Two intimate and socially distanced tributes to John Prine at the Jazz Cafe

Just over two weeks ago it was John Prine’s birthday (October the 10th). It’s a measure of the extreme affection in which he’s still held – and the impact his untimely passing had on so many people back in April this year this year – that what would have been his birthday was greeted by such an outpouring of love and support. Continue reading “Two intimate and socially distanced tributes to John Prine at the Jazz Cafe”

10 Americana songs with great lyrics

Mark Underwood continues with the fifth in his irregular feature on music by great songwriters with great lyrics, this time taking you through classics from the likes of Amy Speace, Alejandro Escovedo, Neil Young and Gretchen Peters. Continue reading “10 Americana songs with great lyrics”

Interview: Richard Davies talks about his new album and creativity under Covid

A favourite lockdown release of 2020 and an album that’s rarely off the decks at AUK Towers is Richard Davies and the Dissidents’ debut album, ‘Human Traffic’.  From the rollicking “grab-life -by-the-scruff-of-the-neck” title track to the John Mellencamp / Rick Springfield-like sensibilities of ‘21st Century Man’ via the infectious melodies and note perfect guitar soloing in ‘Long Road to Your Heart’, ‘Human Traffic’ takes a road trip to a place where rock ‘n’ roll swagger meets Johnny Thunders, making a detour along the way via Ian Hunter, Paul Westerberg, Alex Chilton and the Rolling Stones, all the while never stopping to forget it’s the tunes that matter. A melodic pop/rock gem in other words.
Continue reading “Interview: Richard Davies talks about his new album and creativity under Covid”

Classic Americana Albums: The Louvin Brothers “Satan Is Real” (Capitol Records, 1959)

What is it about an album by a god-fearing, religiously obsessed duo born nearly a century ago that appeals so much to a militant atheist? The answer: it’s all about the harmonies – so good at times they appear to be otherworldly. For roots music and all its different sub-genres, the Louvin Brothers date so far back they meet the classic Americana tag line probably better than most records to appear so far in this feature, but the ultra-clean production is quite extraordinary for an album cut in 1959 – and one which sounds almost futuristic at times. You could put the best microphones in the most expensive studios today and you’d still struggle to get a sound as good as the vocals here. Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: The Louvin Brothers “Satan Is Real” (Capitol Records, 1959)”

10 Americana songs with great lyrics

Mark Underwood continues with the fourth in his irregular feature on music by great songwriters with great lyrics, this time taking you through classics from the likes of Gretchen Peters, Kathleen Edwards, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. Continue reading “10 Americana songs with great lyrics”

Interview: Jerry Leger talks live streaming, lockdown and staying positive

When Americana UK last caught up with Jerry Leger in November 2019 (the week after the release of his new album), we asked him why the record was called ‘Time Out For Tomorrow’. While the album’s literal title was based on an early ’60s dime store collection of science fiction short stories, Jerry said at the time that it was “hard to have a clear explanation but the title just seemed to fit. Maybe parts of the album are a bit sci-fi. We’re living in strange times.” 6 months ago Leger couldn’t have appreciated quite how strange things were about to get – with life right now feeling as though we’re living in a nightmarish, dystopian science fiction reality. Nothing sums up the present more than the book store that put a sign in its window which said that its post apocalyptic fiction had been moved to the current affairs section. Continue reading “Interview: Jerry Leger talks live streaming, lockdown and staying positive”

Gill Landry, The Old Queen’s Head, Islington, London, 19th February 2020

The origin of the expression “skeleton at the feast (or banquet)” has been traced back to the Egyptian custom of bringing a skeleton or mummy to a feast as a reminder of mortality amidst the festivity. Generally, it was meant to refer to someone or something that brought unpleasant memories or put a dampener on proceedings, not an accusation that could be levelled at Gill Landry who has been touring Europe in order to promote his excellent ‘Skeleton At The Banquet’ album. For while his music has certainly got its moments of melancholy, it’s also leavened with genuine humour, poetry, and human insight, alongside a cineaste’s ability to conjure a widescreen picture from a Noirish soundtrack. Continue reading “Gill Landry, The Old Queen’s Head, Islington, London, 19th February 2020”

Dean Owens & The Southerners hit the road

Dean Owens is set to tour the UK throughout March, after which he’ll follow up with festival appearances, including the Orkney Folk Festival in May and the Maverick Festival in July. He’ll be performing songs from his latest compilation album, ‘The Man From Leith (The Best of Dean Owens)’ a collection of songs from his 7 official solo albums. A natural storyteller, Dean draws inspiration from his life, his family and travels. Some are from his personal history including the title track, about his father’s life from the shipyards in Leith to working the roads across Scotland and ‘Dora’ – about his circus born grandmother and his lion tamer ancestor (Ambrose Salvona) – who originally came from northern Italy and ended up in a graveyard in Inverness, with a Salvation Army band salute at his funeral. Continue reading “Dean Owens & The Southerners hit the road”