Helen Jones’s Review of 2019

Reflecting on 2019, there has been a lot of quality music released – including fantastic records from Sturgill Simpson, The Highwomen and Tyler Childers to name a few – so much excellent music in fact that I must admit found the idea of writing this piece a little overwhelming. So I’ve decided to pare it back and focus on some smaller records that haven’t always had the press that they might have deserved, but ones whose songs have rattled around in my head for days at a time after many a repeat listen. Continue reading “Helen Jones’s Review of 2019”

Pick of the Political Pops: Robert Wyatt “At Last I Am Free”

Friends, readers, colleagues! Rejoice! AUK have held our election for the position of The Editor and we are supremely proud to announce that – for the nth year running – The Editor has pulled off a triumphant victory and we are beside ourselves with delight. As we have said before his was the only name on the ballot paper but that matters not a jot. He won. Get over it. Don’t even think about taking to the streets in protest. It’s the natural order of things. What the fuck are you thinking??? Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Robert Wyatt “At Last I Am Free””

Americana UK writers choose their albums of 2019 – part one

A week today it’ll be Christmas and you’ll open up that gift box of three different Lynx deodorants as you surreptitiously check to see what condition it’s in, in case you can regift it to someone else on Boxing Day. You could save yourself that deflated feeling by looking through our writers’ list of the albums which have meant the most to them over the last 12 months, and then just ask for them. You might be sweaty but at least you’ll have Nick Cave nestled under your arm. Without further ado, here’s part one of our top albums of 2019. Continue reading “Americana UK writers choose their albums of 2019 – part one”

Studio Life – Roseanne Reid

This has been some year for Roseanne Reid. Her critically-acclaimed debut album, ‘Trails’, has just been named one of the records of 2019 by the Sunday Times and ‘Amy’ has been nominated in the UK song of the year category for the Americana Music Association UK Awards. The same song won the Lyric Only category at Nashville’s International Song Competition ahead of 160,000 other entries. Reid has toured with the likes of Caroline Spence, Robert Vincent and Ferris & Sylvester and she put on a spellbinding show at the Black Deer Festival. The legendary Steve Earle has championed Reid and even provided guest vocals for ‘Sweet Annie’, one of Reid’s most beautiful songs. The first single from the album was the sublime ‘I Love Her So’. Americana-UK caught up with Reid after she wrapped up her touring schedule for the year to explore the single in more detail. Continue reading “Studio Life – Roseanne Reid”

AmericanA to Z – The Flying Burrito Brothers

Fifty years after their seminal debut album ‘The Gilded Palace of Sin’ was released in Spring 1969 The Flying Burrito Brothers shine out as Americana pioneers, their reputation based more on artistic reputation and credibility among their peers and successors, than commercial success. It was famously said of Velvet Underground’s output that  ‘The Velvet Underground didn’t sell many records, but everyone who bought one went out and started a band’ ( variously attributed to Lou Reed or Eno), similarly the influence of The Flying Burrito Brothers on bands that followed cannot be overstated. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – The Flying Burrito Brothers”

A Review of the Year: My friend lives in an Ivory Tower, she’s Protected from Misery.

Which is quite lucky for her really – everyone else has probably noticed that 2019 has been one of those years destined to go down in history as interesting – and we all know the value of interesting times. Obviously 2019 will go down as the year of almost continual elections, it’s also the year that proves that we can’t laugh at the USA for Trump anymore. I could make a list of every error, missed opportunity and decision to shoot ourselves in the foot – but really there’s no point is there? Continue reading “A Review of the Year: My friend lives in an Ivory Tower, she’s Protected from Misery.”

Independent thinking: Tim Martin’s review of 2019

2019 was the year I reconnected with Americana and remembered what I love about the music. Given that I started writing for AUK this is hardly a surprise. What was a surprise was how many great new artists there are working away in the world of independent releases and just how good many of them are. Continue reading “Independent thinking: Tim Martin’s review of 2019”

Pick of the Political Pops: Pete Seeger “We Shall Overcome”

This is for anyone who’s suffered over the last nine years, can barely contain the pain and grief of last night and is in fear of what the next five have in store. In all seriousness, if you’re at the end of your tether and you need someone to talk to, remember you can call Samaritans on 116 123. Remember too that nothing changes – we are still here for one another, and one day we’ll beat the fuckers. As Tony Benn said: “There’s no final victory. And there’s no final defeat.”

This website kills fascists – Vote for hope today

Today dear reader is one of the most important days for this country that we’ve faced in decades, certainly since 1979. I wrote a piece a couple of years ago on the day of 2017’s general election, and while I got a couple of “shut up and sing” type emails, most visitors to this site understood where we’re coming from and indeed of the long and enduring link between music journalism and politics – just look at Rolling Stone and some of its most important writers over the years. We are also a Liverpool based website, and proud of it, a city which has been devastated by the largest cuts per head of population in the UK since 2010. Today then, as Ken Loach’s team said yesterday, represents a fork in the road – a day when we can choose to go one of two ways. Continue reading “This website kills fascists – Vote for hope today”

Songs for the apocalypse: Billy Bragg “Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards”

Tomorrow feels like the most important day this country has faced in many decades – more on that tomorrow – so for this week’s voyage to americanageddon, there couldn’t really be any other choice. Billy Bragg has adapted the song at live shows over the years to keep up with the times and whatever latest villain we’re having to endure, but some of the lyrics feel as apt now as they did 31 years ago when the song first featured on the classic ‘Workers Playtime’ album. “Jumble sales are organized and pamphlets have been posted, Even after closing time there’s still parties to be hosted. You can be active with the activists or sleep in with the sleepers while you’re waiting for the great leap forwards.”  Here’s hoping the wait is over any day now.