Interview: The Jayhawks discuss a true joint effort making their new album ‘XOXO’

‘XOXO’ marks the latest instalment in the musical journey of The Jayhawks, a trip that has lasted over thirty-five years and numerous highlights. For the first time in the band’s long history ‘XOXO’ really is a collaborative album from a group who in the past have been celebrated and cherished for the songwriting prowess of head-honcho Gary Louris.  Given, that among a treasure trove of delights,  ‘XOXO‘ is arguably their finest album of recent years it has proven to be a sharp move.  All talk of change may unsettle longtime fans – who are an incredibly loyal bunch – but they needn’t be apprehensive as ‘XOXO’ is unmistakably The Jayhawks but, with Perlman, O’Reagan and Grotberg let loose and given their heads it gives a wonderful insight into what a  multi-faceted and dynamic band they really are. Americana UK speaks to the band and asks how opening up the songwriting duties has affected how they work and wha they feel t it brought to the record sonically and creatively. Continue reading “Interview: The Jayhawks discuss a true joint effort making their new album ‘XOXO’”

Interview: Courtney Marie Andrews discusses her new album fuelled by heartache, reflection & release

Over the past few years Courtney Marie Andrews has basically charmed the socks off us all. From the first listen to her breakthrough album ‘Honest Life’ and a string of sensational, sassy and ultimately charming live shows, it was clear that here was a major talent in the making. ‘Old Flowers‘ set for release on Loose Music on July 24th once again underlines that opinion and provides yet another stone in the foundation to what will be a long and inspired musical career.  At it’s heart ‘Old Flowers‘ is a personal, at times heart-wrenching narrative of her break-up with a longtime partner, yet dig a little deeper and you are mining those universal themes of solitude, reflection, hope – a regaining of strength, acceptance and moving forward.  At times you are never sure you should be listening, it all feels so intimate, emotional, cathartic even yet, as is always the case, music is a great healer both to the artist and the listener. We can all bathe in it’s melancholic pool. Americana-UK spoke to Andrews, holed-up in her home during a US lockdown about how heartbreak shaped the album and how personal albums often connect to us all the most easily.

Continue reading “Interview: Courtney Marie Andrews discusses her new album fuelled by heartache, reflection & release”

Home Life: West On Colfax

Drawn together by a love of americana and alt-country, Lancashire based West On Colfax have been gathering significant exposure – and a number of new fans – on the scene this year, gently footing the foundations for the release of their debut album, ‘Barfly Flew By‘  that was released on Greenhorse Records last month. An impressive mix of melancholic realism and sullen heartache, classic ingredients for any noteworthy roots enthusiast, it’s also an album that will appeal to those who like their americana served up thoughtfully, honestly, and with more than a dash of grit.  Americana-UK caught up with bassist and lyricist Scott Carey who, as a key worker, has found lockdown and these last few months particularly stressful and then get a sneak preview of what’s been on his decks making things a little more bearable. Continue reading “Home Life: West On Colfax”

Home Life: Pozzi

It seems now more than ever musicians and songwriters are really entering the political arena with a newfound passion to get their voices heard and to call out those they see as charlatans, hate mongers and liars. Boston born yet L.A based Pozzi pulls no punches on his new single, ‘Tyrant’ a really heartfelt examination of abuses of power, oppression and the harm that causes. Taken from his upcoming debut LP scheduled for August,  Pozzi has drawn comparisons to the likes of Wilco and Jeff Buckley – you can certainly hear a similar rise and fall of emotive power, for sure – and has put together a real thoughtful song here that offers both hope yet total honesty in these dangerous and uncertain times.  A-UK caught up with the young songwriter and asked him how the current political unrest and racial unease in America has shaped his songwriting and what music is currently pushing his buttons.  Continue reading “Home Life: Pozzi”

Home Life: Steady Habits

UK Americana band Loud Mountains, whose brand of roots meets power-pop always found a place in my affections, broke up in 2019.  That band’s one-part head honcho Sean Duggan is back in the recording sphere with his new band, Steady Habits, formed after his brother and co-leader Kevin returned to the states to pursue a solo career.  ‘Hold In Your Breath,’ the band’s wonderful debut EP released this month is, ironically, nothing short of a breath of fresh air on a roots scene that seems to have turned its back a little on the old ‘Alt-country’ vibe of old. Continue reading “Home Life: Steady Habits”

