Americana-International 2013 A review.



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Americana-International 2013 A review.

Postby lo&m » Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:30 pm

So here is my review of Americana 2013. It is a week late but I've been so busy since I got back. I'll stick to the headliners and a few 'honourable mentions' rather than trying to cover every act on every stage. Which would be impossible anyway.
First off, a word about event security as it was an question raised on this forum. Security was handled this year by Definitive Security Services and from the start they were much more visible than their predecessors. I don't think they had run security on a country music event before because at times they seemed just a bit too officious but they did the job. The bit of hooliganism that ocurred on Saturday night was swiftly contained and most festival-goers hardly noticed.
To the entertainment then, and the Friday headliner PJ Proby.
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I'm glad he comes up first as I can get the unpleasantness out of the way early. Any review is just one person's opinion and my opinion is that Proby is an arrogant, talentless hack. His spot was opened by the '60s band Vanity Fare who did a few songs including their hit record, Hitchin' A Ride, before introducing PJ Proby. Practically all singers I've seen appreciate their backing band because they know they're only as good as the musicians stood behind them. Not so Mr Proby. Twice he stopped them in mid introduction, scolding them over the tempo (before then doing the song at that tempo). He said, “If the performance isn't too good tonight, it's their fault for getting it wrong.” He lost me at that moment and never won me back.
Naturally, he told the story of the pants-splitting episode in his career-making 1965 tour. And naturally his version differs completely from Mervyn Conn's. He claimed he was set up by Mary Whitehouse. Don't know who he was trying to kid with that? I don't actually have a problem with a bit of misrepresentation; it's a singers job to look good, not be historically accurate over an event of which anybody who cares, already knows about.
Apart from being rude to his band, Proby was a bit shambolic. He had a music stand on stage (which is not wrong in itself) but if you're going to use a stand, you should keep your lyric sheets tidy and unobtrusive. Not let them spill all over the place or fall on the floor where you have to look for them later.
And don't think that I should take it easy on him on account of his age (75), it doesn't work like that. Earlier in the afternoon we had Jay Chevalier (77) also working with a Brit pick-up band who put on a first-rate rockabilly and country show which I enjoyed immensely. Also it was good to see forum members Ian Cal-ford (White Doves) and Gary Quinn.

Saturday was ladies day – Georgette Jones and Mandy Barnett. Yes, Georgette did show.
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She is a pleasant looking lady with a pleasing singing voice. She sang a lot of her Mom's songs, some of her Dad's and a few of her own. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed her show. I just can't rhapsodise over her too much.
It maybe the fault that she was over-shadowed somewhat by Mandy Barnett. From the moment Mandy took to the stage I was transfixed. She was so beautiful. Yes, I'd seen the same publicity pics that we all have and I have to say, they don't do her justice, folks. She is simply gorgeous. And for the duration of her show, she owned that stage. Whereas Georgette went with a more relaxed, laid-back vibe, Mandy set out to command, and she did. Her musicians came out dressed for the occasion in suit and tie, setting out that this was serious business before Mandy came out dressed n a little black dress, albeit with hideous, multi-coloured tights.
To be fair to Georgette, she did have the mid afternoon set, while some people were dozing in the sun, so her more casual style fitted with the mood then. Mandy was second lead headliner, so the heat of the day had passed and the audience was more prepared to get into it. That helped but I don't want to take anything away from Mandy's performance by saying that. Mandy has that stage performer's style of over-articulation that leaves every word crisp and clear. Definitely the higlight of the day. Unfortunately I don't have a pic of Mandy. All my photos came out blurred (insert your own joke here).
The actual headliner was Billy Yates. Working with Henry Smith's band, he was the consumate country singer. Great voice, a truckload of top songs and a nice guy persona. I'd also like to give a mention to the band on before Georgette Jones in the afternoon, the Sonny Walters band. They are a Brit band who are bold enough to do all original material. I'd like to see them again sometime.

After that Saturday, Sunday seemed like a bit of a downer in comparison. Still good though. Raintown have moved beyond their influences. Need You Now has been dropped from their setlist and Lady A were not mentioned at all. With nearly all their own songs and with their own band behind them, Claire and Paul are becoming the act they set out to be.
I caught a neat band down at the Rock n Roll stage, a surf band called Los Calamares which I think means The Squids. If you're not familiar with what a surf band is: they are all Hawaiian shirts and twangy guitars. They also tend to do a few instrumentals. These guys did, including some cracking film scores.

