Interview Archive | 2008

Interviews | 2008

The Hot Club of Cowtown

After enjoying much praise and no little success on the Americana scene, hot jazz and western swing ensemble, The Hot Club Of Cowtown, disbanded to the consternation of its many followers three years ago. These fans – and some of them had been with the band ever since it was just fiddler Elana Fremerman and guitarist Whit Smith playing the streets of New York in the early 90s – then suddenly woke up to the…
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Chris Mills

Since as long as anyone remembers Chicago-based songwriter Chris Mills has been a favourite here at Americana UK. So when we found out he would be doing a few gigs in Sweden, all set up by his local mates, we once again rushed off to the Arctic Circle. Somewhere south of there we had an exclusive chat with Chris about his recent stint teaching Bob Dylan songs to Norwegian middle-schoolers, his damn fine new album…
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Oldseed

Since as long as anyone remembers Chicago-based songwriter Chris Mills has been a favourite here at Americana UK. So when we found out he would be doing a few gigs in Sweden, all set up by his local mates, we once again rushed off to the Arctic Circle. Somewhere south of there we had an exclusive chat with Chris about his recent stint teaching Bob Dylan songs to Norwegian middle-schoolers, his damn fine new album…
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Mary Chapin Carpenter

Mary Chapin Carpenter has been one of most intuitive singer-songwriters of the last two decades and this December, she brings a little christmas cheerenty year to the festive table in way of her new album, Come Darkness, Come Light. In this exclusive interview, Americana UK talks to the American songwriter about Christmas, changing record labels and working with the who’s-who of Nashville.
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Jay Brannan

Jay Brannan rose to international recognition, particularly within the gay male community, thanks to his portrayal in the controversial movie “Shortbus” of Ceth, a character the two central roles meet who becomes embroiled in a three way relationship with them. A big part of the character’s personality in the film, his talent with a guitar and self penned songs, bleeds over in to real life as they’re Brannan’s own songs, which he recently released an…
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Jim Lauderdale

Whoever had the idea that Jim Lauderdale should host the Americana Music Association’s annual Awards and Honors Show and become as a result the voice of its Festival and Conference had it spot-on. He’s the embodiment of what the americana movement stands for, with his maverick musical persona and Manuel suits. Americana UK’s Janet Aspley went to the AMAs in Nashville and had a long chat americana’s go-to-guy about americana, country and everything in between.
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Donavon Frankenreiter

Grant Lee Phillips, G Love, Ben Harper and Thad Cockrell are among the fine guests featured on the third album by pro-surfer-turned-troubadour, Donavon Frankenreiter. In this interview, he tells Americana UK all about working with such renowned artists, his infatuation with Bob Dylan and living life by the moment. Which, apparently, is what it’s all about, dude.
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Woven Hand

Ever since forming Sixteen Horsepower in the early 90’s, David Eugene Edwards, the grandson of a Nazarene preacher, has delivered some of the most intense music ever to be labelled alternative country, making damn sure no one leaves one of his concerts unaffected by the sheer power of his performance. Drawing his inspiration from both his strong Christian faith, classic old-time music and the punk-mindedness of bands such Gun Club and Joy Division, David Eugene…
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Josh Rouse

For some reason, the further Josh Rouse moved away from the hard drivin’, home grown and good ol’ fashioned alternative country rock of his debut album Dressed Up Like Nebraska, the more fans he seemed to gain along the way. A new collection of his best songs, outtakes and rarities showcases the astonishing Nebraska-born troubadour’s journey from being the Next New Springsteen to being the King of Mellow Country Soul – all in just a…
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Ben Weaver

For ten years, Ben Weaver sounded like he was trapped in the mind of Tom Waits. Barely into his twenties, the Oregon native had more grit and grease in his voice than even the most road weary of his elders, and with lyrics that often dealt with loneliness, despair, love gone horribly wrong and being singled out by the Lord himself for a good beating, you’d might suspect that Ben Weaver perhaps wasn’t aiming for…
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Eliza Gilkyson

Austin-based Americana girl, Eliza Gilkyson defies trends, nature and music’s business hierarchy —as her career blossoms at a time when most acts her age are looking to take it easy. Daughter of folk singer, Terry Gilkyson who wrote such songs as Memories Are Made Of This, The Cry Of The Wild Goose and the Disney favourite, Bare Necessities and sister of Texas guitarist Tony Gilkyson, Eliza is a rare talent. Although she has been around…
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The Whybirds

Meet The Whybirds. Four guys from Bedford who really look the part of your classic 70’s country rock outfit. With their long hair, beards, flannel shirts and classic Cosmic American guitar licks, they sound like Pearl Jam having a fist fight with The Allman Brothers in Don Henley’s back yard. But what’s more important is that The Whybirds might just be the most hardest working and hardest rocking band in Britain right now – a…
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Stephen Simmons

Though he might bear a vague resemblance to Jay Farrar (it could be the eyes) or a young Steve Earle (heard in his soft yet distinctive southern twang), Stephen Simmons doesn’t look like a man who has actually lived the part of his own songs. You’d expect this Tennessee-native art major-turned-songwriter, who sounds and writes like a man of constant sorrow, to look at least a little worn, a little red-eyed and hungover from a…
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Daniel Wylie

The story of Daniel Wylie can be as inspiring and terrifying to any young musician struggling to make it in the music buisness. In the late ‘90’s, the Glasgow-singer, not keen on recording under his own name, began releasing his trademark Byrds-inspired jangle-pop as The Cosmic Rough Riders. Two albums and a few years later, it seemed like The Cosmic Rough Riders had pretty much turned into a full band, and suddenly everyone began noticing…
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Matthew Ryan

