27 December 2016 playlist

Over the Rhine “If we make it through December” from “Blood oranges in snow” (2014 Great Speckled Dog)


Ewan McLennan and George Monbiot “Such a thing as society” from “Breaking the spell of loneliness” (2016 Fellside Recordings)


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


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


Gem Andrews “Vancouver” from “Vancouver” (2016 Market Square Records)


Nancy Kerr and the Sweet Visitor Band “Farewell stony ground” from “Instar” (2016 Little Dish Records)


Darlingside “White horses” from “Birds say” (2016 More Doug Records)


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


Blair Dunlop “First world problem” from “Gilded” (2016 Gilded Wings)


Kreg Viesselman “To the mountain” from “To the mountain” (2016 Continental Song City)


BD Harrington “Black Waves” from The Diver’s Curse (2016 Microcultures)


The Albion Christmas Band “January man” from “Magic Touch” (2016 Talking Elephant)


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


Lambchop “Writer” from “Flotus” (2016 City Slang)


Case/Lang/Veirs “Song for Judee” from “Case/Lang/Veirs” (2016 Anti Records)


Paul Mosley & the Red Meat Orchestra “Galaxies” from “The Butcher” (2016 Folkwit Records)


Carter Sampson “Wilder side” from “Wilder Side” (2016 Continental Song City)


Edd Donovan and the Wandering Moles “Bowerbird” (2016 Paper Label Records)


Reg Meuross “The night” from “December” (2016 Hat Records)


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


Spain “The Depression” from “Carolina” (2016 Glitterhouse Records)


Ellie Ford “Homebound” from “The Other Sun” (2016 Hidden Trail Records)


Favourite music of the last 6 months of the year – the final blog entry

Robb Johnson – My Best Regards

I’ve enjoyed Robb Johnson’s music for years now. I like his social conscience and the political dimension that come through in many of his songs. Check out his back catalogue and songs like Hope St Tomorrow Afternoon, Be Reasonable and many more. He also does humour extremely well and tenderness, songs that will bring a tear to your eye, such as the gorgeous Don’t close the bar. But these are from his previous albums yet the new album My Best Regards is full of songs that are equally as compelling as the ones I’ve mentioned already.

On the album Robb is joined by pianist Jenny Carr and bassist John Forrester, as well as his son Arvin playing drums and percussion. The songs cover subjects from the personal to the political; from birthdays to migrations; from late night bus stops to the Sidmouth promenade; from Babbacombe Model Village to Franz Kafka and Prague. They additionally cover new babies in Hollingdean, MPs’ 10% pay rises, and Turkish red wine and charity shops in Broadstairs. My standout track, if I have to select just a mere one song is When the Tide Comes in recorded with the Palestinian singer Reem Kelani. I must have played it a good few times on the show. And I can envisage it finding it’s way onto a future playlist too.

Check out my Best Regards, I feel certain you’ll like it.


Joe Purdy – Who will be next?

I must acknowledge that I’d not come across Joe Purdy until I received a copy of this album in the post. I try and discover as much new music as I possibly can but sadly some good stuff can escape under my radar. But with Joe Purdy better late than not at all.

This record is excellent, an American singer songwriter with a Dylan-like vocal style in some respects. In fact he’s been described as planting his feet deep in the tradition of folk artists such as Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs.  Right up my musical street, protest songs for 2016, Joe’s been referred to as a passionate observer and participant of our times. Yep, I’d concur with that. He’s a great find, only wish it hadn’t taken me quite so long.

Children of privilege is my current favourite song from the album. Have a listen here.





Favourite releases of the last 6 months of 2016

Lisa Hannigan – At Swim

I’ve been a fan of Dublin singer songwriter Lisa Hannigan since her first album emerged some years back. And the new one, which has been released following a period of writers block, is just superb. How can you not like an opening line like “Hold your horses, hold your tongue/Hang the rich but spare the young”. This is her third solo album. It has a sombre air as songs with titles such as Prayer for the Dying and Funeral Suit indicate. It’s a very beautiful album and on it Lisa is assisted by producer Aaron Dessner, of the National, another superb band lest you’ve not investigated their music.

If you’re new to Lisa’s music, this is pretty good starting point and then work your way backwards.


