Here they are! AUK writers’ best albums of 2017

Here at AUK towers we used to quite often fall out over our end of year list, and even the stronger among us walked away in a sea of blood, sweat and tears (the things). It was the block vote what done it. And so, like Ed Miliband before us we moved to a one … Continue reading “Here they are! AUK writers’ best albums of 2017”

Jim White + Cicada Rhythm, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 19th November 2017

It was pleasing to see a near capacity crowd turn up on a wet and cold Sunday night in Glasgow to see Jim White. Often seen as a cult artist and with an idiosyncratic style that rarely bothers the airwaves, White is a bit of a polymath. Aside from his songs he has worked in … Continue reading “Jim White + Cicada Rhythm, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 19th November 2017”

Jeffrey Martin “One Go Around” (Fluff & Gravy Records, 2017)

What saves Jeffrey Martin from the pile of identikit singer-songwriters, the troubled troubadours, are his lyrics and his storytelling. He doesn’t stretch too far; he tells of the dreams and the frustrations of working-class life, in a downbeat way, with flickers of melody and instrumentation to add some depth and colour to his songs. He’s … Continue reading “Jeffrey Martin “One Go Around” (Fluff & Gravy Records, 2017)”

Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit, Albert Hall, Manchester, 25th October 2017

The resplendent setting of a former Methodist hall in central Manchester was a suitable venue to welcome Jason Isbell back to these shores and an expectant congregation of devotees were not disappointed by an evening that showcased perfectly the strengths of one of America’s finest artists and his excellent band.

Van Life: Wild Ponies

Whenever I think of life on the road as a touring musician I inevitably think of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and those three goodie-laden coaches named after their occupants. Inside, no doubt, the fridges were full to capacity with beers and wine, the bunks were laden with goose feathered quilts, wafts of pheasant and cranberries … Continue reading “Van Life: Wild Ponies”

Interview: My Darling Clementine

Known for their sartorial elegance alongside their old school country ballads and barroom heartbreakers My Darling Clementine are one of the best bands the UK has offered the world in a good while.  Witty, charming and utterly engaging their stage show, and one hopes it is a show, as the two protagonists, Michael Weston King … Continue reading “Interview: My Darling Clementine”

Mark Olson “Spokeswoman of The Bright Sun” (Glitterhouse Records, 2017)

If the marvellously vague and broad church that is Americana incorporates a wealth of musical genres then the latest offering by the critically acclaimed songwriter and ex Jayhawk Mark Olson undoubtedly has its roots firmly in the world of American folk. Spokeswoman of The Bright Sun was recorded in the summer of 2016 at the … Continue reading “Mark Olson “Spokeswoman of The Bright Sun” (Glitterhouse Records, 2017)”

Interview: Rodney Crowell

Houston-born singer-songwriter and longtime Nashville resident Rodney Crowell continues to lift his game as a songwriter, and his latest album ‘Close Ties’ (New West) qualifies as the most honest set of work he has ever done. Crowell has seen his songs recorded by countless people, ranging from his old boss, Emmylou Harris to Johnny Cash … Continue reading “Interview: Rodney Crowell”

Kilkenny Roots Festival, 28th April – 1st May 2017, Kilkenny, Ireland

This was the second time your intrepid reporter has attended the annual celebration of all things good in Roots and Americana music that’s held in the beautiful city of Kilkenny in Ireland and now that it’s done and dusted, I can only scratch my head and wonder why only twice? Arriving on the Friday afternoon … Continue reading “Kilkenny Roots Festival, 28th April – 1st May 2017, Kilkenny, Ireland”

Buddy Miller, Drew Holcomb appear on new Mark Heard tribute album

And if you’ve never heard of him, then, well, now’s your chance. Rolling Stone Country report: “In 2005, the Americana Music Association awarded Song of the Year to “Worry Too Much,” a grinding rock & roll gospel number that opens Buddy Miller’s Universal United House of Prayer LP. While the song contains all the earmarks … Continue reading “Buddy Miller, Drew Holcomb appear on new Mark Heard tribute album”