ALICE DIMICELE – One With The Tide (Alice Otter Music AO114)

One With The TideBorn in New Jersey, but a long time resident of South Oregon, DiMicele has fourteen albums to her name, all released via her own independent label, and plays what she terms an Organic Acoustic Groove. Roughly translated, that takes Folk-Americana and wraps it in a heady cocktail of jazz and R&B influences, her sound prompting comparisons with the likes of Laura Nyro, Bonnie Raitt, Chi Coltrane, Valerie Carter and Nicolette Larson.

The simple acoustic cover of Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, while pleasant enough, feels rather redundant, bringing nothing particularly new to the party and at odds with the soul and gospel vibe that largely informs her own eight songs. These open with the mid-tempo seductive groove of the bluesy Hammond driven title cut, the mood carrying over into ‘Desire’ that finds her soaring across her vocal range with a hint of Billie Holiday in there too.

Featuring cello, ‘The Other Side’ is a more acoustic track, but no less steeped in soulfulness in its optimistic approach to the recovering from the end of a relationship, while, by contrast, the accordion backed ‘Lonely Alone’ sees her steering into a more Patsy Cline tinged country vein, though again the keys and brass keep the R&B influences burning.

‘Waiting’ rings the stylistic changes again with a breezy calypso feel, including steel drums and some puttering bass, a little light perhaps but pleasant enough before ‘Nature Reigns’ introduces shades of a bluesier Karen Carpenter and, backed by cello, ‘Seeds’ offers a gentle sway through a song about trying to find your way out of a garden of self-destructive weeds and planting the seeds that will nourish your spirit.

The last of the self-penned tracks, the Hammond-led environmental-themed ‘Voice of the Water’ returns to her R&B and gospel infused sound, at times reminding me of Buffy Sainte-Marie and underscoring the power of both her voice and delivery. I have to confess, this was the first time I’d encountered her and, I suspect the same will hold true for many others, but if you happen to like the late 60s/early 70s sound of those comparisons above, then you should track her down.

Mike Davies

Artist’s website: https://www.alicedimicele.com

‘Seeds’ – official video:

Knight & Spiers UK Tour March 2018

Knight & Spiers

In the summer of 2016, the organisers of FolkEast Festival had the grand idea of pairing Peter Knight (ex-Steeleye Span) and John Spiers (ex-Bellowhead) for a special ‘one off’ concert at that year’s festival.

In the event, it ended up being a genuine festival highlight, with no space to be found in the Marquee and people standing five deep in pouring rain. For a few minutes at the close of their performance, with a standing ovation and roars for more, it didn’t seem as though the audience was going to let them go….it was a genuinely spine tingling occasion. As the MC commented, it was one of those occasions when people could say “I was there”.

It came as no real surprise that the one-off special led to a more permanent arrangement, and with a studio album in the pipeline, Knight and Spiers undertake their first UK tour in March 2018.

February

26 Warwick Arts Centre
Special Double Bill with The Gigspanner Big Band (featuring Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin)
https://www.warwickartscentre.co.uk/whats-on/2018/peter-knights-gigspanner-big-band/

March

01 London: Cecil Sharp House
https://www.cecilsharphouse.org/

02 Alfriston: The Old Chapel
http://spyboy.co.uk/

03 Ashford: Revelation St Mary’s
http://revelationashford.co.uk/

04 Hitchin: Folk Club @ The Sun Hotel
http://www.hitchinfolkclub.idnet.net/

05 Colchester: Arts Centre
https://www.colchesterartscentre.com/

06 Cambridge: The Junction
https://www.junction.co.uk/

08 Worcester: Huntingdon Hall
http://www.worcesterlive.co.uk/

09 Leicester: Guildhall
http://www.greenbirdpromotions.net/

10 Halesworth: The Cut, In Conjunction With FolkEast Festival
http://newcut.org/

11 Lincoln: Performing Arts Centre
https://lpac.co.uk/

12 Sheffield: Greystones
http://www.mygreystones.co.uk/

14 Hexham: The Queen’s Hall
http://www.queenshall.co.uk/

15 Leyland/Preston: Fox Lane Sports and Social Club
http://www.mrkite.org/benefits.htm

16 Settle: Victoria Hall
http://www.settlevictoriahall.org.uk/

17 Liverpool: The Music Room, Liverpool Philharmonic
http://www.liverpoolphil.com/music-room

18 Bishop’s Castle: The Town Hall
http://bishopscastletownhall.co.uk/

19 Nettlebed Folk Club
http://www.nettlebedfolkclub.co.uk/index.html

21 Fareham: Ashcroft Arts Centre
https://hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk/ashcroft-arts-centre

22 Basingstoke: The Forge at the Anvil
http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/whats-on/knight-spiers

23 Corsham: The Pound Arts Centre
http://www.poundarts.org.uk/pound/default.aspx

24 Calstock: Arts Centre
http://calstockarts.org/

25 Topsham: Matthews Hall
http://www.topshamfolkclub.org/

27 Bridgwater: Arts Centre
http://bridgwaterartscentre.co.uk/

Live at FolkEast:

 

BENYARO – One Step Ahead Of Your Past (own label)

One Step AheadBenyaro is the musical vehicle of multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Ben Musser from the mountain resort town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He is partnered by Leif Routman on double bass and Brian Geltner on drums and percussion – ostensibly an acoustic trio but sounding much bigger. One Step Ahead Of Your Past is Musser’s third album and strongly autobiographical, describing “a period in which I became a husband and a father”.

