Luke Combs + Ashley McBryde, Shepherds Bush O2, London, 4th October 2018

To west London for the second of Luke Combs’ sell-out nights on what has been an impressively sold-out debut UK tour. Combs has made huge commercial and creative headway in the last three years and his debut album (since generously expanded with a handful of extra tracks) has been hoovering up accolades and indeed hefty sales, streaming and Spotify hits. It’s not hard to see why. Continue reading “Luke Combs + Ashley McBryde, Shepherds Bush O2, London, 4th October 2018”

The Devil Makes Three, Islington Assembly Rooms, London, 14th September 2018

True to their word, The Devil Makes Three appeared tonight in their usual trio guise, the drumming contribution of Sam Amidon, an honorary (and temporary) member of the band who added a rockier edge to their latest and very impressive sixth album, ‘Chains Are Broken’, sadly not present. Nevertheless tonight’s venue was close to its 700 capacity and the band clearly have a good London core of stalwart fans who can identify the songs from the briefest of intros. Continue reading “The Devil Makes Three, Islington Assembly Rooms, London, 14th September 2018”

Brent Cobb + Zack Logan, Dingwalls, London, 5th September 2018

Tonight we are offered a fine double dose of deep Southern drawls at this quasi-legendary venue in the heart of London’s Camden Market. First up is Zack Logan, on his first UK visit and touring his debut album ‘Raised by Wolves’. A Mississippi native now Nashville based, his songs are centred largely around rural and small town America and he’s clearly a man who is a regular visitor to bars. Continue reading “Brent Cobb + Zack Logan, Dingwalls, London, 5th September 2018”

Treetop Flyers, The Lexington, London, 23rd August 2018

This gig heralded the Treetop Flyers’ self-titled new – and third – album due out the very next day on Loose Records and recorded just a mile or two north of the venue in Stoke Newington. It’s a notably young audience which is good news for the growth of this musical niche, with your reviewer feeling decidedly in the upper quartile on the age chart. The venue is packed out as is the stage with the quintet and their expanding hoard of instruments – the original trio of Reid Morrison, Laurie Sherman and Sam Beer having been augmented by sax man Geoff Thomas Widdowson, doing a job share with Danny and the Champions of the World, and drummer Rupert Shreeve. Continue reading “Treetop Flyers, The Lexington, London, 23rd August 2018”

Eileen Jewell + Michelle Stodart, The Lexington, London, 6th August 2018

The Lexington near Kings Cross in North London has great appeal in the current heat wave as it has one of the best air conditioning systems on the London gig circuit and it proved its worth tonight as we were treated to an expansive set from Eileen Jewell and her slick band delivering some 25 songs during an almost two hour set. A Boise, Idaho native Jewell has absorbed and interpreted a wide range of influences and she darted across various styles tonight with a mid-set blues-focussed section to promote her latest album ‘Down Hearted Blues’ with her well established and highly accomplished soulful crew of Jerry Miller on electric guitar, Shawn Supra on upright bass and bass guitar and drummer Jason Beek. Continue reading “Eileen Jewell + Michelle Stodart, The Lexington, London, 6th August 2018”

Jason McNiff + Toni Montserrat, The Harrison, London, 27th July 2018

To the very compact basement bar of The Harrison in Kings Cross for the official launch gig of Jason McNiff’s latest album ‘Joy and Independence’. He’s now on the splendidly-rostered At The Helm records and so we have a Bradford man living in London with his label management in Brighton so who needs Nashville? Hailed as “a superior singer/songwriter” by  the erudite and well-respected USA magazine No Depression and 4-starred by the UK’s Mojo, McNiff states with some pride that this, his sixth album, is the first time he’s had the confidence to work with just an acoustic guitar and his voice. He says he framed the songs as “a homage to a golden era of the coffee house Troubadour”,  albeit on this sultry Friday night we had replaced coffee with craft ale.  Continue reading “Jason McNiff + Toni Montserrat, The Harrison, London, 27th July 2018”

Maverick Festival, Easton Park Farm Suffolk, 6th – 8th July 2018

This year’s Maverick Festival was held under glorious sunshine at Easton Park Farm in the deepest part of rural Suffolk. As usual, Director Paul Spencer  had pulled together a tremendous range of polished multinational talent which all just about falls within what we consider Americana. The timing of the event, smack dab in the middle of the footie world cup,  meant however that the balance of music vs.  football in the conversational strands was slightly different from the July norm. Continue reading “Maverick Festival, Easton Park Farm Suffolk, 6th – 8th July 2018”

Anderson East, Jazz Cafe, London, 30th May 2018

London’s Jazz Cafe tonight replicated the steamy humidity of Anderson East’s Athens, Alabama roots on what was a sold out show for this artist who is described as  as being an R’nB singer, R’n’B in the old fashioned sense thankfully. Notable and encouraging was the number of 20- and 30-somethings thronging the venue, East’s own peer group. Continue reading “Anderson East, Jazz Cafe, London, 30th May 2018”

Alela Diane + Olivia Chaney, Union Chapel, Islington, London, 12 April 2018

Alela Diane’s set on her UK tour’s opening night draws largely from her latest piano-based album ‘Cusp’ along with songs from her 2009 gem, ‘To Be Still’.  The Union Chapel, a functioning church in the heart of Islington, is a perfect setting for the quality of her work performed tonight in a trio format with Diane accompanied by gifted and polished multi instrumentation from Mirabei Peart and Heather Woods Broderick. They cover piano, flute and oboe, percussion and particularly violin and upright bass. They also provide wonderfully haunting echoic background vocals to counterpoise Diane’s dazzling singing. Continue reading “Alela Diane + Olivia Chaney, Union Chapel, Islington, London, 12 April 2018”

2018 Maverick Festival line up officially launched

Maverick Festival officially unwrapped the line up for their 11th year at a launch party held at the Gibson Guitar Studios in London last Thursday.  The festival, winner of several awards and generally reckoned to be one of the best Americana and roots events of the year will take place in July in the tranquil acres of Easton Park Farm in Suffolk. Hosting the launch night was the festival’s co-founder, director and driving force Paul Spencer. Continue reading “2018 Maverick Festival line up officially launched”