po' girl

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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...

Patty Griffin: Children Running Through (Shock)

Patty Griffin: Children Running Through (Shock)

Exceptional. Griffin defies convenient categories: she can convincingly deliver an ethereal ballad, persuasive soul-funk like a Boho Beat, intense country with Emmylou Harris, abrasive and sneering rock which is as vengeful and as score-settling about a former lover as Dylan's Positively 4th Street . . . And those are just the first four...

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...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007 Iron and Wine: The Shepherd's Dog (SunPop/Rhythmethod)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007 Iron and Wine: The Shepherd's Dog (SunPop/Rhythmethod)

Sam Beam -- who is Iron and Wine -- really sounds like he has hits his stride with this exceptional, engaging and folkadelic outing, and he's achieved that by just continuing on the same, mildly eccentric and determined path as he has taken on his previous albums and EPs. This time however the songs sound more full and fully formed, the array...

Jenny Owen Youngs: Batten the Hatches (Shock)

Jenny Owen Youngs: Batten the Hatches (Shock)

This album has floated to the top of the pile quite frequently in the past three months and it has only been distractions which have meant it hasn't made an appearance here earlier. Let's rectify that oversight and tell you what prompted it: a line I saw somewhere which said that if KT Tunstall could be big why not this woman. Fair point....

Arthur and Yu: In Camera (Stomp)

Arthur and Yu: In Camera (Stomp)

On a first hearing I thought this would have been the album that Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood might have made if Nancy had been more like Elizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched and Lee more like Karl Wallinger from World Party. Sort of pop but not, as it were. There is a dreamy and disconcerting quality to much of this pairing of Seattle's...

Delgirl: two, maybe three, days ride (Yellow Eye)

Delgirl: two, maybe three, days ride (Yellow Eye)

This Dunedin-based, folk-country three-piece of Deidre Newall, Erin Morton and Lynn Vare impressed with an earlier EP Live at the Wunderbar which hinted at something special, but wasn't quite strong enough to be placed on Elsewhere. But that promise has come with this album of close harmony, suggestions of alt.country and Polynesia,...

Jolie Holland: the living and the dead (Anti)

Jolie Holland: the living and the dead (Anti)

There are no liner notes on the advance copy of this album I received some weeks back, but it would be interesting to speculate which of these songs from this San Francisco-based singer-songwriter were penned while on a writing retreat in New Zealand: the  throwaway Enjoy Yourself ("it's later than you think") at the end perhaps...

Marianne Dissard: L'entredeux (TEM/Border)

Marianne Dissard: L'entredeux (TEM/Border)

Given that this album was produced by Calexico's Joey Burns (who also wrote the music) this one comes as something of a surprise: you might have anticipated some kind of alt.Americana. There is something of that in the music and arrangements in places, but Dissard vocals (all in French) have that whispered, intimate, beguiling quality of the...

MARIANNE DISSARD INTERVIEWED (2009): The Tucson chanteuse

MARIANNE DISSARD INTERVIEWED (2009): The Tucson chanteuse

Marianne Dissard is a woman whose music confounds expectations, yet there is an impeccable logic to it: she is French but lives in Tucson, so there is an almost inevitable marriage of chanson and Americana on her album L’entredeux which was produced by Joey Burns of Calexico, who also wrote the music which envelops and supports...

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...

Delgirl: Porchlight (Yellow Eye)

Delgirl: Porchlight (Yellow Eye)

This trio from Dunedin impressed on their debut album two, maybe three, days ride which saw them nominated for a Tui award and, as I noted at that time, it was a real step up from their first EP. This even better album -- 15 tracks -- confirms what I have always believed, the more you work (ie play, perform and record) the chances are the...

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...

Moriarty: Gee Whiz but this is a Lonesome Town (Carte!l/Border)

Moriarty: Gee Whiz but this is a Lonesome Town (Carte!l/Border)

In an odd reversal of the journey Marianne Dissard took -- from France to Arizona to create Fanco-alt.country -- this group fronted by Rosemary Moriarty out of Ohio (they are Ramones-like all called Moriarty) have an established following in France where they reside for their alt.country, old time folk. With harmonica, double bass, acoustic...

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...

Karen Elson: The Ghost Who Walks (XL)

Karen Elson: The Ghost Who Walks (XL)

As you may already know, Karen Elson from England comes with a number of black marks against her on this debut album: she was a model (and no one takes them seriously, huh?) and her husband is Jack White (Stripes). Still, Carla Bruni made better albums than most would like to give her credit for -- and we shouldn't hold her marriage against...

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...

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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