SUSS “High Line” (Northern Spy Records, 2019)

It’s ambient country time as SUSS, a New York based instrumental collective, cast their minds for a second time to the arid wonders of the American southwest. Their debut album, ‘Ghost Box’ was an unexpected Spotify hit a few years back and, knowing a good thing, the band follow it up with more of the same. There are 12 instrumentals in all with evocative titles such as ‘Mojave’, ‘Road Trip’ and ‘Salt Flats’, and all float gently into view and then, just as gently, float away. Continue reading “SUSS “High Line” (Northern Spy Records, 2019)”

Birds of Chicago, Sounds In The Suburbs, The Doublet, Glasgow, 28th October 2019

The packed crowd who squeezed into the upstairs bar of this well kent Glasgow pub could hardly believe their luck at having the opportunity to see the mighty Birds of Chicago at such close quarters. With all seats taken, several souls sat on the floor while the band, tonight a trio, were packed close into an alcove beside the bar, a handy set up as proclaimed by  JT Nero when he asked the barman for a whiskey mid set and it was poured and handed to him. “It’s like a hootenanny,” he said just before a conversation was struck up with the audience regarding which particular brand he was drinking. Continue reading “Birds of Chicago, Sounds In The Suburbs, The Doublet, Glasgow, 28th October 2019”

Daystar “The Complete Recordings” (Independent 2019)

Forged in the melting pot that is the current music scene in Portland Oregon, Daystar are essentially a celebration of all that’s good in power pop, the band swearing allegiance to Big Star, Badfinger and Cheap Trick among others. ‘The Complete Recordings’, despite its retro leanings, is no retrospective collection from a deceased band, rather it is the four piece’s debut album and if it’s anything to go by, hopefully there’ll be more to come. Continue reading “Daystar “The Complete Recordings” (Independent 2019)”

Nathan Bell + David Leask, The Fallen Angels Club, The Admiral Bar, Glasgow, 17th October 2019

This was a welcome return to Glasgow by Nathan Bell for his last date on a short UK tour, prior to him appearing at Rambling Roots Festival in Utrecht a few days later. A heavy hitter in the AUK annual readers poll (Best male artist in 2017 and runner up in 2016 and 2018), Bell is a powerful presence on stage – wise and witty, a terrific guitarist with great songs to boot. His followers on social media will know that he is no fan of the current populist tosspots in power, both here and in the States, but live there are no polemics, he pours his passion into his songs. There are some excellent wisecracks about the two blond haired blimps scattered throughout the set but in the main, he’s here to entertain. Continue reading “Nathan Bell + David Leask, The Fallen Angels Club, The Admiral Bar, Glasgow, 17th October 2019”

Curse Of Lono + John Murry, The Blue Arrow, Glasgow, 12th October 2019

It’s getting so that Curse Of Lono’s popularity has to push them into larger venues in the very near future. Over a short course they have captured the attention of Bob Harris (who awarded them the AMAUK’s Emerging Act Of The Year award back in January), released three albums and regularly sell out their UK shows. Tonight was no exception with the audience packed like sardines in the tunnel like confines of The Blue Arrow. An added bonus was the presence of the enigmatic John Murry as the support act but there was much more to his presence than just singing some songs before the main act as he and Curse Of Lono seem to have bonded somewhat and each helped out the other’s set. Continue reading “Curse Of Lono + John Murry, The Blue Arrow, Glasgow, 12th October 2019”

Glasgow Americana Festival, 2nd – 6th October 2019

In Glasgow, as a damp and dreich winter beckons, October has at least one beacon lighting up the dark nights, the annual Glasgow Americana Festival which has been warming the hearts of music lovers for 13 years now. Spanning five days and six venues, this year’s festival offered 19 performers, an elegant balance of local and international names, some in up close and intimate quarters, others appearing to several hundred fans. The local Americana community is fiercely proud of this jamboree, witness the same faces who were at all of the shows AUK attended, presumably taking advantage of the keenly priced festival pass which allows entry to all shows. In addition, at several shows we encountered musical tourists, lured by some favourite acts with at least one of them expressing some jealousy at seeing the upcoming acts advertised to come in the following weeks. Continue reading “Glasgow Americana Festival, 2nd – 6th October 2019”

Interview: Daniel Meade – “I’m kind of touching base, going back to stuff I used to play in pubs.”

Glasgow musician and songwriter, Daniel Meade, first came to attention with The Ronelles, who had 15 minutes of fame in 2015, touring the States and Japan. Next up were The Meatmen who played a much rootsier blend of country blues before Meade kicked off his solo career. With and without his latest band, The Flying Mules, Meade has since released several albums to critical acclaim with 2014’s ‘Keep Right Away‘, recorded in Nashville with members of Old Crow Medicine Show along with Joshua Hedley and Diana Jones, perhaps the best regarded. Continue reading “Interview: Daniel Meade – “I’m kind of touching base, going back to stuff I used to play in pubs.””

Glasgow Americana Festival becomes a teenager

Well, with a a summer of great festivals behind us, it’s time to consider staying indoors for your music fix over the next few months. First out of the box is the annual Glasgow Americana Festival. Now in its 13th year, Glasgow Americana attracts international artists alongside a healthy bill of local acts from all over Scotland. This year’s festival boasts nine full shows in six venues over its five-day duration with a total of 19 acts appearing from 2nd – 6th October. Continue reading “Glasgow Americana Festival becomes a teenager”

Hiss Golden Messenger “Terms Of Surrender” (Merge Records, 2019)

M. C. Taylor’s shape shifting collective, Hiss Golden Messenger, is very like a ship whose course is set by its captain’s moods and emotions. Pre release talk of Terms Of Surrender being, “Taylor’s journey through a tumultuous year of trauma and psychological darkness, hoping and working towards redemption and healing, and the conflicting draw of home and movement,” perhaps led some to expect a dark and brooding work. It’s true that there are moments here when Taylor is addressing some meaty issues (and that’s not something he’s shied away from before) but the album’s voyage is at time glorious with Taylor’s winning combination of glistening folk, rock, blues and soul engaging from start to finish. Continue reading “Hiss Golden Messenger “Terms Of Surrender” (Merge Records, 2019)”

Interview: Pete Gow – “Up close and very personal…”

Pete Gow, front man for the late Case Hardin, one of the UK’s foremost hard rocking Americana styled bands, surprised a lot of folk when he released his first solo album, ‘Here There’s No Sirens’ back in April. Gone was the rollicking and hard rocking thrust of Case Hardin, replaced by intimate stripped back songs, mainly acoustic and awash with bold brass and string arrangements. And while the sound of the album may have surprised many folk, it was praised across the board, with AUK’s review saying it was, “a deeply personal and intimate set of songs with some great lyrics and astute musicianship, all recorded wonderfully and delivered with heart.”  Already, in some quarters, it’s been mentioned as likely to be in the short list for UK album of the year at the next AMAUK awards ceremony. Continue reading “Interview: Pete Gow – “Up close and very personal…””