Americana goes Eurovison

Photo: J. Aird

Ah, it’s that time of year again. Tonight is the first semi-final which signals the start of the world’s largest song-competition, bringing together the nations of Europe – such as Germany, France, the UK, Australia… – for an eventual final night of friendly rivalry in song.  A night when once more the UK can complain that nobody likes us ‘cos they won’t vote for what will almost certainly be the worst song of the evening. [Ed’s note – apart from James Newman’s first song which was the greatest musical casualty of Covid]. A night when those complaining of the unfairness of the UK not having won since 1997 when we pay a big chunk of the way for the contest will conveniently forget that Italy, who won in 2021 hadn’t won since 1990.  And that France hasn’t won since 1977.  But hey, don’t let that spoil the story, it’s not that everyone hated Scooch for being abysmal, it was the UK they wanted to snub.  Yeah, right, sure.

Anyway – what does this have to do with Americana anyway?

Well, there are some good links, even forgetting those times when the Europop flirts with Americana sounds and imagery – there’s a strong tradition of countries showcasing folk-tinged music that skirts the edges of Americana.  Sometimes it’s even quite good.  Take this example from  2014, when The Netherland’s presented the Common Linnets.

Now this is a band you could imagine gracing an Americana stage.  Say The Union Chapel.  With Howe Gelb as part of the Giant Giant Giant Sand “revue” alongside the likes of the Psycho Sisters.  That’d be a great night.  And it was.

And there are other links, maybe more tenuous but there nonetheless.  Take this example of a fine song.

Now there are several questions to ask here.  Why are The Bangles being chauffeured by the first officer of the starship Enterprise?  And why at 1 minute and 19 seconds does he express such disapproval of their music?  Especially when he was himself responsible for this:

But more importantly perhaps we should ask what inspired The Bangles to write about the problems of unemployment in Britain in the 1980s?  Well, of course, they didn’t.  It was Kimberley Rew – better known as the guitarist in Katrina and The Waves.  Who of course won Eurovision for the UK in 1997, which was, I think, where we came in.  More or less.

And so, dear reader, enjoy your Eurovision experience and if you should have any other favourite examples / similarly slender Americana related links then feel free to post a comment.


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About Jonathan Aird 2053 Articles
Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?

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