Musician, Composer,Producer, Presenter and Raconteur Phil Cunningham has often brought a smile to our faces here at Folking.com. His legendary tale about Fergie MacDonald which we filmed a few years back at the Gostport and Fareham Easter Festival (http://www.eastfest.co.uk/) in his duo performance with Aly Bain had us in hysterics and has now had almost had 50,000 views (if you not seen it yet you can watch it by clicking on the following link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMUjJ_biMn8)
So this morning when I saw his latest video pop up in my facebook feed telling me about a lullaby he had written for Fergie I was intrigued… I checked it out and BOL (Bark Out Loud) this Fergie is not Fergie MacDonald the extraordinary button accordion player and legendary ceilidh band leader but Phil’s dog who decided to join the tune and provide the vocal part….. that is.. until he fell asleep!
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The Reckoning has been nominated for Best original Song in this years BBC Folk Awards 2012. This eagerly awaited album is quintessential Steve Tilston featuring insightful lyrics reflecting an affinity with the landscape and the power of nature, a keen sense of history with a nod to the potential of the future, and a sharp eye for social satire.
Musically, Tilston shows us why he is one of the country’s most respected songwriters, continuing to create gorgeous melodies, in a series of musical contexts powerfully evocative of time and place. A true Reckoning for these times.
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On Friday January 20th Etta James died at the age of 73, from complications from leukaemia. She was also suffering with dementia and hepatitis C. The equally legendary Johnny Otis, the “Godfather of rhythm and blues” – and the man who discovered Etta James – died just four days before. He was 90 years old. Johnny, who wrote and recorded the R&B classic “Willie and the Hand Jive”, was white, and grew up in a black section of Berkeley, in the San Francisco Bay Area. . He changed his name because “it sounded more black“.
Otis was leading his own band in 1945 when he scored his first big hit, “Harlem Nocturne.” In 1950, 10 of his songs made Billboard Magazine’s R&B chart. His “Willie and the Hand Jive” sold more than 1.5 million copies and was covered years later by Eric Clapton. He later wrote “Every Beat of My Heart,” which was a hit for Gladys Knight & the Pips.
However, Johnny was blessed with the ability to recognize talent. As well as Etta James, Johnny discovered Hank Ballard, The Coasters, and Big Mama Thornton, whose original recording of “Hound Dog” later became a huge hit for Elvis. Continue reading Two more blues/R & B legends gone….
Michael MacLennan is a Scottish pianist, singer and songwriter. Brought up in the small village of Nethy Bridge in the Scottish highlands, he began playing the piano at seven years of age. Having won his place at the Royal College of Music, playing gigs 7 days a week, and writing two songs each day for a year, Michael MacLennan’s passion for producing awe-inspiring compositions cries out in his debut album ‘Wolves.’ Released February 20th 2012
Prior to moving back to Scotland, Michael supported himself by playing gigs across London where he caught the attention of Rod Stewart. Laying down his own interpretation of the classic Kriss Kristofersson track ‘For The Good Times’, Stewart tapped his shoulder and said ‘Bloody good job son!’ dropping him a £50 note. His songwriting skill is akin to the greats like Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen but harmoniously blends with the sounds of contemporaries like Damien Rice and Paolo Nutini. Continue reading Michael MacLennan – Wolves
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Ani DiFranco has announced the upcoming release of her eagerly awaited new album. ¿Which Side Are You On? arrives via the Grammy-winning artist’s own Righteous Babe Records on January 17, 2012.
¿Which Side Are You On? marks DiFranco’s first studio album in more than three years. The collection features 11 new songs alongside a radically reworked rendition of the classic title song, famously popularized by the one and only Pete Seeger nearly five decades ago, but no less relevant today. Backing DiFranco is a remarkably diverse line-up of stellar musicians, including members of her own crack touring band as well as such guest players as Ivan and CyrilNeville (of New Orleans’ first family of funk and R&B, The Neville Brothers), avant-saxophonist Skerik (Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Bonnie Raitt, The Meters), acclaimed singer/songwriter (and Righteous Babe recording artist) Anaïs Mitchell, guitarist Adam Levy (Norah Jones, Tracy Chapman, Amos Lee), and a host of New Orleans-based horn players known for their work in such outfits as Galactic, Bonerama, and The Rebirth Brass Band.