Album Reviews

  • Album Review: Kelsey Waldon, 'They'll Never Keep Us Down'

    • November 20, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    Kelsey Waldon’s timing couldn’t be more perfect. In a time swirling in the eddies of unrest, muddied by the hypocrisy of political leaders, and bloodied by the club-swinging, vicious forces of “law and order,” she delivers bold covers of seven songs that stir the waters of protests for justice, freedom, and inequality.

  • New Folk Music from the UK & Ireland for November’s Bandcamp Friday

    • November 06, 2020
    • Devon Léger

    For November’s Bandcamp Friday, Devon Léger looks at some of the powerful new albums coming out of the UK and Ireland. With most of these albums there’s a kind of tribalism tied to the topography of the lands, sometimes a strain of environmentalism bordering on animist. The UK and Ireland have long lived in closer proximity to the other realms than we have in the US, that’s why their folk songs are full of faeries, spells, and bloody ballads. With the seasons turning to winter now, let’s turn to these sea and storm swept landscapes to listen to tales of the old ways.

  • Album Review: Ben Harper, ‘Winter Is For Lovers’

    • October 23, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    Winter Is For Lovers reveals Ben Harper playing at the top of his game. Elegant undertones weave themselves around gorgeous overtones, jaunty melodies snake through haunting harmonies, and Harper creates a grand musical space into which listeners can enter at their leisure to be carried along by the music.

  • Album Review: Loudon Wainwright III, ‘I’d Rather Lead a Band’

    • October 13, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    Wainwright’s collaboration with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks is a match made in heaven. Wainwright grew up listening to many of these songs in his father’s—the Life magazine columnist Loudon Wainwright—record collection, and Grammy-winning bandleader Giordano and The Nighthawks have been playing these tunes on the New York City nightclub scene for over 30 years. There’s a chemistry here, and everyone—including the listeners—is having fun. We’re looking forward to the next album from them.

  • Album Review: Susan Werner, 'Flyover Country'

    • October 07, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    Flyover Country celebrates the power of place, even as it points out that the places we hold special in our memory sometimes have their shortcomings. Werner’s emotional honesty provides depth to each song as it ponders the ways that memory can create false pictures of home, even as it has the power to recall with crystal clarity moments of love and affection and beauty.

  • Album Review: The War and Treaty, ‘Hearts Town’

    • October 03, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    The War & Treaty's Hearts Town brims over with unbridled passion and torrid energy, never letting up, but spiraling higher and higher with a soul-searing musical power. The songs lift us from the album’s opening note, inspiring, enlivening, delighting, challenging us, and eventually transporting us and leaving us with the fervent desire to play the record over and over. Hearts Town is one of this year’s best albums.

  • New Canadian Roots Music for this Bandcamp Friday

    • October 02, 2020
    • Devon Léger

    Another month, another glorious Bandcamp Friday! Open your pocketbooks friends and help out the artists we need in order to stay sane in this mad, mad world. For October’s Bandcamp Friday, we’re going North of the border to Canada to look at some key releases that came out in 2020. Folk Alley’s already been covering great Canadian roots music this year (Pharis & Jason Romero, Taylor Ashton), but this list dives a bit deeper. With so many Americans eyeing the border right now in case the orange fascist returns for another four years, a look at Canadian folk music right now should be especially timely.

  • Album Review: Jordan Tice, 'Motivational Speakeasy'

    • September 25, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    Motivational Speakeasy, produced by The Milk Carton Kids’ Kenneth Pattengale, shines a light on Jordan Tice’s sparkling guitar work and his effortlessly creative songwriting. The album invites us into a place where we can immerse ourselves in the crystalline waters of Tice’s music.

  • Global Music to Expand Your World this Bandcamp Friday

    • September 04, 2020
    • Devon Léger

    by Devon Léger - Expand your horizons and pick up one of these albums this Bandcamp Friday. Each Friday of each month through 2020, Bandcamp is waiving their admin fees to help artists, so this is the perfect time to try out a new band.