Helen M Jerome is a London-based freelance journalist and lifelong music lover who also develops TV and Film projects - while drinking coffee and/or cider.
What’s particularly special about Russell’s choices and the stories behind them, is how they relate directly to the autobiographical nature of her own record. Having dealt with such trauma and abuse growing up, music and writing have been a vehicle for her to make sense of it and find her way out. Each of her choices tell part of that story.
To modern ears, bluegrass might seem like an eternally safe space for close harmonies, collaborative musicianship and everyone uniting to preserve tradition. But initially, the reality was somewhat different, and by the time the very first bluegrass festival took place on July 4th 1961, it was all-out war.
It might be named after a book by sexologist and essayist Annie Sprinkles, but it is very much the Catalan’s creation, drenched in hugely summery vibes with folk-angled vocals, and instrumentation that swirls and chimes across her tremendous walls of sound.
Not your run-of-the-mill country album by any measure, Mickey Guyton has stepped up and grabbed her moment in the spotlight here. Exploring everything from romance and abandonment to self-esteem and social justice, Remember Her Name is a milestone record.
Just knowing this is a Sturgill Simpson album is enough for most, but there's the added bonus that's he creatively let himself off the leash.
Coal Miner's Daughter is an understated masterpiece of concision, drama and imagery – every verse a short story that’s rarely been equalled, even in a genre where storytelling and authenticity are the most prized assets.
Fans of quality roots music may know the name David Ferguson from all the artists he’s worked with; engineering and producing classic and Grammy-winning records, including Sturgill Simpson’s ground-breaking A Sailor’s Guide To Earth. Now, that’s about to change.
Neither man ever tried to hide the complexities and difficulties in their relationship, yet there are certainly moments when their stars and paths aligned.
She might be best known as one half of superstar country duo Sugarland, but Jennifer Nettles is clearly having a splendid time chatting about all these solo projects. “I’m talking about music and me,” she says, tongue-in-cheek, “what’s not to love?”
The Pistol Annies shook things up when they burst onto the scene with their debut album Hell On Heels in 2011. To celebrate its 10-year "annieversary", we look back on the formation of the no-shit-taking trio, and the record's lasting effect on country music.