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)”

John Prine 7 disc box-set announced

John Prine, who passed away in April, was one of the most celebrated singer/songwriters of his generation and recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the GRAMMYs – indeed Rolling Stone once called him “The Mark Twain of American songwriting”. As part of various posthumous releases this year, the Rhino label have announced a newly remastered seven-CD boxed set that includes the first seven studio albums of his career, recorded with Atlantic Records and Asylum Records. ‘Crooked Piece of Time: The Atlantic & Asylum Album (1971-1980)’ will be available as a limited edition on October 23rd and is available for pre-order now here. Continue reading “John Prine 7 disc box-set announced”

Ten environmentally-aware Americana songs

The importance of the diversity of our ecology, and of environmental sustainability, are constant watchwords these days and every news bulletin seems to bring another warning that we need to take better care of this planet or pay the consequences. When it comes to the environment and, in particular, the effects of climate change, it’s increasingly clear that we’re all drinking in the Last Chance Saloon! As something of a tree-hugger myself, I thought it was time we took a look at what some of our Americana artists have to say on the matter. Continue reading “Ten environmentally-aware Americana songs”

10 americana fishing songs

Fishing is the second most popular outdoor recreational activity in America (behind running). It is estimated that around 50 million Americans fish regularly. Despite being associated with the older generation, 60% of American anglers are under 45 and 22% are under 18. In many parts of rural America, fishing is an integral part of the culture. It therefore seems appropriate to reflect that in this series. So, fetch your fold-out chair, pack your beer and sandwiches and cast into this little lot. Continue reading “10 americana fishing songs”

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”

John Prine is Illinois’ first honorary Poet Laureate

John Prine has been named the first honorary poet laureate of the state of Illinois, nearly three months after the singer-songwriter’s death from complications related to COVID-19. Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the honour earlier this week, saying in a statement: “He leaves behind an unparalleled musical legacy and was beloved by family and millions of fans who hope that in Heaven he finds Paradise waitin’ just as he longed for,” quoting Prine’s “Paradise.” Continue reading “John Prine is Illinois’ first honorary Poet Laureate”

AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Andrew Frolish

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 week’s tortured soul is Andrew Frolish. Continue reading “AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Andrew Frolish”

AMA announces 2020 award nominees

It’s that time of year again folks. The Americana Music Association has revealed the nominees for its 19th annual Americana Honors & Awards which includes Brandi Carlile, Brittany Howard, Our Native Daughters, the late John Prine, Nathaniel Rateliff, Tanya Tucker and Yola among others. Continue reading “AMA announces 2020 award nominees”

Watch the video to John Prine’s final song

John Prine’s family have posted a video of his final recorded song called ‘I Remember Everything’ which follows on from a livestream tribute to the man himself which streamed last night and featured Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, Kacey Musgraves and Bill Murray among others. The new song is produced by Dave Cobb and co-written by Prine and his longtime collaborator Pat McLaughlin, with some painfully evocative lyrics: “I remember every town/And every hotel room/And every song I ever sang/With a guitar out of tune”. You can watch both the video and the tribute below.

Continue reading “Watch the video to John Prine’s final song”