B.D. Harrington – The Diver’s Curse

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog entries there are a variety of ways I discover new music that then finds it’s way onto the playlist of the Quiet Revolution. If memory serves me well I read a review in the music magazine Uncut, or maybe it was Mojo, of B.D Harrington’s album The Diver’s Curse. I really liked the sound of it and suitably motivated to find out more I checked out his Facebook page and listened to some tracks on YouTube. This confirmed that my enthusiasm generated by the review and my thought that this was an artist I would enjoy were correct. I then contacted B.D via his official Facebook page and he was kind enough to send me a promo copy of the new album.

Listening to the album at home and in the car it’s a real find. I love discovering new music and I immediately began to think of how good this record would sound on the air. Resusci Anne is my current favourite song on the album yet there are many more waiting to become my next favourite.

B.D records for the French label Microcultures and I confess I don’t know a great deal about him other than he is a singer-songwriter, filmmaker and painter. He was born in Ireland then grew up in Toronto, Canada where he spends most of his time. But do check out The Diver’s Curse, you’ll find yourself to be richly rewarded with the music therein.


Jim Moray – Upcetera 

I first heard Jim Moray at the then Bridgnorth Folk Festival (now Shrewsbury Folk Festival). It was at the time of his first album Sweet England back in 2003 and that album and Jim’s live performance were pretty groundbreaking with a laptop on stage and samples etc used. I don’t think I’d seen or heard anything quite like this before. I was hooked and have tried to follow Jim’s musical exploits since that time.

As well as being a talented songwriter and a skilled interpreter of traditional songs which he’s not afraid to experiment with, Jim has provided us with some superb covers of maybe unlikely songs – XTC’s All the pretty girls and Fleetwood Mac’s Big Love. The latter I must have played more than a few times in the last few years. He also teamed up with another Quiet Revolution favourite, Sam Carter to form the duo False Lights who are well worth checking out too.

The latest release from Jim, Upcetera is a late entry into the best releases of 2016 for me. Late in that it was released in November. And what an album, traditional songs re-interpreted and some quality originals. My standout track that I really can’t get enough of right now is Sounds of Earth. But the entire album is just brilliant.


Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith – Night Hours

Until I received a copy of Night Hours in the mail I had somehow had the misfortune not to have heard Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith’s music before. I put the album on and was immediately taken by the opening song and felt it would be a perfect opening track for a show. Then I began to find out more about them and discovered they’ve been making music on  the folk scene for the last three years. From Night Hours there is a common thread of political struggle, resistance, and justice that runs through their music.

Aldridge and Goldsmith have been influenced by the songs and singers of East Anglia, where they both grew up, but their music also reflects the diversity of voices within the folk world. As I understand it they are based now in Bristol.

Night Hours is a fantastic album and as well as the music the cover art is rather striking too. Fellside Recordings are putting out some excellent music and this is the latest in that line.


Favourite releases of the last 6 months of 2016

Into the final entries for my best of the year blog. Few more to come over the next few days. And then that’s it until some more new music emerges in 2017.

Nancy Kerr and the Sweet Visitor Band – Instar

Without doubt one of the finest gigs of the year for me was catching Nancy Kerr and the Sweet Visitor Band when they played at the Musician in Leicester in September.  I really liked her previous release Sweet Visitor and excellent though that album is Instar surpasses it for me. It’s almost folk-rock in it’s sound, definitely a good thing in my view.

The songs are inspired by contemporary nature writers Rob Cowen and his book Common Ground and George Monbiot and his book Feral, by life in Sheffield (Nancy lives in the city) and political and social issues. Standout tracks, well there are many, but I’ll name four. Instar, the title song has been my earworm for a while now. Then you have Goodbye stony ground, possibly one of the few, perhaps only songs to include Karl Marx in the lyric and Written on my skin, which is a song Nancy contributed to the Sweet Visitor project, another best release of the year for me which I blogged about on an earlier post. Then there’s the first track I played on the show, Gingerbread which you can see and hear below.

My advice? Check out Instar and if you get the chance to see Nancy and the band play live you’re in for a treat.


Cera Impala – Tumbleweed 

A few years back one of the albums I was enthusing about on the show was by a Scottish band called Dark Green Tree. They’d just issued their debut album Secret Life. Boo Hewerdine was involved in the production of the album and Cera Impala was the third member of the band. Her contributions really added that extra dimension to what was already an excellent album. So when I received a copy of her solo album Tumbleweed I was intrigued and had high expectation. I’m delighted to report that those high expectations were met with what assailed my ears.

