10 songs about truckers and trucking – Part One

Here are 10 songs about truckers and trucking, hopefully without a dodgy bro-country reference in sight.  The myth of the road is part of American folklore but here in the UK and especially here in Cheshire we know a thing or two – ERF, Foden.  Legendary. Continue reading “10 songs about truckers and trucking – Part One”

AUK’s Chain Gang: Simone Felice “Bye Bye Palenville”

Following on from last weeks, ‘Satan & St Paul‘ by John Fulbright, another sensational writer, performer and producer, who expresses and tackles life’s demons with charm and elegant imagery, is Simone Felice.
Having come back from the dead twice himself, once aged just thirteen and again in his thirties, Felice is more capable than most in depicting dark thoughts and events. Still, he does it with a faith which casts grace over the shadowy subjects. And, as if that was not sensational enough, his prolific work as a producer for the likes of Bat for Lashes, Jade Bird and The Lumineers to name just a few, is to be celebrated also. Enjoy this live performance of his song ‘Bye Bye Palenville‘ (and while you’re at it veer off-piste for a couple of minutes into a sample of his production work with Bat for Lashes, and the haunting In Gods House from the Mercury Prize (2016) nominated album ‘The Bride‘)

Americana Roots: Old Town Flood

American 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.  From the historical, bluegrass hotbed of Baltimore is Old Town Flood who are continuing that long legacy of the city with their honest, hard-driving, lyrically-expressive, approach to the old-timey sound. Continue reading “Americana Roots: Old Town Flood”

Pick of the Political Pops: They Might Be Giants “Boss Of Me”

Here in the Independent People’s Republic of Liverpudlia we often wonder why other sister/brother independent republics don’t get along. Obviously we are surrounded by land and sea with places that aren’t republics (could, woulda, shoulda between 30th January 1649 and 29th May 1660 but…whatever) and the nations that do surround us seem to dislike one another with a smouldering intensity. We don’t get that either but hey-ho. We have been intrigued these past few weeks with talk of a ‘war’ between a couple of places that we were hard pressed to pinpoint on the map. Turns out the South Caucuses was the place and that Armenia and Azerbaijan were the places that had beef with one another. So we got that in a geographical sense but beyond that…? No – clueless. Naturally, our interest piqued, we dug a little further. We sort of wish we hadn’t because it’s complicated to the point that even falling down a rabbit hole would have been preferable. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: They Might Be Giants “Boss Of Me””

AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Gordon Sharpe

This week Gordon Sharpe provides the twentieth contribution to AUK’s continuing quest to find the top ten americana albums ever. As always it is a fascinating and educative experience as Gordon delves into the back catalogue of this thing we call americana. We are now turning into the home straight with this, but there are still many writers waiting to share their wisdom and suffering with you. Once they have finally all contributed we will have our shortlist from which the final collective AUK writers’ top ten will be chosen. Take it away Gordon…. Continue reading “AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Gordon Sharpe”

What should I do, Americana UK?

It was hardly a normal start to a musical enquiry such as we are accustomed (now) to address in this feature.  It was a very worried looking Willie Nelson who burst through the door to the consultation room and – not bothering to take a seat – spilled out his concern.  With his hands firmly planted he leaned across the desk and gave us the full life and death – quite literally for once – nature of his problem.  “See,” he drawled, “there’s a pistol packin’ mama hot on my trail.  She could be here any moment.”  He flopped into the chair “all I was doin’ was drinkin’ beer in a cabaret” he confessed.  “Well, maybe I was dancin’ with a blonde as well”.  Now though, it seems that all his appeals to “lay that pistol down” have had no beneficial effect. Continue reading “What should I do, Americana UK?”

Classic Americana albums: Alejandro Escovedo “Gravity” (Watermelon Records, 1992)

After a decade and a half of recording with a series of bands (including The Nuns, who opened for The Sex Pistols USA tour) and gradually mutating from punk to Americana, Alejandro Escovedo finally emerged fully-grown in 1992 with his first solo album. By all accounts, it had been a hard slog to get there. His New York scene with The Nuns imploded and he relocated to Texas where he formed Rank And File, one of the progenitors of the so-called cowpunk scene (“we wanted to marry the sounds of George Jones with The Clash”), in tandem with True Believers, a band bedevilled by record label problems. Personal tragedy preceded his solo debut as, in the midst of the pair splitting up, his wife killed herself. Her death informs many of the songs on ‘Gravity’ and its equally excellent follow-up, ‘Thirteen Years.’ Continue reading “Classic Americana albums: Alejandro Escovedo “Gravity” (Watermelon Records, 1992)”

Exclusive AUK Mini-Gig: James M Carson

As we’re hit with more lockdown restrictions and things continue to look bleak for live music, we have another exclusive AUK Mini-Gig to lift the gloom and provide a little light and joy for music lovers.  These shows are a way for great artists to connect with an audience for their songs.  Today, it’s the turn of Manchester-based James M Carson, surrounded by his fabulous new band.  We’re delighted to share an excellent live version of Carson’s 2017 single, ‘Calico’, featuring excellent musicianship throughout this brilliantly shot performance, recorded during the lockdown. Continue reading “Exclusive AUK Mini-Gig: James M Carson”

‘The Twang Factor’ presents: West on Colfax

There has been much discussion in recent times about the demise of the traditional band as a vehicle for making music and particularly performing live music. Those putting forward such arguments point to the costs involved in performing as a band, set against ever-decreasing returns. At ‘The Twang Factor’ we have seen this borne out by the very small number of band entries that have come in. It was therefore particularly pleasing to hear from West on Colfax, not just because they are a band, but because they are a damn fine one too. Hailing from various parts of Lancashire, the band are actually a five-piece, although perform here as a four-piece as in keeping with the times, one of their number was self-isolating at the time of recording. Continue reading “‘The Twang Factor’ presents: West on Colfax”