AmericanA to Z – Tom Petty

Tom Petty is one of the strongest and most resonant of all the artists connecting the 1970s to current Americana. In a desperately shortened career that still spanned over 41 years he wrote songs that appealed to the plaid wearing beer-drinking hell raisers, the shiny popsters with their beatboxes and hip shoes, the blue-collar workers heading out to their dead-end jobs singing to their dashboards about freedom and every other social grouping besides.  Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Tom Petty”

AmericanA to Z – Doug Sahm

Doug Sahm, AKA Sir Douglas, AKA Doug Saldana, AKA Wayne Douglas, a man of many names and one of the prime movers in concocting what we nowadays call Americana. The embodiment of Texas music, a child prodigy, Sahm made his debut stage appearance, aged 11, when he appeared with Hank Williams in Austin in 1952. Country music and Texas blues coursed through the young Sahm’s veins but it was the advent of The Beatles which gave him his break. A local producer, Huey Meaux, wanting to cash in on the fab four’s popularity, persuaded Sahm and his sidekick, Augie Meyers to don Carnaby Street togs and call themselves The Sir Douglas Quintet, their single ‘She’s About A Mover’, hit the US top twenty. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Doug Sahm”

AmericanA to Z – The Replacements

I’ll admit to not knowing what is and isn’t Americana. If I thought it was cowboy boots and Southern charm, I’d not be here. What I think of as Americana is more than that, and you know, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, so it’s a subjective thing. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – The Replacements”

AmericanA to Z – Dolly Parton

No, not Gram Parsons. Not even Elvis Presley (though if you don’t consider Elvis to be the epitome of ‘Americana’ then I will fight you right now). Dolly Rebecca Parton (of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee) has written, played and performed it all. And I’m prepared to fight you right now about that too. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Dolly Parton”

AmericanA to Z – Old Crow Medicine Show

Over the past 55 years or so (yes I’m that old!), I’ve been to hundreds and hundreds of gigs from tiny venues in pubs to Wembley Stadium, with everything in between. I have very few artists on my bucket list but one of the bands I haven’t seen and would really like to, is Old Crow Medicine Show. Now this could be remedied in March as they’re playing at the O2 as part of the Country To Country festival but the thought of seeing a band that should be playing at somewhere like the late lamented Borderline or something similarly intimate, at the vast barn that is the O2 means I’m going to have to wait a little longer to see them performing live. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Old Crow Medicine Show”

AmericanA to Z – Mandolin Orange

M is for Mandolin Orange, who are Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz. This duo’s fresh blend of acoustic bluegrass, folk and country to tell stories of profound feelings, frequently around love and loss, pulls together many of the strands that define Americana. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Mandolin Orange”

AmericanA to Z – Gordon Lightfoot

There are plenty of Gordon Lightfoot fans out there as attested by his ability to develop a touring schedule for 2020 having started his career back in the 1960s. Significant artists who have praised and been influenced by this Canadian songsmith include Johnny Cash, John Prine, Robbie Robertson and perhaps most famously, Bob Dylan. Lightfoot toured with Dylan including the 1975 ‘Rolling Thunder’ tour. Dylan has said, “Lightfoot became a mentor for a long time. I think he still is to this day” and recorded the Lightfoot penned ‘Shadows’. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Gordon Lightfoot”

AmericanA to Z – Kathleen Edwards

I have a few somewhat niche musical interests: the first – unsurprisingly – is that of the Americana and country genres; the second – also unsurprisingly, since it was the era I grew up in – is alternative music of the 90s; the third – actually surprisingly – is that of Canadian artists. I’m not sure exactly how it started, but I’ve got a lot of love for a set of musicians who hail from Canada (many of whom found their biggest success in the late-90s and early-00s). It’s kind of a thrill for me when I can marry any of these specific interests together, and that’s something I can do with Kathleen Edwards. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Kathleen Edwards”

AmericanA to Z – Jim Dickinson

While the name JimDickinson may not garner much recognition except by those of us who used to devour countless record sleeves to glean as much information as possible about writers, backing musicians studios etc in the days before the internet, as a recording artist, producer and session musician he embodied the essence of what makes roots American music great. He has contributed to some of the best and most interesting music of the last 50 or so years. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1941 he moved to Memphis in 1950 when he was 9 years old and it was Memphis that was the biggest influence on his musical development and career and led to him becoming the embodiment of that city’s music. While he died in 2009 his ethos and influence are being maintained by his sons Luther and Cody Dickinson, the guitarist and drummer with the North Mississippi Allstars. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Jim Dickinson”

AmericanA to Z – Ian Felice

Ian Felice, who many of you of course will know as lead singer/guitarist/songwriter for The Felice Brothers has spent better more than a decade carving up the grittier side of Americana. Overlooking the bequeathed politic outlook of his country, denouncing capitalism and greed and shedding light on the darker side of mental condition, are just some of the clear footholds Felice has formed in his song writing. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Ian Felice”