Americana Roots: Jon Stickley Trio

Americana Roots highlights the freshest and most original Americana and bluegrass from across the pond in the US. It covers everything from brand-new, just out of the box bands, to cult favourites, to established acts who have yet to reach the UK’s shores. The Jon Stickley Trio, an acoustic-trio from North Carolina, delivers an inventive approach to bluegrass disguised with musical experimentation that straddles the chasm between the traditional and the progressive with a powerful grace. Continue reading “Americana Roots: Jon Stickley Trio”

The Two Tracks “Cheers to Solitude” (Independent, 2020)

‘Cheers to Solitude’ opens with the bouncy, infectious ‘Beautiful’, a song that is a tour across America from the Pacific Redwoods and Pacific ocean on the West Coast, through the deep South to New Orleans and Mississippi, to the mountains of Appalachia.  ‘Beautiful’ encapsulates what makes up the soul of roots music, and at the same time defines the sound of The Two Tracks – a simple, laid-back, breezy, California vibe, the funky Cajun, swamp-foot swing from the Crescent City, a timeless fiddle line born in the mountains, all delivered with a wide-open groove reminiscent of the rollings hills and mountains of their hometown of Sheridan, Wyoming. Continue reading “The Two Tracks “Cheers to Solitude” (Independent, 2020)”

Americana Roots: Nathan Moore

Americana Roots highlights the freshest and most original Americana and bluegrass from across the pond in the US. It covers everything from brand-new, just out of the box bands, to cult favourites, to established acts who have yet to reach the UK’s shores. Nathan Moore is a  prolific poet, wordsmith, and powerful songwriter whose storyteller’s eye reflects the time and turmoil in our everyday lives. Continue reading “Americana Roots: Nathan Moore”

Grain Thief “Gasoline” (Independent, 2020)

It is a pretty great time for bluegrass right now, as a number of younger bands who have been clearly schooled in the traditions of the music, but who have also been raised with interests that far exceed those roots are exploding across the bluegrass universe with their inventive take on what Bill Monroe first conjured up so many years ago.  Falling squarely in the vein of thoughtful, forward-thinking string-bands is Grain Thief. Continue reading “Grain Thief “Gasoline” (Independent, 2020)”

Americana Roots: Caleb Stine

Americana Roots highlights the freshest and most original Americana and bluegrass from across the pond in the US.  It covers everything from brand-new, just out of the box bands, to cult favourites, to established acts who have yet to reach the UK’s shores.  Caleb Stine is the child of the renegade-cowboy-poetry of Townes Van Zandt and the sweet, rough and tumble sound of Neil Young’s ‘Harvest’.  He creates music he calls “Mystic Country.” “To me, country is wild, natural, and communal,” says Stine.  “I like wood and acoustic sounds – music that could be made in any century – and the mystic part gets at the poetry and impressionism in my songs.” Continue reading “Americana Roots: Caleb Stine”

AUK’s Chain Gang: Ola Belle Reed “High on a Mountain”

Sometimes that which connects us musically can be described as loose at best.  This week’s instalment in Chain Gang, while a tenuous connection to last week’s ‘Wreck on the Highway’ by Roy Acuff, instead reveals a powerful link in the continuing chain of Americana music and one of the most important women in roots music, Ola Belle Reed and her classic, ‘High on a Mountain’. Continue reading “AUK’s Chain Gang: Ola Belle Reed “High on a Mountain””

Americana Roots: Kenny Roby

Americana Roots highlights the freshest and most original Americana and bluegrass from across the pond in the US.  It covers everything from brand-new, just out of the box bands, to cult favourites, to established acts who have yet to reach the UK’s shores.  Songwriting-confessional-troubadour Kenny Roby has long been singing about his life and the world around him since his earliest days with 6-String Drag.  This look at the world continues on his latest album, ‘The Reservoir’. Continue reading “Americana Roots: Kenny Roby”

Americana Roots: Bowregard

American Roots highlights the freshest and most original Americana and bluegrass from across the pond in the US.  It covers everything from brand-new, just out of the box bands, to cult favourites, to established acts who have yet to reach the UK’s shores.  “Progressive-traditional” bluegrass-inspired Bowregard is one of the most-dynamic bands to emerge from the bluegrass rich-tradition of Colorado over the last few years and poised to take their place among the festival elite with their blistering live show. Continue reading “Americana Roots: Bowregard”

Classic Americana Albums: Son Volt “Trace” (Warner Bros, 1995)

When Jay Farrar sings, “May the wind blow your troubles away,” on ‘Windfall’, about a long-distance drive to escape one’s problems and the opening track of Son Volt’s 1995 debut album, ‘Trace’, it came across like a hopeful sentiment of looking forward for the talented songwriter following the tragic implosion of Uncle Tupelo, his first band with Jeff Tweedy.  The album was Farrar’s first since the ugly dissolution of Uncle Tupelo the prior year.  In addition to the ugly, personal drama, and turmoil that led to the end of the seminal-band, the release of ‘Trace’ carried with it an unmatched burden of expectations.  Those expectations weighed not only on Farrar, but also on former bandmate Tweedy.  Every move they made in the months following the end of Uncle Tupelo was preceded by the question, “What does the after-life following the breakup look like for both Farrar and Tweedy and how do you follow up the genius that was Uncle Tupelo?” Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: Son Volt “Trace” (Warner Bros, 1995)”

Americana Roots: Howlin Rain

Americana Roots highlights the freshest and most original Americana and bluegrass from across the pond in the US.  It covers everything from brand-new, just out of the box bands, to cult favourites, to established acts who have yet to reach the UK’s shores.  Sounding like The Faces let loose on a drunken, cross-country, road-trip through the American heartland on acid is San Francisco’s Howlin Rain, whose live shows are a mind-bending journey with attitude to spare. Continue reading “Americana Roots: Howlin Rain”