Kimmie Rhodes – Dreams Of Flying (Sunbird)
Texan singer-songwriter Kimmie Rhodes has been at the forefront of the Austin music scene for as long as I can remember. In fact, her breakthrough album “West Texas Heaven” was released over 15 years ago, and Rhodes has been both prolific and consistently good ever since. “Dreams Of Flying” is a collection of mostly original material, though an ear-catching cover of Donovan’s “Catch The Wind” (a duet with fellow Austinite Joe Ely) stands out, as does the title track, and “Turnin’ My World”, written by son, Jeremie. His brother Gabriel produces, and there’s a warmth to the recording which is particularly appealing and wholly inviting.
Shawn Crowle – Elegy (Independent)
With a voice that most closely resembles that of the late (and quite possibly great) Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Shawn Crowle certainly stands out in mannered singer-songwriter circles. His debut album, a conceptual piece revolving around a small town in decline is perfectly suited to his melancholy yelp, and although there’s an element of perseverance involved in truly understanding the lyrical complexity of Crowle’s words, there’s no doubting the despondency in which he wraps them. If desolation, sadness and a yarn or two appeals, then you may wish to investigate further.
Delta Moon – Hell Bound Train (Red Parlor)
Atlanta based Delta Moon are certainly rooted in the blues, but whether it’s wholesome ZZ Top style Southern blues-groove or something altogether more folkier, is less clear. Both approaches seem to pay dividends. Their cover of Mississippi Fred McDowell's “You Got To Move” is nigh on perfect, and when they let rip on the title track and the toothsome “Lonely” they’re equally adroit. Vocalist (and main songwriter) Tom Gray applies plenty of grit and soul, and the twin guitars compliment the songs and add ample depth. I imagine on stage they’re even better, but if you’re keen to make their acquaintance sooner rather than later, “Hell Bound Train” is a wonderful place to start.
Roy Bob & The Country Carrousers – The Longshot Gambler (Independent)
Roy Bob & The Country Carrousers are a decent country-rock four-piece from Wisconsin, let down by a few poor song choices (one a cover) and some cost-cutting in the artwork department. Fortunately all is not lost, and when they get it right, which they do more often than not, they’re a pleasure to have blasting out of the hi-fi. The title track is an instant classic, which brings to mind Bob Weir solo albums and the Dead at their most ‘outlaw’. “Rat Race” with its Zappa(esque) harmonies is just as good. Unfortunately, songs that simply don’t sit right all too often interrupt the flow. Hell, we live in a digital age; decline the artwork, and download the tracks you like.