FEATURE: SummerTyne Americana | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Kiefer Sutherland

Of the many mini-festivals and themed events promoted by the good people down at Sage Gateshead, it’s always SummerTyne Americana that gets me the most excited. Perhaps it’s the way the event takes over the whole complex, so you can wander from a big crowd in front of the outdoor stage, past a gospel choir in the foyer and up to see a big name country act in one of the halls, picking up a beer and some BBQ on the way. The festival takes place from Friday 19th-Sunday 21st July, and Tamsin Austin and her team have lined up some particularly excellent acts.

Friday’s big draw is obviously k.d. lang, touring in support of her beautiful Ingenue album. She’s in Hall One while alt. country pioneers The Long Ryders are in Hall Two early in the evening, with country blues legend Alvin Youngblood Hart’s Muscle Theory taking over later on. There’s also pedal and lap steel maestro Roosevelt Collier on the concourse.

Of the many mini-festivals and themed events promoted by the good people down at Sage Gateshead, it’s always SummerTyne Americana that gets me the most excited

Saturday is all about The Cowboy Junkies in Hall One. Still best known for 1988’s stunning, haunting Trinity Sessions album, they’ve nonetheless spent the last three decades releasing some wonderful music. Hall Two kicks off with an afternoon show with Kentucky’s The Local Honeys’ take on bluegrass and hillbilly music, supported by Oregon’s Rachel Harrington. Early evening offers a Strictly Country show featuring award-winning UK outfit The Wandering Hearts alongside Lauren Alaina, Catherine McGrath and Eve Selis, while later Sarah Savoy (from that Savoy tradition) and her four-piece band will be bringing the Cajun vibes, supported by UK rockabilly stalwart John Lewis with his Rock ’n’ Roll Trio.

Not content with playing fast and loose with the Geneva Convention in the TV series 24 and putting in a stint as a rodeo cowboy (seriously!), Kiefer Sutherland has reinvented himself again, this time as a country singer-songwriter, and by all accounts a pretty damn good one. Sutherland is heading up Sunday night’s line-up, supported by insurgent country mainstay Jesse Dayton, in Hall One. Vibrato country singer (and A Star Is Born co-star) Marlon Williams is in Hall Two supported by Ida Mae. Earlier in the day, you can catch Sarah Darling, who may not be a household name over here but is absolutely huge in the States (with a mighty 89 Grand Ol’ Opry performances under her rhinestone belt). Support comes from the upcoming Twinnie. Sunday in Hall Two wraps up with a special performance from The Voices Of Virtue Gospel Choir, Smoove and guest John Turrell (not, to be clear, Smoove & Turrell). Expect soaring Staple Singers gospel from the choir backed by local heroes Smoove and Turrell, and a DJ set of uplifting funk, soul and house from Smoove.

Of course, some of the best music at SummerTyne Americana happens away from the main halls – there’s workshops, boat trips and the SummerTyne Choir, this year performing with Eve Selis. All this plus three days of excellent turns, again split across the Jumpin’ Hot Club stage outside and on the concourse inside, where you can catch six bands a day – FOR FREE – including The Most Ugly Child, Daniel Meade, The King Bees and the Jumpin’ Hot Club’s very own Shipcote & Friends, before Rob Heron & The Teapad Orchestra close proceedings late on Sunday night. You also get to see MC Steve Drayton mock DJ Stagger Lee for using a laptop for the 75th year running. What more could you want from a weekend?


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