I have just learnt that Deborah Coleman died a week or so ago, on the 12th. Complications of bronchitis, perhaps suggesting COPD or asthma. Uncertain how many will know the name, but she was up there with the boomette of women guitarslingersin the blues, a decade or two back. Unlike Bonnie, Susan T and Sue Foley, she was black, whatever difference that might make except possibly to sales. I rather rated her.
What does it sound like?:
Well, hold the fecking front page, fellas, those jaded with the school of Bargey sponsored progsnorathons, wake well up, cos this is a dangringing snorter and offers a late and worthy contender to the recent ‘Greatest Female Vocalist’ thread. Hyperbole? Hell, yeah, but if you don’t listen you don’t get. Now Mr B sent me this a couple of weeks back, citing my potential interest as an acknowledged folkie-americana aficionado. At first the name meant nowt, until I recalled an album I had e-musiced a year or 2 back, by the then just Hannah Sanders, Charm Against Sorrow, 2015, an exquisite revisioning of trad. arr. faithfuls such as A Sailors’s Life and Bonnie Bunch Of Roses, owing deep homage to the schools of Denny and, if there is, similar. No, come back, this is not more of, this is true progression, as she has now hooked up with a Ben Savage, another east anglian, yet steeped in appalachian styled stringed instruments and ambience. This is apparently their 2nd joint venture, the earlier having passed me by, but is a corker. Yes, this girl, OK, woman, can sing like the proverbial lark, the tracks that » Continue Reading.
https://arthurmag.com/2009/05/20/uncle-skullfuckers-band-daniel-chamberlin-explains-the-discreet-charm-of-the-grateful-dead/ Lured in my the e-mucic thread boy Blockchunk (or whatever it’s called), by way of Rocknerds brilliant rant, I looked back through his previous and found a link to this delightful piece. And I get it.
Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham
There are 2 versions of Roddy Woomble, the furrow-browed frontman of REM-alikes, Idlewild, spiky and agitated confusion, and the furrow-browed folkie, reeking of peat, hebridean laments to the fore. I have seen each and possibly err more towards the latter. Tonight we had the lesser of both worlds, with the tilt more toward Idlewild, albeit in an acoustic setting. With erstwhile Hazey Jane Andrew Mitchell, also present for Idlewild’s last outing, on keyboard and occasional hollow-body guitar, Woomble stuck with an acoustic guitar, at least to begin, and his voice. And a fine voice it is, resonating richly like a wood-aged Ledaig, a malt from his island home of Mull. Nominally a belated tour in support of The Deluder, his 4th solo record, which came out out last year, he had been specifically invited to appear here to help launch the publicity campaign for this years Moseley Folk Festival (http://www.moseleyfolk.co.uk ), which looks a corker, as ever stretching the meaning of folk to it’s limit. Tonights performance saw him yearning for the stadia more than the bothies, littered with Idlewild songs, and the Idlewild like songs of that recent album. » Continue Reading.
The Castle & Falcon, Birmingham
I know this band has a friend or 2 here,with at least 3 of us putting their 2017 release, the Wild, in their best of 2017. I’ve been a fan for a while, so when the opportunity came to catch them in this newly re-furbed venue, previously the Ceol Castle, I couldn’t resist. First on were Yukon Blonde, a five piece of noisy hipsters trying to be psycho-motorik, instead being proto-moronic. Less said. Short gap and on strode RAA. All 3 of them. 3? OK, I had done my homework ahead and discovered that somehow only 3 folk produce the dense strum’n’drum of their records, but couldn’t believe that was reproducible live and unaugmented. Soundwise they always remind me of a mash-up of US blue-collar rock with cow-punk folk, think Bruce fronting the Men They Couldn’t Hang, a trick that appeared in the shoutier songs here, And somehow, with solely an acoustic guitar, drums and keyboard, they produced a hell of a joyful din. The songs tend all to be stories relating to the singer-guitarist, Nils Edenloff’s, um, rural canadian upbringing, so lots of bridges falling and homesteads burning, propelled by » Continue Reading.
OK, I’m going to make this short, but if you think you don’t like folk music, think again. If you think you don’t like acoustic instrumental music, think again. Fiddles, melodeons, think again.This pairing of bands could smash your prejudices into hyperspace. I knew what to expect (and like all the above), but was still totally unprepared for the live experience. First on were Leveret, 3 chairs, 3 blokes, melodeon(s), concertina and fiddle. Tunes, all tunes, no singing, derived from the folk tradition, the music weaving and winding between the players, intricate and, apparently, unrehearsed, 3 musicians at the top of their game, knowing all the music perfectly enough as to never quite know how they might play it tonight. Feeling baroque in the harmonisations and progressions, I was lifted and immersed. 45 minutes went by in a moment. Andy Cutting and Sam Sweeney, of Blowzabella and Bellowhead respectively, demonstrated they need not the camouflage of a huge band, this smaller setting demonstrating their worth all the better. After the raffle, always the raffle, an altogether different variation around the same concept. This time it was folk through the ears of electronica and minimalism, » Continue Reading.
I note this marmite band are touring UK in early November, tix on sale tomorrow. No word on their site as to who could be support. I sneaked a peek on Olivia Chaney’s site but no clues there either. But that would be good, eh, even if no Brum date this time around.
So now the most of the summer festivals have announced their line-ups, where are you pitching? Me? I’m back at Bearded Theory for a 3rd year, along with a post 15 year return to Towersey. Victoria Park and Blenheim get a good look also in for what is turning out to be a good year to taunt the rain gods. http://www.beardedtheory.co.uk/line-up http://www.towerseyfestival.com/wp-content/uploads/TF18-LineupPoster.pdf https://www.allpointseastfestival.com/presents/the-national https://www.allpointseastfestival.com/presents/nick-cave https://www.nocturnelive.com/news/elvis-costello-announcement Burglars? I’m flying solo, the missus and the dogs will be guarding my record collection.
I hadn’t realised Jim Moray was a local boy, well Stafford’s not far, being a scion of both Stafford and Lichfield Green Man (R.I.P.) Morris, which figures. And he seems to be running his career in reverse to the direction of folk music and it’s myriad “revivals”. My first exposure to him, probably a couple of decades ago, was all loops and laptops, now he is staunchly folk-rock, as in meat and potatoes rock band play the Childe ballads. False Lights, his band alongside another Folk Awards of yesteryear star of the future, Sam Carter, are a deliberate and focussed echo of the 70s, some good, some less so. This mini-tour is about the launch of their 2nd disc, released and purchased barely a fortnight ago. Acting as his own support, and spiralling further down the time tunnel of trad.arr., he and band fiddle player, Tom Moore, gave half an hour of very Carthy and Swarb acoustica, only his straining and plaintive alto differentiating from that template. In a cold hall, it took or song or threee before he and the audience relaxed into it, even if they rejected a singalong offer for a » Continue Reading.
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.