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Music Review - `FLIGHT RISK ` by Shoebox Letters (jm)

Shoebox Letters- FLIGHT RISK  (click on image to watch video)

 04 May 2022

 

Black

As many of us are still trying to crawl back to a post-pandemic normal, the Pacific Northwest-based Americana/folk band Shoebox Letters have entered a Willie Nelson-level period of prolific songwriting.  Flight Risk, their latest 6-track EP, marks their third release since 2020’s inaugural album Treasure Map. It’s filled with the same satisfying, recognizable jangle of acoustic guitar folk and steel Americana as their previous efforts.

Lyrically there is a theme of desperation and angst to several of the songs here that bely the catchiness of the music itself, like on the infectious “I Drink Too Much,” (with some classic rock electric guitar added in for extra measure). “I Drink Too Much” is the only song here not written by frontman Dennis Winslow. 

Elsewhere on the slow burn “Up And Down,” Winslow sings about looking back on his life and hoping he was good enough. “Red Handed Lover” is a blues-tinged steady roots rocker that would make Delbert McClinton proud. The record ends on the sweet, somber “A World Out There,” a decent track but one that feels a bit removed from the rest of the songs here; but one that grows on you after repeated listens.  

Recorded in Portland, OR and Nashville, Winslow is joined by Dave Stricker, Stephanie Cox, Greg Paul and Brian David Willis on this one. And if history is any indicator, they’ll be out with a new record as soon as you learn all the words to this one.

 

 

Music Reviewer - John Moore  

John B. Moore has been covering the seemingly disparate, but surprisingly complimentary genres of Americana and punk rock for the past 20 years.

Blurt/New Noise Magazine/InSite Atlanta/NeuFutur Magazine

twitter @jbmoore00

To Read All of John's Reviews, Click Here

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Music Review - `BY THE RISIN’ OF THE SEA' :` by James Kahn (jm)

James Kahn- BY THE RISIN’ OF THE SEA (click on image to watch video)

 28 April 2022

 

Black

The tradition of sea shanties dates back centuries but for some odd reason the genre made a surprise reappearance in pop culture recently thanks to Tik Tok, a not entirely unwelcome resurgence for what it’s worth. It makes a little sense then that novelist and TV writer/producer James Kahn, known more for his folk and Americana style of music, would use that once obscure genre to highlight his latest collection of songs about the environment.

Across a dozen tracks, Kahn backed by a remarkable group of fellow singers and musicians, pens modern lyrics to traditional shanties focusing on current environmental crises in the making. A native of California, ground zero for the Earth Day movement in 1970, Kahn was raised to be environmentally minded and even a cursory glance at the dramatic climate disasters that are occurring across the globe at much more frequent interval is a clear inspiration for this record.

“In The Covid Times,” is the shortest, but most impactful track here with the most poignant and direct lyrics yet taking on the global pandemic (“I remember 2020 so well/When the fucking world ran out of luck/And the hinges broke on the gates of hell/It’s the year that Covid ran amuck”). The album closes on the sadly beautiful “Sundown,” another standout track. Deeper into the album he tackles pollution and the refugee crises. The album vacillates between taking a more serious tone and at times a humorous vibe, all delivered via Kahn’s remarkably strong vocals and a music style that seemingly manages to be both nostalgic and timeless at the same time.            

 

Music Reviewer - John Moore  

John B. Moore has been covering the seemingly disparate, but surprisingly complimentary genres of Americana and punk rock for the past 20 years.

Blurt/New Noise Magazine/InSite Atlanta/NeuFutur Magazine

twitter @jbmoore00

To Read All of John's Reviews, Click Here

 

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Music Review - `KIERAN RIDGE and THE MOONRAKERS ` by Kieran Ridge (jm)

KIERAN RIDGE and THE MOONRAKERS  (click on image to watch video)

 27 October 2021

 

Black

Boston-based Americana artist Kieran Ridge – with three records under his belt – started his latest project in the middle of the global pandemic. With a new band made up of talented locals, now dubbed The Moonrakers, Ridge and crew got to work on possibly his strongest effort yet.

Across nearly a dozen tracks, Kieran Ridge & The Moonrakers make nods to Dylan (“Blind In Time”), John Prine (“Wasted”) and a slew of other country/folk greats. The self-titled album opens on “The Last One To Know,” deftly showing off his picking style, striking a defiant tone with the lines “Love is silence/Love is death/Love don’t give a damn/A man seeks satisfaction anywhere he can.” But he is just as likely to sing of love and longing (“Straight To The Heart Of Love”). The standout track here, however,  is “Your Drifting Heart,” part Springsteen and Mellencamp with a chorus that stays with you long after the song is over. The album ends on “Close Your Eyes,” a song he initially recorded seven years ago. This newer arrangement is slower and more melancholy, without the constant drum rolls on the snare, making for a stronger emotional impact.     

The album – like all of his previous LPs – was produced and recorded by Ridge. There is a cohesiveness and immediacy to the songs here that was missing on some of his earlier records. Over the course of a decade, Ridge has settled into a stronger writer and more confident musician. The proof can be found all over his latest album.

  

 

Music Reviewer - John Moore  

John B. Moore has been covering the seemingly disparate, but surprisingly complimentary genres of Americana and punk rock for the past 20 years.

Blurt/New Noise Magazine/InSite Atlanta/NeuFutur Magazine

twitter @jbmoore00

To Read All of John's Reviews, Click Here

 

 


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Music Review - `Midnight Rain & Roses` by Luanne Hunt (jm)

Luanne Hunt- Midnight Rain & Roses (click on image to watch video)

 13 March 2022

 

Black

From the opening piano chords – with shades of Christi McVie and Fleetwood Mac - Luanne Hunt’s single “Midnight Rain & Roses” offers up an emotionally deep and affecting song about losing a partner to death. Lyrically, Hunt’s sings about a flawed 39-year-old man who died of cancer just days before Valentine’s Day, and his grieving partner who is brought right back to confronting his absence as flowers he ordered before his death arrive for the narrator. The track, with a clean, powerful electric guitar line snaking throughout, is a solid mix of classic rock with hints of Americana. It’s a remarkably touching song from Florida-based Hunt’s latest record, Portraits in Song, her 21st studio album.

Hunt, a 2016 inductee to the Independent Superstars Hall of Fame, has six American Songwriting Awards and three CD of the Year awards from the National Traditional Country Music Association.

“Midnight Rain & Roses” is just the latest example of Hunt’s deft knack for writing about very specific characters and plots that still manage to have universal familiarity. While musically the Fleetwood Mac influence is strong throughout the song, lyrically there are traces of everyone from Willie Nelson to Kris Kristofferson.

 

Music Reviewer - John Moore  

John B. Moore has been covering the seemingly disparate, but surprisingly complimentary genres of Americana and punk rock for the past 20 years.

Blurt/New Noise Magazine/InSite Atlanta/NeuFutur Magazine

twitter @jbmoore00

To Read All of John's Reviews, Click Here

 

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Music Review - `TRUE IS BEAUTIFUL' by RAVEIS KOLE (jm)

Raveis Kole- True is Beautiful (click on image to watch video)

 29 July 2021

 

Black

True to their previous efforts, the latest single from Raveis Kole, “True Is Beautiful,” is a wildly eclectic take on folk and Americana with a heavy emphasis on solid, smart lyrics. Digging in on classic metaphors, Laurie Raveis sings earnestly about a snake sneaking out of the garden and spitting out rotten apple seeds.

In one of the most compelling lyrics, she sings, “Flick fork tongue/pulls back your hair, whispers sweetly in your ear/Eat the young.” With a soulfully deep voice that evokes Carly Simon and Stevie Nicks at times, she sings of planting something beautiful instead, based on truth. The timeless message being that truth is beautiful. The vocals are backed by a brilliant mix of synth and piano, electric and acoustic guitar, accompanied by steady bass and drums. The music builds ands and crashes and builds back up again throughout, thanks to Raveis’s musical partner Dennis Kole and skilled session players who have worked with everyone from Brandi Carlile to Tori Amos and Tracy Chapman.

Since first coming together nearly a decade ago, Raveis Kole have released two albums and several singles. “True is Beautiful” is a product of the global pandemic with the duo recording the demo at home before finishing it up in studios in Nashville and Los Angeles a few months ago.   

 

Music Reviewer - John Moore  

John B. Moore has been covering the seemingly disparate, but surprisingly complimentary genres of Americana and punk rock for the past 20 years.

Blurt/New Noise Magazine/InSite Atlanta/NeuFutur Magazine

twitter @jbmoore00

To Read All of John's Reviews, Click Here

 

 


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