The High Kings announce UK tour dates

The High Kngs

The High Kings, the true heirs of Ireland’s Folk Heritage, are delighted to announce the first UK shows on their DECADE – The Best of The High Kings, 10th Anniversary Tour in March 2018.

The dates will feature new member George Murphy, who was drafted into the band late in 2017 following the departure of original High King, Martin Furey. The November release of DECADE – Best of The High Kings has been greeted with record sales on both sides of the Atlantic, entering the Irish Independent Album Chart at number 1 and staying there for 3 weeks, and earning a very credible debut chart position in the Billboard World Music chart at number 15.

The DECADE World Tour began in Ireland in early December 2017 and will run until the end of April 2019, taking in stops in every major territory in the world. The new live show will showcase fan favourites from The High Kings extensive catalogue from the past ten years and will feature some new additions too.

Early booking is advised for all shows which will go on sale at 10 am on Friday 16th February Speaking from High Kings HQ in Dublin, Finbarr Clancy today said

“After ten years with The High Kings, we are delighted to say we have achieved what we set out to do back in 2007 – we have moved the Irish ballad tradition to the here and now, and we are deeply honoured to become the bearers of the torch which has been borne with such power and dignity over the past half century by The Clancy Brothers and The Dubliners”

. . . To say that The High Kings are charting a new course for Irish ballad music – equal parts rousing and reflective, energetic and insightful – is an understatement. They are, essentially, marking out a new and bright era for Irish folk music. This story will evolve for the next Decade . . .

If you would like to order a copy of an album (in CD or Vinyl format), download one 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://www.thehighkings.com/

‘Ride On’ – live:

Tour Dates

November 10 : Birmingham Town Hall

November 11: The Stables, Milton Keynes

November 12 : ARC Stockton, Stockton on Tees

November 13 : City Varieties Music Hall, Leeds

November 14 : St Georges, Bristol

November 16 : Union Chapel, London

November 17 : Atkinsons Arts Centre, Southport

November 18 : The Lowry, Salford

Karen Tweed to curate celebration of pioneering photographer

‘ANOTHER VIEW, DEAR JULIA’ – CONTROVERSIAL PIONEERING FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHER FROM THE 19TH  CENTURY TO BE CELEBRATED IN CONCERT ON HER ADOPTED ISLAND

Quay Arts Centre, Sea Street, Newport Harbour, PO30 5BD, Isle of Wight – Saturday 31st March 2018 Tickets £10 call – 01983 822490 email – info@quayarts.org

Karen Tweed

A thought provoking and elegant concert celebrating the life and work of controversial pioneering 19th century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron is taking place on her adopted island of the Isle of Wight on Easter Saturday aiming to present another view of this unique individual.

The concert, curated and collated by walking whirlwind of an accordionist Karen Tweed, promises to be the launchpad for bringing to the public’s attention the work of an inspirational artist who Karen described as ‘colourful, opinionated, passionate and daring’ and ‘The Bjork of her time’.

The idea for the project first came about when Karen was living on the island and visited Dimbola Lodge which houses a permanent exhibition of her work. While there, Julia photographed many notable figures in society, politics and science from the time.

It was a photograph of John Herschel that captured Karen’s imagination leading to the composing of ‘My Dear Julia’ imagining in music what Herschel’s letters to Julia might contain.

This was the starting point of the project that includes music, words, songs and sketches, and it was while teaching on the Folkworks summer school in August 2017 that Karen saw the potential in the musicians who join her in this project, namely tenor horn player Trevor Wilkinson, David Salvage on guitar, bass mandolin, percussion and voice,  plus mandolin and melodeon man Michael Burns. However, geographical issues had to be overcome as Trevor lives in Newcastle, David in Humberside / East Yorkshire and Michael in Manchester, but where there is a will, there is a way.

Collectively, they have named themselves Dimbola in honour of the venue that houses the collection of Julia’s photographs and for the concert they will be joined by Italian sitar and harp player Anna Sacchini who is based on the island, and organises the annual Harp On Wight event.

Karen Tweed, who describes Julia as a “trailblazer” who “upset people and their perceptions” and was “ahead of her time”, hopes that the project will introduce Julia Margaret Cameron to a wider audience.

This performance will act as a springboard for Trevor, David and Michael to continue developing their arrangement, perfomance and compositional skills crossing genres, themes and musical styles.

This unique event, part of the island’s Hidden Heroes series of concerts, has received backing from The Arts Council and is being staged at The Quay Arts Centre, Sea Street, Newport Harbour, PO30 5BD, Isle of Wight on Saturday 31st March.  Tickets are priced at £10 and can be obtained by calling the venue on 01983 822490 or by e mail info@quayarts.org

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

AMIT DATTANI – Santiago (own label AD001)

SantiagoOne half of the Mellow Peaches, Amit Dattani, will release his debut solo Long-Player on March 4th. While much of the Peaches’ output is somewhere in the country-blues vein, it is not too surprising that Santiago, Dattani’s solo offering, is not too different.

