There’s a TV in every room here at Americana-UK Towers (all fifty or so). None of them are connected, of course, but we need to be able to sell ourselves to visiting dignitaries to The People’s Republic of Liverpudlia and delegates attending the famous Americana–UK Towers ‘Phestival of Phun” – our annual event celebrating everything downbeat, miserable and featuring steel guitar. Our sister festival, the more ‘niche’ Phestivities of Phunnies, features everything downbeat, miserable and lap-steel is held every two years. This one is exclusive to musical pedants. If you haven’t yet received your invitation to either then please bear with us. There are two key reasons for any delay: (1) we phucking don’t like you or (2) we don’t give a phucking shit Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Randy Newman “Short People””
Welcome back to our occasional series in which we ask the Americana UK staff writers and contributors to give us a handle on the what, whys and wherefores that got them into the genre and why they thought flares where a necessary fashion statement back in the day. This week we hear from master of brevity and king of eclectic lists Mike Elliott: Continue reading “What Is This Americana Thing Anyway…?”
As mentioned last week we enjoyed/endured local elections in England and Northern Ireland last week. The results were interesting… the Blues and Purples had a rubbish time of it with the Reds not doing as well as expected either. The Greens and Yellows and ‘others’ had a high old time though. What the winners have in common of course is their commitment to Remain and a determination to stop Brexit and hold a ‘People’s Vote’/confirmatory referendum. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Ben Harper “Excuse Me Mr.””
Way back when I first started running AUK back in the early 2000s, promos of CDs started to trickle through the letterbox – some were great, others were let’s say over-confident, but occasionally something would hit the doormat that just blew me away. London based Jason McNiff’s ‘Nobody’s Son’ was one such record, and one of my lasting memories of the first listen to the track ‘I Remember You’ was shortly afterwards visiting my auntie in New Brighton where I insisted she, my mum and various other members of the family crammed into my tiny car to listen to it. They were bowled over too of course, and its Dylan-esque structure still sounds as fresh today as when it was first released. Fittingly for the song, I’ve never forgotten it.
A concise and to the point ‘Pops’ this edition folks as we recall that this week saw May 1st (or The First of May or May Day as you will). May Day is, of course, International Worker’s Day – an occasion on which you might think that the workers of the world would unite, having nothing to lose but their chains. Although it might not be obvious those of us beavering away on this internationally renowned web-magazine really do find it hard work at times so we stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of our working sistren and brethren in celebration of our labours and the sacrifice that our fellow workers have made over the millennia. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Pete Seeger “Solidarity Forever””
The Americana A-Z is sometimes a means to celebrate a legend of the genre or it is often a way of reminding readers of a forgotten gem. This week, for the letter ‘O’, we’re shining the light on a contemporary act who deserves an audience. Lindi Ortega has been releasing music for almost twenty years and has become known for a mixture of foot-stomping country and traditional balladry, all of which showcases her powerful vocals and great range. She deserves her place here because of the sophistication of her song writing and the manner in which she continues to explore and grow and develop artistically so far into her musical career. Continue reading “Americana A-Z – Lindi Ortega”
If there was ever a musician who epitomises the role of the troubadour, Steve Folk would be used as a prime modern day example. This boat-dwelling songsmith and artist spends weeks on end touring solo around the European mainland playing house concerts, bars, gigs, basically anywhere he can bring his songs to the world. Folk exists outside the usual parameters set by the day-to-day music business, instead he charts his own path with only his guitar and trusty music player for company. Americana-UK chats to the uncompromising musician about life on the road and, more importantly what music keeps his spirits up on those tough days. Continue reading “Van Life – Steve Folk”
This week sees the fortieth anniversary of the death of Blair Peach. For those unfamiliar with his case or for those who had simply forgotten here are the brief facts: Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Ralph McTell – “Water of Dreams””
Life is unfair in lots of different ways. Narcissists can reach the highest level of power including apparently the leader of the “free” world. The people most responsible for global warming are the least likely to suffer the consequences. Nigel Farage is having a comeback. The current series of Line of Duty has only 2 more episodes to go. To add to that list of gripes, South Dakota born Sam Outlaw’s brand of “SoCal” is known still by far too few people, and this, the opening track from his debut album, is as fine a piece of music as you’ll hear this decade, the mariachi horns making it far less parochial than so much middle of the road americana. Oh the injustice of it all!
If Americana is an umbrella term for all roots-based American music – bluegrass, blues, country, folk, jazz, rock, and soul (which is how I define it, anyway) – then you’d be hard-pressed to find another group more worthy of the Americana label than New Grass Revival. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – New Grass Revival”