Van Life: Eilen Jewell & Jason Beek

Boise, Idaho’s Eilen Jewell and her husband (and drummer!) Jason Beek have been touring the US and Europe for a number of years, bringing their blend of country, americana, and old-time gospel to a loyal following both sides of the pond. Last year’s ‘Down Hearted Blues’ saw Jewell unearthing a number of old-time blues songs and giving them both a polish and a place in the modern musical world. Her band, including the inimitable Jerry Miller, a guitarist who resides at the very summit when it comes to GREAT guitar players, are seasoned road dogs these days. Americana-UK caught up with Eilen and Jason on a recent visit to these shores to find out how life on four wheels really is and found out CDs isn’t the only thing they carry with them!  Continue reading “Van Life: Eilen Jewell & Jason Beek”

Van Life: Radiator King

Boston’s Adam Silvestri (AKA Radiator King) is the type of musician this feature was pretty much designed to  accommodate. A road dog, traveller, essentially a musical explorer both sonically and literally,  Silvestri spends many many hours on the road, clicking up the miles and cranking up the toons.  His latest album, ‘A Hollow Triumph After All,’ is awash with vivid imagery, Waits-esque swagger and fuelled by  a unflinching punk spirit, its therefore unsurprising his glovebox is full of gems. Americana-UK catches up with  the now New York-based trobadour ahead of another US tour. Continue reading “Van Life: Radiator King”

Interview: Dietmar Leibecke

You can find gold in the most unlikely of places if you look hard enough. Now, Oberhausen, a quiet industrial backwater in the Ruhr valley a few miles from the metropolitan splendour of Dusseldorf, wouldn’t be the first place you would look for an amazing two day americana and roots festival.  Well, it turns out it is THE place to look as for the third year running the magnificent Static Roots Festival graces the town’s Zentrum Altenberg, a converted zinc factory and for two days in July home of some of the genre’s real gems.  AUK took time out to speak to the festival’s curator and  insatiable  supporter of americana music, Dietmar Leibecke, to talk about what is fast becoming a ‘must attend’ event.  Continue reading “Interview: Dietmar Leibecke”

Interview: The Vagaband

Long-established roots stalwarts The Vagaband’s third album, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ came out to great praise earlier this year with this very site loving the album’s “rollicking mix of Dylan and Ronnie Lane like Romany swirls, full-bodied and city sullied dramas and just plain old good fashioned songs”.   AUK’s Nic Rigby caught up with the band’s leader and main songwriter, Jose McGill, at his Norwich home to talk about the album and the band’s place in the Americana genre.  Continue reading “Interview: The Vagaband”

Interview: Kyle Craft

Few records hit you square between the eyes like ‘Full Circle Nightmare‘ the wonderful new album from Portland-based Kyle Craft. A veritable beast of a record drawing influences from the likes of Bowie, Lennon – christ, I can even hear Steve Harley – ‘Full Circle Nightmare‘ is a strident, swaggering and utterly brilliant take on a broken heart and one that leaves the heart racing and the mind alive.  Recorded in Portland with The Decemberist’s Chris Funk in the producer hot seat, Craft has left behind the simplicity and straight-ahead nature of his debut and delivered something altogether more bold and fresh.   Released on Sub Pop ahead of Craft’s first UK shows later this month, AUK caught up with the singer-songwriter. Continue reading “Interview: Kyle Craft”

Interview: Jon Dee Graham

Austin legend Jon Dee Graham makes his first visit to the UK in nearly ten years in May.  The one-time, go-to guitar slinger for likes of Alejandro Escovedo (who he played with in The True Believers for years), John Doe, even making an appearance on a Ry Cooder session, Graham has gone on to earn his place amongst the Texan songwriting greats in a twenty-year solo career.  A lovable giant of a man, a veritable beast of a songsmith, Graham’s observations on life are poignant, at times brash, but always delivered from the heart. His latest mini-album, ‘Knoxville Skyline’ (Decor) runs a gamut of styles from barroom stomp of ‘Things Might Turn Out Right‘  to a glorious  Fontaine-esque, ‘Dan Stuart’s Blues.’  AUK caught up with Graham to chat about the album, his son, William Harries Graham, who accompanies his father on the dates – and how much he was looking forward to returning to UK.  Continue reading “Interview: Jon Dee Graham”

All Change At The Union

News from the south coast that the much-loved Union Music Store in Lewes is changing hands. After seven years building the specialist Americana, folk and country haven in the heart of the South Downs, owners Stevie and Jamie Freeman have decided to hand over the reins to two new owners that will be familiar to our readers  – Danny Wilson, head-honcho of Danny & The Champs and BWP, and our own interviews editor, Del Day.  Looking to broaden the remit of the shop over the coming months to incorporate key and ‘must have’ titles from all genres, the pair will look to take the shop onto the next phase of its journey beginning June 8th. We wish them the very best of luck!  Stevie and Jamie explained their decision to a packed RSD crowd and issued the following press release.  Continue reading “All Change At The Union”

Van Life: Ash Gray

Ash Gray is no stranger to a life of travel. Spending part of his time in Sheffield, the rest in either Austin, NYC or London depending on where his creative muse may court his attention, Gray is a musical traveller by definition. His latest album, ‘Chicken Wire‘, a buoyant mix of storytelling and Texan rock’n’roll, is out now. Americana-UK catches up with the songwriter putting in the miles in the American Southwest where he has just played shows at SXSW. Continue reading “Van Life: Ash Gray”

Interview: Buffalo Tom

I remember buying the self-titled debut album from Buffalo Tom the very day it was released from that once-great record emporium, Rhythm Records in Camden Town. That record still gets healthy attention from the deck, especially ‘Sunflower Suit” which still has this middle-aged man jumping around like Vedder. Thirty-years later and I’m sat here enjoying ‘Quiet And Peace’, the band’s new album – their first in seven years – and possibly their best yet. That classic brooding guitar sound may not be so much at the forefront these days but the whole album still resonates both with its presence and dynamism. The songs, thoughtful and mature, underline the fact that here we have a band still right at the top of their game both observing and absorbing the ever-changing world around them. I speak to the band’s Bill Janovitz about making records, getting older and Simon And Garfunkel. Continue reading “Interview: Buffalo Tom”

Interview: Lilly Hiatt

On ‘Trinity Lane’ her third and most visceral album to date, East Nashville’s Lilly Hiatt pulls no punches. Written mostly from a wooden chair looking out at the trees that surround her house on Trinity Lane, the album embodies both a kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll spirit – which Hiatt has in bucketloads – with a deeper, personal reflection on her life, broken relationships and sobriety. Continue reading “Interview: Lilly Hiatt”