Storm alert! Emily Barker’s Hurricane hits the UK this week

The always lovely antipodean americana singer-songwriter Emily Barker whose latest album ‘Sweet Kind of Blue’ received a glowing review from us last year, is touring around the UK this week. The AMA-UK artist of the year for 2018 played Winchester on Saturday if you are Dr Who or have a time machine – and is playing other dates which you can peruse below. She’s also released a new video for the song ‘No. 5 Hurricane’ which you can watch below. Continue reading “Storm alert! Emily Barker’s Hurricane hits the UK this week”

Alberta “Mmmmm” (Independent, 2018)

This eclectic album from Alberta, the alter ego of Detroit native David Boone is a rough, ready and sometimes raucous affair with surprising subtlety thrown in for good measure. Track one ‘Outta My Head’ kicks things off in a punk style reminiscent of New York Dolls or even the Ramones with its sparse instrumentalism and jerky vocals, but the tracks that come after follow a range of styles including swing with clarinet taking the lead in ‘Black Powder Sweet Pea.’ On ‘Quitters & Thieves’ there is an almost jazz lounge style on show with brooding vocal and sensuous piano all pulled off with some style. Continue reading “Alberta “Mmmmm” (Independent, 2018)”

AMAUK announced press launch and awards nominations

The Americana Music Association UK, the professional trade association which represents and advocates for Americana and roots music in the UK, has announced details of its press launch night which will take place on November 7th. The evening is an opportunity for Americana music fans in two ways: Continue reading “AMAUK announced press launch and awards nominations”

Chicago “In Terms of Two” – Listen

Peter Cetera is performing live tonight at the Barbican, his first UK show in over three decades. Woefully under-rated as both a songwriter and a vocalist (his voice still being one of the most distinctive of his time), he’s still filed under “guilty pleasure” but always had an ear for a melody. And that includes this song which he wrote for the Chicago VI album from 1973 which spent five weeks at number one in the US that year. It’s the most country-leaning track on the album, featuring as it does Gerry Rafferty on pedal steel, but you could honestly pick out any of the 10 tracks on the record as evidence of what the band collectively represented at a key point in US history. Chances are Cetera won’t be playing it tonight, but he should.

The Handsome Family, Nell’s Jazz and Blues, London, 22nd October 2018

The last time the Handsome Family visited these shores they played the Grade II listed Hackney Round Chapel, an appropriate venue for their 20 year celebration of the ‘Through The Trees’ album. Tonight’s end-of-tour performance is in the more intimate surrounds of Nell’s Jazz and Blues club and there are no restrictions placed on what features from their extensive back catalogue – Rennie Sparks late on describing the whole performance as something of a tangent.
Continue reading “The Handsome Family, Nell’s Jazz and Blues, London, 22nd October 2018”

Jim James does a tiny but beautiful desk concert for NPR

Well we leave you this week dear readers with one of those lovely little desk concerts (concerts you can watch at your desk) from NPR, this time featuring My Morning Jacket’s Jim James who does three tunes including ‘I’m Amazed, Same Old Lie’ and the politically astute ‘Over and Over.’ As NPR put it, “After 20-some odd years of putting out music, Jim James is full of fervor and compassion for others as he sings, “How can we make / The same mistakes / and still carry on / Living the same we did yesterday / Have we learned nothing at all?“” Have a good one.

A Box of Stars “Days Drunk Off Heat” (Independent, 2018)

Weird times, man. We live in bizarrely binary times, defined by what we are not, rather than what we are. Or so it feels a lot of the time. We’re either anti, or pro and on both sides of the Atlantic even more so, even if we only had a passing interest until fairly recently. We all know what everyone is talking about in the UK and we all know what everyone is talking about in the US. What did we talk abut about before this loss of humanity and basic decency? Continue reading “A Box of Stars “Days Drunk Off Heat” (Independent, 2018)”

Pick of the Political Pops: Barry McGuire “Eve of Destruction”

It looks like The Bunker here at Americana-UK Towers might come into its own soon. Donny John and his improbably moustachioed lieutenant Bolt On have decided to rip up the non-proliferation agreement signed with Russia (by those two peaceniks Reagan and Gorbachev way back when) – the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The US says Russia has contravened the agreement. Russia says that the US has contravened the agreement. It seems to us almost as if it’s an invitation to indulge in a dick waving contest. Pity those dicks are so small. It’s back to the good old bad old days folks when tunes like this were pertinent:

Celtic Connections announces 2019 line up

Glasgow’s annual winterfest of roots music has unveiled the line up for 2019 and as usual, amidst the myriad of acts with more than 300 events taking place over the festival’s 18 days, there’s plenty of Americana acts to enjoy. As Donald Shaw, Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, says, “Every year we strive to programme the most diverse and eclectic festival yet and 2019 is shaping up to be just that. From artists who have influenced the current scene, to musicians who are re-defining the music of tomorrow, Celtic Connections 2019 will continue to embrace a huge range of styles and genres that showcase artists and cultures from across the world.” Continue reading “Celtic Connections announces 2019 line up”