Interview: Ann Savoy

Adopted Cajun, Ann Savoy of the Savoy Cajun Family Band is carrying on the region’s age-old tradition of music and way of life through her work. Savoy, married to accordionist and accordion builder Marc Savoy, is a fine lead vocalist, fiddler and accordionist plus she is one of the finest rhythm guitar players in Cajun music. Recording act, book author and workshop teacher, Savoy has earned the right to be recognised as one of Louisiana’s true treasures. As T-Bone Burnett enthuses, Savoy is “A  trusted keeper of the flame – the kind of girl Duke Ellington had in mind when he wrote Sophisticated Lady – she doesn’t imitate the past, she animates it. She makes dead men walk along a crooked line from the paddocks of Virginia to the swamps of Louisiana. She is a blues singer in French.”  Americana-UK’s Maurice Hope shares a plate of biscuits and gravy with the Cajun legend.    Continue reading “Interview: Ann Savoy”

Interview: Broken Witt Rebels

The Broken Witt Rebels have just completed a headline tour and widespread success seems to be knocking on their doors following the release of their debut album. They’ve given up their days jobs in order to seek fame and fortune, remember their values, and are prepared to work hard – but are still at a level where they’re worried about who’s going to steal their whiskey. “We piss on our amps too. No one else is going to want to take those,” announces drummer James Dudley. Having seen The Travelling Band the previous week, who famously had about £30,000 of equipment stolen from their van in 2014 (later successfully recovered), this is no mean consideration. And it’s true to say the ‘territorial pissings’ observation has us looking for tell-tale stains on their Orange cabinets as they take to the stage later on.  Continue reading “Interview: Broken Witt Rebels”

Interview: Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown

“Yoooooooo!!! Yoooooooo!!!” I hear screamed. I don’t know where it came from, or from whom. To be honest I’m a little afraid to ask. Tyler’s in the room. Tyler’s out the room. I don’t know what’s going on. It’s madness. “That’s life backstage at Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown,” proclaims drummer Caleb Crosby. It’s a wet night in Camden’s Dingwalls for the final show of Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown’s three-night UK tour. It’s been a well-received run by the US blues rockers, and I find myself squeezed into what I’m guessing used to be a storage cupboard. Continue reading “Interview: Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown”

Rod Picott’s Circus of Misery and Heartbreak is coming back to the UK

Americana UK described Rod Picott, some years back, as, “the best of the current crop of Americana singer-songwriters.” Over the course of eight albums the one time sheet rock hanger (that’s plasterboard on this side of the water) has consistently proved us right while his live appearances are always eagerly anticipated. Good news then that he’s just announced that he’s returning to the UK for a set of dates in March of next year in support of his latest album, Out Past The Wires, which will be released to coincide with the dates. A double disc release (on CD and vinyl), Out Past The Wires will have 22 songs ranging from whispery ballads to guitar driven rockers and every musical spot between and was funded via Kickstarter with Picott’s target met within days of its announcement. Just as the Kickstarter campaign kicked off Americana UK spoke to Rod about the album, his budding career as an author and poet and his working relationship with his buddy, Slaid Cleaves. Continue reading “Rod Picott’s Circus of Misery and Heartbreak is coming back to the UK”

Interview: The Whiskey Gentry

Atlanta-based, The Whiskey Gentry, whose album Dead Ringer on Pitch-A-Tent Records was released earlier this year, pushes the band to a fuller more adventuress guitar powered sound.  Fronted by the effervescent Lauren Staley who, alongside husband, Jason Morrow, has been blending country with rock’n’roll, bluegrass and gritty honky-tonk whilst performing over 150 dates a year, including such festivals as Shaky Knees, Shaky Boots, Merlefest, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion and FloydFest.  Americana-UK’s Maurice Hope catches up Staley in between dates.  Continue reading “Interview: The Whiskey Gentry”

Interview: Dean Owens

Scotland’s Dean Owens has been producing great albums and making his mark on the Americana scene – both here and in the US – for a number of years now. Following on from the critically acclaimed Into The Sea, released n 2015 on Drumfire Records, Owens is set to return with a new album, Southern Wind, a new label, At The Helm, and a new sense of vigour. Americana-UK’s Rudie Hayes speaks to the Leith-born troubadour about what promises to be a big year. Continue reading “Interview: Dean Owens”

Interview: Blitzen Trapper

Portland, Oregon’s Blitzen Trapper have been producing delicately crafted albums for over a decade, charting their own distinct musical course and building a sizable fan base along the way. Wild And Reckless, the band’s ninth studio album, is both adventurous in sound and scope, taking songs initially written for a stage production into the studio to offer a fascinating take on American life. Americana-UK speaks to frontman Eric Earley about stage productions, murder ballads and the song-writing process.  Continue reading “Interview: Blitzen Trapper”

Interview: Ray Wylie Hubbard

Oklahoma-born but now based in Texas, Ray Wylie Hubbard continues to set the standard for the new boys while continually adding to his already well-stocked legacy of music. His latest album, Tell The Devil I’m Getting There As Fast As I Can (out now on Bordello Records via Thirty Tigers), still clearly ticks all the boxes.  Americana-UK’s Maurice Hope chews the fat with the legendary songwriter and gets the lowdown on the new record, his influences, his time growing up as a songwriter and what it’s like to be an independent musician on the Americana scene these days.  Continue reading “Interview: Ray Wylie Hubbard”

Interview: Shamblin Sexton

A few years back, stumbling into The Great Eastern, a salubrious pub at the bottom of Trafalgar Street in the heart of Brighton’s North Laines, my ears were met by Hank Williams’ unmistakable tones emanating from the end of the room.  There, stood in front of two record decks were two innocuous looking blokes, smiles as wide as the Mississippi, flicking through a pile of vinyl.  Tony Sexton, AKA Shamblin Sexton and Senor Mick, together under the banner of Whiskey Preachin, have been bringing the country to the people of East Sussex and serving up the grits ‘n’ gravy for last four years whilst slowly making their way through the 300 odd whiskeys behind the bar at The Eastern. Their trademark posters, beautifully designed by Chris Sick – essentially the third member of the gang – cannot fail to catch your eyes as you wander around town. It’s an impressive feat and one that warms the cockles like a swift nip of Elijah Craig. I hook up with Shamblin to find out more. Continue reading “Interview: Shamblin Sexton”

Interview: House Above The Sun

A chance encounter with the track Runaway Devil, an instantly addictive freewheelin’ guitar-led gem that literally jumped out of the speakers like some kind of flannelled maniac, led me to the London-based four-piece House Above The Sea. I soon discovered that this is a band that can both kick like a mule sonically yet charm your socks off with beautifully entwined dual vocals and a real poetic approach to songwriting. I really needed to investigate further. Five Hours North, their debut album, is out at the end of October so I took the chance to chat with the band about guitar tones, inspirations and their love of ‘alt-country’.  Continue reading “Interview: House Above The Sun”