Month: November 2016

29 November 2016 playlist

Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith “Night Hours” from “Night hours” (2016 Fellside Recordings)

http://www.jimmyandsidduo.com

Lambchop “In care of 8675309” from “Flotus” (2016 City Slang)

http://www.lambchop.net

1 Giant Leap feauturing Michael Stipe and Asha Bhosle “The way you dream” from “One Giant Leap” (2001 Palm Pictures)

http://www.facebook.com/1GiantLeap

Jim Moray “Sounds of the earth” from “Upcetera” (2016 Niag Records)

http://www.jimmoray.co.uk

Billy Bragg and Joe Henry “Gentle on my mind” from “Shine a light: field recordings from the Great American Railroad” (2016 Cooking Vinyl)

http://www.shinealight-joehenry.billybragg.co.uk

Dustin O’Halloran “We move lightly” from “Lumiere” (2011 Fatcat Records)

http://www.dustinohalloran.com

Ani DiFranco “We Had Time” from “Canon: Ani’s handpicked essential collection” (2007 Righteous Babe)

http://www.righteousbabe.com

Nanci Griffith with the London Symphony Orchestra “Trouble in the fields” from “The Dustbowl Symphony” (1999 Elektra Records)

http://www.nancigriffith.com

Celtus “Jigsaw” from “What goes around…” (2001 Evangeline Records)

Doghouse Roses “Pour” from “Lost is not losing” (2016 Yellowroom Records)

http://www.doghouseroses.net

Cera Impala “Tumbleweed” from “Tumbleweed” (2016 Cera Impala)

http://www.ceraimpala.com

Southern Tenant Folk Union “Join forces” from “Join Forces” (2016 Johnny Rock Records)

http://www.southerntenantfolkunion.com

Hiss Golden Messenger “Biloxi” from “Heart like a levee” (2016 Merge Records)

http://www.facebook.com/HissGoldenMessenger

Nancy Kerr & the Sweet Visitor Band “Instar” from “Instar” (2016 Little Dish Records)

http://www.nancykerr.co.uk

Jess Morgan “In your life” from “Edison Gloriette” (2016 Drabant Music)

http://www.jessmorgan.co.uk

O’Hooley and Tidow “Small big love” from “Shadows” (2016 No Masters Co-operative)

http://www.ohooleyandtidow.com

Dan Clews ‘While middle England mows its lawn” from “While Middle England mows its lawn” (2016 VisaMusic)

http://www.danclews.com

Chris Wood “This love won’t let you fail” from “So much to defend” (2016 R.U.F Records)

http://www.chriswoodmusic.co.uk

Quiet Loner “Discontented winter” from “Greedy Magicians” (2012 Little Red Rabbit Records)
http://www.quietloner.com

Erin Rae and the Meanwhiles “Crazy Talk” from “Playing Old Games EP” (2016 Clubhouse Records)

http://www.erinraemusic.com

Dean Owens “Keep me in your heart” from “Into the sea deluxe edition” (2016 Drumfire Records)

http://www.deanowens.com

Favourite releases of the last 6 months of 2016

Sweet Liberties – Nancy Kerr, Martyn Joseph, Maz O’Connor and Sam Carter

Maz O’Connor and Sam Carter’s solo albums are amongst my favourite releases of the year and I’ve blogged previously about their fine qualities. I will later in this blog do similarly for Nancy Kerr and the Sweet Visitor Band’s Instar album. However, one of the best various artist compilations or, dare I say it, concept albums, of this year for me is Sweet Liberties which features the aforementioned musicians alongside fellow singer songwriter and someone who often appears on Quiet Revolution playlists, the Welsh Springsteen, Martyn Joseph. They are supported by talented folk instrumentalists Patsy Reid and Nick Cooke.

The  project is based around a number of constitutional anniversaries, including 800 years since the sealing of the Magna Carta and 750 years since the Simon de Montfort parliament. The musicians involved in the project were invited to compose new music in response to the rights and liberties that people have fought to achieve over this 800 year period. There is a rich diversity of songs including Martyn Joseph’s wonderful song Nye about the founder of the National Health Service and Maz O’Connor  song Dark Days about the fight for women’s rights. Compelling compositions too from the pen of Nancy Kerr (Kingdom) and Sam Carter (I Am Not A Man).

