Dala to release Best Day

Dala, the two-piece award winning duo of Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine, are releasing their fifth studio record, Best Day, on May 29th. With lush intertwining harmonies, the duo underscores the folk-pop album’s “life is short” message with accompaniment from piano, guitar, ukulele and minimal drums. The title track of the album is currently available as a single exclusively on iTunes via the artist web link below.

Throughout their career the duo have toured tirelessly, building their following the old-fashioned way, turning first time listeners into instant, die-hard fans, winning 5 Canadian Folk Music Awards and a Juno nomination. Dala has played all over North America and for the highest profile music festivals, among them New Orleans Jazz Fest, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Denver’s Swallow Hill, the Lowell Summer Concert Series, Strawberry Music Fest, Sisters Folk Festival the and 50th Anniversary of the Newport Folk Festival in 2009 – where Dala were the only Canadian act invited to play. Last summer Dala hosted a PBS special primetime concert entitled “Girls From The North Country” which aired all over North America with multiple plays in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston Portland, Austin, Cleveland, Charlotte and more.

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.dalagirls.com/

NEW DELUXE EDITIONS OF SANDY DENNY’S CLASSIC ISLAND RECORDINGS

Photo taken by Brian Cooke in 1975

On May 21st 2012, Universal is set to release the last three solo albums which Sandy Denny recorded for Island Records during her lifetime. The release coincides with a special tribute tour – “The Lady: A Homage to Sandy Denny” – which commences on May 19th.

Each of the three albums is now presented as a deluxe two-disc edition: SANDY, was released in September 1972 and celebrates its 40th anniversary this year; LIKE AN OLD FASHIONED WALTZ, from June 1974 and RENDEZVOUS which was released in May 1977, less than a year before her death in April 1978. In the intervening years Sandy Denny’s reputation has escalated and it is largely down to this sequence of solo albums (which are built mostly around her own compositions), that she is now widely regarded by musicians and critics alike as Britain’s finest female singer songwriter.

The expansive bonus material includes home and studio demos, alternate takes and live recordings pertaining to each release. Of special note is an radio broadcast on Disc Two of SANDY, containing eight unadorned songs recorded live on a tour of the US at Ebbets Field, featuring tracks from the SANDY, and THE NORTH STAR GRASSMAN AND THE RAVENS albums, as well as the only live performance of “At the End of The Day” from LIKE AN OLD FASHIONED WALTZ. There is also a previously unreleased band version of “The Lady” and a live version of “Whispering Grass” from Dutch Television and an alternate take of the R n’ B tinged “Take Me Away” from the RENDEZVOUS sessions among many other rare or deleted extra tracks.

All three albums contain a wealth of well-known guest musicians including the likes of Richard Thompson, Jerry Donahue, Allen Toussaint, Steve Winwood, Diz Disley, ‘Sneaky’ Pete Kleinow and John Kirkpatrick to name a few.

SANDY, widely regarded as Sandy’s finest solo album, features such memorable Denny compositions as “The Lady”, “It’ll Take A Long Time” and “Listen, Listen” plus “The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood”, the last traditional tune she recorded, underpinning an astonishing multi-tracked vocal arrangement of a Richard Farina lyric.

LIKE AN OLD FASHIONED WALTZ is Sandy’s most romantic sounding record; built around her own compositions it includes the exceptional “Solo”, and “No End”, “Carnival” and “At The End Of The Day” as well as two sumptuous jazz standards, “Whispering Grass” and “Until The Real Thing Comes Along”.

RENDEZVOUS shows a departure in style for Sandy, with several more up-tempo recordings, like “Take Me Away” and a cover of Richard Thompson’s “For Shame of Doing Wrong”. The album also includes an unusual session cut live with the band and strings which yielded gems like “I’m A Dreamer” and “No More Sad Refrains”, the haunting, orchestral “All Our Days”, and “One Way Donkey Ride”.

These new editions coincide with a UK tour entitled “The lady: A homage to Sandy Denny” which will present an evening of classic songs by Sandy featuring Joan Wasser (aka Joan AsPolicewoman), Maddy Prior, Jerry Donahue, Dave Swarbrick, Green Gartside, PP Arnold and Thea Gilmore, who last year succeeded in bringing to life a selection of Sandy Denny’s unrecorded songs on the album DON’T STOP SINGING.

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.sandydennyofficial.com

Show of Hands Celebrate New Live Music Act at House of Commons tomorrow (Tuesday April 17)

Leading on from their fourth sell-out gig at the Royal Albert Hall on Easter Saturday, Show of Hands are due back in London tomorrow (Tuesday, April 17) for a special celebration to welcome the new Live Music Act.

