The Song Remains: Justin Townes Earle 1982 – 2020

Justin Townes Earle’s death at the age of 38 on 23rd August was announced on his social media without any confirmation of the cause of death. There has been considerable interest in the mainstream media with speculation that his was a drug-related death, due to his well-publicised struggles with alcohol and chemical dependencies. It will be another tragedy if he is largely remembered for his addictions and early death given the quality of his songwriting and music that will be his true legacy. Continue reading “The Song Remains: Justin Townes Earle 1982 – 2020”

The Song Remains: Emitt Rhodes 1950 – 2020

Emitt Rhodes died in his sleep on July 19th, 2020.  As a singer songwriter, he only released four authorised solo albums, with the penultimate one being released in 1973, to little overall success in the US and nothing in the UK. However, his work proved influential on the varying waves of power-pop and indie artists of subsequent generations. Richard Thompson, Aimee Mann and Wilco guitarist Nels Cline are fully paid up members of his fan club. Continue reading “The Song Remains: Emitt Rhodes 1950 – 2020”

The Song Remains: Rod Bernard 1940 – 2020

Rod Bernard, who died on July 12th, was a leading exponent of swamp pop. While the term was coined by English writer Bill Millar in the ‘70s, it refers to a style of music that grew out of South Louisiana and East Texas and is a mixture of rock’n’roll, R&B, country, New Orleans and French Louisiana influences, in the ‘50s and early ‘60s. For a short time there were a number of breakout hits on the US national charts, including the million selling Phil Phillips’ ‘Sea of Love’ and Cookie and His Cupcakes’ ‘Mathilda’Continue reading “The Song Remains: Rod Bernard 1940 – 2020”

The Song Remains: Judy Dyble 1949 – 2020

The original voice of Fairport Convention will sing no more. Following a long illness, Judy Dyble passed away on the 12th July 2020 at the age of 71. Born Judith Aileen Dyble in Central London in February 1949, Judy became active on the London folk scene when she was still in her mid-teens, originally singing with the band Judy and The Folkmen. Continue reading “The Song Remains: Judy Dyble 1949 – 2020”

The Song Remains: Ennio Morricone 1928-2020

Ennio Morricone, who died on 6th July at the age of 91, was a prolific composer for film – and there were few genres that he didn’t touch in his long career, from historical dramas such as ‘The Mission‘ to the fantastic wilds of Hypoborea in ‘Red Sonja‘. He helped terrify through his scores for films such as ‘John Carpenter’s The Thing‘ and ‘Exorcist II‘. He also composed a vast quantity of non-film orchestral music, but, to his own chagrin, it was his contribution to the reinvention of the Western Movie that for many was what he was best known for. It is also this which merits a mention of his passing here on Americana UK. Continue reading “The Song Remains: Ennio Morricone 1928-2020”

The Song Remains: Charlie Daniels 1936-2020

The death of Charlie Daniels almost inevitably was met with various headlines and tributes centred around his best-known song ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’. Released in 1979, the song marked a noticeably clear crossroads in his career. He went on to be a major mainstream country crossover star whose music became evermore dull, predictable and undistinguished. However, had his passing occurred prematurely, before the advent of his big hit, he would be remembered in a quite different way. Continue reading “The Song Remains: Charlie Daniels 1936-2020”

The Song Remains: James “Slim” Hand 1952-2020

The death of James ”Slim” Hand on 8th June, due to complications resulting from congestive heart failure, will bring feelings of great loss, not only to his family and friends, but also to the dedicated group of fans who appreciated his unique talent and irreplaceable presence on the Texas concert circuit he made his home. Some of those who truly understood his talents include Willie Nelson and the UK’s own Ags Connolly. James Hand didn’t record his first record until he was 47, in 1999, and he didn’t really tour outside his native Texas, and even in Texas he remained close to his home town of West, West Texas. However, he did tour Europe with Dale Watson in the mid-2000s, which resulted in a small but very dedicated European fan base being established. Continue reading “The Song Remains: James “Slim” Hand 1952-2020″

The Song Remains: John Prine 1946-2020

The death of John Prine following complications brought on by Covid-19 has not just robbed the Americana world of one of its finest talents, it has robbed music more widely of a true original and an inspiration to so many. Giants such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash have all cited Prine as someone whose work they admired. Continue reading “The Song Remains: John Prine 1946-2020”

The Song Remains: Adam Schlesinger 1967 – 2020

Regular and recent readers of this website will have seen from his current posts following Adam Schlesinger’s death on April 1st, from complications with Covid-19, that our esteemed editor is a particular fan of the artist and his band Fountains Of Wayne. In these, he shared his personal feelings on what Adam’s music has meant to him and acknowledging that while they weren’t a country band, Fountains Of Wayne recorded, in his opinion, a great country track with ‘Fire In The Canyon’, which just happens to be his favourite track of all time. Fountains Of Wayne were the most obvious outlet for Adam Schlesinger’s talents as songwriter, with his college friend and lead vocalist Chris Collingwood, producer, bassist and multi-instrumentalist, but they are only part of his rich legacy. Continue reading “The Song Remains: Adam Schlesinger 1967 – 2020”

The Song Remains: Steve Weber 1943-2020

The death of Steve Weber, one half of the fabled Holy Modal Rounders, progenitors of underground then psychedelic and eventually freak-folk has, for the most part gone unnoticed. The Rounders, a guitar, banjo and fiddle duo featuring Weber and co-founder Peter Stampfel, were a bellwether of sorts back in the sixties, blazing trails and opening the doors for acts such as The Lovin’ Spoonful while they became a touchstone for many in the freak-folk movement at the turn of the century. They were irreverent, sometimes obscene, always euphoric, putting the alt in folk and country long before the term was coined. As Rolling Stone called them at one point, they were gonzo traditionalists, they made folk music weird. Continue reading “The Song Remains: Steve Weber 1943-2020”