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“The Spirit of God and Madness” – Viper Central

“The Spirit of God and Madness” is a perfect example of the way music evolves. Viper Central started their musical life as a traditional bluegrass string band, but on their third album they’re pushing the bluegrass boundaries by incorporating some non-traditional elements into the mix. And there’s a pretty clear demarcation as well; the first half of the album features the more experimental... [Read more]

Henrik Freischlader UK tour news

It came as quite a surprise three years ago when Henrik Freischlader announced his retirement from performing. Fortunately for fans of great guitar playing it was less of a retirement and more of a sabbatical. 2016 saw the release of the album “Openness”, a tour with the trio format and Henrik Freischlader was back. So what does 2017  have in store for us? Well, quite a lot actually, with... [Read more]

“Growing Peaches in Oxfordshire” – Nik Barrell

Well, it’s an interesting idea, creating an album filled with only cheerful upbeat songs. Not only that, but Nik Barrell decided to record the entire album in one session using only acoustic instruments and no drums. That sounds like a pretty hard sell in world where the term singer-songwriter often means purveyor of melancholy confessionals, so  how successful is Nik Barrell in realising his... [Read more]

“Stripped Down Gussied Up” – Pierce Edens

There’s an expression that always rings alarm bells when I read it in connection with musicians: genre-bending. And have you ever heard anyone actually use the expression in conversation? Anyway it manages to insinuate itself in to the press release for the Pierce Edens album “Stripped Down Gussied Up”, which is as contradictory as the title suggests; the arrangements have been stripped back... [Read more]

“The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You” – The Reverend Shawn Amos

OK, let’s get this straight upfront; this is a good blues album. It covers a lot of the blues bases; you get slow blues, fast blues, funky blues, hints of gospel and some nice horns here and there. It’s an interesting listen and there’s nothing that makes you want to hit the skip button. It covers a lot of the ground that Robert Cray was covering in the late eighties/early nineties and the comparison... [Read more]