Home Life: Michael Weston King

For nigh on thirty years UK singer-songwriter Michael Weston King has been forging himself a well-respected lofty position on the roots scene with his solo work, the now defunct country rockers The Good Sons, and most recently alongside his musical and life partner Lou Dalgleish in My Darling Clementine. Drawing inspiration from the classic Texan songwriters of the 70’s alongside the honky-tonk bravado of the likes of  George and Tammy, King has managed to fuse a love of country music, both idealogical and conceptual, with a deep sense of political angst to produce albums that always deserve full attention. Most recently My Darling Clementine have teamed up with Steve Nieve to produce  a number of four-track EP’s dedicated to the work of Elvis Costello called ‘Country Darkness‘ the second of which is released on June 5th.  Americana-UK spoke to the midlands based songwriter and asked how things are panning out right now for usually noticeably active performer. Continue reading “Home Life: Michael Weston King”

Home Life: Nev Cottee

‘Manchester’s sun-drenched crooner’ may be a little hard to fathom in a city where it always rains.  Yet listen to any of Nev Cottee’s albums and you will find such a statement certainly holds up in this case.  Even when at his darkest, as arguably his latest ‘Rivers Edge‘ underlines more than most, Cottee draws as much from those haze West Coast vibes as he does the wet streets of home.  Comparisons to the likes of his musical heroes Scott walker and Lee Hazlewood are certainly undeniable yet I’d throw in more than a little sun-kissed psychedelia into the heady brew Cottee conjures up over his last few albums. They all warrant repeated listens and it isn’t long before you are utterly under the charm of a singer-songwriter who draws from the past but very much resides in a sonic present. AUK caught up with Cottee to see how he was coping in lockdown and what music is wafting through the air in his place to keep the boredom and anxiety at bay. Continue reading “Home Life: Nev Cottee”

Home Life: Lynne Hanson

Ottawa-based Lynne Hanson has just released ‘Just Words‘, her seventh album, produced by the  much-respected Jim Bryson.  For an artist who self-describes her music as ‘porch music with a little red dirt‘ it’s arguably her finest and most personal to date. Where Bryson may have broadened the sonic palette somewhat, Hanson is left to do what she does best – deliver songs that are much delivered from the heart as they are from the head.  Straddling country and Americana, her’s is a style that is both gritty and emotive, with burgeoning melodies that burst from the songs.  Over the years Hanson has built a sizeable fanbase across Canada and her visits to Europe have always been met with a more than favourable reaction. ‘Just Words‘ will undoubtably build on that hard-earned reputation and will certainly be one to consider come those end of year lists.  Americana-UK caught up with Hanson, hunkered down in her Canadian home just to check in and see how she was bearing up. Continue reading “Home Life: Lynne Hanson”

Home Life – Matt Harlan

Houston based Matt Harlan, like many artists in these surreal times, would have been a way into promoting his excellent fifth album, ‘Best Beasts.’ released here in Europe by Continental Record Services., at this point in his career.  Instead he is holed up at home contemplating an unknowing future as the world starts to envisage the ‘new normal. Not one to hide from his opinions, ‘Best Beasts’ is a raw and honest account of how Harlan sees the political climate in America, beautifully played and arranged alongside guest artists like Jon Dee Graham, himself never one to hide in the emotional cupboard, and the always excellent Bettysoo.  Harlan has always seemed very much his own man both as a songwriter a live performer, his work very much bears the mark of an artist very comfortable in his own skin. A period of lockdown might not be too hard a proposition?  Americana-UK caught up with Matt and asked how he was bearing up with being put on hold for a while and what are those albums or songs he was reaching for to ease the stress levels.   Continue reading “Home Life – Matt Harlan”

Home Life: TEOA

TEOA, the Philadelphia based indie-folksters have been extremely busy these last twelve months. Playing a number of well-received live shows alongside a ‘single release a month’ campaign has kept both their profile high and their creative juices flowing. The band will be releasing their latest instalment, ‘Not The End‘, a poignant reflection on the world around them that offers hope and understanding wrapped in a glorious Eagles-esque harmonic hue, on April 30th.  It’s somewhat of an anthem to these times even though it was written before the current pandemic situation.   Needless to say lockdown rears its ugly head and plans, hopes and dreams are all put on hold. Americana-UK speaks with Trevor Leonard to see how he and the band are holding up, how they are adapting to keeping their musical spirits high and what records have been firing up the decks to in these unsettling times. Continue reading “Home Life: TEOA”

Home Life: Doug Hoekstra

As a regular reader you may well be thinking, ‘not sure those ‘Van Life’ pieces are particularly relevant at the moment given all these musicians are holed up riding out the lockdown.’  And you would of course be right. But, even though the wheels on tarmac may be on hold, the ears on vinyl is still very much apparent. So, for the time being or at least until things start to get moving again in terms of gigging and touring, we are asking some isolating musicians what is on their turntables keeping them sane. First up is Nashville resident, singer-songwriter, author and all round good egg Doug Hoekstra who is currently in the last throws of recording a brand new album. A wonderful observationalist, Hoekstra conjures songs that run the gamut from wistful pop to articulate Americana.   With the wonders of modern technology Americana-UK gets virtually invited into the Hoekstra household to get a handle on how things are panning out. Continue reading “Home Life: Doug Hoekstra”