The event at the House of Commons is being organised by UK Music and the Musicians’ Union and, amongst other musicians and special guests, Steve Knightley, Phil Beer and Miranda Sykes have been invited as sole representatives of the folk roots genre.

The Live Music Act, which will cut red tape for the performance of live music in small venues, is expected to come into force in October and is seen as a major milestone which will reinvigorate the British music scene.

Overturning the 2003 Licensing Act, it was introduced as a private members’ bill by Tim Clement-Jones in the House of Lords and has been sponsored by Liberal Democrat culture spokesman Don Foster in the House of Commons. It is rare for private members’ bills to become acts of parliament.

Effectively, the new legislation means that small venues in England and Wales – under a 200-person capacity – will no longer need local authority permission to host performances of live amplified music between 8am-11pm.

Michael Grade, Joan Bakewell and Feargal Sharkey were among those who strongly supported the action.

The band MP4, described as “the world’s only parliamentary rock group” are due to play live at the event.

Show of Hands famously berated former culture minister Kim Howells in Knightley’s song Roots for a comment he made in a 2001 Commons debate about the number of musicians permitted to play on licensed premises, then restricted to two.

Howells said: “For a simple urban boy like me the idea of listening to three Somerset folk singers sounds like hell!”

Knightley recalled that in his lyric:

And a minister said his vision of hell
Is three folk singers in a pub near Wells
Well, I’ve got a vision of urban sprawl
Pubs where no-one ever sings at all

The song, an impassioned defence of England’s musical heritage and identity, was nominated for Best Original Song in the 2006 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and the single reached No 4 in the HMV download chart.

Howells, invited to the band’s 2007 “Big Gig” at the Royal Albert Hall, wrote with his apologies but said he was “tickled pink” that his unkind words had provoked such a good song.

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 weblink link: www.showofhands.co.uk

GIRLYMAN – SUPERNOVA

A short while ago, I was added to the bands facebook group and over the past weeks I’ve seen excitement building for both the new album release and the forthcoming tour. I recently got my hands on Supernova and instantly, it got under my skin. You know the type of thing,  one that has you going back to it time and time again for another fix. With its emotional pull, clear as a bell lyrical harmonies and clever instrumental arrangements, it will take you at least a couple of years in rehab, to get it out of your system.

Darren Beech folking.com

The album was mixed by Grammy Award winner Ben Wisch (Marc Cohn) and featuring guest appearances by the Indigo Girls’ Emily Saliers and others, Supernova is Girlyman’s fifth studio release and the first to include the kinetic percussion of newest member and former Po’ Girl drummer JJ Jones. Lush, Beatles-esque arrangements, the group’s signature three-part harmonies, and songs that “capture, in a story or a surprising metaphor, a feeling you’ve had but never heard so well- expressed” (Slate Magazine) all come together to create Girlyman’s most masterful work to date. “It’s the music of my heart and soul,” says comedian Margaret Cho. “Girlyman is the past and the present and the future.”

“Heartbreakingly beautiful three-part harmonies…theirs is a sound you could happily drown in…miss them at your peril!” ***** Maverick

Ironically, the past year was one of the most challenging in the Atlanta-based quartet’s history. “A supernova is a dying star,” explains Girlyman member Doris Muramatsu, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in late 2010. The three founding members of Girlyman (Muramatsu, Nate Borofsky, and Tylan Greenstein) had spent ten years playing and singing harmony together, from early days in tiny coffeehouses, through long opening runs with the Indigo Girls and Dar Williams, all the way to festival main stages and the country’s premier folk venues. Now the band suddenly feared for its future. “I was in the hospital getting blood transfusions and chemotherapy. We cancelled a month of tours and thought that was it. We didn’t know if we’d ever tour again.”

“Soaring harmonies, social consciousness, and impressive musical prowess…Girlyman’s bittersweet approach to the human condition will strike a chord regardless of the listener.” San Francisco Chronicle

“Tired of discordant progressive and oh-so-experimental indie rock? Girlyman makes folk-pop music that is defined by stunning three part harmonies and beautiful melodies. This music makes you want to sit back, close your eyes and listen.” The Washington Post

“a festival of Simon & Garfunkel-styled harmony that strokes and soothes. Irresistible.” R2 Magazine

Supernova is an autobiography of this unique time for the folk-rock quartet, and its thirteen songs resonate with themes of uncertainty and transformation. But the album is not a dirge; instead, the band reaches, as always, for hope. “A supernova may be a dying star,” continues Doris. “But as it turns out, it also gives birth to new stars.” Indeed, nine months later, Muramatsu’s cancer went into remission and the band was reborn.

