Americana duo Ida Mae Mythologize the Touring Life with “Road to Avalon”

Photo Credit: Joe Hottinger

Americana duo Ida Mae have a way of creating magic through their music. Comprised of husband and wife Christopher and Stephanie Jean Turpin, the duo traversed across the pond from their native London to Nashville where they’ve released two spectacular projects in the form of their 2019 debut album, Chasing Lights, and follow up 2020 EP, Raining For You

But all roads lead to Avalon – a faraway, mythical land they capture in “Road to Avalon,” the opening track on their upcoming sophomore album, Click Click Domino, out July 16th via Thirty Tigers. The duo capture the mystical feeling of Avalon — the famed island in Celtic mythology that serves as a place of renewal —  in the song, which opens with the plucking of a haunting banjo and ringing ukulele. Met with their equally enchanting voices, the lyrics call on vivid imagery that compares highways to ribbons, the twosome traveling roads so deep they feel like lost dogs with “raw boned, stony feet.”

Part of what makes Ida Mae stand out is the way they allow the music take its time, each note simmering as they detail the “heartaches and visions” they experienced on the road to their destination. The couple says the song was inspired by the cities they passed through that felt abandoned or forgotten, with the goal of creating a “sparse Trans-Atlantic dream state,” honoring this mission through lyrics one can’t help but want to dissect. “We are the names that came before you/Now we’re just drifters barricaded at the border/Sharing whispers in the shadows painting pictures on our gallows,” they sing, with a sense of passion that can be felt through the speakers. 

“Road to Avalon” is merely a continuation of the distinct and eclectic sound Ida Mae has established over the years – the melodies allow the mind to wander, while the lyrics pull you back in with their poetic nature. The gorgeous title track from last year’s EP, which will also appear on Click Click Domino, exemplifies the duo’s songcraft. “Raining For You” evokes the feeling of driving through wide open spaces as they sing, “In the stillness/You begin to rust/A heartbeat ain’t enough without some love/The night keeps calling/The sky keeps falling/And I keep raining for you.”

Despite the grandiose, cinematic nature of these tracks, most of them were recorded in the couple’s home-built studio, in two or three live takes. Initially, they had wanted to record Click Click Domino in a more traditional studio setting, with the English producer who helmed their debut; though their plans were stymied by the halt of international travel, they leaned into faithfully reproducing the energy of their live show, giving new life to the songs they’d played to enthusiastic crowds night after night before the pandemic hit.

You can hear that energy best in the scorching “Click Click Domino” as it offers a searing take on the vapid world of social media with its “aesthetic apathetic,” “prima donna playboys” and “populism politics” as told over a bluesy, gritty, guitar-heavy melody. 

Ida Mae dance among a beautiful marriage of country, bluegrass and folk, their production efforts taking the listener for a scenic ride through their imaginations — proving they have what it takes to leave a distinct mark on the modern world of Americana music. 

Follow Ida Mae on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for ongoing updates.

TRACK REVIEW: Slow Club “Ancient Rolling Sea”

Slow Club

Slow Club

English duo Slow Club are back with a new folksy single, and it’s exactly the sort of song you needed to improve your week.

Slow Club are experts at creating music that helps you slow down and get a little introspective, offering the pause that we tend to be oh-so hesitant to take. And “Ancient Rolling Sea” is no different in that sense. It starts off with a rustic, twangy feel and advances into a classic chilled out Slow Club tune. It primarily sees entrancing vocals from frontman Charles Watson alongside a heavy bassline that’ll reverberate within your core.

They’re currently touring through the UK, and we’re hopeful for an upcoming U.S. tour. For now, get your sway on to “Ancient Rolling Sea” below.


Thomas Savage’s anxious tenor takes center stage on Kins‘ eponymous album’s opener, “Pale Faced Fear.” Channeling both the chilliness and unhindered expression of Radiohead’s frontman, a fellow Thom, Savage saunters over the track, his voice cascading over all its low beats and lingering echoes. That spaciness gives Kins the feel of an album made someplace dark and cold, and in fact, it was: the sometimes-quartet relocated, in the winter of 2012, from its Australian home base to a basement apartment by the water in Brighton, England to record Kins.


As idyllic as the Brighton seaside may sound, the album has a lot of bleakness to it. Savage’s voice recedes from the forefront as Kins wears on, never again to be as clearly in focus as it is on “Pale Faced Fear.” Instead, the vocals become part of a backdrop of smudged harmonies, swirling bass and keys. The impressionistic layering of the instrumentals conjures a pretty sound, but though its foundation is solid, Kins develops into an album that never really settles on a focal point.

Which seems like an easy conclusion to come to, given that the band has a track called “Aimless” on here. In fact, that song is one of the more driven on Kins. “Aimless” makes a bid for the return of a strong vocal line, adhering to a conventional song structure more so than the preceding tracks. Then, “Under The Radar” pairs voice with understated, bubbling instrumentals that—more than anywhere else on the album—draw the group’s rhythmic complexity into a balanced arrangement.

It’s clear that Kins’ focus is on subverting the ear’s expectations, stretching out phrases and avoiding easy rhythmic progressions. But, in this case, that intent leads somewhere uninspiring. While the album can be beautiful, it is just as often boring, and the complex evocation created by Kins’ orchestration ultimately amounts to backdrop—a painstakingly created stage set with an unclaimed microphone in the center.

Head over to Kins’ Facebook page, and listen to “Under The Radar,” off Kins, below!


Every Thursday, AF profiles a style icon from the music world. This week, we’re gushing over Charli XCX’s gothic wardrobe. There’s tons of black and velvet and we can’t get enough.

Charli XCX Audiofemme

Charli XCX has the ability to pull off cropped tees, netted shirts and even the 90s-redux plaid skirt. She’s a tough girl with a strong voice, which is why it’s so hard not to notice her style. She piles on black on black and then smears on black eyeliner to complete her look. She’s the smokey temptress who is bound to steal the heart of anyone who crosses her path. Take a goth lesson from this UK pop star as you browse our Pinterest board and listen to her hit, “You (Ha Ha Ha)” below.

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