Second day of our hook up with Country In The UK to pose this question to a few UK acts in the week that the Americana Music Association UK hosts its annual festival and awards ceremony, this year, by necessity, an online event.
Alex Ellis is the man behind the breakout band of 2020, Our Man In The Field. ‘Thin (I Used To Be Bullet Proof)’ is nominated for Best UK Song in the AMA-UK awards.
“This might sound like I’m heading in the wrong direction but bear with me. We toured Sweden last October before the second Covid peak hit and after the last show we were invited by a lady called Emma who’d driven 2 hours to see our gig in Falkenberg (we were the only show in town), to stay at her family’s property the following night. They’ve converted a barn into a venue with space above for visiting bands to stay so of course we jumped at the chance. We arrived at dusk. The house is up a long track cut through the forest, we were pretty sure we’d got lost but then it opened out and there was the house, the barn and Emma and her husband Edvin waiting for us. The place is a dream, like stepping back in time and across the Atlantic to somewhere in upstate New York. Their big traditional wooden house is on one side and the barn and workshop on another across a large open area surrounded by dense, dark green pine. They regaled us with stories of past gigs held in the barn, packed full with friends whose small children would crawl around the stage as visiting bands play. They have a workshop with a collection of vintage Harley Davidson’s at various stages of completion, a huge old muscle car with its engine on chains ready to be worked on and a 1930’s Dodge, a real Dillinger getaway car looking as if it was their daily runner. You might now expect me to say that this stuff was Americana but that’s not the case.
Rather the whole experience was Americana. The warmth of the people and the common appreciation of craft in art, music, lived experience and the search for an authentic feeling over perfection and polish. It’s the same warmth I’ve across while playing a show with Graham Weber and his friends in Austin Texas, playing an in-store gig at Badlands records in Cheltenham and from audiences, writers, DJ’s and bloggers in the Americana community here.
Edvin was at pains to say he wasn’t going to repaint that car, the worn patina had been earned over the years and was more valuable than any other part, that’s what Americana means to me.”
The AMA-UK Festival takes place on the 26th, 27th, and 28th January and you can buy tickets here.