Eight out of the album’s ten tracks are originals and provide something of a snapshot into Dattani’s inner self. We are presented with childhood memories in the poetic lyricism of ‘Boats And Trains’, the bittersweet feelings of relocating to Birmingham in ‘Home’ (with Davy Graham-esque guitar runs and all) and through his playful instrumental, ’Izzy’, dedicated to his German Shepherd.

The title track opens the disc and its melodic beauty sets the tone for the rest of the album; echoing through other standouts ‘Charcoal’, ‘Hummingbird’ and ‘Raise The Dead’; wonderfully fingerpicked in the Piedmont style, honed by Mississippi John Hurt et al.

It is this influence of country-blues musicians and performers from Hurt’s era which really seem to define this recording and the inclusion of traditional works, ‘Swing and Turn Jubilee’ and turn of the century hymn, ‘Will The Circle Be Unbroken’, seem to act as a way of taking the record full circle…if you’ll pardon the pun.

‘Santiago’ is an aesthetically conscious recording in every sense; from the style and delivery of the album originals and choice of traditional material, right down to the way in which the album was recorded; straight takes with just Dattani’s voice and instrument telling the story.

There are no overdubs and there is no obvious ‘studio magic’; it is a simple, sincere and authentic collection presented to the listener as intended by a musician who has clearly done his homework.

Christopher James Sheridan

If you would like to order a copy of an album (in CD or Vinyl format), download one 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.

Artist’s website: www.amitdattanimusic.com

‘Santiago’ – official video:

GERI VAN ESSEN – A New Hiding Place (own label)

A New Hiding PlaceComing to folk music by way of children’s choirs in the Netherlands, now based in East London, van Essen is gifted with a gentle, pure at times slightly quivering vocal that, on occasion, reminds me of Kate McGarrigle. A New Hiding Place, her debut album (she released a single recording of the ‘Ninety-Third Psalm’ in 2012), is an eight-track collection that combines both self-penned and traditional American folk songs, the first five being all her own material.

It opens with the simple, nature imagery-steeped ‘Sister Song’, featuring Rachel Finegan on trumpet with van Essen on slightly discordant piano and repeated guitar notes, taking a lyrically domestic turn for the acoustic strum of ‘The House’, a stay awhile love song that sees Finegan’s muted trumpet making a reappearance for the final fade. The final words mention the kitchen table and that, in turn, becomes the focus of the dreamily romantic reverie of ‘Kitchen Table Conversation’. It’s another number built around a minimal repeated guitar pattern, as indeed is the bucolic ‘Song About The Moon’, although here set to a waltz tempo, the last of the original contributions being the slow swaying melancholia-tinged ‘Bluebells’ about a love too hesitant and shy, its “confidence gone with the herd”, Finegan’s trumpet augmented by Keren Lloyd on whistle and deep resonant harmonies from Kerry Yong.

The first of the traditional material, featuring egg shaker ‘The Weary Soul’ is van Essen’s arrangement of The Sacred Harp tune, the words about meeting again on Canaan’s shore written in 1803 by John Granade and set to music by J.T. White in 1844. Slightly more familiar will be ‘Wayfaring Stranger’, another song of going home to the maker, this time crossing the River Jordan, that regularly features in the recorded canon, van Essen’s suitably moody arrangement featuring dark desert stormcloud electric guitar from Jim Moreton.

It ends with the title track, the words, a reference to a line in Isaiah, taken from an old Negro spiritual about sinners finding deliverance in giving up themselves to God, van Essen setting them to music etched out on guitar and piano.

It doesn’t stretch itself musically and some may find the sparse settings a touch samey, but there’s a beguiling sense of bruised innocence and spirituality within it that, if you surrender to its simple charms, will draw you into its embrace.

Mike Davies

If you would like to order a copy of an album (in CD or Vinyl format), download one 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.

Artist’s website: www.gerivanessen.com

‘Song About The Moon’ – official video:

Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys on tour

Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys
Photograph by Angela Liles

Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys head out on the road again in March in support of their recently extolled new album, Pretty Peggy, released on Navigator Records last October.

The band is nominated in the Best Group category at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2018 (alongside Elephant Sessions, Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band and Lankum).  The winner will be announced at the Awards ceremony at the Waterfront Belfast on April 4th.