But to the guy I'd been waiting to see since the line-up was first announced, Bill Kirchen. Aka: the King of Dieselbilly.
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Bill is a hero to guitar players everywhere. He looks like some little old guy who might blow away in a strong wind but he makes that old Telecaster howl and sing. Working with a stripped-down backing of a drummer and bass player, there is no place to hide. Not that he ever did. He took centre stage and treated us to a masterclass of guitar magic.
Most people will have heard Bill playing Hot Rod Lincoln. It's pretty good heard on disc but live it's a different beast. It became a twenty minute exhibition of a master at work. At one point in it he name checks other guitarists and plays a snippet of their playing. It looks a bit bald written down like that but onstage it rolls on like a tidal wave of hot licks. If you've got his latest record, Seeds and Stems, you'll have an idea of what it was like. You won't get the sound effects though.
Bill has modified the switchplate on his guitar so he can make sound effects like car and truck horns and even a ship's hooter which he incorporates into Hot Rod Lincoln. It has to be heard to be believed. I tell you, I came away a happy man.

And that's about that. Next year the Americana will be moving from it's long-time home at the Notts showground to a site near Loughborough where the headliners will be Chas and Dave.
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Re: Americana-International 2013 A review.

Postby Moshe » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:09 pm

Cheers, Bill. Interesting review. Was the bit about the Americana fest moving next year a joke? Chas & Dave to headline? Havn't they split up?

I got in the festival mood yesterday. Ealing Blues Festival. A good range of stuff & the Spikedrivers were a great rootsy act.
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Re: Americana-International 2013 A review.

Postby lo&m » Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:35 pm

Not a joke, Clive.The Americana has outgrown it's home at the Notts showground so it's moving to a bigger venue. When I first started going to this festival ('88 or '89) we were rattling round like a pea in a drum. Seemed like acres of space. Now it seems like we didn't have enough room to stretch out. I expect it will seem a bit strange at first but we'll get used to it.

Yes, Chas and Dave are booked for next year. Dave gave up touring following the death of his wife a few years ago. Since then they've done the occasional show together.
Also booked are Toni Willé of the dutch band Pussycat who scored a UK hit with Mississippi many years ago and the girl group Country Sisters who I think are from Netherlands or Germany. There was a video posted on here a while back of them bouncing around to Cotton Eyed Joe.
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Re: Americana-International 2013 A review.

Postby Smudger » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:03 pm

I've only been to the Americana once. It was the year Danni Leigh came on, sang one song and had to leave because she had voice problems. I was really peed off as she was the main reason we went to the festival. Since then I haven't liked the line up enough to go back, although Confederate Railroad were on last year I think. I wasn't really keen on the rest though.
Next year doesn't sound as though it's going to attract me either.
Rock Ridge on Friday is more to my liking!
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Re: Americana-International 2013 A review.

Postby PeterJD » Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:35 am

I was a ware that Chase and Dave make odd appearances, they are playing Rebellion this year. I may get along to Americana next year, its one that I keep meaning to get to.
On the subject of PJ Proby, I saw him once many years ago and he was pretty unprofessional back then, I have also seen Vanity Fair probably around 20 times (I used to work at Butlins) and they were always good and always put on a good show.
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Re: Americana-International 2013 A review.

Postby Smudger » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:04 am

I can't imagine Vanity Fare having much of a back catalogue to rely on - they only had one hit didn't they?
Not only that, they're not American and they're not country/rockabilly either so not really sure why they were at Americana...........
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Re: Americana-International 2013 A review.

Postby lo&m » Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:32 pm

They were there because they got the contract to back PJ Proby for this tour. But there's aloways been a place for veteran Brit Rock/pop stars. As well as Andy Fairweather-Low, we saw Trevor Burton band on as second lead headliners on sunday. Trevor used to be in The Move years ago and now fronts a Blues/Rock band.
Thing is, the Americana is not a dedicated country music festival. It never was. It started life as an American car show in a pub carpark for years before they added music on. The cars/bikes are still very important but even in the auto awards there are categories for Brit vehicles. It's a lifestyle event.
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Re: Americana-International 2013 A review.

Postby livewire » Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:33 pm

lo&m wrote:So here is my review of Americana 2013.............
It maybe the fault that she was over-shadowed somewhat by Mandy Barnett. ...........
After that Saturday, Sunday seemed like a bit of a downer in comparison. Still good though. Raintown have moved beyond their influences. Need You Now has been dropped from their setlist and Lady A were not mentioned at all. With nearly all their own songs and with their own band behind them, Claire and Paul are becoming the act they set out to be.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts with your Americana review.
The first 2 Mandy Barnett albums were fabulous then they seemed to go off the UK radar.
The idea I got she became more a Patsy Cline tribute act in America. She released a Christmas album/single a year or so back.
Was she showcasing any new material :?:

Raintown - Just how "country" was their set and how good were they :?:
They did see an opportunity jumping on the back of the Lady Antebellum UK remix market.
Their album had 2 good tracks (Picture Of Us the stand out) the rest to my ears fairly mediocre and more "pop" froth.
Clare McArthur the far better singer, Paul Bain's vocals did nothing for me. A few years on maybe they have improved :?:
Where Raintown have scored is in their self promotion which they have worked hard on to their credit unlike the vast majority on mainland UK country acts.
Raintown have somehow convinced nearly 15,000 people to like their Facebook and they posted on their daily.
They have been pro-active on Twitter, videos on Phil Mack, produced fan webcasts and done some radio interviews.
Through fan voting they have landed opening gigs (Wet Wet Wet, Brantley Gilbert ) and won Scottish Folk Music Awards and gained performances at C2C Pop Up Stages. They "won over" Maverick magazine reviewers too.
They have done have an hour show on internet station Voice Of Country which I was subscribed to 4 years ago (yes, VOC is still around).
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Re: Americana-International 2013 A review.

