Gem Andrews – North

Gem Andrews’ powerful new album ‘North’ is an intimate and stirring collection of songs which tackles themes of mental illness, poverty, community and destitution. In this dark country album, Andrews opens up the murkiest corners of her mind, and tells stories which are in turn despairing, hopeful and furious.

Running through every song is Gem’s spiritual home; the North East of England, sometimes as subject and sometimes as backdrop. The album is infused with the warmth and energy of the region, and pays tribute to local legends, including the late, great poet Julia Darling.

Gem’s songs capture the rage of the North, railing against a political class that have destroyed the livelihood and pride of the people and left them to waste.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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The Band
Gem Andrews – Vocals, Guitar, Banjo
Nicky Rushton – Piano, Accordion, Electric Guitar, Harmony Vocals
Sarah Van Jellie – Double Bass, Harmony Vocals
Bernard Wright – Violin, Mandolin, Harmony Vocals
Susanne Lambert – Drums, Percussion, Harmony Vocals

Here is “Calling”, an old gem from Gem.

Artist’s website: http://www.gemandrews.co.uk/

JOHNNY CASH: FOREVER WORDS

Legacy Recordings to Release Johnny Cash: Forever Words, an Album of Cash’s Unknown Poems & Other Writings Transformed into New Songs by Contemporary Artists

Album Features New Performances by Chris Cornell, Ruston Kelly & Kacey Musgraves, Rosanne Cash, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Kris Kristofferson & Willie Nelson, Brad Paisley, John Mellencamp, Carlene Carter, Elvis Costello, The Jayhawks, and More

When Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash passed, they left behind what John Carter Cash, their son and Johnny Cash: Forever Words co-producer, describes as a “monstrous amassment” of things, including a treasure trove of undiscovered material that includes Johnny Cash’s handwritten letters, poems and documents, penned across the entirety of his life.

Over the past two years, album producers John Carter Cash and Steve Berkowitz invited a stellar cast of musicians to create new music to accompany these newly discovered Cash writings.

Recorded primarily at The Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee, Johnny Cash: Forever Words is also the musical companion to the best-selling “Forever Words: The Unknown Poems,” a volume of Cash’s unpublished writing edited by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon and curated by John Carter Cash and Steve Berkowitz.

Many of the songs on Johnny Cash: Forever Words were directly inspired by material in the book while others are drawn from different sources of Cash’s unpublished writings. The tone of the album is established with the opening track “Forever/I Still Miss Someone” featuring Kris Kristofferson reciting the last poem Cash ever wrote alongside guitar accompaniment from Willie Nelson, both lifelong friends of Johnny. Continuing the close-to-home theme, the music then transitions to the deeply personal “To June This Morning,” a letter Johnny wrote to his wife, June Carter Cash, now interpreted by real-life couple Ruston Kelly and Kacey Musgraves.

Twenty-one years after Johnny Cash recorded his cover of Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage” for his Grammy Award winning album, Unchained, Chris Cornell continues this special relationship with “You Never Knew My Mind,” setting some of Cash’s own poignant and introspective words to original music on one of Cornell’s last solo recordings.

The album also showcases Rosanne Cash, Johnny Cash’s eldest daughter, who interpreted her father’s “The Walking Wounded,” marking just the second time that she has collaborated on a record with her half-brother John Carter Cash.

John Carter Cash also collaborated here with his half-sister Carlene, his mother June’s first daughter, on “June’s Sundown.” Carlene Carter was just twelve years old when her mother June Carter married Johnny Cash, but bonded immediately with her stepfather who she referred to as “Big John.”

The Grammy Award winning bluegrass super-group Alison Krauss & Union Station made a rare recording together on “The Captain’s Daughter,” the group’s first new studio recording in six years.

“Determining the artist for each song was truly a matter of the heart,” said John Carter Cash. “I picked the artists who are most connected with my father, who had a personal story that was connected with Dad. It became an exciting endeavor to go through these works, to put them together and present them to different people who could finish them in a way that I believed that Dad would have wanted.”

When making the Johnny Cash: Forever Words album, producers John Carter Cash and Steve Berkowitz tapped into a spirit of musical collaboration between the musicians and the words of Johnny Cash. The goal of Johnny Cash: Forever Words was not to create a “lost” Johnny Cash album, but rather for musicians to connect with these poems and allow them to flourish in a new musical world.

