Keith James releases new solo album

Keith James

Keith James has become one of the most active and inventive concert artists currently performing in the UK.

A very accomplished sound man with a BBC Maida Vale background, he worked for more than a decade as a record producer (1991 – 2004), working on albums with many of this country’s profoundly talented musicians and writers.

Realising his definite preference for live performance and following a detailed study, 2001 witnessed Keith begin a UK wide tour of concerts based entirely on his love of the songwriter, Nick Drake. As Nick’s music had never been heard live by today’s music audience (he died in 1974) these concerts soon became a huge success; over the course of 15 years, Keith has played over 2000 of these shows in the UK, Ireland, Holland, Spain, Italy and France, all of Nick’s Colleges and almost every British acoustic music festival including Glastonbury.

On from this, Keith has performed many different concerts over the past 10 years. Each one centres on studies and transcriptions of revered poets and writers and includes a significant amount of biographical material. The most notable of these are two CD Albums and two hugely successful tours featuring the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca set to music – The Gypsy Ballads 1928 and Poet in New York 1930. Other important projects are a CD album and concert tour featuring a collection of poetry by Dylan Thomas and an ongoing busy schedule of bio-doc concerts spanning over 6 years performing interpretive versions of songs by Leonard Cohen.

Keith is fiercely independent and therefore his career has for many years, existed in a parallel universe, almost under wraps, esoteric and secretive. He has enjoyed very little radio exposure, he doesn’t fit easily into any music category, he has never signed a recording or publishing deal. Despite this, he has released 13 CD Albums, all self-produced and self-published. The most recent from 2015 is entitled Always, a collection of his own poetry set to music along with one by Pablo Neruda from the 1930s.

He is about to release a brand new album, Tenderness Claws, all settings of poetry to music including work by Jack Kerouac, Pete Brown (1960s British beat poet) William Blake, Allen Ginsberg, Federico Garcia Lorca and some of Keith’s own. This time, and rather unplanned, he has teamed up with the amazing producer / sound artist, Branwen Munn.

Keith lives in a writing retreat, way up in the hills of Powys, Wales and some months of each year in Andalucía. Since the mid ‘70s, his third home has been the Island of Naxos, Greece. He currently performs around 100 concerts per annum in Theatres, Arts Centres and other inspiring boutique spaces such as Galleries and Arts Cafes. He is currently compiling a volume of his own poetry to be published in 2017 along with some sporadic work on a rather surreal and somewhat comedic novel.

Artist’s website: http://www.keith-james.com/

Not from the new album but we’re not counting. ‘Chelsea Hotel #2’ from the Songs Of Leonard Cohen tour:

Matt Gresham – first London headline show

Matt Gresham

Fresh from supporting UK’s James Arthur on his 16-date March tour, Perth born singer songwriter Matt Gresham has announced his first London headline show at The Islington on Friday 26 May. Tickets are on sale now.

Now residing in Berlin after signing to Warner Germany, Matt is delving into a new chapter of creativity. His recent single ‘Survive On Love’ which was co-written with up and coming LA based producer Jaymes Young (London Grammar), marks a new beginning for the Australian musician.

The last two years have been non-stop for the singer, with a sold-out Australian tour already under his belt plus several well-received performances at SXSW, winning ‘Song of the Year’ at the Western Australian Music Awards and not least playing to two sold-out crowds at Shepherds Bush Empire on the James Arthur tour, Matt has already built a strong and loyal fan base and this is only the beginning.

This show will undoubtedly mark Matt as one of 2017’s ones to watch and showcase his talent to a whole new audience.

Artist’s website: http://mattgreshammusic.net/home

‘Survive On Love’ – official video:

Damien Dempsey postpones UK tour dates

Damien Dempsey
We are sorry to have to announce on behalf of Damien Dempsey that his forthcoming UK tour needs to be postponed. Unfortunately Damien has a very minor medical issue that presents no major risk to him at all but it  does  mean that he will not be able to sing and give 100% to his performance for a few weeks. Damien Dempsey would not be able to give a performance where he did not give his all and has on advice therefore reluctantly agreed to this postponement.
 
