Songs for the apocalypse: Jason McNiff “I Remember You”

Way back when I first started running AUK back in the early 2000s, promos of CDs started to trickle through the letterbox – some were great, others were let’s say over-confident, but occasionally something would hit the doormat that just blew me away. London based Jason McNiff’s ‘Nobody’s Son’ was one such record, and one of my lasting memories of the first listen to the track ‘I Remember You’ was shortly afterwards visiting my auntie in New Brighton where I insisted she, my mum and various other members of the family crammed into my tiny car to listen to it. They were bowled over too of course, and its Dylan-esque structure still sounds as fresh today as when it was first released. Fittingly for the song, I’ve never forgotten it.

Pick of the Political Pops: Pete Seeger “Solidarity Forever”

A concise and to the point ‘Pops’ this edition folks as we recall that this week saw May 1st (or The First of May or May Day as you will). May Day is, of course, International Worker’s Day – an occasion on which you might think that the workers of the world would unite, having nothing to lose but their chains. Although it might not be obvious those of us beavering away on this internationally renowned web-magazine really do find it hard work at times so we stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of our working sistren and brethren in celebration of our labours and the sacrifice that our fellow workers have made over the millennia. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Pete Seeger “Solidarity Forever””

Americana A-Z – Lindi Ortega

The Americana A-Z is sometimes a means to celebrate a legend of the genre or it is often a way of reminding readers of a forgotten gem. This week, for the letter ‘O’, we’re shining the light on a contemporary act who deserves an audience. Lindi Ortega has been releasing music for almost twenty years and has become known for a mixture of foot-stomping country and traditional balladry, all of which showcases her powerful vocals and great range. She deserves her place here because of the sophistication of her song writing and the manner in which she continues to explore and grow and develop artistically so far into her musical career. Continue reading “Americana A-Z – Lindi Ortega”

Van Life – Steve Folk

If there was ever a musician who epitomises the role of the troubadour, Steve Folk would be used as a prime modern day example. This boat-dwelling songsmith and artist spends weeks on end touring solo around the European mainland playing house concerts, bars, gigs, basically anywhere he can bring his songs to the world.  Folk exists outside the usual parameters set by the day-to-day music business, instead he charts his own path with only his guitar and trusty music player for company.  Americana-UK chats to the uncompromising musician about life on the road and, more importantly what music keeps his spirits up on those tough days. Continue reading “Van Life – Steve Folk”

Songs for the apocalypse: Sam Outlaw “Who Do You Think You Are?”

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!

AmericanA to Z – New Grass Revival

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”

Pick of the Political Pops: Dwight Yoakam “Suspicious Minds”

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””

Pick of the Political Pops: Paul Kelly and the Coloured Girls “Maralinga (Rainy Land)”

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.