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David Francey release his new CD Late Edition

David Francey – from carpenter to songwriter. Since leaving the construction business to record the album Torn Screen Door in 1999, Scottish-born Canadian David Francey is now recognized as one of today’s finest singer-songwriters. Francey’s straightforward songs tell honest stories of real people and real places. Poetic perception and a keen eye for the heart of the matter are trademarks of Francey and his music. His songs and stories are a direct connection for audiences seeking depth and meaning in the day-to-day.

David has released nine CDs to date. His most recent, Late Edition, has garnered much praise receiving two Canadian Folk Music nominations. A three time JUNO award winner David Francey has also had the honour of receiving the prestigious SOCAN Folk Music Award. In the last few years he took home the Grand Prize in both the International Acoustic Music Awards and in the Folk category for the John Lennon Songwriting Awards.

David Francey was born in 1954 in Ayrshire, Scotland where he got his first taste of the working life as a paperboy. At the age of ten he was devouring the newspapers he delivered, establishing a life-long interest in politics and world events while developing the social conscience that forms the backdrop to his songs. David was twelve when he and his family moved to Toronto. His love of the landscape, the history and the people of his adopted country can be traced back to family weekend drives exploring Southern Ontario.

Music played a large part in these family outings. The Franceys sang traditional Scottish tunes as they drove through the Canadian countryside. David’s dad and sister sang melody while David and his mother sang harmonies. David’s attachment to Canada grew with his travels. He hitchhiked across the country three times and then thumbed his way to the Yukon. This attachment surfaces in his songs of rail lines, farms and the St. Lawrence Seaway. His understanding of the people grew as he worked in Toronto train yards, in the Yukon bush and in construction in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

In concert David Francey is a singer and a storyteller. His wry humour and astute observations combined with his open-hearted singing style have earned him a loyal following. Amongst the many artists who have recorded David Francey songs are The Del McCoury Band, Tracy Grammer, The Rankin Family, James Keelaghan, Raylene Rankin, Harvey Reid,

“David Francey’s songs are lean, whippet-like creations, a bit like the man himself. With not one wasted word or superfluous line he takes the everyday, often mundane business of living and elevates it into something infinitely more noble and memorable, the mark of a truly gifted songwriter.” Eric Bogle

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.davidfrancey.com/index.html

KIMBER’S MEN – The Strength Of The Swell (A Private Label APL014)

For those of you that haven’t seen Kimber’s Men do yourselves a favour and rectify this at the earliest opportunity. Otherwise, you could stay at home and put on this great 2-disk CD and bask in the rich harmonies of one of this country’s leading Shanty-styled groups. Now a five-piece the hearty vocals of Joe Stead, Neil Kimber, Dave Buckley, John Bromley and Gareth Scott combine in unison to stir the imagination of anyone wishing to feel as if they’ve just encountered a force ten gale or, in my case having got wet from the splash-back of the hose whilst cleaning the windows of my caravan. Of course there are the obligatory traditional ‘shanties’ including “Roll The Woodpile Down”, “Haul Away For Rosie” and “Bulgine Run” but the scholarly, though never starchy booklet notes (they even include all the lyrics!) lead you to a riot of colourful songs of the sea such as Stan Rogers “Mary Ellen Carter” and Bill Meek’s “Harry Eddom”. For me though, the stand-out tracks are those penned by members of the group themselves (Kimber and Buckley) who have embraced the very spirit of their chosen craft and I’m sure will find their way into the repertoires of like-minded souls of a nautical persuasion. The strength of the swell is…in this case…the strength of the ‘sell’ and it couldn’t have been done any better even if you were a Fisherman’s Friend! Pete Fyfe

THE HALTON QUARTET – Based On True Events (Own Label HQR001CD)

This is a very nicely structured album in that it reminds me of days gone by when bands such as Nightnoise were recording for the Windham Hill record label. The combination of acoustic jazz and folk music felt fresh in a cultured way and so long as it wasn’t rammed down your throat could quite easily settle in either pigeon-hole of your CD collection. In nurturing this cross-fertilisation Adam Bulley (mandolin/guitar), Chas MacKenzie (acoustic/electric guitar), Ruaridh Campbell (fiddle) and Angus Lyon (accordion/rhodes) pave the way with sprightly tunes wrung as tightly as any well-worn cloth used by a Glaswegian Fisher-Wife and the quartet’s infused ‘world’ mix of time signatures and rhythms proves generally consumer friendly without sounding too clever or inaccessible. Personally I must admit to not being struck by the over-driven (distorted) classical guitar employed on the track “Triger Part One” (or, maybe it’s just my equipment?) but that’s a minor niggle when all of the band are obviously consummate musicians. On a final note and to prove my point, check out the flamboyant weaving mandolin patterns on Bulley’s “Balkeerie Lights”…it’ll astonish in a hearing Chris Thile for the first time kind of moment and make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck! 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.

