It's the real deal, clinched by the distinctive but wholly appropriate vocals of Jane Pearce.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
It's the real deal, clinched by the distinctive but wholly appropriate vocals of Jane Pearce.
Saturday, October 15, 2016
I have seen a great deal of live music in 2016 and this it the latest release from one of the highlights of those endeavours. I know that this duo is a Marmite thing in UK folk circles. I make no apologies. I'm totally on-board here.
- Nine Times Along
- Something Familiar
- Sweet the Sorrow
- Dawn of the Dark
- Dark Turn of Mind
- Weep You No More Sad Fountains
- The Light of His Lamp
- Milk and Honey
- The Waning Crescent
- Light of Day
Thursday, October 13, 2016
I have to admit that when today dawned I could say that my knowledge of the works and the authors that have been deemed worthy of the Nobel Prize for Literature was very limited indeed. I had no reason to expect that situation to change any time soon.
What I certainly did not expect was to end the day listening to (original) vinyl, that I already own, written by a Nobel Laureate. This was astonishing development in a world seemingly so weighed down with rancour and atrocities of almost every kind imaginable.
It is recognition not only of the lyrics Bob Dylan has actually written, many though they are, but also for all those that he has inspired others to write.
There is nothing more for me to write; I'm going back to listening.
Wednesday, October 05, 2016
Not very often does this happen. I'm delighted to share it when it does. This is self-released on Wild Dog Rose and all nine tracks are self-written. It is almost entirely acoustic, a smidgen of electric guitar features on two tracks, but more importantly it is astonishingly whole.
This time last week I'd never even heard about Bel Blue or, if I had, I had forgotten all about it. Hearing three songs from it on Monday evening made me think that the latter scenario is very unlikely indeed.
It was bought to me by the twin powers of local radio and the worldwide access to it via the internet. In this case the distance between Hailsham FM (in Sussex, England) and my location in Frome, Somerset, England is barely 125 miles. The result was I purchased the LP there and then - on that slightly old-fashioned format that is CD. Royal Mail delivered it to my door today.
Here it is:
Bel Blue - Our Places:
- Longing's Gone
- Our Places
- In Its Time
- Wild Dog Rose
- River of Dreams
- Nant Ddu
- Along the Way
- Our Places (live by the River Ely)
- In Its Time (radio edit)
That is not what really excites me and makes me want to go to certain festivals. This sort of music is exactly the kind that does.
Tuesday, October 04, 2016
I have been making an inevitably incomplete long-list of the recordings - LPs, EPs and those that fall somewhere in between - that I think might be worthy of inclusion in my end-of-year consideration. Needless to say there will be some yet to be released (I have a watch list for those too) but nevertheless the list is long. Longer indeed than ever before.
I have previously listened to each item all the way through at least twice after long-listing and before making the decisions and I intend to do the very same once again. With the list likely to reach an estimated 160 items, each with an average length approaching 40 minutes, that is set to be a Sisyphean task, at least in endeavour if not necessarily ultimate futility. One thing is guaranteed: it will, of necessity, be accompanied by really good music.
Some items will be well known to many and more to those that have read these pages. I hope that there will also be some surprises for everyone.
Here is one of the recent additions to the long-list:
- Exodus of Venus
- Dharma Gate
- Slow Pain
- Broke Down in London on the M25
- Methadone Blues
- Cutting Diamonds
- Orange Blossom Trail
- Tabitha Tuder's Mama
Please arrange these descriptors as you see fit depending on the song and your reaction at the particular time of listening. Needless to say her band are totally on the ball but not overpowering. The same is true of the production.
It even includes a paean to that English nightmare that is the M25 motorway (freeway is a word that it has rarely, if ever, deserved) that orbits London at a distance of approximately 20 miles from the centre!
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Many have been hailing Billie Marten for some time now and with good reason I might add, based on a few EPs and her live performances. On the other hand I think that this can put unrealistic pressure of expectation for a debut LP on the shoulders of the artist in question. All the indications are that at least in this case it hasn't.
I listened to this start-to-finish three times yesterday evening and, as well as not having tired of it eventually I got tired myself instead and retired to bed. Sometimes I woke up briefly and the songs were still playing in my head.
- La Lune
- Milk & Honey
- Heavy Weather
- Hello Sunshine
- It's a Fine Day
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
'Cycle' is released on 28 October 2016 and the third LP from English folk-harmony trio Lady Maisery that comprises Hannah James (piano accordion and foot percussion), Hazel Askew (bells, concertina, harp) and Rowan Rheingans (banjo, fiddle). The first was 'Weave and Spin' in 2011. This is all the more remarkable because all three members are also members of at least one other active group, but that is how folk tends to work.
Lady Maisery records and performs songs and ballads, both old and modern. The name actually derives from an old Anglo-Scottish ballad Lady Maisry (it is Child Ballad 65) and it appears in a new guise on second LP Mayday (2013). The traditional variations are many and varied but the outcome is always far from happy.
The upcoming release will be tremendous musically but to be quite honest I want it on vinyl just for the art nouveau cover alone! It also a cycle of the seasons, which is very appropriate as we head into Autumn because it is in the middle.
