John Kilzer “Scars” (Archer Records, 2019)

On the title track of his second album on Archer Records, ‘Scars’, John Kilzer sings: “…And may you learn to love the scars.” He may well have been singing about his own rich and varied life, which has followed a redemptive story-arc, from being signed to a major label in the late ‘80s, through substance abuse and addiction in the 90’s and then ministry and supporting others in their recovery in the 21st century. All this experience is in evidence in Kilzer’s wearied, characterful vocals and mature, emotional songwriting. Continue reading “John Kilzer “Scars” (Archer Records, 2019)”

Jarrod Dickenson “Under a Texas Sky” (Continental Records, 2019)

‘Under a Texas Sky’ is Jarrod Dickenson’s first set of new songs since the highly-rated ‘Ready the Horses’ in 2017. Thanks to a relentless touring schedule and multiple festival appearances in 2018, Dickenson’s soulful Americana, infused with blues and country influences, has been building a solid fan-base here in the UK. The Texan troubadour’s new EP pays homage to some of the fine artists hailing from Dickenson’s Texan home. In the first of a series of planned releases, Dickenson has been inspired by the likes of Guy Clark, Willie Nelson and Doug Sahm, taking their original songs and then re-imagining them in his own distinctive style. Continue reading “Jarrod Dickenson “Under a Texas Sky” (Continental Records, 2019)”

Bob Sumner “Wasted Love Songs” (Independent, 2019)

Bob Sumner is used to rocking out with his brother as one half of the Sumner Brothers, but this debut solo release finds him in a more reflective mood. The folk-based Americana of ‘Wasted Love Songs’ covers the classic themes of love, loss, loneliness and being worn down by the world. Although that sounds a little bleak, these mature narratives are made palatable by arresting imagery, fine musicality and sophisticated song writing craft. It’s a thing of beauty. Continue reading “Bob Sumner “Wasted Love Songs” (Independent, 2019)”

The Consolation “Heartland” (Danish Music & Entertainment 2019)

‘Heartland’ is the second album from the Americana-influenced Danish band, The Consolation. Through regular gigs across Demark and tours in the USA and Canada, along with radio air-time in Denmark, the band are developing a solid identity and a strong following. Led by singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Nis Gaarde, The Consolation reference classic country and rock acts as inspirations, such Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, The Band, The Eagles and Petty. This blend of country and classic rock is evident throughout the album. Continue reading “The Consolation “Heartland” (Danish Music & Entertainment 2019)”

David Graff “Supposed to Fly” (Independent, 2018)

After some early success, David Graff turned his back on the music industry in the late 1990s and began a career as an artist. However, the urge to create new music never left him. ‘Supposed to Fly’ is Graff’s first album this century. Although he started his musical career as a drummer, Graff soon took up singing and song writing in order to satisfy his creativity. Indeed, it is his singing, full of character and experience – a distinctive storyteller’s voice, that is the most notable aspect of this new release. Continue reading “David Graff “Supposed to Fly” (Independent, 2018)”

Brent Cowles “How To Be Okay Alone” (Dine Alone Records, 2018)

The debut solo album from Brent Cowles, ‘How To Be Okay Alone’, follows two well-received records with his band, You, Me & Apollo. His personal narrative has included a strictly religious childhood, divorce by the age of just 19, the break-up of his band and homelessness. ‘How To Be Okay Alone’ was the question Cowles asked himself, scribbled in his notebook, following another relationship breakdown. It is a deeply personal record that covers the range of emotions from self-doubt, lonesomeness and despair to exhilarating joy. Continue reading “Brent Cowles “How To Be Okay Alone” (Dine Alone Records, 2018)”

Vive La Rose “For She Who Hangs the Moon” (Gestation Records, 2018)

‘For She Who Hangs the Moon’ is David Luximon-Herbert’s first full album release as Vive La Rose, his solo project that began with the well-received 2014 EP ‘Don’t Move, Don’t Speak’. Once again, this release showcases Luximon-Herbert’s distinctive, husky voice; his hushed vocal creates an emotional intimacy that serves these songs well. This is an album to lose yourself in, full of absorbing, dreamy soundscapes that would make a compelling cinematic soundtrack. Continue reading “Vive La Rose “For She Who Hangs the Moon” (Gestation Records, 2018)”

Interview: Jarrod Dickenson

The honey-voiced Jarrod Dickenson has toured extensively across the USA, Europe, the UK and Ireland. If you have been lucky enough to catch one of his performances, alongside his wife, Claire, then you will have been drawn in by the measured beauty and timeless quality of his songs. The precise storytelling and intimate interaction engage the listener effortlessly. Major label release, ‘Ready the Horses’, was critically acclaimed in 2017.  Its layered and richly textured songs are a natural progression from more acoustic previous work.  The tall, affable Texan with the distinctive voice is touring the UK once again during autumn 2018 and plans to return next year for headline gigs with new songs.  Americana UK’s Andrew Frolish caught up with Jarrod and Claire Dickenson for an in-depth chat about recording, touring and songwriting while they prepared to take to the stage in Norwich. Continue reading “Interview: Jarrod Dickenson”

Steve Forbert + Molly Armstrong, The Robinson Theatre, Cambridge, 24th October 2018

Some forty years after being labelled as the “new Dylan”with his debut album, ‘Alive on Arrival’, Steve Forbert remains a respected, much-loved troubadour. Although that early commercial success is long ago, Forbert has developed a cult following through consistently releasing high-quality albums, regular touring and engaging warmly with his fans. This is the last of three UK gigs before Forbert returns next year for a full tour. Each of these performances, in Oxford, London and Cambridge, is a one-off, with a different song selection and Forbert taking requests from the audience. Forbert has a huge back-catalogue to draw upon and, along with his great experience and confidence, this allows him to fashion a unique event for his audience. Continue reading “Steve Forbert + Molly Armstrong, The Robinson Theatre, Cambridge, 24th October 2018”

Longstay “Calling Me Home” (Goldrush Records, 2018)

Longstay are a confident country-rock act from Perth with a growing reputation in the Scottish Americana scene. After several years of gigging, Longstay already have plenty of experience and chemistry to draw upon and there is a sureness in their musical performances. Longstay’s accomplished debut album, ‘Calling Me Home’, is a convincing introduction. Continue reading “Longstay “Calling Me Home” (Goldrush Records, 2018)”