Americana UK’s editor chooses his picks for 2018

It’s always weird writing about yourself in the third person, the ego of me, but then headlines without the accompanying cheery picture might leave people mystified.  Anyway, there’s my excuse. What a year it’s been for music, so many great tours and a real vibrancy to the genre – I’ll talk about that more next week when we’ll reveal our collaborative choices for 2018 (and yours too of course). In the meantime, here’s my top albums of the last 12 months. Continue reading “Americana UK’s editor chooses his picks for 2018”

Passenger to stream live broadcast this afternoon

Passenger’s beauty of a new album ‘Runaway’ is currently sitting at number 5 in the midweek album chart here in the UK, which we described as “one of the definitive americana albums of 2018” full of lapsteel and harmonised loveliness as it is.  He’s playing a tightly packed Manchester Albert Hall tonight which is sold out but fear not if you haven’t got a ticket as he’s broadcasting a kind of soundcheck come free performance live below from 4.30pm. Click play, stick your headphones on and pretend you’re working on a spreadsheet if you’re still at work. Passenger’s ‘Let Her Go’ recently hit 2 billion streams on YouTube. Mind you, next year we might be saying the same for this track, God help us all.

Interview: Passenger

One of the things I like to smugly get annoyed about is when you mention Passenger and someone says “Oh I really like them” and I’m like “Er, it’s a he” with a disapproving stare. To be fair, Passenger used to be a “them” when they had some added punctuation to their moniker but that was an age ago, and a decade on Mike Rosenberg has become one of those established artists who sometimes flies under the radar in terms of press coverage but still manages to have UK number one albums and more importantly writes some of the most achingly lovely songs you’re likely to hear right now. His new album is being promoted as his first foray into americana, although he’s had form for many a year. Americana UK chatted to him about the new record, the current state America is in and whether he feels like a survivor in life. Continue reading “Interview: Passenger”

Passenger “Runaway” (Black Crow, 2018)

Passenger aka Mike Rosenberg has been writing songs with a prolificacy that would leave most other songwriters, Willie Nelson aside maybe, in the dust. He’s barely released a new record before another set of songs present themselves, sometimes through gigs, sometimes through clips posted on YouTube.  Hearing a song in a live setting or acoustically before it gets the studio treatment is something of an adventure – sometimes, as with the closing track ‘Home’ to 2016’s ‘Young as the Morning Old as the Sea’ which became transformed into an epic which closed most of his gigs from that year, the metamorphosis is really striking, like you can’t believe the amount of life he can squeeze out of one song; his arrangements are superb.  Continue reading “Passenger “Runaway” (Black Crow, 2018)”

Black Deer Festival – Eridge Park, 22nd-24th June 2018

Every festival I’ve been to for the last 5 years has ended up as kind of tsunami of varying proportions, and if you believe it’s all evidence of the Gods’ passing judgement on the headliners, then somebody up there must think quite a lot of new americana festival Black Deer which took place for the first time this year in the idyllic surroundings of Eridge Park in Kent. Every stage but one was geared up for whatever the weather held in store but as it happened it could have taken place without a single tent and canopy and it would still have been fine. Continue reading “Black Deer Festival – Eridge Park, 22nd-24th June 2018”

Passenger leans into americana for new album, due August

We leave you this week with news that Passenger aka Brighton’s Mike Rosenberg has announced details of his new album ‘Runaway’, which will be released on August 31st on Black Crow Records via Cooking Vinyl and is available to pre-order now. ‘Runaway’ will be released on CD, Vinyl LP and download with Deluxe 2CD, 2LP and Deluxe Digital formats available that include Live Acoustic versions of the album recorded across North America. Continue reading “Passenger leans into americana for new album, due August”

Video: Passenger “Hell or High Water”

We keep telling anyone who’ll listen that Passenger, aka Brighton’s Mike Rosenberg, is one of the finest contemporary songwriters around and today he’s today released new single ‘Hell Or High Water’ which is in a word fantastico. Directed by long-time collaborator Jarrad Seng, the video is a result of a three-week road trip across the USA, providing the perfect backdrop for the widescreen, Americana-influenced sound which bodes well for the new album. “The song is a personal inquisition,” says Rosenberg. “I came out of a relationship a few years ago, and I was just baffled by it. Was it something I’d done? Something she’d done? The video was shot over a few days in various national parks – Monument Valley, Valley Of Fire, Death Valley and Joshua Tree. These epic and vast landscapes really help to portray a feeling of being lost in a hopeless quest for answers.” You can catch Passenger headlining the Black Deer americana and country festival at the end of June.

Interview: Black Deer Festival’s Gill Tee and Debs Shilling

Deborah Shilling and Gill Tee photographed by Alun Callender

One of the most exciting events this year for the world of Americana in the UK takes place towards the end of next month. Black Deer is basically everything you want from a festival – frighteningly good artists such as Jason Isbell and Iron & Wine that fall just the right side of cool (i.e. they’re probably not going to do moody sets), multiple stages, good food and a part of the country that’s as good a guarantee of decent weather as you’re going to get from somewhere in the UK in June (if the presumptiveness of that angers fate and it now does rain, apologies in advance). Oh and motorbikes too. Mark Whitfield spoke to the co-founders of Black Deer, Gill and Debs, about how the festival came about, who they’re most looking forward to see play and what americana music means to them. Continue reading “Interview: Black Deer Festival’s Gill Tee and Debs Shilling”

Black Deer Festival announces more acts including (wait for it..) Kiefer Sutherland!

After the first line-up announcement for the UK’s newest Americana & Country shindig, Black Deer Festival which takes place in Kent at the end of June, more acts have been added to the bill. Joining Iron & Wine, Passenger, Ward Thomas and AMA UK award winner Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit in a UK festival exclusive, Kiefer Sutherland, Ashley Campbell, Sam Palladio, The Webb Sisters and Bob Harris’ Emerging Artist winners Wandering Hearts have now been added to the line-up.  Here in the further reaches of Scouseville we’re wondering “why is Kent so far from Liverpool?” but then we’re still making plans. Fickle essentially. Head to the festival’s official website for more details and while you do that listen to the sweet strains of Iron and Wine. Both will be available on site (well maybe not an iron) Continue reading “Black Deer Festival announces more acts including (wait for it..) Kiefer Sutherland!”

Passenger announces surprise new album, out tomorrow

Passenger has announced a new album, and if you saw any of the live stream last night (which you can catch below, but not live) (obviously), you’ll have heard that it’s his most americana-y record to date, with lots of lovely slide and Jayhawks style piano.  The record “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” lands less than a year on from last year’s “Young as the Morning, Old as the Sea” which went to number one in the UK and several other countries, and comes just a few days after Mike Rosenberg announced that he’d be taking a break from touring for a “very long time”.  The album will be available to buy from the official website only, although it will be available to stream on all the usual services if you’re a tight arse. Continue reading “Passenger announces surprise new album, out tomorrow”