Laurel Canyon Music

For fans and musicians of Folk, Americana, Country, Blues, Singer-Songwriter, Rock, Roots & Acoustic and music from the Laurel Canyon late 60’s/early 70’s era.

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Filtering by Category: Folk Music

Hair and Hide - The Trials Of Cato (09/11/18)

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  • Artist: The Trials Of Cato

  • Release Date: 9th November 2018

  • Genre: Folk, Folk-Rock, Welsh Language Folk, Tradition Folk

  • Record Label: Water Records

  • Tracks: 10

  • Website:

  • Review By: Gary Smith (LCM)

One very fastest rising Folk trio are the excellent Welsh based Robin Jones (mandolin, tenor banjo, vocals), William Addison (irish bouzouki, vocals) and Tomos Williams (guitar, vocals) better known as The Trials Of Cato. The band was formed in Beirut in the winter of 2016 and the name is taken from their long-suffering landlord. Originally from North Wales and Yorkshire the band used their time in Lebanon to hone their craft returning to produce their self titled debut EP at the Abbey Road Institute in London.

With a clear nod to the folk revivals of the 60’s and 70’s their excellent debut album is rooted in the folk traditions of Britain and Ireland but with a fresh contemporary twist. It was recorded in the spring of 2018 at Penylan Studios in mid-Wales. The album perfectly balances English and Welsh language traditional and original folk music with a fresh new twist. Their excellent instrumentals showcase their musicianship and arrangements.

The album was mixed by Donald Thompson in Toronto and mastered by john Davis of Metropolis Studios in London.

The album opens with Difyrwch their own arrangement of three traditional melodies (two Welsh and one English) Hen Ferchetan, Difyrrwch Gwyr y Gogledd and The Parson’s Farewell. ‘Kadisha’ takes it’s name from the spectacular valley in Northern Lebanon finds the band exploring and being inspired by a region peppered with monasteries and ancient buildings. The album is as much about characters as it is about places.

One of the album stand-outs is the catchy and uptempo ‘Gloria’. A very human story of an ordinary character trying to deal with extraordinary circumstances. In this case a beheading match with a supernatural character of the green knight. The slightly psychedelic and folk-rock Eastern influenced ‘Gawain’ draws into inspiration from the medieval tale of Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. Watch out for a great version of ‘Tom Paine’s Bones’. ‘My Love’s in Germany’ is a seventeenth tune of a widow’s lament for a a lost soldier love seguing into the vibrant bounce of a stomping drinking and dance tune ‘The Drinkers’.

The Trails of Cato are a fantastic trio going places very fast. Watch out for them either on the festival circuit this year or one of their many sell-out shows.

Highly recommended.

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The Tree - Lori McKenna (20/07/18)

  • Artist: Lori McKenna

  • Release Date: 20th July, 2018

  • Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Country, Folk

  • Record Label: Cn Records

  • Tracks: 11

  • Website:

Home and the people who make it have captivated Lori McKenna for years. Over the last three decades, as she became a wife and mother of five, she has also emerged as one of the most respected, prolific singer-songwriters in popular music. Her 2016 release The Bird and the Rifle netted three Grammy nominations, along with Americana Music Association nods––all firsts for McKenna as an artist. Then, she made history: In 2016, she became the first woman ever to win the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year two years in a row thanks to co-writing Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” and penning Tim McGraw’s no. 1 “Humble and Kind” solo. Both songs also clinched back-to-back Grammy wins for Best Country Song. In 2017, she became the Academy of Country Music’s first female Songwriter of the Year. The Tree is her much-anticipated eleventh studio album. Produced by Dave Cobb, The Tree takes one of McKenna’s signature themes––family––and builds a tapestry of experiences she has lived and overheard, been told and dreamed up, to create a stunning ode to life’s defining relationships.

