Quick Review. I went to see this show at a packed Bury Met last night. It was very good indeed. 9 well known folkies, plus Matthew Crampton as narrator and scriptwriter. Original songs from the original Transports ballad opera by Peter Bellamy. New arrangements by Paul Sartin. The other folkies, who all played a part in the drama were The Young ‘Uns, Saul Rose, Benji Kirkpatrick, Nancy Kerr, Greg Russell and Rachael McShane. The latter, ex-Bellowhead cellist played the female lead and surprised the house by having an excellent singing voice. Who knew? Someone who presumably knew is her former bandleader Jon Boden who was present along with Fay Hield. The show was a clever mix of original story, some localised history from that period, and local modern history of refugees. It was made more pertinent by getting home to discover all the stuff going on at JFK. It was a minimal stage setting, with crates, stools and a few planks. The second half started off with a full cast version of Dark Water Carry Me which, although unannounced, I know to be a fairly recent Young ‘Uns composition as I saw them introduce and perform it at Costa Del » Continue Reading.
A Steely touch in yesterday’s episode of Endeavour which centred on dodgy goings on in Cowley General Hospital. In the opening sequence it became clear that we were listening to The Nightfly on Cowley Hospital Radio. The DJ then signed off as “Lester Fagen”
Well it made me chuckle. Please yourselves
I saw Bap Kennedy at Summertyne in Gateshead last year, playing a very enjoyable set with a splendid guitarist called Gordy McAllister. Bap seemed relaxed and happy, and had clearly been in the game long enough to have built a decent body of work and to know how to present it
I saw this BBC article today http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-37262777 about how Brian Kennedy was undergoing treatment for rectal cancer but was expecting to recover. Towards the end of the article it says he had met up with his brother Bap, after years of estrangement, and that Bap was receiving palliative care after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I had a look at Bap’s website and his health blog is an inspiring read. It’s grim news though, as he can only be about 54. I hope his road goes easy for him http://www.bapkennedy.com/health-blog
Most years I spend a weekend in Newcastle / Gateshead enjoying the Summertyne Americana Festival at The Sage. This year was no exception. It was busier than I’ve seen before, and it remains a splendid event because so much of it is free. This year I didn’t see too much free stuff as I’d booked a few gigs, and specifically I’d booked to see Ron Block (him out of Alison Krauss & Union Station) making a rare appearance, and with the added incentive of being in concert with the fabulous Sierra Hull on mandolin, mandola and vocals. I first saw Sierra at Merlefest in North Carolina in 2006 when she was 14. She was ridiculously accomplished back then. Yesterday at The Sage Hall 2 she was spectacularly good, culminating with a solo party piece where she played a lovely melodic arrangement of The Tennessee Waltz before launching into After You’ve Gone played in the style of Django Rheinhardt, which she absolutely nailed. There might be better mandolinists on the planet, but I can’t think of many
Ron seemed relaxed, in contrast with the rather stern manner he tends to portray in Union Station. His guitar and banjo playing was delightful » Continue Reading.
Awesome sporting prowess, determination and courage on display at the Boat Race today in horrendous conditions. In particular the Cambridge Women being up to their oxters in water but declining to be rescued and rowing the last 1000m in a cause that was as lost as lost can be
But wtf were the BBC doing with Helen Skelton and some half-wit comedian doing some riverside coverage? Is this some recent BBC charter that says any display of excellence has to be reduced to a nadir of inanity? I wonder if, after the 100m final in Rio they’ll cut to some dumb & dumber duo saying “I don’t know anything about running. But I like his shorts. And look, they’ve got metal spiky things sticking out of their shoes” Why oh why BBC etc etc
This is miserable news. Playing in a band should be fun, and an adventure.
I got a late offer to take over a spare ticket for this which has been sold out for a while. I’ve seen John McCusker and Mike McGoldrick loads of times, starting when they were in Kate Rusby’s band. But I’ve only seen John Doyle in the Transatlantic Sessions band where he keeps a low profile, whilst quietly leading the back line. My goodness the boy can play! A rhythm monster on both guitar and guitar-shaped bouzouki, but the occasional unleashing of some blinding single note runs shows he has the full deck at his disposal. He sings well too, and his 6 or so songs broke up the instrumentals (or chuns as we folkies like to call them) nicely. I wasn’t familiar with the Dublin sea shanty tradition so had never heard “Fall down Billy O’Shea” before. For an encore he sang a “when first I came to this country” stylee ballad to the tune of “Be thou my vision”. On this, and on his opener he played an electric hollow body (possibly a Godin?) with sustain effects which sounded lovely. The three of them are fabulous players, all very modest in their » Continue Reading.
I first saw Aoife at Merlefest in North Carolina in 2005 when she was one of 3 featured singers in the Wayfaring Strangers, a 10 piece band including tutors, pupils and alumni from various Boston music schools. Since then I’ve seen her in Sometymes Why, the excellent Crooked Still, as a guest with The Transatlantic Sessions band, and memorably last year as part of the I’m With Her trio alongside Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz. At some point her writing took off and she got a song on an Alison Krauss album, which presumably is enough of an earner to allow the writer to take time off the road and pursue new ideas
I’ve never seen Aoife solo but I know she toured the UK at least once, entirely on her own, with a guitar on her back and travelling by public transport. I think anyone who’d gone to see her last night based on her solo tour (and I think there were quite a few last night in that category) would have been in for a surprise. What we got was a soundscape experience, showcasing her new album In The Magic Hour, with » Continue Reading.
