The duo is an abiding force in Americana music and, more recently, male/female pairings have come very much to the fore – the Civil Wars (before their split), Shovels and Rope, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, The Handsome Family and many more. The latest addition to these ranks may well be singer-songwriters Audrey MacAlpine and Hugh Trimble, operating under the stunningly original moniker of Audrey and Hugh! Continue reading “Audrey & Hugh “Sisterman” (Independent, 2020)”
Few bands in this day and age can claim to be truly unique but The Subdudes may have a better claim than most. Their music is a curious blend of folk, country, gospel and blues flavoured with New Orleans R&B and Cajun swamp rock; when their eponymous first album arrived in 1989 it was like a breeze blowing through the bayou, you could almost taste the Louisiana air. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – The Subdudes”
Merle Haggard has always been categorised as one of the great American Country Singers but, when it comes to songwriting, his talents are often overlooked. So, when a bunch of top Americana singers and songwriters came together, to produce a tribute to Haggard as a writer, it was time to take a proper, in-depth listen to some of the songs that came from his pen. Continue reading “Classic Americana Compilations: “Tulare Dust – A Songwriter’s Tribute to Merle Haggard” (Hightown Records, 1994)”
Darden Smith should’ve been a big star. Blessed with an ability to write great songs and being a rangy, good looking Texan it’s hard to believe that his future as a top singer songwriter wasn’t assured. Sometimes the Universe has other plans, it seems. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Darden Smith”
This is quite a lovely record. Gibraltarian singer/songwriter Kirsty Almeida has crafted some very interesting songs for this, her first studio album in nearly six years (since 2014’s ‘Dejavoodu’). She had taken a creative sabbatical following the birth of her son, but this album sees her return with songs based on some of her experiences over the past few years, including her battle with post natal depression. Continue reading “Kirsty Almeida “Moonbird” (All Made Up Records, 2020)”
Shelby Lynne, or to give her the name she was christened with, Shelby Lynn Moorer is, as many will know, the (slightly) older sister of Allison Moorer. Yet while Allison seems to go from strength to strength and be feted as a darling of the Nashville scene, Shelby Lynne always seems to be struggling for recognition on the wider stage. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Shelby Lynne”
There’s something refreshingly low key about Ruark Inman and his band. Apparently, he grew up as a Skater Punk in his native South Arkansas and you can still hear some of that punk attitude on this recording, ‘When You Coming Home’, the debut album from Ruark, his eponymous band that consists of Ruark Inman himself on acoustic guitar and vocals, Alexa Joyce on bass and backing vocals and drummer Jeffrey Scott Greer, who also weighs in on backing vocals on some of the tracks. Continue reading “Ruark “When You Coming Home” (Bird Drop Records, 2020)”
On the face of it, you might not think Jack Kerouac has much relevance to fans of Americana. Kerouac was part of the Beat generation, a Jazz fan who was often dismissive of “Hillbilly music”; but Kerouac was a great influencer of the Hippy movement, a man whose philosophy on life had a profound effect on some of the musicians who laid the earliest foundations of Americana.
“I felt free and therefore I was free.”
“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so I just keep on rolling under the stars .”
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.” Continue reading “Book Review: Simon Warner & Jim Sampas “Kerouac on Record: A Literary Soundtrack” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019)”
Following on from Peter Churchill’s excellent choice last week I was thinking that what I particularly love about Americana is the quality of the songwriting. With that in mind I’ve decided to post a track from another Peters – Gretchen Peters (no relation), who I think has consistently been one of the best songwriters in this genre since she first came to prominence back in the mid-’90s. This is the title track from her 2012 album ‘Hello Cruel World’ and it epitomises the quality of her songs – great storytelling, great melody, a little wry humour.
Of course Mike Nesmith, The Monkee, hasn’t been forgotten, he’ll always have his place in musical history as the woolly hatted member of TVs attempt to cash in on the popularity of loveable, mop-top boy bands during the 1960s. But how many people will remember, or even knew, that he was an accomplished musician, a very fine songwriter, a successful producer and at the forefront of the country-rock movement? Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Mike Nesmith”