A favourite lockdown release of 2020 and an album that’s rarely off the decks at AUK Towers is Richard Davies and the Dissidents’ debut album, ‘Human Traffic’. From the rollicking “grab-life -by-the-scruff-of-the-neck” title track to the John Mellencamp / Rick Springfield-like sensibilities of ‘21st Century Man’ via the infectious melodies and note perfect guitar soloing in ‘Long Road to Your Heart’, ‘Human Traffic’ takes a road trip to a place where rock ‘n’ roll swagger meets Johnny Thunders, making a detour along the way via Ian Hunter, Paul Westerberg, Alex Chilton and the Rolling Stones, all the while never stopping to forget it’s the tunes that matter. A melodic pop/rock gem in other words.
Continue reading “Interview: Richard Davies talks about his new album and creativity under Covid”
Paul Kelly is an Australian institution and one whose reputation is still building within the americana community thanks to his way with a good old fashioned song – it’s not for nothing that he’s been described as the poet laureate of Australian music. For his latest endeavour, he’s joined forces with pianist and composer Paul Grabowsky for a new album ‘Please Leave Your Light On’ which includes new interpretations of some of his best-known songs, with some left-field twists and turns along the way. Mark Whitfield caught up with him about the new record, his take on the concept of genres, and how along with the rest of us he’s stayed sane over past few months. Continue reading “Interview – Paul Kelly: “We are all incredibly interconnected””
I’ve been lucky enough to see Willie Nile live on two occasions. Given that they were in Colwyn Bay and Macclesfield respectively, no geographic disrespect implied, it proved to be very much a case of seeking and ye shall find. On both occasions, the performance, personality and the music came together well and Nile was lively, engaging and everyone’s idea of a confident voluble New York rocker. Continue reading “AmericanA-Z special: Interview with Willie Nile”
‘XOXO’ marks the latest instalment in the musical journey of The Jayhawks, a trip that has lasted over thirty-five years and numerous highlights. For the first time in the band’s long history ‘XOXO’ really is a collaborative album from a group who in the past have been celebrated and cherished for the songwriting prowess of head-honcho Gary Louris. Given, that among a treasure trove of delights, ‘XOXO‘ is arguably their finest album of recent years it has proven to be a sharp move. All talk of change may unsettle longtime fans – who are an incredibly loyal bunch – but they needn’t be apprehensive as ‘XOXO’ is unmistakably The Jayhawks but, with Perlman, O’Reagan and Grotberg let loose and given their heads it gives a wonderful insight into what a multi-faceted and dynamic band they really are. Americana UK speaks to the band and asks how opening up the songwriting duties has affected how they work and wha they feel t it brought to the record sonically and creatively. Continue reading “Interview: The Jayhawks discuss a true joint effort making their new album ‘XOXO’”
Over the past few years Courtney Marie Andrews has basically charmed the socks off us all. From the first listen to her breakthrough album ‘Honest Life’ and a string of sensational, sassy and ultimately charming live shows, it was clear that here was a major talent in the making. ‘Old Flowers‘ set for release on Loose Music on July 24th once again underlines that opinion and provides yet another stone in the foundation to what will be a long and inspired musical career. At it’s heart ‘Old Flowers‘ is a personal, at times heart-wrenching narrative of her break-up with a longtime partner, yet dig a little deeper and you are mining those universal themes of solitude, reflection, hope – a regaining of strength, acceptance and moving forward. At times you are never sure you should be listening, it all feels so intimate, emotional, cathartic even yet, as is always the case, music is a great healer both to the artist and the listener. We can all bathe in it’s melancholic pool. Americana-UK spoke to Andrews, holed-up in her home during a US lockdown about how heartbreak shaped the album and how personal albums often connect to us all the most easily.
Continue reading “Interview: Courtney Marie Andrews discusses her new album fuelled by heartache, reflection & release”
Sam Lee is more than just a singer or a song-writer. He is an artist who draws together a range of interests and projects, giving them meaning and purpose. From artists’ rights to a love for the natural world, Lee seeks to raise awareness and make a difference. Through lecturing, broadcasting, performing and working with various organisations, he gets involved. He’s a busy man. More than anything, he is a collector of traditional folk song, taking something old and refreshing it for a new audience in order to give it life. Continue reading “Interview – Sam Lee: “I had no intention of becoming a musician””
UK singer-songwriter Matt Hill’s latest album, ‘Savage Pilgrims’, is the first one he’s put out under his own name – his previous four releases were credited to Quiet Loner. He may no longer be a ‘quiet loner’, but, as his new record demonstrates, Hill will always be an outsider and difficult to pigeonhole – he’s part Americana, part protest singer and part folk artist. Continue reading “Home Life: Matt Hill”
New Jersey’s Pinegrove have been charting their own path through the US musical landscape for a number of years, bringing with them an ever-expanding, refreshingly loyal and completely connected fanbase. They have worked extremely hard at making sure their music is first and foremost available directly to their fans, through numerous live shows and a wonderfully interactive and constantly evolving website. Continue reading “Interview: Pinegrove’s Evan Stephens Hall discusses the ideas that shaped their new album “Marigold””
When Americana UK last caught up with Jerry Leger in November 2019 (the week after the release of his new album), we asked him why the record was called ‘Time Out For Tomorrow’. While the album’s literal title was based on an early ’60s dime store collection of science fiction short stories, Jerry said at the time that it was “hard to have a clear explanation but the title just seemed to fit. Maybe parts of the album are a bit sci-fi. We’re living in strange times.” 6 months ago Leger couldn’t have appreciated quite how strange things were about to get – with life right now feeling as though we’re living in a nightmarish, dystopian science fiction reality. Nothing sums up the present more than the book store that put a sign in its window which said that its post apocalyptic fiction had been moved to the current affairs section. Continue reading “Interview: Jerry Leger talks live streaming, lockdown and staying positive”
The British Americana scene seems to go from strength to strength with some really interesting homegrown bands producing increasingly good, original music and showing that you don’t have to be American to play real Americana. One such British band is Mashville, whose members live in the county of Kent and who have produced three albums in their eight years as a functioning band. Recent changes to band personnel has seen an increase in activity that has had them featured on local radio shows and seen them playing at various festivals around the country – something that would, no doubt, have continued this Summer were it not for the current situation. The fact that they can’t be out gigging at the moment did afford Americana-UK the opportunity to catch up with the songwriting duo at the heart of the band, Berin Riley and Graham Loft, to talk about the realities and challenges of being a British Americana band playing original compositions. Continue reading “Interview: Mashville’s Graham Loft and Berin Riley talk beginnings, songwriting and a mutual love for all things Wilco”