Dirty Dozen: Corniglia

With recent reviews including, “a stunning single accompanied by an astonishing video”, “one of the most well-crafted debuts of the year”, “Endearingly sincere and wondrously imaginative.” (Happy Mag) and “pristine retro-pop, like something out of the late 60s. We are digging this.” (Power of Pop), Perth band Corniglia are causing a minor buzz with their debut single “Oh My Love”. Continue reading “Dirty Dozen: Corniglia”

Piano Magic “Closure” (Second Language Music 2016)

It’s a wee bit embarrassing to confess that despite a 20 year career, 12 albums and the late John Peel a fan of the band that this reviewer has never heard of Piano Magic. In defence they are not common or garden Americana UK fodder, their songs unfolding somewhat glacially over an electronic pulse that’s embellished by washes of guitar as Glen Johnson’s disembodied and almost spoken vocals slowly delve into existential conundrums. However there are several moments here when the songs positively soar, sometimes borne aloft on a waft of string arrangements.  Lyrically there are echoes of Nick Cave, L. Cohen and Momus while the arrangements have a mild whiff of The Go Betweens and The Walkabouts all adding up to some fine melancholic soul searching. Continue reading “Piano Magic “Closure” (Second Language Music 2016)”

Live: Ben Kunder & Sarah MacDougall – York House Concerts, 26th November, 2016

Image: Chris Priest

Playing as a duo in the round over split sets to an enthusiastic, if older, red wine sipping crowd Kunder and MacDougall win the room with, I would guess, a previously unknown set of songs, Kunder’s album, ‘Golden’ is one of the best of 2016 and its taught songwriting is always going to come away with the spoils. MacDougall, finger picked Martin and double denim, with songs about growing up reading Pippi Longstocking, living in the Yukon is full of unusual phrases and a very confused (and confusing) accent, reel the punters in, easily hooked.  Kunder is a wonderful blend of Young, Taylor, Simon and Van Morrison – he’s a hell of a songwriter, and his first trip to the UK is a definite success.  Continue reading “Live: Ben Kunder & Sarah MacDougall – York House Concerts, 26th November, 2016”

Nathan Bell announces UK Dates

He picked up glowing 5-star reviews for his latest album (for example “A stand-out album – poetry is coursing through his veins” – Maverick) ‘I Don’t Do This for Love, I Do This for Love’ – winning him more media exposure in the space of a few weeks than he had experienced for a long time,  plus being described as “really, really special” by Ricky Ross (BBC). Continue reading “Nathan Bell announces UK Dates”

Dirty Dozen : The Coal Flowers

The Coal Flowers is made up of singer-songwriters Joel Shepherd (lead vocals, piano) and Heather Shepherd (lead vocals). These siblings have been singing together in one form or another since childhood in the Appalachian coalfields of Kentucky. They are known for their intimate lyrics, tight family harmony and rich musical composition. Continue reading “Dirty Dozen : The Coal Flowers”

Country Lips “Till The Daylight Comes” (Independent 2017)

Country Lips – simultaneously entertaining and enchanting… although, on reflection, I can see that the term ‘enchanting’ may be at odds with the unsavoury preoccupations of several songs: heavy drinking, al fresco sexual encounters and impregnating groupies are hardly ‘enchanting’ in the Disney sense, but nevertheless the dubious subject matter is more than enough to raise a chuckle Continue reading “Country Lips “Till The Daylight Comes” (Independent 2017)”

Bon Iver Cancel European Tour

Bad news for the first Thursday morning of 2017 sorry.  Don’t worry, Trump’s inauguration will be here before long to brighten things up.  Pitchfork report: “Bon Iver have canceled their upcoming European tour behind 22, A Million. Justin Vernon’s planned January 14 appearance on the Minnesota Public Radio program “A Prairie Home Companion” has also been canceled. In a note on the band’s Twitter, they write they have canceled “for personal reasons.” Bon Iver will refund all tickets, and have no plans to reschedule tour dates. Read the full note below. Scroll down for the band’s itinerary.  Continue reading “Bon Iver Cancel European Tour”

Dirty Dozen: Karen Jonas

Karen Jonas’s intensely personal songwriting first grabbed international attention with the release of her critically acclaimed 2014 debut album Oklahoma Lottery. Three years of non-stop touring with her guitarist Tim Bray have produced a smoldering live act that’s left audiences breathless across America, culminating in their much-anticipated sophomore release. Country Songs is a refreshing mix of classic sounds with new, head-turning country swagger. Continue reading “Dirty Dozen: Karen Jonas”

Dirty Dozen: Roddy Hart & the Lonesome Fire

If the Scots slang – which gives Roddy Hart & the Lonesome Fire’s “Swithering” its name – suggests any sort of indecisiveness at play, then it’s one that the band whole-heartedly embraced to help push the boundaries of what it felt capable of creating.  From the very beginning, this was a group of players eager to change how they approached making a record.  Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, the band (Scott Clark, Roddy Hart, Andy Lucas, Scott Mackay, John Martin, Geoff Martyn, and Gordon Turner) formed naturally over a number of years as Hart’s own evolution as an artist and songwriter progressed.
Continue reading “Dirty Dozen: Roddy Hart & the Lonesome Fire”

Americana UK staff pick their best of 2016

Here it is folks: the annual review of the best music of the last year as decided by your favourite music writers. Or at least the ones who write for Americana UK (we don’t yet have a Tony Parsons Julie Burchill dynamic going on between any two writers but give us time). The dust has settled on the pints of crème de menthe, the scars are healing and we are all friends again. Here is our definitive list.  Continue reading “Americana UK staff pick their best of 2016”