Ten Questions with America

America are currently on their 50th anniversary world tour.  Don’t get too excited – there’s just one UK gig date scheduled (10th July Shepherds Bush Empire, as well as a festival appearance (Cornbury, 12th July).  The world, in this definition, is the USA.  So it goes.  And if you haven’t been paying attention to the evolution of America the trio are a duo now – Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell – that’s been the case since Dan Peek left the band in 1977 so hopefully is no great surprise. Continue reading “Ten Questions with America”

Interview: Mark Whitfield, Founder and Editor of Americana UK

Almost two decades ago, Mark Whitfield set up the Americana UK website and blog as a university project. And just never stopped. Essentially a bedroom operation, the site has evolved and survived changes in technology, social media and the music industry, becoming one of the UK’s longest-running music websites in the process. Continue reading “Interview: Mark Whitfield, Founder and Editor of Americana UK”

Pick of the Political Pops: Bob Dylan “It’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”

This week the great and the good, the mediocre and the medium and the poor and the poorest of the residents of Americana-UK Towers (actually they were all great and good but we like to be inclusive) went on a jolly to the windswept north of the country in order to conduct The Annual General Meeting. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Bob Dylan “It’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall””

Studio Life – Jeff Karoub

Singer-songwriter, Jeff Karoub, has spent a life immersed in roots music in various forms.  His father played for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Motown Records and Karoub has inherited those musical genes.  He recently released a new album, ‘Pieces Break’, which is a melodic collection of soulful folk songs.  Read the full review here. Continue reading “Studio Life – Jeff Karoub”

Forgotten Artists – Kevin Brown

Back in the early ’80s I misspent my youth in small Bristol venues like The Green Rooms, and The Bridge Inn. In Bath it was The Bell in Walcot Street. All now long gone. There was a singer/guitarist who was rather older than the pop acts he often supported. Kevin Brown is often pigeonholed as the man who missed the British Blues boom, but he is far closer to the sort of Texas blues and country mix that Joe Ely and Butch Hancock were playing at the same time. In fact when he vanished from the Bristol scene in about 1983 it turned out he had moved to Austin to hone his chops and immerse himself in the music. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Kevin Brown”

Classic Americana Compilations “Silver Meteor – A Progressive Country Anthology” (Sierra Records, 1980)

What makes a great compilation? Good music is a must obvious, the historical importance of some of the tracks, certainly, rare and forgotten tracks and artists that nevertheless capture an elusive something that was in the air for a golden period definitely helps. All these apply to ‘Silver Meteor – A Progressive Country Anthology’ and if there is any lingering doubt as to how great this compilation is then the fact that it came in at number eleven on Uncut magazine’s list of the 50 Greatest Lost Albums is the clincher. Continue reading “Classic Americana Compilations “Silver Meteor – A Progressive Country Anthology” (Sierra Records, 1980)”

AmericanA to Z – Mandolin Orange

M is for Mandolin Orange, who are Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz. This duo’s fresh blend of acoustic bluegrass, folk and country to tell stories of profound feelings, frequently around love and loss, pulls together many of the strands that define Americana. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Mandolin Orange”

AUK’s Chain Gang: Nick Lowe “Cruel To Be Kind”

More cruelty this week, from Americana royalty Nick Lowe, but from over four decades ago, when this was always on TOTP and it was seen as power pop. Endless chains could come from this, bands – whether backing, past or future, collaborations, productions, his wife (that’s his real wedding footage), her family in the background etc. Great fun. Next.

Pick of the Political Pops: Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians “The President”

So for the past couple of weeks we have been considering notions of ‘democracy’ and in this latest instalment of ‘PPP’ we are going to further postulate on the idea of ‘rule’ (cracy) by the ‘people’ (demos). This time we are struck by vagaries of the US presidential election system and just exactly how that thing works. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians “The President””

Classic Americana Albums: Dwight Yoakam “Guitars, Cadillacs Etc. Etc.” (Reprise Records, 1986)

When Dwight Yoakam’s debut album ‘Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc.’ was released in 1986 it was completely at odds with the prevailing trend in country music towards a soft ‘crossover’ sound. A look at some of country’s best selling records of that year show just how far away from its folk roots country music had strayed. Alabama, Exile, Juice Newton, Anne Murray, Ronnie Millsap and Marie Osmond – all had insipid and diluted down number one records aimed at the wider market. The big record companies were even turning their backs on country legends like George Jones and Merle Haggard, by then seen as too country for mainstream tastes. Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: Dwight Yoakam “Guitars, Cadillacs Etc. Etc.” (Reprise Records, 1986)”