Songs for the apocalypse: Spain “Hoped and Prayed”

Josh Haden makes slooowwww music at the best of times, music which drips with atmosphere. I first came across his band Spain when a song of theirs was featured On the best TV series ever made© Six Feet Under and I duly lapped up everything they’d ever created. ‘She Haunts My Dreams’ and its successor ‘I Believe’ were the standout highlights for me. The track ‘Hope and Prayed’ taken from the former still makes the hairs on my arm rise up in unison.

Pick of the Political Pops: Quiet Loner “The Captain’s Diseased”

It’s funny to think that when Quiet Loner recorded this song back in 2013 that we’d have had another two captains by the end of the decade but both essentially steering the same course, and each one in their own way being worse than the last. The lyrics are as pertinent today as ever: “I can see that storm ahead. We’re heading right for the eye. We’re the living and soon-to-be dead. And we’re all in this boat together as it rumbles, rattles and keels. As I cling to this rope I abandon all hope, when I look whose hand’s on the wheel.” You wouldn’t want the current captain’s hands on the wheel of a milk float. God help us all.

AmericanA to Z – Uncle Tupelo

There’s no way we could make our first trip through the alphabet without a tip of the hat to the band that some folks point to as the start of this thing we call Americana. I’m going to sidestep the industrial-strength spider web of a conversation that inevitably follows any statement to the effect that somebody did or didn’t ‘start’ a movement or a musical style. Feel free to go down that road in the comments section if you’d like. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Uncle Tupelo”

Songs for the apocalypse: Paul Kelly “They Thought I Was Asleep”

Paul Kelly has more pathos in the index finger of his right hand than most songwriters do in their, er, heads – exhibit A is this track, the version of which you can watch below recorded with bluegrass band The Stormwater Boys. When I first heard this song it moved me to tears, partly because of the sublime melody but moreover because of the understatement, the humour and sadness, and Paul Kelly’s gift for storytelling, the story in this song of a journey home in the back of your parents’ car at night and the gulf there is between those rows of seats. Nobody does this more evocatively. I imagine one day this will be a song that I can never listen to again.

Pick of the Political Pop: Paul Rodgers “China Blue”

This week sees the 70th anniversary of the founding of The People’s Republic of China and we here in The People’s Republic of Liverpudlia thought we would celebrate our fellow People’s Republic’s birthday with lanterns, some dragon costumes and double egg fried rice and sweet and sour sauce all round. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pop: Paul Rodgers “China Blue””

Studio Life – Yunger

Felix Junger is a talented multi-instrumentalist. He plays in a number of bands across a range of genres but his latest project is a solo indie-folk record, ‘Of Journeys and Other Longings’, released under the name Yunger. It’s a wistful album, with a sense of wonder and a yearning for travel, for new experiences, for something more. Junger’s folk-guitar underpins his modern, uplifting sound and the end result is a confident, cohesive album full of summer melodies. The singer-songwriter from Austria recorded most of the instruments and mixed the album himself, showcasing his skills on the mandolin, banjo and accordion and allowing him to create rich soundscapes to soundtrack his travels. Continue reading “Studio Life – Yunger”

Studio Life – Worry Dolls

With the imminent release of a new EP and a seven-week tour coming up, Zoe Nicol and Rosie Jones of Worry Dolls will be keeping busy this autumn. The pair met in Liverpool while studying music and soon discovered that their voices, multi-instrumental talents and song writing skills were well-matched. They have been writing and performing together ever since. Worry Dolls are a lesson in following your dreams: Nicol and Jones made the difficult decision to leave their old lives behind and move to Nashville, where they recorded their well-received debut album, ‘Go Get Gone’. Their song, ‘Endless Road’, was nominated for Song of the Year at the Americana Music Association UK Awards and they have been championed by the likes of Bob Harris. So, anticipation is high for their new EP, ‘The River’. After the new song was showcased brilliantly at The Black Deer Festival, Americana-UK caught up with Worry Dolls just before the single’s release to find out more about the inspiration and song writing process. Continue reading “Studio Life – Worry Dolls”

Songs for the apocalypse: The Jayhawks “Sound of Lies”

It’s one of those paradoxes in life that while in my head I prefer the Jayhawks with Mark Olson, in reality some of my favourite songs by the band are from the era when he was no longer a member. The title track from the first record recorded without Olson back in 1997 was as exceptional as anything they’d produced before, with a lyrical honesty and melody that absolutely crushed me on first listen. Gary Louris’ vocals have never sounded so vulnerable. There was a raw nostalgia to lines such as “When I was young, outspoken, Mama said it’ll work out right.”  Sometimes of course it doesn’t.