I’m in search of something extraordinary. I’m looking for fingers that pluck as though they’re possessed, lyrics which seem to have been written by a mind-reader and voices which shred the soul. I want music which shows off all the reasons I stumbled into country and Americana and stayed.
This week, the search is taking me to AmericanaFest UK’s Showcase Festival; intimate gigs sprinkled across Hackney in London’s East End. The schedule (below) is a reminder of just how varied the umbrella of “Americana” is and so, to hopefully reignite my early zeal for the genre, I’ll be forcing myself to explore more than just what I know.
Of course I won’t be able to resist a few safe bets, perched on the country end of the spectrum; Wade Bowen, The songwriters at the ‘House of Songs in the Round‘ session, The Southern Companion, the long-standing Asleep at the Wheel, young Brit duo Foreign Affairs and, the most uplifting band I’ve ever seen live, Whiskey Shivers.
But I’ll also be zipping between venues to try out the less familiar; the bluegrass hip hop fusion of Gangstagrass, the folkier sounds of Kaia Kater (pictured above), and my friend’s hubby’s band The Hanging Stars (yes, I’m biased) to find out what “cosmic country” is. Since I’m an Eastender myself, I’ll be dragging along a local non-country-fan friend (gulp) so please let me know any of your artist recommendations.
More info and wristbands for the two day event are available from the Americana Music Association UK and start at £25.