Classic Americana Albums: Tom Petty “Wildflowers” (Warner Bros.,1994)

Tom Petty’s first studio album for his new label Warner Brothers found him escaping the uber-producer Jeff Lynne whose hand had influenced every musical decision on his previous 3 outings; twice as a Heartbreaker and once as a Wilbury. He needed a fresh start and by God did he get it with Rick Rubin. Stripped down to a hyper-real production sound, Petty was given full licence to write and record what he wanted, when he wanted, with whom he wanted. The album eventually was scheduled to be a double given the amount of material available but record company pressure ensured that half the tracks were shelved – until this year! Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: Tom Petty “Wildflowers” (Warner Bros.,1994)”

Songs for the apocalypse: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers “Walls”

It would have been Tom Petty’s 70th birthday yesterday and although a lot of the focus at the moment is on his 1994 solo record ‘Wildflowers’ due to its rerelease (we have a lovely piece on it in our Classic Americana Albums series tomorrow), one of the lesser known albums he recorded with the Heartbreakers was the soundtrack to the 1996 indie movie ‘She’s the One’ which was named after the Bruce Springsteen song of the same name. The film itself was OK but the soundtrack was blistering. Jeff Lynne made his mark on arguably the lead song from the film ‘Walls’ but the soundtrack album contained alternative versions including this one, number 3 apparently, which I still go back to often. That chorus. Happy boxing birthday Tom.

Listen to an unreleased track from Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers”

You’ll have seen previously that Tom Petty’s ‘Wildflowers & All the Rest’ collection will be out soon, but before that the singer’s estate has shared one of the five previously unreleased tracks from the ‘All the Rest’ half of the reissue – not only that but ‘Leave Virginia Alone’ has a video for it too, starring Tiny Pretty Things’ Casimere Jollette, which was co-directed by Mark Seliger and Tom’s daughter Adria Petty and filmed in Connecticut and Seliger’s studio in New York. It’s among the earliest songs in the collection, Petty originally penning it in January 1993, nearly two years before Wildflowers’ release. Continue reading “Listen to an unreleased track from Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers””

Interview: Ryan Hamilton talks about Jack Kerouac, Geordies and John Prine

Ryan Hamilton is a Fort Worth native, steeped in country music since birth, who just happens to have a UK backing band, The Harlequin Ghosts, who play music that shows the influence of classic rock as well as that of country and roots music. The group record for Stevie Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records, established to support emerging garage rock talent that was not being picked up by the majors. Americana UK’s Martin Johnson caught up with Ryan Hamilton at home in Fort Worth to talk about Jack Kerouac, Tom Petty, the impact of John Prine’s passing and the similarities of Newcastle-upon-Tyne with the American South. Continue reading “Interview: Ryan Hamilton talks about Jack Kerouac, Geordies and John Prine”

Tom Petty “Wildflowers” box set details revealed

Warner Records have announced the release of ‘Wildflowers & All The Rest’, the long-awaited reissue of Tom Petty’s 1994 ‘Wildflowers’ album, which will land on October 16th. The compilation was curated by Tom’s daughters, Adria and Annakim Petty and his wife Dana Petty who call it, “Many, many hours of pure sonic joy,” as well as Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, and was produced by Tom’s longtime engineer and co-producer Ryan Ulyate. Continue reading “Tom Petty “Wildflowers” box set details revealed”

Various Artists “Pandemophenia” (Bloodshot Records, 2020)

Mention the  Chicago music scene to anyone and the Southside blues of Muddy Waters may spring to mind, others may recall a vibrant soul scene which included the Impressions and Curtis Mayfield, the Chicago folk scene gave us Roger McGuinn, John Prine and Steve Goodman, but the Chicago country scene? It may surprise some readers that  Chicago was once the centre of the country music industry. The same economic factors that drove Southern blacks north from the Mississippi Delta, also influenced Appalachian and Southern whites which lead to a vibrant local scene supported by WAL-MS’s National Barn Dance radio show. Eventually the music wound down, with The Grand Ole Opry and Nashville taking precedence, however bluegrass continued to be popular from the ‘60s to the ‘90s as part of the folk scene with The Sundowners continuing to fly the local country flag. The Sundowners were a major influence on alt country’s Robbie Fulks. Continue reading “Various Artists “Pandemophenia” (Bloodshot Records, 2020)”

AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Tim Martin

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. With 10 writers now having had their say we are a quarter of the way through and we hope you agree that it’s been a fascinating series. Straight on to number 11 then. This week’s selections come from Bristol’s very own Tim Martin. Continue reading “AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Tim Martin”

What should I do, Americana UK?

It was with a long and rolling anecdote that we finally approached the issue that was bugging Tom Petty – the thing that was the very crux of the matter.  Seems that this time around the big music tour had got bigger, the ticket prices were through the roof, and although Johnny gave it his all he was failing to connect.  It wasn’t just that the almighty dollar had won the argument but more the existential angst of the once relevant music idol being reduced to the question:”Could that man on stage with everything somehow need some more ?“.  Continue reading “What should I do, Americana UK?”

Tom Petty “You Don’t Know How it Feels (Demo)” – Listen

The Tom Petty estate has released an unearthed 1993 demo of ‘You Don’t Know How it Feels’ which is the first track to be taken from the long-awaited ‘Wildflowers’ archival project. The song was the lead single from the album and eventually reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Petty recorded the much more fragile, acoustic take at his home studio, providing a more intimate feel than the original, and it contains a verse that would later show up on the penultimate track on the album, ‘Crawling Back to You.’  The album reflects Petty’s failing 20 years plus marriage to his wife Jane Benyo. “I’m so tired of being tired,” he sings. “Sure as night will follow day/Most things I worry about/Never happen anyway.”

Something for the weekend: Jesse Malin “Crawling Back to You”

And so another week comes to its inevitable conclusion dear reader as we go into what may or may not be the penultimate bank holiday weekend of the year – there are plenty of live streams happening if you fancy bedding yourself in with a beer but in the meantime, we leave you this week with two pieces of new music. Below you can find the latest song by Mike Rosenberg aka Passenger – ‘Queenstown’ is about a road trip around New Zealand’s South Island a few years ago “… it was one of the most magical times of my life . This song I think encapsulates that feeling of travel and freedom – something that we are all probably missing greatly at the moment.” But before that here’s Jesse Malin covering  Tom Petty’s ‘Crawling Back to You’ a from Petty’s 1994 album ‘Wildflowers’. Malin saw Petty perform the song at the Hollywood Bowl in 2017 — at what would turn out to be Petty’s final show. Stay safe and have a good one.

Continue reading “Something for the weekend: Jesse Malin “Crawling Back to You””