Forgotten Artists – Willis Alan Ramsey

Willis Alan Ramsey was not only in at the start of the Austin music scene of the ‘70s but he was also one of the first of the new wave of singer-songwriters, subsequently tagged as progressive country, to get a contract with a major label. His first self-titled album, released in 1972, contained eleven self-written tracks and ten have subsequently been covered by other artists including Jimmy Buffet, Sam Bush, Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovett, Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Willis Alan Ramsey”

King Ropes “Go Back Where They Came From” (Big and Just Little, 2020)

Opinion can be really quite polarised when it comes to covers. For every great new interpretation of an old song there can be others that are dismissed under the “if you can’t improve it then why bother” category. ‘Go Back Where They Came From’ by Montana based King Ropes is an album full of covers that could quite easily slip into either category. Continue reading “King Ropes “Go Back Where They Came From” (Big and Just Little, 2020)”

Songs for the apocalypse: The David Mayfield Parade “Blue Skies Again”

Three years ago when I was in Nashville I ended up seeing a band called The David Mayfield Parade at a small venue called The Railsplitters which was one of those shows that you don’t necessarily anticipate changing your world but end up unexpectedly being one of the most memorable of your life. I’ve still to date probably not seen quite that many musicians in such a small space, particularly since Mayfield’s stage presence could have filled 90% of it as it was. Mayfield himself grew up playing bass and touring with his family’s bluegrass band and the years of developing his talent are clear. I saw him almost blind (not literally) but had always particularly loved the opening track ‘Blue Skies Again’ to his 2010 self-titled debut which we reviewed here at AUK. The whole album, and its follow up too, is superb and like 95% of the music I love most makes me weep uncontrollably.

Video: Fireside collective “Bring it on Home”

Aside from the fact that these guys are insanely talented, it looks like great fun being part of Fireside Collective.  Each member is a master of his instrument and together the combination is exciting and engaging.  The band push the boundaries of bluegrass on this upbeat, uplifting number.  It’s refreshing and energetic and well-worth a listen.  ‘Bring it On Home’ is the latest single from the quintet’s recent album ‘Elements’.  Brighten up your day.

Philip Rambow “Canadiana” (Fretsore Records, 2020)

Canadiana’ is the follow up to 2015’s ‘Whatever Happened To Phil Rambow?’ and his Philip Rambow’s debut for Fretsore Records, the label behind releases by My Darling Clementine and Lily Garland. Rambow is originally from Montreal and this album is all about him putting a Canadian spin on Americana tracks (albeit with the perspective of someone who has lived in the UK for many years). Continue reading “Philip Rambow “Canadiana” (Fretsore Records, 2020)”

AmericanA to Z – Hoyt Axton

OK, you’re left with X, Y & Z they said. Not wanting to give short shrift to any Zandt or Young icon, Hoyt Axton contains an x and a y, but is he Americana? Well he started as a folk singer, ended as a country fixture, and in between had a TV special called ‘The Hoyt Axton Country Western Boogie Woogie Gospel Rock and Roll Show’, which touches a lot of Americana bases. Without ever being a major star, Axton’s talents exhibited an almost Zelig-like tendency through his career, not just through music, but on screen. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Hoyt Axton”

James Hyland “Western” (Independent, 2020)

James Hyland is from Texas. Like many from Texas, he is not just from Texas; he IS Texas.  Hyland started as a member of the South Austin Jug Band, a casual party bluegrass group with no jug back in 2001. Hyland has been releasing solo albums and live albums with SAJB continuously since then. However, a decade has passed since his last recording ‘Celestial Navigation’, and it shows in the sheer length of it. Continue reading “James Hyland “Western” (Independent, 2020)”

Julian Taylor “The Ridge” – Listen

The Ridge‘ is a poetic description of nothing less than a personal idyll, which Canadian Julian Taylor has described as his “happy place“.   It’s a song that is evocative of the open spaces of Canada that follows in the exalted steps of the likes of Gordon Lightfoot.  The rural beauty that is painted in detail on ‘The Ridge‘ was in reality his grandparent’s farm in  Maple Ridge, British Columbia, which was bounded by the Golden Ears Provincial Park, as well as the Fraser and Alouette Rivers.  Continue reading “Julian Taylor “The Ridge” – Listen”

Video: Teddy Thompson “Brand New”

The modern-folk sound of Teddy Thompson’s music reflects his British musical heritage but also his long-time home in the USA.  This is the latest single to be taken from his forthcoming album, ‘Heartbreaker Please’, due for release in May.  His seventh studio album is an open, honest, authentic collection of songs about love unravelling, inspired by a real relationship.  A former member of Rosanne Cash’s band, Thompson has collaborated with or produced music for the likes of Martha and Rufus Wainwright, Allison Moorer and Roseanne Reid.  ‘Brand New’ is a good example of highly-regarded Thompson’s emotive delivery.

Exclusive AUK Mini-Gig: Sarah Jarosz

In the age of isolation, AUK is bringing you regular ‘mini-gigs’ to help connect you, dear reader, to the outside world.  We are featuring great artists performing fantastic songs, coming all the way from their home to yours to lift the gloom a little.  For folk and Americana fans around the world, Sarah Jarosz needs little introduction.  As part of folk-supergroup, I’m With Her, Jarosz won this year’s Grammy Award for Best American Roots Song for the 2019 single ‘Call My Name’.  That was her third Grammy.  Continue reading “Exclusive AUK Mini-Gig: Sarah Jarosz”