The folking music store for album reviews and news

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Welcome to the folking.com music store for album reviews and news….

All the articles below contain direct banner links to the relevant Amazon web page for the featured product  (usually the CD or download for the press release or review).

LIANNE HALL – The Caretaker (Market Square MSMCD182)

Lianne Hall used to be a punk. She was a member of Witchknot but I rather think that she was punk in the way that The Stranglers were; embracing the ethos but having rather superior musical skills. She’s originally from Peterborough and lived in Brighton before moving to Berlin. After ...
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GALLEY BEGGAR – Heathen Hymns (Rise Above Records RISECD208)

I have opined before that Galley Beggar’s albums, though excellent in themselves, never quite reflect the live feel of the band. The last album Silence And Tears went some way to redressing this imbalance, but their latest offering, Heathen Hymns, is much more in line with their live performances. The ...
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Martin Simpson announces his 20th solo album

World renowned guitarist, singer and songwriter Martin Simpson releases his 20th solo album in 40 years Trails & Tribulations on September 1st 2017 via Topic Records. The brand-new studio album, his first new solo work since 2013’s widely praised Vagrant Stanzas, will be available in standard and deluxe CD, digital ...
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SKIPINNISH – The Seventh Wave (Skippinish Records SKIPCD26)

The Seventh Wave is the seventh album to be released by Skipinnish and it is possibly one of the most enjoyable albums that I have recently been given the opportunity to review. When I agreed to take on the suicidal responsibility of reviewing new releases I was, unbelievably, excited about ...
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Kaia Kater announces new album Plus Tour Dates

The new album from young African-Canadian roots phenom Kaia Kater couldn’t come at a better time. As a new generation takes the reins, American roots music is needed more than ever to remind us of the troubled pathways of our own history. Born of Afro-Caribbean descent in Québec, Kaia Kater ...
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AMY McALLISTER – String On String (own label)

I’ll state now that anyone who sings ‘Matt Hyland’ is all right with me, especially when that anyone sings it as gorgeously as Amy McAllister does, even though she does omit the bribery verse. Amy is a singer, songwriter, harpist and fiddle player from Antrim and, after many years of ...
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CHIP TAYLOR – A Song I Can Live With (Trainwreck TW057)

His fifth album in as many years, and his twenty-first studio recording in total, A Song I Can Live With falls firmly into what Taylor calls his stream-of-consciousness based songwriting, more spoken rather than sung and with rarely more than an acoustic guitar and Goran Grini’s keyboards for backing. I’ve ...
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TRACK DOGS – Serenity Sessions (Monde Green)

For those who don’t know, Track Dogs are an Anglo-Irish-American acoustic quartet based in Madrid comprising Sheffield’s Howard Brown, Ohio’s Robbie K Jones and, respectively from Co. Wicklow and Dun Laoghaire, Dave Mooney and lead vocalist Garrett Wall, their instrumentation taking in cajon, banjo, ukulele, mandolin and trumpet alongside guitar ...
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Calum Alex Macmillan releases second solo album

The latest in a venerable family line of Gaelic singers and bards, Calum Alex Macmillan ranks squarely at the forefront of his culture’s contemporary renaissance. With his second solo album Till (a long-awaited successor to 2005’s highly-praised Taladh Nan Cuantan), the Isle of Lewis native and ex-Dàimh vocalist resoundingly reaffirms ...
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FRONT COUNTRY – Other Love Songs (Organic Records OR16882)

What I really like about Front Country is the way they take the styles of country music, its bones if you like, and take them off somewhere new. Other Love Songs is only their second album and already they sound like they’ve been doing this for years. Take ‘Storms Are ...
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SOUND OF THE SIRENS – For All Our Sins (DMF Records)

Sound of the Sirens consist of Exeter-based duo Abbe Martin and Hannah Wood. Their debut album For All Our Sins is released on May 5th and will then be toured around the country. The duo have built up a loyal fanbase with a number of EPs and live performances in ...
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JUPITER OWLS – The Fallow Cry Of The Jupiter Owls (Cupboard Under The Stairs)

