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”

Hillman and McGuinn play at Byrds tribute gig

Have a good weekend dear reader – we leave you today with news of Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman who on Wednesday night re-united at downtown L.A.’s vintage, cathedral-like Ace Hotel Theatre. Billboard report: “The night’s Sweetheart of the Rodeo 50th anniversary album tribute offered such a steady stream of—mostly quite intriguing—curatorial observations that some attendees may have wondered if they had happened upon a “So You Want to Be A Rock and Roll Star” Ted talk that, happily, kept threatening to break out as a concert extravaganza of guitar-drunk Americana.  Continue reading “Hillman and McGuinn play at Byrds tribute gig”

AmericanA to Z : The Byrds

Not every A-Z artist is a complete unknown, sometimes it’s good to remember just how good some of the seminal bands really were. The Byrds are the band that spawned a thousand jangly guitar bands, seemingly destined to be ‘rediscovered’ every ten years or so. The Byrds famously invented country-rock on ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo‘ – although even putting aside the many other contenders for that claim there is the small matter of previous material on ‘Younger then Yesterday‘ and ‘The Notorious Byrd Brothers‘.  Continue reading “AmericanA to Z : The Byrds”

House Above The Sun “Five Hours North” (HATS Music, 2017)

HATS are a celebratory kind of a band; their music rings with the joy of making music, not the artistic struggle. The songs don’t sound like they were wrung from a tormented soul, more like they escaped like blissful bursts of inspiration. They’re an Americana band, blending most of the touchstones, corralling folk, blues, country and rock. Footsteps relies on acoustic guitar and harmonies to gain a foothold, gradually introducing the piano, electric guitars and drums with a relaxed easy charm that is infectious. Continue reading “House Above The Sun “Five Hours North” (HATS Music, 2017)”