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”

Oriental Sunshine “Dedicated to the bird we love” (Round 2 Records, 2016)

orientalsunshineDedicated to the bird we love is the debut, and only, album by Norwegian psychedelic folk band Oriental Sunshine. They got together in the heady year of 1968 – a trio consisting of singer Nina Johansen, tabla and flute player Satnam Singh and proud owner of possibly the only sitar in Norway Rune Walle. Fleshed out with keyboards and drums they were what could be called the Scandinavian Incredible String Band. Across eleven tracks on this vinyl only re-issue Oriental Sunshine lived the hippy dream to its full, painting guileless pictures of a beautiful world that was just coming into reach. Continue reading “Oriental Sunshine “Dedicated to the bird we love” (Round 2 Records, 2016)”

Andy Irvine: Baldock and Letchworth Blues, Folk and Roots Club, Baldock – 19th October 2016

Perched precariously on a collapsible stage barely large enough for his four bouzoukis, bag of harmonicas and himself – Andy Irvine looks surprisingly comfortable. This in spite of the perils experienced by those sat in the front row of the unusually full side room of The Orange Tree pub where the Baldock and Letchworth Blues, Folk and Roots Club meets. Continue reading “Andy Irvine: Baldock and Letchworth Blues, Folk and Roots Club, Baldock – 19th October 2016”

Joe Purdy “Who Will Be Next?” (Bread and Butter Music, 2016)

joe-purdy-2016Neil Young, around the time of his Living With War, bemoaned the absence of other, and younger, protest singers. This was never really true, the difference was the level of media attention such artists could attract – and to be fair to Ol’ Neil he recognised this by showcasing songs on his web site. This is all by way of saying that Who Will Be Next? sees Joe Purdy more than fill this gap. Continue reading “Joe Purdy “Who Will Be Next?” (Bread and Butter Music, 2016)”

AMA-UK Awards Nomination Party: Gibson Studios, London – 15th November 2016

The Christmas lights in Oxford Street are certainly pretty this year – simple glowing globes all done the centre of the street, their supports hidden in the gathering dark so they appear to hang unsuspended in the night. I’d show you a picture, but I forgot to pick up my camera before leaving. It was just as well, as it would have just gotten wet – I’d decided to gamble on it not raining and so had left my coat as well. I lost that bet. Which is a shame as I ended up wandering around for almost an hour in the drizzle as I’d got the start time wrong. So your intrepid reporter eventually approached the doors to the Gibson Studio with some trepidation Continue reading “AMA-UK Awards Nomination Party: Gibson Studios, London – 15th November 2016”