Martyn Joseph – Sanctuary (Pipe Records)
Sanctuary is Welsh singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph’s twenty-first studio release in a prolific career spanning four decades. Here Joseph is reunited with Ben Wisch, the three time Grammy Award-winning producer who helmed 1992’s Being There. When the two originally got together, Joseph had signed to Sony Records and Wisch had masterminded Marc Cohn’s smash hit single, Walking in Memphis.
Although Joseph always delivers something fresh and exciting with every new release, clearly he has benefited with returning to work with Wisch, with some well rounded, polished recordings starting with I Searched for You and When Will We Find.
Sanctuary is much more than another Martyn Joseph album. Among the highlights are the summery Cherry Blossom Girl and the title track Sanctuary showcasing Martyn’s instrumental side.
Jon Langford & Men of Gwent – The Legend of LL (Country Mile Records)
Interweaving Americana influences, rock and performance poetry with bare faced honesty The Legend of LL is a long overdue soundtrack album for modern day living in Newport, the valleys and beyond.
If Canned Heat had gained some of Bob Dylan’s spirit and reworked The Beatles Sergeant Pepper in the 1970s it wouldn’t be that far away from The Legend of LL which features a Glam Rock style tribute to Wrestler Adrian Street.
The outright bluegrass flare of Dirty Grey River. Rebecca Been In A Riot, Pill Sailor and Old Wet Argus all add to the albums make up, giving it a sense of depth and energy.
Jools Holland & Ruby Turner – Jools & Ruby (East West Records)
Anyone who witnessed Jools Holland and Ruby Turner’s performance on tour recently need no confirmation on how wild and wonderful these performers are.
Here we have a 22 track compilation of performances encompassing rock, spiritual, jazz and rhythm and blues. There’s a lot to enjoy from originals penned by both Holland and Turner along with Chris Difford When I Get Home to Ray Charles’ Jumpin in the Morning and Billy Preston & Bruce Fisher’s You Are So Beautiful.
With the fabulous backing of The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra Jools & Ruby is upbeat, irresistible and unmissable.
- Andy Howells is a freelance writer. Versions of these reviews were published in The South Wales Argus on January 1, 2015.