Ross Bellenoit “Where Does The Light Go” (Independent, 2020)

The latest full length album for Philadelphia singer-songwriter Ross Bellenoit offers a meditation on love, loss, secrets and the ways that our relationships affect our understanding of the world around us. The album is really what Americana is all about and includes Bellenoit’s brilliant guitar playing and his wide-ranging vocals. It starts with the title track, ‘Where Does The Light Go’, which works like an overview for the whole record and he begins his album-long exploration of attempting to reconcile relationships. The song’s theme might be sad, but it has a brilliantly infectious tune and actually makes you feel uplifted and happy rather than miserable. Continue reading “Ross Bellenoit “Where Does The Light Go” (Independent, 2020)”

Americana A to Z – Lyle Lovett

It was about 2015 that I first developed a love of country music. Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘don’t start talking about how much you love Dolly Parton’, but let me finish. It didn’t take long for my family members to also take an interest in country music, but like me they weren’t particular fans of the now ever-present pop-country, but much more fans of things that could definitely be described as Americana. Continue reading “Americana A to Z – Lyle Lovett”

Zach Phillips “The Wine of Youth” (Independent, 2020)

Noticing that his friends wanted something to listen to during quarantine, San Diego based singer-songwriter Zach Phillips decided to release ‘The Wine of Youth’ earlier than he first anticipated, but with his music described as ‘a hybrid of experimental roots and folk-rock, chamber pop and indie country’, you feel like this mismatch of styles don’t quite fit together throughout the album. Continue reading “Zach Phillips “The Wine of Youth” (Independent, 2020)”

Brother Starling “The Weight of Change” (2020)

A quintet hailing from Philadelphia, Brother Starling are an Americana and Classic Rock band who have just released their debut LP, ‘The Weight of Change’. The album itself focuses on these volatile times which we live in, looking at both life and death. The album starts with the driving and anthemic song ‘Cobbled Streets’ which is about starting afresh after tragedy. The song crescendos to a powerful chorus where the lead vocalist, Geremiah Giampa sings ‘Let’s run, run away’. The song has greater meaning when you learn that Giampa was hit with two tragedies at the time of recording the album. He explains how it ‘ended up guiding the theme of lyrics and the soundscape’ for the album. Continue reading “Brother Starling “The Weight of Change” (2020)”

Nicole Atkins “Italian Ice” (Single Lock Records, 2020)

Named after her favourite sweet treat in Asbury Park and her alter-ego while shooting dice on the Jersey Shore, ‘Italian Ice’ is the latest album from the extremely talented Nicole Atkins. The album features a wide array of equally brilliant talent, including members of the Bad Seeds, Dap-Kings, the legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Seth Avett and more. Continue reading “Nicole Atkins “Italian Ice” (Single Lock Records, 2020)”

AUK’s Chain Gang: Brothers Osborne “Weed, Whiskey and Willie”

While the previous chain gang entry was all about Willie Nelson and the song ‘City of New Orleans’, I myself am not looking at his son or even his granddaughter, but I thought I would look at a Brothers Osborne song from their most recent album ‘Port Saint Joe’: ‘Weed, Whiskey and Willie’. The song is a welcome uplift for the current world we are living in, reminding us that even when everything is taken away from you, as long as you have weed, whiskey and Willie, everything will be alright. And John Osborne says exactly that: ‘It’s not so great to live on your vices, but we all do it sometimes. You put on a record and just have a drink and relax. It just brings you back to earth.’ At this time, many of us are enjoying our vices, be it an album or something else!

Henry Jamison “Tourism” (Color Study, 2020)

Tourism’ is the latest EP from Henry Jamison, one which breaks the typical boundaries of Americana. The collaboration EP, featuring artists who Jamison met on the road, was written after a break-up and months of touring. Jamison’s hard work really shows as each song has been well thought through and perfectly fits the vocals of who he sings with. Continue reading “Henry Jamison “Tourism” (Color Study, 2020)”

Soul Asylum “Hurry Up and Wait” (Blue Élan Records, 2020)

Soul Asylum, the Grammy award-winning band, are back for the first time in four years with their album ‘Hurry Up and Wait’, sporting a different line-up to their most successful era of the early 90s, but one brimming with talent, consisting of the ever-present Dave Pirner (lead vocals), Ryan Smith (lead guitar), Winston Roye (bass) and former Prince drummer Michael Bland. Continue reading “Soul Asylum “Hurry Up and Wait” (Blue Élan Records, 2020)”

Andrew Weiss and Friends “The Golden Age of Love and Chemistry” (Independent, 2020)

In this time of trouble, Andrew Weiss and His Friends have given us an album to lift our spirits which enables us to think of love, life and happiness. The album is, as Weiss says, ‘music made by real musicians playing together, singing about real-life’, and this allows us to feel as though we are hearing life stories from Andrew, something which is at the heart of all great Americana albums. Continue reading “Andrew Weiss and Friends “The Golden Age of Love and Chemistry” (Independent, 2020)”

Classic Americana Albums: Chris Stapleton “From A Room: Volume 2” (Mercury Nashville, 2017)

When I was asked to write a review about a classic Americana album, I myself had one main issue. As someone who is only 19 and who really found their way into Americana music through country music, I don’t have the extensive back catalogue that some of my fellow reviewers do when they are tasked with the same thing. Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: Chris Stapleton “From A Room: Volume 2” (Mercury Nashville, 2017)”