UK folk and Americana latest news from folking.com

SHAUN DAVEY – Voices From The Merry Cemetery (Tara Records TARACD 4023)

SHAUN DAVEY Voices From The Merry CemeteryThree modern orchestral composers from Ireland who immediately spring to mind are Phil Coulter, Bill Whelan and Shaun Davey. Each have a background with traditional ‘folk’ links and it is possibly Davey who stands out for grand gestures when it comes to orchestration. For his latest project he has travelled to Romania in search of inspiration. Being of sound mind, Davey’s (some would say) off kilter approach to subject matter, in this case a cemetery in the village of Sapanta bordering the Ukraine is also known as The Merry Cemetery due to its decoratively festooned wooden crosses accompanied by poems describing a celebration of the life of the departed. Pathos is the nearest we get to any maudlin thoughts and it has to be said the Romanian spirit regarding death is in most cases truly uplifting and possibly, akin with their Irish counterparts this is the nearest we might get to a ‘wake’. Of course, no Shaun Davey recording would be complete without vocal contributions from his wife Rita Connolly and amongst other musicians his Uilleann piper of choice Liam O’Flynn, Gerry O’Beirne (guitar) and Noel Eccles on percussion. The music on the recording is inspiring and more often than not all the more charming for its idiosyncrasies. I’ve always thought that in death, however painful, a loved one’s life can be celebrated and personally speaking, if I had a choice I’d certainly like to be remembered this way. PETE FYFE

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 SHAUN DAVEY – Voices From The Merry Cemetery 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.

ORDER – [CD]

SHAUN DAVEY – Voices From The Merry Cemetery (Tara Records TARACD 4023)

Three modern orchestral composers from Ireland who immediately spring to mind are Phil Coulter, Bill Whelan and Shaun Davey. Each have a background with traditional ‘folk’ links and it is possibly Davey who stands out for grand gestures when it comes to orchestration. For his latest project he has travelled to Romania in search of inspiration. Being of sound mind, Davey’s (some would say) off kilter approach to subject matter, in this case a cemetery in the village of Sapanta bordering the Ukraine is also known as The Merry Cemetery due to its decoratively festooned wooden crosses accompanied by poems describing a celebration of the life of the departed. Pathos is the nearest we get to any maudlin thoughts and it has to be said the Romanian spirit regarding death is in most cases truly uplifting and possibly, akin with their Irish counterparts this is the nearest we might get to a ‘wake’. Of course, no Shaun Davey recording would be complete without vocal contributions from his wife Rita Connolly and amongst other musicians his Uilleann piper of choice Liam O’Flynn, Gerry O’Beirne (guitar) and Noel Eccles on percussion. The music on the recording is inspiring and more often than not all the more charming for its idiosyncrasies. I’ve always thought that in death, however painful, a loved one’s life can be celebrated and personally speaking, if I had a choice I’d certainly like to be remembered this way. PETE FYFE

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 SHAUN DAVEY – Voices From The Merry Cemetery 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.

ORDER – [CD]

STEAM RADIO – The Twilight Shift (Own Label SRAD 01)

Some years ago I had the pleasure of performing alongside multi-instrumentalist Martin Matthews (ex-Champion Sting Band) on a tour in France along with the Clann Na Gael Irish Dancers. The only reason I mention this is that Martin must have been strongly influenced by the indigenous music that now plays a significant part in the make-up of the folk-rock band Steam Radio. Along with collaborators Andy McLaughlin, Dan Hands, Tony Martin, David Pratt and Steve Farrow the French/Breton influence is obvious utilising many Dance Plinn style melodies. This carries over to the use of McLaughlin’s use of English pipes and Hands fiddle driving things along at a cracking pace. On the song front Tony Martin’s expressive North-East lilt (much like that of Tom Gilfellon) is just what is required to propel the bonhomie of the band and on his own composition of unrequited love “Martha” and Dougie MacLean’s “Pabay Mor” where a more-or-less Country influence is employed break up the instrumental sets in an appealing ‘let’s just enjoy ourselves’ kind of way. It’s also nice to hear “Jim Jones At Botany Bay” (to give it its full title) a song that will always remind me of The Bushwackers Band from Australia. This infectious blend in return rubs off onto the listener who I’m sure will wind up with a smile on their face and I expect to see everybody linking their pinkies together and dancing continuously for three or four hours. http://www.steamradio.net/ PETE FYFE

STEVIE PALMER – Heartprint Shadow (Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX 347)