The album is a project with the Folk By The Oak festival and in addition to the thought-provoking songs contained on the album the packaging and look of this release are incredibly impressive. High recommended.

http://www.folkbytheoak.com/sweet-liberties

Dan Whitehouse – That’s where I belong

Dan Whitehouse, the Wolverhampton-born and Birmingham-based singer songwriter is something of a friend of the Quiet Revolution. He’s played two live sessions for the show in  2015 and 2016 respectively and is a supremely talented musician who combines americana, folk and even country-soul influences, to my ears anyway. His last album Raw State was a real favourite and I was delighted to hear that earlier this year he’d signed to one of the best record labels around, Derbyshire-based Reveal Records.

Earlier in the year we had Dan’s first release for the new label, the Introducing EP, including some original songs and carefully chosen covers, including a brilliant take on Chris Wood’s Two Widows and the Cowboy Junkies Sun’s coming up (it’s Tuesday morning). This felt like a taster for the full length album which was released in September. It’s just a superb as I’d hoped and as a limited edition is available  with an acoustic album thrown in with alternate versions and live songs both new and from Dan’s impressive back catalogue. Jess Morgan collaborates with Dan on one of the tracks, Close Up, from the songbook of label mate Boo Hewerdine. Talking of Boo, Dan has also released for sale at gigs an EP of Boo songs plus three further EP’s of his own songs and those by artists he admires.

Tracks I particularly like from the album? Too many to choose but current standouts are The places we have been, The little left unsaid and Close up.

http://www.dan-whitehouse.com

Georgia Ruth – Fossil Scale

Georgia Ruth is a singer songwriter from Aberystwyth who first appeared on my musical radar with her album Week of Pines which on it’s release won the Welsh Music Prize in 2013.

Her latest album Fossil Scale was written in Caernarfon, a town in North Wales.  The ancient surroundings of the town, its body of water together with the neighbouring Snowdonia mountains had a strong a bearing on Fossil Scale. Also influential were Georgia’s listening to the music of Beck, Radiohead and David Bowie albums during the period in which she wrote Fossil Scale.

During the year long period of recording, Georgia moved from Caernarfon to Cardiff, a move she sees as central to the album’s development, causing her to explore themes of detachment. The contrasting nature of city life prompted those songs written in the quiet of Caernarfon to change and become different again, reflecting Georgia’s own move. Fossil Scale is a marked progression in song-writing and style, driven heavily by keys, synths, guitars and layered recorders, alongside an Indian stringed instrument called the sarangi. This is one of the many elements of the album’s sound that really appeals to me, makes it different. This element came about following an introduction to Hindustani classical music during time spent on The British Council’s ‘Folk Nations’ project in Kolkata, where Georgia met James Yorkston collaborator Suhail Yusuf Khan. Coincidentally the Yorkston Thorne and Khan album is another standout album of the year for me (see earlier entry of this blog).

During the year long period of recording, Georgia herself also relocated from Caernarfon to Cardiff, a move she considers pivotal to the album’s development, enabling her to further explore themes of detachment as she moved and lived around the world’s quiet constants. The comparative clamour of city life prompted those songs written in the quiet of Caernarfon to shed skin and inhabit a different world, mirroring Georgia’s own move. Thus, Fossil Scale is a marked progression in song-writing and style, driven heavily by keys, synths, guitars and layered recorders, alongside an Indian stringed instrument called the sarangi. The latter came about following an introduction to Hindustani classical music during time spent on The British Council’s ‘Folk Nations’ project in Kolkata, where Georgia met James Yorkston collaborator Suhail Yusuf Khan

http://www.georgiaruth.co.uk

 

Favourite releases of the last 6 months of 2016

Darlingside – Birds say

Another entry in an occasional series, how I discover music that ends up on a Quiet Revolution playlist! Dave Wilson and Kip Winter who produce glorious music as Winter Wilson (see my earlier blog about their fine album Ashes and Dust) nudged me in the direction of American folk group Darlingside. If I remember Dave and Kip had seen them play at this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival and been very impressed indeed. Suitably intrigued I sought out their music and the band via their promoter kindly sent me a copy of their current album Birds Say. It’s an album of beauty, vocal harmonies worthy of the great Crosby, Stills and Nash and clever song smithery, some of their songs are also quite amusing such as Harrison Ford which I’d really recommend you listen to.

