Interview: Lilly Hiatt

On ‘Trinity Lane’ her third and most visceral album to date, East Nashville’s Lilly Hiatt pulls no punches. Written mostly from a wooden chair looking out at the trees that surround her house on Trinity Lane, the album embodies both a kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll spirit – which Hiatt has in bucketloads – with a deeper, personal reflection on her life, broken relationships and sobriety. Continue reading “Interview: Lilly Hiatt”

Knight & Spiers “The Cuckoo” – Listen

A set of tunes from Peter Knight and John Spiers based around the traditional songs and tunes  ‘The Cuckoo song / The Cuckoo’s Nest / The Cuckoo’s Nest (Longborough Morris)’.  It’s a masterly medley that moves from an elegiac take on a well known song to the vigorously pagan glory of the Morris.  Now, where’s our sticks and hankies ?

Beams “Teach Me To Love” (Independent, 2018)

Toronto based band Beams, are, by their own, admission, a hard band to define musically. The songs are led by the vocals and banjo of Anna Mernieks and, while the banjo is ever present and brings a distinctive sound to the table, it is the punchy rhythms, jangling guitars and crashing drums that provide a lasting impression. So it is that despite mandolin, lap steel and singing saw joining forces with Mernieks’ banjo, the obvious route into bluegrass or country has been body swerved and the seven-piece band have produced a body of work that has a much harder edge. Continue reading “Beams “Teach Me To Love” (Independent, 2018)”

Things are changing for Jerry Leger – first UK tour next month

Canadian songsmith Jerry leger, a man who’s been described as “managing to channel the youthful vigour of Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Neil Young and Rick Danko, sometimes all within the same song” is set to release ‘Things Are Changing ‘Round Here’ which you can watch below (the video is rather lovely). It’s the first single to be taken off his ‘Nonsense And Heartache’ album, released on Latent Records, the label run by The Cowboy Junkies’ Michael Timmins. Leger will be in Europe next month with his band The Situation to play a short run of dates which includes the UK.  Go and see him and help him to buy that hairbrush he’s always dreamed of. Continue reading “Things are changing for Jerry Leger – first UK tour next month”

Lloyd Cole, De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill on Sea, 4th March 2018

Lloyd Cole takes to the stage, looking more like a hip geography teacher than the brooding rock star of his youth, and launches straight into ‘Patience’, to the obvious approval of the capacity crowd at the De La Warr Pavillion. Once he’s finished his opening song he stops and takes a long, hard look at the crowd. After surveying the audience for a while he walks up to the microphone and delivers his first words of the evening; “Yeah….you’re not getting any younger either”. Continue reading “Lloyd Cole, De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill on Sea, 4th March 2018”

You Are Wolf “Keld” (Firecrest Records, 2018)

Keld is an old Northern English word meaning “the deep, still, smooth part of a river”. That’s an economical word, and You Are Wolf’s album is also economical, the sparse sounds drawing on traditional songs that have fresh water at their heart. Kerry Andrews – who is You Are Wolf – thinks that salt water has for too long dominated the folk scene – with songs of sea borne exploring, whale hunting and shanties filling album after album. What about lochs? What about rivers? What about streams and pools? ‘Keld’ is the fruit of her labours in in-land waterways. Continue reading “You Are Wolf “Keld” (Firecrest Records, 2018)”

NPR streams new Courtney Marie Andrews for your delight

Lovely, lovely NPR (Trump don’t like them, and my enemy’s enemy..) are today streaming the new album from Courtney Marie Andrews which we’ll have our own review of within the next week.  They prelude the stream by noting the way that music challenges “the link between wealth and worth; of giving voice to the painfulness of enduring poverty; of articulating working-class coping strategies and aspirations. Merle Haggard, for one, was a master at delivering workingman’s despair with stoic dignity. The unguarded emotion of May Your Kindness Remain, a new, Mark Howard-produced album from singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews, may be unseemly by comparison, but it’s ideally calibrated for our moment.” Continue reading “NPR streams new Courtney Marie Andrews for your delight”

Van Life: Rennie Sparks (The Handsome Family)

Got to be honest, there probably isn’t a square mile of the US or Europe that Brett and Rennie, The Handsome Family, haven’t covered at some point. The husband and wife duo must have one hell of a relationship to endure that many miles on the road together without serious risk of divorce or mental instability.  That they appear, at least on the surface, as musically and harmoniously entwined is surely testament to a rigorously tested van life routine that has stood the test of time. I catch up with them en route to Aberdeen to get the lowdown.
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Interview: Willy Vlautin

The much-loved frontman of the now sadly defunct Richmond Fontaine and pivotal member of The Delines,  Willy Vlautin is a man of many talents. Not only an exquisite songwriter, guitarist and one of the good guys, Vlautin has established himself as a ‘must read’ novelist whose tales of life’s chancers and dreamers have been cherished by readers and critics alike. Over for a short visit to these shores promoting his new book, ‘Don’t Skip Out On Me’ AUK’s Alan O’Hare caught up with him for a coffee and short chat.

Continue reading “Interview: Willy Vlautin”