The Equatorial Group “Apricity” (Independent, 2018)

The Equatorial Group’s self-funded debut album ‘Apricity’ does not fit neatly into a particular genre of Americana, having a distinctly psychedelic acoustic sound.  ‘Motorbikes’ is the closest to a country-Americana song with the opening guitar picking of the track similar to an old-school country song. The ten track album from the five-piece band does not have a set sound. Some tracks like ‘Farewell My Lovely’  are purely acoustic with the vocalist sounding similar to the likes of Dido with a breathy vocal and simple guitar background, while the likes of ‘Burning’ is more of a jazz number with the use of brass instruments playing in the background of the piano. Continue reading “The Equatorial Group “Apricity” (Independent, 2018)”

Pick of the Political Pops: The Jayhawks “Stumbling Through The Dark”

We like to think of The Bunker as a place of refuge situated as it is deep underground in the bowels of the lower reaches of Americana-UK Towers. Here, with a well stocked bar, a fast internet connection and a juke box to die for we can avoid much of the madness of the world. Because madness it is – often a bleak and depressing place where the good and righteous are put upon or ignored in favour of the insane men and women who run things in our name but not with our consent. We, like the majority of people, get through as best we can finding that fine liquor and a playlist of banging tunes help somewhat along with odd argument about progressive politics and a bit of table thumping accompanied by the old adage “But it stands to reason…!”. Of course many times it doesn’t but one simply has to try. It’s a little like stumbling around trying to make sense of stuff with the lights turned off. The Jayhawks know about this stuff:

Massage “Lydia” – Listen

Alex Naidus – formerly of Pains of Being Pure at Heart – heads up Massage, an LA based band with a nice line in jangly-guitar pop.  ‘Lydia’ is one of the first songs the band worked up when they started getting it together back in 2014.  Guitarist/vocalist Andrew Romano describes it thus: “we started writing it at our third practice, way back in 2014. This was when we weren’t really a band yet. Michael was just learning how to play drums; Alex and I were bringing in old songs we’d written as sidemen in other people’s bands. We didn’t really know what we were doing, other than hanging out and having fun”.

David Crosby has UK dates upcoming

Get excited – David Crosby, the one who writes “the weird shit” has announced UK dates for this September.  Don’t get too excited, it’s not what we’d call a tour.  It’s two dates – Manchester at the Palace Theatre on September 15th, and then on the 16th it’s the Shepherds Bush Empire in that far flung corner of London that is Shepherds Bush.  The dates are listed as Crosby & friends, so we’re guessing Nash, Stills and Young won’t be popping up – far more likely is the evolved CPR who are now the nucleus of the Lighthouse Band – playing on ‘Lighthouse’ and Crosby’s last album ‘Skytrails’. Continue reading “David Crosby has UK dates upcoming”

Kashena Sampson “Wild Heart” (New Moon Records, 2018)

There was a time in the not so distant past when you could hear how much was spent on a record. But it’s almost impossible to make that sort of distinction today with production values available to those with the most meagre of budgets. And if anything, more acts nowadays are looking to reproduce a more rudimentary sound in a quest for authenticity. Such is the case with Kashena Sampson’s debut album. By best estimates an album some 14 years in the gestation, Kashena Sampson’s musical influences don’t extend much beyond the early 1980s, so the fact her folk and blues influenced Americana sound seems rooted in a 1970s sound is no surprise. It’s also no bad thing as ‘Wild Heart’ is a debut album of no small distinction. Continue reading “Kashena Sampson “Wild Heart” (New Moon Records, 2018)”

New Rodney Crowell album due July

Rodney Crowell has been around for a while now – he would often kick around a football made of tripe wrapped in muslin with Clement Attlee – and today he’s announced the forthcoming arrival of his nineteenth album Acoustic Classics which is due out on July 13th and features new versions of some of his best-recognised songs. RS report: “The writer of 15 Number One country hits, including “Making Memories of Us” and “Please Remember Me,” cut by Keith Urban and Tim McGraw respectively, Crowell presents stripped-down versions of these songs on the LP. Continue reading “New Rodney Crowell album due July”

Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton hits the road this Friday

Carrying the torch for original acoustic blues from a bygone era, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton returns to the UK for a short run of dates from Friday of this week.  Although still in his 20s, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton has earned a reputation for transporting audiences back to the 1920’s and making them wish they could stay there for good.  Jerron performed to a sold out audience at the Lead Belly Tribute at Carnegie Hall on February 4, 2016 along with Buddy Guy, Eric Burdon, Edgar Winter, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and other stars. It is no exaggeration to say that Paxton made a huge impression. In the two years since his performance at that star-studded show in one of the world’s great concert houses, Paxton’s own star has been rising fast. Continue reading “Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton hits the road this Friday”

Jessica’s Brother “Humdinger” – Listen

Jessica’s Brother is a London based folky-Americana band consisting of  songwriter Tom Charleston, Jonny Helm on drums, and bassist Charlie Higgs – although for their debut album they’ve roped in friends to fill out the sound.  Jonny and Charlie were working together in a framing business but wanted to form a band – a wish catalysed into reality when Jonny’s girlfriend, Jessica, introduced him to her brother Tom – a songwriter in need of a band. From such a stroke of fortune came Jessica’s Brother and this slow-burner of laid back contemplation of life.

Ryan Adams sings on “The Voice” Finale – Watch

If you can bear to sit through any of a finale of the Voice then this four minutes will at least prove that our Transatlantic partners get a much better deal than us. This week, Ryan Adams joined finalist and fellow North Carolinan Britton Buchanan to perform his ‘To Be Without You’ taken off his 2017 album ‘The Prisoner.’ Buchanan actually cites Whiskeytown as one of his influences – sadly he came second which in the world of americana feels just about noble and right.