Review – Raging Twilight – s/t – by Progradar

The 1970’s in the US was a real melting pot of influences that produced some incredible music and defined the sound for the decade.Take your Neil Young, Eagles, Stephen Stills, Willie Nelson and the like and the blend of country, blues, gospel, folk and rock that melded into the sound of Americana that is still loved to this day.

Transplant that sound into the thriving live music scene in Glasgow and you have the possibility of some seriously impressive music. The competitiveness that this creates gives a spin-off where only the very best rise up through the ranks in true ‘spirit of survival’ fashion. Raging Twilight have demanded attention due to finely honing their sound and the playing pedigree of the musicians involved. This has given them the due respect and respect that has been properly won.

Their self-titled album is full of impressive tracks that take their cues from that pivotal 70’s sound mainly due to the extensive travels through Canada and the southwest USA of founder member Jack Law, who formed the band with Dougie Harrison.

The influences come flooding in from the first notes, Don’t Want A Lover channeling Neil Young, the bluegrass simplicity of Old Glass Jar  and Hope Sails The River with it’s Celtic hues and hints of The Pogues. The whole album is a wonderful musical journey through music that has influenced a generation of listeners and is an enthralling ride.

I’ve recently got into the solo work of Stephen Stills and can hear subtle hints of that amazing musician throughout, intentional or not. Dust Bowl Rust Belt Blues, Chemical Jayne, The Still with their elegant guitar and haunting vocals, it’s a nostalgic look into the past that leaves you in a wistful frame of mind.

Then there’s Nothing’s There, a superb tune full of English eccentricity that reminds me of The Travelling Wilburys, a real grin inducing song!

If you’re a fan of superbly constructed songs that take their influence from those greats of the past but are given an up-to-date flavour then you have opened the right door. Come on in and enjoy the ride!

Released 16th April 2016.

RAGING TWILIGHT – Raging Twilight (aRTee Records)


Three Into One Does Go! – Reviews – Willie Campbell & The Open Day Rotation, Thunder And Rain and The Strange Blue Dreams – by Progradar

Willie Campbell & The Open Day Rotation – New Clouds In Motion

“There’s always a way around The Gospel…”, the chorus from the second track on Isle of Lewis based Scottish singer-songwriter Willie Campbell’s third album with his current creative guise, The Open Day Rotation‘New Clouds In Motion’ gives you a sense of what to expect from one of “…the country’s truly great pop songwriters…” (The Herald).

A superb collection of pop and gospel infused roots music, this new record sees Campbell’s experiences while immersing himself in the Nashville music row song-writing community seeping into his own creative writing style.

There are some beautifully constructed and delivered songs on this feel-good, spirit lifting release, opener Mary Rest Your Head, the aforementioned A Way Around The Gospel and I’ve Got A Kite all take influences from the gospel style and the moving Winter Lake In Spring will literally melt any frozen heart.

There are elements of Americana, country and traditional folk all given their special coating of Campbell’s intelligent pop music roots. Born To Be BlindGoing Through The MotionsWhat Are We Now – the uplifting, emotive tracks just keep on coming.

A mature, intelligent and, ultimately, satisfying album that delivers on all levels.

Released 8th December 2017

Buy the album direct from the artists here:


Thunder And Rain – Start Believing

It’s a good job that mandolinist Peter Weber convinced his former busking sidekick, singer/guitarist Erinn Peet-Lukes, to join him in Golden, Colorado otherwise the excellent Thunder And Rain would never have been formed.

The driving country rock sound benefits from the duo’s roots in traditional bluegrass and folk and the opening triple salvo of Cut The WireOnce I Was and title track Start Believing sets down a marker of the excellence to come.

It’s difficult to combine the more down to earth elements of acoustic instrumentation more familiar to roots music fans with modern rock and pop but Thunder And Rain have created a sound that seems to have attracted the approval that most new-to-the genre acts can only dream of.

The laid back vibes of Babe You’re Gonna Leave Me and Wyoming Is For Miles, the country blues lament of What Am I Gonna Do and the bluegrass brilliance of Tennessee Is Burning all add to this impressive band’s burgeoning reputation.

