The Song Remains: Adam Schlesinger 1967 – 2020

Regular and recent readers of this website will have seen from his current posts following Adam Schlesinger’s death on April 1st, from complications with Covid-19, that our esteemed editor is a particular fan of the artist and his band Fountains Of Wayne. In these, he shared his personal feelings on what Adam’s music has meant to him and acknowledging that while they weren’t a country band, Fountains Of Wayne recorded, in his opinion, a great country track with ‘Fire In The Canyon’, which just happens to be his favourite track of all time. Fountains Of Wayne were the most obvious outlet for Adam Schlesinger’s talents as songwriter, with his college friend and lead vocalist Chris Collingwood, producer, bassist and multi-instrumentalist, but they are only part of his rich legacy. Continue reading “The Song Remains: Adam Schlesinger 1967 – 2020”

Forgotten Artists – Roger Tillison

Roger Tillison is not a name many will have come across in the first place let alone forgotten. However, he is a fine example of the Tulsa Sound of the ‘60s and ‘70s, which included Leon Russell and J J Cale as its standard-bearers. Additionally, he spent time in Woodstock when Dylan and The Band were in town. In our increasingly globalised world, with immediate access to virtually unlimited digital music, it is easy to forget the rich legacy of the many individual regional musical styles of the United States that provide such rich foundations for Americana. These musical styles were developed from local influences and worked up in live shows as much as in recording studios and therefore have a distinct and unique sound. The Tulsa Sound was one such key component and Roger Tillison was at the heart of it in its heyday. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Roger Tillison”

10 songs showing how the human spirit deals with illness

Before free and easy access to doctors and medical care, many people struggled to understand disease. This is where folk and popular songs of the day played an important role in public awareness. The birth of the recording industry in the ’20s meant that the reliance on song for medical information was captured for posterity. Below are 10 songs about illness and they give an insight into how the human spirit can respond to Continue reading “10 songs showing how the human spirit deals with illness”

The Song Remains: Eric Weissberg 1939-2020

To many, Eric Weissberg, who died on March 22nd, 2020, from Alzheimer’s Disease, was a one-hit wonder with ‘Duelling Banjos’ from John Boorman’s 1972 film ‘Deliverance’. However, he was so much more than that, being one of the first young urban musicians to join the ‘50s folk revival, a populariser of bluegrass and the banjo and a major session and touring musician, adept on any stringed instrument including banjo, dobro, guitar, fiddle, mandolin and pedal steel. Continue reading “The Song Remains: Eric Weissberg 1939-2020”

Jonathan Wilson “Dixie Blur” (Bella Union, 2020)

Dixie Blur’ is a really surprising treat. Jonathan Wilson is a modern musical renaissance man and his resume includes band membership, production, songwriting, session work and tour support. The list of musicians he has worked with is incredible and a sample of names would include Elvis Costello, Chris Robinson and Robbie Robertson. He is singlehandedly responsible for the revival of the Laurel Canyon sound, he produced Roy Harper’s ‘Man And Myth’ to critical acclaim and he is also Roger Waters musical director. He has also managed to develop a successful solo career and his last album, ‘Rare Birds’, took nine months to record winning critical plaudits as it paid homage to the producers and production values of the ‘70s and ‘80s including Tony Visconti, Jeff Lynne, Talk Talk and Trevor Horn. All this does not fully prepare you for an album of Americana, Bluegrass, Country, Tex-Mex and the Laurel Canyon sounds of Neil Young’s ‘Harvest’. Continue reading “Jonathan Wilson “Dixie Blur” (Bella Union, 2020)”

Karen Dalton “The Recording Is The Trip – The Karen Dalton Archives” (Megaphone, 2020)

‘Recording Is The Trip – The Karen Dalton Archives’ is a sumptuous box set that is currently retailing at £95 on Amazon. It includes two remastered albums across 3 CDs and the same albums issued for the first time on vinyl, a download of 13 unissued tracks plus a 56 page booklet which includes unpublished photographs and memorabilia and finally a recycled fabric t-shirt with a print of Karen Dalton’s own guitar tabs. All this for an artist who was largely unknown during her lifetime and who issued only two official albums in 1969 and 1971, neither of which are included on ‘Recording Is The Trip’, and who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1993.
Continue reading “Karen Dalton “The Recording Is The Trip – The Karen Dalton Archives” (Megaphone, 2020)”

10 country rock tracks by UK artists

Country rock is a genre of music that was developed in America in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s by American rock musicians adopting country flavourings and as a genre lasted until the end of the’70s. That’s a fairly standard definition of country rock but this list looks chronologically at  10 country rock tracks by UK artists just to show that it wasn’t just happening in the States. All the artists at the time were viewed as significant rock or new wave artists or at the very least acts with commercial potential so at the time were part of the then-current mainstream. Continue reading “10 country rock tracks by UK artists”

The Song Remains: Eric Taylor 1949-2020

I heard from a colleague,  who has contact with associates of Eric Taylor, that he had died on March 9th 2020 following a period of illness. I immediately checked the web for confirmation but there was no surge in posts commenting on his death and then I saw that The Houston Chronicle had announced “Houston loses quintessential folk songwriter, Eric Taylor”. This web response was not suprising given that while Eric Taylor was a Continue reading “The Song Remains: Eric Taylor 1949-2020”

Forgotten Artists – The Hacienda Brothers

The Hacienda Brothers were heading for commercial success having built  a growing live following and being nominated as Band Of The Year in the 2007 Americana Music Awards when their front man and co-founder Chris Gaffney died of liver disease on April 17th 2008 bringing to an abrupt end one of the great lost bands of Americana. Chris Gaffney formed the Hacienda Brothers with Dave Gonzalez, founder and hot shot guitarist Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – The Hacienda Brothers”

Forgotten Artists – Country Gazette

The early ’70s were an exciting time for anyone with the slightest interest in the emerging country-rock genre. Dylan’s recent records together with those of The Band had really sparked an awareness, and other leading groups such as The Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones were introducing country flavours to their signature sound. There was also the whole Byrds related phenomenon which covered the bluegrass of The Kentucky Colonels and The Dillards, the bluegrass country-rock of Dillard and Clark, the Byrds’ ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’ album and Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Country Gazette”