Category Archives: Album reviews

Bell X1: Arms

Bell X1 | Arms

“As the world feels like it’s becoming a harsher place,” says Bell X1 singer Paul Noonan, “we seek out the comfort of the familiar and familial…arms.”

And comfort is exactly what the Irish trio’s seventh studio album offers. Despite being described by the frontman as the most difficult record they’ve made, ‘Arms’ is their warmest, most welcoming yet.

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Kenny Wayne Shepherd: Lay It On Down

Kenny Wayne Shepherd | Lay It On Down

Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s not one for coasting. On the road, his everyday runabout is a pimped-out 2010, supercharged Dodge Challenger SRT-8. And in the studio, eight albums into a solo career, he’s still pushing himself as a singer, guitarist, and songwriter.

“I wanted each song to really stand on its own with the songwriting, the music, the words,” he says of his latest LP, ‘Lay It On Down’.

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Joe Bonamassa: Live At Carnegie Hall – An Acoustic Evening

(Photo credit: Christie Goodwin)

Joe Bonamassa | Live At Carnegie Hall – An Acoustic Evening

If you’ve released as many live albums as Joe Bonamassa – 14 at last count – you can’t get away with recreating your biggest songs note for note to a room of cheering fans. That’s just a second-rate greatest hits album and/or a blatant cash-in. Bonamassa clearly knows that. So each of his concert recordings is different – whether it be the setlist, the backing musicians, the guitar solos, the arrangements, the historic venue, or the instrumentation. In the case of ‘Live At Carnegie Hall – An Acoustic Evening’ it’s all of the above.

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Duncan Lloyd: I O U O M E

Duncan Lloyd’s been busy. Within a month of his band, Maximo Park, releasing their sixth album, the guitarist is back with his latest solo outing.

But this is no slapdash EP thrown together from off-cuts that didn’t make the grade for the Park’s ‘Risk To Exit’. A 10-track collection of propulsive, emotionally charged songs this is a fully fledged album that perfectly complements the output of his day job.

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Little Steven: Soulfire

Little Steven | Soulfire

Eighteen years is a long time between albums. But Stevie Van Zandt has an excuse – or four. Apart from his acting gigs on ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Lilyhammer’, hosting the weekly radio show ‘Little Steven’s Underground Garage’, and working to restore music education in disadvantaged schools, he’s been a little busy as Bruce Springsteen’s right-hand man.

After spending much of the past two decades, and as recently as February, out on the road in the E Street Band, the guitarist is now going it alone once more. And, quite fittingly, he’s chosen to do so with new recordings of songs that span his entire five-decade career as musician, songwriter, record label owner, arranger, and producer.

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Thomas Wynn & The Believers: Wade Waist Deep

Thomas Wynn & The Believers | Wade Waist Deep

Thomas and Olivia Wynn never stood a chance – music is in their blood. The children of a Florida music legend who made his name as the original drummer of ‘70s stalwarts Cowboy, they were destined to follow him into the scene. And while Eric Clapton hasn’t covered one of their songs, as he did with their dad’s ‘Please Be With Me’, on the evidence of ‘Wade Waist Deep’ that can’t be far off.

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Imelda May: It’s a sin what we’ve done to love

Imelda May | Life. Love. Flesh. Blood

Imelda May isn’t the first. From ‘Blood On The Tracks’ reflecting Bob Dylan’s crumbling marriage to the death of Sting’s parents casting a shadow over ‘The Soul Cages’, real life has a way of working its way into a musician’s work. But never before has it brought about as striking a transformation as on ‘Life. Love. Flesh. Blood’.

Gone is a marriage of 18 years. Gone is that hair. And, most importantly, gone is that big-band-swing rockabilly sound, replaced by something far more intimate, restrained – and powerful.  

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