Interview: Pasi Nissinen on Finnish americana and Jack’s Basket Room

As our regular readers know, Americana UK is always on the lookout for interesting music and musical backstories. Pasi Nissinen is the leader of the Finnish americana band Jack’s Basket Room and he met up with our own Martin Johnson to discuss the challenges of gaining access to the Finnish media, the local Helsinki music scene and his love of americana, even before he knew it was americana. It is always interesting to see how music is viewed by different cultures and how ultimately it is also so universal.  Playing americana in Finland is not the easiest way to try and make a living from music which is evidence of how much Jack’s Basket Room love the genre. Like many bands, they had to make a call on whether to release a new album during COVID and they chose to release ‘Wrong Turn’ on multiple media formats because Continue reading “Interview: Pasi Nissinen on Finnish americana and Jack’s Basket Room”

Jingle Bells Friday – Have you done your cards yet?

We here at Americana UK get a lot of song offers for features throughout the year.  And from late October a number, an increasing number as the days pass into November, are Yuletide themed.  The joys of banjos and snow and fatted geese (or suitable Vegan alternative) and folk-rock so hard it edges towards metal.  We love Christmas.  Mainly because of the banjos, snow,  and fatted geese (or suitable Vegan alternative) – but we love Christmas songs as well.  If there’s a huge argument or someone passing out drunk in the snow so much the better.  Tradition – we’re all about tradition. Continue reading “Jingle Bells Friday – Have you done your cards yet?”

Rare 40 year old early Rank and File concert recording unearthed – Listen

AUK has managed to get a bit of treat for our more discerning readers thanks to Chris Metzler of Décor Records. It is a 40-year-old recording of a live concert at Urban Noize, Portland, Oregon, on November 21st 1980 when Tony Kinman, of West Coast punk legends The Dils, first sang a song with his brother and also ex-Dils Chip Kinman’s new band Rank and File. Joining the brothers are a young Alejandro Escovedo on guitar and Barry Myers, tour DJ for The Clash, and it is the only known recording of this line-up. Rank and File can lay a credible claim to being the first alt-country band Continue reading “Rare 40 year old early Rank and File concert recording unearthed – Listen”

Pick of the Political Pops: Shammer “Never Tears Before a Goodbye”

This week were overjoyed that Lockdown Mk II will soon be at an end (although as lockdowns go it was a poor relation to Lockdown Mk I – indeed other than the fact that you couldn’t get a pint when you wanted one pretty much everything else seemed to go on as normal particularly if you knew how to game the system). Now we will have a very simple arrangement of tears – sorry tiers – which will be understood by everyone and will apply equally to all. It really is very straight forward, peasants, so make sure that you have brushed up on the detail via the government website. Now the website hasn’t been working but that is not an excuse. The Speaker of the House of Commons got very shirty about it so it’s bound to be fixed soon. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Shammer “Never Tears Before a Goodbye””

The Song Remains – Hal Ketchum 1953 – 2020

It’s with much sadness that we’ve learned of the death of Hal Ketchum, who passed away at his family home on Monday night, due to complications from dementia, after three years of battling with the illness that brought about his early retirement from performing and recording. He was only 67 years old. Continue reading “The Song Remains – Hal Ketchum 1953 – 2020”

Sunflower “Thin Skin” – Listen

Clearly not social distancing, we’ll cut Sunflower some slack because they are outdoors – and that outdoors is in Australia.  So, you know, pretty much Covid free.  To the extent that Sunflower have been able to have a pretty good year including playing festivals. Continue reading “Sunflower “Thin Skin” – Listen”

Video: Wolf & Moon “While We Ride”

Wolf & Moon Follow up the release of their second full-length album, ‘Follow the Signs’, with this cleverly-produced new video.  The visual beauty matches the lush sound of the duo’s ‘dream-folk’ sonic soundscape.  The Berlin-based pair are well-known for their adventurous approach, having booked a US tour before they’d even recorded any music together. Continue reading “Video: Wolf & Moon “While We Ride””

What should I do, Americana UK?

In these new times of austerity an advice column can’t afford to be overly picky – sure we’d like to spend all of our time knitting back together the sinews of a broken heart or wrestling with deep philosophical conundrums. Sometimes though you have to take what comes your way – and to be honest even a fairly simple issue can hide a deeper wrenching of the emotions. Which is by way of explaining why we took some interest in the bluntly direct enquiry from Pharis Romero: “Where is the gambling man? Tell me where the poor boy gone?“. There was a slight concern raised as to his possible location if he continued to play cards and throw dice, as Pharis heartbreakingly suggested that her fear was that “if you don’t throw them dice away we’ll see you in the coming hell.” We noted that we’d moved into the sphere of theology which spiked our interest. Continue reading “What should I do, Americana UK?”

AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Sean Hannam

Back in May when this series started, I kicked it off myself on the basis that you can’t ask colleagues to go through this hell without doing it yourself first. Looking back at that top 10, would I still pick the same records today? Some of them most definitely, others possibly not. Not because they are not great records, but because there are very many more great records that I would equally have been at home with including. Each writer has taken a different view on what to include; should it be a widely recognised classic or that personal record that may not have been so widely recognised, but does it for you? There are no wrongs or rights here. What is for certain, is that its been a fascinating process and frequently an education. Continue reading “AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Sean Hannam”

Dave Alvin “Highway 61 Revisited” – Listen

A great version of a great song.  Taken from Dave Alvin’s new album ‘From An Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings‘, this is a recording that first appeared way back on an Uncut cover disc (‘Highway 61 Revisited Revisited‘). Continue reading “Dave Alvin “Highway 61 Revisited” – Listen”