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FAY HIELD – Orfeo

The nice thing about the opening track “The Lover’s Ghost” is that it leaves you in no doubt that Fay Hield and the Hurricane Party are here to kick up a storm and not meekly come in like the wind that shakes the barley. With lyrics that are perhaps more suitable to accompany “Wake Wood” (one of the latest Hammer Horror movies) this homage to the Gothic strain of English ‘folk’ songs really propels the growing disquiet of the piece at a cracking pace. The menacing interplay between Andy Cutting and Rob Harbron’s squeezeboxes and Sam Sweeny and Jon Boden’s strings with guest Martin Simpson’s banjo tastefully added low in the mix (and no, I don’t mean that to sound derisory) topped by Hield’s thrusting vocals are reminiscent of Maddy Pryor at her towering best. In a thoroughly theatrical work-out that places the interpretation of the song leagues above any other version I’ve encountered recently it would be just reward for purchasing a copy of the album on the strength of this one track alone. But of course in the hands of this talented ensemble I’m pleased to report that of each of the eleven numbers featured here there isn’t a duff one amongst them. Talking of Ms Pryor, I’m sure that Fay’s singing style has been greatly influenced by Steeleye’s first lady particularly on “Tarry Trousers” where the phrasing and diction clear delivery could have been taken straight from the vaults of Summer Solstice or Please To See The King. This by the way is a compliment of the highest order and one that would surely win gold if it were pitched into a vocal version of the 2012 Olympics. One final comparison (and I know how odious these can be) is the title track “Sir Orfeo” which sounds as if it could have been lifted from Mr Fox or Pyewackett’s debut album and if you have a copy of ‘that’ album the quality speaks for itself. Fay’s accompanying sleeve-notes provide enough information to make Malcolm Taylor at the EFDSS a happy man and is an expressive and insightful pointer of a lady who proudly wears her folk heritage as a badge of honour. Back-slapping all round methinks! 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: www.fayhield.com

Peggy Seeger Swim To The Star

Peggy Seeger Swim To The StarFolk legend Peggy Seeger’s new single, ‘Swim To The Star’, is a hauntingly moving tribute to the men and women affected by the loss of the Titanic.  Originally written for BBC Solent’s programming for the centenary of the event, the track is now released as a single due to popular demand.  Seeger co-wrote the song with her son, Calum MacColl.  Although MacColl has produced many of Seeger’s songs in the past, this is the first time that they have written together.

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.

Adrian Duffy releases Storm Breaking

Singer-songwriter, Adrian Duffy, delivers super-crafted folk pop songs that combine simple yet infectious melodies with an intimacy and storytelling flavour fondly reminiscent of the early Eagles. These are the kinds of songs you think have been around forever, winning Adrian enthused critics and dedicated fans up and down the country.

As well as a great solo performer, these new songs bring together for the first time a family full of world class musicians all steeped in their west coast of Ireland heritage. Melvin Duffy on slide guitars (Robbie Williams, The Waterboys, Mojave 3), Chris Duffy on drums & percussion (Chima Anya, Tommy Ludgate), Ray & Leo Duffy on mandolin & fiddle (Tammy Wynette, Charlie Pride) weaved and intertwined with Adrian’s vocals and acoustic guitar to produce a stunning, rootsy sound that is refreshingly authentic and sincere.

As brothernature Adrian toured his songwriting around venues as varied as Birmingham Symphony Hall, Liverpool Philharmonic, Whelan’s, Ronnie Scott’s and CBGB’s. The debut album “Looking Down The Road” received glowing press and radio reviews as well as international, national and regional playlists and album of the week picks.

Single of The Week – BBC Radio Wales

Hotly tipped – Janice Long, BBC Radio 2

A staggering collection of acoustic belters – FHM

Super-crafted harmony-suffused acoustic country-pop songs – Hotpress 10/10

A sound comparable to Damien Rice and Neil Finn (Crowded House) – Music Week

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.

The Unthanks Brass Project

Following last year’s Songs of Robert Wyatt & Antony & Johnsons, The Unthanks are pleased to announce that the second release on the RabbleRouser label Diversions series will be: Diversions Vol. 2: The Unthanks With Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band. The planned release date is Monday 30th July with the album Launch happening at the Cambridge Folk Festival on Saturday 28th July. Prior to the retail release and launch, the album will be exclusively available at brass shows during June.

