Shirley Collins – Lodestar live at The Barbican

shirley-collins-2016If someone had said just a few years ago that 2016 would see a new album from Shirley Collins, with a live performance of the same in 2017 then there would have been few who’d have given the idea, nice as it would have sounded, much credence.  Yet with the release of Lodestar and the announcement of a one-off gig at The Barbican this unlikeliest series of events is actually going to happen. Continue reading “Shirley Collins – Lodestar live at The Barbican”

King Creosote – big band bound for Barbican

king-creosote-2016On January 22nd (that’s a Sunday folks!) Kenny Anderson (aka King Creosote) will present an expanded performance of music from his new album, Astronaut Meets Appleman. It’s already been hailed as a career highlight and sees King Creosote mixing traditional Folk instrumentation with elements of Electronica.  Astronaut Meets Appleman explores our relationship with technology, juxtaposing looping vocals and electronic ambience with the innocence of his daughter’s vocals and his characteristic mix of bagpipes and accordion. Continue reading “King Creosote – big band bound for Barbican”

David Simard “The Heavy Wait” (Independent, 2016)

david-simard-2016The second full length alum by Vancouverian David Simard is a dark toned thing.  Mordant meditations on love to a funereal accompaniment are the grist that fills David Simard’s mill. So much so that when he deviates from the template – as he does whilst rapping BP on the knuckles for their polluting ways in his native Canada on Good Clean Water – it’s something of a jarring shock that he can be so jovial. For the rest of the album he adopts a sombre and serious facade – with a deep baritone pouring the words out like a treacle river falling over a grit stone waterfall. Continue reading “David Simard “The Heavy Wait” (Independent, 2016)”

2016 : we’re lost in music – caught in a trap.

graham-nash-2016You could point at almost any year this century and it would be a vintage year for music – there’s so much out there that, once one has struggled through the ever expanding amount that is mediocre or just straight dross there’s always a fine collection of musical gems to pluck out and hold high overhead to amaze and dazzle. And this last year has been no exception to this rule. It’s impossible to listen to everything – even if one casts one’s net no further than just the content covered by Americana-UK – so this short summary is very much a personal view: it’s certainly not the official Americana-UK statement on what was good and what was not good in 2016. Continue reading “2016 : we’re lost in music – caught in a trap.”

Martin Scorsese “No Direction Home–10th anniversary edition” (White Horse Productions, 2016)

no-direction-homeIt would be a huge exaggeration to say that Martin Scorsese’s documentary film on Dylan‘s early years in Greenwich Village reignited his career but, when it was initially broadcast in 2006, it did serve to increase interest in the Nobel laureate to be by a considerable amount. Certainly the subsequent legs of the so-called Never Ending Tour took in venues like the O2 Dome and Wembley Arena, a step up in size from the likes of Hammersmith Odeon. No Direction Home was also directly responsible for the fictionalised portrayal of the times in Inside Llewellyn Davis. Continue reading “Martin Scorsese “No Direction Home–10th anniversary edition” (White Horse Productions, 2016)”

Radical Face, The Scala, London – Tuesday 22nd November 2016

The Scala’s stage had been transformed into a magical winter forest – with bare skeletal trees adorned with tiny lights and a drifting mist from the smoke machine making for a Narnian backdrop for both Radical Face and their opener Austin Basham. In a checked shirt and bearded, of course, and sporting a wholly unnecessary – given the rising temperature in the Scala – woolly hat Austin Basham had the appearance of a woodsman, his axe in this case being an acoustic guitar. Continue reading “Radical Face, The Scala, London – Tuesday 22nd November 2016”

Jon Boden: The Stables, Wavendon – Wednesday 9th October 2016

On his first solo tour the erstwhile voice and frontman of Bellowhead, Jon Boden, has not lost his flair for the dramatic.  There’s a variety of stage lighting, and props: ragged looking speakers and decorative battered loud speakers as well as the tour image -Jon Boden as Icarus lifted on wings made from violins. This last is present as a larger than life silhouette suspended over the back of the stage, to be lit to match the moods of the songs. Continue reading “Jon Boden: The Stables, Wavendon – Wednesday 9th October 2016”