The quartet are from Massachusetts and comprises Dave Senft,  Don Mitchell,  Auyon Mukharji and  Harris Paseltiner. It’s been suggested they have influences ranging from 60s folk, chamber pop, bluegrass, classical music, and modern indie rock, with musical decoration for the songs care of harmonium, frailing banjo, 12-string electric guitar, Wurlitzer, auto-chord organ, and grand piano. Are they americana? Maybe? Are they folk? Could be? Are they good and worth adding to your record collection? Definitely.

http://www.darlingside.com

Coope Boyes and Simpson – Coda

Coope Boyes and Simpson are three blokes from Derbyshire and South Yorkshire and have been referred to jokingly as having a name like a firm of solicitors. They’ve been around since 1993 when they released their acclaimed album Funny Old World.  They’ve received a folk awards nomination, toured extensively, collaborated with many other musicians including Norma Waterson and Martin Carthy and now they are releasing their final album.

The trio are one of if not the finest acappella band around and they will be very much missed. They are though going out on a high. Coda offers a collection of songs, mainly self-penned or drawn from the tradition, covering issues such as refugees, Iraq and climate change. They also do a fantastic cover of a song from the pen of Boo Hewerdine. They depart the musical stage with an anger undimmed bringing them full circle when they released Funny Old World.

I just adore this album and have played a number of tracks on my shows. Here’s a favourite from Coda.

http://www.coopeboyesandsimpson.co.uk

Lambchop – Flotus

I’ve had a massive soft spot for the music of Kurt Wagner’s musical vehicle Lambchop for years now. Albums sometimes take a while to appear, Kurt’s perhaps not at a Ryan Adams level in terms of the frequency of his record releases. But like a Gillian Welch and David Rawlings album a new musical offering from Lambchop is always well worth the wait.

So to Flotus, well some if it’s familiarly Lambchop and some of it is undoubtedly different, dare I say experimental? Kurt Wagner has certainly discovered the vocoder, rather like Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver). However, where he differs from Vernon, for me anyway, is I really like this album. It’s still recognisably Lambchop but with a difference. The songs are certainly longer, a couple weigh in at 11 minutes and 18 minutes respectively but they’re not overblown. They draw you in. In a recent interview in the music magazine Uncut KW said he wanted to make an album his wife would like. I hope he’s succeeded. But if she doesn’t like it there’s many of us that will give him a big thumbs up for this latest work. Maybe you are on of them?

http://www.lambchop.net

Jess Morgan – Edison Gloriette

Rather like a new record from Lambchop, an album from Jess Morgan is always something I very much look forward too. I fell in love with Jess’s music at the time of the release of her Aye Me album and have followed all her musical adventures since then.

Towards the end of 2015 we had the beautiful Bournemouth EP and then the taster single Natalie earlier this year. All we now were awaiting was a full length album to follow up Jess’s last record Langa Langa. And that album is now available, having been released in October. Like many independent musicians Jess used Pledge Music to help her make her latest LP a reality. And unsurprisingly for a musician of Jess’s considerable talent lots of support was garnered through this campaign with extras available such as a bonus CD, vinyl versions etc. Edison Gloriette is chock full of engaging songs that tell a story, lead you to want to know more. That’s a very real skill.  And contained on the album is one of my songs of the year, In Brooklyn. I was lucky enough to hear Jess and her band play it live at a fine gig at The Curfew Club in Bedford in October. One other thing to say, the album artwork and packaging for Jess’s albums is always very impressive and Edison Gloriette is no exception. Give yourself a treat, get yourself a copy or if anyone’s asking you what you would like for Christmas why not ask them for a copy of Edison Gloriette?

