Pick of the Political Pops: Richmond Fontaine “Post To Wire”

So we’ve all pretty much had our fill of elections and the debates surrounding them I guess. Our own election for the position of Editor went flawlessly as usual whilst the UK General Election just went (at least from one side of the barricades). So we’re supposing that unless you have a stake in it the Reds leadership election is probably passing you by. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Richmond Fontaine “Post To Wire””

Gill Landry “Skeleton at the Banquet” (Loose, 2020)

Context in music is everything. The black gem of ‘Love Rides a Dark Horse’ has been followed by a slightly brighter point on a brooding personal journey. Relatively speaking this album demonstrates another step in Landry’s cathartic therapy of songwriting. The broken heart has been replaced by a degree more reflection, albeit one with a hefty residual of bitterness and cynicism still present. Continue reading “Gill Landry “Skeleton at the Banquet” (Loose, 2020)”

Tami Neilson “You Were Mine” – Listen

Tami Neilson is no blushing wallflower – not with a voice like hers which commands the attention.  Her music covers a number of classic styles – pure country, some rock and roll and rockabilly,  and gospel inspired soulful blues.  She has a new album out on February 14th, subtly entitled ‘CHICKABOOM!‘, from which this single has been taken. Continue reading “Tami Neilson “You Were Mine” – Listen”

Video: Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson “Pancho and Lefty”

This week’s retro video is a true classic written by the legendary Townes Van Zandt.  If you watch closely, you might spot Van Zandt making an appearance or two in the video!  As you would expect, the characterful vocals from Nelson and Haggard are excellent.  Legend has it that the character of Lefty was based on Daniel Antopolsky, who toured with Van Zandt back in the day…read my interview with him here.

AmericanaFest UK 2020 Conference Showcase preview – part four

The AMAUK conference is now into its fifth year and one of the highlights of the conference is the two nights of showcases which take place before the awards ceremony on 28th/29th January featuring the best of americana talent, both homegrown and from around the world. It takes place at six venues across Hackney, all within walking distance and for the price of one wristband which you can buy here, plus you hopefully get to go back to a nice comfy bed each night. Over the course of this week we’ll be introducing you to all the showcase acts playing, in a kind of alphabetical order, if you’re not very good at the alphabet. You know us and the alphabet. Here’s the fourth part. Continue reading “AmericanaFest UK 2020 Conference Showcase preview – part four”

Cam Penner + Midnight Skyracer @Celtic Connections, Royal Concert Hall New Auditorium, Glasgow, 18th January 2020

AUK’s first jaunt at 2020’s Celtic Connections took us to the grand concert hall in the city centre to see a one off show by Canadian Cam Penner and his erstwhile sidekick Jon Wood. It’s a measure of both the international reputation of Celtic Connections and Penner’s growing career that they conspired to fly the pair from the dominion to Glasgow for one show before they flew back the following day. Perhaps not the best way to play a show in these times of climate concern but, heck, the ‘plane was going to fly here and back, Penner or no Penner and he’s the kind of guy you just know is going to plant a tree or two once he gets home. Continue reading “Cam Penner + Midnight Skyracer @Celtic Connections, Royal Concert Hall New Auditorium, Glasgow, 18th January 2020”

Torgeir Waldemar “Love” (Jansen Records, 2020)

‘Love’ is Norwegian troubadour Torgeir Waldemar’s follow up to the well-received ‘No Offending Borders‘ album released in 2017. Described by his publicists as (his) “most ambitious work to date”, and “inspired by Brian Wilson’s ‘Love and Mercy’” this ambition is perhaps the album’s downfall.
Continue reading “Torgeir Waldemar “Love” (Jansen Records, 2020)”

Songs for the apocalypse: The Middle East “Hunger Song”

There’s another song by Australia band (or ex-band) The Middle East called ‘Jesus Came to My Birthday Party’ which is absolutely outstanding but not quite the right fit for AUK, so I’m going today for this little gem instead. I can’t remember how I discovered them, only that the year I did was the year they split up, a kiss of death I have generously passed on to the only venues I have ever run music festivals in too (you’re both welcome). The indie-folk band formed in Townsville, Queensland back in 2005, although by 2011 the band’s Rohin Jones described their album from which ‘Hunger Song’ is taken to Line of Best Fit as a “a mediocre attempt”.  Honestly boys, we see mediocre not infrequently and it ain’t this.

“What Is This Americana Thing Anyway…?” – Martin Johnson

Here we are again folks with another eagerly anticipated contribution to our semi-regular “What Is This…?” feature. This time around Martin Johnson reveals his (what we can only surmise are) hippy roots in the North East of England and the shocking fact that he is not, in fact, an ex-England rugby captain: Continue reading ““What Is This Americana Thing Anyway…?” – Martin Johnson”

Matthew Robb “Dead Men Have No Dreams” (Independent, 2019)

Confronting gritty politics and softer periods of reflection and love, Matthew Robb’s second album, ‘Dead Men Have No Dreams’, will bring pleasure to fans of poetic lyricism. Competing with our good friend Bob for the title of king of the verses, Robb produces ten tracks with an award-winning set of musicians from his harbouring hometown in Germany. Collating elements of folk, blues and country, one thing remains consistent throughout, and that is the need for sincerity. This includes the opening title track, which feels more akin than any to the writing of Dylan. Continue reading “Matthew Robb “Dead Men Have No Dreams” (Independent, 2019)”