Strictly Roots Top 5 At 5 Countdown – w/e 18/5/14

It is once again Monday, and time agin for another countdown of music I have been listening to, which has inspired me, or that I have just picked up at random this week. I try to cover as many different (English language) roots genres as I can, and I sometimes pick things up from different parts of the globe in different languages as well. It’s a pretty mixed bag, concentrating I guess on British and American traditions. This week we have a little bluegrass, a little English music, and some lovely unaccompanied Scottish singing as well.

 

The T Sisters – Train Wreck

The T Sisters is the imaginatively convenient name for the family Tietjen, a singing trio from the Oakland area, who genre-blend to the tune of Americana, alternative country, blues, jazz and other styles. Once again, a hat-tip must go to the amazing Out Of The Woods Radio show for putting me to on this fun track, Train Wreck.  Amazing harmonies, I am sure you’ll agree, and some sharp instrumentation as well.

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The Askew Sisters – In the Air or the Earth (album)

More sisterly harmonies now, but of a slightly different nature, with a sampler of the new album from the Askew Sisters, from London. In the Air or the Earth is the third album from the duo, and their first for four years. Their sound represents yet another take on the tradition(s), and they deliver the songs and tunes in their repertoire with honesty and beauty. The tracks on this sampler are The Young Girl Cut Down In Her Prime (versions of which have appeared before on this chart), and the tune s Room For The Cuckold and Beaux of London City. The album is out now.

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Chatham County Line – The Carolinian

Sometimes you get moments, when you hear a song, and you just get stuck. Get dumbstruck, awe-bound, and you know you are going to love this song, and play it a lot. Well, this exact thing happened when I heard this next piece, as part of the band’s collection on Noisetrade. The words are what got me, their meaning and their emotion, and the fact, like all good songs, I could project myself into their events, making them real. CCL are releasing a new album this month, so make sure you keep an eye out and check that out, but not until you give this version of The Carolinian a listen.

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Howlin Brothers – Pour It Down

Nashville’s Howlin Brothers are another group who mix up the styles when it comes to their music, playing with a closeness and sense of humour across bluegrass, Americana, and old time country, with touches of soul and rock. They are currently promoting an album on Pledge Music, so make sure you go over there and support that. Here they are performing Pour It Down live for the good people at Live And Breathing.

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Siobhan Miller – The Swan Swims Sae Bonnie

Siobhan Miller is a fantastically talented singer from Scotland, who I first found in a duo with Jeana Leslie some years ago. I’ve always taken note of her voice, but I think it *really* comes into its own on her take on The Swan Swims Sae Bonnie (variously known as the Two Sisters, the Twa Sisters, and sundry other titles), a song taken from the Greig-Duncan collection, a set of songs collected in Northern Scotland in the early years of the 20th century, and now presented as a project of the School Of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh. I think this song has it all – clarity, emotion and a great story. I hope you enjoy it, and the other songs in the five this week.

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