I once met Dave Woodcock in a pub in Sheffield. He was a friend of a friend, so I didn’t really know him that well, but I was aware of the fact that he knew his country music and that he played in some local band called Taste Of Shotgun. The thing that got us talking, however, was the fact that he was the only one in the pub wearing a Flying Burrito Brothers t-shirt, so we spent the rest of the night talking about our favourite bands. Ironically, six or seven years later, Dave Woodcock has now himself become one of my favourite artists. Backed by The Dead Comedians and the new album, Omaha High Low, Dave Woodcock plays country rock with Northern Soul, like he was the Rich Danko of Rotherham. Needless to say, I’m very pleased to present the first Americana UK interview with the Next Big Thing From Sheffield.
Interview by Soren McGuire
Portrait by Andy Brown Read more... Updated Monday, December 21, 2009
He took his name from a character from The Simpsons, grew up on Johnny Cash but knows his way around The Jesus & Mary Chain too, and has a certain passion for classic country misery. Oh, and he’s from Leeds. Ladies and gents, meet Mr Plow, one of the most interesting artists to emerge on the UK Americana scene for years. In this, his first interview for Americana UK, we speak to Mr Plow about his new album, The Book Of Common Despair, genuine country roots and why they don’t really matter at all as long as the songs are good. Which, indeed, they are in his case.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Monday, December 21, 2009
Daughter of Canadian songwriter Gene MacLellan, Catherine MacLellan has one of the finest singing voices and mature styles we’ve heard in recent times. As like poetry in motion, words spill from her as she sings songs from her third and latest True North album, Water In The Ground. In this interview, Maurice Hope speaks to Catherine about her family and fine new album. Read more... Updated Thursday, December 21, 2000
Americana singer-songwriter Eilen Jewell and her three-piece band provide one of the best sounds on the circuit. Both live and on record Jewell shows her worth. Merging traditional country with rockabilly and more, Jewell and the band are a tight and thrilling live act, as their music possesses strong emotive content. In this interview, Maurice Hope talks to Eilen Jewell about her new albums – her own and the one she’s just done with the Sacred Shakers - and following in the footsteps of Loretta Lynn and Wanda Jackson.
Interview by Maurice Hope
Photo credit: Charles Holley Read more... Updated Friday, December 11, 2009
We’re not sure that many people actually know this, but Nathan Holscher has made one of the best Americana records of 2009 with Hit The Ground, his third album of heartworn road songs. With his band, The Ohio 5, this Cincinnati, Ohio songwriter and poet sounds like he’s still roaming the backroads of Springsteen’s Nebraska, lost, lovesick and without the ability to just get the hell over this chick who’s causing him all this heartache. We spoke to the extremely gifted songwriter about growing up on Townes, the intimacy of Cincinnati and his dear grandmother.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Monday, December 11, 2000
For the past four months, Matthew Ryan has been locked up in his Nashville home, working hard on his seventh album, Dear Lover. The album, marking Matthew Ryan’s return to a more electronic sound after last year’s Matthew Ryan Vs. The Silver State, is a compelling tale of love, life, dreams and hope, a modern folk record unlike any we’ve heard before. Once again, we’re thrilled to present an interview with one of our favorite artists and perhaps the most visionary songwriter in Nashville today.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Saturday, December 05, 2009
|The Tragically Hip|
The Tragically Hip has been one of Canada’s biggest rock bands for almost thirty years. There’s not enough room here to list the amount of awards and accolades, this band of good rockin’ boys from Kingston, Ontario have received through their time, and with the new album, We Are The Same, being their most organic and country rock’ish to date, we thought it was high time we gave The Hip the attention they so truly deserve. So as the band set off for a short UK tour starting tonight in London. we called up lead singer Gordon Downie for a chat about Frank Sinatra records, trusting their instincts and playing to a bunch of Canadian exchange students in Copenhagen…
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Monday, November 30, 2009
Some people call Tom Russell the most original songwriter ever to have walked God’s own country. They might not be too wrong actually, and he’s definitely one of the best - hell, the man hung out with Charles Bukowski and had his songs covered by people such as Johnny Cash, Joe Ely, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Jerry Jeff Walker! Yet Tom Russell still remains one of the best kept secrets of American songwriting, despite the fact that he has been at the very heart of Americana since the early 70’s. In this exclusive interview, we are deeply honoured speak to the Californian-born legend about his on-going musical journey, his latest amazing album, Blood & Candle Smoke, working with Calexico and why seeing Gram Parsons in L.A wasn’t all that much of a big deal.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Saturday, November 25, 2000
