Here’s 10 americana songs with great lyrics

Given the way in in which people typically consume music nowadays, all too often the lyrics are sidelined, if not completely overlooked. But great lyrics are often what make the best songs truly memorable. The following is the first in an occasional series about songs with great lyrics. Mark Underwood explains what makes the following 10 tracks so special. Continue reading “Here’s 10 americana songs with great lyrics”

Americana Music Awards, 31st January, Hackney Empire, London

The final flourish of the Americana Music Association UK (AMAUK) music festival is the Awards night, held in the luxurious surroundings of the Hackney Empire. Unsurprisingly the evening follows a fairly typical award ceremony format, a master of ceremonies, guest presenters to read out the nominees and the actual winner in categories such as “Best Song“, an acceptance speech and then, between awards, a musical spot featuring those nominated somewhere in the evening. This does mean that there’s plenty of music – it’d be a bit odd after all if there wasn’t – but everyone gets just the one song. The full list of award winners can be found here, so this is just a quick impression of the evening and not a full list of every face that appeared. Continue reading “Americana Music Awards, 31st January, Hackney Empire, London”

2018 Americana Music Association Awards nominees revealed

News in from the AMA overnight (the US version) of their list of nominees for their honours and awards for 2018, and there’s good news for Mr Isbell, Margo Price and Brandi Carlile among others – in fact the lists are dominated by the 3 artists, although they are also joined by Mary Gauthier for her excellent “Rifles & Rosary Beads” record, nominated for album of the Year), John Prine (nominated for Artist of the Year), and Lee Ann Womack (nominated for Song of the Year). Continue reading “2018 Americana Music Association Awards nominees revealed”

Mary Gauthier “Rifles & Rosary Beads” (Proper Records, 2018)

Mary Gauthier wrote this record with US Army veterans as part of a program to help those affected by their experiences of war – with those for whom wars do not stop when they come home, those for whom the scars and the horrors endure. These honest raw songs push right into the dark hearts of these veterans, the problems that war brings and the wars they continue to fight once they get home, also giving a voice to the wives and partners who also serve but are unrecognised, those who deal with their broken loved ones. There’s a line from the opener Soldiering On, which sums up the record: ‘what saves you in the battle can kill you at home’. The song drives this home with slabs of drums, guitars and strings, teetering on the ugly as befits the subject matter. These aren’t simple issues and Gauthier never treats them as such; this is a nuanced stripping bare of the problems faced by veterans. Continue reading “Mary Gauthier “Rifles & Rosary Beads” (Proper Records, 2018)”

Mary Gauthier to Lead AMA-UK songwriting workshop 2018

Mary Gauthier has been announced as leading the AMA-UK Conference Songwriting Workshop 2018 in Hackney in January. Held on the second day of the conference, the Songwriting Workshop is described as “an opportunity to delve in to what really makes Americana tick: the song” and gives AMA-UK members and delegates the opportunity to workshop one of their songs with some of the top songwriters and experts in Americana. Joining Gauthier on the panel are songwriters and artists Chris Difford, Beth Neilsen Chapman and Sam Baker.  Continue reading “Mary Gauthier to Lead AMA-UK songwriting workshop 2018”