The Frank Burkitt Band “Raconteur” (Independent, 2018)

A Scot, making Americana music out of New Zealand – and making a fine job of it too! It says much for this genre of music that it can take a lot of diverse influences and still retain its core sound and appeal. In 2014 Burkitt and his partner, Kara Filbey, relocated from Edinburgh, Scotland to Wellington, New Zealand, where the Frank Burkitt band was formed, adding double bass player James Geluk and mandolin and banjo player Cameron Burnell to Frank’s vocals and guitar and Kara’s flute. Continue reading “The Frank Burkitt Band “Raconteur” (Independent, 2018)”

Bob Dylan “Bootleg Series 14: More Blood, More Tracks” (Columbia Records,2018)

Every one of them words rang true and glowed like burning coal, pouring off of every page like it was written in my soul” – ‘Blood on the Tracks‘ is arguably Dylan’s masterpiece in a gallery of great works. What this entry into the Bootleg series – again, arguably the most important on-going archival series by any artist – offers is an alternative ‘Blood on the Tracks’, the version of the album that Dylan first recorded when he took these songs into the studio with a very different record in mind. September 16th-19th 1974 saw Dylan in the A&R studios in New York cutting tracks that had been stripped back to their essence – guitar and harmonica, Dylan’s words and voice – there was “revolution in the air“. Continue reading “Bob Dylan “Bootleg Series 14: More Blood, More Tracks” (Columbia Records,2018)”

Cam Penner “At War with Reason” – Listen

The incomparable Cam Penner is playing the Green Note tonight, with the esteemed Jon Wood.  And this is a new song which, in the days we find ourselves living in, you might think that is about an obvious  topic.  And maybe it is, but mostly it’s about how hard times undermine confidence and how living on the bread line can pull you down into a maelstrom of despair. It certainly has immediacy and power – this is not a song to be ignored.  Sing it out Cam, sing it out.

Timber “The Family” (Cornelius Chapel Records, 2018)

‘The Family’ is the debut release from Nashville-based Alabama duo, Timber. Formed almost by coincidence when Janet Simpson of the Delicate Cutters was recommended to Will Stewart of Willie & The Giant as a potential contributor, the collaboration went so well that they decided to write together, which led to the formation of this new project. The record begins promisingly with the melodic ‘Burying Ground’, as Stewart’s effortless croon combines with Simpson’s accompaniment on a beautiful chorus. The result is an alt-country classic in waiting. Continue reading “Timber “The Family” (Cornelius Chapel Records, 2018)”

AmericanaFest UK 2019 Launch Event, The Borderline, London, 7th November 2018

It was almost like being at the Oscars as The Americana Music Association UK (AMAUK) unveiled their list of nominees for the forthcoming UK Americana Awards 2019 which will unfold at January’s AmericanFest UK. Stevie Freeman, CEO of AMA-UK, kicked the evening off with a short speech which was essentially optimistic regarding the state of Americana music here in the UK. Membership of AMAUK has risen and, due to the success of the previous festivals, the 2019 AmericanaFest UK will run for three days in its fourth year instead of the previous two-day format. There will be the two-day conference with a keynote speech from Rhiannon Giddens along with shows featuring 48 artists at various venues (up from 10 in the first year),  culminating in the prestigious UK Americana Awards at Hackney Empire. Stevie’s passion for the music, musicians and supporters shone through during her presentation. Continue reading “AmericanaFest UK 2019 Launch Event, The Borderline, London, 7th November 2018”

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit “Live From the Ryman” (Southeastern Records, 2018)

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are rightly acclaimed as one of the best live acts doing the rounds today and it’s no surprise to find that they have released a live album in an attempt to capture the on-stage magic which is so beloved by fans.  Recorded over a six-night residency at that fabled auditorium in Nashville, ‘Live From the Ryman‘ is a collection of 13 excellent songs pulled from their last three albums (‘Southeastern’, ‘Something More Than Free’ and ‘The Nashville Sound’). Continue reading “Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit “Live From the Ryman” (Southeastern Records, 2018)”

Seasick Steve, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge, 9th November 2018

It’s a packed out Corn Exchange for the first night of Seasick Steve’s first UK tour since 2015. Much has changed since his famous Hootenanny breakthrough moment, not least that the audience is now predominantly middle-aged and male. The accrual of this particular loyal army of fans is, perhaps, one of the stranger parts of the Seasick Steve experience – especially considering that he first sailed into town on the same wave that had brought us the White Stripes and the whole Jack White (with whom Seasick Steve has recorded) ethos of back to musical basics. It is what it is though, and perhaps not so surprising as tales of the hoboing life have given way to songs about cars, women in the sunshine and…tractors. Continue reading “Seasick Steve, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge, 9th November 2018”