They started out as a pop duo, but have now become on of Canada’s hottest alt.country tickets, and with songs that will simply just break your heart and a recent 8/10 review of their third album, No Fool For Trying, there’s little question why people are calling Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac – better known as Madison Violet – the best female duo to come out of Canada since The McGarrigle sisters. In this interview, we speak to Lisa about endless touring, crying fans and why we Europeans are so much more…pleasant to be around
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Saturday, November 25, 2000
I’ll spare you the mumbo jumbo and get right to the point. Danny Schmidt is the damn finest songwriter I’ve heard in years and I’ll stand on Steve Earle’s coffee table in my cowboy boots (well, make that my worn out Converse All Stars) and say that. With no clothes on! The Austin-based songwriter recently released his fifth album Instead The Forest Rose To Sing, and is just about to embark on his UK tour with Carrie Elkin which starts on the 26th in Brighton. No need to say, we strongly urge you to go see one of their shows, but before you do, read this exclusive interview in which we talk to Danny about stage fright, Finnegan’s Wake, his fight against cancer and a very drunk Paul Curreri.
Interview by Soren McGuire
Portrait by John Grubbs Read more... Updated Thursday, November 12, 2009
|Jeff Hanna - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band|
When Jeff Hanna founded Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in the late sixties, he had little idea that he was just a few years away from changing the course of music history. The band’s making of the triple-album Will The Circle Be Unbroken from 1972 featured collaborations with such country legends as Roy Acuff, Maybelle Carter, Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson, finishing what The Byrds had attempted years earlier. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band had finally bridged the gap between the country rockin’ Hollywood canyons and the somewhat conservative Nashville, proving to listeners and musicians on both sides that country and bluegrass could indeed be played just as well by longhaired hippies from California. In this exclusive interview, we speak to Jeff Hanna about his new album, Speed of Life, and the musical legacy that lies behind it.
Interview by Maurice Hope Read more... Updated Monday, November 09, 2009
Andes is what you would call the classic bass guitarist, but what’s even more impressive than his musical skills is the list of artists and bands he’s played with. Spanning a career of over 40 years he has played with classic rock bands such as Spirit, Heart and Firefall and recorded and played with an endless list of distinguished and well known musicians – from Dan Fogelberg, Michael Clarke and Rick Roberts to Canned Heat, Joe Walsh and Alejandro Escovedo. Recently he had the honour of being voted Best Bass Guitarist at the Austin Music Awards, so Americana UK did not hesitate when we had the chance to talk to one of the key figures on the 70’s music scene about his forthcoming solo album, hanging out with the L.A countryrock crowd and missing out on Woodstock.
Interview by Mike Hurle Read more... Updated Friday, November 03, 2000
When it comes to alternative country - whatever the hell it is - no one has played a bigger role in making it what is today than Son Volt’s Jay Farrar. From actually creating the whole damn thing with Uncle Tupelo in the early 90’s to making one of this year’s finest records, Jay Farrar and Son Volt still find themselves in a league of their own. In this interview, Americana UK speaks to our biggest hero about his new album, American Central Dust, writing about love for the first time and why he’s basically just another guy with a guitar, here today and gone tomorrow. Jay Farrar, ladies and gentlemen, is the stuff of legends.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Guy Clark was born and raised in the small West Texas town of Monahans before his family relocated to Rockport…. the rest, as they say, is Americana history. Equally historic is the sheer amount of people who have covered his songs over the years, counting among them Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Johnny Cash, Ricky Skaggs, Tim O’Brien, Jerry Jeff Walker and Bobby Bare, to name but a few. On his eagerly awaited new album, Somedays The Song Writes You, Clark has enlisted the help of some of today’s greatest new song writing talents, all coming together on what is truly one of this year’s greatest collections of music.
