Van Life – Johnny Dowd

Ithaca NY’s Johnny Dowd has been patrolling the dark, uneasy, unclassified byways and B-roads of the American heartlands for over two decades. A blistering, uncompromising guitar slinger and songwriter, Dowd is set to release his new album ‘Family Picnic’ this month, an ‘americana’ gem that returns to the topics and themes that inspired his legendary … Continue reading “Van Life – Johnny Dowd”

Songs for the apocalypse: Grant McLennan “Keep My Word”

‘Horsebreaker Star’ came out as a double album back in 1994, the penultimate to be released by the late ex Go-Betweener Grant McLennan and it was a musical jump from his previous work, being recorded as it was in Athens, Georgia with US musicians, and including flashes of banjo and mandolin. “I wanted it to be the kind … Continue reading “Songs for the apocalypse: Grant McLennan “Keep My Word””

Pick of the Political Pops: John Cale “Buffalo Ballet”

The track ‘Buffalo Ballet’ taken from John Cale’s 1974 album ‘Fear’ describes the scene in Abilene, Texas, the sparse piano-based sound lulling you into a deceptive ease as it starts off describing the town as “young and gay” with “cattle roaming.” Idyllic ay! The next verse goes on to describe a sleepy, almost decaying scene before … Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: John Cale “Buffalo Ballet””

Grant-Lee Phillips, The Lantern, Bristol, April 26, 2018

Amongst old carpeting and pompous high ceilings, Grant-Lee Phillips and his acoustic guitar look like they are about to play a secret gig in someone’s (admittedly rich) private living room. Even if it’s not the case, well, it feels like it anyway. When on tour, Phillips likes to strip it down to bare minimum, leaving … Continue reading “Grant-Lee Phillips, The Lantern, Bristol, April 26, 2018”

Johnny Dowd “Execute American Folklore” (Mother Jinx Records, 2016)

By now you either get or don’t get Johnny Dowd. Ten albums in this Ithaca NY resident continues to move further into the outfield with each release. Execute American Folklore features Dowd’s darkly humorous and idiosyncratic lyrics, his pronounced drawl becoming ever more robotic, over a hyperkinetic drum machine with guitar, keyboards and bass fed … Continue reading “Johnny Dowd “Execute American Folklore” (Mother Jinx Records, 2016)”

Teddy Thompson “Heartbreaker Please” – Listen

Noted Dori Freeman collaborator and scion of a noble house, Teddy Thompson actually sent this song of ended love out into the world on Valentine’s Day.  It’s the antithesis of romance though, as it comes from an ended relationship as Thompson notes “I was dating an actress at the time and living a strange sort … Continue reading “Teddy Thompson “Heartbreaker Please” – Listen”

Ethan Gold “The Song of Sway Lake (OST)” (LakeshoreRecords/Electrik Gold, 2018)

To be upfront about this, we don’t review a lot of film soundtrack albums – and that’s mostly because the music rarely impinges on our shared areas of interest here at Americana-UK. ‘Oh brother where art thou?‘ would be the highest profile exception to that rule. And in a further bout of honesty it’s really … Continue reading “Ethan Gold “The Song of Sway Lake (OST)” (LakeshoreRecords/Electrik Gold, 2018)”

Michael Nau “Some Twist” (Full Time Hobby, 2017)

Michael Nau had already been pretty busy over the years with his bands Page France and Cotton Jones, but having released a solo debut, Mowing, last year – which had been the result of working into shape a series of demos that had been knocking around for some time – he made the decision to … Continue reading “Michael Nau “Some Twist” (Full Time Hobby, 2017)”

New Joana Serrat album due next month

The lovely Joana Serrat (with one ‘n’) has a new record our next month called “Dripping Springs” which would be so much worse an album title with the word “and” in it.  For her fourth album in five years, she travelled from her home in Vic, Barcelona to the Texas Hill Country outside Austin. There … Continue reading “New Joana Serrat album due next month”