The album will chart last year’s collaboration with the National Champions of Great Britain, featuring music written and arranged by Unthanks pianist and producer Adrian McNally, including The Father’s Suite, written in celebration of Rachel Unthank and McNally’s first child.

The album will be released this summer and the project returns to the stage with shows including York Minster, Liverpool Philharmonic, Victoria Theatre Halifax, Grassington and Cambridge Folk Festivals, and No Direction Home – the new festival by the End of the Road team. The collaboration is a spectacular, with The Unthanks and ‘Briggus’ making up over 30 people on stage. As well as music written specifically for the project, McNally adapts folk song by Ewan MacColl, Tommy Armstrong and Dave Sudbury, the latter being the song King of Rome, as performed at the BBC Folk Awards below.

Music also comes from the existing repertoire of The Unthanks, including versions of Patience Kershaw, Felton Lonnin and Gan To The Kye, adapted for brass by conductor Sandy Smith from McNally’s original string arrangements.

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 link – www.the-unthanks.com

The Boat Project

Unthanks pianist, producer and arranger Adrian McNally is currently making an album featuring many different songwriters. Rachel Unthank’s husband has been invited to curate, produce and arrange a record of songwriters, each inspired to write a song based on stories from another project currently taking place called The Boat Project. More will be revealed about this in a future article. Amongst the songwriters there are Ivor Novello award winners, Mercury Prize nominees, poets, authors, and a legend or two from the folk and jazz worlds.

RICHARD DIGANCE – Old School Photograph (Write Good Music)

Richard DiganceAnyone who can include sound-bites of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, In The Bleak Midwinter,  Ding Dong Merrily On High and We Wish You A Merry Christmas with lyrics that evoke childhood memories (however convoluted) of that famous trenches football match in 1914 gets a resounding thumbs up from me. Richard’s account of “The Ballad Of Johnny Puller” is a powerful evocation on the futility of war proving the old adage that the pen can indeed be mightier than the sword especially in the hands of someone this creative. There’s no mawkish sentimentality here just well observed, wry smile inducing moments that however fabricated…the names may not be real but the story is…relate a boys-own tale far more than McCartney’s “Pipes Of Peace” or Jona Lewie’s “Stop The Cavalry” ever did. Talking (as one does) about nostalgia it’s always played a pivotal role in Digance’s performance and perhaps none more so than on the title track and his homage to the East End with an enjoyable rendition of “The Houses In Between” originally popularised by Music Hall’s Gus Elen. More often than not he is joined throughout the recording on various tracks by Matt Black (keyboards), Neil Vine (drums), Arnie Cottrel (mandolin) and Vicki Hobbs (vocals) and for good measure there’s even a solo guitar instrumental “The Plaistow Tune” that utilises (to me at least) a fairground carousel style melody. As ever from Richard there’s a little bit of this, a little bit of that and for the majority of those of us that have followed his career from the early days he always manages to make his observations on life interesting and yes, at times thought provoking.

PETE FYFE

Artist web link – www.richarddigance.com

PAPER AEROPLANES – Multiple Love – New single released 7th May 2012

Paper Aeroplanes are Richard Llewellyn and Sarah Howells – a highflying folk/pop duo who are inspired by their small West Walian town origins.

With their emotionally charged, captivating and heart breaking melodies, Paper Aeroplanes have already gained some impressive fans with prior releases. Previous radio support has come from Steve Lamacq (BBC 6 Music), Huw Stephens (Radio 1) and BBC Wales, where Adam Walton described their music as “brilliantly crafted and stoked from a bruised heart’s embers”.

The duo are now taking a step towards a much darker, more ‘grown up’ sound and are releasing their beautiful new single ‘Multiple Love’, which aches with truth and depth. The stripped back sound with its stunning vocals is a haunting yet honest introspection on love. It has such naked lyrics that are reflected in the production and accompanying music video.

Paper Aeroplanes fly in and out of many places this year. See below for their extensive list of touring dates including their headline tour and support tour for Ellen and the Escapades. The duo is also gearing up to release their new album later in 2012.

For more info please visit: http://www.paperaeroplanesmusic.com/