TK & The Holy Know-Nothings “Desert Rose” – Listen

We love a new genre subdivision, and TK & The Holy Know-Nothings  have one for us, describing their sound as “psychedelic doom boogie“.  Fair enough.  The band are the latest project for songwriter Taylor Kingman, and he has offered this insight into the philosophy behind his songwriting process “If you pluck a flower from the ground, it will die. If you put a bird in a cage, it won’t be able to fly. If you rhyme die with fly, you sound like an idiot. Life cannot be contained and love is not possession. I have made that mistake many times.” Fair enough.  ‘Desert Rose‘ is taken from the album ‘Arguably OK‘ which emerged on May 24th.

Topic Records 80th Birthday Party, The Barbican, London, 7th June 2019

At 80 years of age Topic Records is the world’s oldest Independent Record label – and if it hasn’t been called Topic for the whole of that time there is at least a good continuity all the way back to the first recording by the Workers Music Association. In 1939 they released ‘The man who waters the workers’ beer‘ by Paddy Ryan, and bar the odd World War they haven’t looked back. Well, of course they have looked back – being at the cutting edge of the folk revival meant that Topic recorded a vast amount of old songs, as well as becoming the record release vehicle for the likes of Ewan MacColl. Old and new has ever been the way of folk, and the evening’s musical director – Eliza Carthy – captured that sense with a diverse series of musicians playing individual short sets, and then being the backing band for others, as the evening progressed. Continue reading “Topic Records 80th Birthday Party, The Barbican, London, 7th June 2019”

Lachlan Bryan and the Wildes “The Road” – Listen

You may feel that you’ve heard every song about life on the road, that there’s nothing more to hear.  Well, there are a lot of songs about the touring life but Australia’s Lachlan Bryan brings enough autobiographical honesty to ‘The Road‘ that it stands out.   There’s selfishness “I chose the road as something I would follow and I chose love as something I would leave behind /  So I drove like there was no tomorrow and I broke every single heart that I could find” and there’s acceptance “the road was not a good decision but there ain’t no good in looking back in time.

Rich Layton & Tough Town “Live To Rock” – Listen

With a title like ‘Live to Rock’ what else could the second single from Rich Layton & Tough Town’s new album ‘Salvation Road‘ be other than anthemic? Amongst soaring vocals and pounding drums take the time to note the presence of Chris Mercer the legendary British saxophonist who began his career with John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers way back in 1967.  As Rich has noted “Being in the studio while Chris played turned into a really emotional moment for me. I saw and felt this unbroken thread weaving all the way back to the records I was singing along with as a kid. It was a wave of pure gratitude for every experience in my own musical journey. Realizing that I grew up to become a small part of this amazing rock and roll tapestry just blew me away.

LeBarons “Summer Of Death” (Independent, 2018)

Just in case you’re a YouTube junky, chasing down the latest viral sensations, let’s clear something up – the LeBarons we’re talking about here are the alt-country band from Ontario, and not the Broadway and Disney musicals singing Mormon family from Utah. If you’re disappointed then…sorry…but this is, after all, Americana UK. Also, if you’re thinking “‘Summer of Death’ – that sounds like it might be nicely dark and introspective“, then again, sorry, but no. The LeBarons are a six-piece band with their music deep in the roots end of roots-rock, and ‘Summer of Death‘ is far from morbid – it’s exuberant and life-affirming, but not in a creepy or overly saccharine way. Continue reading “LeBarons “Summer Of Death” (Independent, 2018)”

Chris Shiflett “The One You Go Home To” – Listen

Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett has shared the second single from his new album ‘Hard Lessons‘ which is out on the 21st of this month.  ‘The one you go Home to‘ is a very tongue in cheek duet with Elizabeth Cook which has the pair ‘relaxing‘ in an out of the way motel by trading insults as they reflect on their mutual infidelities.

Jesse Malin “Strangers & Thieves” – Listen

Jesse Malin’s new song is ‘Strangers & Thieves‘ and it’s a case of “hmm….this song’s a bit too good“.  What do we mean by that?  Well the song is from Malin’s new album ‘Sunset Kids‘ and features Billie Joe Armstrong who co-wrote it.  But it was originally destined for Malin and Armstrong’s low key side-project Rodeo Queens.  That was until Lucinda Williams intervened. Continue reading “Jesse Malin “Strangers & Thieves” – Listen”

Eugene Tyler Band “Longest Day” – Listen

It’s NWOABB time again here at Americana UK as we get to feature the latest track from the Eugene Tyler Band – a group we have previously described as “an enigmatic band“.  ‘Longest Day‘ brings a modern sensibility to a Bluegrass based sound on a tale of drunkenness, boastful ambition and almost certainly a soupçon of criminal activity.  But dig those instrumental breaks.

Bill Callahan “Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest” (Drag City, 2019)

Bill Callahan makes everything sound momentous – that dark growl of a baritone, reminiscent of Kurt Wagner, adds weight of course.  And then there’s the quietly, and intellectually, confessional side of his lyrics which means that the lyrics tend to drop like concrete blocks, cemented permanently in place before the next thought is paraded slyly before the listener. And although it has been six years from his last release nothing has changed fundamentally in the music although ‘Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest‘ is if anything even further stripped back, predominantly guitar and vocal and little else other than little electronic effects, found sounds and the plinking of thumb piano. Continue reading “Bill Callahan “Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest” (Drag City, 2019)”

Bria “Strangest Of Lovers” – Listen

Strangest of Lovers‘ was released last Friday by Bria, a singer-songwriter from Derbyshire who blends a frail almost folky vocal with her Country tendencies on this punchy love song.  There’s an admission here that all love is a peculiarity, or as Bria has it “We’re the strangest of lovers…that’s the way it’s meant to be“.