Our interviews editor is John Hawes, with regular contributions from Søren McGuire, Maurice Hope and Alan J Taylor.
Eric Church, country music singer-songwriter, performer places a punch into his brand of music like few others and who also knows the words of restraint and control.
North Carolina born and raised, Eric Church treads his own path in a music where Nashville has for so long schooled its artists to perform and record as they see best. Church is different, a fantastic songwriter he is fast becoming the force for others to stand back and look at, plus he can and does the business live and to those close to him it was no surprise for him this early in his career to record a live album. Featuring each and every song from his latest studio album, Chief the EMI (Capitol) Nashville recording act also includes an additional six songs from previous albums.
Church’s songs are very much Southern based, with references to blue-collar virtues, drinking, old pick-up trucks, price of gas, small country towns, denim, mama’s apple pie, fast cars and a little hell raising. He enjoys letting his audience know that before today’s carefully, modelled style of country act you had real country acts as in Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash plus of course the greatest cowboy of them all (according to Billy Joe Shaver no less) Jesus. For he speaks of how we are in need of a country music Jesus to save us all (preaching from the book of Johnny Cash). Make no mistake about it Eric Church is hot, plus as a songwriter he is spitting them out faster and better than anyone of the genre has in years. His retrospective style of songwriting is fast captivating country music’s young and beyond audience hungry to be entertained and be associated with an act who is in touch with the street. In years to come his album Chief and its songs will be seen as a big turning in his career and I believe will also serve as an inspiration for others too. Not only because it won both the ACM and CMA Album Of The Year in 2012 but the fact the songs (by Church and his co-writers) are meticulously crafted.
Should you ever fear that UK folk music has wandered a bit too far off the path in the last few years, just take a good listen to Jack Day’s debut album ”The First Ten”. Sounding much like the closest North London will ever get to having its own Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Jack Day creates the kind of intensity, intimacy and melody that most other folk acts would sell their banjos and platinum records to master. We spoke to Jack Day about heartbreak, the wonders of Haringey and the next ten songs.
Seattle based duo Cahalen Morrison and Eli West are taking traditional music a few extra miles down the road; many strive, but all too few achieve this….
Their new (second) album "Our Lady Of The Tall Trees" (Independent) is one of the best albums of any genre and not only acoustic old-time folk, country, western music released this year. Cahalen and Eli's dovetailing of style in a three-year period to the degree one is intertwined with the other is nothing less than remarkable.
Lorrie Matheson is a musician and producer from Calgary who has burned his way through a variety of bands and sounds before finding his feet as a solo performer. His latest album, “The Night Is For Sleepers” follows on the heels of the critically acclaimed, “In Vein”. Nick Quantrill talks to Lorrie for Americana-UK...
Yes, there are other UK based, Americana centric labels available, but none seem to have covered quite as much ground over the past three years or so. With their first non-UK signing on board and host of curating during the festival season coming up, now seemed the ideal time for a chat with Tristan Tipping about Clubhouse Record's past, present and future.
New York-based African-American soul and r&b performer Martha Redbone feels it is time she returned to her Appalachian roots… which she does in a sensational, inspired fashion with a little help with a Grammy winning bluegrass, country (and more) legend banjo, fiddle ace Nitty Gritty Dirt Band member John McEuen. Who has his own solo career and agenda in persevering and in some cases extending the boundaries of a music nurtured in the mountains of the American South.
Ahead of the release, Old Yellow Moon, their first official album length collaboration, John Hawes talks to Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell about The Hot Band, the duets album and Hayes Carll!
Ten years ago, a young Wisconsin born songwriter named Jeffrey Foucault recorded an album steeped in equal parts Springsteen’s Nebraska and Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush. Today, Miles From The Lightning is considered one of the finest folk country records to come out on this side of Townes Van Zandt, and the man who made the record went on to make even greater records. We didn’t hesitate to jump at the opportunity to call our favorite songwriter to talk about his latest record Horse Lattitudes, drinking too much coffee and his tour of UK and Ireland which kicks off this Thursday night in Bristol.
Ketch Secor from the Old Crow Medicine Show keeps the southern traditional true and pure, not least its wonderful heritage of old-timey folk and country dashed with a little blues here and there. Pete Seeger said it best, ‘he compared music to links in a chain. A long coiled up iron chain that continues all the way through human time with each generation responsible to forge a new link in the chain, but what is one link of chain it ain’t nothing. It takes thousands of them to intertwine, because you don’t just look at one link! Secor and the Old Crows draw on old strains and roots of Appalachia music of Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina’s plus some from bordering States for their music. It is from a rich nucleus bandleader Ketch draws inspiration and he’s determined not to waste the efforts of those who have gone before him. Steeped in admiration of which, the fiddle playing lead vocalist, songwriter and record producer is not only making his mark with the Old Crows either.
Few people have done more to keep the spirit of country blues alive than Kelly Joe Phelps, and any one who’s ever heard the 53 year-old Oregon native play the guitar, will surely agree that his abillities equal even those of the ancient blues legends that light the path he follows. With his new album Brother Sinner And The Whale out now, and a tour of the UK coming up later this month, Americana UK talks to Kelly Joe Phelps about finding faith, playing with people like Townes Van Zandt and Jay Farrar, and getting out of his own comfort zone.