Seasons greetings from Americana UK

That’s it from us for this year dear readers.  Thanks for all your support over the last 12 months which have been the busiest year yet for AUK in the sixteen years of our existence. (I was 11 obviously when I started the website).  Please consider supporting us via our new set up for just £2 per month and we’ll send you a nice curated playlist of the best americana we’ve heard each month. In the meantime, can we wish you all a very happy Christmas/festive season/whatever it means to you, and all the very best for 2018.  We’ll be back on January 2nd, Trump not having a meltdown notwithstanding, and in the meantime enjoy these four minutes of magic from our favourite mathematical avian friends.

The votes have been counted! Here are the AUK readers poll 2017 results

So here we are again as Peter Cetera sang to Cher back in 1989 – another year over, another end of year AUK poll and YOU have been hoovering up americana like nobody’s business, but with a new Dyson so to speak.  It’s out with the old and in with the new crowd as several artists make their first appearances in our end of year results, including an earthquake in the best radio show category – hearty congratulations to all of you who’ve made it into the list.  Congratulations to Will Munn from Worcester who wins a load of promos which will be with you in due course.  So without further much ado about nothing, here are the winners of this year’s AUK readers poll of 2017. Continue reading “The votes have been counted! Here are the AUK readers poll 2017 results”

Pick of the Political Pops: The Kinks “Father Christmas”

At Americana-UK Towers we are somewhat divided about the festive season. The opportunities for falling out with each other are manifold – the correct ratio of gin to Campari to vermouth in our Negronis, whether sprouts should be considered an actual foodstuff and which Christmas tunes to play on the jukebox are just some examples. However after erecting our tree in The Bunker and given a liberal sprinkling of tinsel and cocktails we have settled on this as representative of our Christmas mindset. Thank goodness for Ray Davies…

Ange Hardy “Bring Back Home” (Story Records, 2017)

A turbulent and sometimes tragic childhood was the prelude to 14-year-old Ange Hardy running away from a children’s home in Somerset and finding herself homeless on the streets of Ireland. Handed a guitar as a chance to move from begging to busking for a living, music became a counsellor for Ange. Bring Back Home is the sixth studio album from the BBC Radio 2 Folk award nominated singer-songwriter and, by her own admission, many of these songs are set within the same fictional landscape that permeates much of her output. So it is that we have an opening track, Sisters Three, with the jauntily upbeat accompaniment disguising the mystical undertones of the song which is, at its heart, a folk story about the origin of good and evil in the heart of mankind. Continue reading “Ange Hardy “Bring Back Home” (Story Records, 2017)”

Dan Michaelson “First Light” (The state51 Conspiracy, 2017)

First Light is an album of elegant music which serves as a frame for Dan Michaelson’s distinctive cracked and battered vocals – like a canvas sail hauled out for another use in the face of an oncoming storm. A concept album of sorts, based on the thoughts that fill the mind as consciousness returns as somnolence is reluctantly thrown off, and on the evidence presented here Dan Michaelson’s dreams are often troubled with uneasy sleep. Continue reading “Dan Michaelson “First Light” (The state51 Conspiracy, 2017)”

Luke Daniels “Singing Ways To Feel More Junior” (Gael Music, 2017)

Luke Daniels looks a little like a refugee freed from a Mumford and Sons labour camp. His new album makes use of children’s rhymes for grownups everywhere. That’s enough to set of very loud alarm bells hereabouts. Fear not, the record’s okay (if a little unremarkable) and the beard/braces look is close to being a legal requirement for the self-respecting folkie of today. Daniels is a member of Cara Dillion’s band, also of Riverdance Orchestra. He’s certainly no chancer in the folk music scene. Accordingly this is a solid collection of songs and the children’s rhymes are largely understated; worked into the songs rather than standing out like the proverbial sore thumbs. Continue reading “Luke Daniels “Singing Ways To Feel More Junior” (Gael Music, 2017)”

Port Cities set sail for the UK in 2018

Canadian band Port Cities are still bathing in the afterglow of November’s Nova Scotia Music Week, where they scooped no less than five awards, including album of the year, digital artist of the year and entertainer of the year. Their new single ‘Back To The Bottom’ (which you can listen to below) is described as “a heart-racing stomper of a track that only partially disguises much deeper emotional undercurrents.” As vocalist Breagh MacKinnon explains, “The song tells the story of a toxic relationship. It’s about being stuck in the cycle of coming back to something or someone that isn’t good for either person; yet you still can’t get out.”  It’s almost like he knows me and my cat Gizmo.  They drop anchor in the UK for dates in March next year which you can peruse below. Continue reading “Port Cities set sail for the UK in 2018”

Joshua Hyslop “Echos” (Nettwerk Music, 2018)

On first hearing the dulcet tones of Canadian singer-songwriter Joshua Hyslop it would be easy, and not a little bit lazy, to file him away as radio friendly, middle of the road and unremarkable. His voice could have been made to fit snugly and comfortably within the mainstream Radio 2 playlist. However, get past the first two tracks and with track number three Home Hyslop raises the bar and starts to demand attention. Unremarkable becomes distinctive and soulful. The musical accompaniment becomes a subtle complement to the songs, as highlighted by the brief but effective harmonica on Long Way Down and Lighter Than a Stone. The album settles into a lovely, laid back rhythm, mostly acoustically driven and understated in a way that allows Hyslop’s vocals to really get under the skin. Continue reading “Joshua Hyslop “Echos” (Nettwerk Music, 2018)”

Here they are! AUK writers’ best albums of 2017

Here at AUK towers we used to quite often fall out over our end of year list, and even the stronger among us walked away in a sea of blood, sweat and tears (the things). It was the block vote what done it. And so, like Ed Miliband before us we moved to a one member one vote system in a non-secret ballot and things seemed to work out much better. We don’t settle on a definitive list, who can in these troubled muddled times, but here, dear readers, are our picks of the best stuff we’ve listened to over the last 12 months. Complaints and accusations of nepotism to the usual address please.  Oh and tomorrow we’ll have the results of YOUR picks of 2017. Contain your excitement if you can. Continue reading “Here they are! AUK writers’ best albums of 2017”