The Delines + Dori Freeman @Celtic Connections, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 27th January 2019

It’s not often that there are more novels than discs on a merch table at a gig but tonight there was an author, Willie Vlautin, on stage, one part of The Delines who produced a magnificent set of songs suffused with southern soul and bleak outlooks, broken hearts and broken fingers, drifters adrift in a sea of loneliness. Vlautin of course has forged a second career as a wordsmith with a couple of his books plucked by Hollywood but we first heard his words via Richmond Fontaine and with The Delines he has created another fabulous band. The story is that he had a bunch of songs he didn’t feel comfortable singing so he asked Amy Boone to step in which she did so excellently on their first album, ‘Colfax’. Disaster struck soon after when Boone was seriously injured in a car accident requiring lengthy rehab for her injuries and the band was put on furlough. Now, with Boone recovered sufficiently, the second album, ‘The Imperial’, is out and the band are on fire. Continue reading “The Delines + Dori Freeman @Celtic Connections, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 27th January 2019”

Buffalo Blood + Lucas & King @Celtic Connections, The Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow, 25th January 2019

The live world premiere of a project which crosses the Atlantic, delves into roots music and offers insights into current events which blight the planet, is just about perfect fodder for Celtic Connections, a festival which prides itself on, well, connecting. So, conceived in Leith and in Nashville, gestated in New Mexico, and then finally delivered, fully formed, in Glasgow, Buffalo Blood is alive and kicking. Continue reading “Buffalo Blood + Lucas & King @Celtic Connections, The Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow, 25th January 2019”

My Darling Clementine + Taylor & Leigh @Celtic Connections, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 19th January 2019

If you’re looking for a great night of cheatin’ country songs then there’s no better way to go about it than to pull up a seat at a My Darling Clementine show. Married couple Lou Dalgleish and Michael Weston King have been performing their quarrelsome pairing for almost a decade now and while, initially, the primary inspiration for the band were Nashville’s warring duos such as George and Tammy and Porter and Dolly, they’ve moved on quite a bit since then. They channel the melting pot of country and soul which was perfected in Memphis in the late sixties while there’s also a grand Brill Building pop sensibility to some of their songs. Tonight they returned to Celtic Connections with a red hot line up and while the theatrics are still there, there’s a deep and abiding love of the genre they so admire with several of the songs performed deep cuts from the country canon. Continue reading “My Darling Clementine + Taylor & Leigh @Celtic Connections, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 19th January 2019”

The Mammals + May Erlewine @Celtic Connections. St Luke’s, Glasgow,18th January 2019

AUK kicked off our Celtic Connections itinerary this year in the hallowed portals of an old church situated on the outskirts of The Barras, a once thriving open-air market place and home to the legendary Barrowlands Ballroom. St. Luke’s doesn’t have the cachet of The Barrowlands but it proved to be a fine venue for The Mammals, the name under which Mike Merenda and Ruth Ungar are back, having revived the band last year. Mike & Ruthy (as they were known then) played a blinder at Celtic Connections a few years back so it was intriguing to see what, if any, differences would transpire given the band moniker. Truth be told, there was very little other than some line up changes, the loss of pedal steel for keyboards and some more harmonising from the boys in the band. Continue reading “The Mammals + May Erlewine @Celtic Connections. St Luke’s, Glasgow,18th January 2019”

AmericanA to Z: Terry Allen

Today we’re re-starting a series we got going with a while ago before it abruptly came to a halt. Our favourite not so well known artists, going through the alphabet, week by week, starting this week with Terry Allen:  A conceptual artist, sculptor and painter as well as being a tremendous songwriter, Texan Terry Allen is perhaps the most “outlaw” of all the Texan musicians we regularly celebrate here at Americana UK. Much of his music is allied to his artworks with his debut album, Juarez, a suite of raspy bare boned songs telling the tale of four losers on the run from the law, beginning life as a series of lithographs, the songs added when a Chicago print company offered to print them with an LP telling the story with 50 copies eventually printed. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z: Terry Allen”

Walking the trail of tears with Buffalo Blood

Buffalo Blood is an international film and music collaboration which addresses the very current issues of displacement, immigration, refugees and the power of the human spirit through revisiting the lands, myths and histories of America’s Native Americans. Comprised of Nashville musicians, Neilson Hubbard, Joshua Britt and Audrey Spillman alongside Scottish singer-songwriter Dean Owens (and with Nashville studio engineer Jim DeMain as a fifth member) they have a self-titled album due out on February 15th. The album was recorded live and in the field in New Mexico in several iconic locations including La Plaza Bianca, Echo Canyon and artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch. Continue reading “Walking the trail of tears with Buffalo Blood”

Celtic Connections kicks off this week

Glasgow’s annual celebration of roots and traditional music from around the globe opens for business this Thursday and then proceeds for the next three weeks with over 300 events scheduled to take place. Always a highlight of the cultural calendar it’s the largest festival of its type in the world showcasing world music, folk, roots, jazz, blues, Gaelic and Scottish music and, of course, Americana. Continue reading “Celtic Connections kicks off this week”

Melody Guy “Dry The Rivers” (MFG Records, 2019)

A Nashville based singer songwriter who racks up the miles as she travels the country playing gigs here, there and everywhere, Melody Guy proves to be an attractive listen on this tenth album of hers which has some country soul and Nashville tears in its grooves. Recorded in Nashville, the album is both tough and tender with some of the songs reflecting rough times in the singer’s past but she can look back and capture some good memories from bad times as on the Dobro and accordion speckled jauntiness of ‘I Can’t Live There’. Continue reading “Melody Guy “Dry The Rivers” (MFG Records, 2019)”

Various Artists “The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs – Original Soundtrack” (Milan Records, 2018)

If you haven’t yet seen the latest Coen Brothers effort, ‘The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs’, then you’re in for a treat. Released through Netflix (and if you haven’t got access to Netflix then surely someone you know must have –  just pitch up on their doorstep with two fingers of red eye and persuade them to watch it with you), it’s a portmanteau movie set in the old west with six distinct tales. These pitch from rib tickling fun to very dark humour and there are echoes of influences as far ranging as Gene Autry, Cormac McCarthy and even an obscure 1920’s Danish film, ‘The Phantom Carriage’. Murder and dirty deeds loom large throughout. Of note to AUK readers is the presence of Tom Waits and Willie Watson on screen and two compositions by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch on the soundtrack. Continue reading “Various Artists “The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs – Original Soundtrack” (Milan Records, 2018)”

Sundial “1968 – The Birth Of Americana?” (Independent, 2018)

Coming in just under the wire for a golden jubilee  celebration of all things good and great in 1968, Australian band Sundial have a grand conceit contained within this album. They contend 1968 was the year which birthed Americana. Ostensibly the album is a very fine collection of songs released (or penned, perhaps) in 1968 and in the extensive liner essay they have a good stab at justifying their claim – quoting Jon Savage, writing in Shindig magazine, “1968 was the official start of Americana in the US, with the release of The Band’s Music From Big Pink and The Byrds’ Sweetheart Of The Rodeo during the summer.” But rather than delve into all of that (comments below welcomed) let’s just concentrate on the songs they’ve chosen and the delivery thereof. Continue reading “Sundial “1968 – The Birth Of Americana?” (Independent, 2018)”