Del Day's unmissable gigs roundup
I have been lucky enough to attend the SXSW music conference in Austin, Texas on three separate occasions, and, even though I am still paying for it on my credit cards, the experience will remain with me longer than my overdraft.
When I say SXSW I don't actually mean the madness of 6th Street, the frantic badged-up music industry droves following after anyone in a Moog T-shirt like a pack of hungry, expectant wolves. Or the surreal environment of the Conference itself where the likes of Gwar and Emmylou Harris trade insider secrets to the MacBook Pro crowd hanging on every word. No, I mean the 'outer perimeters' of the party, in the back room if you will hanging with the real 'seen it all before, fella' scenesters like Chip Taylor, Mojo Nixon, James McMurtry, Dale Watson, and that ilk. My kind of people, you know, artists devoid of fashion or trend devoted to the simple art of making great records and introducing them to like minded souls willing to give the time and patience to really listen. So whether at The Continental watching the great Texan troubadour Ray Wylie Hubbard or out at the Catcus Cafe for a bit of Robbie Fulks, or even on the street with the legendary Roy Head, I was simply surrounded by music that means something to me. As I say it's a wonderful experience and something I would highly recommend to anyone.
So, I hear you saying, what the hell has that got to do with a Union Music Store blog? Well, kids, over the next couple of months you will be able to experience the SXSW vibe right here in Brighton as some of roots music's current crop of stars make their way overseas and land on these fine shores. Thanks to the likes of Drifter Promotions, Brighthelmstone Promotions, the old twang godfathers themselves The Gilded Palace Of Sin, and of course Union Music there is a warm welcome guaranteed on the sunshine coast for any wayfaring stranger in tassels and plaid these days. Ok, it might not have the heat of a long Texan summer or even sell Lone Star in three pint jugs – or indeed offer the chance to eat a Mexican fry-up at three in the morning – but both Lewes and Brighton, for a couple of months in any case will be the place to be.
Here's what I propose. Have a good look around the house for anything that might be of any value and open up an Ebay account as, in my oh so humble opinion, you cannot miss ANY of the following:-
Po' Girl play the All Saints in Lewes on 23rd September and WILL be great. I speak from experience, I have seen them many times and never left disappointed. Mark my words, Lewes will warm to these guys as easily as it is to spend a 'nifty in Bills.
The 29th of September marks the return of Israel Nash Gripka, the Baptists son from Missouri with a voice that can crush even the most stoic of defences. His gig earlier this year was so good I talked about nothing else – to the detriment of my wife and kids – for about three months afterwards. He is going to be a worldwide superstar. Well he better be or I will need a decent plastic surgeon to remove an unsightly tattoo.
The 'Kings Of Americana' (or just 'best band in the world full stop if you prefer) Richmond Fontaine are at The Coalition on October 2nd. Their new record is a winner, all broken lives and broken dreams from America's raw underbelly, and when on top form live they are capable of destroying hearts. That good, really.
Then on the 25th and celebrating 10 years of Gilded Palace Of Sin - and let us all raise a glass to that as we sleek our hands through our hair Scorcher Shane stylee - its Chatham County Line's turn to charm the Coalition congregation. These guys twang like old-school rednecks and, that legendary wink on Later aside that I can never forgive them for, are one of the finest bands around in any genre. The Carolinian is one of my favourite songs of the last ten years so if you hear some drunken hillbilly yelling for it at the show that will be me. (Ably supported by none other then Union co-founder Jamie Freeman's other band, the mighty Salter Cane.)
As if that wasn't enough, on the 27th the truly special Eilen Jewell returns for the fifth time to Brighton, which has become her home from home. Think old-time country, think rock 'n' roll, think rockabilly, and then imagine all three delivered by the sassiest sweetheart this side of Syracuse. In Jerry Miller, her right-hand man and lead guitarist she has the best six-string player I have EVER seen. The guy is a legend and fast becoming a leading contender for his own statue somewhere just off West Street. Gig is at The Haunt, just by the pier.
Those gigs alone will have you drooling like a prairie dog but in November, arguably le piece de la resistance is Richard Buckner, an American troubadour in the truest sense and one of the finest songwriters of his generation. Has it really been eight years since his last Brighton show? Christ, whole nations have crumbled since he last felt some Sussex love? That's way, way too long. Buckner lived on Introspection Island way before the current cool school decided to move in. He has seen a once scarcely populated genre - mostly untouched - rise from the ground upwards as hipster hotels spring up on any available cerebral green site. His time has come, surely, and if not you can bet your bottom dollar that ten years from now he will be still charting his own musical path as if nothing ever happened. Go see, he's truly special.
Apologies for not mentioning everyone's shows, there really is so much going on!
Useful websites to help plan your gigs...