Pick of the Political Pops: Elvis Costello “Night Rally”

This week sees the 75th anniversary of the fall of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and, since nobody likes a fascist dictator, we thought that we would nod to it here. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Elvis Costello “Night Rally””

Forgotten Artists – Willis Alan Ramsey

Willis Alan Ramsey was not only in at the start of the Austin music scene of the ‘70s but he was also one of the first of the new wave of singer-songwriters, subsequently tagged as progressive country, to get a contract with a major label. His first self-titled album, released in 1972, contained eleven self-written tracks and ten have subsequently been covered by other artists including Jimmy Buffet, Sam Bush, Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovett, Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Willis Alan Ramsey”

Songs for the apocalypse: The David Mayfield Parade “Blue Skies Again”

Three years ago when I was in Nashville I ended up seeing a band called The David Mayfield Parade at a small venue called The Railsplitters which was one of those shows that you don’t necessarily anticipate changing your world but end up unexpectedly being one of the most memorable of your life. I’ve still to date probably not seen quite that many musicians in such a small space, particularly since Mayfield’s stage presence could have filled 90% of it as it was. Mayfield himself grew up playing bass and touring with his family’s bluegrass band and the years of developing his talent are clear. I saw him almost blind (not literally) but had always particularly loved the opening track ‘Blue Skies Again’ to his 2010 self-titled debut which we reviewed here at AUK. The whole album, and its follow up too, is superb and like 95% of the music I love most makes me weep uncontrollably.

AmericanA to Z – Hoyt Axton

OK, you’re left with X, Y & Z they said. Not wanting to give short shrift to any Zandt or Young icon, Hoyt Axton contains an x and a y, but is he Americana? Well he started as a folk singer, ended as a country fixture, and in between had a TV special called ‘The Hoyt Axton Country Western Boogie Woogie Gospel Rock and Roll Show’, which touches a lot of Americana bases. Without ever being a major star, Axton’s talents exhibited an almost Zelig-like tendency through his career, not just through music, but on screen. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Hoyt Axton”

Exclusive AUK Mini-Gig: Sarah Jarosz

In the age of isolation, AUK is bringing you regular ‘mini-gigs’ to help connect you, dear reader, to the outside world.  We are featuring great artists performing fantastic songs, coming all the way from their home to yours to lift the gloom a little.  For folk and Americana fans around the world, Sarah Jarosz needs little introduction.  As part of folk-supergroup, I’m With Her, Jarosz won this year’s Grammy Award for Best American Roots Song for the 2019 single ‘Call My Name’.  That was her third Grammy.  Continue reading “Exclusive AUK Mini-Gig: Sarah Jarosz”

The top ten Americana duets

In these trying times we can think of nothing better here at AUK than knocking out Top Ten’s of this, that and the other. Indeed every man and his wife (or every wife and her husband or every wife and her wife or every husband and his husband or… let’s just say everyone and their significant other) seems to be on the case. Continue reading “The top ten Americana duets”

Classic Americana Albums: Courtney Marie Andrews “Honest Life” (Loose, 2017)

Courtney Marie Andrews ‘Honest Life’ beholds some life-affirming writing. The use of confessional and observational writing coupled with the liquid cool backdrop of the band make this album quite simply, an unmissable modern-day classic of Americana. Released in the good company of the Mama Bird Recording Co in 2016 and Loose in 2017, this album put Andrews in good stead for the future, but getting there did not manifest overnight. This makes it one of the most alluring features as it was actually Andrews’ 6th album, shining a light on the fact that dedication and passion will ultimately prevail. Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: Courtney Marie Andrews “Honest Life” (Loose, 2017)”

Save Our Venues UK campaign launched

The Music Venue Trust has announced #saveourvenues, a new national campaign to save hundreds of UK grassroots music venues at imminent risk of being permanently closed down. The organisation states on its press release: “Without these independent venues the live music scene in the UK will die. These grassroots venues play a crucial role in the development of British music, nurturing local talent, providing a platform for artists to build their careers and develop their music and their performance skills. These venues also play a vital role in the cultural and economic vibrancy of any village, town or city.” Continue reading “Save Our Venues UK campaign launched”

Support Your Local Venue: The Railway Inn, Winchester

We’re only two items into our occasional series on those local venues which are the heart and soul of our music and of course, this damned virus has now shut them all down. It’s a blow to all of us who enjoy gig going but this inconvenience is minor compared to the real threat to the livelihoods of many. Musicians have had their dates cancelled but many have recourse to virtual gigs which have proliferated. However, the venues are closed, staff laid off, whether they worked at the bar, on the sound or lighting, in the kitchens or cleaning the place. Many owners and landlords don’t know if they’ll weather the storm or if, at the end of this nightmare, they’ll be able to reopen Continue reading “Support Your Local Venue: The Railway Inn, Winchester”

Home Life: TEOA

TEOA, the Philadelphia based indie-folksters have been extremely busy these last twelve months. Playing a number of well-received live shows alongside a ‘single release a month’ campaign has kept both their profile high and their creative juices flowing. The band will be releasing their latest instalment, ‘Not The End‘, a poignant reflection on the world around them that offers hope and understanding wrapped in a glorious Eagles-esque harmonic hue, on April 30th.  It’s somewhat of an anthem to these times even though it was written before the current pandemic situation.   Needless to say lockdown rears its ugly head and plans, hopes and dreams are all put on hold. Americana-UK speaks with Trevor Leonard to see how he and the band are holding up, how they are adapting to keeping their musical spirits high and what records have been firing up the decks to in these unsettling times. Continue reading “Home Life: TEOA”