John Murry + Benjamin Folke Thomas, The Lexington, London, 26th June 2018

“I’ve been trying this positive self-help bullshit, but it isn’t working. I know what I am.” John Murry is in darkly laconic mood tonight. But that’s not particularly unexpected – and while it’s perhaps unfair to accuse his audience of ghoulish satisfaction at the darkness he’s experienced first hand – it’s still the case that it’s Murry’s appetite for self-destruction that’s part of the draw. Continue reading “John Murry + Benjamin Folke Thomas, The Lexington, London, 26th June 2018”

Erin Rae “Putting On Airs” (Single Lock, 2018)

Putting On Airs” is both a visually and musically arresting album. The painting which serves as the cover of the record is worthy of investigation in its own right. A seemingly forlorn looking waitress in a barroom stands in front of a jukebox while she has her back to a cowboy sitting on a bar stool, the separation between the two of them a matter of only a couple of feet, although the lack of any human engagement is indicative of a much wider gulf. There are also fragments of song titles from the album scrawled in miniature across the album cover and lyrics such as “let’s talk until there’s no more hard feelings” separate the painting’s male and female protagonists. Continue reading “Erin Rae “Putting On Airs” (Single Lock, 2018)”

Steve Dawson “Lucky Hand” (Black Hen Music, 2018)

Lucky Hand‘ represents the first album of instrumental music that Canadian  musician and composer, Steve Dawson, has issued since his previous outing,   Rattlesnake Cage‘ appeared in 2014.  Comprised almost entirely of acoustic guitar – both 6 and 12 string – it’s the five numbers on the album where Dawson is supported by his partner Jesse Zubot’s string arrangements, particularly ‘The Circuit Rider of Pigeon Forge’ and ‘Old Hickory Breakdown,’ that are most successfully rendered.  Continue reading “Steve Dawson “Lucky Hand” (Black Hen Music, 2018)”

Kashena Sampson – UK dates in support of debut album ‘Wild Heart’

Following her successful performance at the UK Americana Awards showcase back in January, new Nashville singer-songwriter Kashena Sampson hits these shores at the end of the month to help promote her debut album ‘Wild Heart’ which came out in the United States last year and has just been released here on New Moon Records. Recorded live to tape in a couple days at popular East Nashville recording studio, The Bomb Shelter, Sampson has recorded with top Nashville-based players, including Jon Estes co-producing – as well as playing bass – Jeremy Fetzer on guitar, and Jon Radford on drums. Continue reading “Kashena Sampson – UK dates in support of debut album ‘Wild Heart’”

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)”