Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman Tour and EP

Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman continue touring October through to December in support of their new 8 track EP entitled SAVED FOR A RAINY DAY.

“Over the last few years there have been several cover songs we have performed live and never got round to recording. Along with a couple of our own originals that didn’t ‘fit’ with our previous releases. These have often been requested on CD and, subsequently, ‘Saved For A Rainy Day’ has become a limited edition of rarities.” Continue reading “Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman Tour and EP”

AFO Conference 2017 Hot topics, guest speakers and networking opportunities galore!

AFO LogoThe Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) Conference is the place for everything festivals and events.  Over 250 delegates, both professionals and volunteers, will be gathering to discuss the hot topics affecting our industry today.  This year’s dates are 10-12 November 2017 at Ettington Chase Conference Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon. See www.festivalorganisers.org for full details and to book.

Steve Heap, General Secretary of AFO says “We are pleased to announce that BBC Breakfast’s Mike Bushell will be joining us to talk about his experiences of all kinds of festivals.”

Continue reading “AFO Conference 2017 Hot topics, guest speakers and networking opportunities galore!”

Hands Up For Trad’s landmark awards recognise over 25 years of Scottish music and culture in Aberdeenshire

The latest recipients of the Hands up for Trad’s Landmark Awards have been revealed – as Aberdeen based Scottish Culture & Traditions Association (SCaT) and Aberdeen folk band, Old Blind Dogs, both took home the coveted award.

The Landmark Awards are given to individuals, groups and organisations for their sustained contributions to Scottish culture over a significant period of time.

Continue reading “Hands Up For Trad’s landmark awards recognise over 25 years of Scottish music and culture in Aberdeenshire”

Cambridge and Newport announce historic twinning of two legendary Folk Festivals

Cambridge and Newport announce historic twinning of two legendary Folk Festivals.

Two of the oldest and most prestigious Folk Festivals in the world will form a partnership that will herald the start of a unique new transatlantic artistic relationship.

Continue reading “Cambridge and Newport announce historic twinning of two legendary Folk Festivals”

National folk arts centre announces autumn education programme  

Explore music, dance, singing and other folk traditions at Cecil Sharp House, London, from September to December   

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) has unveiled its programme of activities for the autumn season (September to December) at Cecil Sharp House in London.

Activities on offer include classes, courses and workshops based on traditional English folk arts for children, young people, adults and families.

Continue reading “National folk arts centre announces autumn education programme  “

Fosketts Folk Factory

Introducing ‘Foskett’s Folk Factory’ – Foskett’s Folk Factory is the brainchild of musician, awarded songwriter and veteran (multi genre) music producer Charley Foskett – www.foskettsfolkfactory.com  is a new music and video production company – dedicated to providing creative services and a platform to promote acoustic, folk and roots based music.

After many decades in the music business as a successful record producer, arranger and touring session musician, Charley Foskett was forced to take time out – five years to be precise to battle two lots of bowel and rectal cancer – after a string of massive invasive surgeries and several body parts lighter he decided to return to music as a bit of a distraction – this wonderful distraction culminated into a rather exciting project indeed – here is his website introduction :-

Continue reading “Fosketts Folk Factory”

Richard Thompson to release Acoustic Classics Vol 2 / UK tour dates in October

Richard ThompsonCelebrated guitarist and songwriter Richard Thompson will release Acoustic Classics Vol. II on his own Beeswing record label, distributed via Proper, on August 11. Richard will play Cropredy Festival in August, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Fairport Convention and tour the UK in October.

On the heels of the success of Acoustic Classics in 2014, Acoustic Classics Vol. II will feature acoustic renderings of classic songs from the Richard Thompson catalogue, some previously recorded by other singers, some previously available only in a band format. A second album Acoustic Rarities will be released later in the year featuring new recordings of some of the more obscure songs in the Thompson catalogue, some previously existing only as cover versions.

Special three-disc vinyl LP and double CD versions of both albums together will be released exclusively via Pledge Music: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/richardthompson

Tracklisting for Acoustic Classics II

1. She Twists The Knife Again – 2:49
2. The Ghost Of You Walks – 4:41
3. Genesis Hall – 3:30
4. Jet Plane In A Rocking Chair – 2:29
5. A Heart Needs A Home – 3:27
6. Pharaoh – 4:26
7. Gethsemane – 5:13
8. Devonside – 3:06
9. Meet On The Ledge – 3:06
10. Keep Your Distance – 3:35
11. Bathsheba Smiles – 3:33
12. Crazy Man Michael – 4:24
13. Guns Are The Tongues – 6:06
14. Why Must I Plead? – 4:09

A hugely popular live performer, Thompson will tour the UK in October 2017, including the very first concert at the newly-established London Bridge Theatre, which is now sold out and a second London show at Cadogan Hall.

Tour Dates are as follows:

Serious and UTA present: RICHARD THOMPSON Plus support Josienne Clarke + Ben Walker

Wed 11 October Brighton Dome
Thu 12 October Guildford G-Live
Fri 13 October Poole Lighthouse
Sat 14 October Bristol Colston Hall
Sun 15 October Cardiff Wales Millennium Centre
Tue 17 October Edinburgh Usher Hall
Wed 18 October Gateshead Sage
Thu 19 October Salford Lowry
Sat 21 October Saffron Walden Saffron Hall
Sun 22 October Coventry Warwick Arts Centre
Mon 23 October London Cadogan Hall *EXTRA DATE on sale Friday
Wed 25 October Sheffield City Hall
Thu 26 October Leicester de Montfort Hall
Fri 27 October Basingstoke Anvil
Sat 28 October Norwich Theatre Royal
Mon 30 October London Bridge Theatre SOLD OUT

Richard Thopson - Acoustic Classics II

Ground-breaking group Fairport Convention, co-founded by Thompson as a teenager in the ‘60s, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and Richard will play Fairport’s annual Cropredy Festival, which takes place August 10-12, to mark the occasion.

Richard Thompson was recently named by Rolling Stone as one of the Top 20 Guitarists of All Time and is one of the world’s most critically acclaimed and prolific songwriters. He has received multiple awards, including Lifetime Achievement Awards at the BBC Folk Awards and the US and UK Americana Music Association Awards, as well as Mojo’s Les Paul Award and an Ivor Novello Award for song writing. Thompson was appointed OBE in the 2011 New Year Honours List. Robert Plant, REM, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt and many others have recorded his songs

Norwegian Grammy Award winners DARLING WEST share new single “While I Was Asleep”

Darling West

The last twelve months of Darling West’s musical career can’t be described as anything other than fantastic. Since the release of their second album, “Vinyl and a Heartache”, they have played concerts all over the world, been playlisted on the biggest radio stations in Norway, appeared on the Top 100 Country charts in the US, amassed more than 2.5 million plays on Spotify, been booked for the biggest festivals in Norway, Americanafest in Nashville, and won a Norwegian Grammy.

Despite all this, the band have no plans of resting on their laurels, and now they’re releasing two songs from a new album they plan to release in early 2018. “While I Was Asleep” and “After My Time” were recorded with Bård Ingebrigtsen in Amper Tone Studios, Oslo, and were mixed by Marcus Forsgren (Jaga Jazzist).

This is the sound of a new and revitalised Darling West. The band are still playing their sweet Americana / country / folk, but there’s a lot more drive in the music and the melodies are catchier than before.

The band said: “While I Was Asleep” was begun in Brooklyn and finished in the Ål mountains. A song where Mari’s pop sense created the lovely chorus, with elements of light country-psychedelia in the rest of the song. “After My Time” is one of the few songs we have written in our apartment in Oslo. It does something to you when you read about human destinies and experiences you hardly can imagine. It’s difficult to take in, but at the same time it’s important to not shut it out.”

Listen to “While I Was Asleep” and “After My Time”



Blazing Beverley Folk Festival 2017

This year’s Beverley Folk Festival was blessed with blazing sunshine that was matched by the blistering talent on display. The temperature really soared over the weekend offering the perfect environment for relaxing with a cold beer and listening to some superb music.

Headline Act Eddi Reader (Photo by viceversarobbifotografia)

It’s been a few years since I last visited the Beverley Folk Festival. This year, with the event’s website proclaiming 2016’s event had 30% more music and events than ever before and this year’s press releases saying 2017 is going to be bigger and better than ever – I though now’s the time to pay the festival another visit.

Beverley is called a folk festival but with the very wide range of live music that was being performed and the variety of entertainment taking place, it’s now transcending the boundaries of folk music. While at the 2017 festival’s heart there was still a solid core of excellent folk music, singer/songwriters and memorable performances by some of the great ambassadors of the genre, the addition of an Americana afternoon, a steel band, poetry, choirs, brass bands and much more added refreshing diversity and expanded appeal.

One of the highlights, for me, was the incredible Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman on-stage in the Big Top. They finished their set with ‘Rusalka’ a truly ethereal song about a Russian mermaid. I first heard them perform the song at the Great British Folk Festival in Skegness. I loved it then and I found it just as haunting this time around.

Someone else that I was pleased to see on the festival bill was Dan Walsh. Nominated for best musician at the BBC Folk Awards, he just has to be the best banjo player in the UK. If you haven’t seen him play – put him on your ‘must see’ list.

Dan Walsh at Beverley Folk Festival 2017
Dan Walsh (Photo by viceversarobbifotografia)

The Beverly Folk Festival has a whole mess of live music stages including not just one but two big-tops plus the Atom marquee (the venue for the Moonbeam sessions), the 1690 bar, the Attraction Room, the Westwood Room, an outdoor stage and a further music stage in the food marquee. On top of this there were open mic sessions in the Touch Above Bar which also played host to number of folk clubs from the north of England. And, as if this wasn’t enough, there was even more live music, entertainment and dance popping up all over the site such as brass bands, jugglers, buskers and Morris dancers.

Atom Marquee
The Atom Marquee Stage (Photo by viceversarobbifotografia)

For the second year, Beverly Folk Festival was offering what they called the ‘Festival Village Taster Ticket’. This gave access to the craft marquee, the traders area, food court, some of the smaller venues plus a wealth of open air entertainment and pop-up concerts. At just three pounds, this is ridiculously good value. You can pay that for a cup of coffee in some places.

Early Bird tickets for Beverley 2018 are already on sale and can be had for just £80.

BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners The Young’uns announce new album / Listen to new single “Be The Man”

Teesside trio The Young’uns have always had the human touch. In the space of little more than a decade – and just three years after giving up their day jobs – they have become one of UK folk music’s hottest properties and best-loved acts.

Young 'uns
Young ‘uns (Photo by Elly Lucas)

Stockton Folk Club’s star graduates clinched the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ‘Best Group’ title two years running (2015 and 2016) and last year saw them spreading the net, taking their unique act and instant audience rapport to Canada, America and Australia.

With their strong songs, spellbinding harmonies and rapid fire humour, they have achieved one of the trickiest balancing acts – an ability to truly ‘make them laugh and make them cry’, while cutting straight to the heart of some of our most topical issues.

On September 29 they will unveil their fourth studio album Strangers – playing their strongest suit to date.  Bold, profound and resonant it showcases the growing talents of Sean Cooney, fast becoming one of folk’s finest songwriters.

Together with Michael Hughes and David Eagle, Cooney has come up with a collection of folk songs for our time, all sensitively arranged by the 30-something trio – looking back at wartime heroes here, offering a news report for the 21st century there, turning the spotlight on injustice and ultimately celebrating the indomitable human spirit.

Setting the scene with a cover of Maggie Holland’s A Place Called England (Best Song at 2000 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards) , the remaining songs on the 10-track album all come from the prolific pen of Cooney who manages to combine unflinching, sharply observed but compassionate, heartfelt lyrics.

With its ocean blue cover, Strangers looks at the stories of those that have crossed the seas to British shores and soldiers that have voyaged from here to the warfields of Europe. Paeans for the underdog have been inspired by the courage of Syrian refugees, have-a-go heroes and Gay Rights campaigners which sit seamlessly alongside narrative songs of First World War soldiers, Caribbean and Jewish immigrants, including the founder of one of our best known British High Street stores.

Not forgetting their native North East heroes, The Young’uns inspiration also comes from further afield – the banks of Spain’s River Ebro (Bob Cooney’s Miracle) and the Thalys train terrorist attack in France. (Carriage 12). There are constant changes of tempo and mood, from the jaunty sing-a-long Ghafoor’s Bus, celebrating their fellow Teessider who reached out to refugees across Europe to the slow, soaring beauty of Lapwings (as performed on BBC-tv’s Springwatch), inspired by a First World War diary entry from a soldier homesick for English fields and skies and the sublime, poetic Dark Water where they are backed by Aldeburgh Young Musicians and Radio 3’s Mary Ann Kennedy on harp.

Stand-out song Be The Man was inspired by the incredibly moving story of Matthew Ogston and his fiancé Nazim Mahmood – its poignancy elevated by ex Bellowhead musician Rachael McShane on cello and fiddle and Chumbawamba’s Jude Abbott on melancholic flugelhorn. Matthew reacted to Sean’s lyrics saying: “I do not have the right words to even begin to explain how your words have touched my soul and heart”.

Sean’s songs have reached some of the people who inspired them including Syrian refugee Hesham Modamani, now living in Germany and Paris-based American-Frenchman Mark Moogalian, injured in the Thalys train attack, who heard Carriage 12 and wrote to say: “Many thanks for this wonderful song – the only thing that has ever brought tears to my eyes regarding what happened that day.”

These are powerful songs prompted by remarkable stories – making for an ultimately upbeat album full of hope, echoing the lyric from Ghafoor’s Bus: “There’s a friendly face, a better place and a future for us all”

Striking a chord wherever they go, the emphatic Strangers marks a milestone chapter in The Young’uns brilliant story.

Recorded at The Chairworks in Castleford and Loft Studios in Newcastle, Strangers is produced by Neil Ferguson, released on Hereteu Records label and distributed by Proper Music.

Strangers will be showcased on an extensive UK tour (October 4-27) including a debut at London’s Union Chapel and dates at Sage Gateshead (Hall 1), Glasgow’s Oran Mor and The Sugar Club in Dublin – their first headline gig in Ireland. Support for most dates comes from The Hut People, with singer songwriter Greg Russell opening for the trio in Nottingham and Lincoln.

The Young’uns Strangers album tour – October 2017

4  LANCASTER Dukes Theatre
5  SHEFFIELD City Hall (Memorial Hall)
6  GLASGOW Oran Mor
SHREWSBURY Theatre Severn
OXFORD The North Wall Arts Centre
9  COLCHESTER Arts Centre
11 BRISTOL Colston Hall Lantern
12 LONDON Union Chapel
13 SHOREHAM-BY-SEA Ropetackle Arts Centre
14 LINCOLN Drill Hall
17 BRECON Theatr Brechyneiog
18 SOUTHPORT Atkinson
19 LEEDS City Varieties
20 MANCHESTER Home – Folk Festival
22 CANTERBURY Cathedral Lodge
24 DUBLIN The Sugar Club