Reviews roundup – Laura Tate vs. Fiona Kennedy vs. TraumeR vs. Black Country Communion vs. Lina
Let’s Just Be Real
I remember “I Must Be Dreaming” from a couple of years back. I enjoyed her rootsy, jazzy, bluesy, soul tinged sound and now she’s back for another go.
And it’s another enjoyable release which sees her working in the sweet spot occupied by Bonnie Raitt and her ilk. It’s the fourth album from Ms Tate and the mixture of new songs and covers works well as she smokily works her way through a set of well arranged and performed material.
The musicians who’re along for the ride really have a feel for the music with the likes of producer and bass player Terry Wilson, Jeff Paris on piano, B3 and mandolin and some splendid brass work from Pauline Cera and Lee Thornberg putting in an excellent shift.
Ms Tate works best when the music slows down and she can fill the spaces, so songs like ‘Still Got The Blues’ work best. She also finds space for a rearranged run through of the Thin Lizzy classic ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ on what is a thoroughly enjoyable release.
Time To Fly
Aye, ah kent her faither (and her mammy). Such is the way of the Scot. But Fiona Kennedy Clark, OBE, DL has made her own way in the world of music and television. Just don’t mention the Eurovision Song Contest!
This is a long way from my beloved heedurum hodurum. As a boy partly brought up by my fiddle playing Great Uncle George there was a lot of that in my childhood but although this has Celtic tinges it’s a more mainstream meets Americana album that’s being offered up by Ms Kennedy. And it’s really good.
It’s mainly new material with a couple of choice covers thrown in, including a particularly evocative ‘Always On My Mind’, done as a duet with Ross Wilson, which reduced this newly widowed reviewer to tears. The album sees her collaborating with a fine selection of musicians and writers including record producer Calum Malcolm (The Blue Nile, Mark Knopfler), Beth Nielsen Chapman, Marcus Hummon, songwriter, guitarist & backing vocalist Calum MacColl (Eddi Reader, Black), bass player Simon Edwards (Talk Talk, Fairground Attraction), drummer Harry Mead (Dagny, Union J, Ronan Keating) and fiddle & whistle player John McCusker (Danny Thompson, Kate Rusby, Paul Weller).
So if it’s quality you’re looking for then this is the place to be with the gentle voice of Ms Kennedy always front and centre. The mix of folk, pop, country and seventies singer/songwriter hold together remarkably well on what has been one of my surprises of the year. A great album.
The Great Metal Storm
Time for some heavy fudgin’ metal. And we’re going to Brazil.
The last time I encountered TraumeR was when their “Avalon” album came out and I reckoned there take on power metal was pretty damn good.
And based on the principle that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it the splendidly titled “The Great Metal Storm” carries on in a similar vein. They’ve got the riffs, the widdly time changes and all the licks you would expect in this genre. They’re not adding anything new to it but they set about their task with reckless abandon and just get on with the metal.
The arrangements are strong and the keyboard work really pushes the material along. Songwise they’re not quite there yet with a few hohum songs but when they get things right, as they do on the likes of ‘Gates of Freedom’ they make a strong case for being a band to keep an eye on.
BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION
Over My Head
By now you should all have bought your copy of “BCCIV” which is one of the best hard rock albums of the year by far.
If somehow you’ve failed to do that then the band are pushing ‘Over My Head’ as the follow up single to the stonking ‘Collide’.
This is a more traditional hard rock song which heads straight down the middle of mid-tempo seventies rock. It’s not as dynamic as the lead single but should be enough to convince anyone foolish enough not to have ponied up for the album yet. So get your finger out.
Can’t Keep Falling
I missed out on this one when it came out a few months back. Well I’d just been told my wife was going to die so I was a bit caught up.
But I’ve dug it now as it’s just been announced that Lina will be supporting girl group Little Mix on their upcoming UK & Ireland leg of The Glory Days Tour for all 37 arena dates from October-November 2017.
So this could be a good time for Lina who “made history” in 2013 by becoming the very first American-Palestinian to win The Voice Israel. Granted, this could be just about any teen pop single. The sort of thing that would have been a hit three or four years back, but which the likes of Simon Cowell probably think is cutting edge pop.
She’s got a decent enough voice and if the screaming pre-teens aren’t to busy buying slushes and Little Mix brand bobble hats then she might manage to push on through.