Interview – John Cleere

There are so many ‘roots’ festivals these days you could spend years visiting a different one without ever going back to the same one twice. That Kilkenny Roots Festival attracts the same crowd year on year without fail is testament to an event that has really found a place in many hearts, mine included. Now in its twenty-second year, Kilkenny Roots – or ‘The Roots’ as the regulars refer to it – this small but perfectly formed nugget is the go to place every May for roots lovers from all over the world.   With the likes of Patty Griffin (pictured), The Sadies, and Texan legend Alejandro Escovedo topping the bill, this year will be no different. Americana-UK  caught up with Festival director John Cleere ahead of the impending frivolity. Continue reading “Interview – John Cleere”

Chris Rawlins “Bring on The Rain” (Chris Cialdella, 2019)

Chris Rawlins is based in Chicago. This is his debut album, and significantly it has been produced by none other than Steve Dawson. So here is an unusual and remarkable record, in Chris Rawlins’ own words, “It’s a hawk that screeches in the winter wind.” Rawlins has written here songs about ordinary life, its personal nature, and how, very often, from different perspectives, it has differing effects on the people involved in the songs, and on an audience, or an individual listening. Continue reading “Chris Rawlins “Bring on The Rain” (Chris Cialdella, 2019)”

Kathy Zimmer “Sparkling Smile” (Independent, 2019)

Following the 2018 release of ‘White Noise’, Kathy Zimmer’s new EP, ‘Sparkling Smile’, continues to develop her self-styled cosmopolitan folk sound. Once again, she effectively pulls off the trick of sounding warmly familiar and yet entirely new, blending musical genres and layering instrumentation to create a sumptuous set of songs. Continue reading “Kathy Zimmer “Sparkling Smile” (Independent, 2019)”

Willie Nelson rides back home with new album – due June

Legacy Recordings has announced the release of ‘Ride Me Back Home’, a new studio album by Willie Nelson due to land on Friday, June 21st. The album rounds out a trilogy about mortality that began in 2017 with ‘God’s Problem Child’ and was followed in 2018 with ‘Last Man Standing’. This is the 13th album that longtime friend/producer Buddy Cannon has produced for Willie in a little over a decade and the album debuts three new songs co-written by the pair: ‘Come On Time, Seven Year Itch’ and ‘One More Song to Write.’ Continue reading “Willie Nelson rides back home with new album – due June”

Red Rooster Festival announce female-led acoustic stage line-up

As it heads towards its 6th year in May of this year, the Red Rooster festival has announced a new collaboration with the Americana Music Association UK and New York singer-songwriter Sunny Ozell, who will be curating, as well as headlining, a female-led acoustic AMA UK stage on Friday the 31st of May. Continue reading “Red Rooster Festival announce female-led acoustic stage line-up”

Chris Jones & The Night Drivers “The Choosing Road” (Mountain Home Music Company, 2019)

In the press release accompanying Chris Jones’ new album he says, “I decided this time around to open up more with my writing and worry less about how songs would be perceived by different audiences.” What he has ended up with is a mix of traditional and modern Bluegrass that works well as individual songs but is not perhaps the most coherent album. Continue reading “Chris Jones & The Night Drivers “The Choosing Road” (Mountain Home Music Company, 2019)”

Lanai “Ship’s Bell” – Listen

Lanai are Tanja Torvikoski and Petri Kuusela, who make a very soft folk-rock sound: that’s soft as in gentle as epitomised on this track which floats through sea-mists towards a feeling of loss and parting.  This is actually the title track of the Finnish duo’s new and debut album which was released at the start of March and which, as befits such ethereal folk sounds, was of course recorded in a suitably remote cabin – you can hear the chill.

Billard Blossom “Change Your Grip” (Independent, 2019)

Billard Blossom seem like a pretty okay group of fellas. They have a few videos posted on YouTube that feature the band playing out or working in their rehearsal room. From the available evidence, it seems like they’d be a good time if you stopped in for a beer and they just happened to be on stage. Their self-titled debut from 2013 is easy enough to like. The songs on ‘Change Your Grip‘ are well written and capably performed. Continue reading “Billard Blossom “Change Your Grip” (Independent, 2019)”

Rick Shea announces UK solo tour

Veteran California-based folk-Americana singer-songwriter and sideman of long repute Rich Shea has announced a May-June Ireland & UK solo tour, in support of his latest album ‘The Town Where I Live’. Dave Alvin said of Shea: “An incredible and intelligent musician and songwriter with an angelic voice that I’d kill for.” Tut. Killing isn’t very angelic Dave. Continue reading “Rick Shea announces UK solo tour”