Kashena Sampson “Wild Heart” (New Moon Records, 2018)

There was a time in the not so distant past when you could hear how much was spent on a record. But it’s almost impossible to make that sort of distinction today with production values available to those with the most meagre of budgets. And if anything, more acts nowadays are looking to reproduce a more rudimentary sound in a quest for authenticity. Such is the case with Kashena Sampson’s debut album. By best estimates an album some 14 years in the gestation, Kashena Sampson’s musical influences don’t extend much beyond the early 1980s, so the fact her folk and blues influenced Americana sound seems rooted in a 1970s sound is no surprise. It’s also no bad thing as ‘Wild Heart’ is a debut album of no small distinction. Continue reading “Kashena Sampson “Wild Heart” (New Moon Records, 2018)”

Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton hits the road this Friday

Carrying the torch for original acoustic blues from a bygone era, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton returns to the UK for a short run of dates from Friday of this week.  Although still in his 20s, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton has earned a reputation for transporting audiences back to the 1920’s and making them wish they could stay there for good.  Jerron performed to a sold out audience at the Lead Belly Tribute at Carnegie Hall on February 4, 2016 along with Buddy Guy, Eric Burdon, Edgar Winter, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and other stars. It is no exaggeration to say that Paxton made a huge impression. In the two years since his performance at that star-studded show in one of the world’s great concert houses, Paxton’s own star has been rising fast. Continue reading “Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton hits the road this Friday”

Birds of Chicago “Love In Wartime” (Signature Sounds, 2018)

Not just in a titular sense, the Birds of Chicago’s latest album release has love as its subject matter running like a golden thread throughout the record – Allison Russell, the lead singer, reported to have said recently that any act of love is akin to “an act of bravery” in such troubled times. Founded in Chicago in 2012, but now based in Nashville, this musical collective centred on the husband and wife duo of Allison Rogers and JT Nero, have been quietly but assuredly building a fan base since, and ‘Love In Wartime’ is essentially a companion piece to their previous EP, ‘American Flowers,’ released  last year, the latter more country and fiddle influenced, and apparently not best suited to the mood of the new record, which is why it merited its own release. Continue reading “Birds of Chicago “Love In Wartime” (Signature Sounds, 2018)”

Interview: Rupert Orton – Red Rooster Festival

At AUK we’ve mentioned before a couple of the newer and smaller festivals which have been popping up in recent years. Red Rooster, described as a whisky sippin,’ guitar strummin,’ banjo pickin’ weekend of Southern Blues in the heart of Suffolk County – and held in the idyllic setting of Euston Hall in Suffolk – has its fifth outing at the end of next month. Mark Underwood spoke to Rupert Orton, who heads up the team responsible for programming the live performers and DJs at the festival. Continue reading “Interview: Rupert Orton – Red Rooster Festival”

Interview: Jerry Leger

Although it isn’t even the end of April yet, here at Americana UK, there’s already fairly widespread agreement that the whole of 2018 is unlikely to throw up a better album than Jerry Leger and The Situation’s new record, ‘Nonsense and Heartache.’ For someone who’s only just turned 33, Canadian singer-songwriter, Jerry Leger, has already enjoyed a musical career spanning some 13 years and 10 albums. Name-checked by none other than Ron Sexsmith as “one of the best songwriters I’ve heard in quite some time,” ‘Nonsense and Heartache’ came out earlier this year on Michael Timmins’ (of Cowboy Junkies fame) Latent Records label. Continue reading “Interview: Jerry Leger”

Book Club “Dust of Morning” (Independent, 2018)

Apparently inspired by founding frontman, guitarist, singer and songwriter Robbie Horlick’s travels in Europe, Book Club’s third album, ‘Dust of Morning’ shows the Atlanta-based ensemble demonstrating a growing maturity that has them deserving of a wider audience. That isn’t to say these songs appear inspired by a particular place or places as such – the meditative and reflective nature of this indie-folk typified by the track, ‘Space Between The Days’ from which the album title is drawn: “If the dust of morning shakes/ Itself off you in great escapes/It will return to say its peace/Rearranged but thick as thieves.” Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose, as the French might put it. Continue reading “Book Club “Dust of Morning” (Independent, 2018)”

The Sheepdogs, The Lexington, London, 11th April 2018

A place of which it was once said: “Saskatoon’s got nothing but hookers and hockey players,” the northern Canadian outpost of only around 300,000 denizens is now  shaking off any past negative association with a seemingly unstoppable array of creative musical talent emerging from the city recently,  whether that be The Deep Dark Woods, Colter Wall, One Band Son, Kacy and Clayton, or tonight’s headline act, The Sheepdogs. Continue reading “The Sheepdogs, The Lexington, London, 11th April 2018”

Blitzen Trapper going wild and reckless in UK this week

As part of a lengthy European tour covering Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, Blitzen Trapper hit our shores for 3 brief dates this week.  It’s hard to credit that it’s been 10 years since the Portland, Oregon-based folk rock act’s breakthrough album, ‘Furr.’ Recent release, ‘Wild and Reckless’ has been described by frontman Eric Earley as  “something like a cross-eyed stepchild to Furr.”  Continue reading “Blitzen Trapper going wild and reckless in UK this week”

Dean Owens, The Betsey Trotwood, Clerkenwell, 3rd April 2018

Originally launched at the Celtic Connections music festival in Glasgow back in February, Dean Owens’ new album, ‘Southern Wind’ has been described as “blowing up a storm” ever since. Unlike the launch night at Celtic Connections where Owens was backed by the Whisky Hearts, tonight’s performance at the Betsey Trotwood in London’s Clerkenwell is a more sedate and intimate affair, Dean more than ably accompanied by Jim Maving on guitar. Continue reading “Dean Owens, The Betsey Trotwood, Clerkenwell, 3rd April 2018”

The Wandering Hearts “Wild Silence” (Decca, 2018)

Reviewing an album which has already spent three weeks at number 1 in the UK country charts feels a bit like being the last person to get to a party that’s already been underway for some time but, feelings of social anxiety aside, it’s better to be late than never.

Continue reading “The Wandering Hearts “Wild Silence” (Decca, 2018)”