Interview: Norwegian Malin Pettersen on americana and Ella FitzGerald

Norway only has a population of 5.3 million people, but it has an impressive musical heritage which includes Norwegian folk, jazz with internationally recognised artists such as Jan Garbarek, classical and modern classical music ranging from Edward Grieg to Arne Nordheim and Norwegian Black Metal has been an international influence since the late ‘90s . All this goes to show there is more to Scandinavian music than just Abba. What may be surprising to those not in the know, is that the 2000 film, ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou’, sowed the seed for a local americana music scene to develop. This scene has continued to grow over the years and now has it’s own sub-genre, Nordicana.  Malin Pettersen is one such artist. She started her career in 2018 Continue reading “Interview: Norwegian Malin Pettersen on americana and Ella FitzGerald”

Delta Spirit “What Is There” (New West, 2020)

This is a bit of a surprise. Delta Spirit released their fourth album, ‘Into The Wide’, in 2014 to general critical acclaim and  some commercial success. Since then, vocalist and co-founder Matthew Logan Vasquez has released three solo albums and it was assumed Delta Spirit were no more, though they had not officially announced they had disbanded.  It is not clear why the band have re-activated their career, though their publicity states that they brought “..with them the change of perspective and inspiration gathered from exploring other creative avenues” following their variety of solo work. Continue reading “Delta Spirit “What Is There” (New West, 2020)”

Interview: Ryan Hamilton talks about Jack Kerouac, Geordies and John Prine

Ryan Hamilton is a Fort Worth native, steeped in country music since birth, who just happens to have a UK backing band, The Harlequin Ghosts, who play music that shows the influence of classic rock as well as that of country and roots music. The group record for Stevie Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records, established to support emerging garage rock talent that was not being picked up by the majors. Americana UK’s Martin Johnson caught up with Ryan Hamilton at home in Fort Worth to talk about Jack Kerouac, Tom Petty, the impact of John Prine’s passing and the similarities of Newcastle-upon-Tyne with the American South. Continue reading “Interview: Ryan Hamilton talks about Jack Kerouac, Geordies and John Prine”

Interview: Chuck Prophet in San Francisco on fires and Dan Penn

Chuck Prophet has had a long and fruitful career as a singer-songwriter, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, beginning with the groundbreaking Green On Red in the ‘80s before launching a successful solo career that has delivered a new album every two or three years. These albums have been remarkably consistent, building to a very impressive body of work. Continue reading “Interview: Chuck Prophet in San Francisco on fires and Dan Penn”

Grant Lee Phillips “Lightning Show Us Your Stuff” (Yep Roc, 2020)

Grant Lee Phillips has been a critic’s favourite ever since the days of Grant Lee Buffalo in the ‘90s, and is known for his sweet and soulful vocals and excellent songwriting. However, this acclaim has not translated into significant commercial success. With ‘Lightning Show Us Your Stuff’, his tenth album, this may be about to change. While the album fits seamlessly into Grant Lee Phillips’ discography, the quality of the album and songwriting is just that little bit better, just a touch more relaxed and with just enough subtlety to make this probably his best album. Grant Lee Phillips, who is of Indian descent, got the idea for the title from “The words of my daughter, as she thrust a manzanita branch toward the night sky. Kids being kids, I figured….then I heard the thunderclap.”. Continue reading “Grant Lee Phillips “Lightning Show Us Your Stuff” (Yep Roc, 2020)”

Interview: Jaime Wyatt the new queen of outlaw country

Jaime Wyatt started writing songs when she was four years old, and despite having a record contract as a teenager, she was in her early thirties when she released her first self-financed debut album which won many plaudits. In between, she struggled with the Los Angeles music industry, suffered drug dependency and had a spell in jail for robbing her heroin dealer, and finally accepted her sexuality. Americana-UK’s Martin Johnson caught up with Jaime in her Nashville home to discuss her new record deal with New West Records, her second album ‘Neon Cross’, her approach to songwriting and celebrating the individual Beatles’ birthdays as a child. Continue reading “Interview: Jaime Wyatt the new queen of outlaw country”

Interview: Emily Barker on her new album and working 16 hour days

Emily Barker is an Australian singer-songwriter who has developed her career in the UK. She was given the impetus to make music her full-time career when her song ‘Nostalgia’ became the theme song for the BBC series ‘Wallander’. Her music is a blend of folk, blues and soul which is a perfect definition of americana. Confirmation of this was given in 20128 when she won The Americana Music Association UK’s Artist of the Year Award. Continue reading “Interview: Emily Barker on her new album and working 16 hour days”

The Song Remains: Justin Townes Earle 1982 – 2020

Justin Townes Earle’s death at the age of 38 on 23rd August was announced on his social media without any confirmation of the cause of death. There has been considerable interest in the mainstream media with speculation that his was a drug-related death, due to his well-publicised struggles with alcohol and chemical dependencies. It will be another tragedy if he is largely remembered for his addictions and early death given the quality of his songwriting and music that will be his true legacy. Continue reading “The Song Remains: Justin Townes Earle 1982 – 2020”

Interview: Molly Tuttle on her favourite songs, Pro-tools and Jerry Garcia

Guitarist, vocalist, singer-songwriter and banjo player Molly Tuttle is a leading light of the new generation of bluegrass artists, which also includes Sierra Hull and Billy Strings. She is well versed in bluegrass history and came out of the Californian bluegrass tradition and is now based in Nashville. In 2017, she became the first woman to win the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year Award. Continue reading “Interview: Molly Tuttle on her favourite songs, Pro-tools and Jerry Garcia”

Emma Swift “Blonde On The Tracks” (Tiny Ghost Records, 2020)

Dylan has been one of the most covered songwriters since the ‘60s. In fact, in 1965, Columbia Records ran a media campaign with the message “No one sings Dylan like Dylan”, as covers were outselling Dylan’s original versions.  While many artists have covered his songs,  few artists have recorded whole albums of them. Recently Maria Muldaur, with ‘Heart of Mine: Maria Muldaur Sings Love Songs of Bob Dylan’, and Betty LaVette with ‘Things Have Changed’ have both released complete albums of  Dylan songs and into this company steps Australian born East Nashville based singer-songwriter Emma Swift. Continue reading “Emma Swift “Blonde On The Tracks” (Tiny Ghost Records, 2020)”