Interview Archive | 2009

Interviews | 2009

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…
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Baskery

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…
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James Blackshaw

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…
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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…
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Bob Harris

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…
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Holly Williams

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…
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Tom Brosseau

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.
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Scott Biram

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…
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Ryan Bingham

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…
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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…
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Rachel Harrington

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.
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Gurf Morlix

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…
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Slaid Cleaves

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…
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Chris Wood

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…
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Hat Fitz

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.
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Dave Alvin

f 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,…
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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…
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Lorrie Matheson

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…
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John Einarson

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…
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Rodney Crowell

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…
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James McMurtry

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…
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Bob Cheevers

n 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…
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