This week sees the ninth annual Glasgow Americana Festival and as always it’s an excellent opportunity to see and hear some top notch acts in an intimate setting far removed from the arenas and concert halls that often act as a barrier between audience and artist.
Festival director Kevin Morris will be no stranger to readers here as he is responsible for The Fallen Angels Club who promote shows throughout the year, his keen ear responsible for bringing the likes of Sturgill Simpson to Glasgow well before his star was in the ascendancy. The past week’s been a bit of a blizzard of last minute preparations for Kevin but he was kind enough to take some time to speak to Blabber’n’Smoke. We started by recalling the first festival back in 2007 which Kevin organised as a tribute to Billy Kelly, a key player in the local and national scene going back to the days of Mayfest and who was responsible for Big Big Country, Glasgow’s first Americana festival. Mary Gauthier appeared that year and was recorded in The Herald describing Kelly as “an angel,” his patronage among the significant stepping stones on a career that has taken her to Nashville as a major label recording artist.
Kevin: The Glasgow music scene sadly lost Billy in 2007 and he has been hard to replace ever since. Glasgow Americana has tried to fill the gap that was left after Billy’s sudden passing, and hopefully Billy is looking down us with an approving look at what we have achieved since we started in 2007. We always have a wish list year on year and go about trying to make it happen, we are lucky to have these amazing artists making the festival as part of their tours. We already have some ideas for both 2016 and 2017, so we will see what develops, but probably best to get the 2015 festival out the way first.
Over the nine years there have been numerous artists performing but we wondered if there were any particular moments that stood out for Kevin
There have been loads and that it is a very good and a tricky question, I suppose one that does stand out was Alejandro Escovedo at The Arches in 2011. Also our Americana Saturday in 2012, we had Sam Baker playing the matinee show in The CCA and then Eliza Gilkyson play the evening show that year, that was a very special day indeed.
Kevin and his team are well known for their hospitality for the acts he puts on with many returning time and time again and who regard Kevin as a friend and not just the promoter. He told us a little bit about a special occasion for him earlier this year.
I have been very lucky with the people I have met through putting on shows, and have made so many friends from across the pond. Myself and my wife Lauren got married in Austin, Texas in June of this year. While we were there we met up with some musician friends that have played for us over the years, including Sam Baker, Eliza Gilkyson and Chip Dolan. On our wedding day we were very fortunate enough to have Alejandro Escovedo as a witness at our wedding ceremony over looking Barton Springs. Not your average day for a wee boy from Bothwell.
With that Kevin was back attending to business for what will be a busy week for him. The Festival kicks off on Wednesday 7th October with Bruce Cockburn playing at St. Andrews in the Square while Tom Russell plays the same venue on Friday 9th. Other venues are The Glad Cafe which has Danny Schmidt and Betty Soo on a matinee show on 10th October and Lewis & Leigh and Curtis McMurtry (son of James) that same evening while The CCA has Kathryn Williams and Michele Stodart (The Magic Numbers) on Thursday 8th October and a matinee show from Sam Lewis and Krista Detor on the11th.
The festival ends with Findlay Napier’s Hazy Recollections, his peripatetic event that showcases several acts and is hosted by Napier himself, the man responsible for one of the finest Scottish albums this year in his disc Very Important Persons. His VIPs for the night will be Sam Lewis, Dark Green Tree and Kera Impala and it’s shaping up to be a very interesting evening.
We’ll leave the final words to Kevin as we tried to get him to spill the beans on whether he had any particular artist or group who would be his ultimate Glasgow Americana catch, his “bucket list” as such. Kevin pondered on this before replying… Yes, but I’m not telling you anything else about that.
Full line ups and dates are here http://www.glasgowamericana.com/
And finally here’s a clip of Sturgill Simpson closing last year’s Glasgow Americana Festival.