Interview by Maurice Hope Read more... Updated Tuesday, October 20, 2009
|Cross Canadian Ragweed|
"There’s a lot of people out there who don’t like country music, and neither do we," says Cody Canada, singer and songwriter with Cross Canadian Ragweed. Having been confused with your average big-goofy-hat wearing Music Row macho cowboy singer one too many times, Cody and his team of down-home Oklahoma-boys set out to prove themselves the hardest working and hardest rocking band south of the Tennessee state line. In this interview, Americana UK speaks to Cody about trying to piss off Music Row (and actually failing to do so), the joys of fatherhood and why Oklahoma would kick Nashville’s ass any day!
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Sunday, October 11, 2009
When we last spoke to Austin-songwriter Sam Baker about a year ago, he had just released the album Pretty World, his second album of heartbreaking songs strongly inspired by what had happened to him on a trip through Peru years ago. Riding on a train, Sam Baker and some friends were caught in the middle of a Shining Path terrorist attack, killing those around him and changing his life – physically and mentally – forever. But although Sam Baker is a man carried forth not by hatred and anger, but by love and forgiveness, it has taken him three albums – Mercy, Pretty World and now Cotton to reach a point where he could actually find this forgiveness. In this interview, Americana UK once again spoke to one of the most unique and thoughtful artists we have ever met about walking through the white snow in search for that final feeling of forgiveness. If more people were like Sam Baker, the world would be a better place.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Monday, October 05, 2009
|The Deadstring Brothers|
Detroit city’s own The Deadstring Brothers is one of those bands that makes the word alt.country more than just an indefinable buzzword. Playing timeless rock n’roll like a bunch of long haired George Jones’s, this part American, part British band has just embarked on a tour of the UK, with their spectacular fourth album, Säo Paulo fresh off the vinyl press. We caught up with lead singer Kurt Marschke for a chat about great songs, not-so great albums and why the hell every one thinks they sound like Gram Parsons.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Monday, October 05, 2009
|The Bottle Rockets|
Truth be told, it’s not fair to mention Uncle Tupelo without also paying dues to Festus, Missouri’s The Bottle Rockets. Perhaps not as visionary as their peers in Uncle Tupelo, country rock as we know it still owes a great debt to Brian Henneman and his gang of hard rocking guitar slingers. To mark their recent 15th anniversary, the band has released a triumphant new record, Lean Forward, packed with equal parts lyrical thoughtfullness and good ol’ fashioned rock n’roll attitude. In this interview, we have a chat with Brian Henneman about being on the road for too long, Messers Jay and Jeff and why alternative country is sort of ridiculous. Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to rock.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Sunday, September 13, 2009
“Lucas' music is as ethereal as it is grounded in tradition. The melodies here can be complex, but the harmonies are as sweet as those found in the Appalachian mountains.”
These were a few of the words Americana UK’s Warren Wheeler recently used to describe Indiana-born Austin Lucas’ third full length soloalbum, Somebody Loves You. An album which has not only received one of those rare 10 out of 10 reviews, but also helps to set a new mark for the wave of alt.country-artists currently working hard to bring the style back to its orignal form and intent – country music played with the ferocity of punk and disregard of any set rules or boundaries.