Benyaro have been described as punk Americana but they must have some very polite punks in Jackson Hole. There is, however, a bitterness, a cynicism in the opening four tracks which run together with only a count-in to separate ‘Nice ‘N’ Easy’ from its predecessors. In particular, ‘Breadwinner’ takes a particularly jaundiced view of the role of a man in contemporary society. ‘Pimp Wife’, featuring Jacob Rodriguez’s sax, takes a similarly sour look at marriage – “Like a Time Square hooker/She tries to sell her man” – I wonder that Ben is still married!

The album powers along relentlessly and, on first listening, I was half-way through before I realised. Then comes a change. First there’s a short acoustic guitar solo, ‘Temporary Lapse Of Sense Of Humour’, followed by the rap and beatboxing of ‘Home Cookin’’ and with ‘New Moon’, Ben is taking a long hard look at himself and on ‘I Do’ the darkness is back. It is clear by the end of the record that a profound change has taken place in the writer and you realise that he’s content, if not idealistically happy.

Musically, Benyaro, often sounds like a stripped down rock band with Musser’s guitar sounding like an electric even when the notes tell you that he’s playing a nylon-string acoustic. The biggest sounds come from his piano and Geltner’s drums but the songs carry the day. One Step Ahead Of Your Past is an insightful, fascinating album.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website.


Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists’ website: https://benyaro.com/

‘Pimp Wife’ – official video:

Wilde Roses – eponymous debut album and Tintagel date

Wilde Roses

Wilde Roses is a musical collaboration between singers, multi-instrumentalists, composers, dancers and performers Anna Tam and Emily Alice Ovenden.

Musically and visually inspired by the medieval and renaissance world, they draw their repertoire from illuminated manuscripts, courtly song books, Elizabethan broadside ballads and the folk tradition. Fascinated by the stories in these songs – medieval religious imagery so beautifully infused with nature; renaissance tales of piracy, jilted lovers and general folly alongside some of the most sincere and tender love songs to reach to the heart of life and human relationships – they are moved by a desire to explore and recreate the sound world of this historical repertoire and to share these exquisite songs with present day audiences.

Emily and Anna come from different musical backgrounds and met whilst they were both part of the Mediaeval Baebes, soon realising how much they inspire each other and enjoy working together.

Anna (musical director, singer, nyckelharpa, viola da gamba, hurdy gurdy player) enjoys an eclectic career both in the folk and classical genres. She trained as a classical singer and instrumentalist at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has a special interest in early music, which has enabled her to record and tour worldwide with such groups as the Mediaeval Baebes and recently give the premiere on BBC1’s Britain’s Hidden Heritage of a previously undiscovered aria by Vivaldi. During her early studies, she performed at the Wigmore Hall and on BBC Radio 3 and has been touring internationally since she was 15. Her debut classical album With Love… was released in 2014 and her first album of folk songs is planned for 2018. Anna lives on her beautiful boat just outside London taking inspiration from the woods and river.

Emily (movement director, singer, recorders) grew up in a castle in Cornwall and trained at The Arts Educational Schools where she received a scholarship from Andrew Lloyd Webber to continue her studies in

London. As a longstanding member of Mediaeval Baebes she has made several studio albums, live DVDs and recorded themes for BBC TV shows Victoria and Elizabeth with Ivor Novello winner Martin Phipps. Emily made three acclaimed albums with her symphonic Metal band PYTHIA and has recorded vocals for multi-platinum selling band Dragonforce on their last three albums. She continues to write music for her Classical Celtic Project with composer Chris Payne, Celtic Legend, her solo projects and is a published novelist. Emily owns music based pub, Chandos Arms in North London, is married to music producer Are Kolltveit, and she is the proud mum of Saxon.

Live Date

May 5, 2018 The Arthurian Faery Ball in Tintagel 2018

Returning to Tintagel, Karen Kay’s Faery Events is to host an Arthurian themed Faery Ball at Beltane (Saturday 5th May 2018) at the King Arthurs Great Halls in Tintagel, Cornwall. Musical guests include Wilde Roses, and more to be announced.

King Arthur’s Great Halls in Tintagel, Cornwall Tickets £25

Artist’s website: www.wilderoses.com

‘Man Mai Longe Lives Weene’ – official video:

NO THEE NO ESS – California (Folkwit Records)

CaliforniaNo Thee No Ess are a unique Cardiff duo comprising Andy Fung and Paul Battenbough who just so happened to have released their most recent Long Player at the tail-end of last year. California draws from a range of influences from the American West Coast; including the folk-rock/ singer songwriter approach, the Bakersfield (country) sound, NorCal indie rock and the SF psych scene; where the album most noticeably appears to set its roots.

Opener, the almost ‘surfy’ ‘Mind Flow Bender’ sets the tone for the album’s meandering psychedelic vibes, creating a certain ambiance which remains constant throughout the record. Gently it flows from one song to the next, bringing a similar feeling to the likes of the mellow and distant title track and the more experimental ‘1960 Alpha’. Before long, shades of Laurel Canyon and Bakersfield subtly grace the likes of ‘Evening Breeze’, ‘Electric Hand’ and the slow moving ‘City of Dreams’ as it repeats the mantra: “Open up your mind to the possibilities of your life”. Like much of the record, these vocals ‘sit’ above the music and don’t feel forced or too intrusive, although because of this, there are also times in which they become almost too ambient, putting the song’s narrative in danger of getting lost among the sound collage of Fung and Battenbough’s imagined California.

While the album’s ‘atmosphere’ is constant, it is occasionally strayed from; in the latter part of ‘Wear Your Love/ Sylvia Plath’, in which new twists, turns and sounds are introduced, in ‘Plainsong’ and in the curiously titled ‘Moonbathing’; a track which feels less like something born out of an intrigue of the Golden State and something more reminiscent of the sounds of fellow countrymen, the Super Furry Animals.

Christopher James Sheridan

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website.

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists’ website: http://folkwit.com/artists/no-thee-no-ess

‘Mind Flow Bender’ – official video:

KEEGAN McINROE – A Good Old Fashioned Protest (own label)

Old Fashioned ProtestLast year saw a welcome return of the protest album and it’s good to see the momentum hasn’t slowed, Texas-based McInroe getting 2018 off to a suitably barbed start with this sparsely arranged nine-track collection of observations and commentary on the state of the world.

Recalling both the satirical bent of Tom Paxton and Arlo Guthrie, it opens with ‘Talking Talking Head Blues’, concerning the right-wing media’s all-encompassing views on terrorism that nods to Trump’s call to wall off Mexico, the extremes of homeland security measures, fake news and “Russian secret agents like that albino pederast Julian Assange” before playfully interrupting the broadcast with breaking Justin Beiber news.

McInroe describes the album as a protest against war, a remit clearly addressed on the dust bowl blues ‘Big Old River’ which looks behind the smoke and mirrors to reveal the profit motives behind fuelling conflict while, for the most part another talking blues, ‘Bombing For Peace’ is essentially a list of oxymorons such as “bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity” or “strangling the future while hoping for tomorrow”. It’s simplistic, but no less effective for that.

There’s a switch in mood and tone for the acoustic strum of ‘Christmas 1914’, a quietly wistful song that revives the legendary story of how, during WWI, the British and German soldiers declared an unofficial truce, came out of the trenches exchanged gifts and played football together.

It’s back to talking blues for the 60-second ‘Bastards and Bitches’, a flurry of invective directed at the “self-righteous pricks robbing all generations, stroking each other while the world lies bleeding”. It’s not exactly subtle, but he puts that to rights with ‘The Ballad Of Timmy Johnson’s Living Brother’, a Kristofferson-styled (‘Me and Bobby McGhee’ to be precise) story about a young man radicalised when his family, including his baby brother, become collateral damage in an Egyptian strike on a suspected terrorist with its stark chorus refrain “what a catastrophe, can you imagine a world where this is viewed as ordinary?”.

‘Nietzsche Wore Boots’ is actually a three-minute spoken word poem that, reminiscent of the 60s Beat writers, casts the German philosopher as Moses coming down from the mountain, declaring God to be dead and castigating “You who feed the hungry with stones and derision. You who love your neighbor with bombs and oppression. You who only mourn when it’s your dead children”.

It ends on an apocalyptic note of the Earth purged of mankind’s poison, only to make a full recovery and live a long life. It’s a note of optimism that echoes in the final two tracks, the slow waltzing care for thy neighbour strum of ‘The Love That We Give’, another vintage Kristofferson-like number about bringing hope to the hopeless, and the Guthrie-esque ‘we ain’t gonna take it’ album closer ‘Keegan’s Beautiful  Dream’ call for change through solidarity and a shared dream of a better tomorrow with its inspirational declaration that “we are the instruments set to be played, that’ll move us from darkness out into the day”. Get in tune.

Mike Davies

Artist’s website: www.keeganmcinroe.com

‘The Love That We Give’: