Lou Kyme “What’s The Worst That Can Happen” (Blue Smoke Records, 2020)

Formerly of the family based Southampton rockabilly band, The Okeh Wranglers, Lou Kyme emerges from the wilderness with an ace hidden up her sleeve. That ace is the presence of Vicente Rodriguez and James DePrato from Chuck Prophet’s Mission Express who back her on this seven-song album. Recorded in the Mission district of SF, Chuck himself slings some guitar on two of the songs while his missus, Stephanie Finch also makes an appearance. Continue reading “Lou Kyme “What’s The Worst That Can Happen” (Blue Smoke Records, 2020)”

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to hold online festival featuring Emmylou and more

One of the few silver linings of the current situation is that you get to go to festivals you wouldn’t normally be able to attend, albeit virtually, and in that spirit San Fransisco’s Bay Area’s beloved Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is launching its new global and community-driven initiative Let the Music Play On to bring the spirit of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to backyards and living rooms all over the world with a global broadcast taking place the weekend of October 2nd. And what a broadcast – the artists announced so far includes Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Steve Earle & the Halfgrass Dukes (feat. Tim O’Brien and Dennis Crouch), The War and Treaty, Amythyst Kiah, Chuck Prophet, Patty Griffin, Birds of Chicago, Los Coast, Shakey Graves, Alison Brown, John Doe, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Yola and Sierra Ferrell. Continue reading “Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to hold online festival featuring Emmylou and more”

Interview: Chuck Prophet in San Francisco on fires and Dan Penn

Chuck Prophet has had a long and fruitful career as a singer-songwriter, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, beginning with the groundbreaking Green On Red in the ‘80s before launching a successful solo career that has delivered a new album every two or three years. These albums have been remarkably consistent, building to a very impressive body of work. Continue reading “Interview: Chuck Prophet in San Francisco on fires and Dan Penn”

Chuck Prophet “The Land That Time Forgot” (Yep Roc Records, 2020)

The Land that Time Forgot’ finds Chuck Prophet in something of a nostalgic mood, although when he looks back it can be with anger usually conveyed by a sarcastic sneer – but there’s also fondness, regret, compassion, empathy and a celebration of old friends and heroes.  There’s a bright, and typically paradoxical, opener to the album with ‘Best Shirt On’ which has Prophet singing “I’ve got my best shirt on / Another one just like it hanging in my closet” over an almost sixties girl-group arrangement.  Light and cool. Continue reading “Chuck Prophet “The Land That Time Forgot” (Yep Roc Records, 2020)”

Book review: Stevie Simkin “What Makes the Monkey Dance: The Life And Music Of Chuck Prophet And Green On Red” (Jawbone Press, 2020)

What Makes The Monkey Dance is the polar opposite of the standard ‘Cut and Paste’ rock biography. Author Stevie Simkin is an academic, and has applied all his stringent research techniques to documenting the career of an artist and a band whose profile, although ironically higher today than it ever has been, remains under the radar of the general public. Simkin cheerfully admits that part of his motivation is to rectify this injustice. Continue reading “Book review: Stevie Simkin “What Makes the Monkey Dance: The Life And Music Of Chuck Prophet And Green On Red” (Jawbone Press, 2020)”

Video: Chuck Prophet “Nixonland”

This is how to write a song about history and politics that feels natural and personal.  It reflects the Californian singer-songwriter’s childhood in a Republican household in Nixon’s home town of La Habra.  Aside from the intriguing subject matter, this is a well-crafted, engaging song with Prophet in good form.  The entertaining video for ‘Nixonland’ features comic-strip style animation interspersed with news footage and photos of Nixon.  It’s taken from ‘The Land That Time Forgot’, which drops on August 21st.  Something to look forward to during these strange days.

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”

Pick of the Political Pops: Chuck Prophet “You Did”

Well we are relatively OK here at AUK Towers thanks for asking. Obviously we can lock the door to The Bunker and in any case the extra security that we flew in from Romania are doing sterling work in keeping the hoi-poloi from the grounds. The bar is still fully stocked because our suppliers are deemed too unimportant to protect their staff and furlough them. And we are keeping to a strict regime which is important for our mental health at this time of lockdown. One thing we make sure to do is to honour the daily ritual of “Kissing The Editor’s Ring” which we all enjoy because it gives us a sense of importance and is a reminder that we need to keep our priorities in order despite the lack of social distancing. Also it is in the AUK Constitution and we must honour the Constitution above all else including, like, y’know, common fucking sense. Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Chuck Prophet “You Did””

Ten cool songs about Jesus

Church attendance figures in the United States can seem quite staggering to us, largely secular, limeys. Around 45% attend on a regular basis compared to just 7% in the UK. In addition, many other Americans strongly identify with Christianity, even if they are not regular church-goers. Furthermore, the South, from where much of the music we champion comes from,  accounts for 11 of the top 12 states for highest level of active worship (the exception is Utah), each being higher than the national average. Continue reading “Ten cool songs about Jesus”