Interview: Tim O’Brien on dealing with COVID and the greatest bluegrass artist ever

COVID is proving to be a challenge for all musicians. Americana UK thought it would be an idea to catch up with one of bluegrass and americana’s leading musicians to see how COVID affects even those who are well established. The term americana could have been invented for Tim O’Brien who was born and brought up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Wheeling, West Virginia. In his early musical career he moved to Boulder, Colorado, and helped establish that vibrant musical scene that continues to this day with bands like the Cheese String Incident. Continue reading “Interview: Tim O’Brien on dealing with COVID and the greatest bluegrass artist ever”

AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Sean Hannam

Back in May when this series started, I kicked it off myself on the basis that you can’t ask colleagues to go through this hell without doing it yourself first. Looking back at that top 10, would I still pick the same records today? Some of them most definitely, others possibly not. Not because they are not great records, but because there are very many more great records that I would equally have been at home with including. Each writer has taken a different view on what to include; should it be a widely recognised classic or that personal record that may not have been so widely recognised, but does it for you? There are no wrongs or rights here. What is for certain, is that its been a fascinating process and frequently an education. Continue reading “AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Sean Hannam”

AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Paul Campbell

In case you’ve joined us late, or just simply forgotten, here’s just a little reminder of what is going on in this feature. For the last few months the AUK writers have been scratching their heads, whittling down lists before changing them again one more time, in order to bring you their own personal selections of the ‘top 10 americana albums ever’. Once each writer  has had their say, a shortlist will be drawn up of the most commonly selected albums from which the writers will then choose our collective choices of the ultimate AUK top 10. This week’s selections come from one of our newer writers, Paul Campbell, who’d like to take you down the pub – if only!

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Track Premiere: Sara Rachele “Mr Tambourine Man”

Sara Rachele should have been in London, recording her latest musical project – but, hey, we know how that story went in this year.  So Sara Rachele found herself at home instead.  At home and musing on her folk origins – and songs she’d known nearly all her life.  Songs like ‘Mr Tambourine Man.’ Continue reading “Track Premiere: Sara Rachele “Mr Tambourine Man””

AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Mark Underwood

AUK’s stellar mission to find the ‘top 10 americana albums of all time’ presses boldly on. We have witnessed many recognised stars in our firmament, with the occasional little known asteroid also hurtling by. Once or twice sight has been made of alien life forms previously not thought to exist in this galaxy. Nevertheless, it has been a fascinating journey throughout. Many able astronauts, a good many cosmonauts and definitely a few space cadets, have taken their turn on the bridge to steer us in a variety of directions. If ever there was someone to don the captain’s hat and steer us on a straight course though, then that person is Mark Underwood. Continue reading “AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Mark Underwood”

AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Jim Finnie

Welcome once again to AUK’s perilous expedition to identify the top 10 americana albums of all time. The process has generated some debate along the way, most recently concerning what actually constitutes ‘americana’. As far as this series is concerned, that has been left to individual writers to determine. No ground rules or parameters have been set other than the editor and myself reserving the right to ask writers to reconsider if we think that they have gone completely off course. So far, despite checking with each other about a couple of selections, everything has gone through without interference. However, just in case someone decides to chuck in a Pere Ubu album (as good as they are), we still reserve that right. Luckily this week’s AUK writer Jim Finnie, has thrown no such spanners into the works. I’m also delighted to see that his number one choice has finally been recognised in these lists. Over to you Jim…. Continue reading “AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Jim Finnie”

Interview: Elvis Perkins on recording old songs and being called Elvis

Regular readers of Americana UK will know a key part of the site’s ethos is to bring new artists to the attention of our readers. This interview with Elvis Perkins continues that tradition, even though he is an established artist with a 13 year recording career, as this is the first time he has been featured on the site. Elvis Perkins has developed a reputation for intelligent lyrics set to tunes that reflect his contemporary folk and americana leanings.  Continue reading “Interview: Elvis Perkins on recording old songs and being called Elvis”

Interview: The Nude Party’s Patton Magee on the new album, the pandemic and Bob Dylan

The release of the Nude Party’s eagerly anticipated second album ‘Midnight Manor’ comes two years after the success of their critically acclaimed self-titled debut. The new record doesn’t stray too far from the template of their debut. It is slightly more polished and incorporates even more influences into an already potent mix of garage -rock, psychedelia, pop, folk and country. A brilliantly balanced combination of intelligent songwriting and youthful energy, it is set to further broaden the band’s enthusiastic fanbase. Widely regarded as one of the best live bands on the circuit, the only sadness is that The Nude Party can’t currently tour to support it. AUK caught up with the band’s guitarist/vocalist and songwriter Patton Magee to discuss the new album and working through the pandemic. Continue reading “Interview: The Nude Party’s Patton Magee on the new album, the pandemic and Bob Dylan”

The Unsung Heroes of Americana – Gibson J-45

Here’s our second article in the new Unsung Heroes of Americana series. This time out, Richard Phillips takes a look at a truly iconic instrument; one that has been at the heart of American roots music since it made its debut almost eight decades ago – the Gibson J45. Continue reading “The Unsung Heroes of Americana – Gibson J-45”

Classic Americana Albums: Bob Dylan “Blonde on Blonde” (CBS, 1966)

For those less initiated (are there any?) or less interested in Bob Dylan, a pertinent question might come up here – when did the connection between Dylan and Americana start? The answer is quite clear – from the beginning. Even as a young music enthusiast when he still responded to the name of Robert Zimmerman, Dylan was completely enamoured with what was then divided into very neat genres of folk, blues, roots, and country (& western). While he started out as a full-fledged musician/singer/songwriter and stuck strictly to the folk part of this equation, at the well-recorded horror of folk purists at the time he started incorporating elements of other musical genres into his music. Whether it was something that was influenced by his ever-expanding lyrical imagination or it was the other way around (or most probably both) makes no difference. Once he strapped on an electric guitar he never stopped or looked back. OK, sometimes he did, but it was with completely different eyes, ears, and voice. Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: Bob Dylan “Blonde on Blonde” (CBS, 1966)”