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”

Van Life: Rennie Sparks (The Handsome Family)

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.
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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.

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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”