NRA boots some country artists off its site

And we post this story if for nothing else than to put the first picture on AUK of the lovely Granger Smith up (who features in the piece, not just randomly). Also, the NRA is becoming a parody of itself but you knew that already. RS Country reports: “This past Friday, the names of more than three dozen recording artists disappeared from the website of NRA Country, the lifestyle marketing subset of the National Rifle Association that promotes the gun lobby’s ties to the country music industry. Continue reading “NRA boots some country artists off its site”

Win tickets to see Tom Paxton with AUK!

A reminder about this dear readers, we’ve not had a lot of entries yet so “it could be you!” as the deep-voiced saying goes. Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner and US folk icon, Tom Paxton, is returning to the UK next month to perform twelve shows with singer/songwriter duo The DonJuans – Don Henry & Jon Vezner. Collectively, their songs have been covered by (wait for this…) Harry Belafonte, John Mellencamp, Miranda Lambert, Neil Diamond, Ray Charles, Nancy Griffith, Judy Collins, Pete Seeger, Janis Ian, Kathy Mattea, John Denver, Faith Hill, B.J. Thomas, Blake Shelton, Peter, Paul & Mary and a little know singer called Bob Dylan who sounds like he might do big things one day. Continue reading “Win tickets to see Tom Paxton with AUK!”

Mark Huff “Stars For Eyes” (Exodus Records, 2018)

Mark Huff gives the impression of being one of those people who can pick up a guitar and make up a song on the spot that will be dripping with hooks and full of memorable melodies. He makes it sound so easy,  as if he’s not even trying. The songs just flow out of him, flitting between styles without missing a beat. ‘God In Geography’ slides in some new-wave organ and lightness of touch, it seems to be his natural habitat. But so does the pedal steel licked ‘Carolina Blue’ and that’s Huff’s great strength: he can switch styles without it feeling forced, it’s all just part of one big dressing up box. Continue reading “Mark Huff “Stars For Eyes” (Exodus Records, 2018)”

James Elkington heads back to UK for shows

Yesterday it was the Black Deer Festival we were reporting on.  Today, it’s James Elk-ington. When will it all stop?  Following his tour supporting Jeff Tweedy in January, Chicago-based English songwriter and guitarist Elkington is returning to the UK for a short but sweet headline tour in April.  Elkington has toured, recorded, and/or collaborated with Jeff Tweedy, Richard Thompson, Steve Gunn, Joan Shelley and most recently Tortoise, and his forthcoming debut ‘Wintres Woma’ was recorded at Wilco’s Loft, described as “baroquely detailed and beautifully constructed, featuring both his baritone vocals and some of Chicago’s finest musicians.” Continue reading “James Elkington heads back to UK for shows”

Video premiere: The Tillers “Dear Mother”

Cincinnati-based folk string band The Tillers’ new self-titled studio album comes out March 23rd (this Friday, date fans) via Sofaburn Records and they’ve shared the track ‘Dear Mother’ with us which is really rather lovely and features my favourite type of overcast sky. Singer-songwriter-guitarist Sean Geil told AUK: “Most of the subject matter for this song comes from the environmental issues we see in our area of Cincinnati on a daily basis. Polluted waterways and air, a generations-old farm torn down and a subdivision built in its place, River Road lined with factories. In this shoot we went 5 minutes down Rt. 50 to the top of a hill overlooking the Ohio River. In the background you see the beautiful Ohio River Valley stretching and winding along. But in the distance, a billowing power plant juxtaposes the scene, casting a dark and unsettling cloud. It’s all perfectly captured with one camera, in one shot by renowned photographer, Michael Wilson.”

Win tickets to Soundscreen film showings with AUK

The Soundscreen Festival of music and film begins in London from tomorrow until Thursday (29th) next week which features films and live performances across London including venues such as Koko and the 100 Club, and there’s a healthy dose of americana in there through two films, “All the Labor: The Story of the Gourds” which is what it says on the tin, and “The Shopkeeper” about music producer Mark Hallman and his Austin recording studio and its struggle to stay viable in the era of Spotify, with interviews with Tom Russell and Eliza Gilkyson among others. We have a pair of tickets for each film to give away to two AUK readers – just email us with your name before Friday at  And if you’re not in or around London, wipe away your tears with this performance from the Gourds back in 2011. Continue reading “Win tickets to Soundscreen film showings with AUK”

Torgeir Waldemar “Jamais Vu” (Jansen Records, 2018)

With the release of the cleverly titled mini album Jamais Vu, Norwegian singer/songwriter Torgeir Waldemar revisits some of the songs from his first two albums and skillfully manages to present a very different interpretation. So what exactly is Jamais vu some of the more inquisitive among you may be asking yourselves?  In essence it’s the opposite of Déjà vu.  If Déjà vu is the sensation that a place or event someone is currently experiencing has been experienced before – even when that cannot actually be the case, Continue reading “Torgeir Waldemar “Jamais Vu” (Jansen Records, 2018)”

The Handsome Family, Hackney Round Chapel, 15th March 2018

“For us to have Loose Records here tonight and for us to still be married…” is Renee Sparks’s wry reflection towards the beginning of this evening’s performance in Hackney – a nice acknowledgement to the record label who have long supported them and a sly nod to the unlikelihood of a musical and personal marriage of such longevity. While such a lengthy partnership might seem improbable to her, it’s certainly propitious for us – the audience – who are able to able to enjoy a live rendition of their 1998 album, ‘Through The Trees’, in all its glory tonight. Continue reading “The Handsome Family, Hackney Round Chapel, 15th March 2018”

Black Deer Festival launch competition to find UK’s hottest new americana/country acts

Black Deer appears to be the americana music festival everyone and their dog (or deer) is talking about this year and just to make matters even more exciting, the festival organisers have announced they’re launching a competition to unearth the hottest acts, giving the best undiscovered talent a shot to hopefully accompany the sun and shine on the festival stage in June. Continue reading “Black Deer Festival launch competition to find UK’s hottest new americana/country acts”