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.


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