- Sing for the Morning
- Quiet Joys of Brotherhood
- Honest Work
- Season I - The Sun Returns
- Bagpipers/Sheila's 70
- A Father's Lullaby
- Season II - Beautiful Leaves
- So Far
- Diggers' Song
- Order & Chaos
- Land on the Shore
Monday, September 19, 2016
This is not perhaps what you might have expected Seth Lakeman to do next. All I can say is that I am mighty glad that he did. I did wonder if his focus on music about or from the South West of England might have run it's course. Well now we don't know, at least for now.
Seth and his band toured the UK in 2015 with Devon trio Wildwood Kin, whose own music is acoustic Americana folk with much UK influence, as his primary supporting act. This is the musical development of that.
This is certainly no lash-up. The two acts seem to have bought the very best out of each other - that is Seth Lakeman was tempted into Appalachian territory and Wildwood Kin self-deployed in three-part-harmony heaven on nine of the eleven tracks. So who might buy into this vision?
Ethan Johns produced the record, much of it was recorded as live takes, and that says a great deal. There is a single cover song - and a surprising one - for it is 'Anna Lee'. Written by Laurelyn Dossett it first appeared on Levon Helm's 2007 album 'Dirt Farmer'.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Feathers is the debut LP by Gitter de Ridder - now London-based but hailing from the Netherlands and between which she regularly commutes.
I'd rather leave it on a pile of things that are to be played on rotation.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
I feel like a change from narrating my thoughts on festivals because I haven't written a post on new music for what seems like an age (it's about four weeks in truth) and I mentioned female-fronted garage rock in relation to Seratones at End of The Road Festival 2016. This is about that sort of thing.
The first is the only one of the three albums released as of today but all three are by bands that I have seen live.
- Babes Never Die
- Ready For The Magic
- Sea Hearts
- Love Is a Disease
- Walking at Midnight
- Justine, Misery Queen
- Hey, Stellar
Monday, September 12, 2016
Two three-day music festivals in quick succession, as I recently attended, do two things. The minor one concerns sleep patterns. That is no revelation, it lasts just a few days and is basically tiredness compounded by a lack of routine. The less obviously explicable one, and it doesn't kick in for about a week, is that it totally messes with all idea of what recorded music I wish to listen to.
In some cases it is actually that I want to play it for real - from a physical thing - simply because I can and that is illustrated perfectly by this, an artist who certainly wasn't one of the stand-out acts when originally announced, unless one happened to know otherwise for she was then only about to release her début album. All credit to the EOTR team for this.
Before Saturday evening came around several people whose thoughts and integrity I very much respect had said that they were surprised that Bat For Lashes had been chosen to headline the main Woods stage when Ezra Furman was playing the Garden stage. Luckily I had at least seen a that potential clash coming and headed it off at the pass by catching Ezra Furman play at Green Man a fortnight earlier. One thing I could reliably inform them that he was absolutely on-fire then. I was told a couple of hours later, when we reconvened in the Tipi tent, that he still was.
So was Natasha Khan.
A topic of discussion in recent times is that, taken together, festivals apparently favour male artists over female ones and especially near the top of the bill, on any given stage. End Of The Road has certainly never been this way and this year only served to underline that. I just mention this because having written and included pictures of seven EOTR 2016 acts, so far, all of them female fronted. Is that therefore an indication that I am guilty of sexism in my photography?
Saturday, September 10, 2016
End Of The Road Festival may not have the physical rigours associated with the sheer size and the mud to be found at Glastonbury but it is without doubt, if one is to take full advantage of what is on offer, the most mentally demanding of festivals that I have been to. This was my eighth EOTR, so I know what to expect, but that doesn't actually make it less challenging.
In some ways it is akin to a residential course in that, as well as the supplied live content 12 noon - 02:15 daily and that included watching thirty-nine live sets in eighty hours, there is the interaction with fellow attendees to be considered. It is wise to assume that they know what they are talking about and will expect you to do likewise.
This is not a weekend break with some music included; it is far more intense than Green Man and yet I can't quite imagine exactly how this has come to be the case. It is certainly a festival that artists enjoy playing because they know that they really are being listened to. In general terms both festivals focus on a similar part of the musical spectrum - indeed there is some artist overlap each year - and this can be used to advantage in order to minimise clashes at any given one, if attending both.
On rare occasions it is an excuse to see the same act twice in quick succession, as I chose to do here.
Nobody that I found could recollect another lilac guitar although surely it must have happened? This one is a Danelectro model.
Let's jump back two generations, relative to the above.
For many years Kath Bloom has very rarely played solo shows outside of her home state of Connecticut. EOTR 2016 was treated to one such and that was not something I was planning to miss.
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Mothers is a four-piece band; this is Kristine Leschper and Drew Kirby thereof.
Monday, August 29, 2016
In three days time I shall be at End Of The Road 2016, so I had better get on with this! Here are five more acts from Green Man 2016 that I had never before seen play live. I have mentioned already that I really rate the Walled Garden stage and particularly in its new configuration. Three of these artists played that stage but I shall start and finish with the ones that played the smaller Green Man Rising stage.
Tracks from both LPs were included, and explained.