Becca Mancari made one of my favourite records of 2017. There isn't a mediocre song on Good Woman. In fact, someone should really start a petition to rename it Great Woman. Anyway, it was a special kind of treat to have Mancari and her band cram themselves and their instruments into my room at TakeRoot festival last year, to record two songs and a rocking cover of Neil Young's Ohio.
Last week I told someone to simply listen to everything that came out on the Austin-based record label Keeled Scales. She would like everything she could find, I promised. I mean Buck Meek, Twain, Katy Kirby; what's not to like? And Sun June is another one of their gems: their fresh and captivating sound has made many of my bike journeys more enjoyable this year. When we met up in Rotterdam's Comedy Club Haug, they recorded covers of Little Dragon, Porches and Wilco.
There would be weeks where I didn’t listen to much else than The Veils. Their records formed an often welcome escape from reality. At times the songs brought comfort, distraction and a bit of surprise into my life, when days otherwise seemed to morph into one, surrounded by pain. Lead singer Finn Andrews has now released a solo record One Piece At A Time and recorded this session with us, covering another ultimate favourite: Big Thief.
'The first thing you’ll notice at a Josh Ritter show is his smile. It’s a grin of elation, a grin of communion, a grin of gratitude. It’s the grin of man doing precisely what he was put on this Earth to do, and doing it damn well. “Can he really be having that much fun?” I asked myself the first time I saw Josh perform at the Newport Folk Festival, and, as I later learned, the answer was a definitive yes.'
'What I’ve learned from Scott is that kind of pride in songwriting; being able to put yourself into it, the drive and ambition for yourself in music.' Fiskur's Ross Clark wanted to pay tribute to his friend Scott Hutchison and covered Frightened Rabbit's 'Good Arms vs Bad Arms', for the first time live in a random tile workshop in Amsterdam.
Marcus Hamblett is a man of many talents. Not only does he play guitar, bass, trumpet and keys, he also produces records and sometimes releases them. The chances you've seen him perform his solo instrumental pieces are a bit smaller, but I've got you covered with this intriguing session filmed at brewpub De Kromme Haring in Utrecht.
The Austin-based songwriter Carson McHone visited us in Utrecht's finest record store Plato with her band to record two originals and a dangerously addictive Teddy Thompson cover.
When Anaïs Mitchell recorded this session for The Influences in 2017, she toured as Josh Ritter's support. She recorded covers of Bob Dylan and Rachel Ries (Her Crooked Heart) and a song from her award winning musical Hadestown.
Ever since my friend plugged their song The Road, I’ve been listening to Scottish indie rock duo Man of Moon. During their European tour with Django Django, we recorded 'Sign' and Fleetwood Mac’s 'World Turning'.
When Lilly Hiatt’s third record Trinity Lane surfaced in 2017, something just seemed to click. Her songs and the records sound blend so seamlessly. ‘It was a pretty natural thing’, Hiatt remembers: ‘I had a group of people creating that record with me that I really trusted, so it wasn't very overthought. We just went for it.’