O2 Ritz, Manchester
As good a gig as I’ve seen for a long time. My mate got me a ticket for this 6 months ago and it’s kind of crept up on me. I knew Southeastern pretty well but hadn’t really checked out his latest Something More Than Free until a few weeks ago when I had it on heavy rotation. What a fantastic lyricist! Blue collar themes of work hard / play hard, love & loss, dreams and harsh reality. The sound was great, perfectly clear and never too loud. The band are all a singer-songwriter could ask for, and could all sing back-up when required. Jason sang his heart out, and played acoustic and electric guitar very well. In a 1:45 set we got a little bit of twin guitar southern rock, some Crazy Horse stylee epic jam, but mostly just top notch Americana singer songwriting
A sell out. Lots of 50 plus, with a high percentage of spectacles wearers. During Elephant the audience were completely silent
It made me think..
I’ve seen a lot of gigs over the years, maybe over 800. But I haven’t seen many better than this. It » Continue Reading.
Squeeze sticking it to the man on the Andrew Marr show. Marvellous! Isn’t it? mmm?
I just received an email update from Band On The Wall in that there Manchester which reveals that Ryley Walker is doing a duo tour of the UK in Feb with the legendary Danny Thompson. It seems an ideal fit in that Ryley’s music is very reminiscent of Bart Jansch, Nick Drake, John Martyn all of whom played with Danny who at 76 is 50 years older than Ryley
Mostly small gigs, the tour runs 17-28th Feb with no gig on the 22nd. The route is Bristol, Oxford, Birmingham, London, Barton, Stockton, Jimmy Clitheroe, Liverpool, Leeds, Farndale, and the aforementioned BotW in Manchester
Hotel Tivoli, Carvoeiro, Algarve
See comments. My previous 2 attempts at posting failed, so it’s see comments or I give up
It made me think..
Can you guess what it is yet? Yeh, see comments
A letter in last weeks Radio Times alerted me to this Prom, performed on August 11th and televised on BBC4 on the 28th. I watched it last night on that there player and when I got home tonight I watched it all again. It’s great! There are 2 bands (Guy Barker & Winston Rollins) mirrored on stage, sometimes playing together. Barker did the arrangements for both bands and does most of the conducting. Some cracking playing by both bands, and what really comes across is how much they enjoy doing it. The programme repertoire ranges from the scholarly to the flat-out, and incorporates both smooth and raucous as appropriate. Splendid singing from Clare Teal, and a nice turn from Jamie Davis and the Promunards doing Kalamazoo-zoo-zoo-zoo. I particularly enjoyed his first half rendition of Marie with the Winston Rollins brass section chanting nonsense lyrics behind his smooth delivery. Also features that sly old motherfunster Lester Freamon from The Wire, aka Clarke Peters enjoying himself performing Minnie the Moocher to a big crowd. Hi-de-ho!
Available for another 12 days. Niiiiiiice!
I saw Rosanne for the first time last year at the Barbican where she and her husband John Leventhal performed her latest album The River & the Thread in its entirety. It was the only gig on the tour where they were accompanied by a band as they normally tour these days as a duo. It was great and John was a delight to hear on lead electric guitar. But I have to say I enjoyed this duo gig even more, promoted as part of the excellent annual Summertyne Americana Festival held at The Sage. Rosanne sang beautifully throughout but the revelation for me was Leventhal on acoustic guitar. He was fantastic in all respects, whether finger picking or playing plectrum leads to her rhythm guitar. Lots of blues, an occasional burst of jazz, plenty of country picking and some ragtime. Altogether a splendid performance by a duo who are completely at ease with each other. They did a load off River & Thread, 4 from The List, plus perennial faves Ode to Billy Joe and her Dad’s Tennessee Flat Top Box. Opener Anderson East wasn’t bad either. Think Foy Vance with an Alabama » Continue Reading.
My heart leaps as I see the line-up for this years Summertyne American Festival; Choice of Rodneylou, Penn & Oldham, and Felice Bros on Friday night, Roseanne Cash on Saturday night, plus free outdoor gigs on Fri, Sat & Sun. The last of which features the fabulous Della Mae and also The Lost Brothers. What’s not to like there?
I hope this means the Dellas are playing a UK tour rather than just the one date they played last year at the Borderline, attended by your humble correspondent and reviewed on this very website. To me they just keep getting better and better particularly with the growing songwriting influence of flat picking starlet Courtney Hartman. There is a nice set of stopover videos on their Facebook page recorded at the homes of people who have put them up during their latest tour. The one of Courtney and lead singer Celia Boyd performing Lucinda Williams’ Jackson is just lovely and the one of Courtney flat picking with fiddler Kimber Ludiker is top notch, not least because of the none-more-bluegrass title of Possum up a Gum Stump
Did any one see this, shown a few weeks back on BBC4? I’d vaguely heard or Rory McEwen but hadn’t realised he had such an interesting life. I’ve just checked, it’s still there with 14 days left to run. One of his daughters married Jools Holland after her father’s death. So Jools never met his father-in-law but does a nice job in presenting this fascinating 30 minute documentary
In short, he had a Scottish aristocratic upbringing, got into US folk-blues very early, did a Leadbelly-inspred road trip with his brother, appeared with said brother on the Ed Sullivan show way before the Beatles, came home to get his own folk show on British TV. Gave all that up to become a world class botanical artist. Hung about with groovy artistic types, died tragically early
Apart from Rory’s achievements the bit that surprised me most was the clip of Cliff Michelmore who I remember as being seen as a bit of a breath of fresh air at the time; a more man-of-the-people approach to BBC presenting. The bit where he says “one of these young people is now beck in this country” makes me wonder what it must » Continue Reading.
Lovely to see this set back up. Huge respect to those amongst us who made that possible