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same albums issued for the first time on vinyl, a download of 13 unissued tracks plus a 56 page booklet which includes unpublished photographs and memorabilia and finally a recycled fabric t-shirt with a print of Karen Dalton’s own guitar tabs.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.
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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”

The Song Remains: Chris Darrow 1944-2020

Chris Darrow’s death on 15th January from complications following a stoke received coverage across the American music press reflecting his involvement with some of the most influential artist of the ‘60s and early ‘70s. Recognised by those in the know as one of the architects of west coast country rock and by a wider audience for his founding of Kaleidoscope with David Lindley and his membership of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, his lasting claim to fame was as one of the most sought after studio multi-instrumentalists of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Continue reading “The Song Remains: Chris Darrow 1944-2020”

Kev Minney “Modern Stories” (Independent, 2020)

Kev Minney is a 37 year-old guitarist and singer-songwriter born in Northampton and now based in Brighton. He spent the early part of his musical career as a guitarist and in 2015 started his singer-songwriter career with an EP recorded in New York followed by his first full album ‘Stories Of The Sky’ in 2017. His songs have had 250,000 streams and have received airplay on various national and local radio stations. ‘Modern Stories’ is his independently released Arts Council funded difficult second album that was written and recorded in Brighton. Continue reading “Kev Minney “Modern Stories” (Independent, 2020)”

Classic Americana Compilations “Silver Meteor – A Progressive Country Anthology” (Sierra Records, 1980)

What makes a great compilation? Good music is a must obvious, the historical importance of some of the tracks, certainly, rare and forgotten tracks and artists that nevertheless capture an elusive something that was in the air for a golden period definitely helps. All these apply to ‘Silver Meteor – A Progressive Country Anthology’ and if there is any lingering doubt as to how great this compilation is then the fact that it came in at number eleven on Uncut magazine’s list of the 50 Greatest Lost Albums is the clincher. Continue reading “Classic Americana Compilations “Silver Meteor – A Progressive Country Anthology” (Sierra Records, 1980)”

Forgotten Artists – Eggs Over Easy

Eggs Over Easy? A band that few have heard of and even fewer have heard but who are one of the most influential bands of the ’70s, who not only contributed to the foundations of Americana but also created the environment for punk and new wave music to subsequently bloom. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Eggs Over Easy”