There is a rich tradition of, mainly, female artists, celebrated often in their own right, coming together to work as a trio, often mining a seam rich in country roots. I guess Dolly, Emmy and Linda are the template, but honourable mention also to Case/Lang/Veirs and even to Liv On, the unexpected combination of Beth Neilson Chapman and Amy Sky with Olivia Newton-John. (Livvy is on a bit of a roll of late, with a tribute album awaited from Evan Dando acolyte, Juliana Hatfield, with this perhaps not unrelated, I gather, to the return of the Neutron-Bomb’s breast cancer, now spread to her spine. Sad news even if Grease makes you curl.) Well, added to these now hear “I’m With Her”, kicking fresh blood into the format. This is Aiofe O’Donovan, Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins, all of whom have seen some solo acclaim and/or with their earlier bands: Sara with Nickel Creek, Aiofe with Crooked Still. Fine singers and instrumentalists all, capable of knocking wistful hell out of anything and everything stringed, from guitars through banjos, fiddles and mandolins. This is actually a belated debut, released tomorrow, as they have toured a couple of times, including over here, where » Continue Reading.
OK, Mike, if we are being accurate, but quite a bill, with EC at last touring avec band (even if play us some new seems unlikely) Seats for the old folks, too. (I note Mr C is also playing a gig inManchester with Paul Heaton/Jacqui Abbott on the 6th July, so maybe more to come. Now a gig I would like to see would be a pairing of Mr C and a certain Mr Thompson, given he is too here this summer, with his electric trio…….
Apologies to @smudger, shamelessly picking up on his comment about Rialto over on the forgotten bands thread, but have any band successfully and convincingly demonstrated the added benefit of dual drum kits? From the Dead and the Allman Brothers onward this conceit has given entertainment to the eyes, less so, I would say, to the ears. Anyone care to present a case for the contrary?
What does it sound like?:
Curved Air were always a better idea than a reality, perhaps explaining their inability to retain any one line-up for any great length of time. Air Conditioning was their debut and, shall we say, very much of it’s time, 1970, the time being ripe for a classical violin and rock rhythm section fusion, fresh with, ever mindful of the potential TOTP audience, a dad-friendly hippy chick on vocals. And, to be fair, who outside of these portals remembers them for anything else? (And no, Back Street Luv was on their 2nd album.) So what do we get here? 2 discs, the first being a remaster of the original recording, with both sides of the debut single, reprising the different version that opens the album, and it’s flip. Disc 2 is loads of motley alternate versions, the compulsory John Peel sessions and, significantly, a studio recording of the apparently otherwise unreleased Daryl Way live showstopper, Thinking on the Floor. A fancy booklet would be included, were this not a stream, effectively also nuancing the sonic virtues of the remastering, but, hey, beggars can’t be choosers. It is probably clearer than the copy I have on » Continue Reading.
Following on from @stevet ‘s thead, some are probably familiar with the concept, whereby UK and US musicians come together and play/sing largely trad arr material from their homelands. The format is a large band of acoustic maestros: guitars, fiddles, banjos, squeezeboxes,Danny Thompson etc and 4 or so singers who drift on and off stage, individually and collectively. Sadly it seems to have fallen into a bit of a rut and has lost the excitement of earlier years. So who would be your singer/players to stretch the format? Mine, (and AW warning, it includes RT) RT, Van, Emmylou and Donal Lunny. (Van and Emmylou have been on the telly version, Teddy has played on the live and Donal does the same sort of stuff on Irish telly, so hardly a huge leap of faith for the organisers, if maybe outwith their wallets.)
Well, I both got in and stayed at this one, a first of 3 recent events, these troupers really showing how it can be done. Tribute band, Retro? Well, sort of, except this time they are all pros in their own right, old pros at that, being Steve Gibbons, the Steve Gibbons, the THM* of yore, still world famous in Brum, Dave Pegg and Gerry Conway from Fairport, PJ Wright, erstwhile Gibbons sidesman, latterly lead of Little Johnny England and Trad Arr, and Phil Bond, still a Gibbons band regular. Bloody hell, these guys can play, with Gibbons the consummate Dylan copyist, being a full month younger than Bob, 76, having been chucking in Dylan songs since forever, or 1980, when I first caught him, the difference being he references Dylan before his voice went to shit. And, no mere memorex of performances past, with updates, restyles and reinterprets aplenty, but in a way where you can actually recognise the song, if not the arrangement. No easy retread of the greatest hits, either, these were often, at least in the first half, deeper cuts from less well-celebrated moments. Hell, barely a song from Blonde » Continue Reading.
