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”

Pick of the Political Pops: Steve Earle “Amerika v6.0 (The Best We Can Do)”

Recently at Americana UK Towers we set up the cine projector and had our weekly ‘film night’ where we come together as one and enjoy a movie. We had a high old time each with their bottle of over strength spirit in one hand and vegan snack of meadow grass flavoured chickpea crisps in the other. It was truly remarkable – holding hands and disavowing the existence of an interventionist god as a precursor to the main event, smelling each other’s hands to check for ‘that’ hand sanitizer aroma and knowing therefore that we were free from virus spreading guilt and promising to love one another regardless of what we had said about our fellows via private messaging in the preceding days of the week. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Steve Earle “Amerika v6.0 (The Best We Can Do)””

AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Ljubinko Zivkovic

Welcome to our weekly feature in which AUK writers in turn make their selections for the ‘top 10 americana albums ever’. When all have contributed we will then draw up a shortlist and ask them to vote to decide the overall AUK writers top 10. This week Netherlands based writer Ljubinko Zivkovic takes up the baton and guides us down the back straight with a scintillating run of albums, a number of which are definite podium contenders when this particular race is finally run. Continue reading “AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Ljubinko Zivkovic”

Classic Americana Albums: Yo Yo Ma, Edgar Myer and Mark O’Connor “Appalachian Journey” (Sony Music, 2000)

Collaborations with classical artists are often an uneasy fit, a cue for an unholy alliance of partners.  Non-classical artists bask in the status and virtuosity of the conservatoire sorts, while the orchestral players demonstrate they are adaptable and groovy.  However, when it works it can provide luminous, unforgettable music.  This recording is a classic because it does that.  The world would be a diminished place without this meeting of musical minds and its gorgeous moments. Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: Yo Yo Ma, Edgar Myer and Mark O’Connor “Appalachian Journey” (Sony Music, 2000)”

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”

10 Americana songs with great lyrics

Mark Underwood continues with the fifth in his irregular feature on music by great songwriters with great lyrics, this time taking you through classics from the likes of Amy Speace, Alejandro Escovedo, Neil Young and Gretchen Peters. Continue reading “10 Americana songs with great lyrics”

AUK’s Chain Gang: The Milk Carton Kids “Hope of a Lifetime”

“Can’t Do Much” was the refrain of the last Chain Gang piece, and indeed there are times when the odds are overwhelming, and you will not overcome.  What music can express this and provide the soundtrack to a calm acceptance of fate?  Here is the answer. `Hope of a Lifetime’ is from The Milk Carton Kids’ second album “The Ash and Clay” and never has the extinguishing of dreams sounded so gorgeous.  The album itself has an honest focus on passing moments and loss, and it’s exemplified in this song.  The voices meld together in quiet resignation with a backing of intricate guitar work, and provide us with these lyrics; In the newfound reverie / Of quiet peace I found / Freedom comes from being unafraid / Of the heartache that can plague a man”.  This a duo that use words with a thought, and in this song they express a dry-eyed stoic acceptance that also provides solace.

Pick of the Political Pops: Yo La Tengo “Autumn Sweater”

Here at Americana-UK Towers we have unaccountably found ourselves in a new season and are ready to embrace all that this change in the meteorological world has to throw at us. Thank heavens that the madness of the spring and summer months is behind us we thought and that we can finally raise a glass of harvest punch on a reflective, calm and peaceful time. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Yo La Tengo “Autumn Sweater””

AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Viv Fish

Our quest to find the best americana album ever continues with another compelling list, this time from AUK writer Viv Fish. It’s been a fascinating journey so far and if nothing else, has demonstrated the wide range of musical tastes that our writers possess. Just a reminder that when all the writers have chipped in with their selections, a shortlist will be drawn up and they will vote from that list for the prestigious accolade (it says here) of AUK’s best americana album ever. Over to you Viv… Continue reading “AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Viv Fish”

Classic Americana Albums: Butch Hancock “West Texas Waltzes and Dust-Blown Tractor Tunes” (Rainlight Records, 1978)

When we think of legendary Texas band, The Flatlanders, we tend to regard them as the band that launched the careers of Texas music icons Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. The third member of the band, Butch Hancock sometimes gets overlooked by comparison. Given that Hancock wrote four of the songs on the Flatlanders fabled ‘One More Road’ album, whereas Gilmore wrote three and a further co-write and Ely wrote none, it’s fair to say that Hancock’s part in that celebrated band has sometimes been understated. After the initial demise of The Flatlanders, Hancock continued to write songs throughout the 1970s which were used by both Jerry Jeff Walker and Joe Ely. In fact, Hancock contributed eleven songs to Ely’s first three albums. Nevertheless, it was Hancock’s own debut LP ‘West Texas Waltzes & Dust-Blown Tractor Tunes’ that singled him out as a truly original and innovative artist. Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: Butch Hancock “West Texas Waltzes and Dust-Blown Tractor Tunes” (Rainlight Records, 1978)”