Get off your couch and go hear some live music with Britain’s Got Bluegrass! Here’s the BGS-UK monthly guide to the best gigs in the UK and Ireland in April.
The Devil Makes Three, April 16-26, nationwide
They’re a bit smart, this band. The roots rockers’ sixth and latest album, Chains Are Broken, draws from authors including Ernest Hemingway and essayist James Baldwin — but hey, that doesn’t mean they don’t still want to give you a rollicking good time. The Devil Makes Three are playing three nights at Vicar Street, Dublin — or join them in Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester or Brixton, and tell them we sent you.
Molly Tuttle, April 10-20, nationwide
Molly Tuttle’s uncanny ability to combine hot-picking guitar with soul-searing songwriting has made her Kind Of A Big Deal in the States, which makes us even more grateful and amazed – gramazed? – to hear that she’s playing no fewer than 10 dates in our humble home. Molly has made no secret of her love of this country — she toured last year with Rachel Baiman, and earlier this year was a featured artist with the Transatlantic Sessions. This month the two-time IBMA Guitarist of the Year launches her debut album, When You’re Ready, and Britain gets to hear her mellifluous melodies hot off the vinyl presses. We are not worthy.
The Hanging Stars, April 6-13, nationwide
The Hanging Stars define their sound as “Cosmic Country”, so if you’re wanting to prep for a summer of love, let us recommend a night out with this bunch. Their recent album Songs for Somewhere Else has the honour of having been recording in LA, Nashville and Walthamstow, which is a sentence you won’t hear often. Their acoustic-psychedelia has a strong ’70s vibe, inspired by the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, and you can catch it this month in Manchester, Nottingham, Southampton and London, where they’re supporting The Long Ryders.
The Peregrines, April 16-18, London, Ashington and Norwich
You know how some actors just fizz with chemistry when you throw them together? Hepburn and Tracy. Hanks and Ryan. Bullock and Reeves. (OK, Bullock and practically anyone.) Some musical pairings can be just as electric. When Grant Gordy (of the David Grisman Quintet) and Joe K Walsh (of Joy Kills Sorrow) play off against each other, the sparks fly as surely as if one of them was standing on a Van Der Graaf generator. Their trio with bass player Ben Somers, The Peregrines, isn’t just a great showcase for their individual talents but also an excellent introduction to what progressive bluegrass is capable of. You can catch their act for three nights only.
Lake Street Dive, April 20 (Bristol) and 21 (Edinburgh)
Two dates. Two cities. Two chances to get down and funk your ass off, and if you plan to be there for both, hey, we’ll do the drive from Bristol to Edinburgh with you. Lake Street Dive has a groove that just won’t quit, as evidenced by their latest album, Free Yourself Up, and they also just happen to be some of the nicest people you’ll ever come across. If you still haven’t seen their cover of Jackson 5’s “Want You Back,” do yourself a favour and watch it right now. Go on. We’ll wait.
Photo credit for the Devil Makes Three: Jay Westcott