Johnny Cash: Forever Words
1. Forever/I Still Miss Someone – Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson
2. To June This Morning – Ruston Kelly and Kacey Musgraves
3. Gold All Over the Ground – Brad Paisley
4. You Never Knew My Mind – Chris Cornell
5. The Captain’s Daughter – Alison Krauss and Union Station
6. Jellico Coal Man – T. Bone Burnett
7. The Walking Wounded – Rosanne Cash
8. Them Double Blues – John Mellencamp
9. Body on Body – Jewel
10. I’ll Still Love You – Elvis Costello
11. June’s Sundown – Carlene Carter
12. He Bore It All – Daily and Vincent
13. Chinky Pin Hill – I’m With Her
14. Goin’, Goin’, Gone – Robert Glasper featuring Ro James, and Anu Sun
15. What Would I Dreamer Do? – The Jayhawks
16. Spirit Rider – Jamey Johnson

Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release Johnny Cash: Forever Words – a collaborative album consisting of songs created from Johnny Cash’s unknown poetry, lyrics, and letters set to music by an astounding array of contemporary artists on Friday 6th April.

Johnny Cash: Forever Words will be available on CD, 2LP Vinyl and Digital formats.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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.

Web links:
WEBSITE: http://johnnycashonline.com/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/johnnycash/
JohnnyCashForeverWords.com
LegacyRecordings.com

Birds of Chicago release Love in Wartime

Photo by Yves Assad

Birds of Chicago have been riding a swell of good mojo in the Americana scene since their inception in late 2012. With their new album, Love in Wartime, they are set to both confirm that roots world buzz, and break on through to a much wider audience.

Recorded in Chicago against a backdrop of bewilderment, deep divide and dread, Love in Wartime is a rock and roll suite with a cinematic sweep. Co-produced with Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), it evokes epic efforts of the 60’s and 70’s, with love as the undeniable through-line.

Built around the chemistry and fire between Allison Russell and JT Nero, and their rock-steady band, BOC tours hard. Russell and Nero played with different bands in the mid-aughts (Po’ Girl and JT and the Clouds) before finding their way to each other. Nero, who writes the bulk of the songs, found himself a transcendent vocal muse in Russell (a powerful writer herself), and the band honed its chops on the road, playing 200 shows a year between 2013-17. All that shaping and sharpening, over so many miles, led them back to Chicago’s Electrical Audio in January of 2017, to begin recording Love in Wartime.

“Any act of love is an act of bravery,” says Russell. “We want to give people some good news. And we want them to be able to dance when they hear it.”

Their most recent releases include 2016’s Joe Henry-produced Real Midnight and 2017’s EP American Flowers, BOC’s debut from the label Signature Sounds Recordings. Critics have searched for the right words to describe Real Midnight’s deep lyricism, gut-punch singing and musicality. “Secular gospel” was one phrase that caught some traction. That fervour is evident in Love in Wartime as well: “Roll Away the heavy stone/roll away the heavy hours/roll on in the summer moon/who’s alive who’s alive who’s alive?” The invitation is joyous, but urgent. There’s another phrase that they used to describe poetry intoned over roots music mash-ups: Rock n Roll. The Birds consider themselves a rock and roll band first and foremost, and Love in Wartime doesn’t leave any doubt about that.

Birds’ shows attract a mix of indie rockers, jam-kids and Americana/roots lovers, mixing moments of hushed attention with wild, rock and soul abandon.

Says Nero, “a good show can send you back out into the night feeling – for at least a little while – that everything isn’t broken.”

These days, that’s no small thing.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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 Web Links:

www.birdsofchicago.com
www.facebook.com/BirdsofChicago.Official
www.twitter.com/@jtandalli

TOWERSEY FESTIVAL reveal line-up for 2018

Photo by Murdo Macleod

The Proclaimers, Richard Thompson, Beth Orton and Big Country are among the acts headlining the 54th Towersey Festival (24-27 August 2018, Thame, Oxfordshire).

Joining them at one of the UK’s longest running festivals are Fishermen’s Friends, the Sharon Shannon Band and Daphne’s Flight.

It’s been 31 years since Scottish twins Charlie and Craig Reid, aka The Proclaimers, came to widespread public attention. Calling on folk, country, rock’n’roll and punk, the brothers have built up an impressive back catalogue, with such hits as I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), Letter From America, King Of The Road, and more. They’ve even inspired a musical, the play and film Sunshine On Leith.

Richard Thompson is no stranger to Towersey, having last appeared at the festival solo/ acoustic back in 2015. For his latest appearance, the Fairport Convention co-founder brings his acclaimed Electric Trio.

Singer-songwriter Beth Orton‘s enticing mix of acoustic and electronic elements have won her huge acclaim. Her 1999 record Central Reservation picked up the BRIT Award for Best Album, and her recent releases, Sugaring Season and Kidsticks, continue to beguile.