In this interview, Americana UK speaks to our new American hero about his songwriting, his old man, the years he spent playing in various punk bands and why he came back to country music - I just got tired of all the noise, he says.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Wednesday, September 13, 2000
Kieran Kane; singer-songwriter, record producer, recording artist and founder member of Dead Reckoning records is an innovative musician. First off he played mandolin for a living, after as a teenager he performed on drums in his elder brother’s rock‘n’roll band — years later, Emmylou Harris started covering his songs. In this exclusive interview, Americana UK talks to Kieran about his new album, Somewhere Beyond The Roses, an album that was recently given a 10/10 review right here at Americana UK.
Interview by Maurice Hope Read more... Updated Sunday, September 13, 2009
After having played a key part in Bob Dylan’s band for years, guitatist and record producer Larry Campbell now has his sights set on making his own name just as legendary as those of the people he works with. He has just produced the latest record, Electric Dirt, by visionary The Band-drummer Levon Helm, and has also worked with people such as Lyle Lovett, Paul Simon and Willie Nelson. In this interview, Americana UK speaks with Larry about his work with some of the biggest names in rock music.
Interview by Maurice Hope Read more... Updated Sunday, September 13, 2009
After having spent years playing and recording in and around Nashville, Bap Kennedy is once again back in his native Northern Ireland. “I was definitely worn away by George W Bush and all the stuff that was going on”, says Bap about his final months in Nashville, but right before he completely lost what was left of his childhood love of The Land of Dreams, Obama came along and changed it all. We spoke to Bap about his new album, Howl On, falling in and out of love with America and hanging out with these two blokes called Steve and Van.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Willy Vlautin is the kind of guy who buys you a beer and hangs out with you when you walk up to him after a gig. Seriously, he’s like the nicest guy in americana, and when we asked him if he had come to appreciate the role as the new godfather of desert rock, he laughed it off and said something about just being an average guy who likes to write songs. That might be the case, but as we all suspected, the songs on the new album, We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River, are every bit as good as we hoped they would be, all making this, their ninth album, another Richmond Fontaine masterpiece. As Willy and the rest of the band prepare for their European tour in September, Americana UK caught up with our Americana hero numero uno for a talk about busted up arms, his addiction to depressing songs and, well, just being an average guy who likes to write not so average songs.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Wednesday, August 12, 2009
|The Band Of Heathens|
It isn’t too often that a band as gifted with an embarrassment in lead guitarists and vocalists as award winning, Texas five-piece, The Band Of Heathens, comes along. The future of who it seems holds no boundaries, such the sublime quality of their roots-based music.
Charged with lead guitar, percussion, slide and mandolin Ed Jurdi, Gordy Quist and Colin Brooks who, at different occasions take on the role as lead vocalist with Seth Whitney (bass, harmony vocals) and John Chipman (drums, vocals) deliver music that crosses the paths of such passed masters as The Band. It is exciting and often-crazy times in this period of the band’s career, songs are coming at a merry lick and the Americana awards they received in Austin in 2008 as the most promising band are I assure you just the tip of the iceberg.
One of the greatest things about the B.O.H is the freedom in which they perform, whether it is the slide guitar of Brooks or the lead vocals of himself, Jurdi or Quist. You only need to hear a line or two of Quist singing his song, ‘Maple Tears’ to become hooked.
