Here’s my June list. Catching up slowly!

I’m writing in October which is proving to be a difficult time for me again. So I’ll keep it short and sweet…

I have always loved Kate Rusby. The flag carrier for beautifully sung traditional English folk song, with wonderful instrumental arrangements. Her Yorkshire voice comes shining through, but this is no homage or chocolate box performance. It feels timeless and eternal. And this recent album is as good as any. One of my favourite voices ever.

In a totally different genre, another of my go-to modern voices is that of jazz singer Kurt Elling. I think he studied divinity (and maybe even was a minister), and maybe that’s a clue to his deep respect for the tradition, and his rich baritone. But there it ends. I love his technical ability and creativity – this is no crooning, but an endless examination of form and melody, angular, testing, no prisoners. SuperBlue is his most funky album, and perhaps his most accessible. I adore it. I can’t wait to see him in a couple of weeks’ time again, at Union Chapel!

Lyle Lovett is an songwriter I really admire. His songs are wry, witty, totally idiosyncratic. His writing is cynical, affectionate, uncompromising, surreal. Great storyteller. Sometimes I wish I could be him. So many albums of his rank in my Top 50 especially the ones with his big band. Joshua Judges Ruth has always been rated one of his best, but for some reason was the one I’d never heard. So delighted to put that right! Sooo good!

I had never given Tom Petty much time. My bad. The simplicity of the songs masks a deep control of form, and an economy of language that is perfect at building connotations in the stories. As a songwriter, I’m always searching for the short phrase that evokes the picture or sense I want my listeners to pick up on. I had listened to Wallflowers last year (produced by Rick Rubin) so I went back further to listen to Full Moon Fever. I was bowled over by the economy, the precision, the mood.

On the acoustic end of my likes, Laura Marling always ranks really high. Semper Femina is up there with the best of her work. So admire the production and arrangements! I also was gobsmacked by the supreme acoustic musicianship of The Milk Carton Kids. And at the nu soul end of my listening spectrum, Anderson .Paak is recommended, as is Weyes Blood.

One person I’d like to call out is Kelly Joe Phelps, an acoustic guitarist who died recently. Like a cross between John Martyn and a gospel singer. He really influenced me when I started writing again around 2000, and though his work is not consistent, his guitar playing is mesmerising. If you are interested I’d recommend Sky Like a Broken Clock or the Beggars Oil EP. So many gigs of his in London, I just sat agape, astonished at his playing. A tragic tale, much loved.

But I think my one album of the month is something everyone already knows – except me. I had always dismissed Norah Jones as being probably being too middle of the road for my taste, but oh her voice, and in particular the arrangements on her blockbuster album, Come Away With Me. Acoustic chamber jazz - just how I love it! I know you know this!


  1. Namian Sidibe - Namian Sidibe 
  2. Arlo Parks - Collapsed in Sunbeams
  3. Chris Brown - OCCHIO
  4. I’m With Her - See You Around
  5. wild Up - Julius Eastman, Vol. 1: Femenine
  6. Bruce Springsteen - Letter To You
  7. Ian Dury - Laughter
  8. Eberhard Weber - Stages of a Long Journey
  9. Kelly Joe Phelps - Brother Sinner and The Whale
  10. Susanne Sundfor - blomi
  11. Brendan Eder Ensemble - Therapy
  12. Westerman - An Inbuilt Fault
  13. Pet Shop Boys - Behaviour
  14. Lankum - False Lankum
  15. Dudu Tassa, Johnny Greenwood- Jarak Qaribak
  16. Kate Rusby - Philosophers, Poets and Kings
  17. Sarah Jarosz - World On The Ground
  18. Lyle Lovett - Joshua Judges Ruth
  19. Kurt Elling, Charlie Hunter - SuperBlue
  20. Lana Del Rey - Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Boulevard?
  21. Dave Rawlings Machine - Nashville Obsolete
  22. Tom Petty - Full Moon Fever
  23. Niteworks - A’Ghrian
  24. James Taylor - October Road
  25. Angelique Kidjo - Mother Nature
  26. John Taylor - Angel Of The Presence
  27. Newton Faulkner - Rebuilt By Humans
  28. Laura Marling - Semper Femina 
  29. Bob Dylan - Love and Theft
  30. The Commodores - Nightshift
  31. The Crusaders - Free As The Wind
  32. Laura Cantrell - Just Like a Rose: The Anniversary Sessions
  33. Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders - Promises
  34. Mica Millar - Heaven Knows 
  35. Weather Report - Heavy Weather 
  36. The Milk Carton Kids - All The Things That I Did And All The Things That I Didn’t Do
  37. Jon Thorne, Danny Thompson - Watching The Well
  38. This Is The Kit - Careful Of Your Keepers
  39. June Tabor, Iain Ballamy, Huw Warren - Quercus
  40. Weyes Blood - And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow
  41. Jacob Collier - Djesse Vol. 1
  42. Bill Frisell - Ghost Town
  43. Keef Hartley Band - The Battle Of North West Six
  44. Norah Jones - Come Away With Me
  45. Vieux Farka Toure - Mon Pays
  46. Anderson .Paak - Ventura
  47. Ry Cooder - The Prodigal Son
  48. Bonnie Raitt - Just Like That…
  49. PJ Harvey - White Chalk

To date: 230

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