Austin Lucas, Clay Parker and Jodi James & Aaron Lee Tasjan

The first half of 2018 gave us a lot of great music and the latter half isn’t looking any worse. Here’s a quick look of three albums that I’m extremely excited about.

First there’s the new Austin Lucas album Immortal Americans that is due out August 17th on Cornelius Chapel Records (who are having a really strong year btw, Caleb Caudle and Will Stewart albums are some of my favourites of the year and the one song I’ve heard from Leon III was really good as well). I love Austin Lucas and I’m sure this new album is going to be special. The first outtake from the forthcoming album that Austin co-produced with Will Johnson is this gorgeous title track Immortal Americans.

Austin Lucas Website

Next up is the new Clay Parker and Jodi James album The Lonesomest Sound that Can Sound that will be released on the 20th of July. I’ve had the chance to hear this and I absolute love this. In fact, it’s been the album that I’ve listened to by far the most during the past month and I can’t get enough of it. I was really into the Clay Parker solo Queen City Blues last year and if possible this one is is even better, because it has the both of them singing together in perfect harmony. Oh my how I could listen to Jodi and Clay sing together all day long. This will be their year.

Oh and bonus points for the fact that I actually first heard them singing together at the great Couch by Couchwest festival and I’ve been following them since that day. Oh how great way that was to find new music, if you were into things like americana, folk and country. Anyway, here’s an old video of a great song Gallows Tree that will also be on the new album. More about Clay and Jodi when the albums hits the stores and our hearts on the 20th of July.

Clay Parker and Jodi James Website

And last but not least, there’s a new Aaron Lee Tasjan album on the horizon. Karma For Cheap will be released by New West Records on the 31st of August. Check out the first outtake If Not Now When from the forthcoming album below and start counting days to the release. ALT also has a new weekly Spotify playlist called Karma Jukebox. I recommend that as well, because besides being an excellent songwriter and musician, he is always recommending and sharing music from other artists and I love that. He is a good guy and has a good taste and I’ve picked a few based on his recommendations. Like the excellent Harrison Whitford album early in the year.

Aaron Lee Tasjan Website

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Matt Dorrien – In The Key of Grey

The people who took a look at that mid-year list I posted the other day are aware that my absolute favorite songs of the year so far are Matt Dorrien’s I Can’t Remember and All I Wanted To Say. They are both outtakes from this wonderful album In The Key of Grey that came out on Mama Bird Recording Co on the 18th of May. It’s a charming piano-driven album that echoes the work of Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman and Brian Wilson and goes even further into history to The Great American Songbook era. The whole album is a treasure, but those two songs I mentioned above are the standouts for me. I can just feel the deep pain and burning loneliness in every note. I Can’t Remember probably hits even another level of heartbreak due to the fact that I live here in the north. I passionately hate Finland in December, because the sun sets around 3 or 4 pm and the only chance to see the daylight is through the factory window. It’s dark when I go to work and it’s dark when I get back home. So perhaps that’s another reason why the chorus where the love disappears like the sun in December feels overwhelming in its longing intensity. However, it’s not really the sadness and the melancholy of it that gets stuck in the heart of the listener. The overwhelming sadness collides with a deep-seated warmness and gentle timeless beauty and the album turns out to be a very kind and comforting companion. In The Key Of Grey is one of my favourite albums of the year so far.

Matt Dorrien Website

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Mid-Year Round-Up. Favourite Albums, EPs and Songs of 2018 so far

Time for some pointless music lists. Oh dear how much great music has already been released during the year. I tried to do a quick a mid-year list of the music that has mattered to me during the 1st of half of the year, but it proved to be a difficult task. These lists turned out to be rather long, but still could have easily been twice as long. Not to mention all the stuff I either forgot or haven’t even heard yet. For example I just bought the new John Prine yesterday and haven’t even really listened to it before. So this list happened a bit too soon for that one. There’s lots of other ones too. So little time, so much wonderful music. Anyway, here are some albums, EPs and songs that I’ve fallen in love with during the first half of the year. One reissue as well. Don’t think I’ve even bought other ones, but hey it’s such a magnificent one that it deserves its own category. These are in alphabetical order, except the first one in each category is the one that I love the most at the moment. Anyway, it’s finally time to stop these silly ramblings and it’s time to let the music of Lauren O’Connell lead the way to my favourite music of 2018 so far.

