Posts Tagged Callaghan

STEELE PICKS: Best Albums of 2015

Although I’ve ostensibly been a music critic for several decades I’m not on the press lists I used to be so I rely on spotify to find much of my new music. So there are some favorite artists and bands here as well as new discoveries. Music that appeals to me must speak to my heart, soul, mind. The melodies are mostly dark, swirling, moody with unusual arrangements and instrumentation. Sometimes it’s folk or electro-pop. Mostly dark alternative. I favor female vocalists with varied range, strength and style.

chelsea wolfe abyss

Chelsea Wolfe, Abyss [Sargent House]
–I love Chelsea Wolfe. always and forever. dark, swirling, atmospheric and emotive.

beach house_depression cherry

Beach House, Depression Cherry [Sub Pop]
–a rich, beautiful album that I can [and do] play again and again.

chvrches_every open eye

Chvrches, Every Open Eye [Glassnote]
–electropop. energetic and powerful. one of my favorite bands.

lana del rey_honeymoon

Lana Del Rey, Honeymoon [Interscope]
–moody gorgeousness


Sasha Siem, Most of the Boys
–a bit of Bjork, a bit of Florence and the Machine. quite beautiful, swirling and beguiling.


The Decemberists, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World [Capitol]
–another favorite band that I find both comforting and subversive. extremely talented and inherently beautiful songwriting.


Lauren Peacock, Euphonia
–what I said in my August review: “combines piano with lush arrangements for memorable, moving melodies. The vocals shimmy and simmer.”


Torres, Sprinter [PTKF]
–Singer/songwriter Mackenzie Scott possesses maturity and presence beyond her years. beautiful, raw, haunting. echos of PJ Harvey and Amanda Palmer.

science and the beat

Science and the Beat, Future Blue
–skilled duo of multi-instrumentalists Tasha Katrine and Rob Zilla that create the cool sounds and eclectic arrangements. moody, strong, electro-pop. read the review.


Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love
–powerful, outspoken and rocking


Waxahatchee, Ivy Tripp [Merge Records]


Bjork, Vulnicura [One Little Indian Us]
–orchestral arrangements with Bjork’s cool weirdness. a bit slower than other albums and it’s fantastic.

wolf alice_my love is cool

Wolf Alice, My Love is Cool [RCA]
–heard the single on a British radio station and was hooked.

grimes_art angels

Grimes, Art Angels [4AD]
–unusually arranged songs about being weird, being an outcast. angelic vocals. what’s not to appreciate?

ellie goulding_delirium

Ellie Goulding, Delirium [Interscope]
–beautiful pop songs


Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit [MOM & POP MUSIC]
–past, present and future infused with her witty lyrics and alt-pop melodies.

sufjan stevens_ carrie & lowell

Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell [Asthmatic Kitty]
–cool soothing folk. open and lovely.

furniture girls

Furniture Girls, Chaos
–kick ass garage rock. review here.

A History of Now - Album Cover HIGH RES

Callaghan, A History of Now
–happy, optimistic Americana/ folk/ alt-country mix. when it came out I wrote: “A History of Now will definitely make you feel 10% happier after listening to it.”

julie holter_ have you in my wilderness

Julia Holter, Have You in my Wilderness
–combines retro with current arrangements. gorgeous vocals.

wind burial

Wind Burial, We Used to Be Hunters
–immediately caught my attention as it manages to convey intensity, danger and beauty. review.

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music review: Callaghan

A History of Now - Album Cover HIGH RES

Singer/songwriter Callaghan moved to the United States from London in 2010. She blends Americana, folk and pop in her cheerful songs. I call it alt-country. Her sophomore album A History of Now will definitely make you feel 10% happier after listening to it. “We are all, right now, writing a story which will one day fascinate someone,” Callaghan says. “The way we live, the decisions we make, and the moments of hope, grief and happiness which punctuate all our lives will one day make someone stop, think and wonder. All of us are writing our own ‘history of now.’”

The running theme throughout A History of Now is mindfulness and everything’s okay. There’s the toe-tapping opening track “Best Year” that just oozes optimism—“this could be the best year of our lives/ tear up the rule book leave it all behind/ work all day til you close your eyes/ let’s get out of this town/find some bluer skies.” Catchy beats and a cool arrangement usher in “We Don’t Have to Change the World.” Sometimes you get a Shania Twain vibe with Callaghan, like on the track “Crazy Beautiful Life.” It’s an up-tempo optimistic track that’s both catchy and thoughtful. Both strong women with the ability to cross genres and be expressive. A favorite song is “Free to Be” — an exuberant celebration of being yourself complete with an invigorating tempo and infectious lyrics. Sometimes Callaghan gets dreamy and pensive. There’s the wistful “I’ll Take You Away” and the romantic, makes-you-feel-like-slow-dancing, country twinged “When You Loved Me” and gorgeous arrangement and aching vocals of “Lost.” Thoughtful lyrics and lovely arrangements combined with diverse emotive vocals conveys empathy and sentiment. Callaghan scores again with her sophomore album.

