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.


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.


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?


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?


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