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 – http://girlyman.com/

Mawkin new album Crow…

This March, BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominees Mawkin will be taking their unique brand of folk tunes and songs on the road for a 12 date national tour.

Following their successful collaboration with devonshire singer Jim Causley, Mawkin have been working on their brand new album ‘Crow’ for the past 18 months and are now looking to perform at arts centres, theatres and folk clubs across the country. Their debut album ‘The Fair Essex’ released in 2007, received wide critical acclaim and was declared ‘Unconditionally Mighty’ in MOJO Magazine.

Their new album is a brave direction for the band with a far more contemporary sound than before. A special concert featuring Eliza Carthy, Jim Causley and support from Hannah James & Sam Sweeney will be held to celebrate their new release on the 21st of April at The Weston Auditorium, Hatfield.

Two years in the making ‘Crow’ is another landmark in the band’s history, ancient instrumental folk tunes from around the globe are dragged delightfully into the modern age. Folk tunes are fused sublimely with jazz, rock and prog with a swagger and conviction that is thrillingly reassuring. New collaborations are offered with the jaw-dropping vocals of Eliza Carthy on the haunting and soulful ‘Bad Girls Lament’, one of England’s finest songwriters Steve Knightley (Show of Hands) delivers a pounding acoustic pop remake of his own ‘Its All Quiet’, the youthful and cheeky vigour of Jim Causley is presented in full show on ‘The Bellringers’ and Mawkin’s own guitarist and singer David Delarre gives a raucous Essex-delta blues cover of The Kinks ‘Harry Rag’. There is a real sense that ‘Crow’ is landmark achievement in the bands history- not just the music but also in the approach to the record. Melodeon player Nick Cookerecently said ‘we really wanted to go away for a while and make a record that we would want to listen to’ the band were also insistent on creating their own cottage industry; Drummer Lee Richardson explains ‘we really wanted to bring together all the know-how the band has built over the years and we have the facility to record and produce it ourselves – so we did exactly that’, together with Nick Cooke (who also works as Mastering Engineer for Extreme Music the Production Music arm of Sony/ATV)) the band could spend much more time developing their sound in the studio than ever before, even the artwork was produced by Becca Eastland – Lee’s partner and professional artist. ‘Crow’ signifies a real organic process that harks back to their critically acclaimed debut ‘The Fair Essex’ and looks set to be just as well received.

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.

Nick Burbridge – New Album, Gathered

After six McDermott’s Two Hours albums (versus The Levellers or in their own right), singer-songwriter Nick Burbridge has joined forces with multi-instrumentalist and producer Tim Cotterell, to release the unplugged album of articulate contemporary songs rooted in the traditional Celtic idiom, which many have awaited for so long.

Gathered comes, simply, with a challenge. If any similar album tackles inner and outer struggles so artfully yet honestly, showing such respect for the tradition yet awareness of contemporary forms, then let this onebe rolled aside. If not, let it take its rightful place in the idiom where it belongs.

Gathered is a lyricist’s delight, as would be expected from a writer fluent in many forms: a profound and coherent expression of all kinds of implacable commitment, personal or political, related with a tender and unflinching hand. Here, Burbridge’s dark-humoured, melodic pieces, his genuinely weathered voice and singular guitar-playing, are augmented only by the subtle shade and impetus of Cotterell’s sensitive interpretation on a range of instruments. It is an album to sit down with late into the night and listen to repeatedly, which nonetheless abounds with fragments of jigs, reels and other tunes.

Great melodies, acerbic, canny lyrics” (fRoots)
“The sound of a musician and songwriter at a creative peak” (R2)

This is a fruitful partnership. Burbridge’s career spans decades, writing songs covered by artists from Levellers (a whole area at their Beautiful Days festival is named after his song ‘Dirty Davey’) to Damien Barber and Maggie Boyle, and published by Joe Boyd; niche poetry collections, fringe theatre plays and Radio 4 productions; a political thriller, and a non-fiction book on Northern Ireland launched at the House Of Commons.

A recurrent source of inspiration has been his work with McDermott’s Two Hours, a band that “cut the mustard’’(Q) and whose last album Goodbye To The Madhouse R2 called an “epic collection that is essential listening.” Cotterell, meanwhile, who both recorded and mixed this record, is one of the younger generation of Alt Folk specialists, a director of Brighton’s Access To Music, mainstay of Martha Tilston’s The Woods, Legacy and Tricks Upon Travellers, session player for the Oysterband’s John Jones,among many others, and a vital cog in the eccentric McDermotts machinery.

Dr Ben Burbridge Sussex University

Available from – www.burbridgearts.org – www.levellers.co.uk

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