The Nights At The Circus folk club – Birmingham’s newest attaction

Circus

The Nights At The Circus Folk Club is the newest edition to Birmingham’s heritage of guest-booking folk clubs.

Starting in January 2017, the club has brought a hugely varied programme of nationally touring folk artists to the Second City, including such renowned names as Sam Kelly, winner of the 2016 BBC Radio 2 Horizon Folk Award, and David Campbell, son of Birmingham-based folk revival legend, Ian Campbell.

According to club founder and organiser, Chris Cleverley, the club’s mission is quite simple:

“We started the club with the aim of creating a monthly Contemporary Folk and Roots night to showcase the next generation of breakthrough artists from the new British Folk Scene. NATC offers a platform for some of the UKs most innovative, honest songwriters and dynamic interpreters of traditional song, bringing the breakthrough names of the modern underground scene to an attentive, artist focussed environment.”

Upon its inception, NATC joined the likes of The Red Lion Folk Club & The Black Diamond Folk Club, to become Birmingham’s newest member of the organisation Folk 21, a national voluntary group which promotes, supports and provides a voice for the guest-booking folk club circuit across the UK.

NATC has fully embraced the current National Folk Scene as it develops into the 21st Century, with a programme of artists that spans generations and myriad sub-genres. In doing so the club has exposed some artists to Birmingham’s music lovers by hosting their first live, headline appearances in the city.

Photograph by Tony Birch

September’s headline act is Russian songwriter Daria Kulesh, described by The Times as “Haunting and Enigmatic”. With her striking voice and strong Russian and Ingush heritage, Daria Kulesh is a rising star and a unique character on the UK folk scene. Daria’s new solo album Long Lost Home is mainly inspired by Ingushetia (Ghalghai Mokh) – the lost home of Daria’s grandmother Fatima Akhrieva. But above all, Long Lost Home is an album for our times, exploring themes of displacement and (in)tolerance, identity and integrity, humanity and strength in the face of adversity, hope against hate. The September audience can expect powerful, timeless human stories beautifully told in an eye-opening and profoundly uplifting musical experience.

The club is hosted by The Dark Horse in Moseley, which offers a spacious, modern environment, to perfectly reflect the progressive and innovative nature of the artists appearing on the programme. The experience is further enhanced by the pub’s cornucopia of world beers, making NATC one of the few settings in Birmingham at which audiences can enjoy live folk music and craft beer.

For more information about the club, including further dates in our Autumn programme, please visit https://circusfolkclub.wixsite.com/nightsatthecircus

EFDSS announce marathon autumn program at Cecil Sharp House

EFDSS

Mike McGoldrick, John McCusker and John Doyle
Thursday 21 September, 7.30pm
£18 | £10 under 26s

John Doyle, John McCusker and Mike McGoldrick first crossed paths as teenagers. A quarter of a century later, the fired-up folk live-wires are set to celebrate their musical kinship, with their first studio album, The Wishing Tree. A thrilling trip through traditional, contemporary and original jigs, reels, ballads and more, it sees them branch out musically, while tracing the roots of their tunes, and of their friendship.

Trad Night – Jim Causley
Wednesday 27 September, £10

Traditional song – entertaining, rewarding, and often overlooked as an essential part of our history and culture. EFDSS is delighted to announce a new programme of concerts featuring the songs that have been loved, sung and shared for generations. Tales of love and lust, incest and murder, humour and tragedy, sung by talented contemporary performers of the tradition.

Trad Nights will take place in our most compact performance venue, Storrow, creating a truly intimate environment for the audience of no more than fifty fans of traditional, unamplified folk music.

Jim Causley celebrates over a decade as an acclaimed solo artist and performer with his latest studio album Forgotten Kingdom, his first album of entirely self-penned material. A broad collection of songs inspired by his native West Country, Jim mixes ancient history with his own personal history and experience of the world.

Since the release of his debut album in 2005, Causley’s unique voice and persona have helped him become one of the most well-loved and respected figures of today’s contemporary roots and folk music scene.

