Migrant Worker “Migrant Worker” (Independent, 2020)

Reviewing a new release, particularly a debut release, by a band you’ve never heard of before, is always going to be something of a lottery. As with any lottery, most of the time you are likely to find hopes turning to disappointment. Occasionally, you may be rewarded with a small win. However, without wishing to flog the metaphor to death, the debut album from Migrant Worker can be considered as striking the jackpot. Continue reading “Migrant Worker “Migrant Worker” (Independent, 2020)”

Forgotten Artists – Barefoot Jerry

Founded in Nashville in 1971, Barefoot Jerry recorded six albums before calling it a day in 1977. None of them achieved great commercial success, but together they represent a body of work rivalled by few of their contemporary seventies country-rock/Southern rock bands. The first three albums in particular are classics of their genre. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Barefoot Jerry”

10 songs about other artists

Here are ten songs written about other artists. The list below is not the final word, but represents the start of a conversation. The idea is to explore some of our favourite artists singing about other artists. In most cases the songs are celebratory or pay tribute, others simply observe or comment and one here is not very complimentary. So, having set the ball rolling, I’m passing it over to you folks. I’m sure that the collective knowledge and wisdom of the AUK readership can come up with many more great additions. Please post them in the comments section at the bottom of the page. I hope that you enjoy my selections and I look forward to hearing yours. Continue reading “10 songs about other artists”

Luan Parle “Never Say Goodbye” (LPR Records, 2020)

Luan Parle has had an interesting journey. Her first album was released when she was 12 years old. ‘Never Say Goodbye’ is her fourth album, twenty-five years after that debut and ten years since her last release ‘Full Circle’ in 2010. She was at one time signed to Elton John’s management company and supported both him and …. ahem, James Blunt. Parle’s last two albums brought her some success in her native Ireland, but more recently she has been better known for her TV and radio work. Continue reading “Luan Parle “Never Say Goodbye” (LPR Records, 2020)”

Classic Americana Albums: Green on Red “Gas Food Lodging” (Zippo Records, 1985)

‘Desert Rock’, ‘Paisley Underground’, Alternative Country-Rock’, ‘Garage-Country’ and ‘Country-Punk’ are all descriptions that have, at various times, been applied to Green on Red. The fact that these and plenty more descriptions can be found with a quick Google search suggests that contemporary commentators struggled to pin the band down, and that perhaps Green on Red actually defy convenient tagging or restrictive pigeon-holing. Moreover, their music was something quite unique and reaffirming, particularly when set into the context of the musical and political landscape of mid-eighties America. In case a reminder is needed, it was the era of electronic pop music, all synths and silly haircuts, and perhaps even more depressingly, the eighties book-ended the Presidency of Ronald Reagan (1981-1989). Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: Green on Red “Gas Food Lodging” (Zippo Records, 1985)”

GospelbeacH + The Swells, Soup Kitchen, Manchester, 27th February 2020

2019 was a mixed year for GospelbeacH. Their fourth album ‘Let It Burn’ was released to critical acclaim in October, just two months after the death of Neal Casal, whose exquisite guitar playing is one of the features of the record. Tonight, GospelbeacH main man Brent Rademaker paid tribute to Casal with some warm words and by calling upon the audience to observe a few moments of silence in his memory. The silence was impeccably observed. However, it was arguably the band’s wonderful trademark Californian sound, brought alive tonight in a scintillating performance, that was their most fitting tribute of all. Continue reading “GospelbeacH + The Swells, Soup Kitchen, Manchester, 27th February 2020”

US Rails “Mile By Mile” (Blue Rose, 2020)

The US Rails are a group of Philadelphia based musicians, all of whom follow their own musical careers, but come together periodically to record and tour as a band. ‘Mile By Mile’ is their fifth album of original material in ten years, which is a fairly good ratio given their other commitments. Known for their vocal harmonies and rootsy sound, their new release places them on a slightly different track, one that is underpinned by a more straightforward rock sound. Continue reading “US Rails “Mile By Mile” (Blue Rose, 2020)”

Amy LaVere ft. Will Sexton + Between The Vines, The Rose and Monkey, Manchester, 11th February 2020

Amy LaVere and Will Sexton travelled down to Manchester from their previous night’s show in Glasgow, via Newcastle. The reason for this lengthy detour, they informed us, was to retrieve Will’s jacket which he had left behind following their gig in that city. This “what the hell – let’s do it” attitude was also symptomatic of their approach to the final night of their UK tour which had begun with an appearance at AmericanaFest UK in London. Drawing upon a wide repertoire of songs but with no formal set list, the pair delivered a hugely entertaining night of music and chat that captivated all that had turned out on an indubitably wet and windy Manchester evening. Continue reading “Amy LaVere ft. Will Sexton + Between The Vines, The Rose and Monkey, Manchester, 11th February 2020”

Classic Americana Albums: Dwight Yoakam “Guitars, Cadillacs Etc. Etc.” (Reprise Records, 1986)

When Dwight Yoakam’s debut album ‘Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc.’ was released in 1986 it was completely at odds with the prevailing trend in country music towards a soft ‘crossover’ sound. A look at some of country’s best selling records of that year show just how far away from its folk roots country music had strayed. Alabama, Exile, Juice Newton, Anne Murray, Ronnie Millsap and Marie Osmond – all had insipid and diluted down number one records aimed at the wider market. The big record companies were even turning their backs on country legends like George Jones and Merle Haggard, by then seen as too country for mainstream tastes. Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: Dwight Yoakam “Guitars, Cadillacs Etc. Etc.” (Reprise Records, 1986)”

Eric Brace and Last Train Home “Daytime Highs & Overnight Lows” (Red Beet Records, 2020)

Last Train Home formed in Washington DC in the 1990s, releasing six well-received albums between 1997 and 2008. ‘Daytime Highs & Overnight Lows’ is their first release for 11 years. Having moved to Nashville in 2004 it became increasingly difficult for main man Eric Brace to keep the band active. During that intervening period Brace wrote and recorded with Nashville songwriters Peter Cooper and Thomm Jute. However, in 2019 Brace gathered members of Last Train Home together to make a new album and the result is impressive. Continue reading “Eric Brace and Last Train Home “Daytime Highs & Overnight Lows” (Red Beet Records, 2020)”