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CD Reviews

Gem Andrews - North (Self Release)

Following SCATTER and VANCOUVER, the first two full-length albums by Gem Andrews, both incidentally awarded an approving thumbs up in the pages of Northern Sky, comes NORTH, Gem's third release to date. The LP sleeve shows a sunburst Gibson hanging precariously from Gem's shoulder, the Liverpool-...

Alash - Achai (Smithsonian Folkways)

Newcomers to Tuvan throat singing might at first feel slightly alienated by its harsh guttural tones - think Tom Waits after swallowing a pneumatic drill with the on switch pressed - but once you imagine those vocal affectations as musical instrumentation, it all becomes infinitely more palatable...

Maeve Mackinnon - Stri (Self Release)

Maeve Mackinnon is a contemporary Gaelic singer and STRI (to strive or struggle), is her third album. Maeve has a powerful and rich voice, but after DON'T SING LOVE SONGS in 2007 and ONCE UPON AN OLIVE BRANCH in 2012, both fine albums, STRI represents a massive leap forwards in terms of sound and...

Mike Reinstein - Acts of Love (Irregular Records)

I've always found that a good opener is almost guaranteed to keep you listening, even if the title utilises one of Oxford University's top ten most irritating expressions. 24/7 Care is simply a beautiful pop song celebrating the most important people in our society, those who care for us, all...

Ady Johnson - London Songs (Self Release)

It came as little surprise when New Year's Day was chosen for the single release from Ady Johnson's second full-length album. The London-based singer songwriter has a knack for writing memorable songs, not just for their infectious melodies, but also for their down-to-earth subject matter. Ray...

Mary Gauthier - Rifles and Rosary Beads (Proper)

Mary Gauthier is a distinctive songwriter and performer whose world weary and knowing vocals are a powerful instrument and instantly recognisable. No stranger to writing about her own pain and demons or the grit that gets in the gears of day to day life, Gauthier has used her songwriting to work...

Zoe Boekbinder and Dustin Hamman - Among Horses II (Kudos Records)

The story apparently goes that the New Orleans-based singer songwriter Zoe Boekbinder and Portland's Dustin Hamman, also a singer songwriter, were dropped off at a farm 'in the middle of nowhere', actually a solar powered farm house in Northern Spain, surrounded by endless pine tree covered hills,...

Crayon Angels - Postcards EP (Submarine Broadcasting Company)

Named after the old Judee Sill song, Crayon Angels are a trio consisting of Natalina Castiglioni on Vocals, Del Halpin on Guitar and Ian Montague also on Guitar, whose latest EP POSTCARDS is chock full of melodies in just four songs. Unlike Judee's claim, this trio's songs are hardly out of tune...

Dirt Music - Bu Bir Ruya (Glitterbeat)

Tim Winton's poetic seminal book 'Dirt Music' deals with struggles against a hostile environment, loneliness and the power of nature. Music and the lure of music is central to the story. Dirt Music we are told, is "Anything you could play on a verandah. You know, without electricity" Dirt Music the...

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