Category Archives: Americana

​Richmond Fontaine – Farewell Tour & Vinyl Reissues

Richmond Fontaine - Press shot 600x900pix

Richmond Fontaine will play a string of 6 UK dates this October- including London Electric Ballroom on October 21 2016- their final ever tour before founding member and songwriter Willy Vlautin disbands his cult group. Coming in the wake of Richmond Fontaine’s critically applauded tenth and final album YOU CAN’T GO BACK IF THERE’S NOTHING TO GO BACK TO (out now through Décor Records), which topped the official Americana charts and made Rough Trade’s Album of The Month, the farewell tour will also take in a support slot opening up for the band’s idol Willie Nelson and a handful of European festival appearances.

It’s been a twenty year ride, and a good one. At the start of 2016, just prior to the release of YOU CAN’T GO BACK IF THERE’S NOTHING TO GO BACK TO, Vlautin let out the sad news that the record would also be their last, saying; “Richmond Fontaine has had a great 20+ year run and these guys are my best pals so it’s a tough decision but the right one.” That said, the band’s swansong is also throwing up some consolatory ‘firsts’ – Richmond Fontaine will be reissuing their classic albums The Fitzgeraldand Thirteen Cities on 180gm vinyl for the very first time, just ahead of the live dates on October 14th. The farewell tour will also feature a requests portion of the show, where fans can choose their top ten tracks for the band to play- either leave a message on the bands’ Facebook page, tweet using the hashtag #RichmondFontaineRequests or email at . The top ten choices will be picked a month before the tour and worked into the set.

Alongside the activity of his other band The Delines, Vlautin continues to remain in demand as a critically acclaimed author (published through Faber & Faber) who is revered by his fellow writers (Roddy Doyle, Donna Tartt and George Pelecanos are all fans). A BFI/Film4 film adaptation of his novel Lean on Pete- starring Steve Buscemi and Chloe Sevigny- is shooting this summer, directed by the Oscar-nominated Stephen Haigh (45 Years). This will be the second of Willy’s novels to be translated for the big screen, with the adaptation of his first book The Motel Life released in 2006, starring Kris Kristofferson and Dakota Fanning.

Recorded and produced in Portland, Oregon by John Askew at Flora Studios, YOU CAN’T GO BACK features the stalwart lineup of Willy Vlautin on guitar/vocals, Sean Oldham on drums, Dan Eccles on guitar, and Paul Brainard on pedal steel. Freddy Trujillo joins on bass from The Delines, longtime friend Jenny Conlee (The Decemberists) plays keyboards. This album catches Vlautin’s songwriting at his strongest. Often compared to Springsteen and Lou Reed, Vlautin has established his own voice over his widely acclaimed ten LPs and four novels, and YOU CAN’T GO BACK IF THERE’S NOTHING TO GO BACK TO finds the band at its very best. Richmond Fontaine again has produced a wealth of beautifully executed story songs, the ilk of which is rarely matched in today’s musical landscape.

Formed in 1994, Richmond Fontaine rose to fame in 2004 off the back of their 5th album, Post To Wire, it went on to sell over 20,000 copies and earned them places in the top 10 year end polls which was again repeated the following year with their album,The Fitzgerald. The press snowballed with those and the following three albums which saw the band playing Green Man, Primavera, End of the Road, while building a loyal following over the last 11 years. Vlautin is a successful author with four novels published via Faber & Faber.

Oct 16 – Cardiff – Clwb Ifor Bach 7:00 *^
Oct 17 – Manchester – Deaf Institute 7:30 *^
Oct 18 – Edinburgh – The Caves – 7:30 *^
Oct 19 – Hebden Bridge – Trades Club 7:30 *^
Oct 20 – Nottingham – The Maze 7:30 SOLD OUT *^
Oct 21 – London – Electric Ballroom – last ever UK show
* Peter Bruntnell supporting ^ Jerry Joseph supporting

Life After Death – The Essential Jeff Finlin

Jeff Finlini - Life After Death artwork

I’ve not shied away from singing the praises of Jeff Finlin’s creative output in the past, he appears on Beat Surrender numerous times, if you failed to take the hint on previous occasions then now’s your chance to make amends as the singer-songwriter will release Life After Death- The Essential Jeff Finlin on the 9th September in the UK, it’s hard to to criticise the track choices on the twenty track career retrospective particularly when it features some of absolute favorite Finlin tracks, Sugar Blue Too, Postcard From Topeka, Alchemy and Somewhere South of Wonder – though if it were up to me I’d have released a double CDs worth as the man has so many great tunes in his back catalogue.

