Sunday, July 30, 2017

Truck Festival - Part 2 - The Saloon Bar Beckons

It is with sadness that I must mention that Truck Festival's bigger companion, Y Not Festival, was terminated this weekend not long after it had started due to both the mud and, perhaps more importantly, the dangerous electrical problems that the rain caused on the various stages. I'll say something that is actually very important. The festival support staff at Truck Festival last weekend went beyond what might reasonably have been expected in order to mitigate the problems and so did so many others on the campsite. Awesome is not an inappropriate word in the circumstances and yet I suspect that they didn't really get the credit that was due to them.
Thank-you!
We must regard ourselves fortunate for what we were able to see and hear last weekend.

Here then is some stuff from that most important of stages. Of course it is almost all about the music but without the audience festivals would be nothing. The vitality of this interaction is so very important; a challenge to all. Keeping an exact count of the artists that played supporting roles throughout the whole weekend certainly got the better of me. You'll probably start to see familiar faces however.

There is no better place to start than with a stalwart of The Saloon Bar stage in recent years; Paul McClure promoting his latest EP 'Paul McClure and The Local Heroes'.

The Saloon Bar stage, Saturday afternoon, 22 July 2017.

Included in this photo, along with Paul, is another of the many heroes of this stage last weekend - Tom Collison on keyboards.
No better way to continue with, all the way from St. Antonio, Texas and a second year on this stage, Rachel Laven.

Saloon Bar stage, Saturday 22 July, with Simon Kelly and Rebecca Rosewell.


Also returning to this stage, and I have to say that I much admire this sense of continuity, was Hannah Rose Platt with new songs.

Lunchtime, Saturday 22 July 2017.

There is of course an element of competition in all of this and I suspect that I'm mostly on the losing side, but the challenge is good.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Truck Festival 2017 - Part 1 - An Introduction

It is no secret that I go to Truck Festival in large part simply for The Saloon Bar stage. There will be much about that in due course. Every year is different and this year one striking feature was the all encompassing mud. I mention this because there was no getting away from it and therefore it impacts on most of the pictures in one way or another.

Did it spoil the weekend? Not in itself. On the other hand those whose tents did not withstand the torrential rain and thus suffered from the 
surprising chill of Friday night had a thoroughly demoralising weekend and, despite everyone's best efforts, some of them understandably decided to quit. Nobody wants to see a festival affected like that but the weather is what it is. It has to be said that thereafter a certain spirit was in evidence that involved carrying on as if nothing  had happened even though it clearly had...  Last year I included pictures of folks relaxing on the grass, taken from the porch of the Saloon Bar stage; this one, in contrast, is taken the other way around.

In the fleeting sunshine of Sunday afternoon. 23 July 2017.


As you can see I did occasionally venture out of The Saloon Bar, and not only for sustenance and the call of nature. I did however succeed in something that I had intended, but failed, to do at both Truck Festival 2015 and Truck Festival 2016.  On Saturday I was there for all of every set played on The Saloon Bar stage.

A short paddle across the bayou led to either the Nest stage or the Veterans and Virgins stage. This all-female three-piece opened the former stage on Sunday morning with a set that included much of their debut EP 'Are You Sure?' (Alcopop Records, 2017)

Peaness, The Nest stage, Sunday 23 July.


This next was something of a glorious cock-up. On Saturday, and between Saloon Bar stage sets, I had intended to go and see Goat Girl playing on the Market stage. Quite unintentionally, but very fortunately, I went to The Nest stage by mistake and saw a band that in all probability I would never have seen otherwise...
Vukovi - The Nest stage, Truck Festival, 21 July 2017.

This experimental rock four-piece is from Scotland and in Janine Shilstone it has one of the most astonishing vocal performers of the moment. I have now listened to d├ębut LP 'Vukovi' (Lab Records, 2017). Great though it is, I can only say that I was mighty fortunate to see Vukovi live. I don't think that, if truth be told, I actually saw anything more impressive all weekend. It was however run close on several occasions I am happy to report.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Short lines - a journey with UK folk and Americana

It is fairly easy to follow the big picture but even easier to fail to recognise, let alone even hear or see live, quite what is happening at home. This is a journey through some of that territory because the UK is taking it aboard with relish, sometimes abandon.
This first is the oldest of the three releases that I am planning to mention here. It was released last year.

Angelina - Vagabond Saint (Wonderful Sound, 2 December 2016).

Angelina the artist is named for a Dylan song and this is an album of dust-bowl country blues with a voice to match.  There are tales of high plains and endless trains...  that is all the more remarkable for the fact that she has lived her life and the album was recorded on The Isle Of Wight. It is yet another astonishing omission from my list of 'albums of 2016'. It's tough but this might just be one of my favourite songs, at least today.



Jump forward to 2017 and here are two other acts that have come to my attention. In both cases they take a distinct tack through what should really be regarded as well-charted waters.
This duo had been plying their own solo careers around the smaller live stages in London until their paths crossed and they decided to become writing, recording and performing entity Ferris & Sylvester, comprising Issy Ferris and Archie Sylvester. There is a lot of 60s and 70s influence on show here 
but never to the point of pastiche; they claim that songwriting must be truthful and honest, even if that is hard to do. It's quite possible to believe that they really mean what they say.

Ferris and Sylvester - The Yellow Line (self-released, 22 June 2017).


I shall end this short tour with another EP, this one from London artist Jade Bird. She does nothing whatsoever to hide her love for Americana folk. The five tracks here run to only just fifteen minutes but it's a determined pitch.

Jade Bird - Something American (Glassnote, 6 July 2017).