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Po' Girl: Vagabond Lullabies (Shock)

Po' Girl: Vagabond Lullabies (Shock)

This is an unusual one: the Po' Girls seem to be a fairly flexible line-up which includes Trish Klein of the Be Good Tanyas (who have featured at Elsewhere previously). So there is a touch of the Tanyas' alt.folk and country stylings about this album, but there is also much more. They haul in Cajun fiddle, some lazily delivered Beat poetry...

Po' Girl: Home To You (Shock)

Po' Girl: Home To You (Shock)

The previously posted Po' Girl album Vagabond Lullabies was actually a few years old and only given belated release in this country. But it was too good to ignore, and allowed me to set you up for this new one by the one-time trio (now-quartet on the cover photo, but a quintet in the credits!) of rootsy singers from Canada which includes Trish...

The Wailin' Jennys: Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House (Shock)

The Wailin' Jennys: Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House (Shock)

On the release of their Firecracker album a couple of years back I noted that you'd be forgiven for getting burn-out on this whole old-time country music sung authentically by people who are probably middle-class and well educated. Still, people like Gillian Welch do it so well, and you don't want to open up that whole "can white people...

Dave Rawlings Machine: A Friend of a Friend (Acony)

Dave Rawlings Machine: A Friend of a Friend (Acony)

The quiet and often largely invisible power beside Gillian Welch, guitarist/singer-songwriter Rawlings here comes into the spotlight with a collection of folk-country and alt.folk-rock songs which would mostly not fit Welch's canon but here have an understated charm of their own. They still possess some of that old time quality which has...

The Watson Twins: Talking to You, Talking to Me (EMI)

The Watson Twins: Talking to You, Talking to Me (EMI)

This album might be surprisingly short -- a mere 33 minutes -- but it represents a significant and reasonably impressive shift in direction for Chandra and Leigh Watson who here call on friends from My Morning Jacket and Everest for an album that is by turns moody bluesy and soulful, all delivered with a pop economy. The folk and rootsy...

Frazey Ford: Obadiah (Nettwerk/Shock)

Frazey Ford: Obadiah (Nettwerk/Shock)

Ford was one of the key voices in the Be Good Tanyas, but since they have disbanded she is now out on her own with this debut solo album -- and quite some quiet piece of work it is. Things really start to grip a few tracks in when you identify the idiom: despite the banjo on the lead-off track Firecracker, this is no recreation of backwoods...

Jolie Holland and the Grand Chandeliers: Pint of Blood (Anti)

Jolie Holland and the Grand Chandeliers: Pint of Blood (Anti)

This being Holland's first album since 2008's excellent The Living and the Dead, it naturally arrives much anticipated. But while some have suggested it harkens back to her style on the very popular Escondida of '04, to these ears it sounds the natural extension of its predecessor. She again has the same producer Shahzad Ismaily, her songs...

The Watson Twins: Southern Manners (Shock)

The Watson Twins: Southern Manners (Shock)

Earlier this year twins Chandra and Leigh Watson appeared with Jenny Lewis on the damn fine album Rabbit Fur Coat which was sort of neo-trad.country, if there is such a thing. Their voices were more than just counterpoint or harmony to Lewis, as this album proves. Imagine the Everly Sisters singing alt.country and pedal steel-coloured indie...

The Wailin' Jennys: Firecracker (Factor)

The Wailin' Jennys: Firecracker (Factor)

You can have too much of a good thing: like the slew of Cuban albums which followed the success of the Buena Vista Social Club. After a while it all just got too much and you lived in fear that yet another tiny record company would discover it too had a bunch of old Cubans in its back-catalogue. It's much the same with "that old-time...

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