Video: Miss Tess “The Moon is an Ashtray”

This is a beautiful, imaginative video to complement a timeless song from Miss Tess.  It’s directed by Tom Krueger, who has created videos for many great artists, including David Bowie, U2 and Springsteen.  The video even features a villainous character, The Abductor, luring away innocent souls.  In the context of this magical, cinematic piece of art, that’s not as crazy as it sounds!  Miss Tess says: “The moon looks magical from far away, but up close, it’s a dry and barren landscape that catches the ashes of burned up dreams that have floated away. It’s all about perspective, you know?”  She makes a good point.

AUK’s Chain Gang: Gretchen Peters “Hello Cruel World”

Following on from Peter Churchill’s excellent choice last week I was thinking that what I particularly love about Americana is the quality of the songwriting. With that in mind I’ve decided to post a track from another Peters – Gretchen Peters (no relation), who I think has consistently been one of the best songwriters in this genre since she first came to prominence back in the mid-’90s. This is the title track from her 2012 album ‘Hello Cruel World’ and it epitomises the quality of her songs – great storytelling, great melody, a little wry humour.

Video: Mapache “Life on Fire”

The video for ‘Life on Fire’ has a retro, home-video style and is as feel-good as the music.  It’s taken from their new album, ‘From Liberty Street’, which is due for release on 20th March.  Clay Finch and Sam Blasucci bring a Californian flavour to their harmonious, folk-rock songs.  Watch the video and brighten your day.

Black Deer add Robert Plant’s band to their line up

Black Deer Festival’s line up for 2020 is already looking good, having as they do Wilco, The Waterboys, The Dead South, Courtney Marie Andrews and The Felice Brothers all playing over the course of the weekend, and they’ve just announced some additions including Shooter Jennings, Imelda May, Wildwood Kin, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Jade Bird and Saving Grace (featuring Robert Plant and Suzi Dian). Oh and the Goat Ropers who were sensationally on form at the AMAUK showcases last month. Continue reading “Black Deer add Robert Plant’s band to their line up”

The Hanging Stars “A New Kind Of Sky” (Crimson Crow, 2020)

The Hanging Stars have always had the “cosmic Americana” tag hung around their necks but on ‘A New Kind Of Sky‘, their third release, they fully deserve to be so called as they wander wonderfully in a rather blissed out fashion across a set of songs which recollect hazy lysergic days. Taking cues from classic forebears, the band have forged a sparkling album which, on the strength of the songs and the sheer excellence of the playing, allows that it too might one day be considered a classic. Continue reading “The Hanging Stars “A New Kind Of Sky” (Crimson Crow, 2020)”

Video: Cave Flowers “Midnight Movie”

Here’s the wildly imaginative animated video for ‘Midnight Movie’, the latest single from tuneful country rockers, Cave Flowers.  The band’s self-titled debut album, which was recorded by Chris Rondinella (Levon Helm’s ‘Midnight Ramble Sessions’) and mixed by Callum Barter (Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile’s ‘Lotta Sea Lice’)  has just been released.  Enjoy the Californian vibe.

Fierce Flowers “Mirador” (Celebration Days Records, 2019)

A mirador classically offers an extensive outlook, which is undoubtedly consistent with the breadth of music produced by this trio from Paris. They have encompassed everything from European folk to Appalachian bluegrass. Many different musical references mix to create a panoramic soundscape. Despite this, the resultant sound does not jar as you progress through the album, the different compositions sit comfortably together to produce a harmonic whole. They have effectively combined professional musicianship across a broad range of cultural styles with outstanding close vocal harmony singing throughout in both French and English which is their undoubted strength. Continue reading “Fierce Flowers “Mirador” (Celebration Days Records, 2019)”

Cambridge Folk Festival announce first artists

With the tickets for this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival having gone on sale on the 10th of December last year it’s too late to say “this seems to come around earlier every year”.  And anyway, who wouldn’t want to know who the first major artists confirmed for this prestigious and long-running festival are? Continue reading “Cambridge Folk Festival announce first artists”

Chatham County Line “Station To Station” – Listen

No, this isn’t a cover of the Bowie song – we’d quite like to hear that, but it won’t be this time.  But things are being all shaken up in the Chatham County Line camp.  Firstly founder-member and banjo player Chandler Holt is leaving the band.  Secondly the band sound for their latest album, ‘Strange Fascination‘, includes drums across all the tracks.  Continue reading “Chatham County Line “Station To Station” – Listen”

Pond Diver “Flashbacks EP” (Independent, 2020)

Well, well, well, just occasionally something floats into the inbox that holds the attention and makes the misery of the post-Brexit world disappear into the ether. Pond Diver ( name needs work I respectfully suggest) are just that thing with their new EP. Coming from the thriving Muscle Shoals scene they kick off with the luminous ‘Loosen Up’ which springs from some beautiful guitar shapes and tones and sports a gorgeous vocal turn with production featuring organ and bells and whistles to spare. Continue reading “Pond Diver “Flashbacks EP” (Independent, 2020)”