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”

10 more americana duets

Back in April my friend and fellow writer Paul Villers compiled a selection of 10 americana duets. However, like many brilliant compilations, the source material is so extensive it just cried out for a follow-up. So, with a nod of approval from Paul, I am adding another 10 to his original list. I’ve tried to focus on both the classic and some of the more unusual collaborations involving americana artists. This continuation of Paul’s initial conversation is just that, a continuation. There is still so much out there, so please add your own suggestions and favourites underneath. Neither of our lists feature Emmylou Harris, perhaps the queen of the duet. There are just so many to choose from that it became an impossible task. Emmylou is probably worthy of a top 10 of her own, but that’s for another time.  So, here we go. Continue reading “10 more americana duets”

AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Jonathan Aird

At AUK we are on a quest to find the ‘top 10 americana albums ever’. Over the last few weeks our writers have been going through the mental anguish of trying to narrow the whole history of Americana down to just ten albums. When every writer has had their say, a shortlist of the most frequently chosen albums will be drawn up and voted on, in order to generate the definitive AUK writers top ten.  This time we turn to AUK deputy editor Jonathan Aird for our weekly shot of americana greatness: Continue reading “AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Jonathan Aird”

Classic Americana Albums: Gene Clark “No Other” (Asylum, 1974)

Missouri born Gene Clark’s epitaph beautifully reads: ‘No Other’, the title of his 1974 magnum opus. It would be fair to say that fortune was not kind to Clark, his early demise at the age of 46 hastened by alcohol and drug dependency. In his few short years as a member of the legendary Byrds he wrote the glorious, ‘I’ll Feel A Whole Better’ and co-wrote the proto-psychedelic, ‘Eight Miles High’. Much has been made of the fact that it was a fear of flying that influenced him to leave the group at the height of their fame, though it is also true that Clark was a restless soul wanting to explore new directions through his own unique voice and vision.  Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: Gene Clark “No Other” (Asylum, 1974)”

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”

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”

AmericanA to Z – Gene Clark

When I was given the letter “G” in the Americana UK A to Z, I initially thought I’d write about Gram Parsons, but then I changed my mind and decided on Gene Clark. To borrow the title of a Byrds song – Clark was one of the band’s founding members – why? Well, I was reminded of an interview I did with filmmaker Paul Kendall in 2013, to tie-in with the release of his great documentary, ‘Gene Clark – The Byrd Who Flew Alone.’ Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Gene Clark”

Gene Clark “No Other” to get deluxe reissue from 4AD

4AD have announced that they will be reissuing Gene Clark’s legendary ‘No Other’ album this coming November. Recorded at the Village Recorder in West Hollywood and produced by Thomas Jefferson Kaye, the album was originally released in 1974 on Asylum Records, coming a year after the Byrds short-lived reunion.  Clark delivered a visionary record of psychedelic rock, folk, country and soul which famously cost a small fortune to make (“It took a lot of time in the studio before we could actually get the songs to the point we wanted them,” Gene said in 1977).  Although warmly received by critics, the album was a commercial failure and was subsequently deleted shortly after. Continue reading “Gene Clark “No Other” to get deluxe reissue from 4AD”