Classic Americana Albums: The Band “The Band” (Capitol, 1969)

There are a number of albums that can claim to have kicked off Americana, Flying Burrito Brothers, Dylan, or CSN, but the one that really embodied the American spirit and turned it into a new sort of music was The Band’s self-titled second album. The context for this record was 1969 and the key albums were ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’ by Iron Butterfly, ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’ and ‘Led Zeppelin II‘. Into this came an album with a cover picture that looks like Matthew Brady’s Civil War portraits, and an organic acoustic sound that contrasted sharply with the Mellotrons and fuzz guitars that dominated the charts. Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: The Band “The Band” (Capitol, 1969)”

Forgotten Artists – Marvin, Welch & Farrar

Here we go with another glance into the past via our FORGOTTEN ARTISTS series, taking a look at some of the Americana musicians that may just have dropped out of people’s memories or who, perhaps, never received the appreciation their contribution to the genre deserved. This time around I’m featuring a British band that, for a very brief period, tried to create a UK version of the West Coast America close harmony sound that was proving popular at the time. An outfit that boasted some very unexpected members… Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Marvin, Welch & Farrar”

10 americana fishing songs

Fishing is the second most popular outdoor recreational activity in America (behind running). It is estimated that around 50 million Americans fish regularly. Despite being associated with the older generation, 60% of American anglers are under 45 and 22% are under 18. In many parts of rural America, fishing is an integral part of the culture. It therefore seems appropriate to reflect that in this series. So, fetch your fold-out chair, pack your beer and sandwiches and cast into this little lot. Continue reading “10 americana fishing songs”

Americana Roots: Kenny Roby

Americana 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.  Songwriting-confessional-troubadour Kenny Roby has long been singing about his life and the world around him since his earliest days with 6-String Drag.  This look at the world continues on his latest album, ‘The Reservoir’. Continue reading “Americana Roots: Kenny Roby”

Pick of the Political Pops: Neil Young and Crazy Horse “Cortez The Killer”

This week at Americana-UK Towers we have been poring over the history books and were reminded of the anniversary of the fall of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan in 1521 which essentially lead to the downfall of the Aztec empire. The man at the centre of it all was Hernan Cortez. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Neil Young and Crazy Horse “Cortez The Killer””

Review: Uncut’s “Wilco – The Ultimate Music Guide”

With their ‘Sounds of the New West’ compilations Uncut has always been the most likely of the major music magazines to cover “our” sort of music. They also publish a series of “Ultimate Music Guides” examining the career of an artist in detail. So far, they have mostly focused on people with the maximum shelf appeal in WH Smiths, Beatles, Dylan, Bowie. But now they are looking further afield and this time it’s the turn of Wilco. Continue reading “Review: Uncut’s “Wilco – The Ultimate Music Guide””

What should I do, Americana UK?

And today we have a problem not of the heart, not even an angst twisted issued drawn from the human condition. Our enquirer today, the near meteorologically named Mr Fogerty has a singular concern which is directly of a meteorological nature in itself.  To whit – he wants to know “who’ll stop the rain?“.  Seems it’s been raining for as long as he can remember, and it’s playing havoc with the vegetable patch he’s planted to get him through the twin terrors of Covid and the looming Brexit trade disaster. We can understand his worry. Continue reading “What should I do, Americana UK?”

Ten Americana songs about telephony

Where would the world of Americana be without Alexander Graham Bell’s little invention? How could anyone call their Baby to let them know they’re coming home to them? How else could they pour their heart out to someone they’ve never met or are likely to meet? When it comes to letting someone know just how you feel, whether it’s good, bad or pretty indifferent, a letter just doesn’t cut it. Letters are great for returning to sender or encouraging you to take an aeroplane instead of a fast train, but you’re not going to write to the sorting office imploring them to save your love life and a letter won’t encourage you to pull over to the side of the road, on a whim, every twenty miles or so, just to hear a loved one’s voice on the other side of the country. For instant yearning declarations of emotion you need a phone – and a good telephone system. You need lines, operators, call boxes – you need telephony! Continue reading “Ten Americana songs about telephony”

Classic Americana Albums: John Murry “The Graceless Age” (Bucketfull of Brains, 2012)

I owe a lot to Uncut magazine. In September 1998, the publication gave away a compilation CD called ‘Sounds of the New West’, which opened my eyes – and ears – to alt-country and Americana. A couple of years later, Uncut turned me on to Ryan Adams’s first album, ‘Heartbreaker’, now one of my favourite records of all time, and then in 2012 it published a review of John Murry’s ‘The Graceless Age’, calling it a “masterpiece.”
Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: John Murry “The Graceless Age” (Bucketfull of Brains, 2012)”

AmericanA to Z: Old Crow Medicine Show

I was privileged to see Old Crow Medicine Show as an unknown emerging band in the UK, when they stole the show at Cambridge Folk Festival in 2004. I caught them at the Mojo press tent, doing a busking set, at that time they weren’t on the festival bill, their high energy set drew an enthusiastic crowd, and they went down a storm. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z: Old Crow Medicine Show”