Americana A-Z – Kasey Chambers

It would have been simple to have taken the path of least resistance and gone for Kris Kristofferson (and even had two K’s for the price of one), but no, here are at Americana UK we don’t do things the easy way and opted instead for a generally much less widely known artist in the form of Kasey Chambers. Continue reading “Americana A-Z – Kasey Chambers”

Clockwork Carousel “Clockwork Carousel” (Tick Tock Records, 2018)

Who would have guessed it!  Americana is alive and well in the New Forest in the shape of Clockwork Carousel who have just released their self-titled debut album.  Normally at this stage – and certainly for a band that relatively few will have heard of – the humble reviewer has listened to the record a number of times, done some background reading and then gleaned all that he/she can from the press release blurb that almost invariably accompanies the music when it is submitted for review. Continue reading “Clockwork Carousel “Clockwork Carousel” (Tick Tock Records, 2018)”

Mandolin Orange “Tides of a Teardrop” (Yep Roc, 2019)

Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz, better known of course as Mandolin Orange, have come a long way since their formation in 2009 and their latest album ‘Tides of a Teardrop’ continues in the same intimate vein that has served them so well over the last 10 years. Marlin lost his mother when he was just 18 and the main theme of this album is about letting go and finding peace, a process that for some people can take many years and that certainly seems to be the case in this instance. Continue reading “Mandolin Orange “Tides of a Teardrop” (Yep Roc, 2019)”

Jaywalkers “Time to Save the World” (Burnt Chilli Records, 2018)

‘Time to Save the World’ is the fourth album from the highly accomplished Jaywalkers trio that comprises Mike Giverin, Jay Bradberry and Lucille Williams.  Their music may be on the bluegrass side of the broad Americana church, but they clearly bring their own identity and put their own stamp on the music. Drawing heavily on their own personal experiences, the 10 original tracks and the excellent, and decidedly creative, cover of the Johnny Cash classic ‘Big River’, simply bound along, driven by energetic, high-quality musicianship and a surprisingly fulsome sound from the acoustic trio. Continue reading “Jaywalkers “Time to Save the World” (Burnt Chilli Records, 2018)”

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit “Live From the Ryman” (Southeastern Records, 2018)

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are rightly acclaimed as one of the best live acts doing the rounds today and it’s no surprise to find that they have released a live album in an attempt to capture the on-stage magic which is so beloved by fans.  Recorded over a six-night residency at that fabled auditorium in Nashville, ‘Live From the Ryman‘ is a collection of 13 excellent songs pulled from their last three albums (‘Southeastern’, ‘Something More Than Free’ and ‘The Nashville Sound’). Continue reading “Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit “Live From the Ryman” (Southeastern Records, 2018)”

Paul Kelly “Nature” (Cooking Vinyl, 2018)

Who else but the seemingly ageless Paul Kelly could have dreamed up the idea for turning the timeless Dylan Thomas poem ‘And Death Will Have No Dominion’ into a brilliant and moving opening song for his new album?  Taking the three nine-line stanzas from that classic work, Kelly has created an enthralling piece of music that is fully in keeping with the intent of Thomas’ original words, whereby death has no control over the human soul.  More impressive still is that this is only one of twelve cracking tracks on a finely crafted piece of work. That’s a somewhat deep introduction to Paul Kelly’s latest release ‘Nature’ but actually it’s a perfect example of the raison d’etre of the entire album. Continue reading “Paul Kelly “Nature” (Cooking Vinyl, 2018)”

Nathan Bell + Doghouse Roses, The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen, 6th October 2018

For those who seek out excellent music in intimate surroundings the upstairs lounge in Aberdeen’s Blue Lamp is a place to check out. Tonight’s show, from the opening set by Scottish duo Doghouse Roses which was followed by almost two hours from the excellent Nathan Bell, proved that as venues and shows go they don’t come much better! For those not familiar with them, Doghouse Roses comprise Paul Tasker and Iona Macdonald who serve up, in their own words, “primarily folk music,” but that description doesn’t really do their art justice.  Between McDonald’s powerfully expressive vocals and Tasker’s high-quality guitar playing, you have a very talented duo who set the scene wonderfully for what was to come later.  Continue reading “Nathan Bell + Doghouse Roses, The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen, 6th October 2018”

Art Theefe “Dig Deep” (Stolen Heart Records, 2018)

Art Theefe is an Oxford-based 3 piece band formed and led by singer/guitarist Matt Sage with Josh Rigal on bass and Joel Bassuk completing the line-up on drums.  Aided by a successful Kickstarter campaign they have crafted their debut album ‘Dig Deep’ and it doesn’t disappoint. ‘Dig Deep’ is an atmospheric piece of work that seems to have been influenced by a variety of musical genres, ranging from folk to the blues and almost to Prog/Psychedelic  Rock on the instrumental ‘Steely Jam,’ but all of them conjuring up an image of being played in smoke-filled rooms of the type that wouldn’t have been out of place in Greenwich Village in its heyday. Continue reading “Art Theefe “Dig Deep” (Stolen Heart Records, 2018)”

Dawn Landes “Meet Me At The River” (Yep Roc, 2018)

Take an innovative Indie singer/songwriter with a crystal-clear voice and pair her with a legendary country producer and the result should be a great musical collaboration. That was the theory which led Dawn Landes to approach the legendary 87-year-old Fred Foster whose production history includes working with the greats such as Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson (with whom he co-wrote ‘Me and Bobby McGee’), to produce her latest album ‘Meet Me At The River’. Continue reading “Dawn Landes “Meet Me At The River” (Yep Roc, 2018)”

Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters + Adriana Spina , The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen, 12th September 2018

The venerable Blue Lamp in Aberdeen is something of a hidden gem, its unassuming frontage concealing not just one of the city’s oldest bars but also an adjoining, intimate and atmospheric music venue. It’s been the locus for an impressive selection of Americana/roots acts who have ventured this far north over the past few years thanks in the main to the enterprising  Almost Blue Promotions  who seem to be able to lure class acts to the granite city. Continue reading “Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters + Adriana Spina , The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen, 12th September 2018”