Glasgow Americana Festival, 2nd – 6th October 2019

In Glasgow, as a damp and dreich winter beckons, October has at least one beacon lighting up the dark nights, the annual Glasgow Americana Festival which has been warming the hearts of music lovers for 13 years now. Spanning five days and six venues, this year’s festival offered 19 performers, an elegant balance of local and international names, some in up close and intimate quarters, others appearing to several hundred fans. The local Americana community is fiercely proud of this jamboree, witness the same faces who were at all of the shows AUK attended, presumably taking advantage of the keenly priced festival pass which allows entry to all shows. In addition, at several shows we encountered musical tourists, lured by some favourite acts with at least one of them expressing some jealousy at seeing the upcoming acts advertised to come in the following weeks. Continue reading “Glasgow Americana Festival, 2nd – 6th October 2019”

Songs for the apocalypse: Jason McNiff “I Remember You”

Way back when I first started running AUK back in the early 2000s, promos of CDs started to trickle through the letterbox – some were great, others were let’s say over-confident, but occasionally something would hit the doormat that just blew me away. London based Jason McNiff’s ‘Nobody’s Son’ was one such record, and one of my lasting memories of the first listen to the track ‘I Remember You’ was shortly afterwards visiting my auntie in New Brighton where I insisted she, my mum and various other members of the family crammed into my tiny car to listen to it. They were bowled over too of course, and its Dylan-esque structure still sounds as fresh today as when it was first released. Fittingly for the song, I’ve never forgotten it.

Jason McNiff + Toni Montserrat, The Harrison, London, 27th July 2018

To the very compact basement bar of The Harrison in Kings Cross for the official launch gig of Jason McNiff’s latest album ‘Joy and Independence’. He’s now on the splendidly-rostered At The Helm records and so we have a Bradford man living in London with his label management in Brighton so who needs Nashville? Hailed as “a superior singer/songwriter” by  the erudite and well-respected USA magazine No Depression and 4-starred by the UK’s Mojo, McNiff states with some pride that this, his sixth album, is the first time he’s had the confidence to work with just an acoustic guitar and his voice. He says he framed the songs as “a homage to a golden era of the coffee house Troubadour”,  albeit on this sultry Friday night we had replaced coffee with craft ale.  Continue reading “Jason McNiff + Toni Montserrat, The Harrison, London, 27th July 2018”

Mid-Sussex americana beer festival returns for second year

After its inaugural year in August 2017, the Mid-Sussex americana and ale festival returns next month to the Hassocks hotel. Last year the festival featured the likes of Danny and the Champs, Robert Vincent, Dean Owens and Stevie Ray Latham. This year has an equally good array of talent, including AUK favourites Bennett Wilson Poole and Ags Connolly. Appearing alongside them are Danni Nicholls, Jason McNiff, Hannah Rose Platt, Mike Ross, Trent Miller and others. Continue reading “Mid-Sussex americana beer festival returns for second year”

Jason McNiff “Rain Dries Your Eyes” (Tombola Records, 2017)

Delve into the Americana UK archives and you’ll find a lot of love for Jason McNiff. Over the course of 15 years and six albums, McNiff has constantly found favour with assorted reviewers (a task in itself) and his 2003 album Nobody’s Son was our album of that year. A running thread throughout the mentions and reviews is bewilderment as to why McNiff is not more celebrated with comments such as “the UK’s most underrated Americana artist” bandied about. So much for Americana UK being taste makers but we can take comfort in the fact that others such as Mojo, No Depression, The Independent and Time Out all concur and despite that McNiff remains something of a secret. It’s somewhat shameful that when the charts (such as they are) are populated by chaps emoting in a singer songwriter fashion and who are best known for the colour of their hair or their hat sense that someone like McNiff is relegated to cult status. Continue reading “Jason McNiff “Rain Dries Your Eyes” (Tombola Records, 2017)”