Album Review: Session Americana – North East

When it comes down to Session Americana, they are a truly unique and whimsical group of musicians with a powerful and passionate nature as well as a sense of grandeur and a hint of the theatrical. Their modern-era hootenanny stylings have been likened to ‘a rock band in a tea cup or a folk band in a whisky bottle’ and this really isn’t far from the truth.

North East is their latest album and it is a daring and decadent collection of melodies that continue to blur the lines between folk, rock and country with an ever-evolving sound that gives new credence to a collection of much loved songs from around the world. One of the most charmed elements to North East is the constant tumultuous nature of it that sees you herded through a dramatic landscape where the seasons and years are in constant flux. This gives each song a resplendent juxtaposition to its predecessor pairing off songs like the rough and gritty You Go Your Way which is burning with a deep and virulent passion that ploughs their esoteric keyboard melodies with deep and thrumbling bass lines. It’s the perfect counterpart to The Night which follows with such a rich and tender lullaby presence. Gentle guitar strings are carefully plucked alongside tremulous violins and the most softly tinkling piano keys to create a song with a true ‘unplugged’ vibe as their raw love and energy is proven once again with a completely different atmosphere.

This atmosphere is something that is carefully cultivated not only through the stunning melodies that the collective produce but also from the soothing, honeyed vocal harmonies that they produce both as a band and as individuals. Each and every artist who has contributed to this landmark album has stamped their own inimitable mark on every song. Covering songs from such a versatile group of artists including The Pixies, Jonathan Richman and Letters to Cleo takes a serious amount of dedication and an attention to detail that is unparalleled as they cloak themselves in their decadent music. The reality is that with North East, Session Americana have become a lot less like a rock band in a tea cup and much more like a hurricane in a shot glass. They have a thrashing and crashing energy and passion that simply blows you away.

From start to end, North East is a stunning collection of songs that showers you with fiddles, harmonicas, banjos, kick-drums made of old suitcases and so much more. Like a modern day collection of troubadours they seem to have walked the world over and have come back to their roots and brought a whole heap of other acts with them. It’s not just an album for fans of Session Americana but for fans of each and every artist they have covered.


Session Americana – European Tour – September-October 2019

Ry Cavanaugh, Jefferson Hamer, Billy Beard, Dinty Child, Jim Fitting, Jon Bistline


Sat 28       CoolderryCo. Offaly, nr. Roscrea     Leap Castle

Sun 29      BalleybofeyCo. Donegal              Balor Arts Centre


Wed 2       CloughanoverCo. Galway            Campbell’s Tavern

Thu 3        Wexford                                    Wexford Arts Centre

Fri 4          Naul, Co. Dublin                           Séamus Ennis Arts Centre

Sat 5         Cork                                         Cork Folk Festival

Sun 6        BallydehobCo. Cork                   Levis Secret Song Festival

Mon 7        BallydehobCo. Cork                   Levis Secret Song Festival

Wed 9       LeidenNL                                 QBus

Thu 10       TerheijdenNL                           Puur Wit @ Witte Kerkje

Sat 12       EdeNL                                      Live Stage Marnix

Sun 13      Brussels                                   Indies Keeping Secrets

Wed 16      Lugagnano di SonaIT               Il Giardino

Fri 18        AmenoIT                                  Museo

Sat 19       MontebellunaIT                       Mato Rosso

Sun 20      PaviaIT                                    Spazio Musica

Mon 21      CantuIT                                   1 E 35

Thu 24       SolothurnSwitzerland                  Acoustic Nights @ Altes Spital

Sat 26       HouffalizeBelgium                      La Truite de Argent

Sun 27      EdamNL                                   A Walk About Music @ De Harmonie

Mon 28      EindhovenNL                           De Maandag van Van Meurs @ Muziekgebouw


Review by Joe Knipe


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