Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Marnhull Acoustic Sessions 2014

Parts of Somerset and Dorset are indeed flooded, with no end to the deluge in sight, but please don't think that the rich musical life of both counties has suddenly vanished. Far from it indeed and the new year of Marnhull Acoustic Sessions starts this coming Sunday with two fine singer-songwriters as a double-headline show and I have seen both live just once before.
Tom James is from Falmouth, Cornwall and played at North Dorset Folk Festival 2012. To choose a cover here, rather than one of his own songs, might seem a strange choice. To cover Bonnie Raitt is a mark of bravery...

Can't Make You Love Me.
Pip Mountjoy is from Richmond, North Yorkshire and I first saw her live at Deershed Festival, near Thirsk and also in North Yorkshire, in 2012. She was "down south" last June, performing on the BBC Introducing Stage at Glastonbury Festival.
The Killing Kind.
She has released two EPs, 'Louisiana' and 'My Skeleton' and this track is not on either of them. This Sunday should be very special.
Tickets are £6 + £0.60 fee booked here with instant e-delivery (no need to worry about the post) and £7 on the door at Marnhull Village Hall, if any are still available at this most intimate of venues.
On Saturday 25 October 2014 it will also be the home of the third North Dorset Folk Festival and you wouldn't want to miss that...
There are only a couple of festivals for which I will book a ticket on trust, with no prior knowledge of the line up: End Of The Road Festival is one and this another.

Monday, January 27, 2014

New Music 2014 - Part 6 - Harriet Jones

Barely a week after I discovered one new act from Plymouth (WHOANOWS) as I was listening to Kathryn Tickell's show, on Amazing Radio this evening, along came this statement of intent from 20-year-old singer-songwriter Harriet Jones also from Plymouth.

The track Dealin' Man Blues is released as a single today and is as good a slice of soul-blues as I have heard in some time. It is remarkable for, amongst other things, the minimal accompaniment to her vocal and that works because it simply doesn't need more. Another one to watch in 2014 and I would love to see her play live.
If I were to meet her I should be very wary: If I am reminded by this of any one other song in particular then it is a cautionary tale, with a moral ending - 'The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest' and I'm not convinced that I would come out on the right side of this.
It may seem a curious comparison but it works for me. What she might conjure up next is anyone's guess but hers. I'm fascinated by the possibilities.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

New Music 2014 - Part 5 - Arc Iris

'Singing So Sweetly' is the début single from band Arc Iris, the new project of former Low Anthem member Jocie Adams. Here it is:
The self-titled album Arc Iris will be released by Bella Union in the UK on 31 March and by Anti- Records (North America) on 1 April. Arc Iris will play in Bristol, UK, at The Louisiana on 6 May and this doesn't sound remotely like her former band. To say that it is eclectic, as some already have, is only the half of it.
The Low Anthem is also to release new music in 2014. Exciting times, yet again.
[to be continued soon]

Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Music 2014 - Part 4 - Smoke Fairies

I'm not sure that I have ever tried to write two posts on-line simultaneously but I see no reason why not to try it.
The Smoke Fairies self-titled forthcoming third album, released on 14 April by Full Time Hobby Records on DL (various file formats) to vinyl (but perhaps not cassette) just as you might wish.

Beyond that I can't tell you much other than to say that I have almost all of their previous LPs, EPs and none of them have disappointed.
I can't remember how I first came to know of them but the first time I saw them live was at Latitude Festival 2009 on the Thursday evening and a performance (in a marquee, fortunately) that was interrupted by a truly epic thunderstorm.  I shall look at the ghosts of festivals long gone and try and find some pictures.

This is the only remotely usable one from Latitude 2009 - Katherine Blamire on guitar.
On the Garden Stage at End of The Road Festival 2010 the sun was shining and all this explains, at least in part, why I wish to see them play live once again.
Jessica Davies playing slide guitar.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2013 In Music - Albums - Part 3

In early December I said that I would do this. I always forget some albums that should be included and this year is no exception to the rule. There are in addition, several that I simply hadn't heard, or otherwise understood insufficiently, in time for them to be included in the first two lists. I have been busy with that and, while it might not be finalised for a week or so, this list might possibly run to another half-dozen. I will add them piecemeal as and I get the opportunity to do so.
They are in no particular order but this list will have images. It is again very much tied in with music I have seen live in 2013.
The first is Jo Harman and Company and the début album 'Dirt On My Tongue'. 

