Interview: Dietmar Leibecke of The Static Roots Festival

At AUK we’ve mentioned before a couple of the newer and smaller festivals which have been popping up in recent years. Dietmar Leibecke from Germany, a towering figure on the European Americana circuit (in all senses of the term), is getting increasing recognition for the popularity of the music festival he started in 2016 – Static Roots. A nicer and more self-effacing individual you’d probably also be harder pushed to find. Ahead of the Static Roots Festival which takes place in Oberhausen on the 12th and 13th of July, Dietmar spoke to Mark Underwood of AUK about the joys of house concerts, his abiding passion for music and his love for the Americana community. Continue reading “Interview: Dietmar Leibecke of The Static Roots Festival”

Interview: Gill Tee, co-founder of the Black Deer Festival

Gill Tee is one of the co-founders of the Black Deer Festival which takes place at Eridge Park in Kent between the 21st and 23rd of June. This year’s line up includes Band of Horses, The Shires, John Butler Trio and Kris Kristofferson. Continue reading “Interview: Gill Tee, co-founder of the Black Deer Festival”

Interview – J.S. Ondara

J.S. Ondara’s journey from Nairobi to Minnesota, Bob Dylan’s home state, is a fascinating one. He arrived in America without any connections in the music business or even a guitar; all he had was his dream of pursuing a life in music. Ondara’s debut album, ‘Tales of America’, was released to critical acclaim earlier this year. Its theme of the ‘American Dream’ and the conflict between the ideal and the reality is brilliantly realised, thanks to Ondara’s beautifully delicate vocal, sparse instrumentation and intelligent lyrics. Sometimes joyful, sometimes bleak and haunting, the album has a strong sense of identity, offering a timely commentary on modern America through the eyes of an outsider. J.S. Ondara took the time to speak to Andrew Frolish of Americana UK before taking to the stage in Bristol during his recent tour. Continue reading “Interview – J.S. Ondara”

Track Premiere: 3 Pairs of Boots “It Ain’t Easy”

There is one thing that we don’t understand about husband and wife duo Andrew Stern and Laura Arias who are 3 Pairs of Boots and it is this – and we fully expect you to be ahead of us on this – two people, but three pairs of boots?  We are not going to make any assumptions about who has 2 pairs and who has but one pair to their name.  What we will mention is that 3 Pairs of Boots make a fine twanging country sound on ‘It Ain’t Easy.Continue reading “Track Premiere: 3 Pairs of Boots “It Ain’t Easy””

Interview: Jesse Dayton revives the mix tape

Up until a couple of years ago, Jesse Dayton wasn’t a name on many folks’ lips despite a CV which is somewhat staggering. In addition to having released 11 solo albums he’s played guitar, live and in the studio, with a host of luminaries who straddle the worlds of country and rock. These include Doug Sahm, Flaco Jimenez, Johnny Gimble, The Supersuckers, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Johnny Bush, Glen Campbell, and John Doe. He’s also entered the world of movie soundtracks collaborating with Rob Zombie on three of Zombie’s flicks (and appearing in one of them). Continue reading “Interview: Jesse Dayton revives the mix tape”

Interview: Norrie McCulloch on picking up his 12-string guitar and pledging his time

Scottish songwriter Norrie McCulloch comes from stout Ayrshire stock, the same soil that nurtured the likes of Bill Shankly and two of Scotland’s finest writers, the brothers William and Hugh McIlvanney. And just as this trio left Ayrshire to achieve acclaim in their respective fields while never letting anyone forget about their roots, McCulloch, despite working in an Americana folk/country vein, has held on to his roots. He sings without any American pretence, his record label, Black Dust, is so named as a memorial to his grandfather and others, victims of the deadly coal dust which filled their lungs. More importantly, over the course of three albums, he has become one of Scotland’s foremost singer songwriters, fusing the melancholic beauty of Townes Van Zandt’s Texas with Scotland’s proud heritage, from Robert Burns to Bert Jansch and beyond. Continue reading “Interview: Norrie McCulloch on picking up his 12-string guitar and pledging his time”

Van Life – The Southern Fold

Ireland’s love of American roots music is something that has long been championed and applauded. There are any number of bands an artists who take inspiration both from the giants of the genre – Zandt, Clark, etc – and those that head a little further afield trawling the old alt.country archives. The Southern Fold are one such example. Led by guitarist and vocalist Emlyn Holden the band draw as much from Son Volt and Creedence for their guitar driven sound with the band making their UK debut at Red Rooster Festival at the end of May.  Americana-UK caught up with Holden at Kilkenny Roots Festival to chat about life on the road and those all important CD’s for the glovebox. Continue reading “Van Life – The Southern Fold”

Interview: Russ Tolman. From Paisley Underground to Laurel Canyon vibes

The so called Paisley Underground has been back in the news recently with The Long Ryders releasing a new album and touring while a Record Store Day release of an album, ‘3X4’, featured The Bangles, The Dream Syndicate, The Three O’Clock and The Rain Parade. And now Russ Tolman, a founding member of another Paisley Underground band, True West, has released his first solo album in many moons and will be touring the UK for the first time since the 1990’s. Tolman, a native Californian, formed his first band, Suspects, in 1978 along with Steve Wynn and Kendra Smith. Considered the first new wave Californian band, they foundered when Wynn and Smith moved to LA and formed their own band, the Dream Syndicate. Tolman then moved on to True West, a band noted for their twin guitar attack and blend of American and English rock styles (even recording a version of Syd Barrett’s ‘Lucifer Sam’). Despite several close brushes with fame True West called it a day in 1985 and Tolman went on to forge a solo career releasing several acclaimed albums. Continue reading “Interview: Russ Tolman. From Paisley Underground to Laurel Canyon vibes”

Interview: Ian Craft of The Howlin’ Brothers

Formed in 2005, The Howlin’ Brothers are a 3 piece ole’ time bluegrass and country band based in Nashville, Tennessee. They consist of Jared Green who sings lead vocal and plays acoustic guitar, Dan Swan plays upright bass and Ian Craft who sings lead vocal and plays fiddle, mandolin, banjo and the bass drum. My friendship with The Howlin’ Brothers began during their first U.K tour in October 2014, when they were put up by my Dad and a friend of ours for a few nights whilst they played shows in and around my hometown of Wrexham.  I was lucky enough to set up an interview with Ian Craft after he had just finished playing fiddle for 4 hours at Layla’s on Nashville’s Honky Tonk Highway. Continue reading “Interview: Ian Craft of The Howlin’ Brothers”

Interview – John Cleere

There are so many ‘roots’ festivals these days you could spend years visiting a different one without ever going back to the same one twice. That Kilkenny Roots Festival attracts the same crowd year on year without fail is testament to an event that has really found a place in many hearts, mine included. Now in its twenty-second year, Kilkenny Roots – or ‘The Roots’ as the regulars refer to it – this small but perfectly formed nugget is the go to place every May for roots lovers from all over the world.   With the likes of Patty Griffin (pictured), The Sadies, and Texan legend Alejandro Escovedo topping the bill, this year will be no different. Americana-UK  caught up with Festival director John Cleere ahead of the impending frivolity. Continue reading “Interview – John Cleere”