Leonard Cohen, Take This Waltz

I’ve said before that I like the voice of this musician much better as he grew older than when he was young, as it’s got a gravitas that it didn’t have when he was younger. And it’s perfect for such songs of his as ‘Take Take Waltz’ which I’m discussing here.

It was originally released . . . → Read More: Leonard Cohen, Take This Waltz

Riley Walker’s Primrose Green

At a time when lots of musicians are reviving the glories of the analog synthesizer (including both Calexico and the Decemberists this year), Ryley Walker is going even farther back into the depths of rock history. This Rockville, Illinois, native now based in Chicago is churning out psychedelic folk-rock that calls to mind the restless . . . → Read More: Riley Walker’s Primrose Green

The Iron Horse, A Retrospective Look

The Iron Horse was a Scottish band founded in 1990. I heard them in Edinburgh several times over the ten years they existed as a touring group and they were as great live as they are recorded.

During the decade that the band existed, it performed mostly Scottish music but merged in other material as well. If . . . → Read More: The Iron Horse, A Retrospective Look

Himmerland’s The Spider in the Fiddle

Why was I taken by surprise by Himmerland’s The Spider in the Fiddle? Firstly, Denmark is full of good music, and Danish groups are constantly producing lovely music. Secondly, I have twice before discovered new favourite groups with Ditte Fromseier in. First there was Flax in Bloom, a group that never recorded but in concert . . . → Read More: Himmerland’s The Spider in the Fiddle

Todd Grebe & Cold Country: Citizen

It’s pretty common for a classic or even alternative country musician to make an occasional (or even permanent) foray into bluegrass. Think of Dolly Parton on the one hand and Robert Earl Keen on the other. But it’s a little more unusual for a musician to go the other way, from the ranks of bluegrass . . . → Read More: Todd Grebe & Cold Country: Citizen

Music matters: Steeleye Span: Wintersmith

This recording is the last one by Steeleye Span before violinist Peter Knight left in November 2013, prior to Jessie May Smart becoming the new violinist. This leaves vocalist Maddy Prior as the only founding member still with the band.

Wintersmith is a novel by the late and much missed Terry Pratchett who passed on earlier this year. . . . → Read More: Music matters: Steeleye Span: Wintersmith

Sound Bites — Francophone folk and rock roundup

North America has a sizable contingent of French speakers, including much of the Canadian province of Quebec, and much of southern Louisiana. The two regions are connected by history, too; the ancestors of the Louisiana Cajuns were driven out of parts of Canada that were originally francophone when the British consolidated their hold there. The . . . → Read More: Sound Bites — Francophone folk and rock roundup

Music Matters: Wes Montgomery: In The Beginning

If you’re like me and mostly familiar with Wes Montgomery from his smooth, professional later work—such as his delightful duet albums with organist Jimmy Smith or his late-’60s pop work with Don Sebesky, or even his powerful early work on Riverside such as his 1961 breakthrough So Much Guitar—then you’re in for a treat with . . . → Read More: Music Matters: Wes Montgomery: In The Beginning

Music matters: Steeleye Span’s Mummers Play

Mummers plays are in essence medieval morality plays. Should that note leave you uninterested in anything further I’ve got to say, consider that they are staged with elaborate masks and other props. Now let’s further add Steeleye Span doing one in 1974 and you’ve got something that is, well, terribly silly, I’d say.

Michael Hunter . . . → Read More: Music matters: Steeleye Span’s Mummers Play

Music matters: Kathryn Tickell & The Side

Lars Nilsson says he’s seen two live performances by Kathryn Tickell. The first time was at Sidmouth Folk Festival in 1986. Then she was a new hope on the folk scene, playing acoustically in one of the small halls. The second was last summer at Folk by the Oak in Hatfield, just outside London, with . . . → Read More: Music matters: Kathryn Tickell & The Side