“What Is This Americana Thing Anyway…?” – Jonathan Aird

Our popular feature in which the your humble writers spill the beans on their influences, musical roots and record buying habits is back. This week Deputy Editor and man who is averse to foppish hair and synthesisers  Jonathan Aird tells us what he does like instead: Continue reading ““What Is This Americana Thing Anyway…?” – Jonathan Aird”

10 Americana songs with great lyrics

Mark Underwood continues with the fourth in his irregular features on music by great songwriters with great lyrics, this time taking you through classics from the likes of Gretchen Peters, Kathleen Edwards, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. Continue reading “10 Americana songs with great lyrics”

A top ten of classic Americana albums

Will I be listening to this top ten in ten years? For the most part, probably. Most of the selections have stood my test of time for a good twenty or thirty years and I don’t think the newer additions are going anyplace soon. How do I know these are my top ten? I wouldn’t begin to defend them through any other reason than that they are my choice of listening when seeking connection to something deeper or more profound than is offered in our quotidian existence. Judge for yourself whether they are worthy of your time: Continue reading “A top ten of classic Americana albums”

Dirty, dark, desolate Dylan pays his dues to the delta blues

As our Deputy Editor Jonathan Aird prophesied recently, two new Dylan tracks in as many weeks must mean that an album is on the way. And now we have three tracks and the announcement that the said long-player is indeed ready to be released (17th June to be exact). Our information is that it will be a double with the mammoth ‘Murder Most Foul’ taking up one side. Obviously we will fill you in with the exact details when we have them. In the meantime there is this new song to deliberate over and, as always with Dylan, deliberate we must. Continue reading “Dirty, dark, desolate Dylan pays his dues to the delta blues”

Ten covers of Bob Dylan’s ‘To Ramona’

The original track ‘To Ramona’ is taken from Dylan’s fourth album ‘Another Side of Bob Dylan’, released in 1964. This release saw Dylan shift away from the previously politically orientated, ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’’ to a more personal perspective. ‘To Ramona’ is played in waltz time and may have been adapted from a 1930s folk tune, though claims have also been made that the melody is Mexican in origin. Continue reading “Ten covers of Bob Dylan’s ‘To Ramona’”

The top 10 Americana music videos

Creating videos to accompany releases has long been the norm in the music business and our particular field of interest, although not generally burdened with the cliche of mainstream releases is still prone to taking the easy route and there are some frankly dull examples. However some have aspired to create a work of art in their own right whether it be social commentary, an amusing narrative or a comment on the human condition as highlighted by the lyric in that particular song. The videos featured are all ‘official’ releases, although there are some great fan videos wherein footage has been added to tracks (Phil Bebbington’s channel holds many jewels from our genre); however for the purposes of this exercise we will stick to the artist’s ‘vision’. Continue reading “The top 10 Americana music videos”

Bob Dylan reveals all at last

Over sixty years Dylan has retained an air of being an enigma, his songs, indeed his whole life, seen by so many as puzzles to be unravelled. This writer has long cleaved to the heretical notion that Bob Dylan is a human being influenced by as many as he has himself influenced; a man, then, who sleeps and drinks and eats, watches TV, reads books and makes as much of his life as he is able. In some ways this is to suggest that the mystery is that there is no mystery. Continue reading “Bob Dylan reveals all at last”

Pick of the Political Pops: Bob Dylan “Ballad Of a Thin Man”

Whilst we were all (understandably) looking the other way an extraordinary political scandal has emerged. Now it makes little difference as to what your personal political affiliations or beliefs are this thing is an absolute shocker. It all stems from a leaked report: Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Bob Dylan “Ballad Of a Thin Man””

Top ten Americana songs influenced by the moon and moonshine

Earth’s nearest neighbour has provided much inspiration to songwriters from all musical genres and Americana is no exception. The moon has been used as a metaphor for the impossible, the unattainable as well as providing a romantic backdrop for Americana songs. It is also perhaps no accident that the illicitly produced spirit Moonshine and respective bootlegging activities have given a rich seam of material for Americana artists keen to express the human spirit of defiance and rebellion. Continue reading “Top ten Americana songs influenced by the moon and moonshine”

Bob Dylan’s new unheard song: “a song that rolls slow”

It’s been almost eight years since Bob Dylan released brand new music – the albums that followed ‘Tempest‘ were, in general terms, the Sinatra Covers Years. In these strange times though the Nobel prize winning poet has chosen to release a new song that has been years in the making. Continue reading “Bob Dylan’s new unheard song: “a song that rolls slow””