Well that’s a wrap from us for this year dear AUK readers. Thanks for all your support over the last 12 months, whether it’s been being a monthly supporter, subscribing to our daily email or just dropping in from time to time. We love each and every one of you. Don’t forget to check out our review of the year and our readers poll results. We’re taking a break now until Thursday 3rd January (our only break of the year, and we need it!) Please consider giving to the Guardian’s Christmas appeal this year for the Windrush generation. In the meantime I’ll leave you with one of my favourite Christmas songs of all time. A very happy Christmas to all of you, and I know the signs aren’t promising right now (perhaps a bit of an understatement…) but here’s to a happy and peaceful 2019. Mark Whitfield, Editor.
So here we go again – the last day of term and it’s prize day at Americana UK Towers. It was a classic year for americana in the UK, a year in which you actually had a choice of festivals to go to rather than a niche tent at the back of a field, and they weren’t small affairs either. Americana UK readers remain in the main a liberal progressive bunch who love the best of the genre but aren’t afraid to experiment. Basically we’re all still teenagers at heart. Thanks to all of you who took part in this year’s poll, and a special congratulations to David Provost who wins some nice promos which will be winging their way to you soon. So without further much ado about nothing, here are the winners… Continue reading “The 2018’s Americana UK readers’ poll results are here!”
Well, gosh darn it, it appears to be that time of year again. Here at Americana-UK Towers we are as divided about the festive season as a country pondering Brexit. There are those of us, The Editor for example, who go all squishy and fluffy and impossible to live with at the prospect of a mince pie, some new pairs of socks and the chance to bestow goodwill to all men (and women). Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Aimee Mann “I Was Thinking I Could Clean Up For Christmas””
This is the last Tracks feature of the year, so we wanted to go out with something which captured the mood of the year and this last month or so in particular. So, Gregory Alan Isakov has shared a track from his album ‘Evening Machines‘ and ‘Dark, dark, dark‘ has a gently melancholic tone that captures a mood of transition from a state of luminosity through the dying embers of the day and into a stoic Stygian gloom. Or, as Isakov has it, “It doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter, morning or afternoon, this music always feels like evening to me.”
Straw Bear named their band after a “bizarre” festival in the home counties during which a single participant is dressed as yep, a straw bear, in celebration of the start of the agricultural year. This says more about frontman and founding member Ian Ray’s sense of the offbeat than it does about any association with crop rotation schemes among their members. This is mirrored in the quirky lyrics and weaving melodies of ‘Fiction’ – the third album and by far the most psychedelic release by this unorthodox, intriguing fellowship. Continue reading “Straw Bear “Fiction” (Independent, 2018)”
If you haven’t yet seen the latest Coen Brothers effort, ‘The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs’, then you’re in for a treat. Released through Netflix (and if you haven’t got access to Netflix then surely someone you know must have – just pitch up on their doorstep with two fingers of red eye and persuade them to watch it with you), it’s a portmanteau movie set in the old west with six distinct tales. These pitch from rib tickling fun to very dark humour and there are echoes of influences as far ranging as Gene Autry, Cormac McCarthy and even an obscure 1920’s Danish film, ‘The Phantom Carriage’. Murder and dirty deeds loom large throughout. Of note to AUK readers is the presence of Tom Waits and Willie Watson on screen and two compositions by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch on the soundtrack. Continue reading “Various Artists “The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs – Original Soundtrack” (Milan Records, 2018)”
The crowds in Brighton are always a mixed bag. Students, die-hard fans of the acts on any particular evening, casual live music goers or just the curious can normally be found in the various venues around the city on any given night and tonight is no exception however, the audience is split almost 50/50 between fans of the more traditional sounds of Will Hoge and fans of the slightly more rough around the edges headline act, Lucero. On arrival the room was two-thirds full which would please any support act and the bassist from Lucero, acting as a compere of sorts, arrives on stage declaring the night a ‘Tennessee Takeover’ and introduces the ‘man with a golden voice’, Will Hoge. Continue reading “Will Hoge, The Haunt, Brighton, 8th December 2018”
It’s probably unfair to start listening to an album from the third song on the track-listing but, c’mon, the song is called ‘Craft Beards and Man Buns.’ It had to be done. It would be easy to write this off as a bit of a comedy skit. But it’s far from it; what shines through are some great guitar and banjo playing along with some well-observed and tight put downs. The delivery is just the right side of judgy and you can picture Gordie gently shaking his head as he sings: “Craft beards, man buns, just leave it alone my son / You’ll regret that, when you look back, like a tattoo on a roll of fat”. Continue reading “Gordie Tentrees and Jaxon Haldane “Grit” (Greywood Records, 2019)”
Well, it’s the last retro slot of the year and also Christmas so we can combine them with my favourite Christmas song of the past few years. From 2017 this is Mike Greaves, Eleanor McEvoy and The Beautiful South’s Dave Rotheray with a song that tells it like it is. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone, see you for more great videos in 2019.
This is Modern Hinterland’s first album. It is built around Chris Hornsby, who produced the record, wrote all the songs, and who sings and plays guitar. He is accompanied here by Tim Thackray on bass and Colin Marshall on drums. Try to listen to Hornsby’s single, ‘Helium’ which is taken from his first album. It is a taster for ‘The Hoppings.’ Continue reading “Modern Hinterland “The Hoppings” (Label Fandango, 2018)”