Studio Life – Danny Schmidt

For many years, Danny Schmidt has been releasing critically-acclaimed albums, full of consistently exceptional songcraft and intelligent lyricism. The Texan singer-songwriter is known for his delicate, folk guitar, warm voice and poetic approach to his subjects. A genuine troubadour, Schmidt’s songs of wit and wisdom have a timeless quality. Although Schmidt usually performs solo, he’s also released music with his wife, Carrie Elkin, who is another acclaimed singer-songwriter. Schmidt’s considered approach to lyrical content and musical arrangements mean that he can tackle powerful subjects in subtle ways. His recent record, ‘Standard Deviation’, is his tenth recording and all his experience as a writer and performer has worked its way into this well-received album. In the middle of his American tour to promote the album, Americana-UK caught up with Schmidt to find out a little more about the title track. Continue reading “Studio Life – Danny Schmidt”

Interview: Daniel Antopolsky

Daniel Antopolsky is a storyteller. He weaves narratives in and out of his songs and, when you watch him perform, the stories and songs merge. Antopolsky was a contemporary of the likes of Guy Clarke and Townes Van Zandt, one of the original outlaws, often referred to as the ‘missing outlaw’ thanks to the famous photograph taken on the porch at Guy Clark’s house. Legend has it that the character of ‘Lefty’ in Van Zandt’s much loved ‘Pancho and Lefty’ is based on Antopolsky; indeed, Antopolsky was present when the classic song was written and was the first person ever to hear it. Continue reading “Interview: Daniel Antopolsky”

Studio Life – Peter Donegan

Peter Donegan grew up with music. Surrounded by songs and the legacy of his father, Lonnie Donegan, music was always part of his life and it’s no surprise that he grew up playing guitar and piano and with a natural flair for singing. Lonnie Donegan transformed the British music industry when he led the skiffle revival in the 1950s, inspiring countless musicians who followed. Continue reading “Studio Life – Peter Donegan”

Peter Donegan “Live” (Independent, 2019)

Why do artists produce live albums? Usually, it’s to provide a flavour of their live performances and give a feel of being part of a unique event. Often, it’s to give a sense of their genuine musicianship and character that isn’t always evident on a studio recording. Sometimes, it’s to celebrate something special. In the case of Peter Donegan’s new ‘Live’ album, it’s all three. Continue reading “Peter Donegan “Live” (Independent, 2019)”

Interview: JP Ruggieri

From the woods of Connecticut to Nashville via New York, Jon Paul Ruggieri has come a long way. Growing up with a severe stutter limited his speech and meant that Ruggieri was compelled to find new ways to communicate. As a child, he discovered that he could express himself through music and never looked back. Ruggieri’s technical gifts have led to him being highly regarded on the singer-songwriter scenes in both New York and Nashville, where he has been a go-to session musician, collaborating with a host of other artists. All these experiences in the studio have helped Ruggieri to find his own musical voice and his debut album, ‘Waiting on You’, was released earlier this year. Andrew Frolish from Americana UK caught up with JP Ruggieri over the phone to Nashville, while Ruggieri was taking a break from writing songs for the next album. Continue reading “Interview: JP Ruggieri”

Robert LaRoche “A Thousand Shades” (Independent, 2019)

The six songs on Robert LaRoche’s new EP, ‘A Thousand Shades’, chart a journey through addictive, obsessive love and relationship break-ups. LaRoche’s pop background in The Sighs is evident in the rhythms, the warm vocal and the variety in pace and tone. This is the Austin-singer’s second solo release, characterised by catchy, immediately likeable melodies. Continue reading “Robert LaRoche “A Thousand Shades” (Independent, 2019)”

Laura Victoria “Today’s Another Day” (Independent, 2019)

Laura Victoria has taken her time over producing the follow up to her debut album, which was well-received in 2015. It was worth the wait. ‘Today’s Another Day’ is a consistently engaging collection of songs about the end of a loving relationship leaving the space for something new to emerge. It is a set of thematically and lyrically strong pieces that blend traditional folk with traces of rock, blues, country and pop. The cello-playing singer-songwriter from Northumberland has a distinctive voice that brings to mind Kate Bush or Tori Amos; Continue reading “Laura Victoria “Today’s Another Day” (Independent, 2019)”

Norman Salant “Always All Around You” (Northcove, 2019)

Norman Salant, the saxophonist and composer, has re-invented himself as a singer-songwriter, finding a fresh sense of creative freedom in the lyrical, verbal expressions on ‘Always All Around You’. Here are ten pop-folk songs that are consistently well-crafted and produced with clarity and precision by JP Bowersock, who has worked with The Strokes and Ryan Adams; that production helps to give the album a sense of coherence and identity and the listener experiences the songs best as a whole album, absorbed collectively. Continue reading “Norman Salant “Always All Around You” (Northcove, 2019)”

Studio Life – Kathy Zimmer

Moving from the small town in Nebraska in which she was raised to the bustling New York City was the making of Kathy Zimmer. The music of her rural youth has combined with more sophisticated, urban sounds and orchestration to create something new and different: a genre that Zimmer herself describes as ‘cosmopolitan folk’. This conflict between the old and new and between styles gives Zimmer’s songs a clear identity and often provides the subject matter for her lyrics, as evident in ‘I <3 NY’ from recent EP, ‘Sparkling Smile’. American-UK caught up with Zimmer to explore the story of this beguiling song. Continue reading “Studio Life – Kathy Zimmer”