Exclusive AUK Mini-Gig: Brady Harris

We end the week with a real treat.  Through our ongoing series of mini-gigs, we are trying to recreate the joy of live performance in the comfort of your own home.  Here, Brady Harris provides an Americana masterclass in both songwriting and performance.  He has proved time and again that he can craft superb songs, full of melody and smart lyrics. Continue reading “Exclusive AUK Mini-Gig: Brady Harris”

Pick of the Political Pops: Ryan Adams “Political Scientist”

Americana-UK Towers is situated, as you know, in The People’s Republic of Liverpudlia and we thought it might be nice for you folks to know how we have handled the present travails and what we are doing to win the war against this pesky bug. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Ryan Adams “Political Scientist””

What should I do, Americana UK?

Welcome to the second in our semi-regular advice column, which, it seems, might be running on a three weekly basis.  Some problems are complex, and some problems are very straightforward – and this week we have a case of the latter.  Messrs Simon and Garfunkel want to know why they aren’t getting all their mail.  They’re desperate for a missive even if it’s “only to say that you’re leaving me.” Continue reading “What should I do, Americana UK?”

Classic Americana Albums: Ry Cooder “Into The Purple Valley” (Warner, 1972)

Ry Cooder has a unique and special place in the Americana realm, his reputation based on his consummate skills on guitar (especially slide, where many rate him among the world’s best) and mandolin, and as an arranger of roots and traditional music, from the USA and beyond. His musical legacy now spans five decades, 17 solo albums, as many collaborations again, including ‘Buena Vista Social Club’, and a similar number of movie soundtracks, most notably for Wim Wenders’ ‘Paris, Texas’. Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: Ry Cooder “Into The Purple Valley” (Warner, 1972)”

Songs for the apocalypse: The Delevantes “Suitcase of Leather”

The Delevantes have been around for over three decades now, the band consisting of brothers Bob and Mike Delevante from Nashville, Tennesse. Way back in the late-nineties when my americana genes were still not quite fully developed I discovered their debut album ‘Long About That Time’ in the Virgin megastore in Liverpool which is now empty and just contains the ghosts of hip staff raising their eyebrows when you turned up to the counter with something like this. It was released on Rounder and got some airplay on CMT – I just fell in love with the record, with its harmonies and jangling guitars. They were a thing too – here’s some archive footage of them playing with Steve Earle at the Mean Fiddler in 97 (no sound sorry, but Steve looks happy enough). The good news is they’re now back after a decade long hiatus, although it may be some time before they reach our shores again.

AmericanA to Z: John Cougar Mellencamp

This A-Z  is taking a small liberty. For ‘C’  we are looking at, and appreciating, the transformation of John Cougar Mellencamp from AOR-radio-friendly hit seeking pop-rocker, to gritty roots activist. Somewhere in the early to mid-1980s John Cougar seemed to lose his desire to emulate highly produced ‘heartland rock’ and emerge under his own name. And along the way he dropped the (much needed for this feature)[C]ougar too.  Maybe 1983 was the time he felt it right to assert himself and not pander to what record companies wanted. Maybe he cottoned onto the connotations of the term Cougar. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z: John Cougar Mellencamp”

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”

A top ten of classic Americana albums

Will I be listening to this top ten in ten years? For the most part, probably. Most of the selections have stood my test of time for a good twenty or thirty years and I don’t think the newer additions are going anyplace soon. How do I know these are my top ten? I wouldn’t begin to defend them through any other reason than that they are my choice of listening when seeking connection to something deeper or more profound than is offered in our quotidian existence. Judge for yourself whether they are worthy of your time: Continue reading “A top ten of classic Americana albums”

AUK’s top 10 Americana albums ever: Clint West

Welcome to a brand new feature. At AUK we are on a quest to find the ‘Top 10 Americana Albums Ever’. Over the coming weeks and months each AUK writer will in turn, present their own personal selections. When each writer has had their say, a shortlist of the most frequently chosen albums will be drawn up and voted on, in order to generate the definitive AUK writers top ten. So whilst we all have sleepless nights whittling the whole history of Americana down to just 10 albums, you can sit back and cast a critical eye. Both nods of approval and sighs of incredulity are fully expected. We welcome your comments and observations in the box provided at the bottom of the page. Continue reading “AUK’s top 10 Americana albums ever: Clint West”

Exclusive AUK Mini-Gig: Laura Cortese

We hope that our regular series of mini-gigs is spreading a little light in the gloom during these strange days.  Some fabulous artists have contributed exclusive performances for AUK readers to enjoy.  Today, we are privileged to present Laura Cortese.  Here, she’s playing solo though she usually plays as part of Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards, a group of singing string players known for a fresh, edgy take on the traditional string quartet.  Continue reading “Exclusive AUK Mini-Gig: Laura Cortese”