Martin and Eliza Carthy with support from The Drystones

Saturday 30 September, 7.30pm
£20 | £10 under 26s

The good Doctor Martin Carthy and his twice Mercury nominated daughter Eliza Carthy, join forces to perform songs from their first duo album ever, a CD of traditional material entitled The Elephant, which was released in May 2014 on Topic Records.

The Drystones are two twenty-one year olds from Somerset playing a lively mix of their own interpretations of traditional folk tunes and original compositions. Very accomplished on violin, guitar and whistle, they were Steve Lamacq’s “recommendation of the day” at Glastonbury Festival 2013. For just two people they make a lot of sound!

Kings of the South Seas
Wednesday 4 October, 7.30pm
£14 | £10 under 26s

In 1845, Captain Sir John Franklin departed on his ill-fated voyage in search of the North-West Passage. Within just the last few years, his HMS Erebus and Terror have been discovered at the bottom of the icy seas off Northern Canada. With the ‘Franklin’ album, Kings of The South Seas will bring to life the traditional and written music left by these events and their cultural fallout; from Canadian Voyageur paddling songs, English folk ballads and songs composed on-board ice-bound wintering ships to Victorian parlour pieces.

Tunes of the Munster Pipers

Thursday 5 October, 7.30pm

This performance tells the story of Canon James Goodman and the journey of this collection to the 21st century. Combining spoken word, curated imagery, and live musical performance, come and learn of the life and times of Canon Goodman, and the musical landscape of 19th century southwest Ireland.

Germa Adan
Wednesday 11 October, 7.30pm
£12 | £10 under 26s

Germa Adan writes and performs music that draws inspiration from Haitian, American & British folk music. She was recently awarded EFDSS Creative Seed Funding to write and arrange songs that explore narratives of the diasporic life.

Young Waters
Wednesday 18 October, 7.30pm
£12 | £10 under 26s

Young Waters’ twisted neo-folk is a tapestry of emotionally powerful vocals, stirring harmonies, lyrical violin solos and finely mastered acoustic guitar. Their combination of startling original material and traditional folk songs makes for a captivating stage presence.

Happy Traum: Coming of Age in the Greenwich Village Folk Revival and the Woodstock Scene (1954 – 1971)

Thursday 19 October, 7.30pm
£16 | £10 under 26s

With colourful anecdotes and incisive memories, and the aid of vintage photos and music clips, Happy Traum relates some of his adventures as an active member of the New York folk revival, and his friendships with some of the leading folk artists of the day, including Bob Dylan and Brownie McGhee. Happy punctuates his remembrances with powerful renditions of songs and guitar solos from the “folk era” and beyond.

Trad Night – Laura Smyth & Ted Kemp
Wednesday 25 October, 7.30pm, £10

Laura and Ted take a no-nonsense approach to traditional English folk song, taking their cues from revival singers such as Frankie Armstrong, Peter Bellamy and the Watersons. With repertoire drawn from their homes in the North West and East Anglia, expect strong vocals, tight harmonies and unfussy arrangements of songs sung with passion.

Pagoda Project
Wednesday 1 November, 7.30pm
£14 | £10 under 26s

Paul Hutchinson, also known for Belshazzar’s Feast, and Karen Wimhurst, previously a member of the Cauld Blast Orchestra, have a wealth of musical experience in a diverse range of genres from classical to folk.

Tales & Tunes: Kathryn Tickell & David Almond with Amy Thatcher

Thursday 2 November, 7.30pm
£18 | £10 under 26s

These artists’ work grows from the landscape, language, history and strange beauty of the north. With the drive of David’s storytelling and Kathryn’s love of the traditions of her native Northumbria, the poetic power of language and music combine.

On stage Kathryn and David are joined by accordionist and clog dancer Amy Thatcher to bring you a memorable evening of stories, songs and, of course, irrepressible music. If you enjoyed Kathryn’s “Northumbrian Voices” this is an unmissable show for you!

