Woody Pines 'You Gotta Roll' - Self Release

This six track ep is the latest release from the band released to coincide with their current tour which was recorded with new line-up. Guitarist, clarinetist Lyon Graulty is a welcome addition to the band which is led by founder, singer, guitarist and harmonica player Woody Pines. A vibrant and forceful singer who combines the various musical strands into something whole that would find favour with fans of the modern interpretation of old time sounds as played by such acts as Pokey LaFarge and The Wiyos. The songs here are the traditional tunes Long Gone Lost John, Treat You Right, alongside covers of Doc Boggs, Leadbelly and Hank Williams. The band play with life and with an easy musicianship that suggest a band who are enjoy what they do and transmitting that fact through their music. Their next album with a few new Woody Pines originals should be well worth checking out. Meantime You Gotta Roll is a bite-sized intro to the band if you haven't heard their earlier releases. 

Pharis & Jason Romero 'A Passing Glimpse' - Lula

This is a duo who write and play a stripped down take on old-time music. The mix a blend of public domain, older and self-written songs that shows off the duo's vocal and instrumental skills - which are noteworthy. The talent duo not only play and sing everything but they also designed the well-layed out sleeve - it details the songs and where they learned the version they play from. Jason Romero also makes the banjos he plays. The fifteen songs are direct and forceful relying on erudite banjo picking and eternal vocals. They sound somewhere between the contemporary music of a Gillian Welch and old time Appalachain front porch picking and singing. There's directness and authenticity to their music and singing that makes it compelling. Their voices blend as one to give the overall sound an organic sounds that springs from a deep well of understanding for the source of the music and the way they deliver it. The originals like Forsaken Love, Lay Down In Sorrow and Only Gold sit easily alongside public domain songs like Out On The Western Plains and Cumberland Gap (an instrumental) and Hillbilly Blues from Uncle Dave Macon or Engine 143 from the Carter Family. It takes something special to make such a well worn formula stand-out from a host of other similar minded but often less talented performers and Pharis and Jason Romero have it. The gospel plea of It's Me Again Lord, a song written by Dottie Rambo, is a song that conveys human emotion, desperation and hope. Something that many will relate to and my have even more relevance in difficult time. Both, individually, have strong voices that are only enhanced when they intertwine to express timeless emotions and needs. Life may be a passing glimpse but the human voice in song is one of it's joy, a joy that many will find in this album - even some who may not be particularly receptive to old-time music.