AmericanA to Z – Jim Dickinson

While the name JimDickinson may not garner much recognition except by those of us who used to devour countless record sleeves to glean as much information as possible about writers, backing musicians studios etc in the days before the internet, as a recording artist, producer and session musician he embodied the essence of what makes roots American music great. He has contributed to some of the best and most interesting music of the last 50 or so years. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1941 he moved to Memphis in 1950 when he was 9 years old and it was Memphis that was the biggest influence on his musical development and career and led to him becoming the embodiment of that city’s music. While he died in 2009 his ethos and influence are being maintained by his sons Luther and Cody Dickinson, the guitarist and drummer with the North Mississippi Allstars. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Jim Dickinson”

Stephanie Hatfield “Out This Fell” (Independent, 2020)

Stephanie Hatfield is probably a new name to most in the UK. The  cover of her album ‘Out This Fell’ features Stephanie herself very prominently and there is no real hint in the cover as to the genre of the music contained within. Stephanie’s publicity material describes her as “effortlessly navigating multiple genres” and rock, pop, country and folk can all be heard on this album. It’s clear that this music is aimed at a wide potential audience and is not restricted to any single specific genre. Continue reading “Stephanie Hatfield “Out This Fell” (Independent, 2020)”

Citizen Bravo, Raymond MacDonald & Friends “Return to Y’Hup: The World of Ivor Cutler” (Chemikal Underground, 2020)

Ivor Cutler was a unique Scottish artist, poet, songwriter, teacher, humourist and mainstay of British Radio who died in 2006 aged 83 and was very probably a genius. The depression of the ‘30s, his Jewish background and experience of anti-Semitism and a challenging home life all had a major impact on his work. The word eccentric is often associated with him but absurdist would be closer to the truth with major fan Billy Connolly saying the world needed Ivor Cutler “in order to think differently”. In the late ’50s he was given a late-night slot on the Home Service and since then he has appeared on all major BBC Radio stations being championed by John Peel and Andy Kershaw. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were such fans they gave him a cameo as Buster Bloodvessel, the bus conductor, in the Beatles’ ‘Magical Mystery Tour’. Continue reading “Citizen Bravo, Raymond MacDonald & Friends “Return to Y’Hup: The World of Ivor Cutler” (Chemikal Underground, 2020)”

The Song Remains: Thomas Paulsley LaBeff aka ‘Sleepy LaBeef’ – 1935–2019

This is our first obituary of 2020 in our new The Song Remains section and it is by Alasdair Fotheringham. Readers’ feedback on the new section would be really appreciated. Continue reading “The Song Remains: Thomas Paulsley LaBeff aka ‘Sleepy LaBeef’ – 1935–2019”

Americana UK introduces our new Obituaries section The Song Remains

The roots of Americana music run deep and wide and many of the early originators and influencers are now approaching or are in old age. To recognise and celebrate recently lost artists AUK will start publishing obituaries in 2020 in our The Song Remains section reflecting the fact that while an artist may have died their music, art and spirit remain with us through their recordings. To kick start this new section of the website there is a Rollcall of some of those artists lost in 2019 with a full obituary of Paul Barrere guitarist with Little Feat. Our readers’ thoughts on this new section will be very much appreciated. Continue reading “Americana UK introduces our new Obituaries section The Song Remains”

Cattle and Cane “Navigator” (Independent, 2019)

Navigator’ is the third album by independent act Cattle and Cane who are siblings Helen and Joe Hammill, supported by a flexible group of musicians that includes members of their extended family. They have a strong following in their native North East of England and are hoping ‘Navigator’ will be their breakthrough album. Continue reading “Cattle and Cane “Navigator” (Independent, 2019)”

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds “Ghosteen” (Ghosteen Ltd, 2019)

Some readers may be a little surprised to see a Nick Cave review on the Americana UK website. After all, he is recognised as one of the leading post-punk artists renowned for his dark and brooding lyrics and seen as the Godfather of Goth by some. Wait a minute though, he is also an outstanding songwriter who has been influenced by many artists linked to the Americana genre. From the very start, John Lee Hooker and Van Morrison were key influences on his music; Johnny Cash recorded his song ‘The Mercy Seat’ and Cave recorded Hank William’s ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ as a duet with the Man in Black. He also covered the Louvin Brothers’ ‘Knoxville Girl’ and even recorded an album of murder ballads that maintained this venerable folk tradition. Continue reading “Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds “Ghosteen” (Ghosteen Ltd, 2019)”

Awkward Family Portraits “Everything We’ve Done Up Until Now Except What We’ve Done Since ” (Holy Smokes Records, 2019)

Awkward Family Portraits are a Glaswegian group in the fine tradition of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks and on the UK front, Chilli Willi and The Red Hot Peppers from the pub rock era. Reflecting this tradition these self-composed songs cover rock and roll, rockabilly, western swing, 1920s through 1950s jazz, bluegrass, gypsy jazz and jump blues with largely fun lyrics that will bring a smile to everyone’s face. However, whatever the influences and genres of music covered they play music to dance to which has always been one of the prime functions of music. Continue reading “Awkward Family Portraits “Everything We’ve Done Up Until Now Except What We’ve Done Since ” (Holy Smokes Records, 2019)”

David Latto “Show Me How To Feel” (Independent, 2019)

David Latto is an exponent of Scottish Americana whose first album, ‘3000 Miles from Nashville’, was released in 2010. He then released a number of albums with the David Latto Band winning praise for his warm singing voice and obvious songwriting skills. These songwriting skills have been appreciated by other artists and following David Latto’s trip to Nashville in 2016, Tanya Tucker recorded one of his songs which is scheduled for release next year. However, he began to questioned his previous work with the David Latto Band and struggled to engage with his muse and retired from music for a couple of years. This break from music allowed him to regain his perspective on what he wanted to achieve artistically and this new EP of five personal songs is a reflection of his new found confidence in his abilities. Continue reading “David Latto “Show Me How To Feel” (Independent, 2019)”