Tilston and Lowe
Wednesday 8 November, 7.30pm
£14 | £10 under 26s

Steve Tilston and Jez Lowe, two of the UK acoustic/folk scene’s finest songwriters join forces for a concert filled with songs and music, chat and banter and intimate insights into their approach to their craft. Listen in as they rekindle the spontaneity of their late-night living-room song swaps.

 

An Evening with the Seeger MacColl Family
Thursday 16 November, 7.30pm
£18 | £10 under 26s

The Seeger MacColl family are one of folk music’s most loved dynasties. Singer, songwriter and feminist icon Peggy Seeger performs with Neill and Calum, her sons with Ewan MacColl.

Peggy long-awaited memoir, ‘First Time Ever’ will be published in October. To celebrate, Peggy, Neill and Calum will be touring a special related show in which she’ll mix extracts from the book with the songs that have meant the most to her over the years. Expect anecdotes from her long and remarkable career together with performances songs new and old.

The Stray Birds
Saturday 18 November, 7.30pm
£15 | £10 under 26s

The Stray Birds started as a duo of acoustic buskers when Maya de Vitry and Oliver Craven met with their instruments, their voices, and their songs. It didn’t take much convincing to get bassist Charlie Muench on board, and with the addition of a third unique and powerful voice, the group began to define its captivating sound. Since taking America by storm in 2013 they have gone on to win a huge fan base following appearances at big festivals around the world.

Trad Night – Thomas McCarthy
Wednesday 22 November, 7.30pm, £10

Thomas McCarthy is a man steeped in the tradition of Irish song, intoxicated by the music and passionate in his sensitivity towards them. He comes from a considerable dynasty of traditional singers, song-makers and musicians, and grew up surrounded by the singing of his late mother, her father and aunts and uncles. Having spent his life learning the songs of his family, in 2008 Thomas sang publicly for the first time at the folk club at Cecil Sharp House. By the following year, he had sung at the most prominent folk festivals and clubs in Ireland and England and had appeared on BBC radio.

Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys
Wednesday 29 November, 7.30pm
£14 | £10 under 26s

Sam is one of the most exciting young prospects in the folk scene, having gained a reputation for an incredibly high class and dynamic live show.

Coming from a family largely made up of Norfolk dairy farmers has left Sam with an unmatched experience of singing in front of hurtfully disinterested Friesians, and his meandering musical journey has ranged from reaching the final of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent as a teenager, to being selected for the first ever EFDSS Artist Development Scheme. Whether playing to 13 million people on prime-time television, or to 10 people in a tiny pub, Sam’s child-like fascination with music shines through.

Jess Morgan & Kitty Macfarlane
Wednesday 6 December, 7.30pm
£12 | £10 under 26s

Jess Morgan is a songwriter’s songwriter. Her performance is a tumbler of unfancied folk-roots music, with heart, passion and gusto.

Kitty Macfarlane’s songs are charged with a sense of place – more often than not her home county of Somerset – and her lyrics combine honest snapshots of everyday humanity with much bigger questions.

India Electric Co
Wednesday 13 December, 7.30pm
£12 | £10 under 26s

Sometimes folk, sometimes not. India Electric Company use traditional instruments in contemporary styles to explore diverse themes from Eastern Europe, Irish traditions and urban alienation to end up with something “quirky and glittery – a veritable musical magpie’s nest” (Mary Ann Kennedy, BBC Radio 3).

Belshazzar’s Feast

Thursday 14 December, 7.30pm
£15 | £10 youth

On tour with a Christmas-themed show that mixes traditional folk music, seasonal material, added to their usual touch of classical and jazz, with a bit of pop and music hall, all topped off with lashings of wry humour.  Paul Sartin (of Bellowhead and Faustus) and Paul Hutchinson (of Hoover The Dog) together wow audiences across the UK with their eclectic and eccentric mix of tunes and between songs chat that always sends audiences home with smiles on their faces.

Festive Gathering
Sunday 17 December, 7.30pm
£15 | £10 under 26s

Join for us our ever-popular, annual celebration of yuletide, with a chance to join in on the songs and merriment.