Damien hopes to be able to honour his commitment to play the Mandela Hall in Belfast June 9 and the Blackbox in Galway June 8 and is sure to be fit for his Iveagh Gardens show in July. His scheduled performance on RTE’s Late Late show for May 26 will go ahead as it will only require Damien to sing one song.
 
The tour will be rescheduled as soon as possible and all details re ticket refunds are available at the bottom of this press release.
 
Damien apologises for any inconvenience this has caused and promises to be back on the road as soon as possible….
 
Damien had this message for fans….
 
“Very sorry my friends to be postponing the few shows; there’s no way around it. (There’s a procedure I need done that if I don’t get done this month will hinder my singing for months).I’ll be back to your cities as quick as i can, and I’ll be expecting you’z to know every lyric of every new song I sing! So you’ve plenty of homework to be getting on with over the coming summer months before I’m back. Big big love and apologies again, see you’z very soon and until then may the Soulsun shine within you, big big love, Damo”

Refunds are available from point of purchase. Those who purchased tickets via www.seetickets.com will be refunded automatically and can expect the refund to process within 4 working days.

Artist’s website: http://damiendempsey.com/

Hannah’s Yard announce exciting debut album

Hannah's Yard

A knock at a recording studio door during the Spring of 2010 and a 14 year old schoolgirl accompanied by her mother, wanted to record a song to be played at her Grandad’s funeral. When she opened her mouth to sing, the producers were left speechless… and for all the right reasons.

Hannah was invited back to their studio several times, recording song demos for Nashville song-writing pitches whilst she was still only 15 years of age. By the age of 17, this unique vocal talent was ready to embark upon a professional musical journey. Hannah’s Yard – the studio is in a little place called The Yard – is a creative collective comprising Hannah Layton Turner, Barnaby Pinny and James Reader (songwriter/producers).

Encompassing a range of different styles – mostly on the acoustic pop side of pop/jazz/folk/country, Hannah has already been compared to a young Katie Melua. Beginnings, the debut album features fourteen songs recorded in Hannah’s home town of Olney… the small English town where ‘Amazing Grace’ was written in the 1770s and aptly, the album includes the Hannah’s Yard version. It is a collection of songs about life and love, presented with Hannah’s voice to the fore.

In the year or so since being discovered by BBC Introducing, Hannah’s Yard have released a series of singles, all of which have been supported by BBC local radio as well as BBCR2. Hannah’s Yard have several radio interviews lined up to promote the album including BBC Three Counties, BBC Oxford and BBC Warwickshire & Coventry, as well support from BBCR2. They continue with live dates opening for Gordon Haskell.

Artists’ website: https://www.hannahsyard.com/

‘Why Would I Know’ – official video:

Canny Fettle release their first album in thirty years

Canny Fettle

This year sees the release of Still Gannin’ Canny, the first album in over 30 years from veteran folk band Canny Fettle. Their debut album Varry Canny, released in 1975 on the Tradition Records label was highly regarded at the time and has been out of print for decades, their second album Trip To Harrogate followed in 1977, a collection of repertoire from the then newly-discovered Joshua Jackson Manuscript, after which the group effectively disbanded to pursue their individual careers in industrial chemistry and the aeronautics industry, only to reform in 2016 with the idea of a new recording.

The new album is a tribute to those classic albums of the 1970s, recorded in a vintage style – all musicians together in one room, captured honestly with a natural blend. Producer Ian Stephenson remarks on the process:

“It was a total pleasure to work with Canny Fettle on this new recording – With no disrespect to the lads, it was a bit like going back in time, like finding an old album nobody knew existed! My part in the production involved capturing the brilliant performances in a totally honest, real-time way, offering general encouragement, as well as trying to use a style of production in keeping with their previous albums. Everything from the cover design through microphone choice and musical decisions was decided with this in mind. One surprising thing for me was how much unique repertoire they brought to the recording sessions – the early mixes and pre-release copies of the album have been doing the rounds on Tyneside and many seasoned folk performer has remarked on how these recordings sound like classics, but ones which have never been heard before.”

