Country Update Album Reviews

BOB WEIR BLUE MOUNTAIN

It’s been 38 years since Heaven Help the Fool Grateful Dead guitarist/vocalist Weir’s last solo studio album and although his regular band are certainly worthy of being considered roots music pioneers, Blue Mountain is probably the closest any member has come to recording anything resembling country music since their classic...

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Rhiannon Giddens

FREEDOM HIGHWAY The title track, written and originally made famous by the Staple Singers in 1965, was released as a first single. Giddens shared a statement about Freedom Highway that she wrote the day after the election: “I am a daughter of the South; of the white working class, of the...

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LIAM GERNER LIAM GARNER & THE SUNSET PUSHERS

Liam Gerner can really write songs. At heart he’s a country songwriter – and a very fine one. No lesser a figure than Ryan Bingham said: “Liam is an extraordinary musician. Both as a songwriter and performer Liam is a force to be reckoned with.” This album is the first recorded...

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JAMES STEWART KEENE CHARM OFFENSIVE

The follow-up to breakout debut LP The Navigator (2014) finds Wollongong-based country-rock powerhouse James Stewart Keene in his finest festival-ready fettle to date: look no further than infectious single ‘Ready to Please’. From the tearing guitars and thudding bass of ‘Charm Offensive’ to earthy workingman’s plaint ‘Coal Town’, the hard-rocking...

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CHRIS MATTHEWS HELL WEST & CROOKED

Kununurra troubadour and for last 11 years the resident musician at the iconic El Questro Resort in the East Kimberley – Chris Matthews has a sound and beaming personality that has been supremely shaped and moulded by his stunning surrounds and a life on the road. His new recording Hell West...

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MATT JOE GOW SEVEN YEARS

Seven years since sowing the seeds with consummate debut The Messenger (2009) (with band The Dead Leaves), Dunedin-raised, Melbourne-based songsmith Matt Joe Gow returns to thresh the wheat with this, his third full-length outing. The local alt. country scene of today is a bounteous field for the reaping, and Gow...

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JAMIE KENT ALL AMERICAN MUTT

Jamie Kent closed out 2016 with his single ‘All American Mutt’ one of the 25 Best Country Songs of 2016 according to Rolling Stone. Marissa Moss wrote, “Packed with a funky vamp, splashes of fast-picking twang and a pop sensibility that Jason Mraz would admire, Kent focuses on the differences that...

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DAWES  WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE

Since their arrival on the scene with their 2009 debut North Hills, and having already worked with both Jackson Brown, and Robbie Robertson, LA’s  Dawes have been heralded as the rightful successors to southern California’s literate folk/country rock crown and after four impressive albums and an exhausting touring schedule no-one...

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TIM McDONALD LIFE WORTH LIVIN’

Tim McDonald is an elite, Yamaha endorsed piano player based in Nashville, who has toured the world manning keys for Hank Williams Jr, Olivia Newton-John, Mark Chesnutt, Blake Shelton, Johnny Hiland, Cory Morrow, Byron Berline, Josh Gracin, and Steve Holy. Additionally Tim has had the honour to perform with guitar...

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CRUISIN’ DEUCES INTRODUCING, THE REV. DR. Z’S CRUISIN’ DEUCES

Spearheaded by talented siblings Zane (lead guitar/vocals) and Jy-Perry Banks (pedal steel/acoustic guitar), Sydney’s Cruisin’ Deuces are a class act: an erudite vintage country collective, super-saturated with all the rodeo-suited, crystal-studded string-tie showmanship of Bakersfield’s mid-60s golden age. The band’s debut mini-album delivers on every live promise, showcasing so much...

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