Ags Connolly “Wrong Again” (Finstock Music, 2019)

Ags Connolly, one of the most authentic western swing artists this side of the Atlantic, has delivered once more with his third studio album, ‘Wrong Again’. Dwelling on similar terms to those previous, Connolly’s mix of bar side drinking songs and human sorrow will be a sure hit with existing fans who enjoy his continuation of Tex-Mex adventures. ‘Wrong Again’, recorded at Woodworm Studios in Connolly’s native county of Oxfordshire, pulls together an eclectic mix of well-seasoned musicians that reflect tastefully in the music. Continue reading “Ags Connolly “Wrong Again” (Finstock Music, 2019)”

The Blue Highways + James Hodder + Jamie Freeman + Howard Rose, The Betsey Trotwood, London, 18th & 19th October 2019

Unusually for what is essentially a brand new band, The Blue Highways played two shows back to back at the Betsey Trotwood in London’s Clerkenwell to celebrate their debut EP which was released back in August. The band (Callum Lury – lead vocals, guitar and songwriter; Jack Lury – lead guitar; Peter Dixon – bass guitar; and Theo Lury – drums and vocals) were joined on both nights by a horn section and kept the same playlist for both events. Continue reading “The Blue Highways + James Hodder + Jamie Freeman + Howard Rose, The Betsey Trotwood, London, 18th & 19th October 2019”

Jon Patrick Walker “Welcome to the Edge Times” (Independent, 2019)

Jon Patrick Walker is an actor by trade, used to performing in television and film studios or treading the boards of Broadway; so, it is no surprise that he inhabits his songs with emotion, character and wit. In recent years, Walker has been prolific and ‘Welcome to the Edge Times’ is his third full-length album since 2013. Walker’s songs are characterised by his delicately emotive singing and strong vocal melodies. Continue reading “Jon Patrick Walker “Welcome to the Edge Times” (Independent, 2019)”

Beth Bombara “Evergreen” – Listen

What greater pleasure can there be than to find an artist with a strong musical vision, and the band and great vocals to carry it off.  For Beth Bombara is that artist – great swirling keyboard chords and grinding guitar are a feature of ‘Evergreen‘ whilst Beth Bombara’s vocals have a great rock growl to them – a little reminiscent of Deborah Harry in places which is a bonus.  Continue reading “Beth Bombara “Evergreen” – Listen”

Matt Patershuk “If Wishes Were Horses” (Black Hen Music, 2019)

“Matt-Patershuk-2019”‘If Wishes Were Horses’ is the result of Matt Patershuk’s collaboration with award-winning string player and producer, Steve Dawson. This album presents an inspired blend of blues and country delivered by Patershuk’s intimate and soulful vocals. The characterful acoustic qualities of the recording were achieved at Vancouver’s Warehouse Studio which is owned by Bryan Adams. The album is punctuated by four instrumentals which land like scenes from some forgotten western; you can almost reach out and touch the rocks and cacti.
Continue reading “Matt Patershuk “If Wishes Were Horses” (Black Hen Music, 2019)”

Malin Pettersen “Alonesome” (Die With Your Boots On Records, 2019)

One of the fascinating things about this music genre we call Americana is the increasing amount of very credible recordings we’re getting from musicians living and working outside the USA. We’re seeing artists from countries like the UK, Ireland, Australia, Sweden and others all turning in some very authentic sounding Country and Americana tracks. Latest in this long line of overseas pretenders we have Malin Pettersen, who hails from Norway. Continue reading “Malin Pettersen “Alonesome” (Die With Your Boots On Records, 2019)”

Songs for the apocalypse: Peter Bruntnell “Black Aces”

Years ago, 17 in fact, I put on an event in what was then the Masque venue in Liverpool called “Americana One” celebrating the fact that this little website (and it was little back then) was one years old. Looking back, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and the day culminated in me asking my then partner if he’d drive this Guardian journalist back to Manchester because the event was running so late he couldn’t make his last train. He gave the event three stars in the end – I’m sure one of those stars was for that lift home. Anyway, one of the main delights of the day was Peter Bruntnell who had had a few drinks and made me worry he wasn’t going to make it on stage but then went on to play one of the most beautiful sets I’ve ever heard. A year later he released for me his best album ever ‘Ends of the Earth’ – one of those rare records with no fillers at all, and this penultimate track is the absolute highlight with one of those guitar breaks I could never tire of. As NME once said, his songs should be taught in schools.

Van Life: Ana Egge

North Dakota’s Ana Egge has long been regarded as one of the brightest talents on the Americana scene. Her distinct brand of evocative, folk-infused songs have really made an impact – emotionally and artistically – on her growing fan base this side of the pond. With her new album, ‘Is It The Kiss’ – featuring amongst others the dulcet tones of Iris Dement – Egge is set to gain a multitude of new fans. America-UK catches up with the singer-songwriter as she is over here on a short run of shows to ask about her life on the road and what music she needs to have in that glovebox on any such trip. Continue reading “Van Life: Ana Egge”

Awkward Family Portraits “Everything We’ve Done Up Until Now Except What We’ve Done Since ” (Holy Smokes Records, 2019)

Awkward Family Portraits are a Glaswegian group in the fine tradition of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks and on the UK front, Chilli Willi and The Red Hot Peppers from the pub rock era. Reflecting this tradition these self-composed songs cover rock and roll, rockabilly, western swing, 1920s through 1950s jazz, bluegrass, gypsy jazz and jump blues with largely fun lyrics that will bring a smile to everyone’s face. However, whatever the influences and genres of music covered they play music to dance to which has always been one of the prime functions of music. Continue reading “Awkward Family Portraits “Everything We’ve Done Up Until Now Except What We’ve Done Since ” (Holy Smokes Records, 2019)”