Cecil Sharp House Choir, led by Sally Davies, will perform joyful a cappella arrangements of traditional, seasonal songs, carols and wassails from the British Isles and beyond, sung in glorious harmony.  Folk dancers, singers and musicians will fill Kennedy Hall – the main space at Cecil Sharp House – with seasonal cheer.

For bookings go to: cecilsharphouse.org/csh-whats-on

Ron Pope announces new album, Work, and UK live dates

Ron Pope

This fall, Nashville-based independent artist Ron Pope will embark on an international headline tour making stops in New York, London, Chicago, Nashville, Washington D.C., Boston, Philadelphia and more. See below for a full tour itinerary. Pope’s latest studio album, Work, is due August 18th on his own Brooklyn Basement Records and follows last year’s critically acclaimed Ron Pope & The Nighthawks, of which Entertainment Weekly said:

Heavier, deeper, bigger, louder. The warm glow of the West, and a heavy meditation on classic sounds of the South seeps out.

Earlier this spring, Pope performed ‘Baby, I Love You’ at Carnegie Hall as part of The Music Of Aretha Franklin tribute show. His recorded cover of the song and accompanying in-studio video premiered on Glide in celebration of Franklin’s 75th birthday. Of the new cover, Glide proclaimed,

Taking on Aretha is a daunting task, but with Pope’s vivacious voice and the top notch players behind him, this rendition is blessed with is on unique wow factor while retaining its original lustre.

The new record’s lead single ‘Bad For Your Health’ premiered on Team Coco who call it “seriously addictive”. Most recently, Relix debuted the new album’s second single ‘Let’s Get Stoned.’

Work marks Pope’s seventh studio album. To date, he has surpassed one million monthly listeners on Spotify, sold out shows in more than 20 countries, sold over 2 million digital tracks, had over 200 million streams on Spotify, 630 million plays on Pandora and 150 million views on YouTube.

The album was recorded completely in analog at Welcome To 1979 in Nashville, TN where Pope and his fellow musicians locked themselves in the studio for one week until completion. Work was co-produced and recorded with Grammy award-winning engineer Ted Young, his third consecutive collaboration with Pope. The lead single, ‘Bad For Your Health’ was co-written by Pope and Jonathan Tyler.

Of the new recording, Pope says,

This album follows me from when I was thirteen and a teacher told my mother that I’d probably end up in prison; I started messing around writing songs that year. It’s been mostly uphill ever since.

Appearing on the album are Jay Collins on sax (Gregg Allman Band), Mike Riddleberger on drums (Bleachers), Andrew Pertes on bass (Savoir Adore), Kai Welch on keys/accordion (Abigail Washburn, Glen Campbell), Jeff Malinowski on guitar (Frances Cone), Alex Brumel on guitar/pedal steel and Charles Ray on flugelhorn/trumpet plus guest vocals on select tracks from Mary Richardson (The Banditos), Katie Schecter, Molly Parden and Vanessa McGowan.

Last summer saw the release of the feature-length documentary One Way Ticket by Kelly Teacher (No Cameras Allowed, Austin To Boston). The film follows Pope and his band on the road and during recording sessions for Ron Pope & The Nighthawks in Lake Blue Ridge, GA. In the film, Spotify’s D.A. Wallach notes, ‘Here’s a guy who’s figured out how to do this basically by himself and is really proving the power of streaming music.’

Pope’s music has been featured on NBC’s The Voice, CW’s Vampire Diaries, 90210, and multiple seasons of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, which sent two of his albums into the top 100 on iTunes simultaneously. Pope also guest starred as himself in Season 3 of the show Nashville.

If you would like to order a copy of the one of the albums (in CD or Vinyl), download them or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the Ron Pope – Work link 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.

DOWNLOAD – [CD]

Artist’s website: http://ronpopemusic.com/

‘Work’ – official video:

Forthcoming UK live dates

November 5,  London, UK – The Garage

November 6, Manchester, UK, – Academy 3

Fraser Shaw – posthumous tune book and CD

Fraser Shaw
The Islay Sessioners

Fraser Shaw was a wonderful piper, whistle player and composer from Glasgow who resided on the Isle of Islay. After his passing in May 2015, a group of friends and family started a Trust in his honour. The foremost aim of the Fraser Shaw Trust is to raise money for the relief of multiple sclerosis, particularly in Argyll, Scotland, through a series of projects and events celebrating Fraser and his music.

