section of the site is being substantially upgraded (!) at the moment.
For the moment,we've added the sections below & will be adding more in
the coming weeks. Watch this space (as we're reliably informed, 'they'
[the AcoustiCity playlist]
what's floating our boat at the moment; recent releases getting some
serious play at AcoustiCity HQ.
[below the radar]
|great performers you may not
catch in the mainstream media.
Christmas 07 picks - AcoustiCity performers
For the benefit of those not on the AcoustiCity gig mailing list,
these were the new albums from performers at the gig occupying
space on the AcoustiCity ipod just before Chrismas 07. Very good they
are indeed; Christmas may be gone but it's always a good time to treat
yourself or the deserving music fan in your life.
her 2nd album,
Fingers & Thumbs
Polly Paulusma dresses her highly articulate songs &
expressive breathy voice in from more diverse sonic wardrobe of
jangling & distorted guitars and keyboards in addition to acoustic
guitar & piano of her debut release. There’s no shying away from
sensitive issues from global politics to pregnancy and this album gets
better with every listen.
Any Trouble’s new album
Life in Reverse comes a mere 25 years since their
last! Dominated by the songs, singing & playing of front man (&
Clive Gregson, the band format gives a harder edged sound
than Clive’s solo show hinting at numerous classic pop sources but
somehow managing never to be derivative. Any Trouble were at the heart
of the original Pub Rock scene & as you might expect they still bring
to mind the music of contemporaries Joe Jackson, Squeeze & Elvis
AloneMe have made a densely layered & unashamedly pop album
but the driving acoustic heart of the band, songwriting duo
Dave Booth & Sarah Springett, are still much in evidence & it’s full
of irresistibly hummable hooks.
Jim Moray - Jim Moray
portrayed Ziggy Startdust style on the cover of his 2nd full length
album & there's something of the playful bombast of glam rock about
some of the arrangements including the outstanding orchestral pomp of
Lord Willougby. There is an evident delight in track
sequencing, textures & their juxtaposition making repeated listens a
delight as Moray wraps his distinctive, nasal vocals &,sometimes
extreme, arrangements of English folksong in vocabulary which would
seem familiar to Coldplay or Travis listeners.
Steve Tilston – Of Many Hands
Stuffed with his signature tumbling acoustic guitar hooks & easy
vocals Steve Tilston here revisits traditional folk
classics in the esteemed company of Martin Simpson (slide guitar),
Chris Parkinson (accordion), Nancy Kerr (fiddle, viola) & others.
The set evokes the feel of an confident live performance with mood
varying from intimate & intense on One Night as I Lay in my Bed
to many upbeat pieces includig an almost perversely jaunty Barbry Allen.
It is refreshing to see in depth sleeve notes with comment &
provenance on the set which mixes new spins on perhaps over familiar
pieces such & The Leaving of Liverpool & Spencer the Rover
with less commonly heard pieces such as Captain Ward.
|Lou Rhodes -
Lamb vocalist Lou Rhodes goes acoustic with a vengeance. A simply
exquisite album of rich layered, organic textures which improves with
every listening. We have nothing more to say... just go & buy it; you
won't regret it.
below the radar
The Songs of Bob Rafkin
If you like the live sound of Tom Pacheco, John Prine or Tom Russell
there’s a good chance you’ll love these 12 road tested & refined
regulars from Rafkin’s live set.
Stripped back to just voice & acoustic guitar,
the deceptively simple & casually accomplished songs have space to
breathe & hint at jazz, ragtime, blues, country rock & folk rather
than beating you about the ears with full band arrangements.
Rafkin’s nimble & sweet toned finger picking is
much in evidence. The arrangements make original and subtle yet
powerful settings for the endearing mid-pitch, time burred voice with
a some nasal tones & vibrato reminiscent (in a good way!) of a young
Many of the characters in the songs could have
stepped straight out of Norman Rockwell painting to look you in the
eye & deliver their monologues, dreams, life stories & wry
observations of everyday life. The album could be an object lesson in
the craft of the understated American singer-songwriter.
Of course, none of this is more than would be
expected from a mature player who features on work by Tim Buckley,
Arlo Guthrie & The Everly Brothers to pick just a few names from Bob
Rafkin’s astonishing CV.
|Bernard Hoskin - Notes in the
The first striking & momentarily disconcerting ingredient
about Notes in the Margin is precision; the exactingly
enunciated, very southern English, vocals & fingerpicking of which
Paul Simon would be rightly proud. Multi-instrumentalist Hoskin covers
most of the instrumental chores with sparing & effective contributions
from Lisa Fitzgibbon & Liz Simcock (backing vocals) & Papa Sam
(backing vocals & Djembe). There’s also a strong Zimbabwean guitar
influence adding another eclectic ingredient. The lingering taste &
perhaps the last thing to strike the listener is the sheer quality of
the songs which, like the album as a whole, are memorable, highly
accomplished & carefully crafted yet achieve an effortless feel.
|Phil Peacock -
Welcome to My World
it's a tough job keeping an album largely of contemplative love songs
from sounding saccharine but Phil Peacock inserts just enough musical
twists to keep this stripped back, heartfelt & precisely played & sung album on
the right track.
James Hibbins writes for:
new reviews are added
on a regular basis - if you just can't get enough objective music
criticism, go to