AUK album premiere: Mark Olson “Spokeswoman of the Bright Sun” – Listen

We’re delighted to be able to premiere the new album today from americana legend Mark Olson. “Spokeswoman of The Bright Sun” comes out on 1st September 2017 (that’s tomorrow, date fans) and is the follow up to the critically acclaimed “Good-bye Lizelle” which we said nice things about 3 years back. Recorded during the summer of last year (remember how simple life felt then? Actually we had just had Brexit so maybe not…), Mark explains “I think that the secret to making a unique album [is] keeping the momentum of the writing and part learning of the song as you move towards the final takes”. Continue reading “AUK album premiere: Mark Olson “Spokeswoman of the Bright Sun” – Listen”

RS: “Country music stars are reluctant to speak up about Charlottesville”

There’s a great piece in RS Country at the moment about mainstream country music’s deafening silence since the events in Charlottesville a couple of weeks back which has echoes of a piece they wrote earlier in the year about its silence on Trump. Winona Dimeo-Ediger writes: “On August 12th, a group of white nationalists carrying torches marched in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting, “Jews will not replace us” and “white lives matter.” Continue reading “RS: “Country music stars are reluctant to speak up about Charlottesville””

RS Country look back at Old 97’s classic

A nice little piece up in RS Country this morning about an album which still sounds great twenty (!) years on. You can listen to the whole thing below. “We felt some kinship to the alt-rock scene of the early Nineties, but we wanted to do it on our own terms. We wanted to be able to love Hank Williams and love punk rock.” While this sentiment from Old 97’s frontman Rhett Miller isn’t a strange concept today, it was still a relatively underground idea when he and his bandmates unleashed their raw-and-rowdy major label debut Too Far to Care 20 years ago this month ­– and helped birth a whole new subgenre in the process. Continue reading “RS Country look back at Old 97’s classic”

Vote today for a future based on hope, not fear

Forgive me dear reader for the break in service for 5 minutes. Today is undoubtedly the most important election of my lifetime.  While you come here for your daily dose of americana and not to be lectured on which way you’re going to vote, I’ve written before that americana comes from a rich history of standing up for the underdog, and that its icons both present and past – Steve Earle, Johnny Cash, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger – have a pedigree of solidarity, community and resistance. Politics is about life, and music can’t bypass it without appearing irrelevant. Continue reading “Vote today for a future based on hope, not fear”

Why country music sings about drugs

Great article in RS Country today on a subject dear to my heart (since my other “head” is being a researcher in this field – not so much field work mind you) on a new study which finds that country lyrics contain more references to weed, cocaine and meth than rock or rap.  They report: “Drug references in music could be heard as far back as the 1930s. Jazz musicians, bluegrass artists and swing bands were among the first to sing about drug use, though the mentions were mostly casual. It wouldn’t be until the 1960s when pop stars, folksters and rock bands would talk about pot, cocaine, heroin, speed and other mind-altering substances on a regular basis.  Continue reading “Why country music sings about drugs”

MerleFest 2017 – RS lists the 11 best things they saw

We’re too lazy to reproduce all the photos they took although you can overcome our laziness by reading the original article here. Or you could just scroll here, you’re the boss. Rolling Stone Country reports: “This weekend’s celebration of the 30th MerleFest stirred up a North Carolina homecoming like no other. Native Tarheels and adopted sons and daughters such as the Avett Brothers, Jim Lauderdale, Tift Merritt, Mandolin Orange, Chatham County Line and the Steep Canyon Rangers poured onto the campus of Wilkes Community College to pay homage to America’s biggest roots music festival, created by the legendary folk singer and guitarist Doc Watson in memory of his son Merle, an admired strummer in his own right, who died in a tractor accident at the age of 36. From the 1985 tragedy arose a tradition that this year drew 80,000 fans, who seem ready to ride the festival into the next three decades.   Continue reading “MerleFest 2017 – RS lists the 11 best things they saw”

London based and fancy reviewing gigs for us?

We get a fair amount of offers to cover gigs by americana artists here at AUK but particularly with showcases and album launches, they are often London based which is awkward since precisely one of our writers lives in London and his whole life would be spent going to see live music if he attended them all. Which doesn’t sound like such a bad thing when you come to think about it.  Anyway, as is common knowledge it’s grim up north where we’re based, so if you are one of those new-fangled London people, can write well, produce copy quickly and fancy seeing some Americana for free from time to time (normally on week nights) then please get in touch with us. A lot of the artists are “up and coming” as they say, but today’s fresh faces are tomorrow’s Ryan Adams.  Or Ryan Adams-es.  And you could be the person to tell the world about them.