A few years before Fraser’s passing, he had it in mind to release a book of his own compositions, the proceeds of which would go towards the MS Care Centre in Lochilphead, Scotland. Unfortunately, due to his illness, this never came to fruition.

Over the last year and a half, the Trust have been working hard to bring this idea to life and release this much anticipated book, along with an album comprised of Fraser’s tunes. In November 2015 a group of musicians gathered on Islay, to play a special memorial concert at Fraser’s festival, The Islay Sessions, thus laying the groundwork for this album. In January 2016 at Celtic Connections this same group of musicians, “The Islay Sessioners”, as they called themselves, performed this music as part of Islay Night, a concert that both celebrated the music and culture of Islay, and the music of Fraser Shaw.

In September 2016, recording began for the album in Castlesound and Carrier Waves Studios. Many of the arrangements heard at Islay Night have been recorded, along with a few additional tracks. Playing on the album are; Adam Sutherland, Eilidh Shaw, Gráinne Brady, Lori Watson, Innes Watson, Angus MacKenzie, Calum MacCrimmon, Kevin O’Neill, John Somerville, Laura-Beth Salter, Jenn Butterworth, Ross Martin, Tina Jordan Rees, Duncan Lyall, with very special guests; Kathleen Graham, Mhairi Hall and Ross Couper.

The Fraser Shaw Trust is delighted to announce the release of the book and CD on Tuesday June 27th 2017, with a big launch on the Isle of Islay to mark the occasion. The event will take plce in Bruichladdich Hall, with a concert featuring the musicians on the album. A second launch in Glasgow is set for Monday August 7th in St Luke’s Church as part of Piping Live!

Hard copies of Fraser’s CD will be available exclusively at the pre-launch party which will take place in The Sparkle Horse, Glasgow on Tuesday May 16th. Tickets for launch concerts and pre-orders will be for sale online from May 16th through the website – www.FraserShawTrust.com.

Proceeds of the tunebook will go directly towards the MS Care Centre in Lochilphead. Proceeds of the album and further donations will be used for the advancement of education, arts and culture and for the relief of those living with multiple sclerosis in Scotland, particularly on the Isle of Islay.

Fairport are fifty on May 27th

Fairport

When Fairport Convention, the legendary band which originated British folk-rock, takes the stage on Saturday 27 May 2017 it will be fifty years to the day since their first-ever gig.

The birthday concert takes place at the Union Chapel in Islington just a few miles from the Golders Green venue where Fairport started out.

Formed by Ashley Hutchings in 1967, Fairport was a crucial part of the “summer of love” and played alongside Pink Floyd and Hendrix among others. One of the only touring bands with an unbroken history stretching back five decades, Fairport has been performing and recording more or less constantly since its inception.

Acknowledged as one of the most influential UK bands in popular music, Fairport Convention nurtured the careers of Richard Thompson, Sandy Denny and Dave Swarbrick among others.

The band saw many changes of personnel during its early years but Fairport Convention’s current line-up has been stable since 1998. Simon Nicol, lead singer and guitarist, is the only founding member still with Fairport; bass player Dave Pegg has been in the band since 1970.

So far this year Fairport has staged a major UK tour, released a new studio album, enjoyed extensive magazine coverage, and been the subject of an hour-long Radio 2 documentary produced and presented by Bob Harris.


In August the anniversary will culminate at the band’s own music festival at Cropredy, Oxfordshire, where past members will join the current line-up for a reunion performance. In the autumn there are plans for a Sky Arts television documentary about the band and its history.

If you would like to update your Fairport collection (in CD or Vinyl), download any of them or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the Fairport Convention link 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://www.fairportconvention.com/

‘Widow Of Westmorland’s Daughter’ – live at Cropredy: