The past is never dead. It’s not even past – an interview with John Murry

John Murry’s 2012 album The Graceless Age was hailed by MOJO magazine with a 5 out of 5 rating, UNCUT called it a “masterpiece”, both magazines included it in their Top 10 albums of the year; American Songwriter put it in their Top 5 of the year and The Guardian included it in their best of the year as well. Written and recorded in the wake of a heroin addiction the album was candid in its depiction of his struggles and near death encounter, the grim tales delivered with an almost suffocating beauty concocted by Murry and his producer, Tim Mooney. On stage Murry seemed at times to be reliving the events described, his performances raw, an exorcism of sorts. The sudden death of his mentor Mooney and a marital breakup derailed whatever momentum was being achieved and although he has continued to perform and has recorded several EPs, many were wondering if he would ever record another album. At times Murry himself seemed to regard the album as a millstone around his neck. Continue reading “The past is never dead. It’s not even past – an interview with John Murry”

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”

Interview: Kelly Sloan

Although Kelly Sloan is new to these shores her 2016 album Big Deal was in fact her third following her 2008 debut Always Changes and 2010’s Kelly Sloan. Accomplished on both guitar and piano, her influences range from folk to country through vintage 50s & 60s pop rock. I caught up with the award winning Canadian singer-songwriter just before her final UK date of a European tour that will take in Italy, Sicily, Switzerland and Luxembourg.  Continue reading “Interview: Kelly Sloan”

Interview: Aimee Mann

If Stewart Lee is the comedian’s comedian, then Aimee Mann is the songwriter’s songwriter. The Oscar-nominated, Grammy-winning singer is a hugely observant student of human behaviour, drawing not just on her own experiences to form the characters in the songs but tales told by friends, and her new album ‘Mental Illness’ (which you can now stream in its entirety courtesy of NPR music) shows off her rich, incisive and wry melancholia in an almost all-acoustic format,  with a “finger-picky” style inspired by some of her favourite 60’s and 70’s folk-rock records, augmented by strings arranged by her longtime producer, Paul Bryan. Mark Whitfield spoke to her about the new record, her feelings about the new era in US politics and what she thought about the ending of Mad Men.  Continue reading “Interview: Aimee Mann”

Interview: Bronwynne Brent

Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Bronwynne Brent has recorded two albums, the 2011 Deep Dark Water and 2014’s Stardust. Her music and songs have an air of self-confessed melancholy that are delivered with a wonderfully distinctive voice that has been described as sounding like Southern sunshine. Bronwynne topped the female artist category in both 2015 & 2016 Americana-UK polls beating off the likes of Kacey Musgraves and Lucinda Williams so she certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed over here.  Continue reading “Interview: Bronwynne Brent”

Interview: Bill Kirchen

When it comes to unique talents in the field of guitar players and entertainers, Bridgeport, Connecticut born, Ann Arbor, Michigan raised and now Austin Texas-based, Bill Kirchen is up there with the best. What a wonderful musical history comes with this unique act. He grew up at a time when pop music was in its infancy and the Beatles and the UK pop scene was influencing the US big style. Heady days. Tagged as the Titan of the Telecaster Kirchen is still shaking things up with his creative playing, and for his latest venture he has called on his old friend, Austin de Lone (Godfather of Pub Rock) not only to share a record with him, but also tour the UK. Steeped in numerous different styles of the guitar playing Bill Kirchen defies nature when he picks up his Telecaster, and steps on stage. It is like he is taken over by a dynamic power.  Continue reading “Interview: Bill Kirchen”

Interview: Daniel Meade

Glasgow’s Daniel Meade has an old soul, an ear for a tune that you’d swear was already an old friend and a guitar that right now is screaming “I Love You”.  With a new album; playing everything himself, recorded at home this is a suite of songs that look backwards for inspiration, yet are a new, and reinvigorating experience for Meade, being in love.  Feeling warm and fuzzy, we caught him reflecting on the terrific new record, his new found domestic bliss and time spent backing Ocean Colour Scene. Continue reading “Interview: Daniel Meade”