Studio Life – Danny Schmidt

For many years, Danny Schmidt has been releasing critically-acclaimed albums, full of consistently exceptional songcraft and intelligent lyricism. The Texan singer-songwriter is known for his delicate, folk guitar, warm voice and poetic approach to his subjects. A genuine troubadour, Schmidt’s songs of wit and wisdom have a timeless quality. Although Schmidt usually performs solo, he’s also released music with his wife, Carrie Elkin, who is another acclaimed singer-songwriter. Schmidt’s considered approach to lyrical content and musical arrangements mean that he can tackle powerful subjects in subtle ways. His recent record, ‘Standard Deviation’, is his tenth recording and all his experience as a writer and performer has worked its way into this well-received album. In the middle of his American tour to promote the album, Americana-UK caught up with Schmidt to find out a little more about the title track. Continue reading “Studio Life – Danny Schmidt”

Interview: Daniel Antopolsky

Daniel Antopolsky is a storyteller. He weaves narratives in and out of his songs and, when you watch him perform, the stories and songs merge. Antopolsky was a contemporary of the likes of Guy Clarke and Townes Van Zandt, one of the original outlaws, often referred to as the ‘missing outlaw’ thanks to the famous photograph taken on the porch at Guy Clark’s house. Legend has it that the character of ‘Lefty’ in Van Zandt’s much loved ‘Pancho and Lefty’ is based on Antopolsky; indeed, Antopolsky was present when the classic song was written and was the first person ever to hear it. Continue reading “Interview: Daniel Antopolsky”

Studio Life – Peter Donegan

Peter Donegan grew up with music. Surrounded by songs and the legacy of his father, Lonnie Donegan, music was always part of his life and it’s no surprise that he grew up playing guitar and piano and with a natural flair for singing. Lonnie Donegan transformed the British music industry when he led the skiffle revival in the 1950s, inspiring countless musicians who followed. Continue reading “Studio Life – Peter Donegan”

Interview: JP Ruggieri

From the woods of Connecticut to Nashville via New York, Jon Paul Ruggieri has come a long way. Growing up with a severe stutter limited his speech and meant that Ruggieri was compelled to find new ways to communicate. As a child, he discovered that he could express himself through music and never looked back. Ruggieri’s technical gifts have led to him being highly regarded on the singer-songwriter scenes in both New York and Nashville, where he has been a go-to session musician, collaborating with a host of other artists. All these experiences in the studio have helped Ruggieri to find his own musical voice and his debut album, ‘Waiting on You’, was released earlier this year. Andrew Frolish from Americana UK caught up with JP Ruggieri over the phone to Nashville, while Ruggieri was taking a break from writing songs for the next album. Continue reading “Interview: JP Ruggieri”

Interview: Jim Walker, Brighthelmstone Promotions

Jim Walker is managing director of Brighthelmstone Promotions. In 2017 he started a festival in his hometown of Hassocks, West Sussex featuring two of our greatest loves – Americana music and good beer. The Mid-Sussex Americana beer festival is running for a third year at the Hassocks hotel in East Sussex on the 24th of August and involves a range of established and emerging talent such as William The Conqueror, Danny George Wilson (of Danny and the Champions of the World), Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou, Lucas & King, Jamie Freeman, Loud Mountains, Noble Jacks, Porchlight Smoker and Ben Featherstone. Mark Underwood of Americana-UK caught up with Jim to talk about plans for the festival and the promotions business. Continue reading “Interview: Jim Walker, Brighthelmstone Promotions”

Interview: Monroeville

It’s a bit disconcerting for someone from this side of The Pond, to drive through The Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina, and all of the natural beauty that entails, to arrive in ‘downtown Gatlinburg’, which makes Skegness (insert UK seaside resort name here) seem restrained. That was where we found ourselves in mid-May. The shock to the system was tempered somewhat by a chance encounter with the band, Monroeville who were playing a free gig outside a local Moonshine emporium. As you do. I have to say that I thought they were fantastic, and afterwards had the briefest of chats with Matt Munsey from the Band. Continue reading “Interview: Monroeville”

Interview: Sam Morrow

Since he first came to the UK Sam Morrow has been winning increasing numbers of fans for the quality of his live performances, with our recent review hailing Morrow and his band as “an outstanding live turn. Combining the best elements of the Allman Brothers, Little Feat and Rusty Weir… they manage to channel all that’s good about their predecessors, while still retaining a sound uniquely their own.” Over in the UK for a brief series of dates – and to help promote his third album, ‘Concrete and Mud’ which we felt was deserving of a hefty 9/10 score – Mark Underwood and Barry Warren sat down with Sam for a chat.
Continue reading “Interview: Sam Morrow”

Studio Life – Kathy Zimmer

Moving from the small town in Nebraska in which she was raised to the bustling New York City was the making of Kathy Zimmer. The music of her rural youth has combined with more sophisticated, urban sounds and orchestration to create something new and different: a genre that Zimmer herself describes as ‘cosmopolitan folk’. This conflict between the old and new and between styles gives Zimmer’s songs a clear identity and often provides the subject matter for her lyrics, as evident in ‘I <3 NY’ from recent EP, ‘Sparkling Smile’. American-UK caught up with Zimmer to explore the story of this beguiling song. Continue reading “Studio Life – Kathy Zimmer”

Interview: Jeb Loy Nichols on keeping it simple

Although he is now happily ensconced in the rural delights of mid Wales, Jeb Loy Nichols has a chequered past. Born in Wyoming, raised in Missouri and Texas, he grew up steeped in music and aged 17,  stepped out into the world, working in New York record stores before coming to the UK in the early 80’s and falling in with the burgeoning post punk reggae scene. He first recorded as the Fellow Travellers in 1990 with an intriguing mix of country, folk, soul and reggae, and that questing spirit has informed his subsequent solo and collaborative efforts. Continue reading “Interview: Jeb Loy Nichols on keeping it simple”