The March 2023 issue of Uncut comes with Sounds Of The New West Volume 6 – the latest, long-awaited instalment in Uncut’s acclaimed series featuring 15 tracks of the best gilded roots, spirited alt.country and wide-eyed Cosmic American music.
Some names you may already be familiar with from the pages of Uncut – not least Margo Cilker, Doug Paisley and Allison Russell – and we’re proud to introduce the freshest Americana talents including Kassi Valazza, Sunny War and Setting, a new group formed by Nathan Bowles, Jaime Fennelly and Joe Westerlund who exclusively debut the fruits of their collaboration on this CD.
Meanwhile, in case you missed it last year, you can still pick up copies of our Sounds Of The New West compilation – a double album featuring 18 tracks from the first five volumes in the Sounds Of The New West series, available exclusively from the Uncut store on blue and purple vinyl.
But for now, here’s your handy guide to Sounds Of The New West: Class Of 2023. Dig in…
Watching Planes Go By
We open this sixth edition of our occasional (and essential, if we say so ourselves) series with a stunning track from this Arizona-born singer-songwriter. Her fine new album, Kassi Valazza Knows Nothing, is coming in May, but until then, enjoy this slow-burning mix of Americana and Paisley Underground psych.
This Lonesome Paradise
Enter a reverb-soaked, noirish world with this track from Nightshades, the second album from E Ray Bechard and his group. Recorded using solar power, off the grid in California, “Funeral Skies” is the missing link between Sparklehorse and Calexico.
Anarchist Gospel is the new album from this troubled but quite incredible, Nashville-based talent. The album features David Rawlings, Allison Russell and a host of infectious, complex blues-rock like this fine track.
Say What You Like
Five years after Starter Home, this fleet-footed Canadian is back with Say What You Like, crafted from a mountain of songs he’d amassed. Here’s the title track, with Paisley’s country picking floating over a lithe groove.
Wine In The World
West Coast folk troubadour Cilker is no stranger to these pages, with 2021’s Pohorylle one of our favourite Americana albums of the decade so far. Here’s the album’s stately closer, five and a half minutes of the artist at her best.
Nothin’ Lastin’ is the second solo album from 3hattrio’s singer, guitarist and banjo player. Hailing from southern Utah, Cannon’s also a “cowboy music scholar”, which presumably comes in handy for moody meditations like this; you can almost see the campfire embers and the pinprick stars above.
Denim & Diamonds
Last September’s Denim & Diamonds album found the Nashville-based songwriter and proprietor of vintage clothes shop High Class Hillbilly teaming up with Josh Homme on guitar, drums and production: the result, as on this title track, is a shimmying, swearing, gloriously bitter hoedown.
Canadian singer-songwriter Harness has been around for a while now, mostly under the radar on these shores, but new album Poverty Line is a good place to hitch a ride from, mixing Dylan-esque diatribes with the occasional Velvets chug.
The Great Pretender
Here’s the latest single from this Batesville, Mississippi songwriter, a tender, compact ballad that combines Southern soul with the melodic chops of Elliott Smith. At other times she’s rocking and raw, but here the atmosphere is quiet, close and even more powerful.
El Bueno Y El Malo
With Dan Auerbach behind the glass, the duo of Stephan and Daniel Hotz conjured up a cinematic epic with last year’s instrumental electric guitar record El Bueno Y El Malo. Here, the spring reverb is turned up, the sand is hot and the vistas are breathtaking.
Age Of The Voyeur
California-born, Nevada-based songwriter Rockne’s back with a new album, The Rose Society, very soon; before that, here’s the appetite-whetting opener, a tough chamber waltz with Rockne’s crisp, chiming voice tangled with wheeling strings.
A recent unexpected delight has been the appearance of Plains, the new duo of Jess Williamson and Katie Crutchfield, and their album I Walked With You A Ways. Here’s a Williamson-penned track, a gorgeous, clever song given even more class by lap steel, mandolin and the pair’s pristine harmonies.
Pay Your Last Respects
These Twin Cities folkies, led by singer-songwriter Justin Wayne Nelson, put out the very good Chapter LP a few months back; here’s a windswept (quite literally) highlight, suggesting that Nelson could be the heir to Iron & Wine’s throne.
Outside Child might have come out in 2021, but this compilation wouldn’t have been complete without a moment from one of the finest Americana talents in recent years, heading out as a solo artist after being part of Our Native Daughters and Birds Of Chicago. On a record about hard times, survival and transcendence, the gospel blues of “Nightflyer” is its redemptive heart.
We end with a very special, exclusive premiere: an introduction to a new experimental group formed by Nathan Bowles, Jaime Fennelly and Joe Westerlund. Their debut album is coming this year on Paradise Of Bachelors, but for now, enjoy this incredible non-LP track, with its whispers of Eno and Lanois, Calexico and the artists on our Ambient Americana compilation.