The Hanging Stars “Songs For Somewhere Else” (Crimson Crow, 2018)

THS are carving out a nice niche for themselves. They sit somewhere between the Broken Family Band and the Rockingbirds with a dash of psychedelic hot sauce. At their most esoteric they are able to combine traditional Country sounds with something a little less traditional: Dig A Hole starts off with steel guitar leading the way in a country shuffle then a middle section that relocates Calexico to Heckmondwike which changes the perspective before the steel guitar once again cascades over the song like a river of molten lava, for the last section the brass and steel flash against each other. Continue reading “The Hanging Stars “Songs For Somewhere Else” (Crimson Crow, 2018)”

Pick of the Political Pops: Bill Munroe and His Bluegrass Boys “I’m Working On A Building”

It’s a helluva time to be working on any kind of building if you happen to be employed by a corporate construction behemoth either directly or subcontractually, we’d have thought. The sprawling pile that is Americana-UK Towers was fortunate enough to be constructed in more enlightened times by a workers cooperative of brickies, navvies, chippies and sparkies – so none of that one hundred and twenty day payment window malarkey. Nope – we coughed up the readies every Friday night in those special little manila envelopes that you used to get with your name written on it in biro (tax and NI deducted at source of course). Oddly it seems that nowadays ‘value for money’ means ‘contract it out of house at all costs’ whether or not it actually makes financial sense. There’s always The Tax Payer and his/her seemingly endlessly deep pocket to bail out a poorly run private concern with a suicidal approach to procurement. We reckon the best thing we can do is build some sort of religious structure, as Bill Munroe suggests here, and pray that things will be alright…

Track premiere: Eugene Tyler Band “Training”

Eugene Tyler Band’s new album “Young Randy” is out today on Cold Folks Home Records, and they’ve shared their new single “Training” from it with us which has some nice intense guitar interplay that recalls the Milk Carton Kids or Mandolin Orange. Eugene told AUK: “With ‘Training’, we wanted to explore this idea that bodies are adaptable, and will get better at anything with repetition. The more times you do something, the easier it becomes. But what stress is harmful, and what stress is beneficial? What if you’ve just been getting better at being worse?”  Which is a feeling I know all too well…

Hannah White “Elephant Eye” (Sound Lounge Records, 2017)

London based Hannah White has gathered a fine crew around her for her latest album, Elephant Eye. Producer Nigel Stonier (Thea Gilmore, Martha Wainwright, Joan Baez) plays several instruments, Chris J Hillman adds pedal steel while Jimmy Forres handles guitar duties and Paul Beavis (Andy Fairweather Low, Sandi Thom) is the percussionist driving them on. Continue reading “Hannah White “Elephant Eye” (Sound Lounge Records, 2017)”

John Stewart “Wild Horse Road” – Listen

Can it really be ten years since John Stewart left this mortal plane? Hard to credit.  John Stewart was one of the voices of Americana – before it was Americana.  If you know John Stewart you know that – if you don’t know John Stewart then you’re missing out.  “There ain’t no wild horses out on Wild Horse Road / There ain’t no wild horses here I know .  Somewhere they’re trucking Mustangs on a lonesome desert road”.  Yeah.  John Stewart.

EELS are back and as slippery as ever

To be fair the slippery bit was just to make a headline, but after a four year wait, EELS have today announced their new album “The Deconstruction”, out April 6th on E Works/[PIAS]. The band have unveiled the title track which you can hear below alongside UK headline shows in July, which includes London’s O2 Brixton Academy. The album is set to be released digitally, on CD, 2 x 10” LP, and on Limited Edition Deluxe 2 x 12” LP Box Set. Continue reading “EELS are back and as slippery as ever”

Moonsville Collective EPs “I” “2” “3” (Moonsville Records 2017)

These three EP’s are the first three instalments of a planned quartet of releases, and there’s nothing startlingly different about each record. They are all super competent Americana, aiming foursquare for the middle ground, populated by the likes of later period Avett Brothers, five tracks each, short and sweet punches, drawing no blood but spraying sugary harmonies with each jab landing. Continue reading “Moonsville Collective EPs “I” “2” “3” (Moonsville Records 2017)”

Van Life: Iain Sloan

Fretboard warrior, purveyor of all things six-string, and pedal steel supremo, Iain Sloan has been soundtracking the UK Americana scene for a number of years predominantly with The Wynntown Marshals, Scotland’s finest alt.country band, and latterly with the likes of indie folksters Blue Rose Code and the legendary Peter Bruntnell.   Americana-UK catches up with Sloan inbetween practice and school runs to chat through life on the road and have a rummage through the glove box. Continue reading “Van Life: Iain Sloan”

Track premiere: The Sound of Ghosts “I’m Gonna Be Free”

“I’m Gonna Be Free” is the new single from LA based americana roots collective The Sound of Ghosts who kind of do their own thing in terms of an americana sound and are all the better for it. Vocalist Anna Orbison told us: “This song was written when I quit a job I had been trying to quit for over a year. I took a shower the day I quit and this melody and lyrics just came to me at the same time. Ernesto [the band’s guitarist] then came over and we worked out the song together.” The track really picks up 2 minutes in. It must have been a good shower.