On Tumbleweed there are influences from americana, country, folk, blues and jazz. The combination of these varying elements weaving their way into the mix on the album work exceptionally well. Cera has travelled a good deal, originally from the US and living in various towns and cities there she is now based in Scotland.  Cera’s musician husband is also part of her band and sometimes plays alongside one of my favourite Scottish bands, Southern Tenant Folk Union. I’ve blogged about them previously, do check out their Join Forces album. But I digress, have a listen to Cera Impala….


Hiss Golden Messenger – Heart like a levee

I’ve been following the musical exploits of M.C. Taylor who releases music under the name Hiss Golden Messenger for some years now. The last album Lateness of dancers was so good I was wondering, how is that one going to be followed up? It felt like a hard act to follow. Well, Heart like a levee is just as fine an album. Songs that draw you in, a bit of Dylan-esque drawl at times. I love it!

M.C. says of the album “The writing of the songs that became Heart Like a Levee started in a hotel room in Washington DC in January of 2015 during a powerful storm that darkened the East Coast. At that time I was feeling—more acutely than I had ever felt before—wrenched apart by my responsibilities to my family and to my music. Forgetting, momentarily, that for me, each exists only with the other. How could I forget? Though maybe my lapse was reasonable: I had just quit my job, the most recent and last, in a series of dead-end gigs stretching back 20 years, with the vow that my children would understand their father as a man in love with his world and the inventor of his own days. They would be rare in that regard. And then—driven by monthly bills and pure fear— I left for another tour, carrying a load of guilt that I could just barely lift. But in that snowy hotel room I found the refrain that became my compass: I was a dreamer, babe, when I set out on the road; but did I say I could find my way home?”



13 December 2016 playlist

The Albion Christmas Band “Winter Song” from “Winter
Songs” (2006 Talking Elephant)


Ruth Theodore “The carcass and the pride” from “Cactacus” (2016 Aveline Records)


Peter Bruntnell “Long way from home” from “Nos da comrade” (2016 Domestico Records)


Lewis & Leigh “The Rubble” from “Ghost” (2016 Celticana Records)


Kris Drever “The longest day” from “If wishes were horses” (2016 Reveal Records)


Winter Wilson “Austerity” from “Ashes and Dust” (2016 Winter Wilson)


Megson “Pattern” from “Good times will come again” (2016 EDG Records)


Southern Tenant Folk Union “The media attack” from “Join Forces” (2016 Johnny Rock Records)


The Memory Band “On our side” from “A Fair Field” (2016 Static Caravan)


Adam Beattie “I’m on your side” from “The Road Not Taken” (2016 Adam Beattie)


Carter Sampson and Hidden Agenda Deluxe “Christmas in Oklahoma” from “Christmas from Amsterdam to Oklahoma” (2016 Continental Song City)


O’Hooley and Widow “River” from “Shadows” (2016 No-Masters Co-operative)


Lisa Redford “I Believe in Father Christmas” from “Christmas EP (2016 Lisa Redford digital download)


Bella Hardy “Footprints” from “Bright Morning Star” (2012 Noe Records)


Gren Bartley “Strange times” from “Magnificent Creatures” (2016 Fellside Recordings)


Coope Boyes and Simpson “If we were them” from “Coda” (2016 No-Masters Co-operative)


Rob Johnson “When the tide comes in” from “My Best Regards” (2016 Irregular Records)


Ange Hardy & Lukas Drinkwater “By the tides” from “Findings” (2016 Story Records)



Dan Whitehouse with Jess Morgan “Close up” from “That’s where I belong” (2016 Reveal Records)


Jess Morgan “In Brooklyn” from “Edison Gloriette” (2016 Drabant Records)


Georgia Ruth “China” from “Fossil Scale” (2016 Navigator Records)


Adam Holmes and the Embers “Joanna” from “Brighter Still” (2016 Gogar Music)


Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage “Sun is gonna rise” from “Before the sun” (2016 Sungrazing Records)


Nancy Kerr “Written on my skin” from “Sweet Liberties” (2016 Quercus Records)


Tom McRae “Wonderful Christmastime” from “Word of Mouth” free CD with the Winter 2004 issue Word magazine (not available elsewhere)


Favourite releases of the last 6 months of 2016

Almost at the conclusion of my the end of year best of releases blog. Ambitiously I was planning to challenge myself further and select 2o essential albums but have admitted defeat, that is a nigh on impossible task so I’m just not going to pressure myself! I’ve kind of held true to my songs of the year but instead of committing them to cyberspace through blog entries you can catch many of them one my December radio programmes. 7 December’s first instalment is available on my Mixcloud page and on 13 and 27 December’s shows you’ll be able to hear a great number more between 10pm and Midnight on HFM Radio. If you can’t catch the shows live there is of course MixCloud to catch up on them or simply refresh your memory.

