JUST as the cuckoo is a herald of spring, the Americana Festival is a clear sign that summer’s here.
Outdoor music goes hand in hand with kick-back cocktails and performances guaranteed to raise the temperature at the SummerTyne Americana Festival, which returns in July for the fourth year.
Its newly-announced line-up promises us some big names in country music – such as Rosanne Cash and Solomon Burke – at The Sage Gateshead and on the quayside, and four days of everything from deep Southern gospel through soul and electrifying blues to rock.
A highlight is the outdoor Jumpin’ Hot Stage, a free showcase of the best in country roots, blues and rock ’n’ roll, where music-lovers are invited to arrive early, bag a spot for the afternoon, grab a margarita and enjoy the likes of The East Nashville Showcase, Otis Gibbs and The Handsome Family.
But this year’s headline acts are Johnny Cash’s daughter Rosanne, Solomon Burke and Jakob Dylan.
This is Rosanne Cash’s only UK show and, accompanied by her band, she’ll be performing songs from The List, her album of new versions of country greats which she picked from a list of 100 “essential country songs” given to her by her father.
Preacher and gospel singer turned soul legend Solomon Burke, meanwhile, has wowed audiences in the past at the Sage, while, for Jakob Dylan, the venue will be the first he and his band have played in England outside of London.
Other festival highlights include Murder, Misery and Then Goodnight, a specially-commissioned evening of the darkest, most twisted murder ballads, and the only UK outing of Howe Gelb and A Band of Gypsies, which celebrates Giant Sand’s 25th anniversary with a high-octane show featuring flamenco Gypsies.
There’s lots more, including SummerTyne River Boat Trips, a Stateside photo documentary exhibition, and a star-spangled adventure for up to seven-year-olds in Eleanor and Julia’s Big Yee Haw! – a musical road trip of the US.
Tamsin Austin, festival programmer, said: “Over the past three years, The Sage Gateshead has presented some incredible major names in Americana music. However, this year, I feel we have delivered our best ever programme.”
The festival runs from July 22-25. Visit www.thesagegateshead.org or call 0191 443 4661.