There are not so many mother and son folk duos, but if they could all sound as good as Madisen Ward & The Mama Bear then we’d be all in favour of this being the next big trend in folk. Ruth Ward had her own career going in the sixties and seventies, but took time-out for family. Well, what goes around comes around and as Madisen explains “My mom started to become a fan of the things that I was writing. She would tell me, ‘Hey, I’m gonna take a break during this show. You should go up and play a couple songs…she started playing on my original songs, and the songs just started to take shape more and more and kind of almost develop their own sound.” And it’s a great sound.
‘Liberty’ is the new album from Lindi Ortega – due out in May, it was recorded in East Nashville and produced by Skylar Wilson (Justin Townes Earle, Rayland Baxter), and she’s shared the track ‘You Ain’t Foolin’ Me’ exclusively with AUK this morning. With a dark undercurrent and some great production, she told us: “Some southerners say the phrase “bless your heart” may have negative connotations, and while it appears like a lovely thing to say, it is sometimes meant in a mean-spirited way. I was drawing from that concept when I wrote this song. The mean folks parading as angels but we know they ain’t no angels.” Ortega is embarking on an extensive world tour in support of the new record, reaching the UK in early June. Dates below.
Delafaye is the performance name of Lousianna one-man-band Andrew Shockley who home records , and plays all the instruments on his tracks including this new one. ‘Anyway’ is dreamy and melodic – it’s an anthem of non-commitment and active avoidance with a hint at deeper issues at work “I wish I was fine / I wish I really was / I hope you and me, stay together for a while”. It’s burnt out and downbeat, and it sticks in the mind.
The 286 are a London based musical collective brought together when Spencer Hannabuss posted an advert on the internet for classical musicians to join his band. Time Immemorial is The 286’s first single to be released this year, and the blend of finger-picked guitar is likely to bring to mind ‘Blackbird’, ‘She’s Leaving Home’, and, if out ears don’t deceive us, a little bit of ‘She’. A song, then, with influences – but pretty enough in its own right.
M. Butterfly is based in Brighton and does a lovely line in that kind of interesting slightly bleepy americana that the likes of Darlingside do so well these days, such as this track ‘Yes, Always’ . He told AUK: “I play slow sad Americana. I usually sing about death, love, tragedy, depression and sexuality. I try to always record on tape, as it’s what I had when I was little and I prefer the work ethic it creates. I’m very passionate about lyrics which is why the music is slow and simple.” You can get his album ‘M Butterfly I’ from Bandcamp here.
Rolling Stone have listed Charley Crockett as one of ten “artist you should know”. And say what you like about those old hippies, this time they’ve nailed it fair and square. Like the rest of Charley Crockett’s new album, ‘Lonesome As A Shadow’, this lead single was recorded at Sam Phillip’s Recording in Memphis and it’s as rootsy a honky-tonking rocking tune as you’re likely to hear this side of Texas.
You may recall that recently we were asking what’s Laura Veirs being doing? Well, one thing she’s been doing is recording with Neko Case for the latter’s new album ‘Hell-On’, which is out on Anti- on the 1st of June. Neko Case has also been working with Beth Ditto, Mark Lanegan, k.d. Lang, AC Newman, Eric Bachmann, Kelly Hogan, Doug Gillard, Joey Burns, and more. The title track is available to listen to now. Of the new work Neko Case has said “I write songs from a feeling of solidarity with folks who feel alone or isolated, I think I’m trying to comfort people in this way”. Well never let it be said that we’re adverse to a little comfort here at Americana-UK.
Here’s a chance to have the first listen to Ralegh Long’s ‘Super Blue Moon’ which is officially released on the 9th of March. With something of a Nick Drake vibe to its gently thrumming folk guitar ‘Super Blue Moon’ captures an eerie, but not unpleasant, feeling of isolation, and the wonder of an observed natural phenomenon. It crackles icily, and Long’s double tracked vocal breathes out with a frosty edge. Hypnotically beautiful, and well worth that listen.
Taken from their new album ‘II’ this atmospheric track is very typical of Woods End who exhibit a far too precise English Folk feel for a band that hails out of Sweden. Much of the album was recorded in a summer house and makeshift studio by the Baltic Sea, with the guitars and vocals added at several different locations (including a rehearsal space, a sauna and a record shop), the album taps into the darker side of Americana – spectral doom laden landscapes abound.
Dear old RS are pointing us today towards another new track from John Prine’s first solo album of new material since 2005, ‘The Tree of Forgiveness’. The track is called ‘Knockin’ on Your Screen Door’ and is co-written with Pat McLaughlin, whose credits include cuts by Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood and some other cheesy country. As they describe it “the tune is prime Prine, an uptempo folk song with a downbeat message from the perspective of a lonely, destitute man whose only possession is a George Jones 8-track tape.”