Andrew Bird “Hark!” (Loma Vista Recordings, 2020)

Do we really need another Christmas album? You might not think so right now, but Andrew Bird’s full album version of last year’s six-song ‘Hark!’ EP might convince you that there is room for this one. Bird with understatement acknowledges that “It’s a complicated relationship many of us have with the holidays and the requisite music we hear.” Traditional Christmas standards might well put some people’s teeth on edge, but Bird’s reworkings are far enough removed from the originals that ‘Hark!’ turns out to be an incredibly pleasant album, full of metaphors about light and darkness, comfort and warmth. Continue reading “Andrew Bird “Hark!” (Loma Vista Recordings, 2020)”

Grammy 2020 Americana nominations announced

The nominations have been announced for the 63rd annual Grammy awards which are due to take place on January 31st 2021, and amongst the three thousand odd categories are of course Best Americana Album and Best American Roots song. In the former category, the nominees include Hiss Golden Messenger ‘Terms of Surrender’, Sarah Jarosz ‘World on the Ground’, Marcus King ‘El Dorado’, Lucinda Williams ‘Good Souls Better Angels’ and Courtney Marie Andrews ‘Old Flowers’ which comes hot on the heels of nominations for Best International Artist and Best International Album at the 2021 Americana Association UK Awards also due to take place in January. Continue reading “Grammy 2020 Americana nominations announced”

AMA-UK announce nominations and honours for 2021 awards

It seems a lifetime ago since the revelries of the 2020 AMAUK awards back in January, but it’s that time of year again – The UK Americana Music Association has revealed the nominations for the seven member-voted categories of the UK Americana Awards 2021, and also the winners of the special awards presented by the AMA-UK board, which this year includes Elvis Costello for the AMA-UK 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award, Mavis Staples for the International Lifetime Achievement Award, Christine McVie for the Trailblazer Award, Steve Earle for the International Trailblazer Award and the Songwriter Legacy Award, specially created this year for the late John Prine, in celebration of the legendary US singer-songwriter’s life and work. Continue reading “AMA-UK announce nominations and honours for 2021 awards”

Interview: Billy Prine on a life with brother John, recording and podcasting

A  few days after what would have been John Prine’s 74th birthday Americana UK’s Lyndon Bolton spent a fascinating hour chatting over Zoom with his younger brother Billy in Nashville. With him was Billy’s good friend and musical partner, Michael Dinallo. As in their ‘Prine Time’ podcast, Billy and Michael proved amusing and insightful company on a musical sweep of over half a century.  Naturally, John was never far away as was the palpable sense of Billy’s deep love for his brother. Continue reading “Interview: Billy Prine on a life with brother John, recording and podcasting”

Rodney Rice “Same Shirt, Different Day” (Moody Springs Music 2020)

You’ve just got to look at the cover of this CD to realise that Rodney Rice is a man with a sense of humour, ‘SAME SHIrT DIFFERENT DAY‘,  indeed.  It’s been said that Rice wears his heart on his sleeve and his tongue in his cheek which seems an accurate assessment. Rice is a man who seems to have lived a little, in a variety of jobs, from oil-fields to itinerant kayak instructor and a college education in geology.  His was a coal community upbringing in West Virginia with a working man’s take on life, via Texas, to his current home in Colorado.  Whilst he may have blue-collar sympathies it can’t be said that group of Americans is homogeneous. Rice represents that unhappy sub-group who recognise that they have currently and historically been shafted by the political and industrial elite – typified by Mr Trump.  The history of coal mining is one of the bitterest episodes of owner/worker conflict in American history as evidenced in, ‘Company Town’, which is reflective of the 2010 Upper Big Branch mining disaster: Continue reading “Rodney Rice “Same Shirt, Different Day” (Moody Springs Music 2020)”

The Unsung Heroes of Americana – Martin D28

It’s another article in our Unsung Heroes of Americana series and, following on from his article on the Gibson J-45, Richard Phillips is back with another piece on an instrument that is at the very heart of this genre; the Martin D28. Continue reading “The Unsung Heroes of Americana – Martin D28”

Two intimate and socially distanced tributes to John Prine at the Jazz Cafe

Just over two weeks ago it was John Prine’s birthday (October the 10th). It’s a measure of the extreme affection in which he’s still held – and the impact his untimely passing had on so many people back in April this year this year – that what would have been his birthday was greeted by such an outpouring of love and support. Continue reading “Two intimate and socially distanced tributes to John Prine at the Jazz Cafe”

Kurt Vile with John Prine “How Lucky” – Listen

Kurt Vile has a new EP out called ‘Speed, Sound, Lonely KV’ which will be released next week on October 2nd. The EP contains the track ‘How Lucky’, a duet with John Prine, covering his classic song in one of his final recordings made at the end of 2019. Continue reading “Kurt Vile with John Prine “How Lucky” – Listen”

Interview: Ryan Hamilton talks about Jack Kerouac, Geordies and John Prine

Ryan Hamilton is a Fort Worth native, steeped in country music since birth, who just happens to have a UK backing band, The Harlequin Ghosts, who play music that shows the influence of classic rock as well as that of country and roots music. The group record for Stevie Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records, established to support emerging garage rock talent that was not being picked up by the majors. Americana UK’s Martin Johnson caught up with Ryan Hamilton at home in Fort Worth to talk about Jack Kerouac, Tom Petty, the impact of John Prine’s passing and the similarities of Newcastle-upon-Tyne with the American South. Continue reading “Interview: Ryan Hamilton talks about Jack Kerouac, Geordies and John Prine”

Arlo Mckinley “Die Midwestern” (Oh Boy Records, 2020)

Ohio’s Arlo Mckinley was on the brink of giving up on music when he caught the attention of one John Prine. The legendary singer-songwriter and his son Jody signed him up to their label Oh Boy Records on the strength of his soulful, gospel voice and beautiful songs of hard living. Mckinley’s is a story of better late than never, as accident and circumstance almost conspired to convince him that his time would never come. Luckily, aged forty years young we are now presented with ‘Die Midwestern’. Continue reading “Arlo Mckinley “Die Midwestern” (Oh Boy Records, 2020)”