Interview: Pinegrove’s Evan Stephens Hall discusses the ideas that shaped their new album “Marigold”

New Jersey’s Pinegrove have been charting their own path through the US musical landscape for a number of years, bringing with them an ever-expanding, refreshingly loyal and completely connected fanbase.  They have worked extremely hard at making sure their music is first and foremost available directly to their fans, through numerous live shows and a wonderfully interactive and constantly evolving website. Continue reading “Interview: Pinegrove’s Evan Stephens Hall discusses the ideas that shaped their new album “Marigold””

Home Life: Michael Weston King

For nigh on thirty years UK singer-songwriter Michael Weston King has been forging himself a well-respected lofty position on the roots scene with his solo work, the now defunct country rockers The Good Sons, and most recently alongside his musical and life partner Lou Dalgleish in My Darling Clementine. Drawing inspiration from the classic Texan songwriters of the 70’s alongside the honky-tonk bravado of the likes of  George and Tammy, King has managed to fuse a love of country music, both idealogical and conceptual, with a deep sense of political angst to produce albums that always deserve full attention. Most recently My Darling Clementine have teamed up with Steve Nieve to produce  a number of four-track EP’s dedicated to the work of Elvis Costello called ‘Country Darkness‘ the second of which is released on June 5th.  Americana-UK spoke to the midlands based songwriter and asked how things are panning out right now for usually noticeably active performer. Continue reading “Home Life: Michael Weston King”

Home Life: Nev Cottee

‘Manchester’s sun-drenched crooner’ may be a little hard to fathom in a city where it always rains.  Yet listen to any of Nev Cottee’s albums and you will find such a statement certainly holds up in this case.  Even when at his darkest, as arguably his latest ‘Rivers Edge‘ underlines more than most, Cottee draws as much from those haze West Coast vibes as he does the wet streets of home.  Comparisons to the likes of his musical heroes Scott walker and Lee Hazlewood are certainly undeniable yet I’d throw in more than a little sun-kissed psychedelia into the heady brew Cottee conjures up over his last few albums. They all warrant repeated listens and it isn’t long before you are utterly under the charm of a singer-songwriter who draws from the past but very much resides in a sonic present. AUK caught up with Cottee to see how he was coping in lockdown and what music is wafting through the air in his place to keep the boredom and anxiety at bay. Continue reading “Home Life: Nev Cottee”

Home Life: Lynne Hanson

Ottawa-based Lynne Hanson has just released ‘Just Words‘, her seventh album, produced by the  much-respected Jim Bryson.  For an artist who self-describes her music as ‘porch music with a little red dirt‘ it’s arguably her finest and most personal to date. Where Bryson may have broadened the sonic palette somewhat, Hanson is left to do what she does best – deliver songs that are much delivered from the heart as they are from the head.  Straddling country and Americana, her’s is a style that is both gritty and emotive, with burgeoning melodies that burst from the songs.  Over the years Hanson has built a sizeable fanbase across Canada and her visits to Europe have always been met with a more than favourable reaction. ‘Just Words‘ will undoubtably build on that hard-earned reputation and will certainly be one to consider come those end of year lists.  Americana-UK caught up with Hanson, hunkered down in her Canadian home just to check in and see how she was bearing up. Continue reading “Home Life: Lynne Hanson”

Home Life – Matt Harlan

Houston based Matt Harlan, like many artists in these surreal times, would have been a way into promoting his excellent fifth album, ‘Best Beasts.’ released here in Europe by Continental Record Services., at this point in his career.  Instead he is holed up at home contemplating an unknowing future as the world starts to envisage the ‘new normal. Not one to hide from his opinions, ‘Best Beasts’ is a raw and honest account of how Harlan sees the political climate in America, beautifully played and arranged alongside guest artists like Jon Dee Graham, himself never one to hide in the emotional cupboard, and the always excellent Bettysoo.  Harlan has always seemed very much his own man both as a songwriter a live performer, his work very much bears the mark of an artist very comfortable in his own skin. A period of lockdown might not be too hard a proposition?  Americana-UK caught up with Matt and asked how he was bearing up with being put on hold for a while and what are those albums or songs he was reaching for to ease the stress levels.   Continue reading “Home Life – Matt Harlan”