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Albums Of The Month – November 2022

Our Top Six Releases Nov 22

Cory Branan – Photo: LTTL

Top Six Releases

November 2022

Our Top Six Releases Nov 22

By Rob Dickens

Anthony D’Amato

At First There Was Nothing

Blue Rose

21 October 2022

Born and raised in New Jersey and based in New York City, Anthony D’Amato first gained recognition for his 2014 release The Shipwreck From The Shore, inspired in part by time spent studying with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon. Another album and EP followed, the latter raising more than $10,000 for refugee aid, with 2019 seeing his acoustic outing Five Songs From New Orleans earning more praise.

So At First There Was Nothing is a pivotal collection, his first full album in six years. It’s been worth the wait. His voice is assured and the underpinning folk style has plenty of delicious layers including a Jersey rhythm n’ blues feel and a touch of grit in the lyrics.

This time around he recorded in American Fork, Utah with rising songwriter and producer Joshua James. The result is a perfectly textured and sweeping record.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Propeller Publicity

Cory Branan

When I Go I Ghost

Blue Elan Records

14 October 2022

From Memphis, Cory Branan made a big impression on me at AmericanaFest in 2014. He had just released the striking The No Hit Wonder (featured on our Best Albums of 2014) and was hard to ignore on stage. Despite a new album to showcase, his was a somewhat ramshackle set structure with most of the songs based on crowd requests. He had a flashing smile, sharp humour and a large stage presence – a really enjoyable set.

When I Go I Ghost is Branan’s sixth full album release, containing eleven songs and I feel this is his most satisfying collection yet. Branan spent the pandemic working on a new record with producer and Grammy-Award-winning engineer, Jeremy Ferguson, enlisting some choice guests such as Jason Isbell (he features in the clip below), Garrison Starr and Brian Fallon.

He has a sharp sense of humour and that extends to an above-average cleverness lyrically and astute phrasing (the album title is a good example of that). Another arresting album from an artist who deserves to have a bigger following. “Pocket of God” is one of the songs of the year.

OFFICIAL SITE

Dave Johnson

Inequality Blvd

Independent

26 September 2022

We get multiple music submissions every day here at Listening Through The Lens. It is hard to keep up and regrettably a filter needs to be applied, panning for the biggest musical nuggets. Here’s an unexpected find!

The Fremantle (Western Australia) troubadour Dave Johnson has witnessed the toll the pandemic has taken first hand.  He started a singing group at a local homeless shelter and taught music at a juvenile
detention centre to some of the most troubled and traumatised kids.

Hence, his unique insight into hardship provides the ideal material infused into the songs on Inequality Blvd, covering the mistreatment of refugees and immigrants and the ever-rising wealth divide. It’s precision story-telling within the framework of wonderfully-crafted arrangements.

The album was recorded at Sundown Studios on the outskirts of Fremantle and co-produced with Elliot Smith, with top guests Tony Bourke, Ben Franz, Luke Dux, Ian Simpson, Phoebe Corke and Smith.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Brett Leigh Dicks

The Kindly Ravens

Cemetery of Broken Hearts

Independent

18 October 2022

A highly impressive first full album indeed.

The Kindly Ravens are the Brisbane, Australia-based duo of Cassi Marie and Steve Boom who play original Americana, alt. country, folk and classic country music. Through a mutual musical friend (with great foresight) suggesting that the two would be a good fit to co-write some songs together, they quickly wrote their first song “Silver and Gold”.

I must confess that my first exposure to “Silver and Gold” had me thinking they had done a lovely version of this classic, traditional song. It was a revelation when I realised that it was, in fact, an original and their first song composed together. It deserves to be a classic and frames this terrific collection.

“Both of us were fans of Edgar Allen Poe without realising it. The Raven is my favourite poem and was the inspiration for our name. I then took the idea of the Raven being the bird who collects these broken hearts and takes them to their final resting place.”

The Kindly Ravens

The album was recorded with Jason Millhouse at Recordworks studios, a favourite space for both who have recorded many other projects at this studio. A talented pair with much to say, an exciting new voice on the roots music scene.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Stuart Coupe Publicity

Last Year’s Man

Time Is A Sparrow

Independent

18 November 2022

Last Year’s Man is the pseudonym of Eugene, Oregon-based producer and songwriter, Tyler Fortier. Fortier is a frequent collaborator with up-and-coming Northwest US singer/songwriters and has produced recordings for artists such as Anna Tivel, Beth Wood and Jeffrey Martin. His music has been placed on multiple TV networks.

Fortier’s second album (under this alias) Time is a Sparrow is an inspired follow-up to his debut album Brave the Storm (2020) in which I was particularly aborbed as you can read in our review. The new issue features guest appearances from Lex Price (Neko Case, Rodney Crowell), Philippe Bronchtein (The War & Treaty, Micky Guyton), Nate Barnes (Mary Chapin Carpenter, Hiss Golden Messenger), Peter Perdichizzi (The Flys) Jeramy Burchett, Erik Berg-Johansen and Erin Flood Fortier.

The telling lyrics and the hushed tones and patterns glide through the collection’s ten characteristic cinematic tracks, downbeats and upswings a-plenty, always engaging and entertaining.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Broken Jukebox

Nikki Lane

Denim & Diamonds

New West Records

23 September 2022

Singer/songwriter and fashion-setter Nikki Lane returns with her fourth outing, a ten-song project produced and mixed by Joshua Homme at his Pink Duck Studios in Burbank, California and is Lane’s first album in five years. 

There’s a glorious mix of players on the sessions including a house band of Homme, Queens of the Stone Age collaborators Alain Johannes on guitar, Dean Fertita on organ and Michael Shuman on bass. Also featuring drummers Matt Helders of Arctic Monkeys, Carla Azar of post-punk band Autolux (and frequent Jack White collaborator), and Lane’s pedal steel player Matthew Pynn (Dwight Yoakum, Miley Cyrus).

The personnel would suggest that the material would be pretty and rocky and sassy, and it surely is – a breed of country, rock and Americana, all ingredients adding to the whole which is more than the sum of the parts. A chic and brassy release surging with attitude.

OFFICIAL SITE

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LAST MONTH’S BEST ALBUMS

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Our Top Six Releases Nov 22

Our Top Six Releases Nov 22

Our Top Six Releases Nov 22

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Author: Rob Dickens

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