Interview by Maurice Hope Read more... Updated Monday, August 10, 2009
Having briefly tasted international fame with the song To You I Bestow, featured on the bestselling soundtrack to Baz Luhrmansn’s Romeo & Juliet, Irish songwriter Mundy now returns with what is most likely his most ambitious work to date. Strawberry Blood sees him once again tying his Irish roots with his love for country, roots-rock and good old fashioned pop, making Strawberry Blood one of the best albums of this year so far. In this interview, Americana UK had a word with Mundy about hanging out with Shane MacGowan, covering Steve Earle and moments of extreme sadness.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Thursday, August 10, 2000
|Jan Bell & The Maybelles|
How does a girl from Yorkshire end up in the US, forming her own bluegrass-band and taking on the entire country, one dirt road at a time? Well, as they say, it all started at summer camp, and now Jan divides her time between her NYC-based Americana-outfit The Cheap Dates and bluegrass-revivalists The Maybelle. Americana Uk had a good chat with the lovely Jan about her career, her music and putting an edge to bluegrass music.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Wednesday, August 02, 2000
|Ha Ha Tonka|
They grew up in the the 80’s on a steady diet of Dwight Yoakam and gospel music, but somehow ended up making some of the most exciting music to come out of Missouri since Chuck Berry. With their only second album, Novel Sounds of the Nouvau South, these Bible Belt rockers throw in everything from country and jazz to indie-rock and gospel, making this one of the albums you shouldn’t miss out on this year. In this interview, Americana UK speaks to drummer Lennon Bone about Ha Ha Tonka’s music, learning to communicate and why the Midwest is all the rage these days.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Sunday, August 02, 2009
|Howard Eliott Payne|
To anyone who knows the feeling of relief when first playing an album bought entirely on the basis of its cover and realising that it is in fact the kind of album you had hoped it would be, you’ll know how I felt when I first played Bright Light Ballads, the debut soloalbum by Howard Eliott Payne, the founder and singer of the now defunct UK indierock-outfit The Stands. A dark silhouette of a man, showing no more than a man most likely caught up in a song, told me that this album was about the songs, not the singer. And with song-titles that could easily have been on any 70’s country rock album and music that bring together folk, country and americana, Howard’s talent and weathered voice looks destined for greatness. In this interview, Americana UK speaks to Howard about his songs, the tyranny of the suits in the music buisness and how moving from Liverpool to New York made all the difference.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Wednesday, July 22, 2009
If Joni had written a song called Gentlemen of the Canyon, it would surely have been about John David Souther, one of the main figures of the 70’s Californian country rock scene. Although he often chose a more reclusive path than those of his hard living long haired peers, you can’t mention Gram, Jackson, Don & Glenn without also mentioning JD Souther. After a long sabbatical from touring and recording, he now returns with his first album in 25 years. If The World Was You, while deeply rooted in jazz, also glows with the subtle songwriting that first became Souther’s trademark. Americana UK spoke to the guy who taught The Eagles how to sing country about Californian girls, opening for the Burrito Brothers and wanting to make music “that just sounds good.”
Interview by Maurice Hope Read more... Updated Sunday, July 19, 2009
We’re not really sure how to label James Blackshaw. Some call it folk, some compositionary avant garde music while some might mention the fact that he sounds like Bach with a 12-string guitar. But regardless of what box you want to squeze him into, there’s no denying the fact that the 28-year old Londoner is well on his way to becoming one of the biggest talents on the acoustic 12-string guitar. Americana UK had a chat with James Blackshaw about his new album, MTV, writing songs that often clock in well over 10 minutes and how the hell we should label his music.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Sunday, July 19, 2009
|The Whispertown 2000|
Imagine if The Carter Family had found a time machine hidden behind some run down shack by the side of an Appalachian dirt road back in 1932 and suddenly found themselves beemed up to the year 2009 where the first person they met was Bright Eyes honcho Conor Oberst who insisted on producing their next album. Ok, this is getting weird now, but you hopefully get the drift. Americana UK had a chat with Whispertown 2000 founder and singer Morgan Nagler about their latest album, Swim, being signed to Gillian Welch’s label and accidentally eating black pudding for lunch.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Friday, July 17, 2009
Bob Harris, one of the giants of the UK music industry for four decades now, is without the doubt the best known champion of americana in the UK, currently presenting two shows on BBC Radio 2 which often feature many of the artistes we know and love here at Americana UK. We caught up with him to chat about the state of the genre in the UK at the moment, the influence of the digital revolution and about this year’s upcoming Truck Festival in Steventon which Bob is curating and presenting a whole stage from this year.
