AmericanA to Z – Gordon Lightfoot

There are plenty of Gordon Lightfoot fans out there as attested by his ability to develop a touring schedule for 2020 having started his career back in the 1960s. Significant artists who have praised and been influenced by this Canadian songsmith include Johnny Cash, John Prine, Robbie Robertson and perhaps most famously, Bob Dylan. Lightfoot toured with Dylan including the 1975 ‘Rolling Thunder’ tour. Dylan has said, “Lightfoot became a mentor for a long time. I think he still is to this day” and recorded the Lightfoot penned ‘Shadows’. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Gordon Lightfoot”

AUK’s Chain Gang: Gretchen Peters “Hello Cruel World”

Following on from Peter Churchill’s excellent choice last week I was thinking that what I particularly love about Americana is the quality of the songwriting. With that in mind I’ve decided to post a track from another Peters – Gretchen Peters (no relation), who I think has consistently been one of the best songwriters in this genre since she first came to prominence back in the mid-’90s. This is the title track from her 2012 album ‘Hello Cruel World’ and it epitomises the quality of her songs – great storytelling, great melody, a little wry humour.

Pick of the Political Pops: Drive By Truckers “Surrender Under Protest”

This week – once again – we are riffing on the broad theme of ‘democracy’ and how it manifests itself. We thought that this time around we’d look at how it’s done in America since we have a passing interest in things American (the clue is in the title). Now, we thought we knew a bit about their process here in the UK (the clue is in the title) but it really does bear closer examination if only to marvel at the intricacies of the thing. The “Youknaghted Staytes of Uhmerica” (said in our best/worst drawl) is a republic. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Drive By Truckers “Surrender Under Protest””

Forgotten Artists – Mike Nesmith

Of course Mike Nesmith, The Monkee, hasn’t been forgotten, he’ll always have his place in musical history as the woolly hatted member of TVs attempt to cash in on the popularity of loveable, mop-top boy bands during the 1960s. But how many people will remember, or even knew, that he was an accomplished musician, a very fine songwriter, a successful producer and at the forefront of the country-rock movement? Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Mike Nesmith”

Support Your Local Venue: ‘Biddulph Up in Arms’

Today AUK launches a new feature about those small local venues that are the heart and soul of our music. Often run on a hand to mouth basis by dedicated individuals, sometimes at their own cost, and all for nothing more than a love of the music. Continue reading “Support Your Local Venue: ‘Biddulph Up in Arms’”

Forgotten Artists – Eggs Over Easy

Eggs Over Easy? A band that few have heard of and even fewer have heard but who are one of the most influential bands of the ’70s, who not only contributed to the foundations of Americana but also created the environment for punk and new wave music to subsequently bloom. Continue reading “Forgotten Artists – Eggs Over Easy”

AmericanA to Z – Kathleen Edwards

I have a few somewhat niche musical interests: the first – unsurprisingly – is that of the Americana and country genres; the second – also unsurprisingly, since it was the era I grew up in – is alternative music of the 90s; the third – actually surprisingly – is that of Canadian artists. I’m not sure exactly how it started, but I’ve got a lot of love for a set of musicians who hail from Canada (many of whom found their biggest success in the late-90s and early-00s). It’s kind of a thrill for me when I can marry any of these specific interests together, and that’s something I can do with Kathleen Edwards. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Kathleen Edwards”

AUK’s Chain Gang: Vanessa Peters “Bright Red”

Financed in large part through Kickstarter, Vanessa Peter’s 2012 album ‘The Burn The Truth The Lies’ is evidence, if evidence were needed, of the talent within our beloved genre that just needs a helping hand to get heard. With that in mind I offer no apology for using the tenuous use of the word ‘truth’ in the album title to link to last weeks gem from Mr Prophet and, hopefully, raise Vanessa’s profile just a tad more.

Pick of the Political Pops: Ralph McTell “England”

Well that, in a sense, is that. As you read this piece you will either be preparing for the party of your lives or hiding in your metaphorical beds hoping it will all just be a bad dream and you will be free of the torment when you wake up. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Ralph McTell “England””

Classic Americana Compilations – Sounds to remember

There was a time when the free CDs glued to the front of magazines were something other than a revenue stream for the publishers, and every so often a reminder of the glory days pops up. Back in September 1998 Uncut Magazine came with a CD called ‘Sounds of The New West‘. It was designed to accompany an article introducing New Country/Alt. Country/Americana to those scared of the word Country. What you got was a cracking compilation that should have sent you off to investigate the rest of the genre, whatever you wanted to call it. Now fully 19 years and change later we have volume five. The series of CDs makes for a good study in how tastes in Americana have shifted over the last couple of decades. Continue reading “Classic Americana Compilations – Sounds to remember”