Over the next week or so I’ll finish of the blog, about eight further albums to enthuse about. As ever your comments are most welcome. And you can here or on Twitter now or when I’m on air suggest some of your favourites too.

Martin Green – Flit

Martin Green is an extremely talented musician who is perhaps best known as one third of the very brilliant band Lau, alongside Kris Drever and Aidan O’Rourke. The band have played in Market Harborough some years back in a fine evening’s music organised by AM Gigs.

However Martin has released a number of solo albums and for me Flit is a very welcome addition. It’s my favourite of his solo albums to date. The concept of the album is an intriguing one. All the songs have been inspired by first hand stories of human movement around the world. Martin collected stories of social migration from the people around him. Some are heart-warming, whilst others are tragic and heart-breaking. But shining through all are a distinct humanity.

Martin has chosen some first-class collaborators for the project, songwriters Karine Polwart, Aidan Moffat and Anaïs Mitchell; musicians Adrian Utley best know for his work with Portishead and Dominic Aitchison known for his work with Mogwai). And it doesn’t need there. Martin is joined by singers Becky Unthank (The Unthanks), Adam Holmes and John Smith. It just so happens I’ve been a long-standing fan of all three. Becky’s vocals are always what make albums from The Unthanks really stand out for me and she has the same effect on Flit. The album’s difficult to describe in terms of it’s sound, sometimes it’s folky, sometimes it has shades of indie-rock, occasionally Tom Waits-like in some respects, I’m talking Waits in his post 70’s more experimental mode circa Swordfishtrombones, Frank’s Wild Years and Bone Machine. It all comes together amazingly well. Don’t just take my word for it, check it out for yourself, I’m pretty sure you’ll be quickly hooked.


Gem Andrews – Vancouver 

Gem Andrews was a totally new musical discovery for me this year. A very welcome one too. Gem has an interesting backstory. She is from Liverpool and in 2010 moved to Vancouver, Canada staying for 6 months playing on the Canadian roots scene honing her craft. She recorded her debut album Scatter in 2012.

Gem is now based in Newcastle. Her latest release is called Vancouver. It’s packed with superb songs that tell a story and draw you in pretty quickly. From the first song I knew I was going to love this album. If you’re suitably inspired to investigate further I think you’ll feel the same way. Here’s one of many standout tracks.



Magic Car -Meteorites

2016 has been a year for stumbling upon much new music. I was sent a copy of Magic Car’s Meteorites album by their label the brilliantly named Tiny Dog Records, based in Wells next the Sea on the North Norfolk coast. When I put the record on what greeted my ears was a kind of British americana of the highest quality. Rather like Gem Andrews, songs that tell a story and draw you in.

Magic Car are Nottingham songwriter and actor Phil Smeeton and excellent singer Hazel Atkinson. The combination of the two works brilliantly.  Meteorites has been described as
“A fine collection that gets better with each listening”. I definitely can’t argue with that.


Ewan McLennan and George Monbiot – Breaking the spell of loneliness

In August of this year I saw Ewan McLennan play an excellent set at Broadstairs Folk Week on the Kent coast. Ewan proved one of my highlights of the festival and he happened to mention and play some songs from a new project he had been working on with the journalist George Monbiot. I was immediately intrigued and Ewan agreed he’d get a copy of the album to me. True to his word I received a copy c/o his promoter and it’s been in the CD player many times since then. And I’ve dug into the album to play tracks on the show on numerous occasions.

The collaboration  seeks to address the curse of our age, loneliness.  Ewan says on his website “Using music and the written word, it seeks to make connections in a splintered world. The project began with an article George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian, about the age of loneliness. The article went viral, and several publishers asked him to write books about it. But George had a different idea. He approached Ewan McLennan – a musician whose work he greatly admired – and proposed a collaboration. Together they would write an album, a mixture of ballads and anthems, whose aim was to try to break the spell that appears to have been cast upon us; the spell of separation”. It for me is one of the most remarkable albums of the year.


