Book Review: Elizabeth Thomson “Joan Baez: The Last Leaf” (Palazzo, 2020)

Joan Baez is one of those artists that, for most of us, has always been there. I’ve certainly always been aware of her presence, throughout my interest in popular music in general, and folk and roots music in particular, and that started well before my teens. The thing about this enduring presence is that, to quote another Joan, “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone”, and reading Elizabeth Thomson’s excellent new book on Joan Baez makes me realise that this is an important artist that many of us take for granted; she’s always been there so we expect that she always will – but this book has been written as a prelude to Baez’ 80th Birthday, which will arrive in January 2021 and, though she remains as vibrant and active as ever on many fronts, she announced her retirement from performing and recording at the end of her worldwide tour in July of 2019, almost exactly sixty years after making her debut at the Newport Folk Festival in 1959. Continue reading “Book Review: Elizabeth Thomson “Joan Baez: The Last Leaf” (Palazzo, 2020)”

Forgotten Artists – The Rainmakers

Here at the FORGOTTEN ARTISTS feature page we continue to remind readers of some of the great bands that may have slipped from memory or who we think deserve a return to the spotlight for a walk down memory lane. This time around I’m re-visiting one of my favourite bands of the 198o’s, The Rainmakers. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – The Rainmakers”

Forgotten Artists – Dan Baird

It’s time for another in our FORGOTTEN ARTISTS series, where we take a look at the career of artists who might just have slipped out of some people’s memory in recent years, and this time I’m taking a look at the career of one of the great mavericks of Americana; Country Punk and all-round Alt-Country hero, Dan Baird. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Dan Baird”

The Unsung Heroes of Americana – John Leventhal, Producer

The Unsung Heroes of Americana is a new feature series where we take a look at some of the people, places and things that help to bring this great music to audiences everywhere. The public face of any musical genre is the recording artist themselves, they’re the ones who actively generate the music we get to hear; but, behind every successful performer, there are the people, places and objects that help to make that music accessible for an audience – the producers, the session players, the record labels, the recording studios, the live venues, even the instruments themselves; all have to come together to create the intrinsic whole experience that we get to enjoy. With this series, we want to start acknowledging these unsung heroes and encourage them out of the shadows for a brief moment in the spotlight. Continue reading “The Unsung Heroes of Americana – John Leventhal, Producer”

Ten environmentally-aware Americana songs

The importance of the diversity of our ecology, and of environmental sustainability, are constant watchwords these days and every news bulletin seems to bring another warning that we need to take better care of this planet or pay the consequences. When it comes to the environment and, in particular, the effects of climate change, it’s increasingly clear that we’re all drinking in the Last Chance Saloon! As something of a tree-hugger myself, I thought it was time we took a look at what some of our Americana artists have to say on the matter. Continue reading “Ten environmentally-aware Americana songs”

Interview: Emma John on her journey to find the beating heart of bluegrass

Author Emma John talks to Americana UK’s Rick Bayles about her experiences in the Appalachian Mountains and gives readers an opportunity to win a copy of her acclaimed book, ‘Wayfaring Stranger’. The book is about her experiences as she tried to turn herself from a classically trained violinist into a champion bluegrass fiddler. It’s a book that’s made quite an impact on a few of AUK’s writers after it was reviewed on the site,  and we Continue reading “Interview: Emma John on her journey to find the beating heart of bluegrass”

Forgotten Artists – Marvin, Welch & Farrar

Here we go with another glance into the past via our FORGOTTEN ARTISTS series, taking a look at some of the Americana musicians that may just have dropped out of people’s memories or who, perhaps, never received the appreciation their contribution to the genre deserved. This time around I’m featuring a British band that, for a very brief period, tried to create a UK version of the West Coast America close harmony sound that was proving popular at the time. An outfit that boasted some very unexpected members… Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Marvin, Welch & Farrar”

Ten Americana songs about telephony

Where would the world of Americana be without Alexander Graham Bell’s little invention? How could anyone call their Baby to let them know they’re coming home to them? How else could they pour their heart out to someone they’ve never met or are likely to meet? When it comes to letting someone know just how you feel, whether it’s good, bad or pretty indifferent, a letter just doesn’t cut it. Letters are great for returning to sender or encouraging you to take an aeroplane instead of a fast train, but you’re not going to write to the sorting office imploring them to save your love life and a letter won’t encourage you to pull over to the side of the road, on a whim, every twenty miles or so, just to hear a loved one’s voice on the other side of the country. For instant yearning declarations of emotion you need a phone – and a good telephone system. You need lines, operators, call boxes – you need telephony! Continue reading “Ten Americana songs about telephony”

Forgotten Artists – Katy Moffatt

Here we are again with another feature in the FORGOTTEN ARTISTS series, where we take a look at some of the Americana musicians who may just have dropped out of people’s memories or who, perhaps, never received the appreciation their contribution to the genre deserved. This time frequent contributor to the series, Clint West, turns his attention to the fine singer-songwriter, Katy Moffatt. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Katy Moffatt”