Forgotten Artists – The Delevantes

Bob and Mike Delevante arrived on the scene in the early ‘90s and immediately set ears buzzing. Combining Everly Brothers-style harmonies with Springsteen-esque songs of working-class lives, they attracted the support of industry luminaries such as Garry Talent and Benmont Tench and seemed destined for seats at the top table. Their first album, ‘Long About That Time’, released in 1995 and produced by Talent, received a three star review from Rolling Stone magazine and went straight to number six in the Gavin Americana Charts. The album was nominated for a Nashville Music Award and named Pop Album of the Year by the National Association of Independent Records and Distributors (NAIRD); but it was all over before the end of the decade – the brothers went their separate ways and it seemed to be the end for one of Alt-Country’s most promising new acts. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – The Delevantes”

Forgotten Artists – Freakwater

Of all the bands that were tagged with the ‘alternative-country’ label, for Freakwater, more than any other, it fitted least well. Their music was set in the traditions of Appalachian folk, bluegrass and old-time country into which they injected a dose of modern energy and a healthy application of recalcitrance. The instrumentation was largely acoustic and, unlike the majority of the ‘alt-country’ bands that emerged in the late 80s and early 90s, Freakwater were fronted by two women. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Freakwater”

Forgotten Artists – Kieran Kane

There was a time, in the late ‘90s and early 2000s when Kieran Kane seemed to be Mr. Americana. He released four excellent solo albums over a seven-year period and built a strong following, particularly in Europe, through regular touring around small, intimate venues that allowed audiences to appreciate his wit and story-telling, along with his great songs, in a way that really connected with people. I remember travelling right across London to see him play at a small arts centre in Brentford and thinking it was one of the best gigs I’d seen in a very long time, well worth the lengthy schlepp there and back from my North London flat. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Kieran Kane”

Forgotten Artists – Lynn Miles

I’m always quite taken aback by the number of Americana fans I meet who’ve never heard of Lynn Miles – an Award-winning singer/songwriter with some fifteen solo albums across a recording career that spans over 30 years. She started gigging at the age of sixteen and, prior to the current pandemic, was still touring regularly throughout Europe and the Americas. Lynn Miles is not so much forgotten, it seems, as Canadian – and it’s this that would seem to be the reason she’s flown under so many people’s Americana radar. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Lynn Miles”

Forgotten Artists – Bonnie Koloc

Bonnie Koloc was one of three performers who, during the early 1970s, made up the celebrated ‘Trinity of the Chicago Folk Scene’. The other two were John Prine and Steve Goodman. That in itself should be enough to make you sit up and take notice. However, Bonnie Koloc was far too good to be remembered only by this association; she was an exceptional artist in her own right. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Bonnie Koloc”

Forgotten Artists – Willy DeVille

Americana is often described as a mix of many different strands of American music. Rock, of all sorts, country, blues, folk and gospel all blended together. Willy DeVille, whether under his own name, or earlier as Mink DeVille, added influences from further South, Cajun, New Orleans R&B and Mariachi all appeared in his sound at one time or another. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Willy DeVille”

Forgotten Artists – Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra

Here at the Forgotten Artists series we don’t necessarily think these artists have actually been forgotten – it’s more that their contribution to Americana may have been overlooked or that they’ve flown below the radar for some fans of the genre. I think this is definitely the case with Hazlewood and Sinatra. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra”

Forgotten Artists – Willis Alan Ramsey

Willis Alan Ramsey was not only in at the start of the Austin music scene of the ‘70s but he was also one of the first of the new wave of singer-songwriters, subsequently tagged as progressive country, to get a contract with a major label. His first self-titled album, released in 1972, contained eleven self-written tracks and ten have subsequently been covered by other artists including Jimmy Buffet, Sam Bush, Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovett, Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Willis Alan Ramsey”

Forgotten Artists – The Cactus Brothers

The Cactus Brothers were a Nashville based band who released two excellent albums in the 1990s before folding. Those two albums, whilst critically lauded, suffered a fate familiar to many bands who dared to stray from the mainstream, namely they bombed. With radio exposure so vital in the US at that time, the Cactus Brothers were deemed to be too country for rock radio and too rock for country radio. After their second album they were dropped by Capitol EMI and the band disintegrated as members went off to do other things. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – The Cactus Brothers”

Forgotten Artists – Roger Tillison

Roger Tillison is not a name many will have come across in the first place let alone forgotten. However, he is a fine example of the Tulsa Sound of the ‘60s and ‘70s, which included Leon Russell and J J Cale as its standard-bearers. Additionally, he spent time in Woodstock when Dylan and The Band were in town. In our increasingly globalised world, with immediate access to virtually unlimited digital music, it is easy to forget the rich legacy of the many individual regional musical styles of the United States that provide such rich foundations for Americana. These musical styles were developed from local influences and worked up in live shows as much as in recording studios and therefore have a distinct and unique sound. The Tulsa Sound was one such key component and Roger Tillison was at the heart of it in its heyday. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Roger Tillison”