Based in Frome, The Jupiter Owls began life as a duo comprising singer-songwriter/ guitarist John Libert and guitarist Ryan Steele but have subsequently added the rhythm section of Kev Jefferies and Kevin Reed to add extra live dimension to their Americana-tinged chilled folk-pop. Drawing their influences from the late 60s/early ...
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PORTER NICKERSON – Bonfire To Ash (Weasel Records WSL-1601)

Porter Nickerson are Willy Porter and Carmen Nickerson. Bonfire To Ash is their new album, released on May 5th. I haven’t stopped playing it since it came for review. Occasionally in life you meet someone that you feel you’ve known forever; listening to Bonfire To Ash was like this – ...
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HAZEYJANE – One (Tu-Kay Records TKHJCD01)

It’s almost impossible to pigeonhole Hazeyjane. At their heart is the songwriting of guitarist Chris Brown accompanied by Ash Tu-Kay, a pseudonym of producer and label boss Ashley Woodward. The line-up has recently been expanded but on One, their debut album, Chris and Ash do everything except for extra vocals ...
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REV HAMMER – Skald (own label)

It is always good when you hear that Rev Hammer has released a long awaited new album! He has done just that in the recently released Skald, featuring acclaimed guitarist and singer/songwriter Nick Harper together with Rev’s son Samuel Ryan, who is establishing himself as a singer/songwriter and about to ...
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Oysterband celebrate 40 years together

Oysterband was born in the summer of 1977 when the sound of punk rock rang loud from the radio, disaffection became the order of the day and riots filled the streets which would ring through the later years of Thatcherite Britain. There were many on the UK folkscene who felt ...
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Skipinnish announce seventh album and tour dates

In the world of lore and legend, the seventh wave was bigger and more powerful than all gone before.  This, the seventh album, from Skipinnish, epitomizes that theme perfectly.  With Norrie MacIver’s distinct vocal taking on the lead and with a few other transfers and additions, this is the band’s ...
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LOWRI EVANS & LEE MASON – A Little Bit Of Everything (Shimi Records ShimiCD0011)

I have to confess that when Lowri Evans released her debut English language album I really wasn’t a fan and I wasn’t allowed anywhere near her records again. Things have changed in the decade since. Lowri’s voice has warmed somewhat and her songwriting has certainly matured. Lee Mason was her ...
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Damien Dempsey announces new album

Damien Dempsey’s debut album in 2000, They Don’t Teach This Shit In School, set him apart as a unique and important voice, championed from an early stage in his career by Sinéad O’Connor. The follow-up, Seize The Day, marked the beginning of his relationship with producer John Reynolds, picking up many awards ...
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TRADARRR – Further Tales Of Love! Death! And Treachery! (Hedge Of Sound HOS25)

Between their first and second albums Mark Jolley left has Tradarrr to be replaced by Tim Harries (more serious folk-rock credentials) and Phil Bond has moved on with his place taken by singer, fiddler and pianist Gemma Shirley. Thus Further Tales Of Love! Death! And Treachery! sees a seven-piece band ...
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NIGEL STONIER – Love And Work (Shameless SHAME017)

Nigel Stonier is probably best known as a producer and a man who writes songs with and for other people so it came as a surprise to discover that Love And Work is his sixth solo album but not that it’s a work of great class. I suppose that you ...
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BOO HEWERDINE – Swimming in Mercury (REVEAL072CDX)

Boo Hewerdine’s new album Swimming In Mercury will be released on April 28th and the single ‘Satellite Town’ on April 21st. He has a pedigree which stretches back more than thirty years and is acclaimed as one of the UK’s best songwriters: ‘Patience Of Angels’ was nominated for an Ivor ...
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Madison Violet – new album

For those who don’t know Madison Violet, it all began in 1999 when Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac met over coffee and omelettes, in a Toronto restaurant called The Green Room. It was a chance meeting, 1900 km away from the small town where both Lisa and Brenley’s fathers were ...
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Tim Grimm and the Family Band – new album and tour

