Life is unfair in lots of different ways. Narcissists can reach the highest level of power including apparently the leader of the “free” world. The people most responsible for global warming are the least likely to suffer the consequences. Nigel Farage is having a comeback. The current series of Line of Duty has only 2 more episodes to go. To add to that list of gripes, South Dakota born Sam Outlaw’s brand of “SoCal” is known still by far too few people, and this, the opening track from his debut album, is as fine a piece of music as you’ll hear this decade, the mariachi horns making it far less parochial than so much middle of the road americana. Oh the injustice of it all!
If Americana is an umbrella term for all roots-based American music – bluegrass, blues, country, folk, jazz, rock, and soul (which is how I define it, anyway) – then you’d be hard-pressed to find another group more worthy of the Americana label than New Grass Revival. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – New Grass Revival”
There is a small but active cabal here at Americana-UK Towers who are vociferous supporters of a little known genre of music which we term ‘Cowboy-grime-hop’. This musical back alley is chiefly notable for its heady mix of slap bass, drum machine aesthetic and steel guitars. Lyrically it is an acquired taste espousing as it does such ‘virtues’ as homophobia, sexism and a nostalgia for apartheid type politics. On the plus side some of the harmonies are great. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Dwight Yoakam “Suspicious Minds””
Alt-country has always had a reputation as being Americana’s brattish, bastard cousin. Despite having somewhat died a death in recent years, one of its trailblazers, Jesse Malin, still continues to make exciting and relevant music to this day.
Continue reading “Americana A-Z – Jesse Malin”
British nuclear tests at Maralinga occurred between 1956 and 1963 at the Maralinga site, part of the Woomera Prohibited Area in South Australia and about 800 kilometres north-west of Adelaide. Indigenous people who lived in the vicinity of the test sites suffered displacement, injury and death, not to mention the service personnel from several countries including Britain and Australia who also suffered long term damage from the tests. The cost of the clean-up exceeded £50m but the UK paid less than half that amount, and that was only after protracted pressure and negotiations. Still today, the full extent of the effects suffered by service personnel and local communities is not known. Despite years of legal wrangling, the suffering and illness that those communities endured has never been properly recognised or compensated.
I grew up liking bands that everyone else thought were shit, so it was a welcome relief when the 90s came along and guitar-based music had something of a renaissance. Boston’s Lemonheads were always described as “alternative rock” but they sounded mighty gentle for a rock band sometimes with flecks of country guitar, and the introspection of this particular track made me cry and laugh at the same time, basically because it was me. Oh and the Dando I fancied was called Evan not Jill. Even the cover and title of the album from which this was taken were just brilliant. Long live the Lemonheads.
Back in 1985 ‘The Elite’ to me was anyone with access to MTV or a video cassette recorder, or both. Exploring new music was not easy, you could read about new bands in the weekly inkies, but getting to hear them was another matter. So thank heavens for Whistle Test. By ’85 it had dropped the ‘Old Grey’ and my memories are of Hepworth and Ellen and that young buck Andy Kershaw. REM were getting some airplay and they had impressed me so much that my attention was pricked by any mention of Athens, Georgia or ‘the Paisley Underground’. And a mid-evening Whistle Test appearance of a band in plaid pretty assured their guitar and my heartstrings were beating a similar rhythm. And so I marvelled at the Long Ryders and was bowled over by Rain Parade. Soon I was searching for the records by the likes of Beat Farmers, Dream Syndicate, Green on Red, Let’s Active. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Lone Justice”
Disastrous news, readers (or reader as we have previously established). It has come to our attention that not everyone in public office necessarily has the public’s best interest at heart. How else does one explain the shenanigans taking place in certain places of late? What with the politicking, the tactical voting, the arguing, the bullying, the threats and the back-biting one could be forgiven for thinking that there are ulterior motives at work and vested interests to be surreptitiously attended to. That couldn’t be could it? Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: The Scud Mountain Boys “Silo””
Sparklehorse’s Mark Linkous had the rare but very rock and roll feat to have “died twice”, the first time in 1996 when his heart stopped beating for a few minutes following a drug overdose. That he returned and gave us one of the most beautifully fragile records ever recorded, ‘Good Morning Spider‘ was both a personal blessing and a gift to everyone else, albeit the sombre tone perhaps reflecting his experiences. Sadly Linkous committed suicide in 2010 but left a legacy behind of tracks such as ‘Junebug’ with its naturalistic evocative imagery: “Your cousins… they’re gods to the seas. The March afternoons. The sun and the moon.”
It would have been simple to have taken the path of least resistance and gone for Kris Kristofferson (and even had two K’s for the price of one), but no, here are at Americana UK we don’t do things the easy way and opted instead for a generally much less widely known artist in the form of Kasey Chambers. Continue reading “Americana A-Z – Kasey Chambers”