Michelle Shocked returns to UK for dates

Described in the press release as the “Godmother of Americana”, the sometimes excellent Michelle Shocked returns to our shores next month, hopefully in a less biblical mood than 2013, for a series of dates.  The tour promises “small, intimate venues and combining tracks from her sizeable back catalogue with stories from the road, and a few surprises thrown in.”  According to Shocked: “From a Texas campfire to London cabaret… I daresay that’s not as daring a leap as moving my mooring from Tottenham to Kingston on Thames when I lived on a narrowboat in the late 80’s. Continue reading “Michelle Shocked returns to UK for dates”

Fairport Convention launch a massive UK tour

If we used blatantly ageist terms like The Grand Old Men of Folk then doubtless we’d wheel out that creaking line somewhere in this news item.  But we don’t – so we won’t.  Suffice it to say then that following on from their Golden Anniversary last year, Fairport Convention are once more doing what they do best – hopping on the tour bus and heading out on their 2018 UK Winter Tour. It’s a big event covering the length of the UK over 28 dates and breathing new life into both old and new material on the road. Continue reading “Fairport Convention launch a massive UK tour”

Video: Songs From Dan “The Biggest Bastard Who Ever Rode The West”

This is absolutely lovely. Originally from Australia and resident of the Netherlands since 1993, Dan Tuffy aka Songs From Dan was a founding member of popular psychedelic/folk cult group Wild Pumpkins at Midnight who would later become the driving force behind the eclectic rootsy trio Big Low. This track with the refrain “musicians are all bastards and so are all their friends” has echoes of Tom Waits and Mark Knopfler (presumably not bastards) – look out for a new album later this year.

Alela Diane “Ether & Wood” – Listen

‘Ether & Wood’ is the new single taken from Alela Diane’s forthcoming long-player ’Cusp’ which is an album about motherhood. She explains: “‘Ether & Wood’ is a reflection on the different lives that are lived within a lifetime.  The doors along the way that often open and close without notice.  I live in a very old house, and love thinking about all the people who lived and died within these walls.  We’re all in there:  the former selves, the lost loves, and the mysterious ones who came before.” Hopefully not literally.

Son of Town Hall announce UK dates (not in Town Halls)

Son Of Town Hall are the unusual union of London’s Ben Parker and New Mexico’s David Berkeley. “Born when the two found themselves side by side aboard a junk raft (“The Son Of Town Hall”) crossing the mighty Atlantic in search of new lands, the two have sailed their ship back a century or so and their songs follow the pair across the open waters.”  We think they’re being metaphorical. And there’s this too: “Parker and Berkeley have imagined a world that trancends time and space, complete with Victorian-era outfits, meditations about the sea and songs so pure that they beg you to sing along.” Which does sound intriguing. Son Of Town Hall embark on their UK tour from March 2018 including shows in Milton Keynes, Sheffield, London and Bury (full dates below). Continue reading “Son of Town Hall announce UK dates (not in Town Halls)”

Courtney Marie Andrews “May Your Kindness Remain” – Listen

Loose has been one of our favourite labels since the beginning of time and their very own Courtney Marie Andrews won best female artist in the AUK end of year poll last year.  Last week shared the title track from her forthcoming new album with NPR and it’s a belter, quietly striking in its suggestion that kindness and compassion are what really make people wealthy: “The richest of people aren’t rich with houses, cars, or fame”.  Look out for a review of the full album next month on AUK.

Eagle Johnson & Clean Machine “Tennessee Beach” ( Independent, 2018)

Faecal Microbial Transfer. There. I’ve said it. I’m not saying that this debut album from Eagle Johnson & Clean Machine is shit. In fact, the opposite is true: it’s excellent! It’s just that when I say I have a gut feeling about this band, it reminds me of the feeling in his gut that Jeff Leach, anthropologist and founder of the Human Food Project, and American Gut, experienced whilst out on a field trip with the last hunter-gatherers on the planet – the Hadza of East Tanzania. Now, some might say that East Nashville, where Eagle flies, or East Tanzania, ain’t that different in their own sweet, way. They’re both pretty wild. Ask Todd Snider! Anyhoo, engaged with his quest to research the human microbiome, in his enthusiasm, out in the bush, Jeff scooped up a steaming pile of fresh poo, deposited by one of his Hadza guides, with a turkey baster and fired said ca-ca deep into his own rectum and gastro-intestinal system. Continue reading “Eagle Johnson & Clean Machine “Tennessee Beach” ( Independent, 2018)”

Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires cover John Prine – Watch

Well this from RS will cheer up your dreary Tuesday morning: “The sight of Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires sharing the mic together became a familiar one throughout 2017, as the husband-and-wife Americana power couple solidified their musical bond while touring behind Isbell and the 400 Unit’s chart-topping The Nashville Sound. This weekend’s episode of Austin City Limits catches them in peak form for a double-billed performance that includes an online exclusive of a John Prine cover. Continue reading “Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires cover John Prine – Watch”

Orphan Colours “All On Red” (At The Helm Records, 2018)

“Your friendly neighbourhood Americana supergroup,” they say, and while one might think that it’s a tad pompous there’s an element of truth in this statement. From the ashes of ahab, a band who always seemed to be on the cusp of making it, Stephen Llewellyn, Dave Burn and Graham Knight eventually teamed up with ex Noah & The Whale (another on the cusp band) guitarist, Fred Abbott and Steve Brooks (from Danny & The Champs) to form Orphan Colours. An EP release in 2016 was well received and now we have the debut album, an album forged in the face of adversity. As Llewellyn explains, “At the end of 2013 both ahab and Noah & The Whale had been chewed up and spit out by the music business.” Despite this, Llewellyn was determined to give it another go, the new band revved up and raring to go, the album title referring to his final gamble as he bet all on the band’s success. Continue reading “Orphan Colours “All On Red” (At The Helm Records, 2018)”