A perfectly created and delivered album of polished and yet emotive songs that deserves to see Thunder And Rain rise to be the cream of the crop.

Released 1st November 2017.

Buy the album direct from the band here

The Strange Blue Dreams – s/t

“Like Elvis Presley discovered skiffle and formed a band with Duane Eddy and The Beach Boys…”

Yep, it really is that strange but in a good way. The debut, self-titled, album from Glasgow’s The Strange Blue Dreams is full of nods to Nashville, Spaghetti Western theme tunes (think Ennio Morricone), Roy Orbison, Balkan guitars and even Duke Ellington’s big band sound.

To be fair, there is nothing quite like this and there never has been, forging the famous sounds of the 50’s and 60’s, double bass, mandolin, film noir and, yes, Elvis Presley into a unique sound full of immediacy and energy. Atmospheric arrangements that create an otherworldly rock n’ roll sound.

Highlights? There are many and there isn’t a duff track on the album. For me Reverberatin’ LoveElectricityJungle Drums and (That’s The Place) I’m Falling are just four of the songs that really typify the weird and wonderful world of The Strange Blue Dreams.

It’s not very often that you hear something completely different that really blows you away and these impressive musicians won’t appeal to everyone but if you like your R&B and twanging jazz music with a bit of David Lynch thrown in for good measure, trust me, you’ll love this!

Released 20th October 2017.

Buy the album from bandcamp here


Review – James Edwyn & The Borrowed Band – High Fences – by Progradar

I blame my mate Iain Sloan and, by association, Loudon Temple of Bloody Great PR for my new found love of Americana and Roots music. For those not in the know, Iain is the rather special guitar player from the Scottish Americana band The Wynntown Marshals, a band whose last two releases I have reviewed and enjoyed immensely.

Loudon’s Bloody Great PR company cover an incredibly diverse and deeply impressive selection of roots, folk and Americana artists, based over here in the UK and Ireland and over the pond in the States and I have had the pleasure of reviewing their work.

When I heard the first strains of the opening track, Passing San Ysidro, from Glasgow sextet James Edwyn & The Borrowed Band’s  second album ‘High Fences’ I was immediately hooked by their superb sound. The riff and hook filled tunes are full of resplendent melodies and finely honed arrangement. There’s a driving American rock feel to songs like the opening track and Get Back Up yet there’s an honest humility to tracks like Pushing Statues and Starlet with the ever elegant steel guitar that tugs on the emotions.

James Edwyn himself has a honey-toned vocal delivery that holds you in rapture and the skill and dexterity of the musicians imbues class and panache to every note and the counter punch of Emma Joyce’s dulcet feminine voice produces superb harmonies and adds powerful drama to Quoting Sagan and Burning Man.

The compelling Taking Liberties is a particular highlight but there is never a dull moment on this deeply influential record. An album for when the sun goes down on a great day and you need to finish it off in rare style.

Released 15th December 2017.

Order the album from Big Cartel here

Review – The Fretless – Live From The Art Farm – by Progradar

Transforming string music into intricate, beautiful, high-energy arrangements, Canada’s The Fretless have become flawless musical acrobats and multiple Juno award winners.

A major force on the world’s roots music circuit, this new album was recorded live, using only three mics and paying homage to to the traditional repertoire, straight to tape in front of an audience and this gives you a taste of actually being there amid the electric atmosphere in the room.

The tracks are explorations of traditional Irish tunes but given the classic Fretless treatment, so stamping their hallmark on the material.

The wonderfully laid back Bixie’s and the traditional folk overtones of The Killavil Fancy add a smooth contrast to the high energy delivery of tracks like Maggie’s Set and the grin inducing Jenny Bear. For any fan of pared back traditional music, this collection of wonderful tunes is a must. There’s a basic intimacy to the music that works brilliantly as these four exemplary musicians work their magic.

Other highlights are the urgent tones of Holton Alan Moore’s and the emotive strains of the very traditional sounding Dawning Of The Day.

For those new to the band or long term admirers this release is a joy and a delight,  just don’t keep calling it ‘Live From The Ant Farm’…

Released 28th May 2018

Order the album from CDBaby here