Girl from the North Country, The Noel Coward Theatre, London

A West End musical based entirely on the songs of Bob Dylan has to rank quite highly in the list of things that will never exist. And yet Girl from the North Country is that very thing. After a short run at the Old Vic it has now transferred with near sell-out success for what is described as a limited run at the Noel Coward Theatre. That very close to sold-outness would, one would like to think, ensure it has a longer life to come somewhere else.  Despite weaving a story around a single artist’s music it’s not your typical juke-box musical – it’s not your typical anything. Continue reading “Girl from the North Country, The Noel Coward Theatre, London”

Johnny Dowd “Twinkle, Twinkle” (Mother Jinx, 2017)

From beneath the waters of this dark and eerie sonic soundscape emerge some of the most well-known songs in the American canon. The songs on this fine album are as familiar as, well, ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ – the title cut – along with ‘Tom Dooley’, ‘Oh My Darling Clementine’, ‘Red River Valley’, ‘St. James Infirmary’ and ‘House of the Rising Sun’. But it’s a safe bet you’ve never heard them done this way. Dowd is highly original, even eccentric. Sometimes these songs, familiar as they are, can be recognised only by the lyrics. Continue reading “Johnny Dowd “Twinkle, Twinkle” (Mother Jinx, 2017)”

Southern Tenant Folk Union “Southern Tenant Folk Union (10th Anniversary Re-Issue)” (Johnny Rock, 2018)

If you haven’t heard of them before, Southern Tenant Folk Union have been around for a while, ten years to be precise, and to celebrate this achievement the Edinburgh based 6- piece have decided to reissue and remaster their debut album which saw them garner a lot of attention in terms of radio airplay and live opportunities.
The songwriting present on the record is of an incredibly high standard leaning further towards the more folk and bluegrass side of the ever-undefinable Americana bracket but channels that roots sound very well, combining it with modern songwriting sensibilities and naturally, the lyrical content to match the time it was recorded, as opposed to the time the sound reflects. Continue reading “Southern Tenant Folk Union “Southern Tenant Folk Union (10th Anniversary Re-Issue)” (Johnny Rock, 2018)”

Pick of the Political Pops: The Grateful Dead “Ripple”

Given the inclement weather and the fact that we forgot to buy Our Glorious Leader (The Editor) a Valentine’s Day card we have chosen to repair to The Bunker for a few days to drown our sorrows and wait until the worst of His temper has subsided. We remain connected to the outside world through the regular channels however and news reached us that there has been a right old kerfuffle about the wrong doings of the charity sector with some coming in for particular attention. We like to believe in the inherent goodness of all folk but we also believe that if you abuse your position of help/power/doing right then you are a horrible human being and completely lost to us. On the other hand we can’t help wondering about the vehemence of the right wing press in pursuing certain people and organisations in this matter. A charity came right out and said that capitalism distributes the rewards of market activity inequitably (and by extension is responsible for poverty). The right wing press came right back with one rodney suggesting that socialism was responsible for the desperate poverty inflicted on hundreds of millions (and by extension charity people are all lefties whom we will label ‘sexual abusers’ just to put them in their place). Crikey – it’s a right old mess. Have a listen to this tune which suggests a gentler way of going about handing things out.

Rufus Wainwright UK Summer Tour just announced

Photo: Matthew Welch

Scion of the musically prolific Wainwright family,  Rufus has revealed himself to be perhaps the most musically diverse of them all.   His eight studio albums include the landmark Want One, his classic Grammy nominated album Rufus Does Judy was recorded at Carnegie Hall in 2006. He performed that show in the UK at the Palladium in 2007 and later for two nights at the Royal Opera House in 2011. And then there’s his opera Prima Donna which premiered at the Manchester International Festival in 2009. Continue reading “Rufus Wainwright UK Summer Tour just announced”

Listen to The Low Anthem’s new album in full via NPR

NPR music tend to stream some amazing stuff these days and the new album from The Low Anthem is no exception, although it may well surprise you.  They report: “I can’t think of another album that sounds quite like The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depth Of The Sea. Not in title, not in sound. Oh, there are familiar song structures and vocal harmonies. But hearing this record brought me back to the night I learned of the accident: a crashed van, strewn and broken gear, and how lucky they were to all be alive. That’s when it all clicked. Continue reading “Listen to The Low Anthem’s new album in full via NPR”

Track Premiere: Simon D James “Dearest Lovely World”

Brighton based singer-songwriter Simon D James has a global vision, and his debut single Dearest Lovely World was written whilst he was volunteering in the Calais refugee camps.  This experience led him to recognise that “regardless of colour or creed we are all bound together by the common threads of love, loss and the need to find community in an ever more fractured world”.

Interview: William Bell

As the Americana world expands almost daily in terms of what its defining characteristics are, we are seeing musicians and artists from the likes of the blues and soul arenas crossing over more and more. William Bell, practically a household name in that world produced 2017’s Grammy-winning Americana Album Of The Year with his excellent ‘This is Where I Live.’  AUK’s Iain Patience catches up with the elderly soul statesman.   Continue reading “Interview: William Bell”

The President Lincoln “Pilgrims and Aliens” (Nine Mile Records, 2018)

The Gaffer generally, and understandably, prefers reviews to not be written in first person. I suppose the prospect of being even partly responsible for unearthing another Everett True would actually be a burden too heavy for even the shoulders of the broadest human, but this review is contingent on me being able to say this. I don’t like Placebo star Brian Molko’s voice. Don’t know a thing about him, could well be a good egg so good luck and all the rest of it to him. But that voice. No. So you see, I can’t make these observations the site’s observation. Continue reading “The President Lincoln “Pilgrims and Aliens” (Nine Mile Records, 2018)”