Celtic rock band Big Country‘s hits include Field Of Fire (400 Miles), In A Big Country and Wonderland. The Live Aid veterans visit Towersey to perform their acoustic set.

Other notable acts on the bill include award-winning Irish accordion player Sharon Shannon; Cornwall’s chart-busting eight-piece Fisherman’s Friends, who are credited with kick-starting a revival in shanty-style choral singing; singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph; and a reunited Daphne’s Flight, featuring five of the most acclaimed female singer-songwriters from their generation (Helen Watson, Melanie Harrold, Julie Matthews, Chris While and Christine Collister).

They’ll be playing alongside 10 times winners of the National Brass Band Champions of Great Britain, the Brighouse and Rastrick Band; rising Americana/ roots trio Wildwood Kin; a collaboration between Peter Knight (Steeleye Span) and John Spiers (Bellowhead); and Whetstone Brinsford Kirkpatrick, recreating Dave Whetstone’s landmark mid-90s folk album The Resolution for an exclusive Towersey appearance.

Towersey Festival Director Joe Heap said: “We’ve got a great mix of big names making their Towersey debuts this year as well as some real returning favourites, such as Richard Thompson. We’re especially pleased to welcome The Proclaimers for the first time – they always put on a great show and have so many fabulous songs.”

But as Joe states, one final piece of the jigsaw puzzle is yet to be revealed: “There is one more incredible headline act to announce for August Bank Holiday Monday. We’ve just confirmed and will be announcing officially very soon – so keep an eye out for some exciting news …”

Situated in easy reach of London and Birmingham, on the Oxfordshire/ Buckinghamshire border, and established in 1965, Towersey is one of the UK’s longest continuously running independent music festivals. Boasting 11 venues, alongside an extensive music programme the festival also features 24hrs of ceilidh, daily workshops, a well-stocked bar, street food, spoken word, film screenings, events and activities for children and younger festival-goers, and more.

DAY BY DAY LISTINGS (key acts only):

FRIDAY 24 AUGUST 2018
Richard Thompson Electric Trio
Sharon Shannon Band
Wildwood Kin
Faustus
Whetstone Brinsford Kirkpatrick (Exclusive Towersey appearance)

SATURDAY 25 AUGUST 2018
The Proclaimers
Big Country (Acoustic)
Daphne’s Flight
Martin Simpson
William The Conqueror
Tickled Pink

SUNDAY 26 AUGUST 2018
Beth Orton
Fisherman’s Friends
Martyn Joseph
Blair Dunlop
Brighouse and Rastrick Band
The Rheingans Sisters

MONDAY 27 AUGUST 2018
[Headline Act To Be Announced]
Blackbeard’s Tea Party (Festival Finale)
Roy Bailey
Peter Knight and John Spiers
Blowzabella
Lady Maisery

Tickets for Towersey Festival, which runs from Friday 24 to Monday 27 August 2018 at Thame Showground in Oxfordshire, are available now (Tier 2) from £119 (adult), £115 (conc), £84 (youth), £59 (child). For further information, and to book, see: www.towerseyfestival.com

FIRST ACTS ANNOUNCED FOR 12TH DERBY FOLK FESTIVAL

Derby Folk Festival returns in 2018 for its twelfth year, right in the centre of Derby. Following the fantastic success of last year’s “best ever festival”, which was enjoyed by thousands, Derby LIVE is pleased to confirm that the twelfth Derby Folk Festival will take place from Thursday 4 to Sunday 7 October 2018.

The last Derby Folk Festival which took place in October 2017 reached more people than ever before, with record ticket sales for the event. Visitors came from across the country including Exeter, Leeds, Chester and Oxford, demonstrating the benefits of continuing to make Derby a vibrant place to visit.

This year, as well as the full weekend, Derby Folk Festival will also include a great evening concert on Thursday 4 October. Kicking the evening off and setting the mood for the night will be the amazing Zulu Tradition. From KwaZulu Natal to the world’s stage, rekindling the spark of Zulu culture and heritage through traditional drama, song and dance. Let the singing, dancing and nostalgia take hold and pretend you’re basking under the hot summer sun in Zimbabwe. Then led by the legendary Leeds-based troubadour Gary Stewart (Gary Stewart Band / Hope and Social) and backed his incredible 7-piece band, this spectacular group of musicians come together to recreate Paul Simon’s landmark Graceland album in all its glory.

Many exciting headlining acts have already been confirmed for a variety of venues in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter and with more still artists to be announced preparations are moving at a pace. Derby Folk Festival is jointly produced by Derby City Council’s Derby LIVE and Derbyshire-based PR Promotions.

