John Jenkins “Growing Old” (Independent, 2020)

“I’m growing old” is the first, uncompromising, line of the first song on Liverpool-based John Jenkins’ latest album, and “I’m singing this song before I die” is  – in theory – the last line of the last track, so it’s maybe not surprising that the bulk of what comes between also dwells, heavily, on life in our twilight years. The most powerful of all of these age-themed numbers is undoubtedly the title track, which maintains its utter honesty about growing old throughout, all backed up by a series of gently growling, shimmering guitars. Lines like “I don’t like it, but sometimes I feel the need to thank it, because I’m still here as you can see,” capture perfectly the spirit of that old saying that if you don’t like having another birthday roll round, then just consider the alternative. Continue reading “John Jenkins “Growing Old” (Independent, 2020)”

Ten Americana artists from Kentucky

If you were to find yourself cruising down Interstate-75 in the Renfro Valley area of Kentucky you may feel inclined to take a detour at exit 62 and head on down to the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. A caveat at the current time would be that you may find some time to kill upon your arrival, as the said attraction will not reopen until September. That aside, within its hallowed walls are inductees aplenty including the likes of The Everly Brothers, Loretta Lynne, Bill Monroe, Merle Travis and Ricky Skaggs. Continue reading “Ten Americana artists from Kentucky”

AUK’s Chain Gang: Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks “I Scare Myself”

Last week’s Chain Gang track was Hot Club of Cowtown’s ‘Pennies From Heaven’ and it is impossible to imagine artists like Hot Club of Cowtown without the ground breaking example of that true eccentric Dan Hicks who mixed retro styles with his own humorous and original compositions played on generally acoustic instruments. Dan first came to prominence as the drummer, singer and main songwriter with the original San Francisco ’60s band The Charlatans, who mixed jug band, country and blues music and were a major influence on the then emerging San Francisco sound. Continue reading “AUK’s Chain Gang: Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks “I Scare Myself””

Oxygenpony “Twenty One” – Listen

It’s been a long time – like a decade – since we last heard from Paul Megna who’s previous band, Oxygen Ponies, produced a trio of albums featuring memorable hazy dreamlike music – with a tendency to veer towards the darker dreams, the ones that really stay in the mind. Continue reading “Oxygenpony “Twenty One” – Listen”

Video: Beans on Toast “Glastonbury Weekend”

The series of new lockdown-themed songs written by Beans on Toast continues with ‘Glastonbury Weekend’.   He first attended Glastonbury in 1997 and has been every year since.  Indeed, the first Beans on Toast gig was there in 2006 and he’s been a regular performer over the years.  So, the event has a special place in his heart.  When he sings: “All of the music and the madness and the magic and the millions of memories that can’t be replicated… I need something to restore my faith in humanity: I need Glastonbury!” Beans is singing for everyone whose festival plans have disappeared this summer.

Something for the weekend: Ruston Kelly “Radio Cloud”

We leave you this week dear reader with a new track out today from the forthcoming album ‘Shape & Destroy’ which comes out August 28th on his new label home Rounder Records, and which we’re already chomping at the bit for. Reflecting on the album, Kelly says: “Making this record definitely taught me that I don’t want to be selfish: I want to channel something larger than myself and give myself to the process as fully as possible, because these songs also become the story of whoever hears them. Whatever someone might get out of listening to this record and hearing me express myself in this way, it’s completely theirs.” Have a good one.

Americana Roots: Geraldine

Americana Roots highlights the freshest and most original Americana and bluegrass from across the pond in the US. It covers everything from brand-new, just out of the box bands, to cult favourites, to established acts who have yet to reach the UK’s shores. Reaching back into time is Geraldine from the storied bluegrass scene in Baltimore, Maryland.  The band’s dedication to bluegrass and country standards while focusing on writing original songs, is clear in how they honour the deep musical roots of an old-time sound while telling new stories in their own distinct voice. Continue reading “Americana Roots: Geraldine”

Video: Foy Vance “Thank You for Asking”

The gorgeous voice of Foy Vance, combined with a delicate melody, makes for a charming video to end the week.  The impromptu piece was shot last year, on the streets of Memphis, before anyone could have imagined the current state of the world.  Vance roamed around, dressed as a character he calls ‘Gordon Zolah’.  ‘Thank You for Asking’ was originally intended for inclusion on Americana album ‘To Memphis’, Vance’s second album of 2019. Continue reading “Video: Foy Vance “Thank You for Asking””

Home Life: Pozzi

It seems now more than ever musicians and songwriters are really entering the political arena with a newfound passion to get their voices heard and to call out those they see as charlatans, hate mongers and liars. Boston born yet L.A based Pozzi pulls no punches on his new single, ‘Tyrant’ a really heartfelt examination of abuses of power, oppression and the harm that causes. Taken from his upcoming debut LP scheduled for August,  Pozzi has drawn comparisons to the likes of Wilco and Jeff Buckley – you can certainly hear a similar rise and fall of emotive power, for sure – and has put together a real thoughtful song here that offers both hope yet total honesty in these dangerous and uncertain times.  A-UK caught up with the young songwriter and asked him how the current political unrest and racial unease in America has shaped his songwriting and what music is currently pushing his buttons.  Continue reading “Home Life: Pozzi”

Pick of the Political Pops: Nicolai Dunger “Lost In Freedom”

Here in the People’s Republic of Liverpudlia we very much value our autonomous status even though through tradition and, er, the law we closely follow our sister republics on our island(s) home. It has been no different whilst the pesky Severe Acute Respiratory System Coronavirus 2 thing has been keeping us all occupied. Like every other part of our commonwealth of nations we have been issuing regular press updates and, given the momentous events of the past few days, we felt compelled to chip in our tuppence ha’penny. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Nicolai Dunger “Lost In Freedom””