Now in its second year the City Roots Festival continues along a path already taken by its elder sibling the Cambridge Folk Festival in that it takes a fairly broad definition of what represents Roots. And music. On the opening weekend there had been a World Music opener – with Sona Jobarteh and then Chouk Bwa Libete and on the same night as Rich Hall the folk music fan would have been torn by the knowledge that McGoldrick, McCusker and Doyle had hot footed it from their recent touring with the Transatlantic Sessions and were playing just a little way down the road from the Corn Exchange. It’s a truism that if one didn’t have to pick then it wouldn’t be a really good festival line-up. Continue reading “Rich Hall’s Hoedown, Cambridge Corn Exchange, 27th February 2018”
AUK premieres this morning the new self-titled LP from Pedigo’s Magic Pilsner, named after a nearly-undrinkable batch of beer once brewed by Pedigo’s father. Pedigo is Dallas singer/songwriter John Pedigo, one half of folk duo The O’s, and the album is a belter – it radiates with hope, joy and exuberant defiance in the face of loss. Pedigo’s father was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2016, which led him to write and record a bunch of songs that would, in their own way, honour his dad’s legacy. Continue reading “Album premiere: Pedigo’s Magic Pilsner “Pedigo’s Magic Pilsner” – Listen”
Probably the best value americana festival in the UK lands again this year just after Easter so you can boogie away those calories – The three-day indoor Ramblin Roots Revue music festival returns to High Wycombe for a second year from 6-8 April, in association with americana label Clubhouse Records. The bill boasts more than 25 roots, Americana, bluegrass and alt-country acts from the US, UK and Europe including The Magic Numbers ahead of their new album, The Rails, and a UK debut performance from Norwegian band, Lucky Lips. Continue reading “Win tickets to Ramblin’ Roots Review with AUK”
A West End musical based entirely on the songs of Bob Dylan has to rank quite highly in the list of things that will never exist. And yet Girl from the North Country is that very thing. After a short run at the Old Vic it has now transferred with near sell-out success for what is described as a limited run at the Noel Coward Theatre. That very close to sold-outness would, one would like to think, ensure it has a longer life to come somewhere else. Despite weaving a story around a single artist’s music it’s not your typical juke-box musical – it’s not your typical anything. Continue reading “Girl from the North Country, The Noel Coward Theatre, London”
Given the inclement weather and the fact that we forgot to buy Our Glorious Leader (The Editor) a Valentine’s Day card we have chosen to repair to The Bunker for a few days to drown our sorrows and wait until the worst of His temper has subsided. We remain connected to the outside world through the regular channels however and news reached us that there has been a right old kerfuffle about the wrong doings of the charity sector with some coming in for particular attention. We like to believe in the inherent goodness of all folk but we also believe that if you abuse your position of help/power/doing right then you are a horrible human being and completely lost to us. On the other hand we can’t help wondering about the vehemence of the right wing press in pursuing certain people and organisations in this matter. A charity came right out and said that capitalism distributes the rewards of market activity inequitably (and by extension is responsible for poverty). The right wing press came right back with one rodney suggesting that socialism was responsible for the desperate poverty inflicted on hundreds of millions (and by extension charity people are all lefties whom we will label ‘sexual abusers’ just to put them in their place). Crikey – it’s a right old mess. Have a listen to this tune which suggests a gentler way of going about handing things out.
This week we have been mostly ruminating on things horological. It is, in the UK at least, one hundred years since (some) men and (some) women got the right to vote. Also we are minded that this year marks the point at which the Berlin Wall has been down as long as it was up. Also someone sent a car into space. Progress we suppose.
Here at Americana-UK Towers we like to think ourselves as being at a certain level of elite without, of course, being elitist. We’ll entertain any old Tom, Dick or Harriet particularly if they are handy with a tune or guitar picking or even, under certain circumstances, harmonica blowing. If the said hoi polloi can pitch up with some fine spirits or decent beer then we can be more than welcoming. We had fun, then, imagining how one of our bacchanalia would go down in Davos – that Swiss place where the ‘great’ and the ‘good’ find themselves every so often in order to discuss the best way forward for the rest of us. Why even Donny John turned up to liven things up (although we suspect he wasn’t fist bumping with our own John MacDonald). Pity we didn’t get an invite but had we done we would immediately have offered to do a DJ set and given pride of place to this little tune which we hope would have given them something to think about. We’re not holding our breath for next year.
While Whiskey in the Pines hail from Florida, synonymous with endless sunshine and miles of beaches, the ocean is still a long way from the band’s hometown Tallahassee (not so far from us here in Liverpool, although maybe without the endless sunshine). We’ve got a preview for you today of their new record: “Sunshine From The Blue Cactus” weaves together alt-country, folk and classic rock influences, with echoes of Son Volt and the Drive-By Truckers. Continue reading “Album premiere: Whiskey in the Pines “Sunshine From the Blue Cactus””
East Carolina’s SUSTO have been making giant strides these last couple of years, generating huge acclaim for their live shows and acquiring a number of big-time fans including Band Of Horses’ Ben Bridwell. “I got an e-mail from him, telling me he loved the record and wanted to meet with me and Johnny. That was actually the day I wrote my professor and said, ‘I’m not coming in,’” recalls lead singer and songwriter, Justin Osborne. Americana-UK fires the questions as he packs the cases and gets those all-important tunes ready for the trip, their ever first UK dates on the back of & I’m Fine Today, their new album. Continue reading “Van Life – Justin Osborne (SUSTO)”
Way back in 2001 when I first started Americana UK on a shoestring budget (not even a shoestring to be fair, it was zero) one of the first labels to kindly start sending us through stuff for review was Loose. The albums were not only by some of the best names in americana but always beautifully packaged too, proving that you can have style and substance – indeed many people came to the genre in the first place through their amazing compilations they would produce in the days when everyone still bought CDs. At this year’s AMAUK awards which take place in Hackney at the end of this month, Loose perhaps more than any other label will have a major presence there, with two showcasing artists, three nominees and a special conference session reflecting on their two decades at the forefront of the genre. AUK caught up with label founder (“Le Grand Fromage”) Tom Bridgewater and discussed the conference, what’s changed over 20 years and separating the wheat from the chaff. Continue reading “Loose Records to celebrate 20 years at the AMAUK conference”