Most of you will be stuck into those annoying last minute must listen to x 6 before the end of time, prompted by someone else’s list of obscure and arcane best 20. Give yersels a break, relax, pour a frothy sunday teatime one and shove on some random…. Here’s mine, with a cheeky bottle of Thornbridges’s Jaipur, 1. Las Cuevas/Radio Tarifa, from Temporal (1996). Hadn’t heard this in yonks, hispano-arabic fusion. Rather good. 2. The Lady of Shalott/Loreena McKerritt, from The Visit (1992). A bit of shrill Enyaesque faux folk maudlintronica. Nearly 12 bloody minutes. Beaten into submission by the end, and loving it. I bet @Beany has this. 3. Mustang Sally/Buddy Guy feat. Jeff Beck, from Damn Right I Got the Blues (1991). Hot damn, that’s a cracker. Before Beck became obsessed with juvenile ersatz blues shouters, can’t remember her name. And Buddy really is THE blues Guy in my book. 4. Algo Bueno/Dizzy Gillespie & his Orchestra, from, I am afraid, a compilation, Classic Jazz. Still a good barnstorm tho’ 5. You are Everything/Michael McDonald, from Motown (2003). Cracking song, corking vocalist. Call me cheesy and i’ll call you crackers. Well that was an odd » Continue Reading.
Town Hall, Birmingham
I know I may be writing here an invitation to hatemail, there being many who revere this wellonthewaytobeinganationaltreasure of a band. Indeed I like much of their material, if sometimes finding the saccharine taste in their salty-sour songs a little too cloying. So I was looking forward to the show, my first for them. Having seen clips of their shows when augmented with brass bands to be a delight, the idea of an orchestra seemed not too alarming. Wrongity wrong……… Arriving a tad late, an illness on the train ahead, a euphemism for on the tracks I feel, had meant a 30 minute wait at Erdington, I and others were kept outside in the foyer until a break in performance. You know, like in a real posh concert, not for folk-club hardened veterans used to bar banter as loud as they. OK, I’m harsh, but it annoyed me. That and the tutting of the grey-rinsed pillars of the community I had to squeeze past to get to my seat even more. Still I had but missed the, what do they call it, the overture. I was in time for the delightfully shambolic introductions » Continue Reading.
Nowt to see here
As if the best of year posts aren’t bad enough, the festivals are beginning to leak their 2018 line-ups. As an old folkie at heart, I was looking at Shrewsbury and came across this name, one with which I was unfamiliar,
Blimey!! The ghost of Planxty or what?
OK, maybe not a strict category to foist upon the massive, rather more a heads up to the Nov/Dec RnR (or Rock ‘n’ Reel to older readers) cover disc. Hosted (curated?) by 30 Tigers, a Nashville production and PR company, this is 20 tracks of unadulterated catnip for fans of americana. Jason? Lucinda? Yup, present and correct. Jonh Prine, Son Volt? Them too, with a backline of Ray Wylie Hubbard and Angaleena Presley and a host of others I hadn’t even yet latched onto. Fabbo stuff. WH Smith seems to be the only reliable outlet.
A belated klaxon, or should that be a blown horn, for the above, a warm and cosy 90 minute documentary about the old codgers. Nothing new or earth shattering in content, if with a few new old clips, seguing into current clips the band playing the same songs, genial dudes chatting about a life in folk-rock. Pour a pint of Old Ballsack and enjoy.
Kitchen Garden Cafe, King’s Heath, Birmingham
To think I had neither heard of this band, nor of Ross Wilson, for it/they is he, much more than a month ago, and he having providing a contender for both album and, after tonight, gig of the year. Hat’s both duly tipped to @tiggerlion, @steveT and I set off this cold november sunday, neither perhaps fully in the mood, even if the familiar cosiness of the KGC proved a welcoming, and warm, haven. A brief set from the incredibly spider-fingered Andy Lucas proved a comfortable start. Later to appear with the band, he adeptly tinkled through 5 or 6 numbers, stylistically a little reminiscent of a Randy Newman. The short gap for refreshment and the trio that were BCR tonight came on, the additional pair being Lyle Watt on, mainly, electric guitar, and Wilson himself on vox and acoustic. Kicking off with the delightful lament, Over the Fields, my favourite and the opener from the album, a warm glow provided by the piano/vocals interplay, he then said how the three of them were going to try to play the new album in set » Continue Reading.
