Kronos Quartet “Long Time Passing: The Kronos Quartet and Friends Celebrate Pete Seeger” (Smithsonian Folkways, 2020)

This is an excellent recording that manages to celebrate and capture the essence of Pete Seeger the man, not just Pete Seeger the musician, while enhancing the already impressive reputation of the Kronos Quartet. While Pete Seeger’s name is well known in the folk and roots music world it is sometimes forgotten just how groundbreaking his work was as a musician and that he was a prime mover in forging a link between folk music and radical politics. He was born in 1919 to parents who were classical musicians. His father, Charles Seeger, held various roles under Roosevelt’s New Deal initiatives in the 1930s, and it was while accompanying his father on a field trip that he heard first-hand and for the first time the music of the banjo in North Carolina. Continue reading “Kronos Quartet “Long Time Passing: The Kronos Quartet and Friends Celebrate Pete Seeger” (Smithsonian Folkways, 2020)”

Video: The Byrds “Eight Miles High”

It’s retro Friday and it doesn’t get much better than this.  Here is a late-era performance from legendary act The Byrds.  It’s nearly ten minutes of hypnotic, mesmerising musicianship.  This live version, from the Fillmore East in 1970, is all about the rhythm section.  Skip Battin on bass and Parsons (Gene not Gram) on drums are entirely absorbed in the music and elevate the crowd so high.  About eight miles high.  Listen to that driving snare drum.  Wherever you are right now, this will take you somewhere else.

Yo La Tengo “Wasn’t Born To Follow” – Listen

Yo La Tengo will release ‘Sleepless Night‘ a new 6-track EP on October 9th, via Matador Records.  It’s a set of covers of songs by the likes of Bob Dylan and The Delmore Brothers – and in this particular case the ever-relevant music of The Byrds. Continue reading “Yo La Tengo “Wasn’t Born To Follow” – Listen”

AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Jonathan Aird

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 time we turn to AUK deputy editor Jonathan Aird for our weekly shot of americana greatness: Continue reading “AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Jonathan Aird”

Classic Americana Albums: Gene Clark “No Other” (Asylum, 1974)

Missouri born Gene Clark’s epitaph beautifully reads: ‘No Other’, the title of his 1974 magnum opus. It would be fair to say that fortune was not kind to Clark, his early demise at the age of 46 hastened by alcohol and drug dependency. In his few short years as a member of the legendary Byrds he wrote the glorious, ‘I’ll Feel A Whole Better’ and co-wrote the proto-psychedelic, ‘Eight Miles High’. Much has been made of the fact that it was a fear of flying that influenced him to leave the group at the height of their fame, though it is also true that Clark was a restless soul wanting to explore new directions through his own unique voice and vision.  Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: Gene Clark “No Other” (Asylum, 1974)”

“What Is This Americana Thing Anyway…?” – Jonathan Aird

Our popular feature in which the your humble writers spill the beans on their influences, musical roots and record buying habits is back. This week Deputy Editor and man who is averse to foppish hair and synthesisers  Jonathan Aird tells us what he does like instead: Continue reading ““What Is This Americana Thing Anyway…?” – Jonathan Aird”

“What Is This Americana Thing Anyway…?” – Richard Phillips

It’s time, folks, for another instalment of our feature in which the writers of AUK attempt to put into words their personal reflections of what our genre is and why they love it so much. This time Richard Phillips, lover of cheap records and twelve-string guitars tells us where it’s at musically speaking. Continue reading ““What Is This Americana Thing Anyway…?” – Richard Phillips”

Classic Americana Compilations “Silver Meteor – A Progressive Country Anthology” (Sierra Records, 1980)

What makes a great compilation? Good music is a must obvious, the historical importance of some of the tracks, certainly, rare and forgotten tracks and artists that nevertheless capture an elusive something that was in the air for a golden period definitely helps. All these apply to ‘Silver Meteor – A Progressive Country Anthology’ and if there is any lingering doubt as to how great this compilation is then the fact that it came in at number eleven on Uncut magazine’s list of the 50 Greatest Lost Albums is the clincher. Continue reading “Classic Americana Compilations “Silver Meteor – A Progressive Country Anthology” (Sierra Records, 1980)”

Gene Clark “No Other” to get deluxe reissue from 4AD

4AD have announced that they will be reissuing Gene Clark’s legendary ‘No Other’ album this coming November. Recorded at the Village Recorder in West Hollywood and produced by Thomas Jefferson Kaye, the album was originally released in 1974 on Asylum Records, coming a year after the Byrds short-lived reunion.  Clark delivered a visionary record of psychedelic rock, folk, country and soul which famously cost a small fortune to make (“It took a lot of time in the studio before we could actually get the songs to the point we wanted them,” Gene said in 1977).  Although warmly received by critics, the album was a commercial failure and was subsequently deleted shortly after. Continue reading “Gene Clark “No Other” to get deluxe reissue from 4AD”

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”