Here’s a selection for you, there’s more to feast your ears on if you search the blog archive, do yourselves a favour and get this album if you’re not familiar with Jeff’s work.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, the grandson of Irish railroad workers (who seemed to be in the habit of leaping from trains), music, writing and travel became fascination for Finlin. He began with a wanderlust, traveling America using every form of transportation, with the exception of tuk tuk (still on the bucket list). Having played in bands in Boston, Ohio and L.A, he finally wound up in Nashville with long-time mate and Academy Award nominee Gwil Owen to form the rock band The Thieves. They released the acclaimed ‘Seduced By Money’, produced by Marshall Crenshaw on Capitol Records. Venturing out on his own he went on to produce the self-released ‘Lonely Light’ before going on to produce the Little Dog/ Mercury release, ‘Highway Diaries’.

Never one for the convention of Nashville, he moved to the far west of America and set up shop. For the last 12 years he has been delivering writing and music of depth and candor that has consistently made its appearance around the world. His song “Sugar Blue” found its way into Cameron Crowe’s feature film “Elizabethtown” alongside the likes of Tom Petty, Elton John, Lyndsey Buckingham and My Morning Jacket. This new compilation of his work from brand new West London based label Man In The Moon Records represents a distinctive core of his music and poetic thought.

Sober since 1997, Finlin took up the practice of yoga to enhance and promote his spiritual life. His resulting work documents a spiritual path of experience that became the main focus and structure of his art and life. He recently began work on a foundation called Recover.Yoga with the hopes of giving back the practice of yoga to people in all forms of recovery. Jeff has also just released a new book of poetry which will probably blow a few minds alongside his prosaic music, it’s entitled ‘The Seduction Of Radha’.

Jeff Finlin / Facebook / Twitter

This track doesn’t appear on the album, but any excuse…….

Amy & Otis – album & tour news


Amy Lashley’s excellent debut album featured on Beat Surrender back in 2011, now she’s back with a new one, co-produced by partner Otis Gibbs and Thomm Jutz, I not had a listen to the whole album just yet but with these folks involved it’s going to be a keeper for sure, here’s the video for Blame The Wind from the album

Otis himself has just finished a new album, with the release date to be announced soon, he’s on tour in the UK and Europe in September and October.

Otis Gibbs Tour Dates
More info
09/29/16 London -Green Note
09/30/16 Torquay -The Crown and Sceptre
10/01/16 Brosely -The Birchmeadow Centre
10/02/16 Sheffield -The Greystones
10/04/16 Norwich -The Bicycle Shop
10/05/16 London -Leytonstone Ex-servicemens Club
10/06/16 Pocklington -Pocklington Arts Centre U
10/07/16 Gateshead -Caedmon Hall
10/08/16 Glasgow -Glasgow Americana Festival
10/09/16 Glasgow -Glasgow Americana Festival
10/11/16 Birmingham -The Kitchen Garden Cafe
10/12/16 Nottingham -The Maze
10/14/16 Basingstoke -The Forge At The Anvil
10/15/16 Plaxtol -Plaxtol Memorial Hall
10/17/16 Groningen -De Spieghel
10/18/16 Amsterdam -Paradiso Noord, Tuinzaal

Amy Lashely / Otis Gibbs

Sound & Vision – Molly Parden

“Kentucky, I”
“In the summer of 2012, I was on my first tour and fresh out of a confusing and short-lived romance. At the end of the 2-week run, I couldn’t keep my feelings buried anymore, they all came pouring out as I drove away from one of the last gigs. I had just witnessed the most beautiful sunset in Berea, Kentucky and remember thinking that it looked like cotton candy — like I could just reach out and taste it. I’ve always had an enormous penchant for horses even though I didn’t grow up riding, and Kentucky is horse heaven in my mind. I was searching for peace. The refrain is basically me just crying, with no real words to describe how I feel. It took me a long time to grasp that rejection and be okay with moving on without closure.”

From Molly’s latest EP With Me In The Summer

Molly Parden / Facebook / Twitter