O2 Academy, Birmingham
I bloody wish….. Much as I would love to regale you, I had forgotten how much I despise this venue. Doors open 7pm, my arse. We arrived perhaps 10 minutes later, the queue stretching a full 500 yards down the street, in the dreich and drizzle. Immediately the memories of previous queues, of the vile and expensive “choice” of drinks, the no seats left in he upstairs seated bit, the crap views from up there anyway. Enough already. There is a fine boozer nearby, the Victoria. We went there instead. OK, I couldn’t get full price for the tickets from the charming street salesman, but it wasn’t bad. I like London Grammar. Just not enough for the volume of piss this Venue extracts. Peeved, but a good night. Anyone know better?
Cold and wet. Some were old gits like me, poor bastards….
It made me think..
Getting’ too old for this malarkey
Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry
I have seen this little known troubadour umpteen times over, gulp, the last 42 years, with full bands and on his tod, never quite certain which format I prefer, the squalling howl of his electric or the intricate calisthenics of his acoustic playing. This was the latter, a tour to plug his latest paired recordings, Acoustic Classics 2 and Acoustic Rarities, but by now means confining himself thereto. As with all RT shows, all bets are off as to what he will and is willing to play. Support were Ben Walker and Josienne Clark, R2 Folk Duo award winners of a couple of years back, with a brief set, heavy on mournful emoting and, between songs, heartfelt self-deprecation. As befitting their host, they opened with a stark setting of Reynardine, Clarks voice resonant over Walkers exquisite shimmers of guitar. A short break and on comes Thommo, his uniform of beret and black present and correct, launching straight in, a couple of songs before pausing to engage with the audience. At first I felt he seemed slightly stilted, a good few songs before he relaxed into the warmth of a packed and partisan » Continue Reading.
And I don’t mean fretwankery guitar solos, I mean using the guitar for sounds, for moods, for experience. There seems to be a momentum for largely solo guitar sonics that is a delight. In recent months I have seen Duke Garwood, Ryley Walker and heard/bought the excellent Justin Adams, all of whom seem to favour dense soundscapes over lookatme jiggery pokery. I think all this a renaissance of the instrument, as accomplished as the 60’s/70’s wizards, but without the diddle. Ain’t it great! P.S. Adams went to Eton 5 years ahead of Cameron, D.
Mama Roux’s, Digbeth
I have always rued my missing of the early RW gigs as a duo with Danny Thompson, so when this came up, I was in like a shot. This is the problem with artists who are world famous superstars in the Afterword, because the reality is always so slightly different. As I arrived at the venue, to be ticked off the list of 7 who had pre-ordered, I came to realise I am, as ever, following a niche taste. I think there were perhaps 20 people, stocky men in their prime, much as I, shuffling around in the somewhat bleak surroundings. First on, and already on stage, tuning up, was support, Bill Mackay, who has done some recordings with Ryley, and it was a fine line between the end of tuning and the start of his set. Solo electric guitar without vocal is a tough act to pull off, which I think he did. A bit reminiscent of a recent exposure to Duke Garwood, lots of echo and no shortage of volume, a power play of string plucking, picking and strumming, all sorts of styles incorporated in the same piece, from ragtime to » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Dragging many readers away from a reverie around a slumber party with the Moorer sibs, let me simply say one thing, ain’t it an appealing notion. But that’s not why I came. This is the record Carl and others commented upon some time ago, now out there in release-villa. and it is wonderful. All covers bar one, a harrowing Shelby penned lament to their witness of their parents mutual deaths, this cross genres between the Horrors to Nick Cave, Nirvana to Dylan, by way of current americana golden boy, Jason Isbell, and the Louvin Brothers, with a bit of Townes and Merle for good measure. Exquisitely produced by (that) Teddy Thompson, featuring, amongst others, Belmont Tench on swirling keys, Doug Pettibone, Lucinda’s go-to axeman, on guitars and his dad’s band rhythm section of Michael Jerome and Taras Prodaniuk. It is a delight, transcending their earlier individual forays into cover territory.
What does it all *mean*?