7 December 2016 playlist

Reg Meuross “Christmas song” from “December” (2016 Hatsongs Records)


Aoife O’Donovan “The Magic Hour” from “In the magic hour” (2016 Yep Roc Records)


The Black Feathers “Winter moves in” from “Soaked to the bone” (2016 Blue House Music)


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


Susanna Rose “Snowbound” from “Snowbound” (2016 Susanna Rose)


Yorkston Thorne and Khan “Broken Wave (a blues for Doogie)” from “Everything Sacred” (2016 Domino Records)


Peter James Millson “Hook on the line” from “The Red Cafe” (2016 Peter James Millson)


David Berkeley “Cardboard boat” from “Carboard boat” (2016 Strawman Music)


Vanessa Peters “206 Bones” from “The burden of unshakeable proof” (2016 Vanessa Peters)


Birds of Chicago “Remember wild horses” from “Real Midnight” (2016 Five Head Entertainment)


Ange Hardy “The Quantock Carol” (2016 digital download single)


Jess Morgan “Christmas Eve” (2015 digital download single)


Dean Owens and the Whisky Hearts “Home for Christmas” (2016 single/digital download Drumfire Records)


Show of Hands “John Harrison’s Hands” from “The Long Way Home” (2016 Hands On Music)


Applewood Road “To the stars” from “Applewood Road” (2016 Gearbox Records)


Blue Rose Code “Rebecca” from “Lo! The bird is on the wing” (2016 Ronachan Songs)


Paul McClure “Song for anyone” from “Songs for Anyone” (2016 Clubhouse Records)


Jones “Battersea Boy” from “Happy Blue” (2016 Meme Records)


Erin Rae & the Meanwhiles “Monticello” from “Soon enough” (2016 Clubhouse Records)


Sam Carter “From the south bank to Soho” from “How the city sings” (2016 Captain Records)


Phil King “The Wreckage” from “The Wreckage” (2016 Phil King)


Richard J. Birkin “Moonbathing” from “Vigils” (2016 Reveal Records)


St Agnes Fountain “Deck the halls” from “St Agnes Fountain” (2001 The Folk Corporation)


Favourite releases of the last 6 months of 2016

Ange Hardy and Lukas Drinkwater – Findings

I really liked Ange’s last album Esteesee and on her latest record she’s collaborated with another supremely talented musician, Lukas Drinkwater. Findings includes some traditional material such as the excellent The trees they do grow high, which was the first track from the album I played on the show, however the majority of the songs are self-composed. In the song By the Tides Ange and Lukas have composed one of my songs of the year. It is a thought-provoking comment on migration, as Allan Wilkinson of Northern Sky has said in his review “an eloquent comment on our current times”.

On Findings Ange plays guitar, harp and whistles with Lukas also on guitar and double bass. Also involved are Archie Churchill-Moss on  accordion, Ciaran Algar on fiddle and Evan Carson on percussion and backing vocals alongside Steve Pledger. Their are also  guest vocal appearances by Nancy Kerr and Kathryn Roberts.

It’s a truly beautiful record and this extends to the artwork and packaging of the CD itself. This is another I’d strongly recommend you add to your collection.


Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage – Before the sun

I first encountered Hannah’s music when I was sent a copy of her superb album Charms Against Sorrow which came out last year. Ben Savage I knew as a member of the excellent Cambridge-based contemporary folk group The Willows. I’d also recorded an interview with him for the show at the time of the Willows last album release. Ben was involved in the making of Hannah’s solo record but with this release they are officially a duo. And what a great sound they make together.

The album was recorded in Toronto with award-winning producer David Travers-Smith who was also producer for Ruth Moody, formerly of the Wailin’ Jennies, two solo records. Travers-Smith does a great job. In interviews both Hannah and Ben spoke about how indebted they were to his skill.

In terms of what’s contained on the album there are covers, including a fine new take on one of my favourite Bob Dylan songs Boots of Spanish Leather, traditional material and self-written songs by the duo. British and American influences pervade the album. The vocal interplay is delightful and many standout tracks, here’s one of them to whet your musical appetite…