Postby lo&m » Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:50 pm

Was she (Mandy Barnett) showcasing any new material?
I don't know. I wasn't that familiar with her old material.

Raintown - Just how "country" was their set and how good were they?
As we all know, they're aiming at the contemporary country market and that's what they were. "Good?" Yes, I'd say so. Not earth-shatteringly good but still good. They held my attention for an hour and half.
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Re: Americana-International 2013 A review.

Postby lo&m » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:21 pm

Chas & Dave have reunited for their first original album in 27 years. The English duo have "returned to their roots" to celebrate their 50th anniversary by recording a mixture of vintage rock'n'roll songs and new renditions of their own Rockney classics.
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The new album, provisionally titled That's What Happens, was set down less than a month ago, during a one-week session at Abbey Road's legendary Studio 2. Chas – Charles Hodges, 69 – and Dave – David Peacock, 68 – worked with producer Joe Henry and a group of musicians including Albert Lee, Martin Taylor, Jools Holland, Buddy Holly drummer JI Allison, and actor-turned-bluesman Hugh Laurie.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2013/jul/26/chas-and-dave-reunite-new-album
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Re: Americana-International 2013 A review.

Postby livewire » Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:37 pm

lo&m wrote:Was she (Mandy Barnett) showcasing any new material?
I don't know. I wasn't that familiar with her old material.

Raintown - Just how "country" was their set and how good were they?
As we all know, they're aiming at the contemporary country market and that's what they were. "Good?" Yes, I'd say so. Not earth-shatteringly good but still good. They held my attention for an hour and half.


David Allan has a review of Americana on his Country Music People page.
He rated Billy Yates the best .
Billy on Facebook: The show last night at the Americana Festival in Newark was a scream! Thanks so much to everyone who came... you guys are amazing! Big thanks to Chris R Jackson and Bev and all who work so hard to put on a quality show! Hope to see you all again soon!!!! Here's a shot taken from behind the stage...

David said good things about Mandy Barnett.
Her old videos "Whispering Wind" and "Planet Of Love" shown in the VH1 Country days made me seek out her first 2 albums.


David Allan makes no mention of Raintown who were artists he reached out to 2 years ago as he wanted to know more about them as CMA Global representatives.
Did Raintown do any covers? They just have one album so maybe they have quite a few new songs to pad out the 1.1/2 hour set.
If "Picture If Us" had been early in their set I'd probably of been inclined to check out the Burlesque Starlet Darkteaser at Americana instead and see the performances by Harlow Heartbreak and Dark Teaser.
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Re: Americana-International 2013 A review.

Postby lo&m » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:57 am

Raintown and covers? I don't remember. They did showcase some numbers from their soon-to-be-recorded next album.

Thing about the burlesque is that it has never started on time yet. It is a lady's prerogative to be late after all. :D I went down to the pavilion (which is at the opposite side of the showground to the main stage) for one of the burlesque sets at the appointed time but there was only half a dozen people there and a couple of sound guys pottering about on the stage so I went back to the music stage. Meant to go back later but I forgot.
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Re: Americana-International 2013 A review.

Postby The Hitman » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:04 am

Good review - agree totally with the PJ Proby comments - and who was that pale talentless child he dragged onstage? She couldn't carry a tune in a bucket..

Also not surprised by Georgette, although a tad disappointed - if it wasn't for her mum and dad... (etc, etc)

I'm a bit too much of a rocker to really 'get' Mandy, but I have to admit she's bloody good at what she does.

Sadly had to drive home on Sunday morning so missed Bill Kirchen's set, although I did manage to shake hands with the great man backstage on Saturday. (Harley Dave even managed to get his Tele autographed!)

All in all I had a great time, though, although playing until two am in the Betty Ford was a bit of a challenge!

:)
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Re: Americana-International 2013 A review.

Postby outback » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:05 pm

http://youtu.be/wHluqUm9zYs


always liked this one of Mandy Barnett.
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Re: Americana-International 2013 A review.

Postby Allcountry » Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:45 pm

I've been last 4 years and always enjoy it. Went Friday this year for first time as PJ Proby was on. He was great in some numbers but the verbal comments about Vanity Fare were inappropriate and rude and it was quite disappointing really as it have the whole performance a bad taste. The girl he brought on stage also sang last year and personally I thought she was pleasant and it sounded in tune to me. Vanity fare sang some new songs too which were catchy and enjoyable. Sadly I think Proby is past his sell by date but vanity fare and the young girl singing carried him through. I wonder what they all thought of Proby's performance ?
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