Watch Billy Bragg & Peter Donegan perform “Rock Island Line” at the AMAUKs

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.

UK Americana Awards 2020 adds Shingai to its line-up

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”

Songs for the apocalypse: Billy Bragg “Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards”

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, The Junction, Cambridge, 26th November 2019

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”

Best of Billy Bragg at the BBC due next month

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”

Rock Island Line 65th Anniversary, Cadogan Hall, London, 13th July 2019

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 adds Billy Bragg and Yola to the line-up

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”

Bread and Roses musical features songs of Joe Hill

A new musical is coming to Oldham, not that we generally run stories on musicals here at AUK, but this one is worth a mention, featuring as it does the songs of Joe Hill, more on him in a moment. ‘Bread & Roses’ is a new play by writer Ian Kershaw, based on the real-life story of the huge mill workers strike – led, and won, by women – in Lawrence, Massachusetts, USA, in 1912., described as “an uplifting new play about hope; it follows the story of Lucy-Rose Atkins as she navigates the strike, facing love, loss, lies and deceit, and using her fierce intelligence to make the journey from unskilled worker to impassioned leader.”  Continue reading “Bread and Roses musical features songs of Joe Hill”

The Long Road announces additions to line-up

The new country, Americana and roots festival The Long Road has announced a second wave of artists today for its inaugural event which takes place in Leicestershire from 7th-9th September. Joining the likes of Lee Ann Womack, Billy Bragg, Angaleena Presley, The Shires, Catherine McGrath, The Wandering Hearts, Una Healy and Danielle Bradbery will be a string of US country acts including Joshua Hedley (whose new album we were preening over last week), Charlie Worsham, Elizabeth Cook, Caroline Spence, Zack Logan, Dori Freeman and American Young, chart-topping British duo Ward Thomas, slide guitarist and singer Luke Winslow-King, Texas-born singer-songwriter Jarrod Dickenson, as well as Swedish guitar duo Dimpker Brothers and Liverpool-born former lead singer of pop band Lawson, Andy Brown. Continue reading “The Long Road announces additions to line-up”