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THE FUREYS and DAVEY ARTHUR – 30 Years On (Global Records GBCD001)

Blimey, a whole 30 seconds of clapping for this celebration of the Fureys’ 30th year together and that was before the band even took to the stage for their opening number Ralph McTell’s “Clare To Here”. In many ways, George and Eddie Furey with long time associate Davey Arthur and the additional skills of Dominic Leech (piano accordion) and Luke Crowley (bass & whistles) epitomise everything the Irish and St Patrick’s Day stands for…rivers of Guinness and a roaring good time! Religion and politics always did play second fiddle alongside a hearty downing of the black stuff and subtlety, it has to be said never was the band’s strong point where they are known in some circles as the fast and fureyous brothers but let’s face it, when you get a lively audience ‘up for the craic’ and the odd bum note who gives a jot? That’s obviously what the audience were enjoying at Vicar Street, Dublin and much like the sadly lamented National Club in Kilburn they were here to push the boat out. Talking of which, “The Lonesome Boatman” and other major International triumphs such as 1981’s “When You Were Sweet Sixteen” which was originally a hit for Al Jolson and the very Dutch sounding “Red Rose Café” written by Pierre Kartner (Father Abraham of The Smurfs fame) with it’s beer glass clinking waltz style sing-along always guaranteed to bring a smile to the most jaded audience.

A great time was had by all as can be witnessed on the Justin Nelson directed separately available DVD of the concert and worth purchasing if only for the feel-good banter and, at times jaw-dropping explosion of digital dexterity. With over two hours performance time on this 2-CD set there is bound to be something for everyone and a must have souvenir for fans of the band everywhere.

PETE FYFE

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Artist web link: www.thefureys.com

Joshua Caole’s Debut Album Moon Palace is now released…

Moon Palace is the first full album from Joshua Caole. Released on Bullo Pill Recordings, much of the material accumulated during the long hours spent constantly touring across 2011 with a large part of the songs penned on long drives or after late nights. The recording itself finally took place in Cardiff in January 2012 with producer Llion Robertson (Gentle Good, Eugene Francis Jr), with whom Joshua previously worked with on Joshua 2010 EP Slow Hearts. To release the album, Joshua went on a full UK tour supporting Christiaan Webb throughout April which took him to his favourite cities to play in.

Caole’s music evokes the American songwriting greats like Gram Parsons yet simultaneously tiptoes along the lines of alt rock, post punk and folkier climbs. What binds these disparate influences together and makes Caole’s music distinctive is his rough-with-the-smooth combination of coarse, velvet vocals with clean, beautiful ringwheeling guitar parts. Combining the commanding songwriting of Elliot Smith with the vocal fragility of Bright Eyes; tales of misspent nights and love not quite won makes Moon Palace an impressive, impassioned collection of songs.

So far the album has been received fantastically and Joshua has been championed on BBC Radio Wales by Adam Walton and Bethan Elfyn, with regular airplay on BBC Wales and BBC 6 Music secured for Moon Palace as Tom Robinson is also a fan. He has also won a slot to play on the BBC introducing stage at Wychwood festival next weekend.

With freshly pressed copies of Moon Palace under his arm, this summer sees Joshua Caole hitting the road hard touring, a summer of festival appearances and a trip over the English Channel.

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SMITHSONIAN FOLKWAYS COMMEMORATES WOODY GUTHRIE CENTENNIAL WITH ‘WOODY AT 100’ BOOK with 3CD SET OUT JULY 10, 2012

INCLUDES 150-PAGE BOOK, 57 TRACKS, 21 PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED PERFORMANCES & 6 NEVER-BEFORE-HEARD ORIGINAL SONGS

In honor of the Woody Guthrie Centennial, a year-long celebration of Woody’s 100th birthday, Smithsonian Folkways presents an in-depth commemorative collection of songs, photos and essays on one of America’s most treasured 20th-century icons.

‘Woody at 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection’ is a 150-page large-format book containing three CDs with 57 tracks, including Woody’s most important recordings such as the complete version of “This Land Is Your Land,” “Pretty Boy Floyd,” “Pastures of Plenty,” “Hard Travelin’,” “Jesus Christ,” “I Ain’t Got No Home in This World Anymore,” and “Riding in My Car.”

The set also contains 21 previously unreleased performances and six never-before-heard original songs, including Woody’s first known — and recently discovered — recordings from 1939.

The Smithsonian Folkways archives hold the largest collection of Woody’s recordings (he recorded hundreds of songs for Folkways Records founder Moses Asch).

Woody Guthrie was born on July 14th, 1912, in Okemah, Oklahoma. Over the decades, his songs have run around the world like a fast train on a well-oiled track. They’ve become the folk song standards of the nation, and also known and performed in many languages throughout the world. “Pretty Boy Floyd,” “Pastures of Plenty,” “Hard Travelin’,” “Deportees,” “Roll On Columbia,” “Vigilante Man” and “This Land Is Your Land” are among the hundreds of his songs that have become staples in the canon of American music.

The GRAMMY Museum is partnering with the Guthrie Family / Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc., and the Woody Guthrie Archives to create the Centennial celebrations. The year-long celebration will include a host of concerts, programs and events taking place throughout the States and the rest of the world.

