23/30 country folk rock

william tyler & the impossible truth – secret stratosphere

Psychedelia is always at risk of either getting lost in the abstract or enclosing itself in a single mind.

29/30 country folk revisited review

the roches – the roches (1979)

The writing hits like an inner monologue down a small-town street: heel taps, lamp-swings, and finger clicks.

24/30 country rock

plains – i walked with you a ways

Plains is the duo project of Waxahatchee and Jess Williamson. Several comments I’ve seen have insisted that this record is ‘pretty, but nothing special’. I disagree. IWWYAW certainly cooks to a recipe, but the final product is a meticulous, poignant collection of country tracks. Yes, I’ll be taking the boomer line that you don’t need […]

23/30 americana country folk rock

lee bains + the glory fires – old-time folks

Lee Bains seems to write like it’s physical exercise. Having negotiated the hegemonic politics of the South with his own views, the singer-songwriter sounds assertive and assured. Although the album does lack its own unique school of thought, The Glory Fires’ energetic drive aligns with Bains’ gushing words to form a high-octane road trip across […]

23/30 country

linda martell – color me country (remastered)

One of the most quietly important records of 1970 has been remastered. Linda Martell’s name will be significant to those who know it, as the first commercially successful black, female country artist. At the time, the economic risk of giving a black voice a contract was negotiated with the rise of Charley Pride; ‘Color Me […]

23/30 country folk indie/alternative singer-songwriter

angel olsen – big time

Because of the expected, exquisite vocal performance and tight instrumental accompaniment, ‘Big Time’ is deceptively weighty. Olsen’s precise country twang infects her players and glazes the record in nostalgia. Looking back with fidelity appears to be the artist’s aim: it’s a deeply-fought epistemic and emotional position. As such, the tracks take on a tone of […]

27/30 country folk revisited review

the louvin brothers – satan is real (1959)

The Louvin Brothers exquisitely harmonised messages of sin on their most devout record. Born out of the Great Depression, the two experienced a spectrum of turmoil and gaily prophesized the macabre beliefs that beat in their hearts. Ira Louvin could have died two years before the car crash that took him in 1965: his wife […]

30/30 country revisited review rock singer-songwriter

lucinda williams – car wheels on a gravel road (1998)

With not a component out of place, CWOAGR unveiled the Southern world in which its singer loved and lived. The record was not made through the seamless beauty with which it arrived: it was hard-fought, re-thought, and endured. With a spiky purr, Lucinda spoke of life plainly and perfectly, while the colourful imagery she planted […]

20/30 country indie/alternative rock

camp cope – running with the hurricane

The Australian all-female rock group returns after a Covid-induced hiatus with a reflective new sound. Lead singer Maq’s previously biting, angsty style that focused heavily on industry sexism has shifted towards introspective lyrics and 00s pop-country pastiche. The sonic experimentation pays off on highlights such as ‘Blue’, where band-backed vocal harmonies and intensely vulnerable lyrics […]