Van Life: The High Divers

Now, some would say it’s a tad ironic to be doing a Van Life feature with a band whose very existence was threatened by their own van flipping over and causing somewhat of an unscheduled hiatus in terms of performing and recording. Thankfully, Charleston’s High Divers are beyond that roadblock and are set to release their new album, ‘Chicora’ on March 2nd. AUK caught up with leadman Luke Mitchell and the band to find out what keeps them tarmac sane and musically nourished on those southern highways and byways.

Continue reading “Van Life: The High Divers”

Van Life – Justin Osborne (SUSTO)

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)”

Van Life: Iain Sloan

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”

Van Life: Breadfoot

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”

Van Life: Anthony D’Amato

© Meredith Truax

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”

Van Life: JD & The Straight Shot

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.

Continue reading “Van Life: JD & The Straight Shot”

Interview: Blitzen Trapper

Portland, Oregon’s Blitzen Trapper have been producing delicately crafted albums for over a decade, charting their own distinct musical course and building a sizable fan base along the way. Wild And Reckless, the band’s ninth studio album, is both adventurous in sound and scope, taking songs initially written for a stage production into the studio to offer a fascinating take on American life. Americana-UK speaks to frontman Eric Earley about stage productions, murder ballads and the song-writing process.  Continue reading “Interview: Blitzen Trapper”

Interview: Shamblin Sexton

A few years back, stumbling into The Great Eastern, a salubrious pub at the bottom of Trafalgar Street in the heart of Brighton’s North Laines, my ears were met by Hank Williams’ unmistakable tones emanating from the end of the room.  There, stood in front of two record decks were two innocuous looking blokes, smiles as wide as the Mississippi, flicking through a pile of vinyl.  Tony Sexton, AKA Shamblin Sexton and Senor Mick, together under the banner of Whiskey Preachin, have been bringing the country to the people of East Sussex and serving up the grits ‘n’ gravy for last four years whilst slowly making their way through the 300 odd whiskeys behind the bar at The Eastern. Their trademark posters, beautifully designed by Chris Sick – essentially the third member of the gang – cannot fail to catch your eyes as you wander around town. It’s an impressive feat and one that warms the cockles like a swift nip of Elijah Craig. I hook up with Shamblin to find out more. Continue reading “Interview: Shamblin Sexton”

Van Life: Wild Ponies

Whenever I think of life on the road as a touring musician I inevitably think of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and those three goodie-laden coaches named after their occupants. Inside, no doubt, the fridges were full to capacity with beers and wine, the bunks were laden with goose feathered quilts, wafts of pheasant and cranberries escaping from the cooking galley with every conceivable need taken care of.  Sadly, for every ELP there are a million road warriors out there on the highways and byways living an altogether different van life. Continue reading “Van Life: Wild Ponies”

Interview: House Above The Sun

A chance encounter with the track Runaway Devil, an instantly addictive freewheelin’ guitar-led gem that literally jumped out of the speakers like some kind of flannelled maniac, led me to the London-based four-piece House Above The Sea. I soon discovered that this is a band that can both kick like a mule sonically yet charm your socks off with beautifully entwined dual vocals and a real poetic approach to songwriting. I really needed to investigate further. Five Hours North, their debut album, is out at the end of October so I took the chance to chat with the band about guitar tones, inspirations and their love of ‘alt-country’.  Continue reading “Interview: House Above The Sun”