Interview by Mark Whitfield. Read more... Updated Wednesday, July 12, 2000
You’ve heard of her old man and you’ve definitely heard of her grandfather. If not, you’ve sure as hell ended up on the wrong site on the internet. Meet Holly Williams, the 28 year-old daughter of Hank Williams Jr and granddaughter of country’s biggest legend, Hank Williams. With her second album, Here With Me, Holly once again sets out to prove that even though the blood of country royalty flows through her veins, she’s still just – in her own words - a simple singer/songwriter trying to build a fanbase one gig at a time.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Thursday, July 06, 2000
Although it’s not exactly Dylan going electric, Tom Brosseau’s latest album, Posthumous Success, is his first album to feature other instruments than just the single acoustic guitar. But moving away from the simple sound that has made this American songwriter so popular among the folk crowd wasn’t just a spur of the moment thing as he tells Americana UK.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Sunday, June 28, 2009
How do you squeeze everything from country, blues and folk to heavy metal, rock n’roll, punk and garage rock down in one song without driving both yourself and the rest of us crazy? We’ll, it’s easy – just ask Scott Biram. The 35-year old Austin-based multi-instrumentalist is surely the bad boy of Americana. In this interview, he tells us about growing up on blues music, trying to impress girls and doing what he can to bring together fans from all over the musical landscape.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Wednesday, June 28, 2000
Ryan Bingham is pretty much a walking, breathing Americana-song. Born in the South, raised on the dusty backroads of Texas, constantly travelling from one dead end town to another, Bingham looked to have found his true calling as a bullrider on the rodeo circuit. But as it turns out, he was a better at songwriting than at bullriding, and with his second album of hard edged Steve Earle-inspired americana, Roadhouse Son - recorded with his band, The Dead Horses – Ryan Bingham is one step closer to becoming the next great Southern songwriter. Americana UK had a word with “Music’s newest sex symbol” about growing up in Texas, hanging out with Joe Ely and “top 40 bullshit”
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Sunday, June 18, 2000
|The Duke and The King|
The Felice Brothers have seen a period of rapid ascendancy and virtual universal praise heaped upon them by those in the know, in the music press. Currently on a sell out US tour, the band will play to packed houses wherever they appear, such is the fever they imbue. It comes as some surprise therefore, to find that one of their key song writers and band members should pick this time to pursue a personal project and take a hiatus from touring with the band. Americana UK’s Alan Taylor spoke to Simone Felice - poet, author, drummer, wild-eyed guitarist and now front man for the newly formed The Duke & The King. Quietly sipping tea in true rock n’ roll style, with band members Rob ‘Chicken’ Burke and Nowell Haskins in a café in Shepherds Bush, Felice elaborated on his sabbatical from the Brothers and his plans for the near future.
Story by Alan J Taylor Read more... Updated Friday, June 16, 2000
For the past many weeks, Rachel Harrington has been on what seems like a never ending tour of the UK, playing her timeless songs and supporting her excellent new album City Of Refuge in all corners of the country. In this interview, Americana UK speaks to the American songwriter about the bluegrass revival, trust fund babies and touring the UK. Oh, and she also tells a funny joke! Enjoy.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Tuesday, June 13, 2000
What Gurf Morlix has done for the Austin, Texas scene can easily be compared with what Phil Spector did for the girl groups back in the 60’s. In other words, the Austin-based producer and multi-instrumentalist has become to go-to-guy for Southern songwriters for years now, and everyone from Lucinda Williams, Slaid Cleaves and Ray Wylie Hubbard to Tom Russell, Hot Club of Cowtown and Mary Gauthier have enjoyed his producing skills. But there’s more to Gurf than just pushing the record button. With his new album Last Exit To Happyland, Gurf Morlix is ready to step out of the shadows and claim his honors as a gifted songwriter himself. In this exclusive interview, Americana UK speaks to him about his own songs, “guys with guitars” and getting records confiscated by the FBI.
