Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Courtney Marie Andrews cover Nina Simone – Listen

This is lovely if you have four minutes to spare.  Consequence of Sound report: “After political happenings Friday handed 45 the second major loss of his two-month-old presidency, it feels like a good time to be part of the #Resistance. Now is not the time to rest, however, as there will be plenty of chances to press the advantage in the near future. That’s why the Our First 100 Days series is continuing on today with a reminder that true freedom must be fought for constantly. Continue reading “Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Courtney Marie Andrews cover Nina Simone – Listen”

Tim O’Brien announces new album, UK dates

Grammy winning singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Brien has announced a new album “Where the River Meets the Road” which will be released in the UK on 12th May.  The album features songs from his native West Virginia, bluegrass and Americana covers from songwriters Hazel Dickens, Billy Edd Wheeler and Bill Withers alongside autobiographical originals with help from collaborators like Chris Stapleton, Kathy Mattea, Stuart Duncan and Noam Pikelny. He has performed or recorded in the past with Steve Earle, Mark Knopfler, Bill Frisell, and Steve Martin, and if all that’s not enough, he’s also produced records for Yonder Mountain String Band, David Bromberg, and Canada’s Old Man Luedecke.  The arrogance of the man.  Continue reading “Tim O’Brien announces new album, UK dates”

Tift Merritt “Stitch of The World” (Yep Roc Records, 2017)

In 2015, after almost two years on the road touring in support of her album Travelling Alone, Tift Merritt decided to take a year off the road, just “to see what would happen to me.” What happened, as Tift enjoyed the solitude of a friend’s ranch in Texas, was the inspiration to write. This was the starting process for Tift’s latest offering Stitch of The World. Her experiences during that period were to lead to songs inspired by her surroundings of the time. Wait For Me, about leaving the disappointments of the past behind and believing that good things are up ahead, was provoked by the long straight roads that she found in Texas. Watching the ranch hands toiling with their daily routine helped provide the theme of working through times of struggle and the persistence of love in the beautiful and hopeful song, Love Soldiers On. Continue reading “Tift Merritt “Stitch of The World” (Yep Roc Records, 2017)”

The Buttertones “Gravedigging ” (Innovative Leisure, 2017)

Well, at last here’s an album with plenty of twang – of course in this case it’s the treble high guitar twang of a surf band, given a somewhat harder edge with a heavy dose of Garage Rock.  An album like Gravediggin’ is what results when you’ve spent too much time listening to Dick Dale and the original Nuggets collection in regular rotation. Continue reading “The Buttertones “Gravedigging ” (Innovative Leisure, 2017)”

Rodney Crowell talks about Guy Clark in new podcast

Imagine having this many friends. Rolling Stone reports: “Rodney Crowell has been Guy Clark’s buddy, Emmylou Harris’ bandmate and one of country music’s biggest hitmakers, and this week he’s Chris Shiflett’s guest on the latest episode of the Walking the Floor podcast. Crowell’s interview is sprinkled not only with anecdotes about his upcoming album, Close Ties, but of memories from Nashville’s golden years. “It had a lot more street cred back then,” he says of the Tennessee capital, where he moved in 1972. As a songwriter and sideman, Crowell spent the next decade landing hits for other artists and rubbing shoulders with up-and-comers like Steve Earle and Vince Gill. Later, he struck gold with his own Diamonds & Dirt,the late-Eighties album that spun off five Number One hits. During the years since, he’s charted his own course, becoming an Americana icon along the way.  Continue reading “Rodney Crowell talks about Guy Clark in new podcast”

Steepways “Holy Smoke” (Mansion House Records 2017)

This is a strong first album from London songwriting duo Blair Chadwick and Charlie Bateson, operating under the nom de guerre of Steepways.
They’ve assembled a talented group of musicians around them – Drummer Jamie Shaw, pedal steel player Darren Buddell, Andy Fairclough on Hammond Organ and other keyboards (is there such a thing as a song that can’t be improved by the addition of a Hammond Organ?!) and Chris Clarke playing bass and making a major contribution as producer. They also have former Alabama 3 singer Siobhan Parr providing some outstanding backing vocals and a nice duet on penultimate track Rather Be Alone.  Continue reading “Steepways “Holy Smoke” (Mansion House Records 2017)”

Sean Rowe “New Lore” (Anti, 2017)

I really try to be fair when writing these reviews. I try not to get too caught up in my own taste, try to be a little bit objective at least, measure the records against what we collectively agree is our scoring system. I try to find the positives; it gives me no pleasure to disagree fervently with some of my fellow writers. I really fight hard not to give in to urges to grandly dismiss a record in a hail of sarcasm and self-serving vitriol wrapped up as criticism (for this see my work from 2005). Then I get records like this to review that I dislike on first listen and every time I listen (again and again – I like to discern and understand the roots of my dislike) I really fail to see the good or understand the attraction of a record like this.  Continue reading “Sean Rowe “New Lore” (Anti, 2017)”

London based and fancy reviewing gigs for us?

We get a fair amount of offers to cover gigs by americana artists here at AUK but particularly with showcases and album launches, they are often London based which is awkward since precisely one of our writers lives in London and his whole life would be spent going to see live music if he attended them all. Which doesn’t sound like such a bad thing when you come to think about it.  Anyway, as is common knowledge it’s grim up north where we’re based, so if you are one of those new-fangled London people, can write well, produce copy quickly and fancy seeing some Americana for free from time to time (normally on week nights) then please get in touch with us. A lot of the artists are “up and coming” as they say, but today’s fresh faces are tomorrow’s Ryan Adams.  Or Ryan Adams-es.  And you could be the person to tell the world about them.

Lucy Rose announces UK/European dates, new album

Lucy Rose has announced details of a new album and a “global cinema tour” taking her to rather exciting places to showcase the record and its companion documentary film. ‘Something’s Changing’ will be released on the 14th July through Communion Records. The album will be accompanied by a short documentary, acting as a fly-on-the-wall account of Lucy’s debut tour of Latin America last year. The trip, organised independently by Lucy with the help of her Latin American fans, became an inspiration for the record and the film is an intimate account of how it all came together.  Here are those dates along with her new single recorded with The Staves.  Continue reading “Lucy Rose announces UK/European dates, new album”