Interview with Jim Walker, At The Helm Records and Brighthelmstone Promotions

Jim Walker is managing director of At the Helm records and Brighthelmstone Promotions. Last year, he put together 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 again for a second year at the Hassocks hotel in East Sussex and involves a number of acts we regularly feature such as Bennett Wilson Poole, Ags Connolly, Danni Nichols, Jason McNiff, Hannah Rose Platt, Mike Ross, Trent Miller and others. Continue reading “Interview with Jim Walker, At The Helm Records and Brighthelmstone Promotions”

James Houlahan Has “Memories of Outer Space”

LA based singer-songwriter James Houlahan is gearing up for the release of his new album ‘The Wheel Still in Spin‘, which will be his fourth album.  ‘Memories of Outer Space‘ is the lead single from the album – it has a sound that is equal parts folk and dream pop, with the melody – fairly unusually -carried by glockenspiel and Fender Rhodes piano, contrasting with Houlahan’s dry vocal delivery over gently-strummed acoustic guitar. Continue reading “James Houlahan Has “Memories of Outer Space””

Interview: Dietmar Leibecke

You can find gold in the most unlikely of places if you look hard enough. Now, Oberhausen, a quiet industrial backwater in the Ruhr valley a few miles from the metropolitan splendour of Dusseldorf, wouldn’t be the first place you would look for an amazing two day americana and roots festival.  Well, it turns out it is THE place to look as for the third year running the magnificent Static Roots Festival graces the town’s Zentrum Altenberg, a converted zinc factory and for two days in July home of some of the genre’s real gems.  AUK took time out to speak to the festival’s curator and  insatiable  supporter of americana music, Dietmar Leibecke, to talk about what is fast becoming a ‘must attend’ event.  Continue reading “Interview: Dietmar Leibecke”

Interview: The Vagaband

Long-established roots stalwarts The Vagaband’s third album, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ came out to great praise earlier this year with this very site loving the album’s “rollicking mix of Dylan and Ronnie Lane like Romany swirls, full-bodied and city sullied dramas and just plain old good fashioned songs”.   AUK’s Nic Rigby caught up with the band’s leader and main songwriter, Jose McGill, at his Norwich home to talk about the album and the band’s place in the Americana genre.  Continue reading “Interview: The Vagaband”

Interview: Kyle Craft

Few records hit you square between the eyes like ‘Full Circle Nightmare‘ the wonderful new album from Portland-based Kyle Craft. A veritable beast of a record drawing influences from the likes of Bowie, Lennon – christ, I can even hear Steve Harley – ‘Full Circle Nightmare‘ is a strident, swaggering and utterly brilliant take on a broken heart and one that leaves the heart racing and the mind alive.  Recorded in Portland with The Decemberist’s Chris Funk in the producer hot seat, Craft has left behind the simplicity and straight-ahead nature of his debut and delivered something altogether more bold and fresh.   Released on Sub Pop ahead of Craft’s first UK shows later this month, AUK caught up with the singer-songwriter. Continue reading “Interview: Kyle Craft”

Interview: Littlemen

Summer is approaching and the West Country is coming alive with festivals and events from all walks of the musical spectrum. Robert Plant is back in his old stomping ground, Glastonbury is just around the corner and soulful Americana combo Littlemen are still bringing their own unique brand of melodic country blues to their faithful Somerset following and beyond. ‘Brothers from another mother’, Simon and Nick Allen sat down with Tim Merricks at that last outpost of sanctuary for Bath musicians, ‘The Bell’ to chew over a life out west. Continue reading “Interview: Littlemen”

Interview: Rupert Orton – Red Rooster Festival

At AUK we’ve mentioned before a couple of the newer and smaller festivals which have been popping up in recent years. Red Rooster, described as a whisky sippin,’ guitar strummin,’ banjo pickin’ weekend of Southern Blues in the heart of Suffolk County – and held in the idyllic setting of Euston Hall in Suffolk – has its fifth outing at the end of next month. Mark Underwood spoke to Rupert Orton, who heads up the team responsible for programming the live performers and DJs at the festival. Continue reading “Interview: Rupert Orton – Red Rooster Festival”

Interview: Black Deer Festival’s Gill Tee and Debs Shilling

Deborah Shilling and Gill Tee photographed by Alun Callender

One of the most exciting events this year for the world of Americana in the UK takes place towards the end of next month. Black Deer is basically everything you want from a festival – frighteningly good artists such as Jason Isbell and Iron & Wine that fall just the right side of cool (i.e. they’re probably not going to do moody sets), multiple stages, good food and a part of the country that’s as good a guarantee of decent weather as you’re going to get from somewhere in the UK in June (if the presumptiveness of that angers fate and it now does rain, apologies in advance). Oh and motorbikes too. Mark Whitfield spoke to the co-founders of Black Deer, Gill and Debs, about how the festival came about, who they’re most looking forward to see play and what americana music means to them. Continue reading “Interview: Black Deer Festival’s Gill Tee and Debs Shilling”

Interview: Jon Dee Graham

Austin legend Jon Dee Graham makes his first visit to the UK in nearly ten years in May.  The one-time, go-to guitar slinger for likes of Alejandro Escovedo (who he played with in The True Believers for years), John Doe, even making an appearance on a Ry Cooder session, Graham has gone on to earn his place amongst the Texan songwriting greats in a twenty-year solo career.  A lovable giant of a man, a veritable beast of a songsmith, Graham’s observations on life are poignant, at times brash, but always delivered from the heart. His latest mini-album, ‘Knoxville Skyline’ (Decor) runs a gamut of styles from barroom stomp of ‘Things Might Turn Out Right‘  to a glorious  Fontaine-esque, ‘Dan Stuart’s Blues.’  AUK caught up with Graham to chat about the album, his son, William Harries Graham, who accompanies his father on the dates – and how much he was looking forward to returning to UK.  Continue reading “Interview: Jon Dee Graham”

Interview: Jerry Leger

Although it isn’t even the end of April yet, here at Americana UK, there’s already fairly widespread agreement that the whole of 2018 is unlikely to throw up a better album than Jerry Leger and The Situation’s new record, ‘Nonsense and Heartache.’ For someone who’s only just turned 33, Canadian singer-songwriter, Jerry Leger, has already enjoyed a musical career spanning some 13 years and 10 albums. Name-checked by none other than Ron Sexsmith as “one of the best songwriters I’ve heard in quite some time,” ‘Nonsense and Heartache’ came out earlier this year on Michael Timmins’ (of Cowboy Junkies fame) Latent Records label. Continue reading “Interview: Jerry Leger”