Interview by Maurice Hope Read more... Updated Tuesday, June 09, 2009
With the title “Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away”, an opening track called Cry and liner notes written by long-time fan Stephen King, Slaid Cleaves hasn’t exactly made the feel good americana record of the summer. But as we all suspected when we read about the new album, the best songwriter to have come out of Maine since – well, we actually can’t think of any other songwriters from Maine – has once again made a stunning album filled with equal parts heartache and hope, eternal despair and earthly delights. Oh, and the songs are just about amazing.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Wednesday, May 31, 2000
Chris Wood has been around for some time now and been described variously as a ‘master craftsman of songs and stories’ (Mojo) and ‘richly redolent of England’s green’ (The Telegraph), an uncompromising writer whose music is often said to reveal his love for the “un-official history of the English speaking people. “ Over the course of his career, he’s been involved in all sorts of projects, most recently enjoying both critical and commercial success on a wider scale since the release of his last studio album, “Trespasser” (2008).
Mark Whitfield spoke to him about his collaborations with Billy Bragg, Simon Emerson and the timely Darwin Song Project. Read more... Updated Thursday, May 28, 2009
The Australian Tourism Commission should really consider using Hat Fitz as their poster boy. Though there are as many definitions of what it means to be Australian as you’ve probably had hot dinners, Hat Fitz perfectly exemplifies the one definition that many tourists expect to find on their first visit: blunt accent, swagman’s hat, simple lifestyle and laidback personality. Hat Fitz is as Australian as Vegemite.
Interview by Warren Wheeler Read more... Updated Wednesday, May 10, 2000
If anyone ever asks you to describe alternative country in three or less words, use these two: Dave Alvin. Few artists have played such a pivotal role as Dave Alvin in bringing together the two equal parts of any good alt.country song – the hard hitting energy of punk and the lonesome yet gritty soul of country. Ever since the years Dave Alvin spent fronting the Californian alt.country pioneers The Blasters, he has been working, travelling and living hard, making sure neither he nor his music sat still for any long duration of time. In this interview, we speak to Dave Alvin about his two new records, one recorded with an all-girl group and one a tribute to his late friend, songwriter Chris Gaffney, which Dave Alvin has produced.
Interview by Maurice Hope Read more... Updated Wednesday, May 10, 2000
|Justin Townes Earle|
When we last spoke to Justin Townes Earle in June last year, he had just begun making his own mark as a songwriter with his stunning debut album The Good Life. Sounding more like Hank Williams or Lefty Frizell, Justin didn’t share much more than his reckless nature and surname with his father, Steve Earle. Less than a year later, Justin is back with his fine new album, Midnight At The Movies, proving that talent sure does run deep in the Earle-family. In this exclusive interview, we caught up with Justin about hillbilly music, taking americana in new directions, being proud of his old man and, erm, "Poison and all that shit".
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Friday, April 24, 2009
Lorrie Matheson has been a fixture on Calgary’s music scene for many years, as a musician, promoter and music teacher. Burning his way through a variety of bands and sounds, Matheson has found his feet as a solo performer. His third album, ‘In Vein’, has been a long time coming, but the reviews have been unanimous in declaring it as a career highlight. Americana UK talks to Lorrie about why the new record isn’t really a solo effort, his plans to tour the record and Pedro the Lion...
Interview by Nick Quantrill Read more... Updated Saturday, April 18, 2009
Displaying a great roots-based energy, the Bondesson sisters, better known as Baskery, were one of the best acts to emerge out of Europe last year. Having starred at the Kilkenny Rhythm & Roots Festival and toured the UK, the first time as support to Seth Lakeman they have earned themselves a good following.
Accomplished musicians, songwriters and vocalists —Greta, Stella and Sunniva have toured hard behind their debut album Fall Among Thieves that originally was out on an independent Swedish label. The girls - Stella (upright bass), Sunniva (rhythm guitar) and the amazing, multi-instrumentalist Greta (banjo, acoustic slide guitar, kick / snare drums and harmonica) generate an infectious drive and joy to their music which is nothing less than compelling. As such songs as ‘One Horse Down’, ‘Out-Of-Towner’, ‘Here To Pay My Dues’ and the beautiful story-ballad ‘Oscar Jr Restaurant Bar’ has seen their appeal broaden at an amazing rate. Americana UK had a chat with the best thing to come out of Sweden since, erm, ABBA…
Interview by Maurice Hope Read more... Updated Friday, April 07, 2000
In this exclusive interview Americana UK caught up with Austin based singer / songwriter Bob Cheevers as he finalised preparations for his now legendary annual mega tour of the UK. Bob Cheevers' tour started on 28th June, and the full itinerary can be found on the AUK listings section. If you haven't seen Bob live before, it really is an experience not to be missed. No matter where you live, you can't be too far from one of these gigs, so get out there say hi, and experience songs on matters as diverse as the American Civil War, the Mississippi, and man's affinity with sheep.
Interview by John Hinshelwood Read more... Updated Friday, April 07, 2000
With his latest allbum ‘Just Us Kids’, James McMurtry is making music for a world ridden by what seems to be another Great Depression on the rise. Though his songs seldom lack the good old fashioned ironic wit, there’s a sense of seriousness beneath his Townes’esque melodies. During his recent tour of the UK, Americana UK spoke with the Texas-based songwriter about his ninth album, a world gone wrong and whether this bloody financial crisis will kill the importance of good music.
Interview by Maurice Hope
Portrait by Charles Holley Read more... Updated Friday, March 06, 2009
Rodney Crowell is walking history. He played with Emmylou Harris, married Johnny Cash’s daughter, hung out in Guy Clark’s kitchen, kicking out country songs with the likes of Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle. With his Houston Kid trilogy, he even made some of the best records in country this side of Waylon and just as we thought it couldn’t get any better, he thrilled us with last year’s no less than amazing album Sex & Gasoline. In this exclusive interview, Americana UK met up with Rodney Crowell in Sweden and talked about drinking with Joe Henry at 4 in the afternoon, being a bit too Dylan’esque and taking country music to new places.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Tuesday, February 15, 2000
Gram Parsons invented country-rock. As the leader of The International Submarine Band and The Flying Burrito Brothers, and the man who persuaded The Byrds to go country, he alone defined the country-rock movement that sweeped across Los Angeles in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
At least, that’s what history has been telling us since Gram’s fatal overdose in 1973. Mainly due to an increasing amount of documentaries, tributes and biographies, Gram has been put at the very front of the marching army of George Jones-loving longhairs of the L.A Canyons.
But what if history has its facts all mixed up? What if Gram Parsons was less of a musical visionary and more of a lazy drunk, obsessed with the idea of fame and fortune, leaving behind him a trail of missed opportunities and pissed-off bandmembers?
In his latest, and truly exceptional book, Hot Burritos – The True Story Of The Flying Burrito Brothers, Canadian author and country-rock expert numero uno, John Einarson, is basically rewriting history. While challenging the perception that Gram Parsons was alone responsible for inventing country-rock, with Chris Hillman and the rest of The Flying Burrito Brothers as nothing more than a backing-band, John Einarson also tells the story of Chris Hillman, bluegrass wizz-kid turned Byrd-superstar, who’s been living most of his life in the shadow of Gram. In this exclusive interview, Americana UK speaks to John about Gram, Chris, the rest of the Burritos and setting the story straight once and for all.
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Tuesday, February 01, 2000
|Micah Blue Smaldone|
For nearly half a century, pre-war blues has mainly been the acquired taste of those willing to trawl through second hand record shops, searching for near-mint copies of old Robert Johnson records. But with artists like Micah Blue Smaldone digging up and brushing up this near-forgotten period of American Music, the future might just look good for the simple song. Americana UK spoke to Micah Blue Smaldone and learned what it’s like to party like it’s 1899…
Interview by Soren McGuire Read more... Updated Thursday, January 08, 2009