Songs for the apocalypse: Peter Bruntnell “Black Aces”

Years ago, 17 in fact, I put on an event in what was then the Masque venue in Liverpool called “Americana One” celebrating the fact that this little website (and it was little back then) was one years old. Looking back, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and the day culminated in me asking my then partner if he’d drive this Guardian journalist back to Manchester because the event was running so late he couldn’t make his last train. He gave the event three stars in the end – I’m sure one of those stars was for that lift home. Anyway, one of the main delights of the day was Peter Bruntnell who had had a few drinks and made me worry he wasn’t going to make it on stage but then went on to play one of the most beautiful sets I’ve ever heard. A year later he released for me his best album ever ‘Ends of the Earth’ – one of those rare records with no fillers at all, and this penultimate track is the absolute highlight with one of those guitar breaks I could never tire of. As NME once said, his songs should be taught in schools.

Peter Bruntnell + Sophia Marshall, Railway Inn, Winchester, 12th September 2019

That the Railway Inn in Winchester has become a hotbed of Americana is due, in the main, to the sterling efforts of promoters, SC4m.co.uk, AKA the husband and wife team  of Oliver and Birgit Gray. Wind the clock back to May 2003 and, in Oliver’s own words, “We started off booking Peter Bruntnell, partly because he’s a mate and partly because he’s a crazed genius.”  Since that seminal moment, Mr Bruntnell has reappeared at the Railway on umpteen occasions and it would seem, based on the packed room, that the good folk of Hampshire are still lapping him up. Continue reading “Peter Bruntnell + Sophia Marshall, Railway Inn, Winchester, 12th September 2019”

Peter Bruntnell “King of Madrid” (Domestico, 2019)

Flicking through a back catalogue of reviews of Peter Bruntnell albums – and ‘King of Madrid’ is his tenth – a hefty proportion are seemingly dedicated to dreaming up new ways of insisting that the Devon-based singer-songwriter is British Americana’s best-kept secret, the sub-text of the argument presumably being that only the inexplicably fickle tastes of the record-buying public/international music industry/whichever gods secretly rule the universe of popular music have deprived Bruntnell of the star status he so richly deserves.
Continue reading “Peter Bruntnell “King of Madrid” (Domestico, 2019)”

Peter Bruntnell + Sophia Marshall, Gullivers, Manchester, 30th May 2019

Deciding whether to catch the support artist or not can be a bit of a lottery. Stay in the bar and you risk missing out on something special, roll up and you can end up shuffling around and feigning interest as some plucky trier tests the limits of your attention span. Tonight’s winners were certainly  those that abandoned their comfy seat in favour of catching  Leicester based singer-songwriter Sophia Marshall. Formally one half of the Havenots, Marshall possesses a captivating voice which she put to fine use in delivering some beautifully crafted songs. Drafting in her band, the set began with the acapella ‘Drunken Sailor’ which immediately served notice that this was no ordinary performer. There then followed a series of exquisite compositions that deserve to be heard on a bigger stage. With the ability to write such wonderful songs as ‘Beauty Sleep’, ‘Sarah’s Room’ and the superb concluding ‘Wasted Days’, it might be questioned as to why Marshall decided to include three covers in her short set. Continue reading “Peter Bruntnell + Sophia Marshall, Gullivers, Manchester, 30th May 2019”

Van Life – Peter Bruntnell

Regular visitors to this site wont need me to tell you the level of regard we here at Americana-UK  hold for Peter Bruntnell. One of the UK’s finest troubadours, Bruntnell has been writing some of the greatest songs the genre has heard over the last twenty years. Since causing a stir on the US college rock scene with his seminal ‘Normal For Bridgwater’ album in the late 90’s, the New Zealand born songsmith has become a byword for quality and class, both as a solo performer and when tearing it up with his band. Ahead of  new album and UK dates, Americana-UK catches up with the songwriter to see how things will shape up out on the road and what sounds he’ll have with him to ease the strain. Continue reading “Van Life – Peter Bruntnell”

The Long Road Festival announces its 2019 line-up

Following the success of the first Long Road festival last year, the 3-day “music and lifestyle” event will return to Stanford Hall in Leicestershire this summer. Running from Friday 6th to Sunday 8th September, the festival has announced the first wave of acts confirmed to perform at this year’s event including its two headliners, country singers Kip Moore and Josh Turner. Continue reading “The Long Road Festival announces its 2019 line-up”

Ramblin’ Roots Revue returns! Here’s the full line up

Now in their third year, The Ramblin’ Roots Revue, one of the UK’s biggest weekends of Americana, roots and alt-country music (and there are a few of them now) have announced their line up which includes 40 acts from the across UK, USA, Canada, Ireland and mainland Europe. The full line up which takes place in Bucks from 12th-14th April 2019 is listed below but includes UK americana luminaries including William the Conqueror (much nicer than the historical figure), Curse of Lono (a curse you would actually want to be afflicted with) and Peter Bruntnell’s band featuring the superb BJ Cole. Continue reading “Ramblin’ Roots Revue returns! Here’s the full line up”

AmericanA to Z – Peter Bruntnell

Since his 1995 solo debut ‘Cannibal‘ Peter Bruntnell has slowly built a canon of songs that would stand up next to the best of best within the Americana genre and way, way beyond. Sensible folk scratch their heads with incredulity at his lack of mainstream commercial success and marvel at the thrill of witnessing such a talent in small venues around the country on a regular basis. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Peter Bruntnell”

Van Life: Iain Sloan

Fretboard warrior, purveyor of all things six-string, and pedal steel supremo, Iain Sloan has been soundtracking the UK Americana scene for a number of years predominantly with The Wynntown Marshals, Scotland’s finest alt.country band, and latterly with the likes of indie folksters Blue Rose Code and the legendary Peter Bruntnell.   Americana-UK catches up with Sloan inbetween practice and school runs to chat through life on the road and have a rummage through the glove box. Continue reading “Van Life: Iain Sloan”

Billboard: Americana in the UK is a thing

Oh well, this will wreck our Google search result listings – what possessed them to use the terms “americana” and “UK” in the same headline?  Billboard has an article today entitled “U.K. Americana Hits America, and Vice Versa, In New Roots Exchange” which is an incredibly interestingyou read about our symbiotic relationship with the genre over in the States, selling snow to the Eskimos as it were.  They report: “The idea of U.K. artists playing Americana, not just at home but in the U.S. itself, might once have seemed hopelessly ambitious. But as the genre, and the reception of it, has expanded into an ever-broader church, British acts are not only nudging doors ajar, but the two countries are enjoying something of a cultural Americana exchange — to the benefit of roots musicians on both sides of the Atlantic. Continue reading “Billboard: Americana in the UK is a thing”