Interview: Spencer Cullum on the future of the pedal steel, folk and krautrock

Have you heard of Spencer Cullum? You may not have heard of him but if you have enjoyed the music of Miranda Lambert, Dylan LeBlanc, Deer Tick, Little Big Town, Charlie Worsham, Caitlin Rose and many more you will have heard his pedal steel playing because he is one of the most in-demand pedal steel players in Nashville.  You may not think that is too surprising but when you realise he was born in Romford, Essex, and was a key part of the UK americana scene you begin to realise he is not your average Nashville musician. This uniqueness is a characteristic of his new album ‘Coin Collection’ where he channels the spirit of Sandy Denny and ‘70s British folk-rock with that of the krautrock of Can and Neu! to move the sound of Continue reading “Interview: Spencer Cullum on the future of the pedal steel, folk and krautrock”

Classic Americana Albums: Leon Russell “Hank Wilson’s Back Vol 1” (Shelter Records, 1973)

These days, not many people are aware of Leon Russell’s music and while fans of americana may recognise the name of one of the architects of the genre, even most americana fans are more familiar with the name than the actual music. Back in 1973 things were very different. At the time Leon Russell was the official biggest-grossing touring act in America, he had had a number 2 album in 1972, ‘Carney’, written two songs that would join the ranks of the Great American Song Book, ‘A Song For You’ and ‘This Masquerade’, appeared on George Harrison’s ‘Concert For Bangladesh’, produced Bob Dylan and, in the spirit of the times, released a triple-disc live album, ‘Leon Live’. Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: Leon Russell “Hank Wilson’s Back Vol 1” (Shelter Records, 1973)”

10 songs about truckers and trucking – Part One

Here are 10 songs about truckers and trucking, hopefully without a dodgy bro-country reference in sight.  The myth of the road is part of American folklore but here in the UK and especially here in Cheshire we know a thing or two – ERF, Foden.  Legendary. Continue reading “10 songs about truckers and trucking – Part One”

“What Is This Americana Thing Anyway…?” – Gordon Sharpe

You lucky people: whilst we are all (hopefully) self-isolating – watch how quickly that comment dates – you will have plenty of time to read the latest instalment of “What Is This Americana Thing Anyway” in which our writers and contributors tell us what, why and where they got into Americana. This week top bloke and diamond geezer Gordon (Not A Moron) Sharpe steers into his choices via a jazz route, which is refreshingly different, and tells us of his love for the smaller venue. Continue reading ““What Is This Americana Thing Anyway…?” – Gordon Sharpe”

Forgotten artists: Leon Russell

Elton John, surprisingly to me, declared great respect for Leon Russell as Russell’s career and life were coming to an end. Indeed I felt a bit affronted that the king of tinsel, both visually and musically, could be associated with a talent like Russell. However if you consider John’s early incarnation as an honorary west coast singer-songwriter on albums such as ‘Tumbleweed Connections’ (‘Ballad of a Well Known Gun’, for instance) then it made much more sense.  Continue reading “Forgotten artists: Leon Russell”