Interview: My Darling Clementine’s Michael Weston King on Elvis Costello

If anyone wanted to celebrate the UK in Americana UK, you could do a lot worse than listen to My Darling Clementine’s new album ‘Country Darkness’, their album of Elvis Costello country and country soul style covers they originally recorded as a series of 3 vinyl and download EPs with Steve Nieve and members of Richard Hawley’s backing band. Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish bring their own interpretation to Costello’s songs that honours that great UK lineage of music that was formed in the pubs of early ‘70s London. MDC have developed their own take on pure country, inspired by the likes of Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Harlan Howard and George Jones and the great country duet acts of the past which they bring to some Continue reading “Interview: My Darling Clementine’s Michael Weston King on Elvis Costello”

Interview: Tim O’Brien on dealing with COVID and the greatest bluegrass artist ever

COVID is proving to be a challenge for all musicians. Americana UK thought it would be an idea to catch up with one of bluegrass and americana’s leading musicians to see how COVID affects even those who are well established. The term americana could have been invented for Tim O’Brien who was born and brought up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Wheeling, West Virginia. In his early musical career he moved to Boulder, Colorado, and helped establish that vibrant musical scene that continues to this day with bands like the Cheese String Incident. Continue reading “Interview: Tim O’Brien on dealing with COVID and the greatest bluegrass artist ever”

Interview: Pasi Nissinen on Finnish americana and Jack’s Basket Room

As our regular readers know, Americana UK is always on the lookout for interesting music and musical backstories. Pasi Nissinen is the leader of the Finnish americana band Jack’s Basket Room and he met up with our own Martin Johnson to discuss the challenges of gaining access to the Finnish media, the local Helsinki music scene and his love of americana, even before he knew it was americana. It is always interesting to see how music is viewed by different cultures and how ultimately it is also so universal.  Playing americana in Finland is not the easiest way to try and make a living from music which is evidence of how much Jack’s Basket Room love the genre. Like many bands, they had to make a call on whether to release a new album during COVID and they chose to release ‘Wrong Turn’ on multiple media formats because Continue reading “Interview: Pasi Nissinen on Finnish americana and Jack’s Basket Room”

Rare 40 year old early Rank and File concert recording unearthed – Listen

AUK has managed to get a bit of treat for our more discerning readers thanks to Chris Metzler of Décor Records. It is a 40-year-old recording of a live concert at Urban Noize, Portland, Oregon, on November 21st 1980 when Tony Kinman, of West Coast punk legends The Dils, first sang a song with his brother and also ex-Dils Chip Kinman’s new band Rank and File. Joining the brothers are a young Alejandro Escovedo on guitar and Barry Myers, tour DJ for The Clash, and it is the only known recording of this line-up. Rank and File can lay a credible claim to being the first alt-country band Continue reading “Rare 40 year old early Rank and File concert recording unearthed – Listen”

Interview: Spencer Cullum on the future of the pedal steel, folk and krautrock

Have you heard of Spencer Cullum? You may not have heard of him but if you have enjoyed the music of Miranda Lambert, Dylan LeBlanc, Deer Tick, Little Big Town, Charlie Worsham, Caitlin Rose and many more you will have heard his pedal steel playing because he is one of the most in-demand pedal steel players in Nashville.  You may not think that is too surprising but when you realise he was born in Romford, Essex, and was a key part of the UK americana scene you begin to realise he is not your average Nashville musician. This uniqueness is a characteristic of his new album ‘Coin Collection’ where he channels the spirit of Sandy Denny and ‘70s British folk-rock with that of the krautrock of Can and Neu! to move the sound of Continue reading “Interview: Spencer Cullum on the future of the pedal steel, folk and krautrock”

