First names announced for the 14th Gate to Southwell Festival

Nottinghamshire’s international roots music festival Gate to Southwell has announced the first names for its 2020 line-up, which includes English folk supergroup Show of Hands, Spain’s Anxo Lorenzo Band,  Folk Award 2019 stars The Breath, Glasgow-based  Ímar, Canadian roots duo Madison Violet, Scottish firebrands Talisk, masterful Canadian fiddle and guitar duo Pierre Schryer & Adam Dobres, ground-breaking Irish trio Cua, international combo Trackdogs, one of Ireland’s finest live bands The Henry Girls, exciting talent Blair Dunlop, Italians Veronica Sbergia & Max De Barnardi, French folk-tinged reggae from Simawé, English folk-swing favourites BeauBowBelles and Folking.com Soloist of the Year 2019 Reg Meuross. Continue reading “First names announced for the 14th Gate to Southwell Festival”

Songs for the apocalypse: Toad the Wet Sprocket “Something’s Always Wrong”

In what feels like another lifetime ago these days, I lived in Sydney for a year after I left school, and one night after coming home from a late shift at the restaurant I worked in (as an appalling waiter) a band called Toad the Wet Sprocket named after a Monty Python sketch appeared on TV and I was spellbound. Thus began a three decades love affair with this Californian act which continued when I returned to the UK thanks to Bob Harris, and they remain one of the few “artists to see before I die” still on my list. Whenever I introduce them to friends (not literally), the track ‘Something’s Always Wrong’ is always the first track I reach for. 23 years on from its original release on the ‘Dulcinea’ album, and with all its magnificent chord changes and the arrangement, this still ranks as one of my favourite songs of all time.

Another reminder to vote in this year’s Americana UK readers poll!

The votes are still trickling in for our poll of the year and while trickles are normally better than floods, in this instance your favourite artist might not be getting the exposure they deserve because YOU can’t be bothered. OK not you, the person sitting next you. Both of you – Head over to our voting page to make your choices – as always, some of these categories do come down to a handful of votes, so every one really will count. You can vote until December 15th 2019.  Happy votings!

AmericanaFest 2020 – over 75 artist head to London next month!

We’ve already covered 2020’s AmericanaFest which returns to the UK at the end of January next year, and now details are emerging of the array of artists who’ll be playing the festival which is, er, extensive to say the least. You might need a calculator to count them all. Continue reading “AmericanaFest 2020 – over 75 artist head to London next month!”

Video: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy “At the Back of the Pit”

We leave you this week dear reader on this blackest of Fridays with a treat worth much more than that 63 inch TV you don’t need, but you know – there’s a Carry On joke in there somewhere. Will Oldham aka Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy has a new album out and it’s as sublime as everything his majesty touches – ‘I Made a Place’ is the first album of new material under his Bonnie “Prince” Billy moniker for Drag City since 2011. It’s more, er, jaunty than you might expect from him too. Have a listen to the first track to be released from it below. Oh, and have a good one.

Red Rooster announce 2020 festival line-up

The always excellent Red Rooster festival has announced the first line-up for 2020, a 3-day event which takes place in the parkland and woods of Euston Hall, Suffolk from May 28th –30th. Described as “a good-time weekend of Rhythm and Blues in the heart of Suffolk County” there’s always plenty of americana thrown in there for good measure. Continue reading “Red Rooster announce 2020 festival line-up”

Jeff Tweedy’s house gets shot at

The Guardian are reporting today that numerous gunshots have been fired at the Chicago home of Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, with his wife, Susan Miller Tweedy, reporting hearing “seven to 10 shots fired at what sounded like right at our house … A bullet went through the storm door to our balcony and lodged in the wooden door.” She went on to say that Tweedy found seven bullet casings outside their home. Continue reading “Jeff Tweedy’s house gets shot at”

Watch Che Apalache’s documentary on their US/Mexico Borderlands trip

In early October, Argentinian-American string band Che Apalache toured the US/Mexico borderlands of Arizona, performing in both Sahuarita, AZ and Nogales, Mexico. The trip was a harrowing look at the effect the border wall and the border’s effect on the lives of those that live around it. Guided by the Rev. Randy J. Mayer (Pastor of the Good Shepherd United Church of Christ), Che Apalache were able to tour the border wall and the facilities that go along with it, and hiked to water drops in the desert. They performed for migrants and locals in Mexico, and sang their a cappella song ‘The Wall’ in front of the actual wall. Continue reading “Watch Che Apalache’s documentary on their US/Mexico Borderlands trip”

Songs for the apocalypse: Great Lake Swimmers “When It Flows”

Two of my favourite bands in the world are Great Lakes (Ben Crum’s indie-americana project from Georgia) and Great Lake Swimmers, the quintet currently based in a little known village north of Athens called Toronto. I often go to play one and then plump for the other. This happened on the weekend where I reacquainted myself with the Swimmers’ ‘Bodies and Minds’ record from 2005 which was quiet and melancholic, but left me feeling euphoric at times. The track ‘When It Flows’ was a highlight with its reflection that “The roar of an action silences all the words, The cry of an accomplishment Drowns the whimper of ten thousand words”. 

New Hank Williams radio-shows boxset on the way

The music of country music icon and legend Hank Williams will be pulled together early next year into a six-CD collection which includes a series of 144 performances from radio shows he hosted almost 70 years ago. ‘Hank Williams: Pictures From Life’s Other Side — The Man and His Music in Rare Photos and Recordings’ will feature the complete rundown of his performances in the 15-minute broadcasts of the Mother’s Best Flour radio show he began hosting at WSM studios in 1951. Continue reading “New Hank Williams radio-shows boxset on the way”