It means I flipping love these girls (women)
Goes well with…
Any of the folk they cover, and anything they have done alone.
Might suit people who like…
Loads of pre-publicity about this, surprised it hasn’t yet gauged a post here, but I sort of can guess why, the spirit for vicious trollfests being o so last year for the current AWer. I have just watched the 4 episodes back to back. I thought it in turn stunning and terrifying, believable and unbelievable, best TV of the year, despite the supposed sensitivities. I can thus fully expect it will not have necessarily appealed to some of our media guardians, small g. So I looked: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-4807862/CHRISTOPHER-STEVENS-reviews-Channel-4-s-State.html Am i alone in finding way more offence in the “review” than the programme could possibly offer? Or was that the point?
My hell having duly frozen over I found myself back, after a 15 year gap for my current final visit. 50 years of Fairport seemed a logical opportunity to catch those not already on the ledge, whilst they still can. And I wasn’t disappointed. True, a lot of the time I felt like Charlie Watts, years of, it seemed, hanging around as the flyover acts played, waiting for the next incarnation or variation of the theme to appear. As will become apparent. Arriving at midday on the thursday and there were still plots on field 5, handy both for the field and the Village: Cropredy has an all-encompassing fringe, whereby the 2pubs have their own roster of bands playing over the 3 days, there are stalls filling all available spaces selling festival clothes and records and every available outlet sets up selling breakfast: the school, the cricket club and the canoe club. And the church, which also had a coup, when Ashley Hutchings’s History of Fairport show played to a small throng on friday afternoon. So to the music. Thursday kicked off with a brief set from the acoustic incarnation of Fairport, the current 5 » Continue Reading.
The Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath, Birmingham.
Well, I didn’t think I’d get to this, having had a throat op on saturday, but so glad I did, Chapman being an undoubted bucket list artist of mine, especially given his astonishing renaissance of the past few years. Kitchen Garden Cafe is small, nay, tiny: I counted the tightly crammed chairs as containing perhaps 80 grizzled souls. Chapman is 76 and so seemed many of his audience, creeping out from their Moseley boho attics under cover of dusk. And me. A gushing fanboy came on first, having twisted the promoters arm to play and was politely indulged. The contrast between his fresh face and designer haircut could not have been more extreme, Chapman ambling on in a tyre shop, sorry, “tire” shop, T shirt and baseball cap. First job was to ask the soundman to turn up his guitar, a battered looking acoustic six-string: “I like the sound of my guitar, I’m greedy”, he explained, “but my voice is shit.” The audience dissented, but slightly. Banging straight in with his trademark percussive and rolling picking, sort of John Fahey with tunes, it was a full five minutes, audience » Continue Reading.
Anyone going? Pint and a moan at the bar?
Town Hall, Birmingham
Those of long memory and patience might recall a plaintive post I put up on our predecessor, seeking advice around going to see this duo, afeard as I was of a lynching, on grounds of my gender. Assured, perhaps by Twang(othan) or Vulpes, maybe Steve T, there tonight incidentally, I brewed up my courage and waited this 9 years for their next tour. And I was not disappointed. Supported by Lucy Wainwright Roche, another Wainwright scion, she was charming, witty and self-deprecating. She could sing and play the guitar well too, but I can’t recall a hint of her songs. Even the ones from the record I have. And disarmingly and obviously her fathers daughter, Loudon in a wig being the look. Which is harsh as I warmed to her. Such is the role of a reviewer. A short gap and she was back, albeit alongside a fiddle player, very good, of chinese extraction and interesting hair, the two being the current band alongside Amy Ray (darker hair, lower registers) and Emily Saliers (fairer hair and the higher notes). I have their debut and a couple of others, so was anxious I may » Continue Reading.
You don’t have permission to access /wp-comments-post.php on this server.
What’s all that about? Some late night blogging and, as I try to reply to @peanuts_malloy, this is my response. Repeatedly. Anyone else?
OK, I haven’t been in alone in the evening at this time of year for a number of years. But I am tonight, and BBC4 are playing the Pretenders. Shying from calling them a heritage act, irrespective of the clearly heritage audience, they have kicked off with all the hits. And, as @jack_the_biscuit would say, I would. Cracking band, with James Walbourne (the Rails) on geetar and a never more Captain Pugwashalike Martin Chambers on drums, i’m loving it! And you?