Drive By Truckers “Thoughts And Prayers” – Listen

The latest single from the Drive By Truckers upcoming album ‘The Unraveling‘ (which is, by the by, totally superb) is ‘Thought and Prayers‘ a song that is powerful in its direct opposition to indiscriminate gun killing.  And more than that, there’s a lashing of anger reserved for the powerless powerful who wring their hands, say “so sad” and finish off by stating that all the victims are in their “Thoughts and prayers“.  Lot of good that’s doing, the Drive By Truckers point out. Continue reading “Drive By Truckers “Thoughts And Prayers” – Listen”

AUK’s Chain Gang: The Jayhawks “I Hear You Cry”

Taking the massive helping hand from Mr Kerr last week, this link in the chain is forged of pure rock ‘n’roll gold. Gary Louris is a songwriter whose reputation should be far greater than it is (Jayhawks, Tedeschi Trucks, Dixie Chicks, Golden Smog etc.etc.) but how often have we said that about an artist operating in our particular sphere?  To illustrate the point this is a track that was a bonus only on the European original release of ‘Sound of Lies‘. Later editions did not even feature it until the remastering a few years back. It is a beautiful, melancholy delight that gives and gives. Enjoy it loud or hushed.

Chloe Foy “Callous Copper” – Listen

Chloe Foy is at her most intimate on this gentlest of love songs, which has been given an even more romantic edge by being recorded with a string quartet.  The combination of poetry and the elegant arrangement cannot help but bring to mind thoughts of such chamber folk artists of the past – say Nick Drake.  The difference here though is that Chloe Foy is not wracked with doubts, singing “I wouldn’t have it any other way.Continue reading “Chloe Foy “Callous Copper” – Listen”

The Secret Sisters “Hand Over My Heart” – Listen

Here the sisters sing a song that alludes to a pledge of fealty with the traditional stance of the oath-taker – but it is also a rather more romantic gesture, in both a positive and a negative sense.  Stick with us, we’ll do a drawing if it’s needed.  The tale begins with a recap of love that went wrong: “The one who came before you was unkind / … / so I made him hand over, hand over my heart.” Then new love comes along, the real thing this time, but barriers are hard to pull down – but when they are, what is left but to pledge eternal love? And to pledge it with the most wonderful harmony vocals. Continue reading “The Secret Sisters “Hand Over My Heart” – Listen”

Songs for the apocalypse: The Handsome Family “So Much Wine”

The Handsomes are one of those bands that feel so synonymous with what the americana genre means to me I feel they should be on the front of textbooks, with that rich combination of melody, atmosphere and poetry they do so well. One of my favourite gig memories ever was them singing ‘So Much Wine’ in Manchester shortly after sharing pictures with the audience of cats being dressed up to look like grandmothers, Sherlock Holmes, etc. The lyrics are as memorable as any you’re likely to hear: “when you fell asleep with blood on your teeth I got in my car and drove away”. The song makes me want to drink so much wine every time I hear it.

Odessa “Thunder” – Listen

It’s past time for the ethereal, we’ve been denying ourselves the ethereal for far too long.  So, Odessa.  Her new album  new album ‘All Things’ was produced by Jonathan Wilson (Father John Misty, Conor Oberst and…err..Jonathan Wilson), Wilco’s Pat Sansone, and Spoon’s Jim Eno. it’s an album of mature and personal songs, it sounds so complete that it is hard to credit that it comes from a bleak place. Continue reading “Odessa “Thunder” – Listen”

Pond Diver “Over The Hill” – Listen

Naturally every track in this section is carefully handpicked to please you dear reader – adding to your musical enjoyment is what we’re all about.  However, some are more equal than others – and we have  feeling you’re really going to like Pond Diver.  Pond Diver hail out of the legendary Muscle Shoals Alabama music scene and for their debut EP ‘Flashbacks‘ they’ve collared some local help to fill out the sound. Continue reading “Pond Diver “Over The Hill” – Listen”

Mercy Bell “Home” – Listen

We don’t underplay the importance that Mercy Bell places on her background, as her publicity proudly declares she is “Nashville queer Filipino-American musician Mercy Bell“.  Which is great, but what is really going to make an impact in a moment or two when you listen to her single ‘Home‘ is the power in her voice. Continue reading “Mercy Bell “Home” – Listen”

AUK’s Chain Gang: Golden Smog “Glad & Sorry”

Following on from Wilco’s Passenger Side, I went down a Jeff Tweedy rabbit hole looking at some other projects he’s been involved in and ended up with Golden Smog. An occasional and shape-shifting combination of like-minded musicians, Golden Smog kicked off with an EP of four cover songs although Tweedy wasn’t involved at that point. By the time they released ‘Down By The Old Mainstream’, Tweedy (AKA Scott Summit, they all used pseudonyms) was on board and while most of the songs were originals they still did the odd cover such as this tremendous Ronnie Lane song.

Fawn “Burden” – Listen

Fawn is the folk-Americana project of Liverpool based singer-songwriter Ilana Zsigmond, born in England but brought up mainly in in New Haven, Connecticut by parents who were themselves touring musicians.  ‘Burden’ is a song about overcoming struggles – whether they be in relationships or other aspects of life.  It’s being released on January 13th as a single and is the first follow up to her 2017 EP ‘Homebody‘. Continue reading “Fawn “Burden” – Listen”