Malcolm Holcombe “Pretty Little Troubles” (Gypsy Eyes Music, 2017)

For those not familiar with Malcolm Holcombe, he is somewhat of an institution. There aren’t many artists that can say they’ve had a career quite like him and after 20 years and 15 studio recordings, he’s still going as strong as ever and continuing to expand on the vast body of work he has built. The production on the record is crisp and clean and allows room for the impressive guitar skills of Holcombe to shine through along with some subtle and perfectly placed harmonica to compliment the gravelly, whiskey-drenched and rough-around-the-edges vocals we’ve come to expect from him. Continue reading “Malcolm Holcombe “Pretty Little Troubles” (Gypsy Eyes Music, 2017)”

Dirty Dozen: Hayride Casualties

When asked to give AUK the inside track on Hayride Casualties, Daniel DeWald replied “I’ve lived in Brooklyn, NY on and off for over ten years now. I grew up on the East End of Long Island, which has lots of farms and remote beaches. So I crave both city and country, and I think my songwriting reflects this. There’s a pull towards a more acoustic, traditional approach to a song, and a pull in the opposite direction: more electrified, progressive, a bit more rocking. ” Continue reading “Dirty Dozen: Hayride Casualties”

Robert Cray, Cadogan Hall, London, 3rd May 2017

It was a dismal, cold night with an ever present threat of rain that brought Robert Cray to London’s plush Cadogan Hall – it’s a converted church, and tonight it was a Temple to the Blues. Cray returned to London with a three piece backing band – the dread-locked and barefoot super-cool bass player Richard Cousins, keyboard maestro Dover “Whitecliffs” Weinberg and the passionate and inventive Terence Clark on drums. And up front, flanked by Matchless Speakers, was of course Robert Cray – belying his age, dressed in his trademark “preppy” style, he looks younger than his 63 years. Continue reading “Robert Cray, Cadogan Hall, London, 3rd May 2017”

Unreleased Elliott Smith track released for campaign

This couldn’t come at a more important time given the oncoming war on well basically half the world’s population. NME reports: “An unreleased Elliott Smith track has been unveiled as part of a campaign in aid of Planned Parenthood, 14 years after the cult singer-songwriter’s death in 2003. Artists including Foo Fighters, St Vincent, CHVRCHES and Bon Iver have already contributed to the compilation of 7-inch singles, alongside comedians Jenny Slate, Margaret Cho and Janeane Garofalo, who offered exclusive spoken word recordings to the project.  Continue reading “Unreleased Elliott Smith track released for campaign”

Ray Davies “Americana” (Sony, 2017)

Ray Davies return with his first album in a decade, if we discount the various Kinks collaborations and choral reworking.  It stands as a testament that everything changes and nothing changes since Working Man’s Café dropped as the newly knighted Sir Ray turns his attention to the country which has had a profound effect on his life, America, yet still manages to return to the recurring themes of isolation reaction to change in the modern world. Continue reading “Ray Davies “Americana” (Sony, 2017)”

Bonnie ‘Prince’ talks Merle Haggard

Let’s face it, he’s probably still not going to beat Mel B’s version of “Word Up” in terms of classic covers but good on him for having a go. Rolling Stone reports: “Imagine arranging Merle Haggard’s millions of fans in concentric circles. In the outermost ring, place the casual listeners, the ones familiar with “Mama Tried,” some of the canonical 1960s material and maybe the hoopla around “Okie From Muskogee.” A slightly smaller – if still spacious – circle encompasses those who stuck with Haggard as long as country radio did; he scored his last Number One airplay hit as a solo artist in 1987. Next you enter into a circle of dedicated enthusiasts, the active listeners who have continued to hunt down and pore over Haggard’s LPs, and that’s where you’ll find Will Oldham, who records under the name Bonnie “Prince” Billy.  Continue reading “Bonnie ‘Prince’ talks Merle Haggard”

Loretta Lynn remains in hospital following stroke

News reported all over the place on the weekend, but just in case you missed it, Spin among many reports: “Country music legend Loretta Lynn suffered a stroke and was hospitalized Thursday evening, according to a post on her Facebook page. The “Coal Miner’s Daughter” was admitted to a Nashville hospital, after the incident occurred at her Hurricane Mills, Tennessee home. The 85-year-old singer, who achieved 70 charting songs throughout her career, remains in stable condition and is responsive, according to the post. She is expected to make a full recovery. Continue reading “Loretta Lynn remains in hospital following stroke”

Aimee Mann announces UK/Ireland dates

Aimee Mann’s ‘Mental Illness’ which was released at the end of March went straight to number one in the UK americana charts – we were rather keen on it too, calling her work “rarely less than exceptional, and this effort is no different” – and in celebration of our review (probably), she’s announced some European dates this October including three UK/RoI shows with tickets on sale from 9am on Monday.  Links are below and you can see the full list of her European dates over at her website hereContinue reading “Aimee Mann announces UK/Ireland dates”

Bob Cheevers “Fifty Years Sampler” (Howling Dog Records, 2017)

In recognition of a half century of songwriting Bob Cheevers has pulled together a comprehensive 5CD, 83 song retrospective which covers, it’s claimed, ten genres of music, and taking a mix of songs from his albums as well as some unreleased recordings. I’m not completely sure what the ten genres are meant to be but country, western, folk, popular jazz, blues, rock, and singer-songwriter are all represented here on this ten track sampler. What it reveals is a hugely accomplished songwriter, and an idiosyncratic singer in the Willie Nelson mode. Continue reading “Bob Cheevers “Fifty Years Sampler” (Howling Dog Records, 2017)”