Albeit impressive at the first Frome Blues Festival in 2012; the return in 2013 was some triumph. She had it pretty much sewn up.
Only The Nimmo Brothers kept it from being the highlight of the day and, as they acknowledged, they have a fair few more years at the grindstone and under the belt. If you find the album is good then you need to see Jo Harman live. That actually applies to The Nimmo Brothers and also King King too - and I had the extreme good fortune to see all three acts in the space of six weeks.
The next is the début album by another band that I saw live for the first time at Truck Festival 2013, and another from the small Saloon stage that was curated by Clubhouse Records. This is one reason that I am very much minded to go to Truck Festival 2014 (19/20 July). That band is The Cedars and the album Little Copper Still.
Fermented in America, distilled in Britain.

This leads me to another festival that is tempting, and I thought about it last year. Maverick Festival 2014 (4 - 6 July 2014, nr. Woodbridge, Suffolk). There are no published artists for this yet but I have the feeling that it is unlikely to disappoint and I really like the idea of going to at least one weekend festival that I have never attended before.
I made and stated some rules concerning 'best of lists'. If this happens to breach them then, as they are my rules they are also mine to break. Fear not - I have no ambition in politics.
I didn't have this album in time to comment in the two previous lists but the EP 'The Weight Of The Globe' featured here and rightly so. This is about as good as it gets. EOTR 2014, are you listening?
It is also just one of a trio of releases that feature similar superimposed images as artwork... Warpaint - Warpaint is one of the other two that I have in mind. That is however a 2014 release.
[To be continued soon.]

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Music 2014 - Part 3 - Tiny Ruins

Time catches up with us all - this however is one of the good times. One of the 2014 "artists to watch" is indubitably New Zealand's Ella Yellich O'Connor, better known as Lorde and not least for her 2013 album 'Pure Heroine'.
Another New Zealand artist well worth hearing is Tiny Ruins, the project of Hollie Fullbrook. I first became aware of this when I was at No Direction Home Festival in 2012.

Hollie Fullbrook (guitar and vocals), Cass Basil (bass). Electric Dustbowl stage.
I was reminded yesterday whilst listening to a Mixcloud compilation of singer-songwriter fare in 2013 when I suddenly thought "Oh! a Laura Marling song I don't know and a good one at that." That is never a bad thing; I was wrong about the artist, however.
It turned out to be the song 'Always You, Tiptoeing Through', which is the final track on Tiny Ruins' 2013 EP 'Haunts', which I didn't have. Well worth the cost of the download (the physical copies are long gone). Even better is that a new studio album is coming this spring. I haven't even got the last one yet - Some Were Meant For Sea (2011).
Catch up, Richard!
I now remember why this was. I had intended to buy it at the festival but they had all sold. In any case it has made a lovely start to the New Year, the only blot being that it looks like No Direction Home was a one-off festival. On the other hand I would very much hope to see Tiny Ruins, with the new album in tow, at End Of The Road Festival 2014.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

2014. Whither am I bound?

Time to think about festivals again. From experience I can tell you this - it doesn't get any easier. The title applies just as much to artists too.
The first ever Behind The Castle Festival, a one day mostly folk event in Sherborne, Dorset, on June 14 is a must. I shall, of course be attending End Of The Road 2014 but then that probably goes without saying. This is the start of the road.
I'm not a great believer in resolutions for the New Year but this time I decided upon a few. Some are more instantly commenced than others.  This is one that certainly is active immediate.
I shall listen to - and pay proper attention to - at least eight hours of music that is new (to me at least) each week. The investment will be in time, for there is no reason for this to cost much and it could be done entirely legally on-line. It's going quite well I must say but then many good intentions founder before the end of January. The fact that it has rained almost continually has helped and that January looks like it will be a very quiet month for me as regards going to see live music isn't going to be a hindrance either, although that would also count if it were new to me.
One can spend many happy hours trawling through profiles, reading reviews and listening to Soundcloud, Mixcloud and the like, as quite often I do and it costs nothing. On the other hand the likes of Amazing Radio can provide much that is just there and ready for the listening. The presenters have done the pre-filtering for you but, and this is important, not too much filtering. It is free, legal and available worldwide.

I am happy to tell you that, until about twenty minutes ago, I was quite unaware of Finnish accordion player Johanna Juhola. Here is that track and Amazing Radio was the reason that I got to hear it.

You might like Olivia Chaney too ---  yet another one to watch in 2014.