Dying Star - Ruston Kelly

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  • Artist: Ruston Kelly

  • Release date: 7th September, 2018

  • Genre: Americana, Folk, Singer-Songwriter

  • Record Label: Concord Records

  • Tracks: 14

  • Website:

  • Review By: Gary Smith (LCM)

When your wife has released one of the Grammy nominated albums of the year, it quite easy for you own debut release to be slightly overshadowed. But Ruston’s 'Dying Star’ is well worth exploring further. What really stands out for me is the cinematic storytelling and songwriting plus some great pedal steel arrangements

‘Dying Star’ is a very impressive debut from Ruston, a little-known Nashville singer-songwriter with a fine voice and a gift for pairing heavy lyrics with remarkably graceful melodies. The album is full of impressive high crafted songs. It is a lovely blend of Americana, Country and Folk.

The album has the recurring themes of love, loss, pain, substances, desperation, self-discovery and the hope for salvation. As Kacey Musgraves’ marriage to Ruston inspired the blissful cosmic country sound on ‘Golden Hour’, perhaps Ruston’s next album might explore more positive themes.

The album was co-produced by Kelly and Jarrad K (Kate Nash, Weezer) and recorded at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, TX. It includes 14 songs written/co-written by Ruston and features Ruston (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, xylophone, harmonica), Jarrad K (12-string guitar, background vocals, electric guitar, Rhodes), Tim Kelly (pedal steel), Ian Fitchuk (piano, organ, drums, percussion), Eli Beaird (bass) and Kyle Ryan (banjo) as well as background vocals from Jon Green, Natalie Hemby, Kacey Musgraves, Kate York, Abby Sevigny and Joy Williams. Of the album, Rushton comments, “A lot of my music is focused on suffering, or trying to understand the human condition through the lens of suffering…which probably sounds totally depressing, but it’s actually the flipside of that. Sometimes you’ve gotta go into that darkness—you need to get lost and then figure out for yourself how to find your way back. That’s the only way we can find pure joy, and really be thankful for the life we’ve been given.”

The album opens with the acoustic pop ‘Cover My Tracks’ followed by the lovely ‘Mockingbird’. I really like the acoustic guitar, pedal steel and harmonica interplay on this one. Classic Laurel Canyon fused with mid-tempo Country Rock, almost Neil Young meets Ryan Adams. Ruston shares, “I wrote ‘Mockingbird’ in a Dominican hotel, on the edge of a bed, at like six in the morning. I needed a release from a cyclical pattern of a doomed relationship. The kind that leaves you with less than what you went in with. It’s a story for everyone, the human condition, our connected plight in a mad world. Regardless of how it’s expressed, we all struggle through something with hope on the other side.”

The vocoder infused ‘Son of a Highway Daughter’ has echoes of Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek.” updated for the young Nashville generation. Rushton is a great storyteller and a perfect example is the reflective and sad ‘Paratrooper’s Battlecry’

The bluesy pop ‘Faceplant’ deals with the the subject substance abuse and it’s aftermath. “I’ve come too far to turn back now”. Continuing the same theme is ‘Blackout’ is a lovely mid-tempo fusion of strings, pretty harmonies and plenty of heartbreak and booze. Travelling and moving on are explored on ‘Big Brown Bus’, which sees Ruston leaving San Antonio in Texas and heading south to Mexico. I really like the song’s strong storytelling and pedal steel solo. Wonderful word play and story telling abound on ‘Mercury’ “A dying star with a junkyard heart”.

The tempo drops for the reflective and atmospheric ‘Anchors’ dealing with the end of a relationship. Lush and beautiful harmonies provided by by a female choir including Joy Williams (Civil Wars), Natalie Hemby and wife Kacey really enrich ‘Just For the Record’. ‘Trying To Let Her’ is another down tempo reflective love song about a man trying to figure out his live and relationships. ‘She is trying to love me and I’m trying to let her’.

One of my favourite songs on the album is the classy and classic ‘Jericho’. Again very reflective, personal and inward looking with a memorable hook, It finds Ruston channeling the dark minimalism of Bruce Springsteen's ‘Nebraska’ with a stark guitar-and-a-harmonica aesthetic. He uses the biblical city's ancient wall as a representation of his own isolation, but it's cut through with the harmonies of Natalie Hemby and ex-Civil Wars member Joy Williams, with whom Ruston co-wrote the tune. Together, they lift the song up, singing on the chorus, "I raised Jericho around me, but these walls are built to scale."

The title track ‘Dying Star’ drifts away on pedal steel accents and light percussion. The album closes with the rather short but perfectly formed ‘Brightly Burst Into The Air’.