A Stranger In This Time ranges from Tim Grimm’s signature reverence for the people and the land where he grew up, to sharply crafted and damning indictments of the times in which we live; from deep, poetic ballads of bittersweet love to edgy, groove-driven social commentary. The opening track, ‘These ...
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Lianne Hall (one of the great English voices) releases new solo album

UK singer and songwriter Lianne Hall releases her fourth solo studio album on Market Square Records (UK) via Lowswing Records (Berlin).  Lianne is “one of the great English voices” according to the late great John Peel and The Caretaker proves this again with another astonishing twist in an experimental and ...
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BEAU –When Butterflies Scream (Cherry Red BEAUWBS1)

What with the likes of Steve Pledger and Will Varley the last couple of years have seen quite a resurgence in the protest song album on the UK’s contemporary folk/Americana circuit, but some have been doing this for years. I’ve written about Trevor Midgley aka Beau on these pages before ...
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EMILY MAE WINTERS – Siren Serenade (own label EMW 02)

Co-produced by Josienne Clarke’s musical other half, Ben Walker, and Laura Marling knob-twiddler Lauren Deakin-Davies, following on from her Foreign Waters EP (which Walker also produced and which earned her a Folking Awards Rising Star nomination), Siren Serenade is the debut album from Cambridge-based singer-songwriter, poetry enthusiast and sometime theatre ...
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ROVING CROWS – Bury Me Naked (own label RC008)

Based around Worcestershire and Gloucestershire they may be, but with fiddle player Caitlin Barrett and guitarist Paul O’Neil sharing vocals, Loz Shaw on bass, keys vocals guitars, clarinet and banjolina and Tim Downes-Hall on a variety of ethnic hand percussion, Roving Crows are very much of a Celtic folk rock ...
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CALAN – Solomon (Sain Records SCD2749)

I was a little nervous about reviewing the CD Solomon by the Welsh band Calan, released on 14th April. After all, it's been more decades than I care to think about since, as a student in North Wales, I picked up a few words of Cymraeg, and those few words ...
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MARK NEVIN – My Unfashionable Opinion (Raresongs Recordings MARKNCD005)

Some of you might be asking ‘What’s Mark Nevin got to do with folk music? Folk music should be traditional or nothing’. Others might say ‘No. Folk music should be expressing new ideas and challenging the establishment view’. And that, in microcosm, is the point of the title track of ...
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CHRISTY SCOTT – Amaranthine (Christy Scott Music CSMO1EP)

Amaranthine is a terrific five track EP released by Christy Scott. She has written all five of the songs and selected a well-respected group of musicians to support her. Christy has a great voice and had created a really enjoyable EP. However, I am having difficulty categorising it. Neither the ...
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BATTLEFIELD BAND – The Producer’s Choice (Temple COMD2108)

In late 2016 Battlefield Band was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall Of Fame which gave their long-time producer Robin Morton the excuse, if excuse were needed, to celebrate. Hence The Producer’s Choice, nineteen tracks featuring nineteen members of the band plus guest percussionists Donald Hay and Morton himself ...
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Indigo Girls join Cambridge bill

Twenty years after they began releasing records as the Indigo Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have politely declined the opportunity to slow down with age. With a legacy of releases and countless U.S. and international tours behind them, the Indigo Girls have forged their own way in the music ...
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THE FAR FLUNG COLLECTIVE – Far Flung Corners (Anna-Wendy Music FFC001)

Originally a schools-based music education project by the University of the Highlands and Islands in collaboration with Soundstorm Music Education Agency exploring the similarities and differences, past and present, between the cultural and physical landscapes of South West England and the Scottish Outer Hebrides, this evolved into Far Flung Corners, ...
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BEATRIX PLAYERS – Magnified (own label)

Lining up as Amanda Alvarez (cello), Jess Kennedy (piano, flute) and Amy Birks (vocals), Beatrix Players are an London-based Anglo-Spanish trio who, taking their name from from the Latin "viatrix" (meaning traveller, though Beatrix itself means she who makes happy), combine folk, jazz, classical and progressive. With influences that range ...
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NED ROBERTS – Outside My Mind (Aveline AVREC004)