I don’t know about you but I’m getting tired of watching ‘music’ award ceremonies where pristine trophies are thrust in the direction of the likes of Tinie Tempah or Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu as he’s known to his mates. Far better for them to be awarded to thought provoking singer-songwriter’s the calibre of Stevie Palmer who immediately brought to mind that of a Scottish sounding Christopher Cross with the opening track “Everybody Knows” featured on his debut album. Perhaps it’s the brooding piano intro provided by Kim Edgar and Steven Christies programmed strings coupled with Wendy Wetherby (cello), Allan Knox (bass) and Steven Polwart’s classical acoustic guitar but the cumulatuve effect is evocative and to be honest quite stunning. On another offering “Star Rising” Palmer has a cleverly constructed, cliché driven song that once again proves he’s no slouch in knowing what he requires instrumentally to convey his lyrics even utilising plucked ukulele alongside Mary MacMaster’s harp on an arrangement that is dignified without being over sentimental. On the track “Where The Bison Fell” with its subject matter possibly inspired by the Dee Brown book Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee (?) the tale of the spiritually impoverished Native American is heart-achingly told in a sparse arrangement that should be required listening for anyone who has a conscience and at this point congratulations should also be accorded to recording engineer Ian McCalman and Stuart Hamilton for excellent mixing and mastering. For such a thoughtful and insightful musician you’d never have guessed Stevie started out in the business as a drummer (no offence Phil Collins) but so long as he continues to let the creative juices flow from his pen I really think we are going to be hearing a lot more of this welcome addition to the ‘acoustic-folk’ community. http://www.steviepalmer.co.uk/ PETE FYFE

GILBERT O’SULLIVAN – Gilbertville (Hypertension HYP 11275)

I don’t know why but I suppose you could call me a Sunday afternoon kind of person. Perhaps it’s due to my nature of relaxing listening to the likes of Aled Jones, Steve Wright or Terry Wogan on the radio. Those of a certain age will I’m sure know that same feeling and perhaps those not too precious to own up to it will also include a liking for the songs of Gilbert O’Sullivan. If so, I count myself amongst you. OK, so not strictly ‘folk’ in the true sense of the word but 1970 was a turning point for me as it was this year that first made me listen properly to the lyrics of a song and “Nothing Rhymed” was that particular song. It’s composer O’Sullivan made a great impact and from then on I purchased (more or less) everything he recorded. Having recently caught up with him via the early morning TV chat shows I picked-up on the fact he had recorded a new album so instinctively obtained a copy…and boy, am I pleased I did. Good contemporary songriters are rare to find in as much that they run the gammut of emotions and, by way of a bonus, as a musician they can take you from a solid waltz, (and on this occasion) to the blues and even a bit of Cajun for good measure. From gentle love ballads such as “Here’s Why” to a song about the inevitable deaths of the passangers and the anguish conveyed to their loved ones by mobile phones from the planes heading for the twin towers on the song “All They Wanted To Say” this really is writing of the highest calibre. Gilbert could of course have made this composition mawkish but in buoying the song in a tune that is almost at odds with the subject matter he makes things a more than pallatable work of art. This is the kind of performer that can just as easily switch from providing melancholy moods to a study in humour with that quintessential British brass band backing (think Peter Skellern) on “Where Would We Be (Without Tea)” and if you hadn’t guessed it already I’m a fan and I’d certainly suggest that you try this album if you were in any doubts he is a ‘folk’ musician at heart.

PETE FYFE

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 on the banner link 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 web link: http://www.gilbertosullivan.net/

Any Forgotten Thing – The new album form HUNGRYTOWN

Any Forgotten Thing is the second album by the acclaimed songwriting and performing team of Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson, known collectively as Hungrytown.  The CD features twelve original tracks, recorded entirely in the couple’s home studio, affectionately known as Song Catcher, over a two-month break between tours.  “It’s appropriate that this CD was recorded at home,” Rebecca explains, “because it’s our house and our struggle to maintain it that provided the inspiration for this album.” Married in 1994, by late 2003, Rebecca and Ken were ready to embark upon their new lives as full-time musicians, moving from their office day jobs and a towering apartment in lower Manhattan to a creaking little house nestled in the hills of southern Vermont.  They were unfamiliar with the duties of rural home ownership, and before too long, the roof leaked, the porch sagged and their tiny home seemed about ready to tumble off its fieldstone foundations. Continue reading Any Forgotten Thing – The new album form HUNGRYTOWN