Blue Rose Code Caledonia Soul @Celtic Connections, The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, 30th January 2020

Celtic Connections is well known for its set pieces – curated concerts gathering a wealth of musicians together. Transatlantic Sessions began as a television programme but its live incarnation was premiered at Celtic Connections almost two decades ago while Roddy Hart’s Rambling Roots has grown in stature over the years as it has celebrated various artists, events, albums and places, this year’s celebrant being Bruce Springsteen. By comparison, Caledonia Soul is a mere whippersnapper, the brainchild of Ross Wilson and first performed in 2018. It’s a much more nebulous affair than Roaming Roots, the basic premise being that Wilson’s band, Blue Rose Code, are the equivalent of The MG’s back in Stax touring days. It allows the guest artists to “curate the evening and perform re-worked versions of our own favourite songs along the Celtic theme, but with a soul band,” as he explained in an interview last year. Continue reading “Blue Rose Code Caledonia Soul @Celtic Connections, The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, 30th January 2020”

Walled Garden Music Festival announced for July

Nottingham’s Cosmic American Music has teamed up with the historic Thoresby Park in Sherwood Forest to curate a brand new Americana and Roots festival within the grounds of the estate in North Nottinghamshire, a stone’s throw from Robin Hood’s famous Major Oak. Continue reading “Walled Garden Music Festival announced for July”

AmericanA to Z – Kathleen Edwards

I have a few somewhat niche musical interests: the first – unsurprisingly – is that of the Americana and country genres; the second – also unsurprisingly, since it was the era I grew up in – is alternative music of the 90s; the third – actually surprisingly – is that of Canadian artists. I’m not sure exactly how it started, but I’ve got a lot of love for a set of musicians who hail from Canada (many of whom found their biggest success in the late-90s and early-00s). It’s kind of a thrill for me when I can marry any of these specific interests together, and that’s something I can do with Kathleen Edwards. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Kathleen Edwards”

Darling West “We’ll Never Know Unless We Try” (Jansen Records, 2020)

Darling West are Norwegian duo Mari and Tor Egil Kreken, partners in life and music. A little research reveals quite a buzz about this pair who have spent considerable time Stateside with great success. This is their fourth album and a look through the back pages of AUK reveals an almost universal appreciation of their career thus far. Continue reading “Darling West “We’ll Never Know Unless We Try” (Jansen Records, 2020)”

Alicia Toner “Forget About It” – Listen

One of the amazing things about AmericanaFest – yeah, sorry, we’re still going on about that, we should probably get out more – is discovering bands and singers that you’ve not really come across before.  One such was Alicia Toner who wowed the Moth Club with her guitar and fiddle, her amazing voice and excellent songs. Continue reading “Alicia Toner “Forget About It” – Listen”

Video: Jonathan Hultén “The Mountain”

This is a beautifully animated video, which perfectly complements Jonathan Hultén’s delicate new song.  His debut album, ‘Chants From Another Place’,  is due to be released on 13th March and, judging from ‘The Mountain’, it is certainly one to look out for. Hultén’s quietly melodic voice and gentle finger-picking guitar have been likened to such artists as Sufjan Stevens, Nick Drake and Fleet Foxes.  That’s good company to keep.  Enjoy.

Cup O’Joe “In The Parting” (Independent, 2020)

Across the great fountain of knowledge we know and love as the World Wide Web there are simply dozens of possible explanations offered for the origins of the expression ‘Cup O’Joe’, which, as all dear readers will know, is slang for coffee. Well, actually this reviewer didn’t. Not sure why, just never came across this particular example of slang, hence the consequent delving into Google’s famous rabbit holes. Possible choices include being named after Josephus Daniels, the Secretary of the US Navy who abolished the officers’ wine mess on board ships in 1914, or perhaps it derived simply by being the chosen beverage of the common man, the ‘joe’. Anyhoo, it has also been assumed by a talented trio of siblings from County Armagh and ‘In The Parting’ is their debut full-length album. Continue reading “Cup O’Joe “In The Parting” (Independent, 2020)”

Video: Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley “Brown-Eyed Women”

Country legend Vince Gill supplies vocals on this new song from the Grammy-nominated duo, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley.  It showcases their excellent finger-picking and slide guitar and the pair’s vocal performance offers a very hummable tune.  Ickes has been the International Bluegrass Music Association Dobro player of the year no less than fifteen times while Hensley first played at the Grand Ole Opry when he was aged just eleven.  Fine credentials.  ‘Brown-Eyed Women’ is taken from new album, ‘World Full of Blues’.

AUK’s Chain Gang: Vanessa Peters “Bright Red”

Financed in large part through Kickstarter, Vanessa Peter’s 2012 album ‘The Burn The Truth The Lies’ is evidence, if evidence were needed, of the talent within our beloved genre that just needs a helping hand to get heard. With that in mind I offer no apology for using the tenuous use of the word ‘truth’ in the album title to link to last weeks gem from Mr Prophet and, hopefully, raise Vanessa’s profile just a tad more.

John Moreland “LP5” (Independent, 2020)

John Moreland’s ‘LP5’ is unsurprisingly his fifth LP and highlights the skills of a singer-songwriter who puts lyrics to the fore. Working with producer Matt Pence, who has previously worked with heavyweight Jason Isbell, the album shows off a man who is confident in what he is doing and performs songs that he clearly wants to sing. Continue reading “John Moreland “LP5” (Independent, 2020)”