Interview: Chris Difford on the NHS, photography and the craft of songwriting

“I hope that the voices of all the unsung heroes, their efforts and sacrifices are heard in this music. For me this record is a thank you to all my colleagues on the frontline, from the porters & domestics, to the doctors and nurses, I’ll never forget how we all stood side-by-side on the frontline fighting this illness together.”  Hannah Grace Deller, matron paediatrics, Imperial College NHS Trust Continue reading “Interview: Chris Difford on the NHS, photography and the craft of songwriting”

Los Brujos “Alchemy” (InSeam Records, 2020)

This digital-only release EP can be seen as a sign of the times we are all currently having to endure. I am not sure how much of a long-term band Los Brujos are, and they definitely aren’t the ‘90s Argentinian rock band they share a name with, comprising as they do musicians who met on the Massachusetts’ roots music scene, Chuck Melchin of Bean Pickers Union and Michael Spaly of Green Monroe, who have a long history of playing together and have collaborated on various previous projects. Like many musicians, they found themselves with time on their hands due to COVID and decided to record the ‘Alchemy’ EP remotely from their current home studios in Michigan and New Hampshire. The EP, or Extended Play 45, first appeared as long ago as 1952 and the format has gone through various phases of popularity right up to the present day when it again is experiencing a rise in popularity with artists. EPs are relatively cheap to produce and allow artists to maintain Continue reading “Los Brujos “Alchemy” (InSeam Records, 2020)”

Interview: AMAUK CEO Stevie Smith teases AmericanaFest 2021 artists

We are fast approaching the highlight of the UK americana community’s year when the Americana Music Association UK (AMA-UK) hosts AmericanaFest UK 2021 from 26-28 January 2021. While the UK has been struggling under COVID constraints, AMA-UK have been working hard to develop a virtual version of AmericanaFest 2021 and another eagerly anticipated event, the release of the  details of the showcase artists for AmericanaFest, is scheduled for Tuesday 17th November, 2020. Anyone who doubts the importance of AmericanaFest just needs to look at the list of previous award winners, which includes artists of the calibre of Robert Plant, Nick Lowe, Joan Armatrading, Richard Thompson, Van Morrison, Billy Bragg, Yola, Mumford and Sons, Brandi Carlile, Jade Bird and Joe Boyd, and it becomes immediately clear just how significant the event is for all members of the UK americana community.  Continue reading “Interview: AMAUK CEO Stevie Smith teases AmericanaFest 2021 artists”

Interview: Dan Tedesco on his innovative Dan Tedesco Music Channel

This interview is a little bit out of the ordinary for Americana UK . The main rationale for interviewing Dan Tedesco is his self-developed and innovative online  Dan Tedesco Music Channel rather than his alt-folk rock influenced music, and as such it is aimed at any musicians who visit this site and are looking at possibly innovative ways of maintaining and improving their income. That isn’t to say the interview wouldn’t also be of interest to non-musicians who take a wider interest in all things musical. Finally, we shouldn’t forget that Dan Tedesco is a musician who has clear views on the impact of legacy rock acts and how people can make flawed assumptions about musicians who play the acoustic guitar as he delivers his brand of alt-folk rock. Continue reading “Interview: Dan Tedesco on his innovative Dan Tedesco Music Channel”

Interview: Road Dogs Great Peacock talk Tom Petty and existential songwriting

Great Peacock are a perfect example of a group of Southern musicians making music they love in the current challenging times in America. They are well respected on the touring circuit and are classic Road Dogs. However, COVID has put a stop to all that but they have a new album out ‘Forever Worse Better’ which is a set of largely personal songs written mainly by their frontman guitarist Andrew Nelson.  In a moment of free thinking, Andrew Nelson also reflects on a possible existential theme to some of the album. Americana UK’s Martin Johnson caught up with Andrew Neil and bassist Frank Keith IV to discuss the new album, the music of Tom Petty and what it is like to be a true working Southern band. They also give a glimpse of how musicians from their circuit can ultimately work with americana stars such as Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson. We in the UK may have an idealised view about the Continue reading “Interview: Road Dogs Great Peacock talk Tom Petty and existential songwriting”