Glass Heart - Mel Parsons (30/11/18)

  • Artist: Mel Parsons

  • Release Date: 30th November, 2018

  • Genre:

  • Record Label: Cape Road Recordings

  • Tracks: 10

  • Website:

‘Glass Heart’ is a bold and beautifully crafted body of work, which sees Mel Parsons revealing a darker and fuller sound, while still retaining her trademark poignant storytelling.

The album was recorded in Los Angeles with legendary American producer Mitchell Froom (Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie, Crowded House, Missy Higgins, Randy Newman, Richard Thompson, Suzanne Vega) and an incredible cast of US-based musicians, including guitarist Adam Levy (Norah Jones), bass player Kaveh Rastegar (John Legend, Sia), drummer Ted Poor (Andrew Bird) and Froom on keyboards.

"I had been wanting to work with Mitchell for a few years, so when our schedules finally aligned things happened pretty quickly," says Mel. "Mitchell and I had first been in touch back about working together back in 2015, but I've admired his work for a long time - he has produced some of my favourite albums."

"You hear about how amazing these people are - and obviously by reputation you know that they're operating at a really high level - but it wasn't until we started working on the songs and got into the studio that I experienced Mitchell's quiet genius firsthand."

Mel Parsons is arguably one of New Zealand's most prolific touring acts, and is excited to be taking Glass Heart directly to her fans this December.

Evening Machines - Gregory Alan Isakov (04/10/18)

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  • Artist: Gregory Alan Isakov

  • Release Date: 4th October, 2018

  • Genre: Folk, Singer-Songwriter

  • Record Label: Dualtone Music

  • Tracks: 12

  • Website:

‘Evening Machines’ is the excellent new album from South African singer-songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov.

Mumford and Sons - Delta (16/11/18)

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  • Artist: Mumford & Sons

  • Release Date: 16th November, 2018

  • Genre: Folk, Rock, Pop

  • Record Label: Island

  • Tracks: 14

  • Website:

Delta is the upcoming fourth studio album by British band Mumford & Sons. It is set to be released on 16 November 2018 through Gentlemen of the Road and Island Records.The album was recorded at The Church Studios in London with producer Paul Epworth..

The album is supported by the lead single, "Guiding Light", which was premiered on 20 September 2018 on BBC Radio 1. It will also be supported by a 60-date world tour to begin in November 2018

Motel Bouquet - Caitlin Canty (30/03/18)

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  • Artist: Caitlyn Canty

  • Release Date: 30th March, 2018

  • Genre: Folk, Blues, Americana, Singer-Songwriter

  • Record Label: Caitlin Canty / Tone Tree Music

  • Tracks: 10

  • Website:

Caitlin Canty is an US singer/songwriter whose music carves a line through folk, blues, and country ballads. Her voice was called “casually devastating” by the San Francisco Chronicle and NPR Music describes her songs as having a “haunting urgency.”

’Motel Bouquet’, Caitlin’s third album, features ten original songs that hold her darkly radiant voice firmly in the spotlight. Produced by Grammy-nominated Noam Pikelny (Punch Brothers) and recorded live over three days in Nashville, the album boasts a band of some of finest musicians in roots music, including fiddler Stuart Duncan and vocalist Aoife O’Donovan. Rolling Stone hails Motel Bouquet as “dreamy and daring” with “poetic lyrics and haunting melodies.”

Snow - Angus and Julia Stone (15/09/17)

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  • Artist: Angus & Julia Stone

  • Release Date: 15th September, 2017

  • Genre: Alt-Folk, Folk, Acoustic

  • Record Label: Le Label

  • Tracks: 12

  • Website:

SNOW continues a process the siblings began at the suggestion of producer Rick Rubin on their self-titled album of 2014. "That was the first time that we actually started writing together, in the same room, and I guess we took a leaf from that chapter into this record. This time round though, every song on the record we wrote together" Angus says. The Sydney-born siblings produced and largely engineered it themselves, in Angus's cottage studio, Belafonte, in the Byron Bay hinterland. "It was quite magical because Angus and I have never spent that much time together, just the two of us," says Julia. "There's always at least an engineer or tour manager but the last phase of writing and recording was just eight weeks of him and me and the quiet of the land. It was a beautiful time."

