Wednesday, February 3, 2016

CD Review: New Music From Indie-Artists Golden Bloom, Under The Big Oak Tree And Speed The Plough

What started out as a solo project by singer/songwriter Shawn Fogel has grown into one of the best independent bands in America. Now as a 4-piece band, Golden Bloom recently released their latest album "Searching For Sunlight" back in January. It features eight concise, well-structured songs that strike a chord in your heart. Beginning with the gentle acoustics of "Looking Up To You," they will not try to overpower you with their sound, but instead create a comfortable place to relax and enjoy. Long-time fan Adam Duritz (Counting Crows) sings background on the ballad "Want Love," but before that, Golden Bloom plug in for the alternative pop appeal of "Great Unknown" and "Fall Out Of Line." Their break-through hit on this release has to be the Americana feel of the title-song "Searching For Sunlight." This song could take them from the reigns of the indie-charts to the mainstream. To find out more about Golden Bloom and their latest release "Searching For Sunlight," please visit goldenbloommusic.com.

From St. Joseph, MO comes the latest release from the Americana/Roots band Under The Big Oak Tree titled "Local Honey." This is one of the most anticipated albums of the year, following the praise of their self-titled debut album. The new eleven-song release begins with the title-song, "Local Honey" as singer Kristin Hamilton has a pure country sound in her voice that makes you want to be a part of whatever she's singing about. The wonderful songwriting of Simon Fink is heard on "The Road" as it feels as if it was always a country classic from the Carter Family. The gentle touch of "Stars Songs Faces" has a warm touch, while "Tracks Of The Train" carries a darker tone. Under The Big Oak Tree bring in the sounds of the Caribbean with "Joanna," before closing with the knee-slapper "My Heart" and the lightly treading "Thread So Thin." To find out more about Under The Big Oak Tree and their new release "Local Honey," please visit underthebigoaktree.net.

From New Jersey comes the eighth release from Americana/roots band Speed The Plough titled "Now." It was released back in January through Coyote Records, which is also making its return after 20 years. The new twelve-song release begins with the quiet, sweeping guitars of "S.O.S.," which is highlighted by the wonderful harmonizing between the band members. They pick the tempo up with the alternative rocker "Garden" and bring together the simple chorus of "Be With You" with more great harmonizing and the gentle treading of acoustic guitars. Their music gets edgier with the fuzztone guitars of "More & More" as the band plugs-in to rock. Their new release finishes with the amazingly emotional folk delivery of "Miss America (for Carson McCullers)," along with the fun, alternative rock appeal of "Telegraph" and the quick, post-punk delivery of "Ed's Song" to close the album. To find out more about Speed The Plough and their latest release "Now," please visit speedtheplough.com.

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