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”

Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London, 24th May 2019

A gig with bongo, flute, trumpet, trombone and saxophone solos, delivered in the context of a street party atmosphere, is offering something truly different. A busy and buoyant crowd packed into the O2 Forum to experience Little Steven’s ‘Summer of Sorcery’ tour and was transported away from a grey evening in London to a bustling carnival, celebrating love, unity and summer warmth. Continue reading “Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London, 24th May 2019”

Ryan Thompson & The Delicate Hounds “Waiting on a Ghost” (Independent, 2019)

The debut album from Sacramento-based Ryan Thompson delivers country-infused Americana that showcases his solid song-writing skills. In his own words, Thompson says: “I did not spend my twenties on the music scene, trying to make a name for myself.” Indeed, this selection of warm, mid-tempo songs is informed by a life lived and the time taken to discover his sound; years spent in indie-rock and honky-tonk bands have influenced and honed Thompson’s creative output. Continue reading “Ryan Thompson & The Delicate Hounds “Waiting on a Ghost” (Independent, 2019)”

Americana A-Z – Lindi Ortega

The Americana A-Z is sometimes a means to celebrate a legend of the genre or it is often a way of reminding readers of a forgotten gem. This week, for the letter ‘O’, we’re shining the light on a contemporary act who deserves an audience. Lindi Ortega has been releasing music for almost twenty years and has become known for a mixture of foot-stomping country and traditional balladry, all of which showcases her powerful vocals and great range. She deserves her place here because of the sophistication of her song writing and the manner in which she continues to explore and grow and develop artistically so far into her musical career. Continue reading “Americana A-Z – Lindi Ortega”

Kathy Zimmer “Sparkling Smile” (Independent, 2019)

Following the 2018 release of ‘White Noise’, Kathy Zimmer’s new EP, ‘Sparkling Smile’, continues to develop her self-styled cosmopolitan folk sound. Once again, she effectively pulls off the trick of sounding warmly familiar and yet entirely new, blending musical genres and layering instrumentation to create a sumptuous set of songs. Continue reading “Kathy Zimmer “Sparkling Smile” (Independent, 2019)”

Jim Allen “Where the Sunshine Bit You” (Hardcover Records, 2019)

‘Where the Sunshine Bit You’ is the first solo album from Jim Allen in many years and it finds him in a good-natured mood. A respected songwriter on the New York scene, Allen says that he’s: “not trying to be the next big anything.” However, after years pursuing band projects, Allen has plenty left to say on his own. Recorded live, the record has an authentic feel and there’s a joy in the composition and performance of this set of varied songs. Continue reading “Jim Allen “Where the Sunshine Bit You” (Hardcover Records, 2019)”

J.S. Ondara “Tales of America” (Verve, 2019)

The grand but elusive idea of the ‘American Dream’ is one of the USA’s gifts to the world. J.S. Ondara is, perhaps, the very personification of this ideal but his darkly poetic lyrics and tender confessionals expose the doubts, flaws and difficulties in chasing the myth, just like the pain to be found in the search for love. This is a timely piece of art, exploring the conflict of an outsider, with a deep affection for its culture and musical history, finding his place in modern America. At times joyous and at times bleak and haunting, Ondara’s inspiring debut album tells the story of his determination to pursue his dream of becoming a musician in a land far from home. Continue reading “J.S. Ondara “Tales of America” (Verve, 2019)”

Daniel Steinbock “Out of Blue” (Independent, 2019)

Daniel Steinbock’s first full-length release, ‘Out of Blue’, is a relaxing, calming and often beautiful reflection on love in its various forms. Throughout, there is a sense of hope and positivity, even finding the good in heartbreak and hard times. Steinbock sings: “When the heart feels broke open wide / It’s the beginning of the mend,” and this neatly summarises the mood of the whole record, which is a refreshingly upbeat take on life. After two self-released EPs, the Californian-native has developed a distinctive sound that is very easy to listen to. Continue reading “Daniel Steinbock “Out of Blue” (Independent, 2019)”

Charles Wesley Godwin “Seneca” (Independent, 2019)

Charles Wesley Godwin’s debut album, ‘Seneca’, is traditional country music in a very literal sense: these songs are tales of the rural landscapes and working people of his West Virginian home. Musically and lyrically, the album is an incredibly well-realised sonic picture of the Appalachians, almost an immersive concept album that transports the listener to the region’s mountains, valleys, creeks, mills and mines. The hard-working people of these narratives are: “…the backbone of a nation,” as Godwin sings on ‘Here in Eden’. This is their story. Continue reading “Charles Wesley Godwin “Seneca” (Independent, 2019)”