http://www.jessmorgan.co.uk

15 November 2016 playlist

Eliza Gilkyson “Hard times in Babylon” from “Hard times in Babylon” (2000 Red House Records)

http://www.elizagilkyson.com

Erika Kulnys “Rise up” from “Rise up” (2016 Erika Kulnys)

http://www.erikakulnys.com

Southern Tenant Folk Union “What kind of worker do you want to be?” from “Join Forces” (2016 Johnny Rock Records)

http://www.southerntenantfolkunion.com

Robb Johnson “The future starts here” from “My Best Regards” (2016 Irregular Records)

http://www.robbjohnson.co.uk

Lisa Hannigan “Fall” from “At Swim” (2016 Play It Again Sam)

http://www.lisahannigan.ie

Katy Rose Bennett “Cold November Day” from “Songs of the River Rea” (2016 Katy Rose Bennett

http://www.katyrosebennett.com

Richard Shindell “Satellites” from “Careless” (2016 Continental Song City)

http://www.richardshindell.com

Chris Wood “So much to defend” from “So much to defend” (2016 R.U.F Records)

http://www.chriswoodmusic.co.uk

Doghouse Roses “To decide” from “Lost is not losing” (2016 Yellowroom Records)

http://www.doghouseroses.net

Bel Blue “Our places” from “Our Places” (2016 Dog Rose Records)

http://www.belblue.co.uk

Jess Morgan “The longest arm” from “Edison Gloriette” (2016 Drabant Music)

http://www.jessmorgan.co.uk

Show of Hands “First they take Manhattan” from “Cold Cuts” (2002 Hands On Music)

http://www.showofhands.co.uk

Erin Rae and The Meanwhiles “Minolta” from “Soon Enough” (2016 Clubhouse Records)

http://www.erinraemusic.com

Hat Fitz and Cara “Rosie Hackett” from “After the rain” (Hatz Fitz and Cara Robinson)

http://www.hatfitzandcara.com

Hiss Golden Messenger “Heart like a levee” (2016 Merge Records)

http://www.facebook.com/HissGoldenMessenger

Red Tail Ring “Fall away blues” from “Fall Away Blues” (2016 Red Tail Ring)

http://www.redtailring.com

Martin Green featuring Becky Unthank “Wrackline” from “Flit” (2016 Reveal Records)

http://www.martingreenmusic.co.uk

Dana and Susan Robinson “The Sky” from “The Angel’s Share” (2016 Threshold Music)

http://www.robinsongs.com

AC Newman “I’m not talking” from “Shut down the streets”

http://www.acnewman.net

Ewan McLennan and George Monbiot “The Night Desk” from “Breaking the spell of loneliness” (2016 Fellside Recordings)

http://www.ewanmclennan.co.uk

Joe Purdy “Kristine” from “Who will be next?” (2016 MC Records)

http://www.joepurdy.com

Laura Gibson “The last one” from “Empire Builder” (2016 City Slang)

http://www.lauragibsonmusic.com

The first 6 months of the year -favourite releases continued

Gren Bartley – Magnificent Creatures

I remember first hearing Gren Bartley when he was doing a support slot for the excellent Kirsty McGee and Mat Martin at the Musician in Leicester easily 6 years or more ago. I was mightily impressed and have followed his musical adventures since that time. 2016 heralded a particularly superb release from Gren with his album Magnificent Creatures released on the Cumbria based Fellside label. I loved it’s predecessor Winter Fires and this album for me is, if anything even finer than that wonderful release.

What can you expect? Superb songwriting matched by accomplished vocals, delicious harmonies and a gorgeous acoustic backdrop. There’s not a track that doesn’t appeal but standouts for me are Tall Wooden Walls, Portland, Home Soon and Strange Times. Do yourself a favour and grab yourself a copy.

http://www.grenbartley.com

The Westies – Six on the out

Michael McDermott is a very skilled singer songwriter and has an excellent solo album out, Willow Springs, this year too. Yet the first of the releases involving him that hit my musical radar was the Six on the out album released as The Westies, his project with the equally ace Heather Horton. There are traces of Springsteen here, superb songwriting and songs that draw your in, real story songs. My current favourite, a song I’ve used to open the Quiet Revolution in the past, is The gang’s all here. That is though just one of many gems all of which have an instant appeal.

