tue 17/01/2017

Americana

Albums of the Year: Dolly Parton - Pure & Simple

The unsinkable Dolly Parton turned 70 in 2016 and the new year marks the 50th anniversary of her debut album, Hello, I’m Dolly. Pure & Simple is her 43rd studio album, its genesis a brace of stripped-down concerts given at Nashville’s Ryman...

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When Sam Shepard was a Londoner

Sam Shepard came to live in London in 1971, nursing ambitions to be a rock musician. When he went home three years later, he was soon to be found on the drumstool of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder tour. But as soon as he arrived in London was waylaid...

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Buried Child, Trafalgar Studios

What stroke of prescience brought two Sam Shepard plays to London in the very month America voted for Trump? The kind of people we’re learning to call the disenfranchised have been Shepard’s focus for the last 40 years, and now they’re global news....

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CD: Neil Young - Peace Trail

The 37th studio album from the man dubbed “the godfather of grunge” is raw, down and dirty-sounding – like many of the problems Neil Young grapples with. Recorded over four days at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-la Studios in Malibu with Jim Keltner on drums...

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Sunday Book: The New Yorker Book of the 60s

As the United States – and the world – agonises over the coming of Donald Trump, it seems to many of us that all hope is almost irretrievably lost. How timely, then, is the publication of a collection of essays which chronicle and celebrate a...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: REM

Good grief, was Out of Time really 25 years ago? This was the seventh studio album from the li'l ole band from Athens, Georgia, and the one with which they finally cracked open the mainstream international market. This was when people still used to...

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CD: Martha Wainwright - Goodnight City

After four years, Martha Wainwright is back with her fourth solo album. While she’s been away she’s turned 40 and now says that on this outing she’s “a songwriter, but also just a singer and interpreter. This is perhaps the essence of who I truly am...

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'We should take a 1:1 ratio of male to female talent as the norm'

This year is the sixth London Festival of American Music, and I could not be more excited about it. From the first festival in 2006 – 10 years ago now – I had a very specific idea about what I wanted the London Festival of American Music to be like...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Judy Henske & Jerry Yester

In 1969, a tranche of American musicians looked back to the country’s past for inspiration. Bob Dylan followed John Wesley Harding with Nashville Skyline. The Band’s eponymous second album hit the shops. The Flying Burrito Brothers debuted with The...

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CD: Old Fire - Songs from the Haunted South

Honestly, you wait years for a lengthy project to come to fruition, then two turn up at once. However, while The Avalanches had to contend with people tapping their watches and sighing wearily, The Earlies’ John Mark Lapham had only his own clock to...

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La Fanciulla del West, Grange Park Opera

Though composed after and based on a play by the same author, Puccini’s spaghetti western is in no way a sequel to Madama Butterfly, his whisky-sour eastern. Fanciulla is Butterfly’s opposite in almost every respect, and to tell...

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The Burning Hell, Oslo

“We’ve been visiting libraries on this tour and it’s a lot of fun learning people still read.” The words of The Burning Hell’s main man Mathias Kom before launching into “Give Up” stress he and his band are not typical rock‘n’rollers. “Give Up”...

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