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Albums Of The Month – January 2023

Our Top Six Releases Jan 23

Three of The Humbuckin’ Pickups – Photo: LTTL

Top Six Releases

January 2023

Our Top Six Releases Jan 23

By Rob Dickens

Benjamin Dakota Rogers

Paint Horse

Independent

17 February 2023

A remarkable new presence.

The media release describes his voice as ‘unvarnished’ and, yeah, I’ll buy that.  Acoustic videos of songs from this collection “John Came Home” (clip below) and a scintillating cover of Willie Nelson‘s “Blackjack County Chain” have amassed well over twelve million views on TikTok. The instrument featured in them is a 1922 Stella tenor guitar tuned like a fiddle that he bought from Fred Eaglesmith at age 14.

The mini-epics he writes were put down in a barn on his family’s farm in Southwestern Ontario where he grew up building greenhouses and living off the land. His voice is yearning and authentic, exhibiting an enormous passion – check out the vivid and heartbreaking “Rosie”.

I’d been thinking about making an album like this for a while and had the first shadows of these songs drifting in and out of my head for most of the winter of 2022. I’d been living in the loft of a barn on my folks’ now-retired tobacco farm for about a year, spending my days outside hunting and foraging and my nights around a bonfire with my brother and my love. I would take quiet moments to write and practice things I thought I’d almost forgotten…I started playing when I was seven and since then it has consumed much of my life in one way or another.

Benjamin Dakota Rogers

This will be one of the top albums of 2023.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Lucky Bird Media

The Humbuckin’ Pickups

Just Like Winter

Independent

2 January 2023

I bumped into The Humbuckin’ Pickups at the Maldon Folk Festival (read our take) a couple of months back and was entranced by their vivid storytelling. Don’t let the name fool you. This is no happy-go-lucky fun band charming audiences with humour and trading sing-a-long puns.

Winner of the Burke and Wills Winery Troubadour’s Foundation Award Prize (which helped fund this album), the band has been a revelation for me, with the writing extraordinarily gifted leaving us on the edge of our seats waiting for the full narrative to be revealed.

Wonderful highlights are “Just Like Winter”, “Sugar and Tea” and a chilling tale about a hit-and-run, with its haunting dobro, “Bishop’s Bend”. As I said at the time, lead singer Ewan Cloonan has got that John Schumann-deep and totally Australian-broad baritone and the songs are deeply entrenched in the Australian bush ballad genre with highly poetic lyrics.

This is the band’s third album and they will be embarking on a thirty-date tour to showcase it. Don’t miss them.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Artist

JD Clayton

Long Way From Home

Independent

27 January 2023

Long Way From Home is the debut full-length album from independent singer and songwriter JD Clayton and it’s an easy-on-the-ear alt. country triumph. The themes are simple and timeless and delivered in a warm and sincere manner.

Clayton was raised in Fort Smith, Arkansas, a town known for its gritty and violent past, resting on the banks of the Arkansas river and peering over into the farmlands of eastern Oklahoma. A place where the new south meets the old west.

The songs here share personal insights into Clayton’s life, covering religion, upbringing, fatherhood, career motivation and the pandemic.  The record was produced by Thomas Dulin and Clayton, and mixed by Craig Alvin. In 2018, JD Clayton released his debut EP Smoke Out The Fire, featuring the track “Brown Haired Blue Eyed Baby,” which has organically received over 2.2 million streams on Spotify

OFFICIAL SITE

Via All Eyes Media

Lisa O’Neill

All Of This Is Chance

Rough Trade Records

10 February 2023

Irish singer/songwriter Lisa O’Neill has an impressive CV. Five BBC Folk Award nominations, a Folk Album of the Year accolade in The Guardian in 2019 for her previous album Heard a Long Gone Song, plus a truly memorable adaptation of Bob Dylan’s “All the Tired Horses” for the final scene of the TV drama Peaky Blinders.

All Of This Is Chance is O’Neill’s first full album on the Rough Trade label and it is a cinematic and evocative journey of epic proportions. Intensely rewarding.

In 2021 The Abbey Theatre invited O’Neill to perform in its historic outdoor adaptation of Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh’s tragic 1942 masterpiece The Great Hunger (the Irish famine). The experience of immersing herself in and researching Kavanagh’s remarkable 6,000-word poem was part catalyst to make this new album, unlocking a mutual fascination with themes around nature and creativity.

A march-past of esteemed musicians come and go throughout the album including long-time collaborator on bass Joseph Doyle, Kerry concertina guru Cormac Begley, the cinematic artistry of Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Kate Ellis of the Crash Ensemble, pianist Ruth O’Mahoney, drummer Lorcan Byrne, producer Dave Odlum on guitar, as well as Colm O’Hara on trombone, Brian Leach on hammer dulcimer, Mic Geraghty on harmonium and David Coulter on saw.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Gaynor Crawford

Nicholas Jamerson

Peace Mountain

Independent

19 May 2023

This Eastern Kentucky native has built up a head of steam and loyal following over a number of years – it’s not hard to see why on Peace Mountain. A prolific songwriter and founding member of the duo Sundy Best, he has more recently been performing extensively solo and with his band The Morning Jays. Both with a band and on his own, Nicholas Jamerson has graced the most hallowed stages, from the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium to Americana and Master Musician festivals.

This is Jamerson’s sixth studio album and the song subjects are brilliant reflections of likeable characters, colourful features of nature and the extremes of human behaviour. His well-worn vocals are not unlike Willie Nelson‘s and the spoken word pieces are fascinating. (The opening track “Bad Imagination” is of legendary proportions).

“Peace mountain is the follow up record to The Wild Frontier. The wild frontier was about finding faith. Peace mountain is about practicing faith. I wanted to make something new with people I’ve worked with before alongside people I hadn’t worked with before. In turn, expanding my circles, Forge new friendships and nurture old ones.

Nicholas Jamerson

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Victory Lap Media

The Shootouts

Stampede

Independent

24 February 2023

We featured the previous album of The Shootouts (Bullseye) only last year (Albums Of The Month May 21). Only months after that release, the band received word that legendary singer Ray Benson was interested in producing their next album and they quickly headed back into the studio.

In addition to production duties, Benson and members of Asleep at the Wheel contributed to the song “One Step Forward.” In a further gratifying nod to the high esteem in which they are held by other musicians, the new release is packed with appearances from Raúl Malo (The Mavericks), Marty Stuart, Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller.

The Shootouts hail from the Northeast Ohio Rustbelt (hometown of Akron) and their music is high energy country, western swing and honky tonk, a blend that Shootouts fans often refer to as “country music for people who don’t like country”.

Stampede is charming, uplifting and total fun.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via All Eyes Media

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LAST MONTH’S BEST ALBUMS

More Music Adventures Await!

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Our Top Six Releases Jan 23

Our Top Six Releases Jan 23

Our Top Six Releases Jan 23

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Author: Rob Dickens

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