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”
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”
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”
Got to be honest, there probably isn’t a square mile of the US or Europe that Brett and Rennie, The Handsome Family, haven’t covered at some point. The husband and wife duo must have one hell of a relationship to endure that many miles on the road together without serious risk of divorce or mental instability. That they appear, at least on the surface, as musically and harmoniously entwined is surely testament to a rigorously tested van life routine that has stood the test of time. I catch up with them en route to Aberdeen to get the lowdown.
Continue reading “Van Life: Rennie Sparks (The Handsome Family)”
East Carolina’s SUSTO have been making giant strides these last couple of years, generating huge acclaim for their live shows and acquiring a number of big-time fans including Band Of Horses’ Ben Bridwell. “I got an e-mail from him, telling me he loved the record and wanted to meet with me and Johnny. That was actually the day I wrote my professor and said, ‘I’m not coming in,’” recalls lead singer and songwriter, Justin Osborne. Americana-UK fires the questions as he packs the cases and gets those all-important tunes ready for the trip, their ever first UK dates on the back of & I’m Fine Today, their new album. Continue reading “Van Life – Justin Osborne (SUSTO)”
Fretboard warrior, purveyor of all things six-string, and pedal steel supremo, Iain Sloan has been soundtracking the UK Americana scene for a number of years predominantly with The Wynntown Marshals, Scotland’s finest alt.country band, and latterly with the likes of indie folksters Blue Rose Code and the legendary Peter Bruntnell. Americana-UK catches up with Sloan inbetween practice and school runs to chat through life on the road and have a rummage through the glove box. Continue reading “Van Life: Iain Sloan”
North Carolina’s singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and all-round professional road dog, Breadfoot (AKA Stephan Meyers) takes his music pretty much where anyone will have him. His latest album, Salvatella, is both short and sweet, akin to a couple of jars with Michael Hurley at some backwater town bar, just chewing the fat and pondering tales of the heart. Breadfoot swaps instruments with the assured footing of someone at complete ease and in total command of his craft. Americana-UK catches up with the talented troubadour and wonders if it’s as easy pulling the miles, and finds out what it is that feeds his ears on them endless freeways. Continue reading “Van Life: Breadfoot”
New Jersey’s Anthony D’Amato is no stranger to the road, his insatiable desire to take his music all around the world inevitable means mile after mile on the byways and highways. Travelling alone brings its own problems, yet inevitably leaves him a lot of time to both reflect on life, take pictures and, of course, listen to some of his favourite tunes. In the UK for a number of shows alongside Deacon Blue’s Ricky Ross and The Felice Brothers’ Ian Felice promoting his current album Cold Snap, Americana-UK catches up with the old (young!)road dog to make sure all is fine and dandy. Continue reading “Van Life: Anthony D’Amato”
Fresh from touring with The Eagles, Chicago, and most recently The Doobie Brothers, it’s fair to say JD & The Straight Shot are taking their Americana message further afield than most. The band have just released their new album, Good Luck And Good Night, and just completed a UK tour with the aforementioned Doobies. Americana-UK caches up with guitar player Marc Copely and asks what’s currently lighting their musical fires in the splitter bus.