Tag Archives: Americana Music Festival

All the Girls are Complicated!

I came across a great video on my Facebook feed on Friday. It’s the first ever video by one my favorite female singers, Laura Cantrell. The video is of Laura’s All the Girls are Complicated song from her No Way There From Here album. It features Laura herself and her daughter, Isabella. Check this out, it’s great!

I’ve got two of Laura Cantrell‘s albums in my collection. I downloaded the No Way There From Here album last year. It’s a great album which opens with the All the Girls are Complicated, but it’s the second song, Starry Skies which is my favorite. Having said that, all the songs are great! It’s one of those albums which I play in it’s entirety from start to finish, which in these days of the iTunes shuffle is a bit of a rarity! I’m just listening to the album as I type this, and another favorite as just come on, Can’t Wait. Now that’s an ideal song to type to, I’m sure my typing speed tripled as that song was playing!

Laura Cantrell - No Way There From Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other Laura Cantrell album I have is Kitty Wells Dresses – Songs of the Queen of Country Music, which I have on CD.

Laura Cantrell - Kitty Wells Dresses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This holds a cherished place in my collection, as I purchased it after seeing Laura Cantrell and her band live at the legendary Ernest Tubbs Record Shop in Nashville, Tennessee.

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My wife, Tara, and I, were in Nashville for the Americana Music Festival and came across this gig by accident. I’m so glad we did, as it was one of the highlights of the festival, which is saying something, as there were so many great performances that week.

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American Originals at Cincinnati Music Hall

Okay, I have to confess, I’m just a tad excited. Yesterday I got tickets for the Sunday afternoon performance of American Originals at Cincinnati Music Hall.

American Originals

 

So why so excited? I hear you say

Well, how about this for a line-up:

Rosanne Cash – One of my favorite artists, who’s album The River and the Thread was one of my top ten albums of 2014. I briefly saw her on stage at the end of the Americana Awards show at the Ryman Auditorium  in September 2013 and have been wanting to see her ever since.

 

Americana Awards 2013

Dom Flemons – Formerly with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who I saw when he was still a member, at the City Varieties Music Hall, Leeds, England in October 2012.  I also saw Dom Flemons late last year when he compered Pokey Lafarge‘s Central Time Tour, which was one of my top ten gigs of last year.

Pokey Lafarge Central Time poster

Over The Rhine – I’ve not yet seen Over The Rhine, but I understand they’re a Cincinnati institution, so it’ll be cool to catch one of my new home town bands.

Aoife O’Donovan – I’ve heard her a few times on Bob Harris‘s Radio 2 show and I’ve been wanting to see her live for quite a while now.

The other two acts on the bill are the Comet Bluegrass Allstars and Joe Henry. I’ve not heard of either of these, so a bit of research is required.

All these acts are going to be performing with the world-famous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

The show will be based around the songs of Stephen Foster, who reputedly was America’s first great songwriter. Being a Brit, who’s only been living in the States for just over a year, and in Cincinnati for four months, I’m not fully au fait with Stephen Foster, but being a music fan, I’m obviously aware of the Great American Songbook. I’m also aware of the black face minstrel tradition for which Stephen Foster is known for, as during my childhood back in the UK, there used to be a light entertainment program, on the BBC, called the Black and White Minstrel Show. The show was very popular and ran for 20 year and won a Golden Rose at Montreux for Best Light Entertainment program. However, after numerous complaints it finally was pulled in 1978.

This show introduced me to many of Stephen Foster‘s songs, including Oh Susanna!,Camptown Races,Swanee River & My Old Kentucky Home amongst others. So whilst the manner used, on the Black and White Minstrel Show, of showcasing the songs was abhorrent, it did contribute greatly to my love of music, and Americana in particular.

One added bonus of going on Sunday is that I get to see Hickory Robot again, as they’re providing the pre-concert entertainment. I saw them at the CincyGroove Music Festival last year, where they were excellent, so it will be good to see them again.

Another reason for the excitement is that this will be my first visit to the Cincinnati Music Hall. I’ve been in Cincinnati for four months and have been waiting for the right concert before making my first visit, and the American Originals fits the bill perfectly!

 

 

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TW3 Week 1

TW3 Week 1TW3? What’s that all about? TW3 = That Was The Week That Was, the title of a 1960’s satirical TV programme. I thought I’d use it to summarize, on a weekly basis, what I’d been up to on the music front.

So, we’re now a week into 2015, what have I been up to?

Well, I’ve downloaded a couple of albums and ordered a boxed set of cds as well.

My first download of 2015 was by Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo. It’s a live album recorded at Swindon Arts Centre in November 2011.

Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo - Live at Swindon Arts Centre

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a big fan of Emily Barker. I’ve seen her perform live a couple of times, firstly in September 2013 at the Americana Music Festival, as part of the BBC Introducing Showcase, at the Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville and then again the following month at St John the Evangelist Church in Oxford. Both gigs were excellent, so it was great to be able to get a live album from Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo. I’d thoroughly recommend this album, I’ve embedded it below,

I’ve also copied a post I did on my old website reviewing the two Emily Barker gigs I saw, you can see it here

I got my second download from Noisetrade, it was an introductory sample of songs from River Whyless, a band I saw last year in Asheville, North Carolina supporting the Treetop Flyers.

