Paul Barr

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Paul Barr is a music specialist at Readings Carlton.

Reviews

Rooted by Martin Simpson

Martin Simpson has been a key player in the UK folk scene since his 1976 debut album, Golden Vanity. Since then, he has become a top-flight acoustic guitarist. He made a number of very fine albums wi…

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Run Home Slow by The Teskey Brothers

The Teskey Brothers debut album was one of the standout releases of 2017, ending up on many people’s best of the year lists. The album introduced a band of four who love playing together and who have…

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The Gloaming 3 by The Gloaming

Irish traditional/contemporary ensemble The Gloaming follow up their ground-breaking and bestselling previous two albums with The Gloaming 3. There’s nothing original about the title, but the band’s …

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The Prodigal Son by Ry Cooder

Legendary guitarist and American roots music interpreter Ry Cooder is back, firing on all cylinders. After a six-year break this is one of his best efforts ever. His previous topical albums, Pull Up

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Djarimirri by Gurrumul

Djarimirri was four years in the making. It features twelve beautifully harmonised chants and traditional songs. The dynamic, modern, orchestral arrangements remind me of the work of Philip Glass and…

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Whistle Down the Wind by Joan Baez

Joan Baez has emerged from a 10-year hiatus with a powerful new studio album. Her voice has a different range, earthier and more contemporary. Many of the songs on Whistle Down the Wind are reflectio…

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Blue Maqams by Anouar Brahem

Blue Maqams is the thirteenth release on ECM for Tunisian oud-master/composer Anouar Brahem. Brahem has achieved great success for the label with his ability as a crossover artist, taking his audienc…

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Elwan by Tinariwen

Elwan (Elephants) is album eight from Sahara Desert rebel-guitar rockers Tinariwen and it shows the band continuing to develop their sound. With three lead guitars and two further guitarists, the ban…

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Let Love Rule by Archie Roach

It’s been a while since we’ve had some new music from Archie Roach, if you exclude last year’s expanded edition of Charcoal Lane. Roach has been through a lot and has used his experiences as a basis …

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The Ghosts Of Highway 20 by Lucinda Williams

The Ghosts of Highway 20 traverses the northern part of Williams’ home state of Louisiana and is a route she knows only too well from constantly travelling back and forth to gigs when she was getting…

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The Gospel Album by Gurrumul

The Gospel Album is the third proper solo album from the Elcho Island-based Indigenous singer Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. Gurrumul’s self-titled album from 2008 was a surprise breakthrough and one o…

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The Traveling Kind by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell

These long-time friends and musical cohorts have waited three years to follow their long-promised and award-winning duet project Old Yellow Moon. The Traveling Kind is another beautifully produced (J…

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Deeper South by Shane Howard

Deeper South is Shane Howard’s latest album and a beautifully recorded, crowd-funded affair. This album is a high water mark for Howard, combining poetry, blues, country, celtic and folk with rich ac…

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Remedy by Old Crow Medicine Show

Virginian string band Old Crow Medicine Show have a fearsome live reputation, but it’s one that has never quite translated to disc. Previous albums have been good but uneven. No problems like that he…

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Common Ground: Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin Play and Sing The Songs of Big Bill Broonzy

American bluesman Big Bill Broonzy may not be revered as much as Robert Johnson but his influence remains. His 300-plus songs and acoustic guitar style influenced the likes of Muddy Waters and a whol…

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Folk Singer: Volume 1 by Willie Watson

Don’t let the cover and title of this album put you off. The black-and-white cover art depicts Willie Watson smoking a pipe and wearing dark sunglasses, an acoustic guitar slung around his shoulders …

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Tin Star by Lindi Ortega

Lindi Ortega hails from Toronto, Canada and is a fast-rising star on the modern country scene. Tin Star is the third album from this songbird, who now calls Nashville home. Ortega has a powerful voic…

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Zoom by Rachid Taha

Rachid Taha, born in Algeria but who spent his formative years in France, has made a string of very good albums combining North African sounds with Western-style rock. His last album from 2009, Bonjo

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Winter Pick by Justin Bernasconi

I’d heard really good things in advance about Winter Pick and I’m pleased to say it’s more impressive and even more diverse than what I expected. Singer–songwriter and guitar picker Justin Bernasconi…

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The Phoenix And The Turtle by Beverley Martyn

After a long period of illness, Beverley Martyn has re-emerged with another of her sporadic recordings. Martyn is a name remembered by some from the amazingly creative folk–rock period of the late 19…

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Beneath The Sun by Tom E Lewis

Born in Arnhem Land, actor and musician Tom E. Lewis has produced two very good albums to date. Sunshine After Rain, from 2006, used spoken word and atmospheric musical settings to great effect, thou…

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The Gloaming by The Gloaming

On their debut album, Irish–American five-piece The Gloaming have produced a startling take on Irish traditional music with the addition of minimalist contemporary piano.

All the band members have l…

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Riturnella by Kavisha Mazzella

Riturnella is a beautiful group of Italian folk songs from the 1400s onwards. Here, Kavisha Mazella has returned to a collection of songs she heard many years ago on a friend’s cassette player, music…

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Vagabond by Eddi Reader

Glaswegian Eddi Reader has had a long and varied career: busker, actor, backup singer for some big names, including Gang of Four and Eurythmics, brief pop stardom with Fairground Attraction, and then…

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Quercus by June Tabor, Iain Ballamy & Huw Warren

June Tabor has been a mainstay on the English folk scene since the late 60s, along with her longtime saxophonist Iain Ballamy and pianist Huw Warren. The real surprise with Quercus is that it crops u…

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Talé by Salif Keita

Salif Keita does an acoustic album every now and then, but Talé is not one of those. Rather, it’s a contemporary record full of modern dance grooves, a host of special guests and that golden voice.

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Jama Ko by Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba

Mali’s Bassekou Kouyate is a virtuoso on the Ngoni (an African string instrument similar to the lute). Jama Ko was recorded in Kouyate’s house, not far from where last year’s coup occurred in the cap…

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First Came Memphis Minnie by Various Artists

Memphis Minnie was a tough, influential blues singer and guitarist who had a three-decade long career from the late 20s to the late 50s, and who lived life to the full. She would influence players li…

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Old Yellow Moon by Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell

Long-time friends and musical compadres Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell have finally got round to making a proper album together. Harris signed Crowell up as a member of her band in 1975 after hear…

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Buddy & Jim by Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale

Longtime mates Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale have finally got round to making an album. And what an enjoyable listen it is, with their rough harmonies working beautifully together.

Miller’s great …

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