The Once, The Islington, London, 30th January 2019

Although the AMAUK awards showcase was happening just a mile or two to the East in Hackney, The Once drew a very appreciative crowd to this compact Islington venue. Somewhat remote from the heartlands of the music industry as Newfoundland natives and residents, their narratives include some scenes that you just won’t encounter in the big city bands. Lead singer Geraldine Hollett is happy to concede that their location gives them a tendency to sit slightly outside the norm. That said, many of their songs look at basic human traits and emotions that would be common ground, whether in St John’s, Newfoundland or Nashville, Tennessee. Continue reading “The Once, The Islington, London, 30th January 2019”

Gordie Tentrees & Jaxon Haldane, The Doublet, Glasgow, 12th February 2019

Here for some winter warmth away from their native sub zero Manitoba, Gordie Tentrees and Jaxon Haldane kicked off what local promoters, Sounds In The Suburbs are calling their Canadian season, with an effervescent show which was high on energy and full of fun. The pair play a rootsy blend of folk, blues and country with Tentrees pumping up the energy via foot stomped tambourine and percussion while Haldane provides some excellent accompaniment on guitars – traditional and cigar box slide driven – banjo and, on one occasion, a singing saw. Tentrees’ rapid fire raps, introducing songs, interrupting songs and generally just giving us a very humorous lowdown on what we were hearing was invigorating and, as we have already said, a barrel of laughs at times. Continue reading “Gordie Tentrees & Jaxon Haldane, The Doublet, Glasgow, 12th February 2019”

Jarrod Dickenson, Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich, 7th February 2019

Nashville-based Jarrod Dickenson is increasingly popular here in the UK thanks to relentless touring, multiple festival appearances and that warm, soulful voice that makes his songs so distinctive. A number of the shows on this tour have been sold-out and the Norwich Arts Centre was certainly busy, with many audience members being returning fans, whooping noisily when Dickenson referenced previous shows here. As ever, the travelling Texan troubadour, with his trademark hat and gorgeous, honeyed vocals, delivered an engaging show. Continue reading “Jarrod Dickenson, Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich, 7th February 2019”

Ferris & Sylvester, The Poetry Club, Glasgow, Tuesday 5th February 2019

Glasgow’s Poetry Club is a great place for an intimate gig. With a sold-out crowd of 125, it was the perfect venue for the second night of Ferris & Sylvester’s first headline tour.  The duo of Issy Ferris and Archie Sylvester had a simple set up tonight, just the pair of them, their guitars, bass, tambourine, and drum. It took them a minute to find their feet on the stage but opening with one of their older songs ‘Save Yourself’ ,the bittersweet love song from their debut EP- ‘The Yellow Line’,  they immediately showed what the duo are highly capable of which and which they proved throughout the night as their set continued. Continue reading “Ferris & Sylvester, The Poetry Club, Glasgow, Tuesday 5th February 2019”

The Delines + Joana Serrat @ The Railway Inn, Winchester, 3rd February 2019

In very broad terms, heading south west out of Waterloo station means that the landscape for Americana venues becomes increasingly parched and music fans of this particular bent have to work hard and travel far to find a home. A huge hurrah then to the Railway Inn at Winchester which has been consistently attracting class acts to this humble venue for over 20 years. So, it came to pass that, due to a long-term relationship with the magnificent Willy Vlautin that stretches back to his Richmond Fontaine days, the much lauded Delines land in icy Hampshire to play not one but two sold out gigs in one day. Continue reading “The Delines + Joana Serrat @ The Railway Inn, Winchester, 3rd February 2019”

Americana Music Awards, 31st January, Hackney Empire, London

The final flourish of the Americana Music Association UK (AMAUK) music festival is the Awards night, held in the luxurious surroundings of the Hackney Empire. Unsurprisingly the evening follows a fairly typical award ceremony format, a master of ceremonies, guest presenters to read out the nominees and the actual winner in categories such as “Best Song“, an acceptance speech and then, between awards, a musical spot featuring those nominated somewhere in the evening. This does mean that there’s plenty of music – it’d be a bit odd after all if there wasn’t – but everyone gets just the one song. The full list of award winners can be found here, so this is just a quick impression of the evening and not a full list of every face that appeared. Continue reading “Americana Music Awards, 31st January, Hackney Empire, London”

Rachel Baiman, The Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol, 22nd January 2019

Bristol’s Wardrobe Theatre is a bohemian gem of a venue in a neglected but vibrant corner of the city, offering up a mix of independent productions and cutting edge Americana to an audience made up of old and young. A taste for low key performances and local craft ale seems to be a prerequisite for this minimalist Victorian dance hall setting and tonight Rachel Baiman and friends touched down from Nashville to a seasonal West Country welcome. Continue reading “Rachel Baiman, The Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol, 22nd January 2019”

Americana Music Fest 30th January, Hackney, London

Previous showcases at the AMAUK conference had run for just a single night – expanding to two nights had more than doubled the excitement. And if the previous evening had offered some hard choices then this second night of the AMAUK showcase upped the ante by bringing in Moth Club as a venue, which meant that most time slots now offered a chance of three bands or artists. This cold wet evening started once again at Hackney Empire Bar with the superb sound of The Hanging Stars. Continue reading “Americana Music Fest 30th January, Hackney, London”

Birds Of Chicago + Salthouse @Celtic Connections, Drygate, Glasgow, 31st January 2018

Long time AUK favourites Birds Of Chicago flew into Glasgow as Celtic Connections was nearing the end of its run. With core members, Allison Russell and JT Nero accompanied by the acclaimed producer and wizard guitar player Steve Dawson, the trio’s show was heart-warming and uplifting. Russell and Nero are a delight to see and hear. Their chalk and cheese voices (hers sweet and melodious, his, a sandpapered drawl) combine wonderfully with a definite sense of soul in its essence while the songs flow wonderfully with elements of bluegrass, folk, Celtic and Gospel all entwined. Continue reading “Birds Of Chicago + Salthouse @Celtic Connections, Drygate, Glasgow, 31st January 2018”

Americana Music Fest 29th January, Hackney, London

Organised by the Americana Music Association UK (AMAUK), the showcase runs at five Hackney Central venues over two nights, culminating in the awards ceremony at hackney Empire on the third evening. It’s a fairly massive undertaking, with almost 60 bands or artists performing half hour sets over the two showcase nights. It links in with the AMAUK music conference, an opportunity for all those involved in this area of the music business to come together and discuss how to promote a genre which it’s fair to say no-one can definitely describe. Continue reading “Americana Music Fest 29th January, Hackney, London”