Album premiere: The Heart Hunters “American Eclipse”

Just like the buses, we have no album premieres for weeks and then two come along in the one day, and this is rather ace. Heart Hunters is Drew de Man’s new project with his wife, singer/songwriter Brianna Blackbird (surely one of the loveliest names on the planet earth) and their new album ‘American Eclipse’ is produced by Peter Case with some gorgeous two-part harmonies accompanying sparse acoustic folk songs and epic anthems featuring lush string sections, along with some worldly wariness of the capitalist ideal and the crisis it’s engendered. Continue reading “Album premiere: The Heart Hunters “American Eclipse””

Album premiere: Simon Patrick Kerr “Doldrums”

‘Doldrums’ is the new album by Simon Patrick Kerr, and it aptly couldn’t come at a better time what with the absolute state of parliament this week – for the new record Kerr forgoes the rowdy psych-rock of his band The Wans in favor of a more stripped-down approach to songwriting, crafting intensely personal Americana and indie-folk songs inspired by Nashville-outsider heroes like Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, while chronicling one of the more tumultuous periods in his life including the grief of losing a close friend to cancer and the commodification of religion in the Bible Belt. Described as “once stripped-down and symphonic” by Rolling Stone no less, it’s a lovely listen.  ‘Doldrums’ is out on Friday.

Van Life: Radiator King

Boston’s Adam Silvestri (AKA Radiator King) is the type of musician this feature was pretty much designed to  accommodate. A road dog, traveller, essentially a musical explorer both sonically and literally,  Silvestri spends many many hours on the road, clicking up the miles and cranking up the toons.  His latest album, ‘A Hollow Triumph After All,’ is awash with vivid imagery, Waits-esque swagger and fuelled by  a unflinching punk spirit, its therefore unsurprising his glovebox is full of gems. Americana-UK catches up with  the now New York-based trobadour ahead of another US tour. Continue reading “Van Life: Radiator King”

Pick of the Political Pops: The Rolling Stones “All About You”

As we realised when we were excavating the cellar in order to turn it into The Bunker here at Americana-UK Towers – when you’re in a hole, stop digging. Such advice seems to have fallen on deaf ears with Terry Might and The Blues however. In the continuing saga of “Leave You, EU, Wouldn’t Wanna Be You” it would, for all the world, appear that (a) there isn’t a plan (b) there isn’t an objective and (c) there isn’t an achievable outcome. If anyone is unfamiliar with the back story here then what you need to know is that the mess we’re in is entirely about the survival of The Blues as a political entity and always has been – from the announcement of The Plebiscite to the triggering of Article 50 the main focus has been on balancing the various factions of The Blues from the Raab-id right to the Eton(ian) Mess to the Vaguely Misguided In Thinking That We Are Centrists. So thanks for that but, as this tune has it, we’re sick and tired of hanging around with dogs like you…

AmericanA to Z : The Byrds

Not every A-Z artist is a complete unknown, sometimes it’s good to remember just how good some of the seminal bands really were. The Byrds are the band that spawned a thousand jangly guitar bands, seemingly destined to be ‘rediscovered’ every ten years or so. The Byrds famously invented country-rock on ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo‘ – although even putting aside the many other contenders for that claim there is the small matter of previous material on ‘Younger then Yesterday‘ and ‘The Notorious Byrd Brothers‘.  Continue reading “AmericanA to Z : The Byrds”

Pick of the Political Pops: Wilbert Harrison “Let’s Stick Together”

This week we have noted with a strange combination of amusement and disbelief that the UK’s negotiating strategy regarding Brexit (yep – that again) continues to consist mainly of our glorious leaders throwing their toys out of the pram and stamping their petulant little feet (supposing that it is possible to stamp one’s feet in a pram). People from all over the political spectrum are divided over the issue and it did look at one point as if The Blues might implode under the pressure of self-righteousness. However Minister Prime Terry Might stepped in and poured oil on burning waters promising some of the rebellious little tykes all manner of concessions in order to keep the party together. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Wilbert Harrison “Let’s Stick Together””

AmericanA to Z : Bela Fleck

Americana, a form of music based, in part, on the traditions embodied in American folk music can’t neglect the huge influence of bluegrass in the 20th century. Bela Fleck is the preeminent living exponent of the banjo, his dazzling level of technical mastery is unquestionable and his influence is huge. Having recorded a series of keystone bluegrass albums for Rounder Records he branched out, taking the banjo into music it is rarely associated with – such as modern funk-jazz with the electric band The Flecktones. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z : Bela Fleck”

Pick of the Political Pops: John Lee Hooker “I Need Some Money”

Our attention was drawn this week to the annual festival of gloating in which a national ‘news’ paper rubs the rest of our noses in the dirt by telling us who has the most money in the country. How odd, we thought, that when so many people have so little that it’s deemed acceptable to tell us how so few have so much. And it was also interesting to note how much is given by whom to various political parties. Actually not that varied of course with 99% going ‘blue’. Given our track record you’d think that at this point we would think of some smart arsed quip to make making light of the situation. But we can’t. It’s just too familiar and depressing. So have some ‘blues’ on the subject.

Video: Billy Bragg “There is Power in a Union”

A little bonus video for you today on this International Workers Day from the lefty bard of our time. The words seem as resonant today as when they were first written: “Money speaks for money, the Devil for his own, Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone, What a comfort to the widow, a light to the child, There is power in a union.” Have a good one comrades!

Hear Charlie Overbey’s new album “Broken Arrow” first on Americana-UK

The deep and growling Charlie Overbey has LA written all over him, and his new album ‘Broken Arrow’ takes his mixture of music honed through decades on the country and punk rock scenes and gives it a modern day Outlaw twist.  There may even be a subtle nod to Neil Young.  The album features a number of great guests including the wonderful Miranda Lee Richards on first track ‘Slip Away’ and the awesome Mastersons on the chippy and bouncy ‘Outlaws’. Americana-UK is more than proud to be able to offer the first listen opportunity for ‘Broken Arrow’– it’s out everywhere on the 20th, but you’ll hear it here first today.