A History of Now
Release date: April 7th 2015


purchase at Amazon: History of Now

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September Concerts in Boston-area

Bon Iver

Thurs, Sept 13

Owl City
Thurs, Sept 13

Bloc Party
House of Blues
Fri, Sept 14

Brighton Music Hall
Sun, Sept 16

Glen Hansard
Berklee Performance Center
Tues, Sept 18

Patterson Hood and the Downtown Rumblers
Tues, Sept 18

Thurs, Sept 20

Laetitia Sadier
Middle East
Thu, Sept 20

Matthew Perryman Jones/ Callaghan
Café 939
Fri, Sept 21

Sat, Sept 22

Grizzly Bear
Sat, Sept 22

David Byrne and St. Vincent
Sun, Sept 23

Jack White
Agganis Arena
Fri, Sept 28

Corin Tucker Band
Fri, Sept 28

Beth Orton
Somerville Theatre
Fri, Sept 28

Two Door Cinema Club
House of Blues
Sun, Sept 30

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folk-pop singer/songwriter Callaghan performs an impressive, upbeat and charismatic live show. Her impressive vocal range and emotional songwriting aren’t to be missed!

Sep 18 Jammin’ Java, Vienna VA tickets
Sep 19 The Southern Cafe & Music Hall, Charlottesville, VA tickets
Sep 20 World Cafe Live, Philadelphia PA tickets
Sep 21 The Red Room @ Cafe 939, Boston MA tickets
Sep 22 Rockwood Music Hall, New York NY tickets
Sep 25 SPACE, Evanston IL tickets
Sep 26 Off Broadway, St Louis MO tickets
Sep 28 The Evening Muse, Charlotte NC tickets
Sep 29 Altamont Theatre, Asheville NC tickets

[with Matthew Perryman Jones + Matthew Mayfield]

for more information

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Callaghan: live review

My friend Miriam and I took a little road trip down to Fall River to see the enchanting Callaghan perform as she has no Boston-area dates scheduled on her current tour. Well worth the trip! We enjoyed every second of her too short performance. Callaghan shines brightly throughout her songs about love, despair, longing and loss. Her impressive vocal range provides endless emotional resonance to the melodic songs tinged with a little folk, a little pop and a little country.

It’s not often that an opening act can turn up the energy in a room so quickly but that’s exactly what alt-country singer Callaghan did last night. Her voice fills the room. Her infectious enthusiasm for performing and singing becomes inherent during the first few lines of a song.

Playing on an acoustic guitar, Callaghan opened with “Smile,” a song she described as about someone “you might know in your life who just makes you smile.” It showcases her powerful voice and the sweet, emotional core of the song. She then played the upbeat, pop-y “Best Year.” Her intrinsic talent on display as she moved from soft to anthemic. Callaghan’s quite lovely and explains the songs and has a comfortable chit-chat with the crowd in between songs. The slow and introspective “Get Me Through Tonight” truly moves with Callaghan’s breathy vocals. She played keyboard on “It Was Meant to Be” and then performed “The Darker Side of Love,” a title she said she took from a film title she on a poster in the Tube. Finally Callaghan ended with a ripping cover of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues.”

As Callaghan sang, we could see a beautiful sunset out the windows. While I wasn’t thrilled about driving to Fall River—all I’ve really heard associated with the town are drug deals—Narrow Center for the Arts is a delightful space for artists and musicians to share their talents. I’d go back.


5/25 Decatur, GA – Eddie’s Attic (CD Release Celebration, acoustic show)
5/26 Duluth, GA – Red Clay Theater (CD Release Celebration, full band show)
6/8 Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live (w/Matthew Sweet)
6/9 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club (w/Matthew Sweet)
6/11 New York, NY – City Winery (w/Matthew Sweet)
6/13 Nashville, TN – Music City Roots
6/15 Birmingham, AL – Moonlight On The Mountain
7/7 Durham, NC – Casbah (w/Shawn Mullins)
7/13 Three Oaks, MI – The Acorn Theater
7/22 Atlanta, GA – 99X Unplugged In The Park
7/28 Hayesville, NC – Peacock Playhouse

Callaghan website

purchase the album at Amazon: Life in Full Colour


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Callaghan: music review

How does a UK singer end up living in Atlanta? A long-time fan of Shawn Mullins, Callaghan contacted him through MySpace in 2009. This led to song collaborations and then Callaghan’s debut album Life in Full Colour. Callaghan moved to Atlanta. The songs on Life in Full Colour move from joy and hope to doubt and despair. While providing mostly a Southern, laid back, gentle feel, there’s a bit of folk, country and pop mixed in. Callaghan showcases her dynamic and versatile vocal range. She sounds a bit like Jewel in her ability to jump from sweet to powerful to a Bel Canto- type melody/ progression. The first few upbeat, pop songs on the album might make you think of Shania Twain. Life in Full Colour is an impressive sophomore album.

my picks:
“Best Year”
“Close My Eyes”
“Get Me Through Tonight”

Life in Full Colour
Release date: May 1
PR: Skye Media

Callaghan website

tour dates

4/23/2012 Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live
4/25/2012 Asbury Park, NJ – The Saint
4/26/2012 New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall
4/27/2012 Scarborough, ME – The Brickhouse
5/19/2012 Fall River, MA – Narrows Center for the Arts (w/Steve Forbert)
5/20/2012 New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall
5/25/2012 Decatur, GA – Eddie’s Attic (CD Release Celebration, acoustic show)
5/26/2012 Duluth, GA – Red Clay Theater (CD Release Celebration, full band show)
6/8/2012 Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live (w/Matthew Sweet)
6/9/2012 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club (w/Matthew Sweet)
6/11/2012 New York, NY – City Winery (w/Matthew Sweet)
6/13/2012 Nashville, TN – Music City Roots
6/15/2012 Birmingham, AL – Moonlight On The Mountain
7/7/2012 Durham, NC – Casbah (w/Shawn Mullins)
7/13/2012 Three Oaks, MI – The Acorn Theater
7/22/2012 Atlanta, GA – 99X Unplugged In The Park
7/28/2012 Hayesville, NC – Peacock Playhouse

–review by Amy Steele


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