At last some good news – Billy Bragg has announced an Autumn tour. OK, Autumn 2021 – but it’s something to look forward to. And he’ll have been able to write his “goodbye to Trump now let’s get on and fix things” song by then which is bound to be a show highlight. Something along the lines of “Casting this apprentice president into the wastebasket of history / Not at all regretfully, you’re not hired.” Continue reading “Billy Bragg announces UK dates”
With the impending US Presidential election, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the worldwide social and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, it seemed appropriate for Americana UK to talk again to musician and activist Austin Lucas. He combines the crusading spirit of the ‘60s protest movement with the energy and can-do attitude of punk to address present-day concerns. Like a lot of modern artists, Austin Lucas was influenced by multiple musical genres in his youth including psychedelic folk, classic rock, punk, country and mountain music, and he has been able to blend these influences over the last twenty years to come up with what could be described as his own genre that celebrates roots music with the spirit of DIY punk and indie music with a large helping of politics on the side. He manages all this as well as bringing a literate style to his well-developed songwriting skills. Continue reading “Interview: Austin Lucas on songwriting, activism and punk’s impact on the world”
We leave you this week dear reader with a clip courtesy of the Blues Kitchen from this year’s AMAUK awards where Billy Bragg performed the classic ‘Rock Island Line’ with Lonnie Donegan’s son Peter. It was the first debut record to be certified gold in the UK and Bob Harris introduced the performance by noting how seminal the single was to the whole of the British pop and rock scene that went on to evolve from the mid-1950s, despite its origins as a US folk song. The performance is absolutely blistering anyway (also it’s nice to watch it not frazzled). Have a good one.
The AMAUKs are only 2 weeks away and there are still a handful of tickets left if you haven’t got yours yet. It’s the fifth annual shindig which forms part of AmericanFest which returns to Hackney for 3 days at the end of this month. The theme of the event is “Collaborate and Cross Pollinate” reflecting on how Americana artists work together across different genres and art forms. The event culminates on 30th January in the prestigious UK Americana Awards 2020 which after 4 sold-out years moves to a bigger venue for 2020 – the gorgeous art deco Troxy in Limehouse, East London. Continue reading “UK Americana Awards 2020 adds Shingai to its line-up”
Tomorrow feels like the most important day this country has faced in many decades – more on that tomorrow – so for this week’s voyage to americanageddon, there couldn’t really be any other choice. Billy Bragg has adapted the song at live shows over the years to keep up with the times and whatever latest villain we’re having to endure, but some of the lyrics feel as apt now as they did 31 years ago when the song first featured on the classic ‘Workers Playtime’ album. “Jumble sales are organized and pamphlets have been posted, Even after closing time there’s still parties to be hosted. You can be active with the activists or sleep in with the sleepers while you’re waiting for the great leap forwards.” Here’s hoping the wait is over any day now.
Billy Bragg is out on his “1-step forward, 2-steps back” tour which sees him hit a town for a three night stand – a gig with his current mixed set, a gig drawing solely on his first three albums and a third gig taking its material from his fourth through sixth albums. Last week was London, this week Cambridge – it’s a great idea, which is quite obviously popular with the long term fans as the three night tickets sold out pretty quickly, meaning that a lot of those who’ve made this first rainy Tuesday night will be back again tomorrow and the day after. Continue reading “Billy Bragg, The Junction, Cambridge, 26th November 2019”
A lot of Bs for one headline. Billy Bragg has announced the release of ‘Best Of Billy Bragg At The BBC 1983 – 2019’, a compilation of classic performances at the BBC from the early 80s through to the present, on digital, CD (20 Sept) and vinyl (15th Nov) on the Cooking Vinyl label. The album will be fully remastered and feature many previously unreleased tracks, includes selected highlights from sessions for John Peel, David Jensen, Janice Long, Phill Jupitus, Bob Harris and Tom Robinson. It promises to “offer a fascinating chronological perspective on the development of one of the UK’s most beloved entertainers.” Continue reading “Best of Billy Bragg at the BBC due next month”
There’s no real reason why in the mid-1950s a form of music already more or less forgotten in its homeland should have got a revival in the UK. Yet the short-lived Skiffle craze – a wild blend of Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, country blues and folk – has a lot to answer for: out went the jazz bands and the piano-led ballads, the light music of a previous generation and in came a wild form of guitar-based folk music. And recycled American folk music at that. And it was Lonnie Donegan who kick-started it all with his recording of Rock Island Line on the 13th of July 1954 – exactly 65 years prior to this portmanteau concert. Continue reading “Rock Island Line 65th Anniversary, Cadogan Hall, London, 13th July 2019”
Black Deer is our americana festival of choice at the moment, boasting as it does a stellar lineup featuring americana and country artists from every bit of the genres, and today they’ve announced more names for the return to the picturesque Eridge Park this June. Billy Bragg, Yola, Ethan Johns and more will join Band Of Horses, John Butler Trio, The Staves, Kris Kristofferson & The Strangers, The Mavericks and Neko Case for the weekend. Continue reading “Black Deer adds Billy Bragg and Yola to the line-up”
National treasure (I think we can call him that now?) Billy Bragg has confirmed details of a 2019 U.K. and Ireland tour entitled “One Step Forward. Two Steps Back.” In each town Bragg will perform three unique shows on consecutive nights. Continue reading “Billy Bragg announces UK dates, lots of them”