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”

Interview: Simone Felice

A long time has passed since we witnessed a shirtless, sweating Felice clambering over a rickety drum kit hollering “Yankees In The House” at  The Basement in Nashville after an incendiary Felice Brothers show that was described on this very site as ‘the future of rock’n’roll.’ These days Felice is one of the golden boys on the Americana scene, a stunning, at times ethereal songwriter that is known for live shows that really leave a mark. His new album ‘The Projector’ is arguably his best yet, a poignant, lo-fi masterstroke of a record that will only enhance Felice’s reputation as a heart-breaker and soul searcher.   AUK’s Alan O’Hare talks to the New York songwriter ahead of May UK dates.  Continue reading “Interview: Simone Felice”

Interview: Buffalo Tom

I remember buying the self-titled debut album from Buffalo Tom the very day it was released from that once-great record emporium, Rhythm Records in Camden Town. That record still gets healthy attention from the deck, especially ‘Sunflower Suit” which still has this middle-aged man jumping around like Vedder. Thirty-years later and I’m sat here enjoying ‘Quiet And Peace’, the band’s new album – their first in seven years – and possibly their best yet. That classic brooding guitar sound may not be so much at the forefront these days but the whole album still resonates both with its presence and dynamism. The songs, thoughtful and mature, underline the fact that here we have a band still right at the top of their game both observing and absorbing the ever-changing world around them. I speak to the band’s Bill Janovitz about making records, getting older and Simon And Garfunkel. Continue reading “Interview: Buffalo Tom”

Interview: Courtney Marie Andrews

If ever there was a brighter star in the ascendancy then Arizona’s Courtney Marie Andrews hasn’t bumped into it yet. Over the last eighteen months the evocative and beguiling songstress has risen to the very summit of the genre, first on the back of her universally acclaimed – and utterly brilliant – ‘Honest Life’ album, released in the UK on the ever-one-step-ahead Loose Music, then a series of live performances that culminated in a beautifully understated appearance on BBC’s Later that ignited the smouldering fuse.  Releasing her follow-up ‘May Your Kindness Remain’ this month, Andrews returns to the UK/Eire in April for a number of shows including her biggest London headline show to date at Islington Assembly Hall on April 24th.  AUK’s Alan O’Hare took the chance to spend a few minutes of her time asking about the new album and current success. Continue reading “Interview: Courtney Marie Andrews”

Interview: Lilly Hiatt

On ‘Trinity Lane’ her third and most visceral album to date, East Nashville’s Lilly Hiatt pulls no punches. Written mostly from a wooden chair looking out at the trees that surround her house on Trinity Lane, the album embodies both a kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll spirit – which Hiatt has in bucketloads – with a deeper, personal reflection on her life, broken relationships and sobriety. Continue reading “Interview: Lilly Hiatt”

Van Life: Rennie Sparks (The Handsome Family)

Got to be honest, there probably isn’t a square mile of the US or Europe that Brett and Rennie, The Handsome Family, haven’t covered at some point. The husband and wife duo must have one hell of a relationship to endure that many miles on the road together without serious risk of divorce or mental instability.  That they appear, at least on the surface, as musically and harmoniously entwined is surely testament to a rigorously tested van life routine that has stood the test of time. I catch up with them en route to Aberdeen to get the lowdown.
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Interview: Willy Vlautin

The much-loved frontman of the now sadly defunct Richmond Fontaine and pivotal member of The Delines,  Willy Vlautin is a man of many talents. Not only an exquisite songwriter, guitarist and one of the good guys, Vlautin has established himself as a ‘must read’ novelist whose tales of life’s chancers and dreamers have been cherished by readers and critics alike. Over for a short visit to these shores promoting his new book, ‘Don’t Skip Out On Me’ AUK’s Alan O’Hare caught up with him for a coffee and short chat.

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