Alison Krauss - Windy City (Decca/Capitol). 2013 found this highly regarded vocalist taking a rare break from her punishing touring schedule with roots music specialists Union Station to capture the contents of Windy City for posterity, but she could never quite find the time to add the finishing touches to the project and this easy on the ear collaboration with veteran Nashville producer Buddy Cannon has only now seen the light of day. Alison’s impeccably crafted set list delivers a beguiling blend of the familiar and the obscure, serving up Ray Charles’s You Don’t Know Me and Glen Campbell’s 1967 hit, Gentle On My Mind alongside long forgotten ditties from the back catalogues of Willie Nelson, Brenda Lee and bluegrass legend Bill Monroe.
Ned Roberts - Outside My Mind (Aveline Records). This London-based singer-songwriter’s work has been variously composed to giants of the genre such as Nick Drake and Tim Hardin, and this supremely gifted performer certainly hasn’t fallen prey to the “difficult second album “ syndrome on the evidence presented by Outside My Mind. The eagerly anticipated follow-up to his well-received 2014 debut set was recorded in Los Angeles in the space of just a few short days, lending a refreshing sense of spontaneity to subtly memorable creations such as Angel Station, Lights on the River and the country-tinged Ribbon of Water.
Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors - Souvenir (Magnolia Music). Drew Holcomb and his gifted musical cohorts should enhance their rapidly growing reputation as prime purveyors of the finest American roots music with the release of this eclectic and wide-ranging set. The effortlessly melodic contents run the gamut from the West Coast country-rock of California to a polished slab of Beatlesque pop penned by bassist Rich Brinsfield in the shape of Sometimes, and the finished product must rank as Nashville-based Holcomb’s most accomplished offering to date.
(Si Si) Je Suis Un Rock Star - The Best of Bill Wyman and Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings (Music Club DeLuxe). The former Stones bass player may be no great shakes as a vocalist or songwriter but Bill Wyman has still contrived to assemble a fairly listenable body of work over the years nonetheless. This undemanding two-CD anthology showcases the cream of the venerable performer’s solo output alongside some choice offerings which have been credited to
the floating line-ups of Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings and Willie and the Poor Boys during the past three decades or so, including contributions from assorted “heavy friends” such as Jimmy Page, George Harrison and Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker to name but a few.