Perched precariously on a collapsible stage barely large enough for his four bouzoukis, bag of harmonicas and himself – Andy Irvine looks surprisingly comfortable. This in spite of the perils experienced by those sat in the front row of the unusually full side room of The Orange Tree pub where the Baldock and Letchworth Blues, Folk and Roots Club meets. Continue reading “Andy Irvine: Baldock and Letchworth Blues, Folk and Roots Club, Baldock – 19th October 2016”
The Christmas lights in Oxford Street are certainly pretty this year – simple glowing globes all done the centre of the street, their supports hidden in the gathering dark so they appear to hang unsuspended in the night. I’d show you a picture, but I forgot to pick up my camera before leaving. It was just as well, as it would have just gotten wet – I’d decided to gamble on it not raining and so had left my coat as well. I lost that bet. Which is a shame as I ended up wandering around for almost an hour in the drizzle as I’d got the start time wrong. So your intrepid reporter eventually approached the doors to the Gibson Studio with some trepidation Continue reading “AMA-UK Awards Nomination Party: Gibson Studios, London – 15th November 2016”
Fat Lil’s is a small club in Witney. Here were a hundred or so people prepared to sit, listen and applaud appropriately, knowingly and loudly. The supporting band Curse of Lono got the gig off to a perfect start. Here were an up and coming London band who had accompanied Uncle Lucius on a short tour of Europe beforehand and, according to them, had learned a great deal from the experience. Watch out for their EP and make all attempts to see them. I certainly will.
Anyway, Uncle Lucius are named, apparently after an old friend of the band, an eccentric old man named Lucius from down in the Louisiana swamps. The band members, all outstanding as part of a team, are Kevin Galloway, powerful vocalist, (though they all sing); Michael Carpenter, important role as lead guitar; Josh Greco on drums; Jon Brossman, keys, and Nigel Frye on bass. They are all involved in the song writing process and singing and their music making is co-ordinated and very effective. Relaxing before the gig, next door in the small restaurant, there was already something impressive about them. Continue reading “Uncle Lucius: Fat Lils, Witney. 1st November 2016”
John Paul White, along with Joy Williams, was The Civil Wars – the all-conquering duo who filled the void when Plant and Krauss stopped gigging their Raising Sand album. The Civil Wars lasted for a similar timespan, coming to a crashing halt after a gig at the Roundhouse in 2012. No longer talking to each other, all future gigs were cancelled and a band hiatus called. During this a hugely successful second album managed to be released, but White declined to help promote it and soon after their parting of the musical ways was announced with the cryptic comment that it was due to “differences of ambition”. In subsequent interviews neither party has really clarified what that meant, and the general consensus that they’d had an affair that had ended badly remains neither confirmed or denied. John Paul White set up a studio and record label and seemed happy to promote the likes of Dylan LeBlanc – at least until now. Continue reading “John Paul White: Bush Hall, London – 8th November 2016”
The Lumineers burst onto the scene with a huge breakthrough hit Ho, Hey, and quickly found themselves pigeonholed alongside the likes of Mumford & Sons. Whereas that band had shot religious imagery right through their lyrics and clung to a “every song builds to a crescendo” formula, The Lumineers were more interested in girls and relationships and a stripped down musical vibe. All that was four years ago, now in 2016 for their second album, Cleopatra, they’ve teamed up with Simone Felice as producer and steered in a direction that’s slightly darker whilst retaining a distinct upbeat undercurrent. And it clearly has wide-appeal, this sold out appearance was the first of two nights at the legendary Hammersmith Apollo. Continue reading “The Lumineers: Hammersmith Apollo, London – 4th November 2016”
You know you’re in the presence of greatness when the artist onstage is recounting his recent meetings with Tom Petty and Elvis Costello and you just know that they were in awe of the artist as opposed to the other way around. But then not everyone is Chip Taylor, a man whose story is so entwined with the history of rock music that they’re virtually inseparable. Of course he’s the man who famously penned Wild Thing and Angel Of The Morning, really just the tips of his musical iceberg. Able to draw together county, pop, rock and rythym’n’blues he penned hits for a host of names in the sixties before releasing his own prototype of outlaw country on several seventies albums. In the eighties he turned his hand to professional gambling and apparently excelled at this, reputedly banned from every casino in Atlantic City as they couldn’t keep up with his winnings. The late nineties saw him return to music with his own solo albums abetted by several acclaimed collaborations with Texan violinist Carrie Rodriguez. On his albums Taylor comes across as a sage, the songs ruminations on life and in particular, the absurdities and injustices that life throws up enveloped by his dry wit, comforting voice and occasional scabrous lyric. Continue reading “Chip Taylor: Glasgow Americana Festival The Classic Grand – 7th October 2016”
“I’m going to start with my most miserable song.” Thus opened the 10th Glasgow Americana Festival, the words spoken by Ross Wilson of Blue Rose Code as he opened his set with a solo rendition of the achingly beautiful “Pokesdown Waltz”. Well, Americana (and Country) fans do love their misery so no complaints there then especially when it’s a curtain raiser for Wilson’s latest sold out show in Mother Glasgow, the dear green place having clasped this Leith born troubadour to its bosom. And while there’s a pedal steel on stage this is no country song jamboree, no tears in your beers, more reflections in a rain swept loch. Wilson and his current line up deliver his increasingly Celtic ruminations with wild flurries of notes which capture the grandeur of the Highlands along with the more introspective moments one has come to expect from a writer who has used his songs as a confessional on more than one occasion. Continue reading “Blue Rose Code: St. Andrews In The Square Glasgow Americana Festival – 5th October 2016”