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by Ray Davies Ray Davies


by Ray Davies Ray Davies


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Ray Davies published a memoir chronicling his life-long affair with America in 2013. Naturally, it was called Americana, and that's also the title of this 2017 musical adaptation of the book. Davies plays a little fast and loose with his facts, which is perhaps a detriment in an autobiography but suits the condensed nature of songwriting. He doesn't tell a story with Americana -- it's not a song cycle along the lines of Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) -- but rather offers a series of vignettes, some torn from the pages of his book, others expanding upon its themes. Images of highways, cowboys, and movies dance through the songs, as do sly allusions to the Kinks. It's not just that there's an echo of "All Day and All of the Night" on "The Man Upstairs," either: "Poetry" recalls the pastoral jangle of Village Green Preservation Society and "The Great Highway" stomps like a Low Budget outtake. This is the key to understanding Americana. While there are a few nods to classic American music -- "A Place in Your Heart" rambles like an old country & western tune -- Americana is Davies examining how America has changed him, so it fits that his own work is threaded into the album. Backed by the Jayhawks -- an Americana band raised on the British Invasion -- Davies manages to skillfully pull off such subtle shifts in tone. Collaborating with a working band enlivens him -- there's snap and muscle here that were missing on the otherwise fine Working Man's Café -- and for as good as the songs are, what's initially so absorbing about Americana is this limber musicality. What makes it last are the songs, which are wry, moving, and truthful, which wasn't always the case in his book.

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Product Details

Release Date: 04/21/2017
Label: Sony
UPC: 0888751023628
catalogNumber: 510236
Rank: 137696


  1. Americana
  2. The Deal
  3. Poetry
  4. Message From the Road
  5. A Place in Your Heart
  6. The Mystery Room
  7. Silent Movie
  8. Rock 'N' Roll Cowboys
  9. Change for Change
  10. The Man Upstairs
  11. I've Heard That Beat Before
  12. A Long Drive Home to Tarzana
  13. The Great Highway
  14. The Invaders
  15. Wings of Fantasy

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ray Davies   Primary Artist,Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Vocals,Background Vocals,Spoken Word,Glass
John H. Jackson   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Percussion,Violin,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,12-string Guitar
Ian Gibbons   Piano,Accordion,Hammond Organ
Ian Jennings   Double Bass
Gary Louris   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Tim O'Reagan   Percussion,Drums,Background Vocals
Marc Perlman   Bass,Background Vocals
Karen Grotberg   Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals
Michael Kearsey   Trombone
Bruce White   Viola
Paul Clarvis   Percussion
Bill Shanley   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Lorraine Cato   Background Vocals
Everton Nelson   Violin
Melvin Duffy   Pedal Steel Guitar
Ian Burdge   Cello
Richard Causon   Harmonium
Steve Hamilton   Saxophone
Andrea Grant   Background Vocals
Kraig Jarret Johnson   Electric Guitar
Kate Robinson   Violin
Ben Waters   Piano
Ben Edwards   Trumpet

Technical Credits

John H. Jackson   Producer
Ray Davies   Composer,Programming,Producer,Liner Notes,Pre-Engineering
Sally Herbert   String Arrangements,Brass Arrangment
Stuart Sawney   Guitar Techician
Frank Harkins   Art Direction
Guy Massey   Producer,Engineer
John Green   Programming,Pre-Engineering
Kevin Rowe   Guitar Techician
Josh Green   Engineer

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