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”

Interview: Passenger

One of the things I like to smugly get annoyed about is when you mention Passenger and someone says “Oh I really like them” and I’m like “Er, it’s a he” with a disapproving stare. To be fair, Passenger used to be a “them” when they had some added punctuation to their moniker but that was an age ago, and a decade on Mike Rosenberg has become one of those established artists who sometimes flies under the radar in terms of press coverage but still manages to have UK number one albums and more importantly writes some of the most achingly lovely songs you’re likely to hear right now. His new album is being promoted as his first foray into americana, although he’s had form for many a year. Americana UK chatted to him about the new record, the current state America is in and whether he feels like a survivor in life. Continue reading “Interview: Passenger”

Interview with Alan Tyler

 

It’s no exaggeration to say that Alan Tyler has probably done more than just about anyone in the UK to keep the torch of americana music burning since the early ’90s. Alan and Steve Pulford of the Arlenes got some richly deserved recognition at the Americana Music Awards in January when they were awarded the new Grass Roots Award for hosting the ‘Come Down And Meet The Folks’ (CDAMTF) club that has been the undoubted beating heart of the scene for around 22 years now. Continue reading “Interview with Alan Tyler”

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”