RS lists best country and americana album so far for 2018

Have a good weekend dear readers. We’ll be at Black Deer trying to not get drunk too early in the day so do come up and say hello if you recognise any of our faces (I look like a more haggard version of the face pic next to each article).  Leaving you with a link to this piece from RS Country who have listed their favourite americana and country albums of 2018 so far, which has some firm AUK favourites in there including Old Crow Medicine Show, Mary Gauthier and Joshua Hedley (just to spoil three surprises for you). Continue reading “RS lists best country and americana album so far for 2018”

Interview: Dietmar Leibecke

You can find gold in the most unlikely of places if you look hard enough. Now, Oberhausen, a quiet industrial backwater in the Ruhr valley a few miles from the metropolitan splendour of Dusseldorf, wouldn’t be the first place you would look for an amazing two day americana and roots festival.  Well, it turns out it is THE place to look as for the third year running the magnificent Static Roots Festival graces the town’s Zentrum Altenberg, a converted zinc factory and for two days in July home of some of the genre’s real gems.  AUK took time out to speak to the festival’s curator and  insatiable  supporter of americana music, Dietmar Leibecke, to talk about what is fast becoming a ‘must attend’ event.  Continue reading “Interview: Dietmar Leibecke”

Jeffrey Foucault “Blood Brothers” (Blueblade Records/Tone Tree, 2018)

Time is precious. Things to do. People to see. So straight to the point. ‘Blood Brothers’ by Jeffrey Foucault is a bloody marvellous album. There are many albums that are slow growers, gradually getting under the skin, each play revealing another layer, another subtle nuance. Let’s be clear, this isn’t one of those albums. This is one of the other kinds of albums, those that grab your attention from the off and, as the final track heads off into the sunset, leaves in its wake a sense that you have been witness to a wonderful thing. Continue reading “Jeffrey Foucault “Blood Brothers” (Blueblade Records/Tone Tree, 2018)”

Pick of the Political Pops: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young “Teach Your Children”

We’d like to say that we’ve been distracted by world sporting events and the farcical comedy of Westminster politics this week down in The Bunker. Instead of that we have been distracted by the fact that Donny John thinks it OK to separate children from their families and put them in what amounts to cages. This is a truly desperate state of affairs upon which we can find no sensible comment to make. Utterly unconscionable.

The Mammals “Sunshiner” (Humble Abode Music, 2018)

This album of fully instrumented folk is joyous, hopeful and highly political. An earlier incarnation of the group was active in the early 2000s but then took a nine-year break. The impetus for its return was, according to the band’s publicity material, ‘November 2016’ – a reference to the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president. Virtually every track espouses a political cause – making the world a better place, caring for the homeless, rejecting artificial standards of female beauty, embracing environmental protection and so on. And the sound on many of the tracks comes close to being the folk version of the producer Phil Spector’s famed wall of sound. Continue reading “The Mammals “Sunshiner” (Humble Abode Music, 2018)”

Kendl Winter “Solitude” – Listen

The ironic thing about this lead track from Kendle Winter’s new album ‘Stumbler’s Business‘ is that  it’s distinctive sound and lyrics have been put together in anything less than ‘Solitude‘.  Quite the reverse as Kendl explains “I ran with Solitude for about a year, It started on a foggy one lane highway in the Smokies in West Virginia, I took it on the rail trail in the Hudson Valley and stumbled on some more of it riverside in Waterloo, Iowa. I fumbled over the lyrics running in circles in Durham and sang them drunk at my bandmate in a motel where he gave me the line “I’ll be sober, four leaf clover, and I answered “I swear I’ll never drink again.” …I sang with myself and got some friends to sing with me…I spent a lot of time with Solitude before it was ready. It was great to do it together.

Frank Turner “Be More Kind” (Xtra Mile Recordings, 2018)

A lot of people think of Frank Turner as
‘the new Billy Bragg’. The thing the Hampshire-born songwriter mostly has in common with the aforementioned ‘Bard of Barking’ is that his idiosyncratic style marks him out as a musical Marmite: you either love him or hate him. There’s no middle ground with Turner, it seems. ‘Be More Kind’, his seventh studio album, is no different to its predecessors in many ways. These are songs with the importance of being earnest weighing heavily on their well-worn chord sequences and melodies. The lyrics, then, need to fly from the speakers and speak to the listener… when they do, all is well; especially on the the lilting title-track, with its lovely acoustic guitar figure and mournful strings. But, when the message is lumpen, the music carries all the gravitas of a Hallmark greetings card. Continue reading “Frank Turner “Be More Kind” (Xtra Mile Recordings, 2018)”

We Are Muffy “The Charcoal Pool” (Tapete Record, 2018)

Listening to the distant Cornish trappings of We Are Muffy is like stepping into a time capsule of Brylcreem, pinstripes and windy seaside shingle. The listener is taken on a journey of random droll observations on urban Albion life, inspired by Nick Duffy and Angeline Morrison’s shared Birmingham past. It’s heavy to the point of comical on trombone, music box, bottle tops, broken china…the list goes on and serious traditional folk it may be, but there’s more than a cursory tip of the bowler hat to The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and other eccentrics on the liberal wing of the sixties folk revival to be found here. Continue reading “We Are Muffy “The Charcoal Pool” (Tapete Record, 2018)”

Jack Ellis “Small Change” – Listen

There’s a surge of anger and a revulsion at the unfairness of it all on Jack Ellis’ ‘Small Change‘ which blisters with guitar noise whilst acerbically putting down a heartless ex-love.  And no wonder, who could carry on if instead of being everything – or at least a significant something – you find that you just “feel like you’re small change”.  Ouch.  Small Change is from the E.P ‘Out Of Luck‘ due for release 7th September.