Loudon Wainwright III, “Loudon Wainwright III / Album II” (Cherry Red)- In the early seventies the rock press collectively embarked on a quest to discover “The new Bob Dylan,” as the great man himself had seemingly made a conscious decision to retreat from the limelight when he decamped to the wilds of upstate New York a few years earlier. A whole host of wordy tunesmiths found themselves in the running for this dubious title, including John Prine, Bruce Springsteen and the subject of this splendid re-issue, Loudon Wainwright. The two critically acclaimed albums featured here showcase some of Wainwright’s finest creations, including spare, unadorned acoustic gems such as “School Days,” “Motel Blues” and “Swimming Song.” The finished product may lack some of the sardonic wit which has become Loudon’s trademark over the years but is well worth hearing nonetheless.

Matt Andersen,”The Big Bottle of Joy” (Sonic Records)- Highly regarded Canadian singer-songwriter Matt Andersen is a firm believer in the life enhancing power of good music, and this larger than life character’s latest album is a genuinely inspiring piece of work, drawing on elements of rock, soul, Americana and gospel along the way. The finished product has a curiously timeless quality far removed from the fickle demands of fad and fashion, and this eagerly anticipated follow up to 2022’s acclaimed “House To House” captures Andersen and his superlative band The Big Bottle Of Joy in peerless form as they deliver their energised brand of rootsy music making with power and passion. Keyboard ace Chris Kirby and guitarist Cory Tetford are in particularly fine fettle as the much travelled Mr. Andersen emotes his way through compelling ditties such as “Let It Slide,” “Only An Island “ and “Rollin’ Down The Road.”

Andy Fairweather Low,”Flang Dang” ( The Last Music Company)- In the dim and distant past I doubt whether even the most prophetic of pundits could have predicted that former teen idol Andy Fairweather Low of short lived late sixties pop phenomenons Amen Corner would still be plying his trade on record more than half a century later, having spent much of the interim working as a well respected sideman with rock luminaries such as Roger Waters, Eric Clapton and George Harrison. The veteran Welsh singer and guitarist made good use of the coronaviruus lockdown as he assembled “Flang Dang,” his first solo album for seventeen years. This typically organic and soulful offering provides an ideal vehicle for Andy’s distinctive brand of music making, with “99 Ways,” “Got Me A Party” and “Dark of the Midnight” emerging as three of the stand-out tracks.