Americana 2014 A review



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Americana 2014 A review

Postby lo&m » Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:36 pm

2014 saw Americana move to a new home at Prestwold airfield, near Loughborough. It is about the same size as the Newark showground but with less amenities. The lack of any buildings onsite was countered by the erection of a circus 'big-top' marquee to provide a bar area and a third stage. Bit of a mixed result: only one bar for the whole site meant it was always thronged ( the introduction of drinks tokens – 3 for £10 – instead of paying in cash did help speed things up ) and the uneven ground underfoot led to a bit too much spillage. They definitely need one bar to each stage area next year. Hot showers were available all day in special travelling units and were made much use of as were the usual wide array of food outlets. But now to the important part, the music.

The festival was opened on Friday by the diminutive frame but powerful voice of Sierra Cecil. A young lady from San Antonio, Texas.
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Followed by the “posh bird from Surrey” Boxcar Kelly and the Railroaders, an immaculately turned-out band who drew all their repertoire from the '90's country music explosionin the U.S. Not a bad thing in itself.
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Next up were Knoxville Highway. A more traditionally styled quartet who were joined for three songs by a girl singer named Lacey Mai who gave what seemed a somewhat passionless performance to me.
Then, the Twangdaddies. A stripped- down, no frills country band. And yes, that's forummer Roger Humphries on the left.
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By now the evening was getting on and so were the Mod All Star band. The stars being Steve Ellis,Chris Farlowe and Lorraine Silver.
After that I left the main stage to T.Rextasy and went over to the big top to see Caravan of Wayne. They are a true Americana band because about ten years ago Wayne 'the train' Hancock appeared here and a few of the lads in the audience were so impressed they formed a band covering his material and other songs in his style.
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Finishing off the night were Acoustica, a band doing classic rock songs with acoustic instruments.

Saturday to follow.
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Re: Americana 2014 A review

Postby livewire » Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:46 pm

lo&m wrote:The festival was opened on Friday by the diminutive frame but powerful voice of Sierra Cecil. A young lady from San Antonio, Texas.

New name to me. The skin tight black leather pants are an attraction.
Any original stuff or just a TX karaoke act?
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Re: Americana 2014 A review

Postby lo&m » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:21 pm

No original material this time. She sang other peoples songs but she sang them well. I don't know about the skin-tight black pants being an attraction though. I don't know Miss Cecil's age but she looked very young and she was accompanied by her grandma as a chaperone this visit. I tried to ignore her girlish figure; too much like perving over a schoolgirl.
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Re: Americana 2014 A review

Postby Moshe » Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:33 pm

Thanx for the review, Bill. Look forward to part 2.
The facilities, such as the bar, sound a bit lacking.

Is it just me or did Americana used to have more big name attractions?
I think I'm a bit too old for these outdoor fest things & sloshing about in mud. Last one I went to was at Hyde Park about 7 years ago, I think. Aerosmith headlined. My shoes were ruined & I was in bed for a week after! :o
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Re: Americana 2014 A review

Postby lo&m » Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:23 pm

Saturday afternoon is singer-songwriter time. This year we had Kete Bowers: one man and his acoustic guitar; Kezia Gill: one woman with her acoustic guitar plus a harmonica player and Alan Fullard: who brought a full band including a couple of 'honk-ettes' backing singers, the only ones of the weekend.
Then we had our introduction to Ward Thomas, the new next-big-thing.
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Much has been written about Catherine and Lizzy already in the country press, indeed there was a two page feature on them in the latest Maverick. Which I deliberately didn't read beforehand because I wanted to form my own opinion. I can now say that with a three piece band behind them they are quite capable of filling a one hour festival spot. They can sing; they can write and they have youth on their side; I do hope they do better than previous next-big-things, Rachel Harrington and Tim McKay. (I am aware McKay are still around and occasionally score a support gig to a visiting american but, to me, it looks like the career is just treading water.) And from two girls at the start of their career to a veteran of the scene with a long and glittering career behind her.
Toni Willé, ex of Pussycat, backed today by veteran British band Lazy Dog.
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Miss Willé valiantly performed the songs associated with her continental career, finishing with her world-wide No1, Mississippi, but she probably left feeling underappreciated, not even getting an encore. It wasn't you Toni, it was the scorching midafternoon heat. I can see why mediterranean folks have siestas. We might have to adopt them here if this weather becomes the norm every summer.

I had wondered what a Portuguese country band would be like. Turned out that The Dixie Boys were a Rockabilly outfit.
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Very good they were too but there was nothing to distinguish them the other Rockabilly bands appearing. Not something that can be said of the other overseas artists of the day, the Country Sisters. These girls are fairly and squarely aimed at the cabaret country market. Elsewhere Moshe asked if they were just known for wearing skimpy clothes. Well yes they do wear mini skirts but not micro skirts. Be assured, we're not talking Rihanna levels of exposure here. Are mid-thigh hemlines considered immodest these days? I don't think so but I'll post some pics and let you decide for yourselves.
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What is beyond doubt is that the Sisters are good singers, dancers and musicians. Before we leave the subject of immodesty I should note that of this year the organisers have added some attractions to the program, namely Burlesque dancers, a fashion show and a Miss Americana contest. I know at least some of you will be interested to hear what they were like. Actually I cannot help with the latter two. I was listening to the music at the time although I do know that the fashion show was featuring clothes from companies that cater to the retro lifestyle. All 1950's Rock n Roll style clothing. If you google the Booboo kitty website in the above picture you'll get a good idea of what was there. As for the burlesque: not being the sort of chap to frequent strip clubs I must admit to being a little intrigued. The girls came on inbetween bands in the big-top, two on Saturday; two on Sunday and did a little strip-tease using props like feather fans or hula hoops, to old pop song backing tracks. Given that this was not an over 18 venue it was quite mild really; the knickers stayed on and the nipples were covered up. Anyone hoping for a fleshfest would be better off staying at home watching the telly. Not much more sexier than this fellow. :flasher:

Sunday to follow
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Re: Americana 2014 A review

Postby Moshe » Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:08 pm

Thanx, Bill, for an excellent review.
As to Ward/Thomas I have their new album & am impressed. I think they will do more than previous would be Brit country stars heralded as "the next big thing"- both ward Thomas & The shires are getting significant media exposure, including daytime airplay on radio 2 &, in the case of the Shires at least, spots on the telly!
I recall some noise about Lucy Diamond years ago. But most of that came from David Allan in CMP, nothing from the mainstream media.

The Country Sisters- I don't have a problem with what they wear. It is just I had got the impression they were a bit of a novelty act. If not, good luck to them!
As for the strip tease, fashion show & so forth- sounds a bit tacky.

Rockabilly. I used to quite like some rockabilly, & I listened to quite a bit of it years ago, but came to the conclusion that it all really sounds the same. And the lyrics were quite limited. Lots of Daddy-o's & so forth.
I used to know a rockabilly guy who couldn't stand Matchbox, the Rockabilly band who had a big pop hit with "Rockabilly rebel". He thought they were fake.
Proper Rockabilly fans dismiss any act that sold more than half a dozen records. At one time, Rockabilly rated Charlie Feathers, who I found quite limited as a performer. But as some folk out of the rockabilly fold had heard of him, & he was even played on the radio once or twice, he too was dismissed.
The only proper rockabilly are those obscure discs which never sold more than a dozen copies.
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Re: Americana 2014 A review

Postby lo&m » Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:13 pm

The rockabilly scene in UK is quite large and well organised, you'd be surprised. A few oldsters who were youngsters in the mid fifties but mostly young people whose parents weren't even alive then. Even so, they're into it in a big way. They follow contemporary UK rockabilly bands, wear the fashions with retro clothing and hair styles, they've got magazines like Now Dig This and events like Americana and Hemsby that cater to them. It's a whole lifestyle thing. I did think it was just a UK thing but apparently not. If the Dixie Boys from Portugal can sustain a two decade career in the field it must be more widespread.

I haven't mentioned it much in the review because A. I don't think many people would be interested. This is a country music forum; there's probably a Rockabilly forum somewhere with an Americana review that doesn't mention the country side much, and B. I don't mind a bit of rockabilly but after a while it starts sounding 'samey' to me. Let me put it this way: if Americana was just about the cars and the Rockabilly people, I wouldn't bother going.

That reminds me of another thing, where were all the cars this year? There was a huge space reserved for the american vehicles but hardly any turned up. Surely they didn't all go back to the Newark showground expecting it to still be there. Anyone who can shed light on this, please let me know.
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Re: Americana 2014 A review

Postby lo&m » Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:16 pm

Sunday: and following the traditional Sunday morning country gospel show, the secular entertainment began with some old school country from Dave Luke and Chuck Micallef.
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Respectively a Brit and a Canadian, Dave and Chuck are old school inasmuch as they command their audience's attention through their excellent picking and singing despite not having a band behind them.
Following Dave and Chuck were the Brit band, Next of Kin, who deserve a mention because they not just because they are good but because they aim themselves at the modern country market. They included a cover of Kacey Musgrave's Follow Your Arrow. The most up-to-date song performed this weekend.
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Next up were much loved UK veterans Chas & Dave who are going to get a mention in a country review simply because they were the most well received act of the weekend. Young and old alike were up and dancing to all their hits we all know so well.
Then I trekked up to stage 2 to catch The ZZ Tops.
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who as you can see looked and as you can't hear sounded like their heroes.
Back to stage 1 for country rock band, Modern Earl before the festival was brought to a close by forummer T Bone and his band.
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T bone has a pleasant tenor voice and presented a “celebration of American music” interspersed with some of his own songs and an excellent cover of Richard Thompson's Vincent Black Lightning.
And that was it. All over for another year. Except for a late finish in the big-top which my notes tell me was a band called Drugstore Cowboys but I can't actually remember anything about them. (sorry guys if you're reading). Not drunk, just festival fatigue.

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Re: Americana 2014 A review

Postby Moshe » Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:15 pm

Cheers for that, Bill.
Next fest i'm looking forward to is C2C 2015. I just hope it is a bit more country than it was this year.

I liked the sound of the Tyne country/Americana festival. Anyone been to that? I might treck up there one year if they have a tempting enough line up. Probably not Americana Fest, though. Sounds a bit too muddy for me.

As to the Rockabilly stuff- I got into that a bit in the Eighties, but as you say, if you listen to too much of it, it all starts to sound the same.
Charley Records (I think) used to put out a lot of compilations of obscure rockabilly sides
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Re: Americana 2014 A review

Postby lo&m » Sat Oct 11, 2014 5:01 pm

Some pictures of the fashion show/burlesque at the Americana.
http://www.americana-international.co.uk/previous/2014/fashion/index.htm
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Re: Americana 2014 A review

Postby lo&m » Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:16 pm

Film of the fashion show.
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