Bristol's Americana Weekend has announced the latest additions to the line-up for the July festival
Taking place from the 14th to 17th July at Colston Hall and with a launch concert at St George’s Bristol on 19th May, this world-class programme promises an unforgettable weekend of music bringing the best Blues, gospel, country and bluegrass music to Bristol.
New additions to this year’s line-up include fiery folk rock songstress Martha Wainwright. Highly regarded for her confessional writing style and distinctive voice, Martha Wainwright began her career as a backing singer for her brother Rufus, but quickly established a firm reputation as an artist in her own right. Wainwright will be joined by special guest Kentucky singer-songwriter Angaleena Presley, whose latest work ‘Wrangled’ demonstrates an excellent example of her sharply focused and insightful social commentary.
Recently named Artist of the Year at the 2017 UK Americana Awards, Bristol’s own Yola Carter will also make an appearance at this year’s River Town. After fifteen years as a writer, producer and singer with artists such as Massive Attack, Chase & Status and Phantom Limb, Yola Carter has returned to her first love – country gospel and soul. Joining Carter are husband and wife folk duo The Black Feathers, whose critically acclaimed first album created a brilliant blend of Americana, Folk and Acoustic Indie Rock.
A special River Town launch party will take place ahead of the festival at St George’s, just off Park Street, on 19th May with a one–off performance by American music royalty Carleen Anderson, transporting audiences to the Deep South before the main affair in the summer. The Mercury Prize-nominated star of soul and acid jazz through The Young Disciples, honours her family’s history in Texas and Mississippi with Cage Street Memorial.
This year’s line-up also includes some of the UK greats with a rare trio performance from renowned songwriters Nick Lowe, Paul Carrack and Andy Fairweather Low. Another highlight of the festival includes a closing performance by the legendary Mavis Staples, a renowned gospel singer and civil rights activist who is celebrating her seventh decade on the circuit. She will be joined by R&B star and soul singer James Hunter, heralded for his talents both as a live performer and perhaps even more so as a songwriter.
In July, the festival will kick off on the Friday night with The Shires in the main hall, following their sell-out show at 2015’s Americana weekend. This year they’ll be joined by Ward Thomas, the first-ever UK country act to top the national album chart. In The Lantern, New Orleans funk master Jon Cleary will take to the stage with his soulful, funky pop tunes supported by alt-country blues singer-songwriter, Amythyst Kiah.
Todd Wills, Head of Programme at Colston Hall, said: “We are excited to be bringing back the festival again this year. River Town is about bringing together a range of artists under the banner of Americana music and we’re increasingly attracting a really eclectic line-up of top names.
“Our bill this year features UK greats with leading acts in the current British Country music scene appearing alongside legendary songwriters, as well as a host of international artists. We’re really celebrating the many styles and influences of Americana.”
Phil Johnson, Senior Programme Producer for St George’s Bristol, said: “To hear Carleen Anderson’s astonishingly soulful voice backed by her own keyboards and an all-star quintet is going to be one of the musical experiences of the year.”
Tickets for River Town’s July events are now on sale and available from the Colston Hall Box Office on 0117 203 4040 or visit www.colstonhall.org. For Carleen Anderson concert tickets go to www.stgeorgesbristol.co.uk or call 0845 40 24 001.
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Carleen Anderson, Cage Street Memorial, St George’s Bristol, Friday 19 May, 8pm, £22, £20, £5 student tickets (limited availability) plus fees
American music royalty, Carleen Anderson became a Mercury-nominated star of soul and acid jazz through The Young Disciples before her solo career. For the launch concert of River Town Bristol’s Americana festival, she honours her family’s history in Texas and Mississippi. ‘Cage Street Memorial’ is a moving testament to Anderson’s gospel roots, and a personal journey from the Deep South, to the UK and thence to Bristol, where her musician son Bobby lives.
The Shires & Ward Thomas, Colston Hall, Friday 14 July, 7.30pm, £28.50 incl. booking fee
Britain’s answer to the classic Nashville style, The Shires & Ward Thomas prove that you don’t need to be American to make brilliant country music. The Shires distinctive modern country sound led them to have a sell out show at last year’s Americana festival, and we will be welcoming them back onto the main stage this year.
Jon Cleary, The Lantern, Friday 14 July, 8.00pm, £16.95 incl. booking fee
Born in Kent but residing in New Orleans for the last thirty years, Jon Cleary has become expertly versed in the distinctive piano-led funk and R’n’B styles from that region. Now on his eighth studio album, his latest record recently received a Grammy for Best Regional Roots Music Album.
Martha Wainwright, Saturday 15 July, 7.30pm, £19.50 incl. booking fee
Known for her confessional writing style and distinctive voice, Martha Wainwright’s fiery folk rock songs make for a compelling performance. The daughter of musicians Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III, Martha Wainwright began her career as a backing singer for her brother Rufus, but quickly established a firm reputation as an artist in her own right.
Jim Lauderdale & My Darling Clementine, Saturday 15 July, 8.00pm, £16.50 incl. booking fee
Dubbed the ‘songwriter’s songwriter’, Jim Lauderdale has penned the lyrics and crafted the notes of many modern classics for artists including Elvis Costello, The Dixie Chicks and George Strait. Joined for the evening by a top act from this side of the Atlantic, My Darling Clementine’s style has been described, “as authentic as anything out of Nashville or Texas”.
Nick Lowe, Paul Carrack & Andy Fairweather Low, Colston Hall, Sunday 16 July, 7.30pm, £38.50 incl. booking fee
With a sum total of over a century creating great Americana music, this revered trio is coming together for an eclectic evening of songs. Known as The Emperor of Cool, The King of Soul and The Ace Guitarist of a Generation these three make an astonishing collective with an unrivalled back catalogue.
Yola Carter, The Lantern, Sunday 16 July, 8.00pm, £13.50 incl. booking fee
After fifteen years as a writer, producer and singer with artists such as Massive Attack, Chase & Status and Phantom Limb, Yola Carter has returned to her first love – country gospel and soul. Carter was recently named Artist of the Year at the 2017 UK Americana Awards.
Mavis Staples, Colston Hall, Monday 17 July, 7.30pm, £27.50 incl. booking fee
Iconic gospel singer Mavis Staples has been delivering powerful songs for the last 67 years. Starting her career in her family band The Staple Singers, the group became deeply associated with the American civil rights movements thanks to a close friendship between her father and Martin Luther King Jr. New collaborations with Wilco, Bon Iver and tUnE-yArds prove her music is still as fiercely relevant and highly esteemed as ever.