None other than Stephen King the author has said “Michael’s music, like Springsteen’s and Van Morrison’s, helped me to find a part of myself that wasn’t lost, as I had feared, but only misplaced. That’s why we love the ones who are really good at it, I think: because they give us back ourselves, all dusted and shined up, and they do it with a smile…Michael McDermott is one of the best songwriters in the world and possibly the greatest undiscovered rock ‘n’ roll talent of the last 20 years.”

So take my and Stephen King’s word for it. Michael McDermott as part of The Westies and solo is someone you really should make some time to discover.

http://www.thewestiesmusic.com

Katy Rose Bennett -Songs of the River Rea

Katy Rose Bennett’s album was a total new discovery for me this year. Katy was born and grew up in Oxfordshire but has made the city of Birmingham her home for the last ten years. Her influences are pretty impressive, Nick Drake and Gillian Welch, amongst others. In many ways it feels I should have stumbled upon Katy’s music way before her fourth album, particularly as her brothers Robin and Joe Bennett of the wonderful Dreaming Spires are a long-time favourite of mine with their songs having often appeared on Quiet Revolution playlists. Although I am late to the party, I’m glad I’ve now heard Katy’s music.

Cold November Day and the heartbreakingly beautiful Jack and Ivy are just two fine examples of Katy’s talent. In fact writing this I realise I’ve not played anywhere near enough of the album on the show so here’s an online memo to myself to rectify that at the soonest opportunity.

http://www.katyrosebennett.com

Favourite releases of the last 6 months of 2016

It’s been a fine year for quality music. This continues my personal favourite releases of the year from the latter half of 2016.

Once I’ve completed this I’m going to set myself an additional challenge which will be to distill from all my favourites the 20 must buy albums of 2016. Added to this I’ll also go for my 20 songs of the year selected from the full list of my favourites for the whole of the year.

Ruth Theodore – Cactacus

Ruth started creating her own music as a teenager, teaching herself guitar and busking on Southampton High Street. She’s lived in London since 2006.

I first discovered her gorgeous music in 2010 with her album White holes of mole hills. Captivated by this I’ve tried to keep an ear out for her music ever since so was delighted when I was sent a copy of her current album Cactacus which is released on Aveline Records in conjunction with her own River Rat Records. The other difference with this album is that whereas previously Ruth has produced her own records, for Cactacus the acclaimed producer Todd Sickafoose who has worked memorably with Anais Mitchell and Ani Di Franco, two artists I’ve been a longstanding fan of the music of.

The songwriting is outstanding and subject matter is varied. Many standout tracks with ‘The Carcass And The Pride’, ‘Everything is Temporary’, ‘Kissing in traffic’, ‘Loop Hole’, ‘You Can’t Help Who You Love’ ones that I’d like to draw particular attention towards. Cactacus is definitely one of those albums I just keep going back to and I’m can pretty much guarantee you’d do the same if you got yourself a copy.

http://www.ruththeodore.com

Southern Tenant Folk Union – Join Forces

I’ve loved the music of Edinburgh based roots/americana collective Southern Tenant Folk Union since they emerged in 2006 so always look forward to a new album from the band. Since their last release, The Chuck Norris Project, the the membership of the band has changed a little however Pat McGarvey remains a constant and has been joined by Scottish singer songwriter Rory Butler, fiddle player Katherine Stewart, percussionist Steve Fivey and from Inverness, double bass player Craig Macfadyen.

In trying to find a name the band chose the ground breaking multi-racial tenant farmers collective from the new deal/dustbowl era the Southern Tenant Farmers Union. They’ve been described in the music press as ‘A folk band for the Occupy era – passionate, political and mischievous’ and Join Forces, which is their 7th album, and it’s predecessor 4-track EP What would you give for a leader with soul, are influenced by politics and social justice. And their sound is influenced by bluegrass, folk and americana.

http://www.southerntenantfolkunion.com

Lewis and Leigh – Ghosts

I’ve enjoyed Al Lewis’s solo releases, particularly his Battles album from a few years back. On that he was joined on a number of the songs by Sarah Howells from the Welsh duo Paper Aeroplanes.  He sounded great on his own but I loved him collaborating with a female voice.

