Natalie Merchant heads to UK for 10,000 dates

OK not 10,000 but the story would be so much more fun it it was. We’re taking a break now until Tuesday dear readers. Remember to have a bad Thursday but a good Friday, make sure the Easter Bunny brings you lots of (free range) eggs and we leave you for the long weekend with news that the lovely Natalie Merchant is back and touring the UK in July in some equally as lovely venues including the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh, the King’s Hall in Ilkley and er, that’s it for halls with royal connections. Full list of dates below along with Merchant doing one of those lovely little NPR desk concerts. Have a good Easter break whatever you’re doing.  Continue reading “Natalie Merchant heads to UK for 10,000 dates”

Interview: Buffalo Tom

I remember buying the self-titled debut album from Buffalo Tom the very day it was released from that once-great record emporium, Rhythm Records in Camden Town. That record still gets healthy attention from the deck, especially ‘Sunflower Suit” which still has this middle-aged man jumping around like Vedder. Thirty-years later and I’m sat here enjoying ‘Quiet And Peace’, the band’s new album – their first in seven years – and possibly their best yet. That classic brooding guitar sound may not be so much at the forefront these days but the whole album still resonates both with its presence and dynamism. The songs, thoughtful and mature, underline the fact that here we have a band still right at the top of their game both observing and absorbing the ever-changing world around them. I speak to the band’s Bill Janovitz about making records, getting older and Simon And Garfunkel. Continue reading “Interview: Buffalo Tom”

Interview: Courtney Marie Andrews

If ever there was a brighter star in the ascendancy then Arizona’s Courtney Marie Andrews hasn’t bumped into it yet. Over the last eighteen months the evocative and beguiling songstress has risen to the very summit of the genre, first on the back of her universally acclaimed – and utterly brilliant – ‘Honest Life’ album, released in the UK on the ever-one-step-ahead Loose Music, then a series of live performances that culminated in a beautifully understated appearance on BBC’s Later that ignited the smouldering fuse.  Releasing her follow-up ‘May Your Kindness Remain’ this month, Andrews returns to the UK/Eire in April for a number of shows including her biggest London headline show to date at Islington Assembly Hall on April 24th.  AUK’s Alan O’Hare took the chance to spend a few minutes of her time asking about the new album and current success. Continue reading “Interview: Courtney Marie Andrews”

Jesse Terry “Natural” (Jackson Beach Records, 2018)

On his fifth album Jesse Terry has moved away from his usual roots-rock arrangements for a stripped down and mostly acoustic take on songs familiar from his previous albums – with a cover thrown in for good measure. An additional twist is that Terry has teamed up with a number of his favourite female singers – amongst them Dar Williams and Kim Richey – to make this also an album of duetting voices, although on a few tracks it’s predominantly Jesse Terry with guest-star backing vocals. Continue reading “Jesse Terry “Natural” (Jackson Beach Records, 2018)”

Maria Kelly “Small Talk” – Listen

A faltering, introverted, vocal carries this delicate song of social anxiety and an inability to connect with others.  Alienation and anxiety and a tense swell of fear building within her “there’s a storm in my chest / I can’t catch my breath/…/ I can’t spit it out – don’t mind me”.  The only downside is that Maria Kelley drew on her own experiences on ‘Small Talk’.

Video premiere: Lilly Hiatt “I Wanna Go Home” (Acoustic)

Well this is a little treat to start Bad Thursday with. Lilly Hiatt’s latest album ‘Trinity Lane’ is out now via New West Records and she’s heading to the UK next month for a series of dates. Rolling Stone called the record”the most cohesive and declarative statement of the young songwriter’s career” and Lilly has shared a live track with us from a session filmed at the LR Baggs Soundcheck Office in Nashville during the 2017 Americana Festival. She told AUK: “I started writing this song in Norman, Oklahoma at a friend’s place after a long tour. I was feeling kinda funny, after massive amounts of driving alone. It sat for a while, until I showed it to my friend Joe back in Tennessee. He had a couple lines that I loved and ended up using them for the chorus. Voila!” Talented to bejesus and multi-lingual too! UK dates are below.

Continue reading “Video premiere: Lilly Hiatt “I Wanna Go Home” (Acoustic)”

Diane Patterson “Open Road” (Independent, 2018)

This album is what the world needs to hear right now. It is a healthy shot of solidarity, support and love. Many of the songs are a rallying call for change but are healing in focus, not overly confrontational. It’s all wrapped up in strong lyrics, a powerful voice and ranges musically from heartfelt acoustic tracks to funked-up, folky, latino beats. Open Road’ is Diane Patterson’s fifth record. She’s been recording for 30 years and is an accomplished folk and worldbeat artist. Ani DiFranco (singer/songwriter/activist/poet) makes guest appearances throughout the album. DiFranco’s husband, producer Mike Napolitano (Peter Mulvey, James McMurtry), recorded and produced it. Continue reading “Diane Patterson “Open Road” (Independent, 2018)”

South By Southwest Festival 2018, Austin, Texas

The annual jamboree that is Austin’s South by Southwest Festival plows on with over two thousand artists descending on the town for a week long binge and that’s just the music. With film, gaming and politics all well served alongside a bewildering variety of showcases from well known acts to those just starting out on the ladder to possible success it’s  entirely possible to be overwhelmed by the almost endless choices on offer. However duty calls and here’s the results of our search for those highlights which sit comfortably in the AUK canon. Continue reading “South By Southwest Festival 2018, Austin, Texas”

Will Stewart “Country Seat” (Cornelius Chapel Records, 2018)

Will Stewart’s debut solo album ‘Country Seat’ explores his southern roots, with folk-rock being the foreground for the piece.  The album takes Stewart’s musical influences from many artists, including Neil Young, with the electrified moments and modern folk attraction of Hiss Golden Messenger. Stewart has called this album a love letter to the south, with the guitar being the main focal point of the music and with his vocals it allows the album to be quite an easy listening piece. Continue reading “Will Stewart “Country Seat” (Cornelius Chapel Records, 2018)”