I really enjoyed their set when I saw them live, and this is a great introduction to their music. Once again, I’ve embedded the album

 

As for the boxed set of CDs I’ve ordered, these are by Brand XPhil Collins‘ jazz rock fusion band from 1975  to 1982. The boxed set is called Nuclear Burn and contains their first five albums. Once  I get this, I’ll provide more details

Brand X - Nuclear Burn

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s what I’ve been up to on the music front this week….

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Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo – From Nashville to Oxford

Since I’ve moved to Georgia from the UK, one of the few habits I’ve retained has been my weekly listen to the Bob Harris Sunday show on BBC Radio 2, courtesy of the BBC iPlayer. It was while listening to last Sunday’s show (April 27th 2014) that I heard him play Aretha Franklin‘s Do Right Woman performed by Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo.

Hearing this brought back memories of them performing a brilliant version of this at St John the Evangelist Church in Oxford, back in October 2013.  This was the closing number to what had been an excellent evening’s entertainment. The evening hadn’t started too well as I’d got drenched walking to the church (walking to the church, now there’s a sentence I didn’t expect to be writing on my blog!). My mood was soon brightened by the support act Chris T-T, who if I recall sang a couple of songs about Winnie the Pooh. Anyone who sings about Winnie the Pooh is alright with me!

As to Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo, the acoustics in the church, enhanced the songs they performed, with occasional lightening flashes through the stained glass windows adding to the atmosphere. They played a few songs from their latest album Dear River, the highlights for me being the title track, which they opened with, and Letters. They also performed a couple of soundtracks, my favorite being the theme from Wallander,Nostalgia

For an the encore, Chris T-T, took the Frank Turner role, in Fields of June
and a damn fine job he did too! The evening finished with the aforementioned Do Right Woman, and Emily Barker more than did justice to this classic.

I was lucky enough to meet Emily and the members of the Red Clay Halo after the gig, and they kindly signed a copy of the setlist!

Emily Barker - Setlist 22 Oct.2013

So I’ve mentioned Oxford, where does Nashville fit in? Well during the previous month, I was lucky enough to attend the Americana Music Festival, with my then fiance, and now wife, Tara. During the festival, the BBC hosted a BBC Introducing Stage at the Hard Rock Cafe, and one of the acts was Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo. With all due respect to the other two acts who performed that evening, Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo, were by far and away the best act.

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And here’s a YouTube video of Disappear from that very set

However, as good as they were, the highlight of the evening was getting to meet the compere for the evening,Whispering” Bob Harris himself. It was on his show that I first heard Emily Barker, and she is the latest of so many artists that I’ve been introduced to as a result of listening to Bob Harris‘s radio shows. For more years than I care to remember I’ve been listening to his shows and to meet him in person was great, and what was even better was that he was such a nice person, taking time out at the end of the evening to pose for photographs and sign autographs.

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My Top Ten Gigs of 2014, Part 4!

Now for the final part of My Top Ten Gigs of 2014. And my favorite gig of 2014 was…

Treetop Flyers at RiverMusic, Asheville, North Carolina. This was another 300 plus mile journey and once again well worth every minute of the six hour journey.
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I first saw Treetop Flyers at the Hop Farm Festival in 2012, where I caught the tail end of their set.
The following year I saw them twice, firstly at the Americana Music Festival, where they appeared at the Bootleg BBQ, a showcase event for British acts. The event took place in a small field behind a record shop in Nashville. It was an intimate venue and the Treetop Flyers played a superb set.
The second time I saw them in 2013 was at Islington Assembly Hall, where they played a longer set to a well up for it home crowd. It was another great set by the Treetop Flyers, with the evening capped off by the band signing the vinyl single I purchased after the show.
The Asheville gig took place on the banks of the French Broad River and was part of Asheville’s RiverMusic festival. The journey to Asheville took me through the Smokey Mountains, and was a perfect road trip for playing The Mountain Moves.
Treetop Flyers - The Mountain Moves
Prior to the gig, I called in at 12 Bones River, a wicked BBQ joint, apparently frequented by Barack Obama whenever he visits Asheville. After finishing off my pulled pork and local craft beer, I started walking to towards the venue. Ten minutes later, the heavens opened and I had to seek shelter under a bridge, alongside the river. I was soon joined by a stag party from Washington and within minutes I was joining them in toasting the groom, however I bailed out when the wacky baccy was offered, and it’s a good job I did, as I was drug tested the next week, when I applied for a job.
It rained on and off for the rest of the evening, which led to a small turnout at the gig. When the support act, River Whyless started their set, there was probably less than 50 people watching them, which is a shame, as they were very good. While they were on, I was lucky enough to meet the Treetop Flyers and they were kind enough to let me take their photo.
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The crowd had increased to a couple of hundred when the Treetop Flyers went on stage. They soon got the crowd warmed up and they played just about all of The Mountain Moves, my favourite album of 2013, including a great version of Things Will Change, which led into Proud Mary, the old Creedence Clearwater Revival classic.
They played a couple of new songs as well, which whetted the appetite for their next album, due for release in 2015. The highlight of the set for me was a rousing rendition of Haunted House, which they played just as night was falling, which further enhanced an already atmospheric song.
Here’s a couple of photos from the evening:
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Despite the weather  and the small crowd, this was an awesome evening of music, and that’s why the Treetop Flyers set at RiverMusic in Asheville was my favorite gig of 2014

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