ALBUMS – INTERNATIONAL

Lauren O’Connell – Details

American Aquarium – Things Change (New West)
Andrew Bryant – Ain’t It Like The Cosmos (Last Chance)
Buffalo Gospel – On The First Bell
Caleb Caudle – Crushed Coins (Cornelius Chapel)
Clint Michigan – Centuries (Kiam)
Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain (Mama Bird / Fat Possum / Loose)
Damien Jurado – The Horizon Just Laughed (Secretly Canadian)
Daniel Markham – Hyperspeed
Erin Rae – Putting On Airs (Single Lock)
H.C. McEntire – Lionheart (Merge)
Haley Heynderickx – I Need To Start A Garden (Mama Bird)
Harrison Whitford – Afraid of Everything
Jennifer Castle – Angels of Death (Paradise of Bachelors / Idée Fixe)
John Calvin Abney – Coyote (Black Mesa)
Matt Dorrien – In The Key Of Grey (Mama Bird)
Michael Feuerstack – Natural Weather (Forward Music)
Neko Case – Hell On (ANTI-)
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – Years (Bloodshot)
Sloan – 12 (Yep Roc)
Will Stewart – County Seat (Cornelius Chapel)

Bonus picks are the two Daniel Romano albums Human Touch & Nerveless that were only available in January, but both are awesome. Especially Human Touch.

ALBUMS – FINLAND

Jukka Nousiainen – Ei enää kylmää eikä pimeää (Jukan Musiikki)

Litku Klemetti – Taika tapahtuu (Luova)
The New Tigers – Do Xao (Soliti)
Topi Saha – Lopunajan rakastavaiset (Warner)
Tuomas Palonen – Tuomas Palonen (Palatsi)

EPS

Ian Noe – Off This Mountaintop (Ok, actually December 2017, but I love it)

Evan Cheadle – Chasing Shadows
Sera Cahoone – Flora String Sessions
William Matheny – Moon Over Kenova

REISSUES

Pat Ament – Songs By Pat Ament (Grapefruit)

SONGS – INTERNATIONAL

Matt Dorrien – I Can’t Remember and/or All I Wanted To Say

Andrew Bryant – Night Wants the Moon
Anna Tivel – Dust and Magic
Austin Lucas – Immortal Americans
Buckley – Bakersfield
Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain and/or Took You Up
Damien Jurado – Over Rainbows and Rainier
Daniel Markham – Velvet Elvis
Dogwood Tales – Spiritless Machine
Erin Rae – Wild Blue Wind
Goodnight, Texas – Laramie
H.C. McEntire – When You Come For Me
Haley Heynderickx – Untitled God Song
Jeremy Squires – Gift
John Calvin Abney – Always Enough
Lauren O’Connell – Superimposed (or all first four songs or Out of Focus or Build Yourself)
Lucy Dacus – Night Shift
Michael Feuerstack – Jerome & I and/or Love Is All Around
Nap Eyes – Sage
Olympic Symphonium – Careful
Randolph’s Leap – Television
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – Parting Words
The Village Ordinary – Partly Cloudy

SONGS – FINLAND

Topi Saha – Valo tulee alhaalta

Iron Country Sisters – Go Slow
Kuumat siivet – Itke hänet pois
Lac Belot – D’n’A
Penniless – The Great Marquis

You’ll find these songs (except a few that aren’t on Spotify) on that 2018 playlist that is located in the top left corner of the menu bar. There are lots of more songs too that could be easily be on this list.

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John Moreland – Slow Down Easy, John Calvin Abney – Get Your House In Order & Iron Country Sisters – Go Slow

I’m back home from the great STHLM Americana festival. It was a good reminder of how much I love that music and both the people who write it and the people who listen to it. Somehow it also gave me a boost to continue this silly onechord adventure, because like the readers know I’ve had an ongoing battle with myself for several years about the relevance of this and whether there’s any point to do it anymore, if I don’t have the energy to do it as well as I would like to. Right now continuing makes more sense than it has for a rather long time. So thanks for that STHLM Americana. Nothing will happen this week though, because it’s midsummer next weekend and my day job mostly consists of packing potatoes. So at least Finns can fully understand that my only goal at the moment is to just survive this work week. Blog has to wait. But a quick video post before that.

