Sam Millar has been involved in the Americana scene for as long as he can remember. His knowledge and musical talent (for both writing and performing) concerning American music, in its widest sense, has endeared him to the industry and allowed him to cultivate personal relationships with many of its stars and key stakeholders. Many people would like to get a glimpse inside his address book!
Looking to bring his love of Americana to more people, Sam has created ‘The UK American Bar’ or TUKAB for short. This is a working concept revolving around the idea of a UK family variety ‘show’ that has music at its core but extends this as a soundtrack to other related Americana lifestyle icons as found in food and drink, fashion, automotive and sport. Americana is, of course, recognized universally, and has fans in every corner of the world, whether its listening to the music, following the sport, wearing the fashion, or driving the vehicles. And Sam believes there is a glaring hole, crying out to be filled, for an Americana themed lifestyle entertainment offer to fill the TV and digital device screens of all its fans.
Being UK based, Sam views the Americana world from a UK perspective but is himself at home equally in London or Nashville. And he sees opportunity for a UK-based production to not only be a voice for the Americana scene in the UK, but also for other countries outside the USA and for the American market curious to know how Americana is influencing and shaping the world beyond its borders.
The UK Americana Bar manifested itself as a studio set built in the garden of Sam’s London home. Here musicians have stopped by to play and be interviewed. There’s even a kitchen area where chefs have created iconic Americana dishes. The studio is also home to a Bigfoot – TUKAB’s answer to The Stig! Sam has also filmed performances and interviews on location in the UK and commissions interviews with stars in Nashville to add to the mix in his programs.
Development of this Americana program concept has taken place in parallel to a media market that has been rapidly evolving and reinventing itself. Just prior to the arrival of Covid, Sam produced a series of one hour shows that went out on Sky TV. These were very well received and formed a pilot for a proposed weekly one hour offer with current news and established plus up-and-coming artists. However, the pandemic put that on hold but also allowed time to revisit the market and discover how online content on demand is changing the way we view our entertainment. So, a new and exciting direction has emerged which features platforms streaming latest and past programs and offers opportunities for spin-off programs and wider interaction with viewers. This in turn has opened up a world of sponsorship and merchandise plus the ability to take the show on the road.
Moving forward Sam is aware that, with a relatively untapped property such as UK Americana, plus his own production facilities and a range of star-up streaming platforms looking for regular family entertainment content, he has a unique opportunity on his hands. And judging by the enthusiasm already displayed by new players on the market, they agree too – or maybe it’s getting a chance to peak into his address book and accessing his knowledge and contacts that’s exciting them too.