Over the last 18 months Al has put out three EP’s with American singer songwriter Alva Leigh. Their voices sound excellent together. Al is from North Wales originally and is now based in South Wales and Alva Leigh is from Mississippi but moved to London with her husband in 2012. After the EP’s I was very much hoping a full length album would emerge and this was released in September, entitled  ‘Ghost. It’s a collection of self-penned originals recorded in January 2016 at Urchin Studios in London with Matt Ingram.  My advice is get a copy and then work your way backwards through the EP’s.

http://www.lewisandleigh.com

 

Favourite releases of the first 6 months of 2016 continued

Well this is the last entry for my blog charting my favourite releases for the first 6 months of this year. Completed just in time to get ready to compile my favourites from July onwards!

Norrie McCulloch – These mountain blues

I like an amazing number of singer songwriters and bands from Scotland. This blog thus far has identified quite a few of them. 2016 saw me add a name to the list, that of Glasgow purveyor of americana or ‘celticana’, er, perhaps not the latter. Scottish Americana is the term that the esteemed Folk Radio UK have used so that’ll do for me. Dave McGowan of Teenage Fanclub and Belle and Sebastian can be found assisting Norris on the album along with Stuart Kidd and Marco Rea. The whole record, surprisingly for these digital times, was recorded wholly in analogue in an ancient building in Stirling, as opposed to a traditional recording studio. The album had a timescale of 3 days for recording. The end result is beautiful. Norrie has travelled across the Southern states of the US and the album resultantly has both an American and Scottish feel and sound to it.

Favourite track from the album? Hmm, where to start. OK, today I’ll opt for the wonderful title song. Check it out for yourself.

http://www.norriemcculloch.com

Peter Bruntnell – Nos da comrade

I first heard Peter Bruntnell’s music on the wonderful Whispering Bob Harris’s Radio 2 show. The album was Normal for Bridgewater back in 1999 and that was my introduction to this superb singer songwriter’s music. Peter delivers americana with a British influence.

He’s based in Devon and has made a slew of fine albums since Bridgewater was released. Not da Comrade, the Welsh for goodnight comrade incidentally, is the latest of these and was recorded in Peter’s home studio. The opening song on the album Mr Sunshine is very topical as I write this, well worth having a look at the video on Peter’s site.

The songcraft throughout is of the highest level, songs that draw you in and absorb you. Willy Vlautin of the sadly no more Richmond Fontaine has described Peter as his favourite singer songwriter no less. Add to this that the NME claimed that “Peter Bruntnell’s records should be taught in schools” acclaim from Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, Jay Farrar, John Murry or Kathleen Edwards who all concur that Peter Bruntnell is a writer with rare and mysterious qualities you really can’t go wrong if you buy a Peter Bruntnell album.

http://www.peterbruntnell.net

Richmond Fontaine – You can’t go back if there’s nothing to go back to

I mentioned Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine earlier. His band have made consistently excellent, finely crafted albums since they formed in Portland, Oregon in 1994. Vlautin is also a novelist which when you listen to his songs you can understand how he might translate that songwriting talent into writing compelling novels.

Willy formed The Delines, another fine band a few years back and maybe with the new project and the work as an author he felt it was time to bid farewell to Richmond Fontaine. I’m glad that we will still be able to enjoy his music yet I’m pretty certain I’m not the only one with a penchant for quality americana/alt-country who’s going to miss Richmond Fontaine.

I’ll leave you with a favourite song from the album, difficult to select just the one, I could have peppered this blog entry with them, but I’ll go for this song….

http://www.richmondfontaine.com

Favourite releases of the first 6 months of 2016 continued

Paul Mosley and the Red Meat Orchestra – The Butcher

A couple of my favourite record labels are based in the East Midlands. Being an East Midlander myself this makes me pretty happy. Anyway I digress just a tad. The two labels I allude to are Reveal Records, originally based in Derby and now in Glossop in the glorious Peak District and run by Tom Rose and the other is Folkwit Records based in Nottingham and run by Nick Butcher. Two things further to say about Folkwit Records. One is that I always need to be very careful when I refer to the label on the show or things could easily go horribly wrong! The second is that I first discovered the label when a fine Nottingham-based singer songwriter called Jezz Hall put out his third album on the label. I’d been a fan of Jezz’s for a while and he played a live session on the show quite a few years back now when HFM Radio was in it’s original based on the Rockingham Road industrial estate on the edge of Market Harborough. Anyway, the album he released on Folkwit was the still excellent, and highly recommended Silhoutte Man. 

