RS Country looks at the genre’s racist history

RS Country has posted a really timely piece about country music’s relationship with race entitled Rewriting Country Music’s Racist History which interviews among others Yola and Rhiannon Giddens, the latter challenging what she calls a “manufactured image of country music being white and being poor”. Continue reading “RS Country looks at the genre’s racist history”

Something for the weekend: Mark Olson and Ingunn Ringvold “Pipestone I Won’t Be Back”

We leave you this week dear reader with the opening track from the new record by sometime Jayhawker Mark Olson who’s collaborated with Norwegian roots singer Ingunn Ringvold for a third time on the album ‘Magdalen Accepts the Invitation’, out today on the Fiesta Red label. The record features an array of unconventional instrumentation played by Ringvold including the Armenian Qanon, the Mellotron, and djembe drums while Mark Olson plays the guitars and a dulcimer. All the tracks were completed on a Nagra field recorder, and there is something intimate and analogue about the sound – music without sharp edges feels welcome right now. See you on Monday if the world hasn’t burnt down by then. Solidarity people.

Isbell: “Getting sober made me more aware”

Looking through Billboard’s Country chart at the moment is like perusing a “greatest drinking songs” feature. In the top 30 right now are the songs: ‘After a Few, Beer Can’t Fix, One Margarita, Drinking Alone, Why We Drink, One Beer, Champagne Night’ and ‘No I in Beer’ – and that’s just one week, so it’s fair to say it’s a genre well versed with the art of inebriation which our recent feature looked at too. Continue reading “Isbell: “Getting sober made me more aware””

Sturgill Simpson announces live stream show from the Ryman

Sturgill Simpson released his latest album ‘Sound & Fury’ (along with its accompanying animated film) last year, and was scheduled to shortly go on tour with Tyler Childers to support of it, but that like everything else was cancelled due to the pandemic. Still in a win for the environment, Simpson has announced a livestream performance from Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium which will take place tomorrow (June 5th) at 8 PM USA ET. Continue reading “Sturgill Simpson announces live stream show from the Ryman”

Eric Long “Looking Up” (Independent, 2020)

Eric Long’s ‘Looking Up’ kicks off with `Everyday’, a song that sounds like the distillation of optimism. The guitar chops a rhythmic line, the stand-up bass chugs and thumps and you’re already feeling good. A shuffling beat and an improvising fiddle in the background arrive and your head is bobbing up and down. If ever there was a time for dancing in the kitchen it is now, and Long unintentionally provides the lyrics with “Why am I not outside dancing / Why’d it take so long to shake these blues”? With a classic call and response chorus it’s the sort of breezy sound that is isolation solace. Continue reading “Eric Long “Looking Up” (Independent, 2020)”

Judy Collins and a Global Choir to fund the WHO

It’s one of her most iconic recordings – ‘Amazing Grace‘  – and Judy Collins has been inspired to put her voice – and the voices of thousands of others making up a “virtual choir” – to good purpose.  In the middle of a global pandemic Judy Collins is certain of one thing – supporting global health through the World Health Organisation is of vital importance. That’s both obvious and unarguable. Continue reading “Judy Collins and a Global Choir to fund the WHO”

Americana UK supports Black Out Tuesday

In light of the awful events over in the States these last few days, Americana UK is joining our comrades the world over in outrage over the violent killing of George Floyd, standing in solidarity with the black community in the US and saying enough is enough. In this spirit, we along with most of the rest of the music industry in the UK will be observing Black Out Tuesday, a day to reflect on the tragedy and focus on the need for accountability and real change. In the meantime please consider signing the petition for justice for George Floyd, donating to the memorial fund, and taking the time you would have been reading about americana today to look at Black Lives Matter instead. As the BPI have stated: “Music has the power to unite communities and give people a voice as they work together to bring about positive social change.” Amen to that. See you on Wednesday.

Muzz “Muzz” (Matador Records, 2020)

Not just the band’s name, ‘Muzz’ perfectly describes their sound. Fortunately that was the intention according to producer and multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaufman who wanted to describe the texture of the group’s sound without being pinned to a particular genre or time. They chose well. There is a richness to the expansive layers of cosmic and psychedelia that they blend with full-on indie rock in their debut, and for good measure, eponymous album. Continue reading “Muzz “Muzz” (Matador Records, 2020)”

Brandi Carlile to play classic albums in full by live-stream

Washington born americana singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile has announced she will be performing her Grammy Award-winning 2018 album ‘By the Way, I Forgive You’ in its entirety during a live-stream which will take place on Monday June 1st at 9 p.m. USA ET, although you will need to buy a ticket for it over at Veeps. Continue reading “Brandi Carlile to play classic albums in full by live-stream”

Stripmall Ballads “Distant” (Freeloader Free Press, 2020)

Now, these are not the happiest of times, obviously, but why do so many new albums coming from singer/songwriters have to be so relentlessly miserable? Even a miserable song with a jaunty tune would be a welcome departure but so many of the new songs we hear are slow, minor-key moans about the trials of life. Surely someone out there must be having some fun? At least occasionally! Continue reading “Stripmall Ballads “Distant” (Freeloader Free Press, 2020)”