Woody100.com is a joint effort of The GRAMMY Museum, the Woody Guthrie Archives and Woody Guthrie Publications, created as a hub for all upcoming activities taking place across America and around the world, throughout 2012.

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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For more information on the year-long Woody Guthrie Centennial celebration visit: http://www.woody100.com/

River City Extension – Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger

River City Extension are set to release, Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger, on June 5 via XOXO Records/Anchor & Hope Music. The eight-member band, which hail from Toms River, New Jersey, recorded the 14-track album with producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine, Josh Ritter, Secret Machines, Gomez) at Engine Studios in Chicago.

The band have made the song “There & Back Again,” which is taken from the new album, available to stream via SoundCloud link below. It features a blistering harmonica solo by famed photographer Danny Clinch.

The lyrically ambitious, stylistically adventurous Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Your Anger confronts thorny issues of personal and spiritual struggle in a manner that’s both intimate and illuminating;

Songwriter and front-man Joe Michelini describes it as an album about resolution and forgiveness. “For the most part, these songs represent a dark period in my life when I really didn’t like myself,” he explains. “I was still young and still learning, and a lot of people were probably hurt by the person I was at the time. Half of this record is love songs, and half is ‘I’m sorry that I f***ed up’ songs — I look at them as a stepping stone, a way to put some distance between myself and that part of my life, and to remind myself that I’ve chosen to do better.”

An abiding faith in the music and an unflinching sense of honesty have been constants for River City Extension since the band’s humble beginnings in Toms River. Michelini had already established a local reputation as a solo singer/songwriter when he first assembled a small acoustic combo under the River City Extension banner in late 2007. Soon, his musical vision had attracted an assortment of like-minded souls, and the act had expanded into its eight-person form. They recorded their debut album, The Unmistakable Man, with a minimum of funds, but an abundance of belief in their musical mission; then signed with Asbury Park indie label XOXO (home to fellow NJ natives the Gaslight Anthem), which released The Unmistakable Man in May 2010. The album gained momentum slowly but surely, with accolades from Paste, NPR, Spin and Alternative Press, and by 2011 River City Extension was touring hard, playing major festivals (like Newport Folk Fest and Bonnaroo) and supporting artists ranging from the Avett Brothers to The Get Up Kids.

The band have played explosive showcase concerts at previous SXSW and Newport Folk Festival producer Jay Sweet stumbled upon the gig, and later told Billboard,

“This band, River City Extension, is ripping the paint off the wall. These guys are playing like they’re playing Madison Square Garden at midnight. These guys are closing Woodstock. Honestly! The place was about to explode…. I’ll never forget it, because when River City Extension finished their set, the place physically would not let them [leave]. They tried to walk off the stage and people were not letting them walk off. It wasn’t just plain clapping, they physically were not letting the band leave the stage.” Sweet offered them a set at Newport on the spot.

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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Artist web link: http://rivercityextension.com/

James J Turner – How Could We Be Wrong?

From the first bars of the opening title track “How could we be wrong?” I knew I would enjoy this album from Liverpool based musician/songwriter James J Turner. Having had a long career fronting bands James has turned his talents to writing and performing as a solo artist. The influences of his native city are imbued in his songs with driving rock rhythms combined effortlessly with a Irish folky feel. A band that consists of accordion, violin and cello, together with the guitars and rhythm section, provides eclectic settings to James songs and he too adds whistle and bodhran to his noteworthy guitar skills.

The instrumentation never dominates but always allows James passionate vocals to convey the down to earth authenticity and simple wisdom his lyrics bring. The songs have simple but memorable melodic lines with “Walk the Bridge”, “Forever No More” and “How Could We Be Wrong?” the stand out tracks for me. Janet M Roe June 2012

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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Artist web link: http://www.jjturner.com/

DEEP END OF THE FORD – An Táin own label

Horslips called it The Tain and added electricity to the 12th century text collected in The Book Of Leinster from a much older story. Now, Sean-Nós singer Lorcán Mac Mathúna who last appeared in these pages with his Irish/Scandinavian fusion, Northern Lights, has taken a rather different approach.

The story of Cù Chulainn and Meadhbh and a quarrel over a prize bull includes mystical prophesy, a demonic transformation, a headless corpse still retaining the power of speech and lots of blood – it would make a blockbuster of a film. Lorcán has gone back to the book and based his lyrics on the original text to the extent of singing in Old Irish although, helpfully, the full text of the songs and a translation appear on his website.

Musically, Deep End Of The Ford mix old and new sounds. Martin Tourish plays accordion and piano, Seán Mac Erlaine plays bass clarinet, Eoghan Neff plays fiddle and Flaithrí Neff uileann pipes and low whistle and all five performers are credited as composers. Added to this are electronic sounds and looped tapes and the music is heavy on the drones – something of a Mac Mathúna signature sound.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that An Táin will be heavy going. Lorcán has a lovely warm voice and the music easily carries you away. This is another wonderful album. 

Dai Jeffries

Is this the first CD review to use footnotes? It’s worth reading the story in full, anyway.

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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Artist Web Link: www.lorcanmacmathuna.com/antain