After this major digression, back to the album in hand, Paul Mosley and the Red Meat Orchestra’s The Butcher. The album has been rightly described as a ‘folk opera’, it boasts 20 tracks and took a couple of years plus to make. It also has an impressive cast of musicians. In addition to Hartlepool-born Paul who formerly fronted the band Moses, there are contributions from Jamie Lawson,Esther Dee, Carolyn Mark, Darren Allford, Catherine Earnshaw and Josienne Clarke. In fact there are over twenty musicians involved in the album hailing from 6 different countries. The result is a truly stunning album which has been described by Laurel Canyon Music as  “.. Part ghost story, part redemption tale, part love story……one epic folk opera!’” This is another album you definitely will want to add to your collection.

http://www.paulmosley.com

Case Lang Veirs – Case Lang Veirs

The first time I read about the collaboration between Neko Case, kd Lang and Laura Veirs I knew I couldn’t wait to hear the album. I’ve enjoyed the music of all three solo for years now and I was intrigued as to what they may sound like when they got together. The resultant self-titled album was everything I hoped for and more.

The record came about like so. Several years ago k.d. lang sent an email to Neko Case and Laura Veirs on a whim saying “I think we should make a record together.” Though the three musicians were just acquaintances “Laura and I both responded immediately,” recalls Case. “There was no question.”

They take it in turns to write songs with 14 tracks on the album and take a share on lead vocals. Laura Veir’s husband Tucker Martine who really has become the go-to producer over the last 5 years or so took on production duties in Portland, Oregon. Lots of great songs to choose from on this record. Here’s one of my favourites below. I’d also urge you to check out the song about the acclaimed Judee Sill.

http://www.caselangveirs.com

Kris Drever – If wishes were horses

Kris Drever has been incredibly busy with as one third of the folk supergroup Lau, alongside Aidan O’Rourke and Martin Green. The latter has a wonderful new album out called Flit by the way, but that’s another blog! Oh and Lau’s last album was produced by Tucker Martine. He has also collaborated with the equally busy and in demand Boo Hewerdine on a fine EP called Last Man Standing, well worth checking it out, if you haven’t encountered it so far. So it’s been a while since he’s had the time to record a follow up to his last LP Mark the hard earth, 6 years in fact. It’s been worth the wait as If wishes were horses is a superb album. I’d even go as far as to say it’s my favourite of Kris’ albums.

At the time of writing this I’ve recently seen Kris play at the Jubilee Hall in  Market Harborough accompanied by the ace guitar player Ian Carr. Ian’s album Who He? is recommended too. If wishes were horses is truly chock full of quality songs. Many of them are semi-biographical covering the universal, and not so universal, themes of education, politics, sex, love, ennui, self-employment, social migration and Shetland. Kris moved to Shetland before the making of the album.

The title song remains one of my favourites from the album. Kris also happened to play it at his gig in Market Harborough.

http://www.krisdrever.com

Blue Rose Code – And Lo! The bird is on the wing

I first heard Ross Wilson A.K.A. Blue Rose Code at the time of the release of his North Ten album which by coincidence, given my earlier post, was released on Reveal Records. I’ve been a fan ever since. So And Lo! is album number three from BRC.  The LP was recorded at Gran’s House Studio in the Scottish Borders and written between the Shetland Isles and rural Dorset. It features some superb Scottish jazz and folk musicians, Nashville gospel singers The McCrary Sisters, British music legend known for his work with John Martyn, Pentangle and Richard Thompson, amongst others,  Danny Thompson and the actor Ewan McGregor.

Of the new record Ross says “It’s an album for music fans and musicians, a challenging record. I’m passionate about that fusion of folk and jazz and where it intersects with songwriting. … this … album [is].. just as I wished it to be.”

If you’ve yet to discover the music of Blue Rose Code this album is a damn good starting point. And then work your way backwards!

http://www.bluerosecode.com