Interview: Emily Barker

Emily Barker is one of those names that has been around the UK Americana scene, since it was both identified as a ‘scene’ and as a distinct musical genre.  A pathfinder, a trailblazer, and first with her Red Clay Halo, then as part of Applewood Road a consistent purveyor of great music.  She stretches the musical parameters, and possibly herself with a wonderfully soul soaked new record, Sweet Kind of Blue, recorded in Memphis. Continue reading “Interview: Emily Barker”

Interview: Yola Carter

Just about the coolest thing in UK Americana right now, Yola Carter, is taking it to the Yanks, Carter is electric live and her sonic boom voice is a force of nature.  You want it real, can you handle it really real? Yola is it the real deal, the fuse is lit, stand well back.

You’re on a great run,  you’ve had a moment to look back? you must be pretty chuffed?  Highlights?   Normally I’m the kind of person to look forward, so I don’t get really overexcited about things, but last year was my first year. I went from not existing as an artist, taking three years out, looking like a loser to my peers, some vocalising their lack of faith that I could work solo- just me and a hack guitar, to winning my category at the Americana music Association awards and getting rave reviews and press in NPR, The Guardian and American Songwriter. Continue reading “Interview: Yola Carter”

Interview: Michael Nau

Settling into a short run of European shows, I managed to catch a quick chat with Michael Nau, the Maryland singer-songwriter who, on the back of a new album and most recently a 7-track EP, makes a short visit to these shores this month. Following 2016’s Mowing, a sonically captivating piece of work where the songs, stripped and bare at first gradually colour whilst bathing in a hazy, captivating psychedelic hue, Nau has followed it up with ‘Some Twist’, an equally beguiling record – both in sound and content. I ask Nau about the recording process as, to my ears, the overall sound and feel of these records has as much importance as the songs in the whole process. Continue reading “Interview: Michael Nau”

Interview: Steve Earle

CREDIT: Chad Batka

Long regarded as one of Nashville’s most important songwriters, Steve Earle chats about new album, Waylon and Guy Clark with Americana UK’s Iain Patience: If there’s anyone out there in music land who might truly be described as an ‘outlaw,’ it must surely be Steve Earle, a rabble-rousing, rebellious guy who has been there and done it all, repeatedly, it often seems. Few, if any, of the current crop of Nashville superstars can, and do, admit to having spent time at the Federal Government’s expense sheet. But for Earle, it was just part of life, youthful wildness combined with naivety, now long -lost chimaeras. Continue reading “Interview: Steve Earle”

Interview: Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly is a big deal in Australia – his latest record went straight to number one and he supported Bob Dylan on his 2011 Aussie tour, although he still remains one of his country’s best-kept secrets for UK audiences. (But everyone knows what Neighbours is. Oh the injustice). The new album “Life is Fine” is a collection alive with energy and good humour, described by the Guardian as containing some of his “best songs in years”.  Mark Whitfield caught up with him at the start of the UK leg of his current tour and chatted about how the new record came about, writing songs from poetry and why nobody does Hank Williams songs like Hank Williams. Continue reading “Interview: Paul Kelly”

Interview: Christopher Rees

A delayed train meant I had a moment to use the ‘library’ on the platform provided by WH Smiths, and a rapid peruse of Uncut Magazine, in which I stumbled across a review of ‘The Nashville Songs’, cool title, by Christopher Rees, cool hat in the picture on the sleeve.  A brief exchange of emails later and his collection of songs co-written in Nashville landed in Yorkshire, almost as quickly as my train did.  It’s wonderfully sung, sharply recorded and must be one of the best British Americana records this year – it’s Cymrucana at its best. Continue reading “Interview: Christopher Rees”

Interview: Mark Olson

Mark Olson is a pathfinder, one of the true leaders of a movement, a genuine seminal artist, a musician and performer who changed music, who helped it cut a new path. The founder of The Jayhawks, one of the pioneering bands that took punk rock and smashed it into country music, creating Alt-Country or what we now call Americana.  He’s a cool guy who now writes and plays with his wife Ingunn Ringvold, and his new album, ‘Spokeswoman of the Bright Sun’, is almost upon us. Continue reading “Interview: Mark Olson”

Interview: Southern Companion

Southern Companion are that shaded area, the bit in the middle, of the Venn diagram that is country music and Americana, the switch point between the two genres.  He/they are multiple winners at the latest BCMAs and their album, ‘1000 Days of Rain’ is one of the best UK country records of the last 10 years.  We caught their hirsute main man, Darren after ripping up the crowd at Maverick Festival. Continue reading “Interview: Southern Companion”

Interview: Hannah Aldridge

Hannah Aldridge is the sort of artist that others hate and secretly wish they were; beautiful, gorgeous voiced and one hell of a song writer – if you want it dark, and probably somebody will die, which I do. From Muscle Shoals, Alabama, she writes gothic roots noir that is brutal, yet delivered with a glint in her eye, a winning smile and a knife behind her back. Continue reading “Interview: Hannah Aldridge”

Interview: Pete Gow (Case Hardin)

Four times I’ve seen Case Hardin in the last 12 months. I doubt you’ll see a more consistent live band – whatever the bill, they are always the best thing on it and must be a headline act’s worst nightmare.  They seem determined to “rough the place up” with their sets: coarse, hard, muscular Southern country rock is what they do, that and playing the tambourine like they hate it. Front man Pete Gow gave me a few words following his recent big top lifting gig at Red Rooster. Continue reading “Interview: Pete Gow (Case Hardin)”