Maverick Festival, Easton Farm Park, Suffolk, 30th June-2nd July 2017

Ten years and ‘still kickin’’ according to this year’s t-shirt, Maverick is THE festival on the Americana calendar. it’s the one everyone wants to play and the yard stick by which other festivals  have measured themselves (and been inspired by). Now firmly branded as ‘Americana & Roots’ it started using the much missed tag ‘alt country’. With three indoor (well in tractor sheds and barns) stages and an afternoon outdoor stage on which Albert Lee was the headline its family friendly, with good chow and a hotch-potch of stalls. It’s only failing is its early close every night. Continue reading “Maverick Festival, Easton Farm Park, Suffolk, 30th June-2nd July 2017”

Shakin’ Stevens + Danni Nicholls, York Barbican, York, 19th May, 2017

It’s a big room for the ‘bard from Bedford’, resplendent in a suitably showbiz spangling top. Danni Nichol is comfortable in a room that houses both the UK snooker championships and Amy MacDonald in a few weeks.  Bluesy, Gospelly, there is a wonderful grace to her voice and her tales of Nashville, along with Beautifully Broken from Mockingbird Lane, and some spontaneous sing-a-longs proves her to be the perfect warm-up and it can’t be long before she plays places like this in her own right. Continue reading “Shakin’ Stevens + Danni Nicholls, York Barbican, York, 19th May, 2017”

Red Rooster Festival, Euston Hall, Suffolk, 1-3 June 2017

Suffolk is such a green place when you live in treeless Yorkshire, every time I stray there I feel the inner workings of my soul refreshed.  Normally I wander that way once a year for Maverick, but this year it’s two journeys in a month, for the three day Red Rooster Festival is on the cards.  The first thing I notice is the amount of camper vans and caravans vs tents, a 50:50 split suggests this is an older, more affluent crowd. Continue reading “Red Rooster Festival, Euston Hall, Suffolk, 1-3 June 2017”

Annie Keating + Christina Martin, York Basement, York, 25th June 2017

The debut York performance of Canada’s Christina Martin, tonight with Producer/Husband Dale Murray on guitar, has been a long time coming, but it’s worth the wait.  Tonight she’s the support, later in the tour with her UK band the roles are reversed. It’s a hell of a support.  She plays a mix of stuff from a forthcoming “fall” album, her critically acclaimed ‘It’ll Be Alright’ and older stuff – what my boy calls her “brown hair period”.  The Basement’s subterranean feeling is a great spot for an intimate gig like this, punters and performers shunted together and Martin feeds on this. Continue reading “Annie Keating + Christina Martin, York Basement, York, 25th June 2017”

Roxanne de Bastion, York City Screen Basement Bar, York, 4th May 2017

Roxanne de Bastion, 2017Support for this show is from ‘Thorn’, part, it would appear, of York’s hip crowd. Her teenage vigour makes me feel old; reading lyrics from an iphone for a new song rather than a fag packet makes me realise I am.  Her voice seems to come from somewhere else, like it floated in through an open window.  Her ear for a good lyric is great too, “You made me a sandwich, you know I won’t eat”, hints at life experience beyond her years – going to watch her career with interest. Continue reading “Roxanne de Bastion, York City Screen Basement Bar, York, 4th May 2017”

Hope in High Water “Never Settle” (Independent, 2017)

I covered Josh Chandler-Morris’ original EP, a few years back, and it’s always a bit odd to open a records PR and find yourself quoted back.  I find JCM voice a comfort – there is something reassuring in the records he makes with Carly Slade, I like the thought of their hometown Milton Keynes being the place where old punks end up, washed up maybe, and then the environs inspire them to make gorgeous Americana. Continue reading “Hope in High Water “Never Settle” (Independent, 2017)”

Dirty Dozen: Jeremy Parsons

Jeremy Parsons grew up soaking in the sounds of Texas Music in the dance-halls of the Lone Star State. Over the past decade, he has played all over the US and in Europe, including numerous venues in Texas. Jeremy captivates the crowd with his genuine personality, unique humour, and heartfelt love of his occupation. Continue reading “Dirty Dozen: Jeremy Parsons”