Mookie Brando & The Second Cousins “Do It In Joeville” (Independent, 2018)

Mookie Brando & The Second Cousins might just be the best Americana band in Hungary – to be honest we’re not that familiar with the Americana scene in Budapest but if there is a better band then they must be damn good. Because Mookie Brando (Toronto born Frank Zsigo) and his not so close relatives hit the sweet spot of ragged-vocalled roots-rock on this, their third album release. ‘Do it in Joeville‘ is a concept album of sorts, with the songs drawing out a series of characters and situations who are tenaciously carrying on in a town that’s not currently at its best. Continue reading “Mookie Brando & The Second Cousins “Do It In Joeville” (Independent, 2018)”

Sons of Bill “Firebird ’85” – Listen

The third single from their new album, ‘Oh God Ma’am‘, takes the Sons of Bill off in a spiritual direction.  Perhaps.  James Wilson has commented “I guess the song is technically “about” a construction worker having a strange redemptive daydream about getting off work. Or maybe he’s dead? Still not sure“.  We’re not sure either, but we do know we’re enjoying the darker edge of the new album.  And we also know that it’s good news that the Sons of Bill are touring the UK in August.

Track Premiere : Charlie Smyth “Far Away”

Premiering right here on Americana-UK, ‘Far Away‘ is the new single from the Nashville via Chicago and Seattle artist’s debut solo album ‘The Way I Feel‘ (released on July 13th).  Smyth has cut a  range of musical chops in the past – from punk/grunge through free jazz, but ‘Far Away‘ features his newly formed band, as Charlie Smyth describes it: “a lot of my friends are great musicians, but they’re high-priced hired guns who stay busy doing sessions and touring for a living.  I wanted a band I wouldn’t have to pay to play with me, so I began looking for people who wanted to make music just for fun. The structure at the time was, ‘I’m writing songs and playing rhythm guitar. I’m not going to tell you guys what to do. If that sounds fun to you, let’s do it.’ Giving everyone that kind of freedom lit a fire under the band—the energy with that approach was really contagious.“.

AmericanA to Z : Bela Fleck

Americana, a form of music based, in part, on the traditions embodied in American folk music can’t neglect the huge influence of bluegrass in the 20th century. Bela Fleck is the preeminent living exponent of the banjo, his dazzling level of technical mastery is unquestionable and his influence is huge. Having recorded a series of keystone bluegrass albums for Rounder Records he branched out, taking the banjo into music it is rarely associated with – such as modern funk-jazz with the electric band The Flecktones. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z : Bela Fleck”

Mountain Lions “California” – Listen

California may be a destination, but it’s the journey that matters – so says Steven Diaz who has put together the band Mountain Lions as a vehicle for his recent songwriting.  This track is the lead single off the resulting album ‘We Are‘ which is due out on August 10th.  It’s the kind of track you might imagine someone who works in the Tech Industry by day, whilst living on a homestead with a flock of free range chickens, would make – precise and loose.

Juanita Stein “Easy Street” – Listen

Taking no time to rest on her laurals, having garnered rave reviews for last year’s  solo debut album ‘America‘, Juanita Stein will be releasing the follow up ‘Until the Lights Fade‘ on the 31st of August.  This tale of a life being lived poorly is ironically entitled ‘Easy Street‘ – swept along on the driving rock one could miss the fact that this a deadbeat’s story, but what a great opening couplet “Fast-food drive through / Is this the life you fantasised about when you were young?“.

Josh King “Into The Blue” – Listen

Josh King has all the roots-rocker chops you could wish for, on this song melodic guitar lines contend with swirling organ.  ‘Into the Blue‘ – the title track of King’s new album – comes from a time of darkness when all seemed lost both personally and professionally and reflects on the unpredictable nature of life, but as King sings “it took some time but I learnt some things / these little lessons that this life brings“.  Right On.

Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear “Everybody’s Got Problems” – Listen

As you’ll recall Alice Cooper addressed problems on ‘Elected’, noticing that “we have problems / We got problems right here in Central City / We have problems on the North, South, East and West / New York City, Saint Louis, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago / Everybody has problems / And, personally, I don’t care“.  Mother – son duo Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear take a more nuanced  look at the universality of woe on this bold folk influenced track that is bursting with soul.  It’s taken from their new, six-track EP ‘The Radio Winners’ which is out on Glassnote Records on the 27th of July.

Geoff Muldaur, Stables Stage 2, Wavendon, 7th June 2018

This was the final night of Geoff Muldaur’s UK tour – and even on a tour that had taken in mostly small stages like London’s Green Note this gig deserved the sobriquet “intimate“, with a bare couple of dozen in the audience and Geoff Muldaur on stage blinded by the blue lights and unable to see the crowd, other than as a psychedelic blur, a situation that caused him to, tongue-in-cheek, regret dropping acid before coming out. Continue reading “Geoff Muldaur, Stables Stage 2, Wavendon, 7th June 2018”

Track Premiere: Gareth Dunlop “Way Back When”

Gareth Dunlop is a Belfast born multi-instrumentalist, engineer and producer who has already had some success with music featured on numerous TV shows and films (including Nashville).  This track is taken from his new EP ‘Many Moons Ago’ , recorded in The Blueroom Studios in Nashville, which is released on the 15th of this month.  Following the release there will also be UK live dates.   ‘Way Back When’ is a song that showcases his strong but vulnerable vocal whilst reflecting nostalgically on time past and love lost.