

Robert Finley

Sharecropper’s Son

Easy Eye Sound

21 May 2021

Currently living in Bernice, in north-central Louisiana, Robert Finley is one of eight children. The album’s title was inspired by Finley’s childhood – his family were sharecroppers and he was unable to regularly attend school and often worked with his family in the field picking cotton.

Finley has no sight in one eye and developed tunnel vision in the other. Unable to work, he busked on the streets of Helena, Arkansas where he was spotted by the Music Maker Relief Foundation, which led to the attention of Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys).

“The greatest living soul singer” says Auerbach (the album’s producer) who is becoming exceptional at selecting talented performers and boosting their profile with polished, new projects. That is a big call about Finely’s vocal ability but just listen to the album’s opening track “Souled Out On You” (see clip below) and it is hard to argue.

Featuring blues veterans and studio legends who have worked with everyone from Elvis Presley to Wilson Pickett, Sharecropper’s Son is a magical mix of country, soul and rhythm ‘n blues. Robert Finley may be sixty-seven, but he is about to become a new sensation.


Via Big Feat PR

Stefan Prigmore



13 March 2021

From Fort Worth, Texas Stefan Prigmore exhibits a lot of the qualities of the many fine songwriters from that proud and independent State. Vivid stories of colourful and rich characters written and delivered by no-nonsense performers.

The words that come to mind with Prigmore’s latest release River Blood are gritty, raw and uncompromising. Aside from the two live cuts, the album was recorded with Louisiana’s Clay Parker, whose deft touch reduces the embellishments to a minimum.

With the songs including tales of failed love and his uncle’s homicide conviction in the early 1980’s, Prigmore pulls no punches and his robust vocals add to the volatility. After two EP’s in 2019, River Blood is his first full length album and is a very welcome development – it should go some way to expand his profile and be seen widely as a strong and strident new voice.     


Via Broken Box Media


Modern Love

Six Shooter Records

19 March 2021

I still recall with fondness their performance at AmericanaFest 2018 (see Jim Jacob‘s picture above). You remember those times? When you could travel from Australia to Nashville, go to a festival, rub shoulders with a bunch of punters, get a cold without panicking, regard wearing a face mask as a little freaky or a stage gimmick?

The Canadian JUNO Award winners Whitehorse (Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet) sure know how to mix it up. From screaming guitars to soft melodies to steamy windows to genre worshiping, the duo’s albums keep us guessing in the best way.

Modern Love is a definitive statement – sharp harmonies, melodic flourishes, layered arrangements, with carefully-timed heavy guitar interventions.  Whitehorse continues to be a point of difference, risk-takers with an artistic point or two to prove.




Our Top Six Releases April 21

Our Top Six Releases April 21

Our Top Six Releases April 21

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Author: Rob Dickens

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  1. Thanks for the intro to Whitehorse!

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    • Our pleasure – glad you like them

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