He may be physically based in London, but Ned Roberts’ spiritual and musical home is clearly late 60s California, Outside My Mind, his second album, a relaxed collection of acoustic melancholic, love songs, the title of the opening track, ‘Drifting Down’, a fair summation of the mellow mood. Reminiscent at ...
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HARRI ENDERSBY – Homes/Lives (own label)

A rising new presence on the contemporary folk scene, Durham-born Harri Endersby has been putting herself about on the live circuit for the past four years, during which time she released her debut EP, Ivy Crown, to good reviews. Now here’s her debut album, Homes/Lives, an eleven track collection of ...
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Sound Of The Sirens announce debut album

There’s a certain transcendent magic that happens when two contrasting voices coalesce in perfect harmony – think The Everly Brothers, Simon & Garfunkel or George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Imperceptibly, they can raise you from the temporal to the spiritual in the breath of a song, and set you floating ...
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HAV – Inver (Folkwit f0136)

As albums go Inver is a bit off the wall but you hope for that from the Folkwit label and I really like it. HAV are a multi-talented trio: Alex Ross, who is the band’s writer, Jonathan Bidgood, who plays a very special role, and Ian Paterson who plays bass ...
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CUNNING FOLK – Ritual Land, Uncommon Ground (Dharma)

George Nigel Hoyle is a man of many incarnations. He started out professional musical life as bassist with late 90s outfit Gay Dad, a band briefly hailed as the saviours of British rock, going on to join Crispin Hunt of The Longpigs (of Richard Hawley fame) in a short-lived new ...
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Colin Harper releases remastered and expanded album

Colin Harper, author of several books on music history, released his first national-level album in March 2016, Sunset Cavaliers – a homage to the musicians and musical eras chronicled in his books. A ‘treasure seeker’ as a music archaeologist, if Harper has a ‘buried treasure’ of his own prior to ...
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AMY DUNCAN – Antidote (Filly Records FILLY002)

This CD, Antidote by Amy Duncan, is not generally my type of music but I really like this recording. Regretfully, the cover is somewhat minimal and does not explain the songs or their reasoning. It does tell us that Amy Duncan wrote all of the songs but I have to ...
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TERENCE WINCH, MICHAEL WINCH, AND JESSE WINCH – This Day Too: Music from Irish America (Free Dirt Records CTM-CD-002)

The CD This Day Too: Music From Irish America is very much what it says on the tin. It's a collection of tunes and songs with a pronounced Irish accent, performed and in some cases written by musician and poet Terence Winch, his brother Jesse, and his son Michael, aided ...
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Shirley Collins talks to Dave Freak for Folking

"It’s been a sort of fairy story!" is how Shirley Collins describes her unexpected return to the spotlight with a studio album and live tour after 30 years of silence. The singer and song collector was at the forefront of the so-called folk revival, releasing a string of well-received and ...
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VARIOUS – From Here: English Folk Field Recordings (From Here Sitw005)

They may be newcomers to the scene, but Stick In The Wheel are certainly making their mark, not just with their own recordings and associated artifacts, but in their involvement with the folk world in general, and the traditional in particular. Band members Ian Carter and Nicola Kearey serve as ...
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QUILES & CLOUD – Shake Me Now (Compass)

Although conveniently filed under NewGrass, there’s more to San Francisco based duo Maria Quiles and Rory Cloud that bluegrass, Shake Me Now, their third album, produced by label founder Alison Brown, evidencing traces of jazz, classical, blues and folk. With Oscar Westesson on upright bass essentially making them a trio, ...
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Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors reveal new album

Souvenirs. Drew Holcomb has collected many of them. A road warrior for more than a decade, he's spent his adulthood onstage and on the road, traveling from place to place with a catalogue of vibrant, honest songs that explore the full range of American roots music. He turns a new ...
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BENJAMIN FOLKE THOMAS – Copenhagen (LOUVAIO L00005)

Benjamin Folke Thomas was born on a small island off the coast of Sweden, mainly populated by evangelical Christians, but his third album takes it's title from across the Øresund; Copenhagen. Combining his upbringing with musical influences ranging from Leadbelly to Cohen and Jackson Browne means his work tends, perhaps ...
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Ron Sexsmith announces new album

Three-time Juno award winner Ron Sexsmith has revealed details about his new album, The Last Rider. Ron’s thirteenth studio recording was co-produced at The Bathouse Studios in Kingston, Ontario by longtime drummer and collaborator Don Kerr and Sexsmith. The album is his first to include Ron’s touring band. Since making his major-label debut in 1995, Ron ...
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DAVE BURLAND AND THE AWKWARD SQUAD – Okkard (Fat Cat FATCD037)

Dave Burland may have recorded one of the definitive folk albums of the seventies but he’s always been a rocker at heart as anyone who has been in the same room as Shagpile will testify. Alongside him in The Awkward Squad are two members of that band, Dave Fisher and ...
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Ida Wenøe announces debut album

Danish Music Award nominee Ida Wenøe (pronounced EE-da ven-O) is excited to announce the UK release of her impressive debut solo album Time Of Ghosts on April 7th 2017 (Shellshock Distribution). Ida will be returning to the UK in April for a full UK tour, performing at Camden’s Green Note in ...
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MONSTER CEILIDH BAND – Mutation (Haystack Records HAYCD011)

There was a time when I would stand in front of a ceilidh band and when things were going well and you had a hall full of people who were into it it was the most fun you could have with your clothes on. When it comes to recording an ...
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Seafoam Green announces debut album, Topanga Mansion

The genesis of Seafoam Green followed a chance meeting with Rich Robinson during recording sessions in Nashville. Dave O’Grady was invited by Robinson to open his US and European tour dates and soon the pair began writing and recording in earnest, leading to their collaboration on the stunning debut album ...
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KING’S GAMBIT – From One To Another (own label)

If you take away the rock excesses of folk-rock you’re left with Northampton’s King’s Gambit – a band that rocks acoustically while still capable of musical delicacy. I don’t like to make comparisons but they have something of the style and drive of CC Smugglers. From One To Another is ...
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RODNEY CROWELL – Close Ties (New West Records 6354)

While I've long been aware of Rodney Crowell's talents as a songwriter, going back at least as far as Emmylou Harris's 1975 recording of 'Bluebird Wine', his songs have always reached me as interpreted by other A-listers. So I jumped at the chance to take a closer look at his ...
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Thea Gilmore announces new album and single

Thea Gilmore has announced the release of her new album The Counterweight, which will be released June 2nd through Cooking Vinyl. The first single to be taken from the album, the rallying anthem ‘Sounds Good To Me’, is out now. “I like to think of it as a bit of ...
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CHILLI WILLI AND THE RED HOT PEPPERS – Real Sharp (Last LMCD204)

Way back in 1972, Martin Stone and Philip Lithman, reunited as a duo following the former’s stint with blues acts Savoy Brown and Mighty Baby and the latter’s time with The Residents in San Francisco, signed to Revelation Records and recorded Kings Of The Robot Rhythm under their new name ...
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Amy Duncan announces her sixth solo album

Antidote is the adventurous 6th album by singer/songwriter Amy Duncan. There are elements of pop folk, with harp and sparse acoustic guitar in an open tuning. Saxophone, drums, bass and odd time signatures in places add a slight jazz feel, with warm synths, layered vocals and field recordings from the ...
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Aimee Mann heralds her new album with a single, ‘Goose Snow Cone’

The first album by Aimee Mann in five years, Mental Illness, will be released on March 31st via SuperEgo/Membran. The record follows 2012’s Charmer, which Rolling Stone proclaimed “shows off the more pop-oriented side to her usual acoustic tendencies.” With this follow-up, she returns to a more musically soft-spoken but still lyrically barbed ...
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Fay Hield talks to Folking about touring, banjos and working in the shed

Last year Fay Hield took her Hurricane Party on tour to promote her new album, Old Adam. They are on the road again soon so I had to ask if there was anything particularly significant about this tour. “I’m hoping to bring my banjo along, actually.” I had to ask! ...
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