Small Venue Heroes: Adam Killip

Adam Killip is known to most as the singer and frontman with South London country band The Tailors, releasing several excellent and acclaimed Anglo-Americana albums in the early 2000s. Although Killip has been in self confessed semi-retirement for some years now, he still makes the occasional live appearance, continues to be a source of inspiration to many of his contemporaries, and has most recently contributed to John-George Cooper’s project St.Ove.

A dearth of opportunities for a UK americana band to play in the first years of the 21st century was the catalyst for ‘Heartworn Fridays’, a regular country night curated by Killip that took place at fabled North London venue Nambucca. Out of this scene sprung such luminaries as Laura Marling, Marcus Mumford, and Frank Turner. Indeed Turner credits Killip with turning him onto americana, a career defining moment indeed, later gratefully name-checking him in song. Killip subsequently took his vision for a regular London americana night to Brixton’s Windmill for ‘Sadder Days’, where you could expect to see the likes of Turner or Emily Barker playing alongside The Tailors. 

Meanwhile Killip was involved with the influential indie label Trash Aesthetic, issuing singles by the likes of Richmond Fontaine, Mark Eitzel and Chuck Prophet amongst others, and in 2007 released ‘Wakey Wakey’, his debut with The Tailors. This slow burning set unfolded with homespun charm that was quintessentially British, but rode on a bed of brushed drums and steel guitar that was all country. ‘Wakey Wakey’ established The Tailors as one of UK americana’s leading acts, a reputation that was cemented by 2009’s ‘Come Dig Me Up’ and 2010’s ‘Spectral Plane’.

More recently Killip has played guitar with Wiltshire’s Rural France, and as a member of the aforementioned St.Ove contributed to 2020’s excellent R.E.M.-esque ’County Show’.

The Tailors have for a number of years been largely inactive, but for some unreleased songs that surfaced during lockdown in 2020. However things have a habit of coming full circle, and in May 2022 the owners of Nambucca, the scene of those ‘Heartworn Fridays’ finally lost the fight for survival and sadly called time on the venue forever. A closing night lineup was hastily convened and Adam Killip found himself, with a borrowed guitar, once again in a room full of friends old and new to bid farewell to the much loved venue. 

Adam Killip will be playing with St.Ove at The Social, London on 11th October.

About Paul Gibson 18 Articles
I'm a singer-songwriter based in Warwickshire, influenced by Americana, country and folk. I gig regularly around the area and when not making music I'm listening to or writing about it.
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