Steve Earle once called him the best songwriter to come to Nashville for years, and after releasing eleven albums in eleven years, Matthew Ryan has yet to lose his way. Even when he experimentated with electronica in Strays Don’t Sleep or went relatively drum-loop crazy on 2006’s ‘From A Late Night Highrise, the Pennsylvania native kept his eyes on the road. Although he might not sell albums by the truckload like some of his peers,…
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Kathleen Edwards

It’s been a good couple of years for Canadian singer Kathleen Edwards. After her second album raked in all the good reviews, she got married, got to see the world and shake hands with the who’s who of rock’s living legends. With her third – and by far her best album, ‘Asking For Flowers’, she’s teamed up with legendary producer Jim Scott, who has previously worked with Whiskeytown, Tom Petty and – yep, you guessed…
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Michael McDonald

On his new album Soul Speak, ex-Doobie Brother and self-professed blue-eyed soul singer, Michael McDonald once again finds him digging down deep in the history of American Soul. In this interview, he tells Americana UK about perfect soul songs, illegal downloading and the prospect of him recording a blue eyed country album. Which might just happen.
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Thomas Denver Jonsson

He’s the best thing to come out of Sweden since Lee Hazlewood, and his newly released third album, ‘The Lake Acts Like An Ocean’ has pretty much made every Swedish critic between here and Vittula go ‘jävla bra, Thomas!’. Americana UK caught up with the boy wonder of sulky “Scandi-cana” for a chat about PR stunts, becoming famous and Damien Jurado. Who, as it seems, is not as mean as he looks.
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Jesse Malin

Does being dead automatically make your music good? Does Bruce Springsteen make bodily noises like the rest of us? What the hell is rock n’roll radio? So many questions, so little time. Americana UK caught up with Jesse Malin for a quick word on his new album of covers, On Your Sleeve.
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Sam Baker

Sam Baker sings with the wit and irony of John Prine, the beauty of Townes Van Zandt and the hushed, smokefilled voice of Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. Yet at age 53, the Texas native has managed to stay below the radar for half a century, not by a lack of recording contracts or audiences, but simply because he, as he puts it himself, “had a life to live and things to do.” With his only second…
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Justin Townes Earle

With a name like Justin Townes Earle, you’re either destined for greatness or trouble. Or in his case, both. Having pretty much learned from the best, 25-year old Justin Townes Earle spent most of his teenage years getting drunk, stoned and into trouble. But now, Justin Earle – you can probably guess who he gets his middle name from – is as clean, sober and focused as his father, and with his debut album ‘The…
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Will Hoge

With a distinct, soulful voice, Will Hoge has always been more Memphis than Nashville, even though he grew up in the shadows of Music Row. With his magnificent new album, ‘Draw The Curtains’, Will Hoge (his surname rhymes with Rogue, as the kind lady from the record company informed me before the interview) places himself somewhere between Sam Cooke and Joe Henry, but draws most of his inspiration from his father’s record collection. Americana UK…
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Bob Cheevers

I caught up with Austin based singer / songwriter Bob Cheevers as he finalised preparations for his now legendary annual mega tour of the UK.
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Pete Molinari

How the hell does a teenager end up becoming the biggest Hank Williams fan in Kent, when he should’ve been out with his mates listening to Oasis, Blur and other more or less forgotten bands from the Brit pop heyday? Good question and certainly one that Pete Molinari might not be able to answer. When you grow up on old country and even older blues, you don’t ask questions, as Pete Molinary says – you…
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Justin Rutledge

With his 2003 debut, No Never Alone, Justin Rutledge proved himself one of Canada’s most talented and promising songwriters. With ‘Man Descending’, his third album of country-sounding songs that can break even the toughest heart of stone, Justin Rutledge might be well on his way to becoming the next Gram Parsons, minus the destructive lifestyle (Rutledge likes his cigarettes and that’s about it). Americana UK spoke to him about his lost album, Canadian songwriters and…
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Gary Louris

It’s basically the moment the world has been holding its breath for – the Second Coming of the Lennon/McCartneys of alternative country. On September 16 Gary Louris and Mark Olson will release their first album together since 1995, the year Mark Olson left the Jayhawks, the band he had formed with Gary Louris in Minneapolis ten years earlier. Titled ‘Ready For The Flood’, their upcoming album marks the reunion of, not the Jayhawks, but two…
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Jason & The Scorchers

At one of the recent Jason & The Scorchers re-union shows sweeping across the British isles, we had a chat with Jason Ringenberg, leadsinger with the legendary Nashville country-punk outfit. Unfortunately the interview was cut somewhat short by the roaring sound of guitars being tuned and tested for the show, but for a good ten minutes, Jason Ringenberg told Americana about touring, hating his own voice and being called the Godfather of country punk. Short…
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Hayes Carll

For every Steve Earle, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt and Joe Ely, there’s a young struggling songwriter trying to wander the enourmous footsteps of his idols. Meet Hayes Carll. He’s written and toured with legendary Texan songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard (Up Against The Wall, Redneck Mother, kids) and Guy Clark, but on his highly recommended third album ‘Trouble In Mind’, his first for Lost Highway, Hayes Carll is nobody’s protegé. Americana UK had an exclusive…
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Anna-Lena Winter

Winter hail out of Sweden and prove that the country has a lot more to offer than just ABBA, IKEA and Volvo. Providing rock, pop and country, Winter recently played the Maverick music festival where Americana UK caught up with Anna-Lena, lead vocalist and songwriter, and from who’s surname the band get their name.
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