Peter Bruntnell + Sophia Marshall, Railway Inn, Winchester, 12th September 2019

That the Railway Inn in Winchester has become a hotbed of Americana is due, in the main, to the sterling efforts of promoters, SC4m.co.uk, AKA the husband and wife team  of Oliver and Birgit Gray. Wind the clock back to May 2003 and, in Oliver’s own words, “We started off booking Peter Bruntnell, partly because he’s a mate and partly because he’s a crazed genius.”  Since that seminal moment, Mr Bruntnell has reappeared at the Railway on umpteen occasions and it would seem, based on the packed room, that the good folk of Hampshire are still lapping him up. Continue reading “Peter Bruntnell + Sophia Marshall, Railway Inn, Winchester, 12th September 2019”

John Paul White + Ciaran Lavery, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 5th September 2019

Appropriately enough, ‘Ol’ 55′ was playing on the intro’ tape as John Paul White prepared to take the the stage at a near- full Islington Assembly Hall, unusually set in an all seated configuration. ‘The Hurting Kind‘, the new album by White, is very much in the same frame as the Tom Waits classic -big emotions and big melodies. It’s an album that suggests that John Paul White has shrugged off some of the post Civil Wars angst of his previous album ‘Beulah‘.  Continue reading “John Paul White + Ciaran Lavery, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 5th September 2019”

Sunny Ozell, The Islington, London, 4th September 2019

After various forays to the UK, Ms. Ozell is currently undertaking a short tour, this time as the headliner, with a full band in tow, ahead of the launch of her new album, ‘Overnight Lows’, due for release this winter. She is a real extrovert; feisty and outspoken, and has a varied life passage to draw on, from performing as a teenager at low key dives in Boulder, Colorado when she doctored her driving licence data to meet the ID requirements, to life amidst British thespians as she is the wife of Patrick Stewart. Hailing originally from Reno, Nevada, she is classically trained but it is primarily blues influences that are foremost in much of her set tonight, with elements of jazz and some tinges of 1970s pop. It is not too far from a Woodstock hotch potch, fittingly as that influential touchstone has just marked its 50th anniversary. Continue reading “Sunny Ozell, The Islington, London, 4th September 2019”

Dylan LeBlanc + The Pollies, Omeara, London, 3rd September 2019

The faded western cantina chic of Omerea was the perfect backdrop for tonight’s opening act – and later Dylan LeBlanc’s band – The Pollies, a four piece of guitar, bass, drums and keyboards. They hail out of Muscle Shoals and look the part of rural Alabamans – although when guitarist and singer Jay Burgess refers to the band as,  “Rednecks, that’s what we are,” a correcting holler from the stage rear interjects a preference for “Southern Gentlemen”.  Continue reading “Dylan LeBlanc + The Pollies, Omeara, London, 3rd September 2019”

Frankie Lee + Native Harrow, Paper Dress Vintage, Hackney, London, 4th September, 2019

Frankie Lee isn’t your average Americana singer-songwriter: his latest job involved the herding of 20 sheep on a small farm in Afton. For the recording of his latest album he retreated to his hometown of Stillwater and found that the house he grew up in was still available. In a backwoods setting and resembling a log cabin, he converted the property, Bon Iver style, into a recording studio, gathering fellow musicians to record the eponymously titled record over a mere three days. Continue reading “Frankie Lee + Native Harrow, Paper Dress Vintage, Hackney, London, 4th September, 2019”

Charley Crockett + Jaime Wyatt, Oslo, London, 1st September, 2019

Tonight was not only a celebration of great music but was also a testament to two artists who’ve triumphed in the face of adversity. For Jaime Wyatt, any suggestion she might want to put the eight months she was incarcerated in jail for ripping off her drug dealer behind her are swiftly assuaged, her reflections on this period of her life put front and centre stage during her performance tonight – tackled with both candour and humour. Her 7 song ‘Felony Blues’ EP made a major impact when it was released in 2017 and demonstrated a great knack for catchy tunes with memorable song lyrics. This performance also showed her no less capable as a singer and raconteur.
Continue reading “Charley Crockett + Jaime Wyatt, Oslo, London, 1st September, 2019”

Native Harrow, The Golden Lion, Bristol, 30th August 2019

Deep into inner city Bristol, flanking the famous Bearpit, sits The Golden Lion pub. The Lion prides itself on its musical heritage – framed photos of Elvis adorn the walls, alongside previous performers and patrons of this americana flavoured establishment. On entry, visitors are confronted by an imposing bar, complete with longhorns and lonestars. Having established that, Devon Tuel and Stephen Harms, here on in to be known by their performing moniker ‘Native Harrow’, were deep in discussion with the evening’s sound engineer, a charming gentleman borrowed for the evening from the nearby Mother’s Ruin venue. Pale ales  were purchased and introductions made. Continue reading “Native Harrow, The Golden Lion, Bristol, 30th August 2019”

Over the Hill Festival, Witney, Oxfordshire, 26th August, 2019

For Over The Hill’s inaugural festival you couldn’t hope for a more bucolic setting than Cogges Manor Farm. Set in the outskirts of Witney in Oxfordshire, its grounds comprise a beautiful manor house made of Cotswold stone, surrounded by common land and with farmyard animals in situ. The festival is simply but elegantly accommodated in two tithe barns, with the musical turns alternating between the two stages. Continue reading “Over the Hill Festival, Witney, Oxfordshire, 26th August, 2019”

Israel Nash + Leslie Stevens, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 26th August 2019

Coming to the end of a long series of tours promoting his latest album ‘Lifted’, Israel Nash and his road warriors are by now fully blooded and it showed tonight as they treated this audience to a magnificent 90 minutes of epic sounds. Freely trading on his Neil Young comparisons, Nash adds a splendid dollop of cosmic American music consciousness to his songs allowing them to spiral well beyond any accusations of being a mere copycat. There were moments tonight when the mesh of pedal steel, blissful guitar and glowering rythyms just about blew your head away. Continue reading “Israel Nash + Leslie Stevens, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 26th August 2019”

Danny Vaughn, The Black Heart, London, 22nd August 2019

If it isn’t a reinvention it is at least a repositioning. Given that Danny Vaughn’s extensive CV  includes melodic rock band Tyketto and a stint with Waysted led by UFO axe man Pete Way, his heritage isn’t obviously grist to the AUK mill, nor necessarily are rave notices in Midland Metalheads (due respect of course). But bear with us on this….. the content and style has shifted notably in his impressive recent album ‘Myths, Legends & Lies‘. His other role with The Ultimate Eagles shows his softer side has always been there so it’s no coincidence that the new material calls to mind recent solo work by real Eagle Timothy B Schmidt. It’s like The Eagles but with a bigger belt buckle and more studs on the jacket or, alternatively, the harder end of the Black Crowes repertoire. Continue reading “Danny Vaughn, The Black Heart, London, 22nd August 2019”