Luke Sital-Singh “Love is Hard Enough Without the Winter” – Listen

There’s nothing saccharine about the sentiment in this song from Luke Sital-Singh, which is as cold and bleak as the winter he’s proposing to reject.  It touches directly on the rough edges in any relationship, the rubbing up the wrong way, the small slights that sting like the frost or the big blow-up like icy hail in the face.  Not that he resorts to such obvious similes, ‘Love is Hard Enough Without the Winter‘ is too classy for that.

Americana UK writers pick their albums of 2018

Once upon a time we used to do a “Top 10” list of our favourite stuff from the last year, but we used to all fall out, on several occasions it came to blows and three ex-AUK staff are doing life sentences for killing other writers purely for their taste. So we moved to a one member one vote system but as it happens, 2 records were chosen by more than one writer this year. What are the chances? They sit at the top of the list below – so here they are, our essential 22 albums for 2018:

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Kaia Kater “Grenades” (Smithsonian Folkways, 2019)

‘Grenades,’ the excellent second record from Grenadian-Canadian Kaia Kater comes with an intriguing back story. The singer-songwriter decided to explore her father’s Grenadian roots and it sets an interesting platform upon which the record is built. Having fled to Canada following the US invasion of his home country in 1986, he recounts his experience on interludes throughout the record. These provide not only interesting context to his daughter’s lyrical content, but a damning indictment on US treatment of developing countries such as Grenada. His words are often hard-hitting, such as on ‘Death Of A Dream’ when he helplessly exclaims “to describe the invasion… it defies words”.

Continue reading “Kaia Kater “Grenades” (Smithsonian Folkways, 2019)”

Annie Oakley “Words We Mean” (Horton Records, 2018)

Annie Oakley are a three-piece acoustic trio from Oklahoma City and ‘Words We Mean’ is the group’s first full length album and the culmination of many years of writing and playing together – the chemistry between them evident throughout. The story of the formation of the group is bittersweet as twin sisters, Sophia and Grace Babb, began writing songs at aged 14 following the death of their father and soon after they were joined by a friend named Nia on violin who was also dealing with the loss of her own father. Consequently, the trio went about writing songs as a form of catharsis, and this exploration of their feelings led to Annie Oakley being born.   Continue reading “Annie Oakley “Words We Mean” (Horton Records, 2018)”

Video: Allison Lupton “The Eve Of Christmas Day”

Well, it is that time of year so here’s an excellent song from Allison Lupton, aided and abetted by UK folk stars The Young ‘Uns, Craig Werth and the Canterbury Brass.  It’s rather lovely and never cliched or sentimental.

Tom Russell announces new album “October in the Railroad Earth”, UK dates

American troubadour Tom Russell, once described by Rolling Stone as “The greatest living folk-country songwriter” has announced a new album ‘October in the Railroad Earth’ confusingly not out in October but on March 15th via Proper Records. Continue reading “Tom Russell announces new album “October in the Railroad Earth”, UK dates”

David Berkeley “The Faded Red and Blue” (Straw Man, 2018)

The Faded Red and Blue’ is a five-track EP from Santa-Fe based songwriter,  David Berkeley. It was written in response to the political landscape in America: he began writing in the aftermath of the presidential election in November 2016 and completed the songs just after the shooting in Parkland, Florida in 2018. The EP is in part a comment on the topics that naturally stem from this time: gun violence, immigration, the world (as in the environment, but also humanity), however, Berkeley successfully steers away from being angry and ranty and instead leads us into a place of love and potential healing. Continue reading “David Berkeley “The Faded Red and Blue” (Straw Man, 2018)”

Bob Collum & The Welfare Mothers “Pay, Pack And Carry” (Harbour Song Records, 2018)

Bob Collum hails from Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is a pretty good place to come from if you’re a man who makes music in the Americana genre. But Collum has added an interesting twist to his back story by relocating to the Thames Estuary in darkest Essex and it’s here that he assembled his band, The Welfare Mothers, and now brings his music to the masses. And pretty good music it is too.” Continue reading “Bob Collum & The Welfare Mothers “Pay, Pack And Carry” (Harbour Song Records, 2018)”

A Review of the Year : Tell me where it hurts, and I’ll tell you what to feel

It may have been another turbulent year with no sign of the punishment letting up, but it has also been another great year for music. And, in a sense, that’s what really matters. And if nothing else the real world has offered some amusement on the live scene as visiting bands from the USA make clear who did, and who didn’t, support the incumbent of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The latter by noting the madness in their country and typically saying something like “don’t blame me“, the former by withholding any comment on the subject at all, as if it’s just business as usual. Continue reading “A Review of the Year : Tell me where it hurts, and I’ll tell you what to feel”

Ludlow “The Country” – Listen

Ludlow are a five piece band from Chicago who have just released their new EP  ‘Sunset Blues’, which this track is taken from.  It’s a song that reflects on how different people see the USA in different ways and that there actually are many Americas encompassed within those national borders.  As song writer Mark Schoek reflected “some folks would think “the country” is America, and some would think “the country” is the sticks, farmland, outside of town….I was thinking about the type of folks who are hesitant to leave their small towns – let alone the U.S. itself – but still develop and harbour intense nationalist views with pride for a country they’ve barely seen.