Dai Jeffries reviews Broadside by Bellowhead

Bellowhead’s fourth album comes so loaded with expectations it’s a wonder that it can stand up unaided. Hedonism has been so successful and the band’s profile never higher so can they keep the momentum going?

Emphatically, yes! Their working relationship with producer John Leckie seems to have imbued them with even more confidence; they trust him and he has brought out the best in them. The album opens with ‘Byker Hill’, relatively straight with lots of strings but then comes the first surprise. ‘The Old Dun Cow’ is a comic song beloved of folk club audiences forty years ago. Bellowhead treat the story of the burning down of a pub as the real tragedy that it undoubtedly is and fill it with drama and noise.

The pace doesn’t let up until the fifth track, ‘Betsy Baker’, but even this initially quiet tale of unrequited love heads for a big finish with Jon Boden’s voice taking on the cracked quality that is perfect for ‘Black Beetle Pies’ – a true story, according to Pete Flood, who arranged it and four other songs in the middle of the record. Flood’s contributions form the mildly unhinged meat in a sandwich held together by Boden’s vigorous but more conventional treatments. He’s responsible for including my least favourite traditional song of all time, ‘What’s The Life Of A Man’, an appalling piece of mawkishness that singarounds find deeply moving when sufficient ale has flowed. Flood’s take is a cross between Brass Monkey and Tom Waits! It doesn’t improve the words but it is short.

There is just one instrumental, ‘Dockside Rant’, among the twelve tracks and it’s perhaps significant that nothing outstays its welcome. You can imagine that Bellowhead could jam for an hour without repeating themselves but everything is carefully arranged and tight without losing the band’s natural exuberance even when throwing everything they’ve got at a song like ‘Lillibulero’, here telling the story of the devil and the farmer’s wife.

So, Bellowhead have done it again. There will be no stopping them now.

Dai Jeffries

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.bellowhead.co.uk

A New Stream for Simian Ghost (Slow Magic Remix)

Swedish trio Simian Ghost broke onto the international scene with their cultured mix of organic instrumentation and smart electronics over the last year, seeing coverage everywhere from Pitchfork, Culture Bully and Nylon in the US to Mixmag, The Guardian, The Times (where they scored a lead review ahead of, bizarrely, Bruce Springsteen), NME and countless others in the UK. They also found time to tour for The Line Of Best Fit with Stealing Sheep and rack up shows in their home country with the likes of Niki & The Dove and Mount Kimbie. One of the most blogged about tracks from their album, “Youth”, was the single “Wolf Girl” and the band have just posted a remix of the track by Slow Magic as a free download. The group are currently working on their as yet untitled 3rd album.

Listen to tracks or order/ download from the links below:

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.

Summer’s Lament – a seasonal track by Jamie Smith’s Mabon

“The woodland’s burning green to red….”

As the first day of autumn waits for its September 22 cue, the hitherto instrumental band Jamie Smith’s Mabon reveal one of their trailblazing songs from their forthcoming studio album Windblown (released October 29).

Click below to listen to the timely and beautiful Summer’s Lament penned and sung by Jamie Smith, says a sad goodbye to the summer of 2012 and features the soaring violin of Oli Wilson-Dickson.

“Summer’s Lament” 

Look through the window into the rain

And the summer’s gone again

I see the swallows flee the sky

As the summer waves goodbye

It already feels so far away

As I sit alone to watch the faithful pray

But I have no thanks to give for these dark days

Now the summer’s gone again

The woodland’s burning, green to red

I guess summer’s finally dead

The Ebbw waters chase down the sea

River, take me with you please

Sparkling memories of blissful days

Just like the sun they melt away

And leave a coldness settle in my bones

Oh winter’s coming home

My soul was left out hanging on the line

Like laundry I forgot to take inside

Now it’s so sodden it can scarcely dry

Until the sun will shine again

So I’ll pull the blinds down and here I’ll hide

See you when summer’s come again

 A song from Windblown, released October 29

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 Weblink: www.jamiesmithsmabon.com