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”

Preview: Daniel Antopolsky

Fifty years ago, Daniel Antopolsky found himself stranded in a motel with his good friend Townes Van Zandt. They each took the opportunity to write a song. That day, Van Zandt’s effort was ‘Pancho and Lefty’. Legend has it that the character of Lefty was based on Antopolsky, his left-handed, troubadour, touring companion. Anotpolsky wrote ‘Sweet Lovin’ Music’, which would wait until 2013 before being recorded. The lives of these young country ‘outlaws’ veered in such different directions after Antopolsky saved Van Zandt’s life following a drug overdose. Van Zandt went on to become country music royalty. Antopolsky left the music industry behind, escaping the traumas of life on the road with the other outlaws. He went looking for something more meaningful and spiritual. He travelled and saw the world, eventually settling on a farm in France, where he raised a family…and chickens. Oh, what might have been. Continue reading “Preview: Daniel Antopolsky”

Preview: Black Deer Festival 2019

The Black Deer Festival is a passionate celebration of both the music and the culture of country and Americana. Set in the beautiful countryside of Eridge Park in Kent, The Deer Park transports festival-goers to a world away from the everyday, in which a joyful, community atmosphere permeates every aspect of the experience. Across various stages, Black Deer showcases emerging artists as well as a fabulous selection of established acts. This is only the festival’s second year and yet it already feels incredibly well-established. In 2018, Black Deer won ‘Best New Festival’ at the UK Independent Festival Awards; ‘Music Event of the Year’ at the Event Production awards; and ‘Event Organiser of the Year’ from the National Outdoor Events Association. Continue reading “Preview: Black Deer Festival 2019”

Yunger “Of Journeys and Other Longings” (Independent, 2019)

Summer is coming and, if you’re looking for a soundtrack to accompany you on your travels through those hazy, sunny days, then you may well have found it in the dreamy indie-pop folk of Yunger’s first solo album. Yunger is the solo folk project of Felix Junger, a multi-instrumentalist who performs in a variety of genres. Here, he displays mastery of various instruments, including acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin, banjo and accordion, all of which he played and recorded himself. Continue reading “Yunger “Of Journeys and Other Longings” (Independent, 2019)”

Interview – J.S. Ondara

J.S. Ondara’s journey from Nairobi to Minnesota, Bob Dylan’s home state, is a fascinating one. He arrived in America without any connections in the music business or even a guitar; all he had was his dream of pursuing a life in music. Ondara’s debut album, ‘Tales of America’, was released to critical acclaim earlier this year. Its theme of the ‘American Dream’ and the conflict between the ideal and the reality is brilliantly realised, thanks to Ondara’s beautifully delicate vocal, sparse instrumentation and intelligent lyrics. Sometimes joyful, sometimes bleak and haunting, the album has a strong sense of identity, offering a timely commentary on modern America through the eyes of an outsider. J.S. Ondara took the time to speak to Andrew Frolish of Americana UK before taking to the stage in Bristol during his recent tour. Continue reading “Interview – J.S. Ondara”