David Starr announces UK tour dates

David Starr is an Americana singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer who has been making music since the age of 10. He has seven releases under his belt both as a solo artist, duo artist and member of the David Starr Band. Influenced by Southern California singer songwriters such as Jackson Browne, Delta bluesmen and Levon Helm he is set to release a new six-song EP entitled The Head And Heart produced and arranged by John Oates in April 2017.  The project was recorded at Addiction Sound in Nashville in February and features five David Starr originals and his own take on California Dreaming. Continue reading “David Starr announces UK tour dates”

Madison Violet “The Knight Sessions” (Big Lake Music, 2017)

Canadians Brenley MacEarchen and Lisa MacIssaac have been charming audiences and listeners for nigh on two decades now with their rootsy songs and glorious combined voices. Over the years their sound has ranged from folk to indie rock to radio friendly pop harmonies but on The Knight Sessions they try to get back to basics. To this end they’ve re recorded five songs from their last album, The Year Of The Horse unplugged with just the pair of them singing and playing along with five new songs. The latter kind of lose the unplugged concept for some reason but overall the album is a handsome reminder of why they have been awarded a Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Vocal Group and their regular UK tours generally sell out. Continue reading “Madison Violet “The Knight Sessions” (Big Lake Music, 2017)”

Rare UK appearance by Naim Amor

There’s a rare opportunity to catch Parisian by way of Tucson musician Naim Amor on his first appearance on UK soil in over nine years when he plays a solo show this Friday. Amor started out in the Parisian underground scene before relocating to Tucson in the late 1990s as one half of the Amor Belhom duo releasing an album ABBC recorded in collaboration with Calexico. Continue reading “Rare UK appearance by Naim Amor”

Skram “Head Held High” (Independent, 2017)

Oh dear. I’m sure I’m not the only reviewer who sighed when catching sight of the PR sheet accompanying this album which describes Skram as “an Americana style Hypno Folk Rock family band.” The hypno bit is due no doubt to guitarist and singer Darren Marks’ day job as a hypnotherapist and sure enough it is a family band with dad Darren accompanied by his sons Adam (on banjo) and Ben (on drums). Ben is 13, Adam a bit older I think. A commendable idea to showcase the family talents no doubt but the problem here is that both boys are still beginners and really don’t get into any kind of groove at all throughout the album. The banjo just plinks at times and the drums (a full kit that is definitely out of step with the folk rock theme) are more suitable for a pub covers band. Continue reading “Skram “Head Held High” (Independent, 2017)”

Interview: The Lowest Pair

Kendl Winter and Palmer T. Lee, collectively known as The Lowest Pair, made quite a splash last year when they released two albums simultaneously. Uncertain As It Is Uneven was a continuation of their previous releases as a banjo playing duo while Fern Girl & Ice Man employed other musicians to create a fuller band sound with both albums maintaining their interest in traditional American roots music. Both musicians had solo careers and backgrounds in playing with string bands but when they met up in 2013 they recognised their shared interest in traditional banjo techniques and started to share bills before formally setting up the band. Since then they’ve released five albums and toured relentlessly across the States and starting this week they embark on their first UK tour. 24 shows over the next month including a stint at The Shetland Folk Festival and a show at Edinburgh’s Tradfest along with a long sweep through England and Wales. Continue reading “Interview: The Lowest Pair”

Jason McNiff “Rain Dries Your Eyes” (Tombola Records, 2017)

Delve into the Americana UK archives and you’ll find a lot of love for Jason McNiff. Over the course of 15 years and six albums, McNiff has constantly found favour with assorted reviewers (a task in itself) and his 2003 album Nobody’s Son was our album of that year. A running thread throughout the mentions and reviews is bewilderment as to why McNiff is not more celebrated with comments such as “the UK’s most underrated Americana artist” bandied about. So much for Americana UK being taste makers but we can take comfort in the fact that others such as Mojo, No Depression, The Independent and Time Out all concur and despite that McNiff remains something of a secret. It’s somewhat shameful that when the charts (such as they are) are populated by chaps emoting in a singer songwriter fashion and who are best known for the colour of their hair or their hat sense that someone like McNiff is relegated to cult status. Continue reading “Jason McNiff “Rain Dries Your Eyes” (Tombola Records, 2017)”

Southern Fried Festival’s 10th Year has a stellar line up

Perched up in the fair city of Perth, regarded as the gateway to the Highlands, Southern Fried has grown in stature over the years to become the premier Americana Festival in Scotland. With its mix of formal concerts, free open stage and late night revelries it is compact (awarded Best Small Festival in 2014) with no need for tents or wellies and it attracts a variety of artists who should be familiar to all readers of Americana UK.

For its 10th anniversary, Southern Fried has just unveiled its line up for this year’s festival and it’s somewhat spectacular. Nick Lowe, Rodney Crowell and Loudon Wainwright are the name draws playing in the concert hall along with evenings dedicated to Chuck Berry (featuring Andy Fairweather Low) and a celebration of Canadian music. Then there’s Jim Lauderdale, Chuck Prophet, Angaleena Presley, Sam Outlaw, Peter Bruntnell, Doug Seegers, Ags Connolly, Rachel Harrington, Sean Taylor, Rab Noakes and Danni Nicholls. We’re still awaiting the line-ups for the open and acoustic stages but there’s no doubt that there’ll be several well- kent names appearing on these.  Continue reading “Southern Fried Festival’s 10th Year has a stellar line up”