The west coast of Scotland has always had a close and often adoring relationship with Americana culture, particularly the imagery and music of classic rock ‘n’ roll and country and western. From Roy Rodgers and Trigger staying at Glasgow’s Central Hotel and the legend of Elvis landing at Prestwick Airport, through legendary nights at The Grand Ole Opry, Rock Garden and Blackfriars, and with generations dressed in clothes from Flip, the fascination with these two strands of US culture endure, with arguably no one capturing the love affair better than John Byrne with his classic TV shows Tutti Frutti and Your Cheatin’ Heart.
The current Scottish music scene, and Glasgow’s in particular, suggests this rockabilly romance shows no sign of slowing down any time soon, and Holy Smokes Records are central to the best of what is going on. Recent releases have included excellent albums and EPs from The Strange Blue Dreams, Les Johnson & Me, Awkward Family Portraits and Harry And The Hendersons, each one worthy of your attention. Continue reading
2017 has produced great music of all shapes, sizes and sounds, but the singer/songwriter has had a particularly fine year. Albums by Mark W Georgsson, Siobhan Wilson, Annie Booth, Stephen McLaren, and Blue Rose Code (ne: Ross Wilson) have proved to be among the better records of the year, and the recent Autumnal releases have continued this trend. So much so that this latest review is a bit of a singer/songwriter special, with a couple of bands sneaking in at the end for balance.
Glasgow is the latest album from Findlay Napier, whose work I hope is familiar to most readers, but if it isn’t then Glasgow is the perfect place to start. Known as one of the finest folk writers and musicians around, this is a record which seems more personal than previous work, and is all the more powerful for it. It’s a place where folk meets indie in a mood of celebration and reflection, and aside from his original compositions there are covers of two Glaswegian classics – Hamish Imlach’s ‘Cod Liver Oil & The Orange Juice’, and The Blue Nile’s ‘A Walk Across The Rooftops’. It’s as if someone had told him what I want for Christmas. Continue reading