My main goal for the festival was to see John Moreland and John Calvin Abney play together and the charismatic duo both just dropped their new music videos a day before the festival. First we have John Moreland’s new video Slow Down Easy. It’s one of the highlights of his 2017 album Big Bad Luv and Bobby Dean Orcutt and Clay Flores have made a beautiful and moving video that do justice to the magnificent song and if possible even lifts it to a new level.

John Moreland Website

Next up is John Calvin Abney who backs John Moreland on stage, but is also a great songwriter himself. One of the best parts of the trip was to meet John Calvin Abney for the first time, because we have been friends on this internet-thingy for some years and it was nice to finally meet in person too. John Calvin Abney has a new beautiful album called Coyote out on Black Mesa Records. Here’s the new video for album outtake Get Your House In Order.

John Calvin Abney Website

And finally something new from Finland as well. This isn’t exactly STHLM Americana related, but it’s a great song that I’ve been meaning to post for a few weeks. Plus they mention John Moreland as an influence on their website and if I’m not completely mistaken, the lead singer of this song was also waiting in the same hot staircase as I was in order to get into the Södra Teatern to see the two Johns above play their hearts out. But yeah, it’s the new single from the Finnish roots-influenced trio Iron Country Sisters. I saw them first time when they supported Daniel Romano a couple of years ago. They sang their way into my heart on that concert and I have been following closely ever since. They are currently working on their debut full-length album that should see the light of day in fall 2018. I’m extremely eager to hear that later in the year. Meanwhile I’ll keep on listening this latest single Go Slow over and over again.

Iron Country Sisters Website

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Michael Feuerstack – Natural Weather, Claude Munson – The Silence Came After & Isaac Vallentin – Amateur

A small trip to Canada on these current round-up posts of things that have mattered to me during the last months.

First we have the new Michael Feuerstack album Natural Weather that came out on Forward Music Group on the 25th of May. It’s beautiful, inspiring and heartwarming. Instantly enjoyable, but also continues to reveal more and more about the songs (and in some magical way about the listener too) with each listening session. Sometimes filled with sadness, always filled with heart. This is the album opener Love Is All Around.

Michael Feuerstack Website

Next up is Claude Munson from Ottawa whose persuasive new album The Silence Came After came out on the 18th of May. Maybe his impressionistic folk is not the closest match with my taste, but somehow I was immediately hooked when I heard this song Saluted By The Light Outside. Such a sad and beautiful song and the whole album is equally intriquing and rewarding.

Claude Munson Website

Last gathering on this little Canadian tour of sophisticated folk and pop music will be held in the comfort of the new Isaac Vallentin album Amateur. It’s a very ambitious and artistic pop album that doesn’t play it safe. Therefore it might even step out of my comfort zone a couple of times, but it’s not an issue. Better to be somewhat unique than somewhat boring (I should take that back though, because I currently hold the lead in the most boring man in the universe race). A song or two reminds me a bit of Andy Shauf. Anyway, let’s stop this nonsense blog entry by being Loudest in the Universe.

Isaac Vallentin Website

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Damien Jurado – The Horizon Just Laughed, Jennifer Castle – Angels of Death & Goodnight, Texas – Conductor

Continuing the quick round-up kind of posts of albums that I’ve loved during the past months.

The new Damien Jurado album The Horizon Just Laughed is out now on Secretly Canadian and it’s tremendous. I wasn’t that much into the previous trilogy, but I was hooked into this one the minute I heard the first outtake Over Rainbows and Rainier. Here’s the latest music video for another great track Percy Faith.

Damien Jurado Website

One should write a novel about this Jennifer Castle album Angels of Death and not just quickly share a song. She is a magnificent Canadian songwriter and this album was co-released by couple of my favourite labels Paradise of Bachelors and Idee Fixe Records on the 18th of May. Death, grief and our temporality wrapped inside moving country-soul songs. This is Texas from the new Jennifer Castle album.

Jennifer Castle Website

Then awkwardly obvious transition from a song called Texas to the new Goodnight, Texas album Conductor. To be honest, I still have a bit of listening to do here, because I usually get stuck at listening to this wonderful song Laramie over and over again and never get around to fully introduce my heart to the whole album. I’m almost obsessed with this song. Anyway, Goodnight, Texas are an americana band led by Avi Vinocur and Patrick Dyer Wolf and the album Conductor came out on the 6th of April.

Goodnight, Texas Website

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