Various venues, Glasgow, 11 May—3 Jun.
Scotland’s leading festival of musical Americana enters its seventh year in rude health. Started, with a handful of concerts, by Billy Kelly — then music programmer of the then recently- defunct Mayfest - Big Big Country this year boasts seventeen shows, with a strong slate of the sort of rootsy acts which are all too elusive on this side of the Atlantic.
Jason Ringenberg (longtime frontman of The Scorchers), the New Harmony Ridge Creekdippers (featuring Jayhawks founder Mark Olson) and Stacey Earle (Steve’s talented little sister) feature among the highlights. The festival’s remit is broad enough to also include American-influenced Scots like Rab Noakes and Michael Marra, and elder statesmen of pop like the Byrds’ Roger McGuinn.
And both these descriptions apply to the septuagenerian whose homecoming must be the festival’s high spot. Lonnie Donegan is the one-time pupil of Dennistoun School and resident of 591 Duke Street whose 1954 US chart- topping ‘Rock Island Line’ was arguably as influential as the rock ‘n’ roll simultaneously cooked up in Memphis by Elvis. Doggedly tracking
vintage black American records and renaming himself after blues singer Lonnie Johnson, the former Anthony Donegan adopted the style of Afro-American ‘skiffle parties’, where music was made with washboards, jugs
and whatever else came to hand.
Galvanising legions of British musicians who were to become stars in the 605, the Scot also inspired a generation of Americans like Taj Mahal and Dr. John with the near-forgotten sound of their own musical heritage. Donegan is currently enjoying one of many
‘l’ve had ten comebacks,’ he chuckles in an accent which reflects his family’s move to London’s East End when he was nine. ‘In showbusiness we’re tied to the awareness of generations, and things do go in cycles. Elton John did a big record with me in 1976, and it was “Lon, all is forgiven”. And a couple of years ago Van Morrison remembered that he’s learned everything at
New music. Like crack cocaine, it’s what you crave, so take a pop at our musical crack pipe to ease the cramps. This issue: Grand Drive.
I’ve just been listening to Eminem — that boy does my head in. I need uplifting, life-affirming music now. Then it is yours. courtesy of South London four-piece Grand Drive.
What flavour of music are they then? Quite achingly gorgeous country rock. which . . .
Hang on, not yet more talentless alt. country wibblings? No. Grand Drive are the real enchilada. the whole nine yards. the. erm, well you get the picture.
Not really, a description of what they sound like would help? Ah, I can do that — imagine The Band sitting down for Thanksgiving turkey with The
50 THE LIST 10—3.: Mai, 3001
Jim White heads off the party
Uncle Lonnie’s knee, and we’re off again.’
Talents like Mary Gauthier, Tom Ovans and Jim White, at the other end of their musical career paths, reflect the festival’s investment in the future. White’s album No
Such Place was acclaimed last year, and the American
has no fears about taking to the stage with songs whose atmospheric idiosyncracies were crafted in the studio with producers like Morcheeba.
‘When the record company said, “you’ve got to put a band together and tour and sound like the album,” I
tried, and I’m not very good at it,’ White says. ‘But
Jayhawks. Uncle Tupelo and Mercury Rev.
Wow! Pass that cranberry sauce! What else? Based around singing brothers Danny and Julian Wilson. the band have released two Sumptuous albums. the latest of which. True Love And High Adventure. got lauded to the
everybody in the band is kind of multi-tasking, we’ve got samples, and we’re all trying hard to make it sound as interesting as the album.’
In real life a 44 year-old NYU film school scholarship graduate called Michael Pratt, White is just the sort of unexpected, challenging talent to kick off a thoroughly promising Glasgow jamboree. (Ninian Dunnett)
hilt last year. with The Times even saying it should be a 'shoo-rn' for the Mercury Music Prize.
My God, the language used at The Times has deteriorated, ain’t it? You betcha. (Doug Johnstonei I Grand Drive play at King Tut's. Glasgow. Tue 22 May.
Music news now
APOLOGIES TO THOSE confused by our announcement of the Belle & Sebastian tour dates last issue. The band play Dunoon Queen‘s Hall on 9 June not Edinburgh Queen‘s Hall as previously stated. They also have a second date at Glasgow Barrowland on 16 June. The band release their new single ‘Jonathan David‘ on 18 June on Jeepster.
lf3i\»\(1 l lA’r l 8 l Mt; ti,’"‘..i..l‘f‘i‘ : .t .~l‘. .iI (izgiwgi' ll‘nxzt'“ lit ‘,.i} .15; part : f ‘31-- (‘iltjrrrritirauiiin .l.i.'.' '. “Klt‘U lustivtil ()ll fsgit.rr.:.i. J .ltii\,. TRICKY, CATATONIA and The Proclaimers have been added to the bill for T in the Park. Tricky will play before Stereo MCs on Sunday 8 July while Catatonia and The Proclaimers both play on the second stage on Saturday 7 July.
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Hor (if the H‘n’imll‘: Boys; in tiwr r‘;ir:ra~,, l. :1: been £I(l(lz’: i to trri: lr-S (iii; ()rr llv; (Emmi Iuw'n ()lél‘. ()l‘ Siiririay ("3 Au; lfii. ROCK FANS SHOULD look out for Sou/burn, a new Glasgow-based rock and metal video fanzine. It contains exclusive features on stoaters like Amen, Reef, My Ruin and Terrorvision. Cost is £7 plus £1 postage and can be ordered online at http://www.soulburn.co. uk
SUPER FURRY ANIMALS are bringing their Furr/r'nanra extra/agar‘xa 10 Glasgow. The," rila, Barrowland On 23 .JLirre .‘Ml‘, a screer’v'ig Ol' Zl‘fii' film Rings Around The Wor/d at the (ﬁr—T on 22 June.