Confirmed headline acts represent a broad spectrum of folk music, including Eliza Carthy and the Wayward Band, Lucy Ward Band, John Tams and Barry Coope, Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys and Daoirí Farrell Trio.

A fantastic set of venues throughout the Cathedral Quarter will continue to provide the perfect backdrop for the festival, including the rustic Old Bell Hotel, the City Marquee on the Market Place, Derby Cathedral and the Guildhall Theatre.

The festival will also include a host of free fringe events, dance acts, workshops and sessions, as well as an Arts and Craft Fair. These free events will be taking place in Derby City Centre, spreading the festival’s intoxicating atmosphere throughout the city and making sure the festival is available to everyone.

Councillor Amo Raju, Cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism said: “Derby Folk Festival is one of the highlights of Derby’s thriving cultural calendar and hosting such a prominent festival contributes toward securing a strong future for the city, with visitors coming from across the UK and indeed the world. The twelfth Derby Folk Festival is set to be the best yet with fantastic venues, exciting acts, and entertainment for all with much more to be announced in the coming months.”

With the whole festival programme taking place in and around the city, it is perfectly placed for those arriving by either bus or train. Festival tickets are available and can be purchased through the Derby LIVE Box Office on 01332 255800 or online at derbylive.co.uk they can also be purchased at the Sales and Information Centre, Derby, DE1 3AH.

Early bird offers are now available for those who book weekend tickets before 30 April 2018 at a discounted rate of £80. Tickets for the whole weekend are £90 (adult), £50 (Students) and £20 (under 16’s) and are on sale now. Weekend tickets allow access to all events throughout Friday 5 to Sunday 7 October, with the Thursday 4 October evening concert being an add-on event (open to all, but at a special price to weekend ticket holders). Tickets to the concert on Thursday can be added to Derby Folk Festival Weekend tickets for just £10 (once you have logged in with your account after you have purchased the weekend ticket, the discount will apply automatically). Day and Evening tickets for those who can’t make the full weekend will be available to book online from 21 April 2018.

One of our favourites from the folking video archive from 2007…

Shrewsbury Folk Festival reveals more names


Folk legend Richard Thompson is set to make an electrifying return to this year’s Shrewsbury Folk Festival after organisers announced a rare appearance by the musician with his Electric Trio.

The former Fairport Convention musician, named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the top 100 guitarists of all time, will headline the festival’s Bellstone stage on Saturday August 25.

More than half of adult weekend tickets have already been sold with over six months to go to the event that attracts around 7,000 people to the West Mid Showground.

Other names added to the programme include the new duo of Peter Knight (ex Steeleye Span) and John Spiers (Bellowhead) and singer songwriters James Riley and Edwina Hayes.

Already announced are American singer songwriter Gretchen Peters, Steeleye Span, Irish super group Usher’s Island, Show of Hands, Jon Boden and The Remnant Kings, Gigspanner, BBC Folk Award winner Daoirí Farrell and Scottish folk rockers Skerryvore.

Chinese flautist Guo Yue and Japanese drummer Joji Hirota will reunite for the festival with the London Taiko Drummers and Canadian band The Fitzgeralds – one of the hit groups of last year’s festival – will also make a welcome return.

Other performers include Welsh indie roots band Rusty Shackle, State of the Union – the duo of Boo Hewerdine and Brooks Williams, O’Hooley & Tidow, Megson, Blowzabella, Banter, Alden, Patterson & Dashwood, The Rogues Shanty Crew, Emma Morton & The Graces, Midnight Skyracer, FOS Brothers, Inlay, and Foreign Affairs.

Dance bands will be Blowzabella, Bedlam, Committee Band, Vertical Expression, Kirkophany and Out of Hand.

Shrewsbury Folk FestivalThe festival, which will run from August 24 to 27, has four main music stages, a dance tent featuring ceilidhs, workshops and dance shows, children and youth festivals, more than 100 workshops, a craft fair, food village, real ale, prosecco and cocktail bars and on-site camping.

There are also fringe events at town pubs with dance displays in the centre of Shrewsbury and a parade through the streets.

Director Sandra Surtees said: “We are delighted to have secured this rare appearance by the Richard Thompson Electric Trio for Shrewsbury. Richard is a folk legend but he doesn’t often perform in this format so it’ll be a real treat for our audience.

“The line up contains a wide variety of traditional and contemporary folk alongside singer songwriters and north American and Canadian acts so there is something to appeal to all tastes.

“That’s echoed in the strong ticket sales we’re experiencing with many of our visitors coming back year after year as they love the festival so much!”

Weekend and day tickets are now on sale and can be booked at www.shrewsburyfolkfestival.co.uk/booktickets/.