Just three years after releasing his first EP, Norfolk-born, Cornwall-based Kelly scooped the coveted 2016 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards’ Horizon accolade, which recognises the British folk scene’s best emerging talent.  His debut CD, The Lost Boys was released in 2015 to wide acclaim but it’s the recent Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys follow-up album Pretty Peggy, that’s been raking in the plaudits, alongside mighty praise for the band’s highly spirited live shows.  On record and stage, Kelly is joined by banjo genius Jamie Francis; Ciaran Algar on fiddle/tenor guitar; Evan Carson on percussion, Graham Coe (cello), Toby Shaer (woodwind) and Archie Churchill-Moss on melodeon.

Artists’ website: http://www.samkelly.org/

From the album, watch the dynamic new video of ‘When The Reivers Call,’ by Rob Bridge/Redwood Photography:

Tour Dates

1st MARCH – DIDCOT, Cornerstone

2nd MARCH – SPALDING, South Holland Centre

3rd MARCH – DERBY, Derby Live

4th MARCH – LONDON – Slaughtered Lamb

5th MARCH – CAMBRIDGE – Junction 2

6th MARCH – BRISTOL – Wardrobe Theatre

7th MARCH – TRURO, Old Bakery

8th MARCH – LIVERPOOL, Philharmonic

9th MARCH – MORECAMBE, Platform

10th MARCH – SOUTHPORT, Atkinson

11th MARCH – EXETER, Phoenix

12th MARCH – HEREFORD, Courtyard

If you would like to order a copy of an album (in CD or Vinyl format), download one 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.

Gary Miller announces new single and album

Gary Mller
Photograph by Ralph Pieper

2018 sees the launch of an exciting and unique collaboration between two leaders of the North East of England music scene in their respective musical genres.

Internationally-acclaimed musician and singer-songwriter Gary Miller (“As a song poet there are few in the world today to match him” – Green Man Review, U.S.A.) has teamed up with the award-winning Ferryhill Town Band to record a brand new version of his song ‘The Durham Light Infantry’, arranged and produced by award-winning producer Iain Petrie, released as a CD and digital download single this month on Whippet Records (WPTCD26) with front cover artwork by acclaimed artist and illustrator Helen Temperley.

Gary Miller is co-founder of internationally-successful Durham-based cult folk-rock band The Whisky Priests (“You’ll never see another live band to touch them” – Manchester Evening News, UK) and director of Whippet Records. The Durham Light Infantry was the second song Gary wrote for his band The Whisky Priests, in 1985. The original version was eventually recorded in 1989 as the final track on the band’s debut album Nee Gud Luck (“The contemporary folk masterpiece” – Rock ‘N’ Reel, UK).

Ferryhill Town Band (www.ferryhilltownband.org.uk) is a 2nd section band based in County Durham. Under the direction of Gareth Sykes, the band performs concerts and competes at various competitions within the North East and neighbouring regions. During 2017 they enjoyed success at eight competitions throughout the year.

‘The Durham Light Infantry’ is the first advance single to be taken from Gary’s forthcoming album From Coalfield To Battlefield. The album is based on a collection of songs he was commissioned to write by the DLI Research & Study Centre for When The Bugle Calls, a year-long travelling exhibition celebrating the Music of the Durham Light Infantry, launched at Bishop Auckland Town Hall on 5th December 2017. It follows ‘hot-on-the-heels’ of his epic-scale Mad Martins 3 CD and 104-page deluxe book (“This is a major contribution to the North East music scene” – Jez Lowe, Northern Echo, UK).

Initially approached for permission to use the original Whisky Priests version of The Durham Light Infantry for the exhibition, Gary saw this as an opportunity to overhaul and reinvigorate the song with new lyrics and a full brass band arrangement…

“Born in Durham and raised in the County Durham mining village of Sherburn, with family members who were colliery bandsmen, I was familiar with brass band music from an early age. I distinctly remember marching round the living room, from being able to walk, to the sound of my father’s many brass band albums. I recall the excitement of seeing the colliery banners and hearing the music, as the bands marched proudly by at the Durham Miners’ Gala, every year as a child. All of these things hugely inspired me and the influences are clear in the very first songs and tunes I wrote for my band The Whisky Priests. It has been a long-held ambition of mine to record one of my tunes with a full colliery band, for the last 30+ years in fact. True, The Whisky Priests recordings throughout the late 80’s and 90’s often featured colliery brass guest musicians, but never a full band in its own right. I am overjoyed that this ambition has finally been achieved, through my collaboration with the Ferryhill Town Band. To hear my old song ‘The Durham Light Infantry’ renewed in this way has been an incredible and unforgettable experience – this was the one song I most had in mind for a full brass band treatment throughout those 30-odd years. I feel truly blessed creatively and am proud to be able to share the results through this new single.” – Gary Miller, 2018

Artist’s website: http://www.garymillersongs.com/

‘The Durham Light Infantry’ – official video: