“The Kings of alt Americana”
— Fuel Cafe Bar, Manchester
“Intelligent versions of great songs and well crafted originals - a recipe for a great time!”
Salford City Radio
“Picnic area 's country punk just seems to escalate and get better and better (did you see me dancing in the back ?).”
Risa Hall (leading Manchester songwriter, ex-Polydor NY publicist)
“You Know You Want It! is their first studio-produced album, and the magic touches of legendary producer Bill Leader certainly capture the warmth of their live performances. The dry humour of Wayne McDonald’s lyrics, combined with the polished playing of Andy Callen (guitars), Matt Crawford (bass) and Simon Parkin (drums), are faithfully transported from stage to studio.‘Silver Train’, the album opener, sets the tone nicely – featuring jangly guitars with lush production, the lyrics about a late train, that most unromantic of topics, establish a quintessentially British voice to this slice of Americana.This Mancunian country and (north) western vibe follows on ‘Gold Chain’, with top-notch instrumentation shot through with a subversive lyrical wit...Ending on the superbly-titled ‘I’m Not Going to Heaven if Hank Williams Ain’t There’, the mix of country, rock and a hint of rebellious spirit recalls classic Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album Déjà Vu.”
“Closing the night in their regular spot, Picnic Area gave off the air of gifted musicians easy in each other’s company. Songs like ‘Silver Train’ and ‘Gold Chain’ sounded like tunes by a lost Sixties band, the sort of minor Beatles album tracks whose hooks and hit-making qualities were obscured by artful understatement.
Lead singer Wayne McDonald was a natural master of the rambling, tangential conversation between songs, and the easy charm and humour was summed up with two closing covers – Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m On Fire’ chased down with a knowing rendition of ‘Baby One More Time’. Such playfulness, underpinned by classy musicianship, deserves a bigger audience.
In a warm, intimate setting on a nippy weeknight, what was clear was a sense of a friendly musical community – a convivial atmosphere where people performed for the love of sharing a show, not for the hope of making money or finding fame. And what could be more right on than that?
“Picnic Area ♪♪♪
You know you want it
Picnic Area is an Alt-Country/Americana band out of Manchester England. They have been playing together since 2006, at this time they were a duo consisting of Andy Callen and Wayne McDonald. Recently they added Simon Parkin, Matt Crawford, and Paul Manina. Their sound can be best described as stripped down rootsy Country reminiscent of Bobby Bare Jr., Uncle Tupelo, and the Le Roi Brothers. Their sound is very much their own.
The songs have a haunting style to them, very No Depression in makeup and feeling. The seven song EP is well recorded and shows The Picnic Area’s songwriting ability. Silver Train, Chain Gang, and I’m not going to heaven if Hank Williams ain’t there are the top songs on the EP.
This CD is a good showcase of their talent... Picnic Area is a very good band and worth giving a listen. Check them out.”
“Alternative country with attitude from South Manchester’s finest”
— Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival website, 2009
"Picnic Area have something of that Manchester swagger: why else call your 21 track 1st album “The Essential”? (coming in at 62 minutes, that’s a lot of essentiality.) .... It’s the channelling of some late 60s British psychedelia, the nods to T-rex and the sense of adventure which make the album worth listening to. .... for volume and force of ideas, it has something going on".
Americana-UK Website, 2007
"The composition of the tracks is intelligent and inventive."
— ManchesterMusic.co.uk, 2007
““I’ve got a friend” is Boxcar Willie meets the Jesus & Mary Chain”
— Joshua Ben Joseph (leading Manchester songwriter)
“Picnic Area are the Buzzcocks of the British alt country scene”
— Quiet Loner, aka Matt Hill
“The hosts Picnic Area were on next, to rapturous approval from the crowd.
This alt county duo have the cockiness of Oasis combined with the talent of
Lambchop – a lethal combination. Every song is a winner, laced with acerbic
humour, instant melody and rousing harmonies. Singer Wayne McDonald is
already the proud recipient of a stunning 8 out of 10 review from Americana
UK for his album “Because they came from the wrong side of town”…Swings and Roundabouts magazine, March 2007
— Swings and Roundabouts magazine, March 2007
“Picnic Area were next on the bill, crossing the Pennines from South Manchester Wayne and Andy gave the eager Boons crowd a lesson in alt country Manc style! Witty intelligent lyrics that just make you smile, great harmonies and lead guitar from Andy (how does he sing so high?) and Wayne as the perfect front man really put on a great show! I kept hearing the Stones in the wonderful harmonies but these boys are bang up to date! Go see them –”