Van Life – Peter Bruntnell

Regular visitors to this site wont need me to tell you the level of regard we here at Americana-UK  hold for Peter Bruntnell. One of the UK’s finest troubadours, Bruntnell has been writing some of the greatest songs the genre has heard over the last twenty years. Since causing a stir on the US college rock scene with his seminal ‘Normal For Bridgwater’ album in the late 90’s, the New Zealand born songsmith has become a byword for quality and class, both as a solo performer and when tearing it up with his band. Ahead of  new album and UK dates, Americana-UK catches up with the songwriter to see how things will shape up out on the road and what sounds he’ll have with him to ease the strain. Continue reading “Van Life – Peter Bruntnell”

Van Life – William the Conqueror

West country trio William The Conqueror have been making steady inroads on the Americana scene for a few years now with their latest album ‘Bleeding On The Soundtrack’ just released on Loose Music. Headed by singer-songwriter Ruarri Joseph, who released a number of albums ten years ago under his own name and was quite a favourite on the folk scene, William The Conqueror are altogether a different beast.  Blues-driven riffs, building beautifully to full-on glorious crescendos, this is a band that utilises all three musicians to their full potential. Their sound is simple yet completely mesmeric. There is a certain bond between these guys that has clearly been built on the road. Americana UK asks Joseph how things shape up as the miles pass.  Continue reading “Van Life – William the Conqueror”

Van Life – Johnny Dowd

Ithaca NY’s Johnny Dowd has been patrolling the dark, uneasy, unclassified byways and B-roads of the American heartlands for over two decades. A blistering, uncompromising guitar slinger and songwriter, Dowd is set to release his new album ‘Family Picnic’ this month, an ‘americana’ gem that returns to the topics and themes that inspired his legendary debut, ‘Wrong Side Of Memphis‘ and once again underlines Dowd as one of America’s true musical explorers. Americana-UK catches up with him as he prepares to embark on another European tour and asks him about the music that accompanies any such road trip. Continue reading “Van Life – Johnny Dowd”

Van Life: The Wave Pictures

The Wave Pictures have crafted their own special place in the UK’s music scene with a number of eloquent, beautifully crafted and utterly charming albums over the years alongside live shows that can go from howling laughter to pin-drop startling beauty in the beat of a heart.  Fresh from the release of their latest album, ‘Look Inside Your Heart‘ out now on Moshi Moshi, A-UK catches up with the band’s lead man Dave Tattersall,  currently burning tread on the autobahns of Germany, to see how life on the road is treating them and inquire what music they turn to when in need of inspiration, motivation or just plain titillation.  Continue reading “Van Life: The Wave Pictures”

Van Life: Eilen Jewell & Jason Beek

Boise, Idaho’s Eilen Jewell and her husband (and drummer!) Jason Beek have been touring the US and Europe for a number of years, bringing their blend of country, americana, and old-time gospel to a loyal following both sides of the pond. Last year’s ‘Down Hearted Blues’ saw Jewell unearthing a number of old-time blues songs and giving them both a polish and a place in the modern musical world. Her band, including the inimitable Jerry Miller, a guitarist who resides at the very summit when it comes to GREAT guitar players, are seasoned road dogs these days. Americana-UK caught up with Eilen and Jason on a recent visit to these shores to find out how life on four wheels really is and found out CDs isn’t the only thing they carry with them!  Continue reading “Van Life: Eilen Jewell & Jason Beek”

Van Life: Radiator King

Boston’s Adam Silvestri (AKA Radiator King) is the type of musician this feature was pretty much designed to  accommodate. A road dog, traveller, essentially a musical explorer both sonically and literally,  Silvestri spends many many hours on the road, clicking up the miles and cranking up the toons.  His latest album, ‘A Hollow Triumph After All,’ is awash with vivid imagery, Waits-esque swagger and fuelled by  a unflinching punk spirit, its therefore unsurprising his glovebox is full of gems. Americana-UK catches up with  the now New York-based trobadour ahead of another US tour. Continue reading “Van Life: Radiator King”

Van Life: Rennie Sparks (The Handsome Family)

Got to be honest, there probably isn’t a square mile of the US or Europe that Brett and Rennie, The Handsome Family, haven’t covered at some point. The husband and wife duo must have one hell of a relationship to endure that many miles on the road together without serious risk of divorce or mental instability.  That they appear, at least on the surface, as musically and harmoniously entwined is surely testament to a rigorously tested van life routine that has stood the test of time. I catch up with them en route to Aberdeen to get the lowdown.
Continue reading “Van Life: Rennie Sparks (The Handsome Family)”

Van Life – Justin Osborne (SUSTO)

East Carolina’s SUSTO have been making giant strides these last couple of years, generating huge acclaim for their live shows and acquiring a number of big-time fans including Band Of Horses’ Ben Bridwell. “I got an e-mail from him, telling me he loved the record and wanted to meet with me and Johnny. That was actually the day I wrote my professor and said, ‘I’m not coming in,’” recalls lead singer and songwriter, Justin Osborne.  Americana-UK fires the questions as he packs the cases and gets those all-important tunes ready for the trip, their ever first UK dates on the back of & I’m Fine Today, their new album.  Continue reading “Van Life – Justin Osborne (SUSTO)”

Van Life: Iain Sloan

Fretboard warrior, purveyor of all things six-string, and pedal steel supremo, Iain Sloan has been soundtracking the UK Americana scene for a number of years predominantly with The Wynntown Marshals, Scotland’s finest alt.country band, and latterly with the likes of indie folksters Blue Rose Code and the legendary Peter Bruntnell.   Americana-UK catches up with Sloan inbetween practice and school runs to chat through life on the road and have a rummage through the glove box. Continue reading “Van Life: Iain Sloan”

Van Life: Breadfoot

North Carolina’s singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and all-round professional road dog, Breadfoot (AKA Stephan Meyers) takes his music pretty much where anyone will have him.  His latest album, Salvatella, is both short and sweet, akin to a couple of jars with Michael Hurley at some backwater town bar, just chewing the fat and pondering tales of the heart.  Breadfoot swaps instruments with the assured footing of someone at complete ease and in total command of his craft. Americana-UK catches up with the talented troubadour and wonders if it’s as easy pulling the miles,  and finds out what it is that feeds his ears on them endless freeways. Continue reading “Van Life: Breadfoot”