Steve Earle covers Guy Clark on ‘Austin City Limits’ – Watch

The epically long-running live music series ‘Austin City Limits’ recently featured a tribute to the songs of the late Guy Clark, who of course died in 2016. The show was hosted by Steve Earle and featured his band the Dukes, with the hour-long episode including other Texan musicians such as Rodney Crowell and Joe Ely. The show starts off with a cover of Clark’s ‘Dublin Blues‘ which you can watch below – it won’t surprise you to hear that it’s absolutely cracking. No news yet as to whether PBS America will show the whole thing in the UK (there’s a great cover of Ricky Scaggs’ ‘Heartbroke’ by Earle with Crowell) but this will whet your appetite for now.

Watch new Steve Gunn short anthology film

We leave you this week dear reader with a new short film from Steve Gunn which accompanies his record ‘Acoustic Unseen’ out on Matador Records last week, a new EP of intimate acoustic versions of songs from his latest album ‘The Unseen In Between.’ Directed by The Mitcham Submarine and edited by James Harman, the 12-minute film weaves together footage from touring, live sessions, official and unofficial music videos – including a session for Toutpartout in a transformed convent in Ghent, on the road footage captured on a Fisher Price camera by Steve and his band, and acoustic videos filmed across London, including a Cecil Court bookshop. Have a good one.

Larkin Poe announce UK dates for 2020

Nashville-based sister duo Larkin Poe have announced a European Tour throughout May 2020. Following their sold-out show at London’s Islington Assembly Hall late last year and an appearance at Black Deer Festival this summer, Larkin Poe aka Rebecca and Megan Lovell will play their biggest UK headline show to date when they headline Shepherds Bush Empire on May 7th. The extensive 2020 tour will also take in shows in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Czech Republic. Continue reading “Larkin Poe announce UK dates for 2020”

Pick of the Political Pops: Ben Harper “Black Rain”

Ellen DeGeneres is happy to call George Bush a friend as “sometimes you have to be kind to people you don’t agree with.” But what if it’s not so much their beliefs but the things they’ve done? Do you draw a line at anyone? If the answer to that is yes – “I couldn’t have a coffee with Pol Pot” – then where do you draw that line? Is, as Mehdi Hassan put it, “a long litany of crimes, misdeeds, and abuses of power committed during his two bloodstained terms in office” not enough? Sure it’s kind for the powerful – it’s no kindness to the many voiceless victims including the 250,00+ civilians killed in Iraq or the  780 detainees who were held at Guantánamo Bay prison camp. As Ben Harper sang on this track from 2007: “You don’t fight for us; But expect us to die for you; You have no sympathy for us; But still I’d cry for you.” You can be the better person without being their mate FFS.

Trials of Cato and Brìghde Chaimbeul are winners at Radio 2’s Folk Awards

The winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2019 were announced last night in a ceremony presented by Mark Radcliffe at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester as part of the Manchester Folk Festival, the whole thing being broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds. Radcliffe himself won an award for 40 years of “talking in between records”, an award presented by Ralph “Wind in the Willows” McTell. Continue reading “Trials of Cato and Brìghde Chaimbeul are winners at Radio 2’s Folk Awards”

Songs for the apocalypse: Spain “Hoped and Prayed”

Josh Haden makes slooowwww music at the best of times, music which drips with atmosphere. I first came across his band Spain when a song of theirs was featured On the best TV series ever made© Six Feet Under and I duly lapped up everything they’d ever created. ‘She Haunts My Dreams’ and its successor ‘I Believe’ were the standout highlights for me. The track ‘Hope and Prayed’ taken from the former still makes the hairs on my arm rise up in unison.

Video: The Avett Brothers “Tell The Truth”

We leave you this week dear reader in a similar place to the way we left you last week, with The Avett Brothers (whose name, thanks to this clip, I now realise I have been mispronouncing for years) playing a live version of a track from their lovely new album ‘Closer Than Together’ which is currently being dogpiled by Trump voters on Amazon for daring to have an opinion other than “USA! USA!” Stick with it boys, you must be doing something right. Have a good one.

Pick of the Political Pops: Quiet Loner “The Captain’s Diseased”

It’s funny to think that when Quiet Loner recorded this song back in 2013 that we’d have had another two captains by the end of the decade but both essentially steering the same course, and each one in their own way being worse than the last. The lyrics are as pertinent today as ever: “I can see that storm ahead. We’re heading right for the eye. We’re the living and soon-to-be dead. And we’re all in this boat together as it rumbles, rattles and keels. As I cling to this rope I abandon all hope, when I look whose hand’s on the wheel.” You wouldn’t want the current captain’s hands on the wheel of a milk float. God help us all.

Watch Kurt Vile’s short documentary featuring The Sadies

In early September 2018, on the eve of the announcement of his latest album ‘Bottle It In’, Kurt Vile decamped to the Catskill Mountains in upper state New York with friends and fellow musicians to rehearse, prepare and ponder the year’s road ahead. The brief getaway, which counted Matt Sweeney and Toronto’s The Sadies in its attendees, is captured in a short documentary film directed by  Ryan Scott which you can watch below. In between hanging out and exploring the remote and rainy surroundings,  (bottle back) catches a solo acoustic adaptation of ‘Bassackwards’, a performance of ‘Check Baby’ with The Violators, and a special backyard rendition of ‘Baby’s Arms’ featuring The Sadies. And it’s basically great.

Songs for the apocalypse: Paul Kelly “They Thought I Was Asleep”

Paul Kelly has more pathos in the index finger of his right hand than most songwriters do in their, er, heads – exhibit A is this track, the version of which you can watch below recorded with bluegrass band The Stormwater Boys. When I first heard this song it moved me to tears, partly because of the sublime melody but moreover because of the understatement, the humour and sadness, and Paul Kelly’s gift for storytelling, the story in this song of a journey home in the back of your parents’ car at night and the gulf there is between those rows of seats. Nobody does this more evocatively. I imagine one day this will be a song that I can never listen to again.