The material featured shows their usual North-East bias, along with some melodies from further afield. There are old melodies from William Vicker’s Manuscript (1770) and Joshua Jackson’s (1798) all mixed up with both traditional songs and music hall songs from Tyneside and Lancashire. One advantage of releasing on CD or digital over vinyl, is the inclusion of extensive, well-researched liner notes giving historical context to the music, placing the music in a visceral context and giving it the gravitas it deserves.

Canny Fettle had its origins in the Manchester area in the late 60s when fellow students Bob Diehl, Gerry Murphy, and Anthony Robb joined with Royton singer John Williamson to form a group. They were influenced at this time locally by Harry Boardman and from further afield by Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick and of course the High Level Ranters.

The line-up featured on Still Gannin’ Canny is Bob Diehl – fiddle, Gerry Murphy – English concertina, Northumbrian pipes, Bob Morton – guitar, voice, with special guests: Jane Diehl (accordion), Grace Smith (vocals, clog), Ian Stephenson (piano), George Unthank and Pete Wood (chorus singing).

News of the band’s resurgence has been spreading and has also resulted in Fellside Records re-releasing digital versions of both Varry Canny (1975) and Trip To Harrogate (1977), whilst Still Gannin’ Canny (2017) is available from the band’s own website where both digital and CD versions include full liner notes.

The intention behind the album can be best presented as in the notes:

“To record a selection of new and old songs as a tribute to the many people who influenced them throughout the years and endowed them with the joy of music. This is above all what they collectively hope to pass on “

Artist’s website: www.cannyfettle.com

Martin Simpson announces his 20th solo album

Martin Simpson
Photograph by Elly Lucas

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 download and standard vinyl (the latter through Vinyl 180).


Trails & Tribulations
is a collection of songs about nature, about travels and about real life stories. There are traditional songs, poems and contemporary songs by great writers, and songs that I had to write because nobody else knew what I wanted to say. I travel, I learn songs, I write and try to get better at the skills required for me to do my job. I look at the world as I pass by, on the road, out of the train window, or as I stop and pay close attention to the square foot under my nose. There is so much to see and to hear and to inspire and to try and understand. I had a huge amount of fun playing and recording these songs, using different instruments, different noises, old friends and new ones, all of whom brought so much to the mix. Martin Simpson, April 2017.

Produced and engineered by Andy Bell, Trails & Tribulations features some of Martin’s most inventive playing yet, showcasing his virtuosity on a variety of instruments including acoustic guitars, resonator guitars, Weissenborn lap steel guitar, electric guitars, 5 string banjo, ukulele – and voice.

Guest musicians on the new album are: Ben Nicholls (string bass and electric bass guitars), Toby Kearney (drums and percussion), Nancy Kerr (fiddle and viola), Andy Cutting (diatonic accordion and melodeon), John Smith (electric guitar and backing vocals), Helen Bell (strings), Amy Newhouse-Smith (backing vocals) and his daughter Molly Simpson on vocals.

Martin will tour extensively this year, including a headline set at Cambridge Folk Festival in the summer and London’s Kings Place in autumn, following the release of Trails & Tribulations.

Hand in hand with his long and storied solo career, Martin has been central to seminal collaborations like The Full English, The Elizabethan Sessions and Simpson Cutting Kerr. He has worked with a dazzling array of artists from across the musical spectrum: Jackson Browne, Martin Taylor, June Tabor, Richard Hawley, Bonnie Raitt, Danny Thompson, David Hidalgo, Danú, Richard Thompson and Dom Flemons, to mention a few. He is consistently named as one of the very finest acoustic, fingerstyle and slide guitar players in the world and is the most nominated musician in the history of the BBC Folk Awards, with a remarkable 31 nods. A true master of his art.

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 Martin Simpson – Trails & Tribulation 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]

Artist’s website: http://www.martinsimpson.com/

‘Blues Run The Game’ – audio stream: