Americana Related Stuff
Travels in the US of A
For several years, Andy and I have been taking little holidays to explore the back roads of the Southern States. Several of my travel pieces were published in Maverick magazine over the years and we thought it would be nice to share this one on the blog, as we loved it so.
Abigail Washburn, Hula-hooping Elvis and Fascinator Hats
Usually the reserve of bridesmaids and Essex girls on a posh day out at Ascot, the fascinator hat doesn’t really scream Americana to me. So, when by chance I came across banjo diva Abigail Washburn rocking a feather encrusted ensemble in Maverick magazine, the same week I was to attend a fascinator hat-making hen-party workshop, I breathed a small sigh of relief. Perhaps this was going to be cool afterall.
Courtesy of a four hour stint at Janie Lawson’s Clapham studio, I (a girl who still gets her mum to sew on her buttons) was taught how to stitch with cotton and bend wire and mesh into a simple oval fascinator, without being made to feel too much like a special needs kid. This rather wonderful Washburn/Robin Hood inspired creation was the result. Strong enough to endure the hen party’s finale at the Proud Cabaret Tassel Club, where burlesque dancers pranced around in little but their fascinators, and a man dressed as Elvis hula-hooped to Hound Dog.
But back to Abigail, her impressive head-piece, and more importantly to her solo tour. Because if you weren’t aware, Ms Washburn, who last visited the UK as part of glamorous old-time girl-band Uncle Earl, is back in town at the Slaughtered Lamb. This is an intimate basement venue in Clerkenwell with a comfy selection of sofas, and boudoir style décor, fitting for a fanciful old-timey-medicine-show type musical ensemble.
Washburn plays banjo and sings sweet classic American old-time tunes as old as the hills, as well as weaving Chinese melodies and songs to make something altogether new. Alongside her on fiddle will be Rayna Gellert, worthy of her own show, and well worth investing in if you want to hear Appalachian fiddle-playing at its best. It’s not often we get old-time American musicians of this calibre in town, so if you’re heading to the gig, make sure you’re dressed up for the occasion.