So we begin our first full week back with a new feature here on AUK whereby we are starting our own kind of version of Radcliffe and Maconie’s The Chain, a never-ending list of americana songs with some connection between each new track to the last. What better way to start with this track from Wilco’s ‘AM’ album, one of the first and indeed finest records in the 90s new wave of americana which contains the classic line “You’re gonna make me spill my beer, If you don’t learn how to steer”. Which weirdly enough is exactly what I said to my Uber driver last Friday.
“I think that live music is something that the internet can never kill” – Jim James (My Morning Jacket). In an age when we can access our favourite music in so many ways and so many forms, for me the best way remains – live. I’m not talking massive stadium or arena gigs, but small and medium-sized venues with character and intimacy. With only a handful of exceptions, these are the places where most Americana artists will ply their trade in the UK. Luckily for me, there are a number of such venues in Manchester providing the opportunity to see top acts for relatively small amounts of money. Continue reading “The best gigs of 2019: a personal reflection”
Approaching an album by Wilco is an interesting proposition for a committed Wilco fan. Is it going to be a magnum opus – ‘A Ghost Is Born‘ or ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot‘; a slight but fuzzy affair ‘Star Wars‘ or ‘Schmilco‘, or something different again – and there’s the rub. Wilco fans like different but not too different – they are cut from the same cloth as Old Shakey. They like it that he sticks the middle finger up to doing what’s expected but… but they’d really like to hear a new ‘On the Beach‘.
Continue reading “Wilco “Ode to Joy” (dBpm Records, 2019)”
The Guardian are reporting today that numerous gunshots have been fired at the Chicago home of Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, with his wife, Susan Miller Tweedy, reporting hearing “seven to 10 shots fired at what sounded like right at our house … A bullet went through the storm door to our balcony and lodged in the wooden door.” She went on to say that Tweedy found seven bullet casings outside their home. Continue reading “Jeff Tweedy’s house gets shot at”
Black Deer Festival have announced their first names for next year’s festival and the line-up is already something of a mic drop moment, including as it does The Waterboys, Canadian folk and bluegrass ensemble The Dead South, Grammy-nominated folk duo The Milk Carton Kids, Arizona’s Courtney Marie Andrews, New York natives The Felice Brothers and the headline act of none other than Wilco, an exclusive for the South of England. Here’s the line-up poster so far: Continue reading “Black Deer 2020 announces Wilco as headliner”
To say that Jeff Tweedy’s band have, over the years, become something of an Americana institution is to put the ‘under’ well and truly into ‘understatement’. Such is the band’s stature that their gigs nowadays might equally and legitimately be labelled as ‘events’. So, to the majestic surroundings of Manchester’s Albert Hall, devotees travelled from across the north of England and beyond to witness one of only three UK dates on the current Wilco tour. Despite a hefty £38 ticket price, the show was sold out weeks in advance. Continue reading “Wilco, Albert Hall, Manchester, 27th September 2019”
‘Summerteeth’ was the album that turned the masses on to Wilco, well the masses by relative americana terms, and it’s crazy to think that it was twenty – twenty! – years ago that it landed. Creating their own rift of what americana should sound like, the album included moog, banjo, tambourine, and piano among other instrumentation, underpinning Jeff Tweedy’s cracked vocals. ‘She’s a Jar’ was the highlight for me with its almost dream-like arrangement which carries lyrics such as “watch me floating inches above the people under me.” It’s a timeless track from an album which still sounds like a modern classic today.
Harmony Rockets is kind of a sideline project for Mercury Rev’s Grasshopper and Jonathan Donahue, allowing them to go off-piste as it were and indulge themselves. Here they team up with the little known but well respected sixties raga guitarist Peter Walker, an associate of Timothy Leary, for an album composed of three instrumental pieces which hark back to the times when Jerry Garcia was known as Captain Trips and flute players could record albums within the Taj Mahal. Continue reading “Harmony Rockets with Peter Walker “Lachesis/Clotho/Atropos” (Tompkins Square, 2019)”
Er we’re a bit late to the party with this one sorry but exciting news from the tail end of last week that Wilco are on their way back to the UK – Jeff Tweedy’s band have announced a new European tour for September, in addition to their existing shows in June. The new tour takes in three UK dates which will take place at the end of the September. Here are the dates along with a classic cut from ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ or YHF as we like to say round these parts. Continue reading “Wilco announce UK dates for September”
Have you ever looked around you, conversed with your peers and concluded that you’re out of touch with society; marginalised on the fringes of a world obsessed with just about everything and everyone that you are only vaguely aware of? The great Guy Clark put it out there post-tech revolution with ‘Analog Girl‘ back in 2006 and fourteen years later Clark’s fellow country outlaws, Bottle Rockets, have taken up the theme and taken it to another, glorious level. Not that Brian Henneman, Mark Ortmann and the Rockets are new faces singing old tunes. The great thing about ‘Bit Logic‘ is that these outlaws are embracing the changing face of the music business and injecting a freshness into an ancient art form that would have Waylon raising a wry eyebrow in silent approval. Continue reading “Bottle Rockets “Bit Logic” (Bloodshot Records, 2018)”