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Albums Of The Month – September 2022

Our Top Six Releases Sep 22

Andrew Duhon – Photo: LTTL

Top Six Releases

September 2022

Our Top Six Releases Sep 22

By Rob Dickens

Andrew Duhon

Emerald Blue

Independent

29 July 2022

Andrew Duhon‘s is a classic New Orleans sound with a twist. When I say classic sound, I don’t mean the aural landscapes visitors expect when visiting the Crescent City, I mean that the city’s unique rhythm ‘n’ blues groove permeates all the wonderful styles presented on Emerald Blue.

Duhon, who grew up (in his own words) “beside the turbulent, chocolate milk of the mouth of the Mississippi” has been exploring the US Pacific Northwest over the past few years and the change has had an expansive effect lyrically. Take the title track which refers to the depth of colour in his partner’s eyes when he visited her and they travelled together in rural Washington state. The song’s opening verse:

Logging roads in the Washington mountains / Far cry from the Southland / Far cry from the muddy water I always knew / Emerald blue.” 

Duhon’s tender, soulful and expressive vocals are another alluring trait here, reminding me of fellow New Orleans’ resident Anders Osborne. The featuring backing band are Jano Rix, Myles Weeks and Dan Walker and the album was engineered by Grammy-winner Trina Shoemaker at Dockside Studios in Maurice, Louisiana.

OFFICIAL SITE

The Brothers Comatose

Turning Up The Ground

Swamp Jam Records

1 August 2022

I saw The Brothers Comatose at the Port Fairy Folk Festival a few years ago and loved their hybrid musical offerings which are in evidence in spades on Turning Up The Ground. R ‘n’ B, manic bluegrass, balladry, barbershop quartet vocals, sprightly guitar picking and Beatle-esque harmonies make for a very rewarding listening experience.

This San Francisco-based band was formed in 2009 by brothers Alex (banjo, vocals) and Ben (guitar, vocals) Morrison, with fiddler Philip Brezina, Steve Height on bass and Greg Fleischut on mandolin. (I’ve only had the Spotify album version for this article and I’ve spent more time (unsuccessfully) attempting to get some production details on the album than fully setting up this review – sorry to come up empty-handed on that score).

The diversity, musicianship and limit pushing of this band is impossible to ignore.

OFFICIAL SITE

Kelsey Waldon

No Regular Dog

Oh Boy Records/Cooking Vinyl Australia

12 August 2022

On No Regular Dog, Kentucky-born Kelsey Waldon‘s fourth album, she has never sounded better nor exposed a more personal and emotional profile. Beautifully produced by Shooter Jennings and recorded at Los Angeles’ Dave’s Room Studio, the album displays a striking, classic country sensibility. 

The eleven songs include “Season’s Ending,” a tribute to Waldon’s mentor John Prine, the gripping despair of “History Repeats Itself” and the resilience on display of the title track.

In addition to Waldon (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Jennings (piano, organ, synths), No Regular Dog features Waldon’s touring band – Nate Felty (drums), Alec Newnam (bass) and Brett Resnick (pedal steel), alongside guests Doug Pettibone (dobro, guitar) and Aubrey Richmond (fiddle), as well as background vocals from Kyshona Armstrong, Mickie Conley, Maureen Murphy and Kristen Rogers

No Regular Dog is Waldon’s follow up to 2019’s White Noise/ White Lines.

OFFICIAL SITE

Miraculous Mule

Old Bones, New Fire

Lightning Archive/Juke Joint 500

9 August 2022

This London band features front man and solo artist Michael J Sheehy who describes Miraculous Mule as “…a group of Anglo-Irish honkies who dig African-American Gospel, prison/work songs and Hillbilly music.”

A potent four-piece outfit with three lead singers – Sheehy, Alex Louise Petty and Patrick McCarthy (drummer Ian Burns is the fourth member). Reportedly, a group of lapsed Catholics (that resonates with me alright!) can still embrace, appreciate and provide their own dark take on the supernatural and spiritual universe.

A winning blend of chants, gospel, folk and bare Delta blues sounding like they are based on the other side of the Atlantic, this is the band’s first album since 2017’s Two Tonne Testimony. It is an atmospheric triumph.

OFFICIAL SITE

Watchhouse

Watchhouse Duo

Yep Roc Records

12 August 2022

A compelling folk duo (Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz) with intricate melodies and intertwined instrumentation, reminiscent of the musical glue that holds Gillian Welch and David Rawlings together.

Highly unusually they changed their name to Watchhouse about twelve months ago (from Mandolin Orange) and released a newly-self-titled album which was a multi-layered departure from their previous offerings. In another surprise, they have re-issued that album as a self-produced recording performing the most elemental possible arrangements of all nine songs and dubbed it Watchhouse (Duo).

To these ears, the new version is remarkable. The songs, the stunning cohesion between them is masterful, subtle and sublime.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Dave Laing Publicity

The Western Express

Lunatics, Lovers & Poets

Independent

5 August 2022

A band that may need introduction. Texans Phill Brush and Stephen Castillo, met via Craigslist in early 2018 and bonded. Lunatics, Lovers & Poets is their debut album, produced by rockabilly star John Evans and features nine songs written by Castillo and inspired by a wide range of genres and styles – Tex Mex, classic country, Latin blues and gospel.

The quality and excitement in this music is easily exampled by the soaring and gorgeous “Flower Of The Rio Grande”, a song so vivid and colourful and vocally perfect that my compulsion to play it often and loud remains unabated. One of my favourite songs of the year.

There’s plenty more to like here, though.

“My first real concert was the Judds at the Houston Rodeo in the late ‘80s. I sang George Strait songs at every talent show I could enter as a kid. I’ve just always been immersed in it.”

Stephen Castillo

Immerse yourself…I might just go play that song another time.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via IVPR Nashville

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LAST MONTH’S BEST ALBUMS

More Music Adventures Await!

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Our Top Six Releases Sep 22

Our Top Six Releases Sep 22

Our Top Six Releases Sep 22

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Author: Rob Dickens

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