Scott Low “Burning Tires, Smoking Gun” (10 Foot Woody Records, 2018)

With his third solo album ‘Burning Tires, Smoking Gun‘, Scott Low, the former main man of Athens, GA based band Efren has produced a fine album that is simple in design, yet contains contemporary  messages that ponder many of the challenges in today’s society.  It’s nicely carried along by Low’s gritty and distinctive tenor voice and aided by a sparse arrangement that doesn’t get in the way of the messages being conveyed. Low is clearly a multi-faceted individual and he combines his musical career with running his creative retreat in the hills near the small town of Clayton in the north of the US state of Georgia, a safe and supportive place where creative and inquisitive minds can go and be, well, creative and inquisitive! Continue reading “Scott Low “Burning Tires, Smoking Gun” (10 Foot Woody Records, 2018)”

Michael Hurley + James Yorkston, Summerhall, Edinburgh, 17th June 2018

It’s been a while since Michael Hurley, occasionally known as Snock, has come to the UK and with him now in his 77th year, news of this tour was somewhat unexpected. Mind you it was only last year when he toured Australia for the first time so it’s perhaps somewhat ageist of us to presume that this venerable songwriter was about to hang up his guitar. Since recording his first album back in 1965 Hurley has ploughed a singular path creating his own weird and crepuscular world peopled with werewolves and revenants, his cartoon creations, Boone and Jocko, and a whole host of idiosyncratic characters.  With a style rooted deep in country blues and folk Hurley has always sounded as if he came from an earlier age, a one man version of Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music as transmitted from some Twilight Zone and tonight a rapt audience was transported into Hurley’s very own version of old and weird Americana as Greil Marcus would have it. Continue reading “Michael Hurley + James Yorkston, Summerhall, Edinburgh, 17th June 2018”

The Autumn Saints “The Autumn Saints EP” (Independent, 2018)

The Autumn Saints are an Oxford based trio of North Carolina born Britt Strickland on lead vocals, backed up by UK natives David Ireland on guitar and Joel Brisk on drums. Appropriately enough there’s a strong College Rock influence on their music across all of the six tracks on their debut EP, with a combination of chirping and intricate guitar lines swirling around the word-dense vocals. It brings a number of bands to mind.  Continue reading “The Autumn Saints “The Autumn Saints EP” (Independent, 2018)”

Interview: The Vagaband

Long-established roots stalwarts The Vagaband’s third album, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ came out to great praise earlier this year with this very site loving the album’s “rollicking mix of Dylan and Ronnie Lane like Romany swirls, full-bodied and city sullied dramas and just plain old good fashioned songs”.   AUK’s Nic Rigby caught up with the band’s leader and main songwriter, Jose McGill, at his Norwich home to talk about the album and the band’s place in the Americana genre.  Continue reading “Interview: The Vagaband”

Mike Uva “Lights Coming Up” (Collectible Escalators 2018)

Cleveland’s Mike Uva is an interesting cove if these tracks are solid indicators of the man’s character.  Lots of influences dripped through a lo-fi prism. The acoustic confessional ‘A Proposal’ is sparse but leavened with a gentle harmony, a sweet lead guitar and a voice as dry as a dustbowl. ‘Waco’ is a driving, complex and twisting narrative interspersed with crashes of electronica and almost found sounds. They shouldn’t fit but do. ‘You Let The Devil’ is folk-noir, swampy and threatening, a shoe-in for a True Detective soundtrack. The title track is different again, with an almost Appalachian singalong confessional as the rain comes down and a melody that timeless. Continue reading “Mike Uva “Lights Coming Up” (Collectible Escalators 2018)”

Ana Silvera “Circle Of Chalk” – Listen

We’re going to be honest with you here, sure Ana Silvera has a beautifully clear voice, swooping and diving across this track.  And yes the blend of folk and semi-classical tones is very appealing.  It’s true there’s a hint of Kate Bush circa ‘The Red Shoes‘ in those lovely “woo-woo’s“.  All true, and all good,  and all reasons to love this superb song.  But – ok, we admit it, it’s the handclaps.  We love handclaps.  Ana Silvera is on tour “later in the year” – keep an eye out for confirmed dates.

Treetop Flyers announce new album, single

London soulful country-rock outfit Treetop Flyers are back with their eponymous third album which is due out on 24 August via Loose. Weaving 60s tinged West Coast Americana with a British rock’n’roll swagger, whereas previous albums had been recorded either at their own Soup studios in London or further afield in studios in Malibu and New York, this time round they headed to The Cube in Stoke Newington. A DIY studio and rehearsal space, it backs on to the sanding workshop of the London picture framers and fellow musicians Brider & Bull. Continue reading “Treetop Flyers announce new album, single”

Sons of Bill “Oh God Ma’am” (Loose Records, 2018)

It’s been almost 4 years since we had an album release from Sons of Bill and it’s fair to say that the Wilson brothers, Sam, Abe and James haven’t let the grass grow under their feet. Their new offering ‘Oh God Ma’am’ sees them move away from their Virginia/Appalachian roots into a more Indie sound that at times is reminiscent (to this reviewer at least) of bands like Travis, especially on tracks like ‘Believer/Pretender’ and ‘Where we Stand’ (admittedly that’s a bit of a tenuous comparison as I’m pretty sure the Glasgow rockers never sung about the inspiring openness and greenery of Virginia, but you get the drift – hopefully!). Continue reading “Sons of Bill “Oh God Ma’am” (Loose Records, 2018)”