Twenty Live! - Mabon (26/10/18)

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  • Artist: Jamie Smith’s Mabon

  • Release Date: 26th October, 2018

  • Genre: Folk

  • Record Label: Easy On The Record

  • Tracks: 12

  • Website:

Jamie Smith's MABON - TWENTY

Two decades, four continents and over a thousand shows since their first performance, MABON release their seventh recording, ‘TWENTY’, in October 2018. Recorded live on the road, it features the band's newest music alongside a career-spanning, ‘greatest hits’ roll-call of reworked tracks from their back catalogue. ‘TWENTY’ highlights why this band have built their reputation on their exhilarating live performances and deftly worked recordings.

MABON’s distinctive, multi-award winning music explores the styles of the Celtic traditions and works them anew; the music is self-styled, singular and toe-tappingly good – an irresistible blend of world music and Celtic roots, presented with good humour, energy, joy and passion.

With twenty years of experience performing at major World, Celtic and Folk festivals across the globe, this five-piece band of dazzling musicians performs outstanding original compositions - all given the same refreshing, creative treatment as the band dances along the borders between Celtic heritage and contemporary sound.

MABON is Jamie Smith on accordion and vocals; Oliver Wilson-Dickson on fiddle and vocals; Paul Rogers on guitar; Matt Downer on bass and Iolo Whelan on drums, percussion and vocals.

"Jamie Smith’s MABON have always been a band for whom live performance is the ultimate expression of their art, and their ability to excite and enliven a live audience is peerless"

The Well Worn Path - Seth Lakeman (26/10/18)

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  • Artist: Seth Lakeman

  • Release Date: 26th October, 2018

  • Genre: Folk

  • Record Label: Cooking Vinyl

  • Tracks: 11

  • Website:

Seth Lakeman takes a break from the Robert Plant musical juggernaut in Autumn 2018 to release his ninth studio album 'The Well Worn Path' on 26 October before heading out on tour in November with a new band line-up. Seth found time at the beginning of the year, in between charging around the globe with Robert and his band, the Sensational Space Shifters, to record his new studio album The Well Worn Path. It's a return to a no-nonsense, organic, classic folk-rock approach with hints of Fairport Convention, Neil Young, Nick Cave and Billy Bragg – plus Lakeman's trademark foot-stomping, fiddle bow-shredding and soaring vocals. Seth brought in top producer Ben Hillier and along with long-time collaborator Ben Nicholls on upright and electric bass he was joined by new boys Kit Hawes on electric and acoustic guitar and drummer Evan Jenkins. One of the finest female folk voices Kathryn Roberts also contributes sublime backing vocals to the album.

Keep The Flame Alight - Martha L Healy (05/10/18)

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  • Artist: Martha L Healy

  • Release Date: 5th October, 2018

  • Genre: Folk, Singer-Songwriter

  • Record Label: Frogeye Records

  • Tracks: 10

  • Website:

Martha L. Healy returns with her new album 'Keep The Flame Alight' on the 5th October 2018. 'Keep The Flame Alight' was written and recorded in Nashville, but undoubtedly maintains a strong sense of Martha's Celtic heritage. This new album sees Martha further develop her personal songwriting voice whilst remaining true to her musical roots, which included being raised on a diet of The Eagles, The Traveling Wilburys and folk heroes, The Dubliners - staples of the Healy family vinyl collection! Through a mix of personal insight and story songs, Martha provides a fresh take on some classic themes – the need to leave somewhere to help find your place in the world, the ache of an unfulfilled love, the complexity of family and friendships and the need to live your own dreams. She also explores how being a woman in the 21st century is not without its fair share of pressures and demands.

The Fox On The Downs EP - Ben Walker (14/09/18)

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  • Artist: Ben Walker

  • Release Date: 14th September, 2018

  • Genre: Folk, Singer-Songwriter

  • Record Label: Folkroom Records

  • Tracks: 4

  • Website:

A excellent new EP from Ben Walker a fantastic producer and one half of the multi award wining duo Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker. Ben a superb guitar player and this instrumental EP positively sparkles with musicianship and creatively.

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