Reviews

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Welcome to the folking.com review section.

The folking review team is a small, dedicated group of people with a passion and a commitment for the folk, acoustic and Americana music scene. They review the latest releases, each in their own inimitable style…

All our reviewers give their spare time to bring you this resource and we always looking for new people to get involved who share a similar passion for the genre to help lighten the load. If that sounds like you, then please email us here for more information about joining the folking review team.

SATUO – Earned (Lindo LINDO 044)

Satuo is an Austrian folk-rock quintet although you wouldn’t pick out their nationality until about half-way through when they switch from English. And maybe the hint of lead vocalist Laura Maria Korhonen’s accent. And perhaps the way that they mix styles in a way that a British or US band ...
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ELLIOTT BROOD – Ghost Gardens (Paper Bag Paper114)

Not an individual artist, but the collective name of an Ontario trio who play fizzed up roots Americana with a poppy edge, Ghost Gardens is their sixth album but the songs themselves come from a stash of lost demos recorded some fifteen years ago, now revisited with a new lick ...
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MARRY WATERSON & DAVID A. JAYCOCK – Death Had Quicker Wings Than Love (One Little Indian Records TPLP1419CDP)

Marry Waterson and David A. Jaycock release their second album as a duo, Death Had Quicker Wings Than Love, on the 29th of September 2017. Sadly, the promotional copy of the CD I received didn't include information on who else played what, but I understand from Marry's web site that ...
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GARETH DAVIES-JONES – The Beauty & The Trouble (own label HWM013)

Although probably better known in the Christian music circle, the Tyneside-based singer-songwriter’s music is not bounded by its religious backdrop. His first full album in three years, this is an easy rolling collection of gently strummed or fingerpicked acoustic folksiness and thoughtful, reflective songs about the world in which we ...
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MIKE BROOKFIELD – Brookfield (Golden Rule Records GRCD003)

Mike Brookfield has followed up his debut album Love Breaks The Fall with a blues-soaked CD simply and eponymously titled Brookfield, due for release on September 22nd. Mike's own web site describes the CD as "11 tracks of burnin' blues rock", which is not a bad description: he clearly knows ...
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WILLIE WATSON – Folksinger Vol.2 (Acony ACNY1714)

Formerly part of the Old Crow Medicine Show and currently a member of the David Rawlings Machine, the grainy-voiced LA-based folkie follows up his solo debut, Folksinger Vol.1 with an appropriately sequentially titled sequel. Produced by Rawlings, again he digs deep into American folk music for his material, some of ...
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BRUCE COCKBURN – Bone On Bone (True North TND 678)

Having released twenty-four studio albums, starting with his self-titled 1970 debut, at almost yearly intervals, the acclaimed Canadian singers-songwriter found himself hitting a creative block following 2011’s Small Source of Comfort, partly from the distraction of becoming a father again and partly because he’d poured all his energy into penning ...
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GALLERY 47 – Adversity Breeds (Bad Production Records)

Gallery 47 might sound like a high street card shop, but is the working name adopted by prolific singer-songwriter, Jack Peachey. Originally Nottingham-based, he relocated to London, has already released three well-received albums and toured with the likes of Paul Weller and Ian McCulloch (to name but two). Adversity Breeds ...
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PETE McCLELLAND – Carolina Sky (Hobgoblin Records HOBCD1016)

Although a co-founder of Hobgoblin Music and a member of several different folk bands, Pete McClelland has only just released an album in his own right. Inspired by nearly forty years of Stateside road trips soundtracked by country music, McClelland describes Carolina Sky as a “real and imagined journey across ...
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THE BARA BARA BAND – The Seeds Inside (The Grapes Upon The Vine) (Singaround Records Sing06)

From the opening rolling guitar of ‘Mists Of Time’, The Bara Bara Band’s second album, The Seeds Inside (The Grapes Upon The Vine), makes itself comfortably at home. The album’s (rather lengthy) title derives from this first song with its Appalachian-influenced jaunty fiddle/banjo interplay and its celebration of heritage and ...
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MARK OLSON – Spokeswoman Of The Bright Sun (Glitterhouse GRCD918)

Co-founder of seminal alt-country pioneers The Jayhawks and subsequently the Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers, you would naturally expect Mark Olson’s new project with wife Ingunn Ringvold, who did the string arrangements as well as playing chamberlin, mellotron and qanon, to plough a similar Americana furrow. However, Spokeswoman of the ...
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HEATHER LYNNE HORTON – Don’t Mess With Mrs. Murphy (At The Helm)

One half of The Westies alongside husband Michael McDermott, like him Horton also has a solo career, one which, aided and abetted by multi-instrumentalist Lex Price, she resumes here with her strongly feminist fuelled second album about women addressing the struggle of reconciling their multiple roles with the search for ...
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GERRY COLVIN BAND – Back & Forth (own label GC003)

True to form, a new album from Gerry Colvin is always something to look forward to and to be enjoyed. Back and Forth is one of those very pleasant experiences. All eleven tracks and 45 minutes of listening are self-penned from the magical pen of Gerry Colvin. Featuring Jerome Davies, ...
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JACK RUTTER – Hills (own label RUTTCD024)

Look, I’m sorry. I know that this record won’t be released for a while yet and you can’t get your hands on it but I’ve been sitting on it for several weeks with barely concealed impatience and now is the time. The first thing I want to say is that ...
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RED SHOES – It Isn’t Over Yet (Cedarwood CEDAR15)

Okay, first off let me declare that I’ve known Mark and Carolyn Evans, who are the core of Birmingham-based Red Shoes, for some 30 years. This, however, has no bearing on what I think of their music. Even had I not known them, I would still be a massive fan ...
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CONNOR WALSH AND SAM RYAN – Double Album Launch – The Sorry Head, Exeter August 26th 2017

A double whammy album launch with best friends Connor Walsh and Sam Ryan launching their EP’s to the world, The Hardest Part and The Traveller respectively at the Sorry Head in Exeter, and it was a very busy affair. They clearly have their fans and supporters as the venue was ...
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DAVE STEWART Nashville Sessions : The Duets

’Nashville Sessions : The Duets' is a new collection that presents the best duets from the recording sessions at John McBride’s famed Blackbird Studio in Nashville that resulted in the album trilogy of ‘The Blackbird Diaries’, 'The Ringmaster General' and 'Lucky Numbers’ released by Dave Stewart between 2011 and 2013. 'Nashville Sessions : The Duets' features striking vocal performances ...
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THE FOXGLOVE TRIO – Distant Havens (own label FGXCD03)

The second album from Anglo-Welsh band The Foxglove Trio sees them getting a little more Welsh, possibly down to recording in Abergavenny with Dylan Fowler in the producer’s chair. Five of the songs on Distant Havens are in Welsh, thanks to the bilingual talents of Ffion Mair, but don’t let ...
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THE REMEDY CLUB – Lovers, Legends & Lost Causes (High Flying Disc Records)

The Remedy Club are the husband-and-wife duo of KJ McEvoy and Aileen Mythen, and Lovers, Legends & Lost Causes is their debut album, set for release on October 8th. With the pair sharing the singing responsibilities, the co-written album does pretty much what it says on the tin, being comprised ...
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MAIREARAD GREEN MIKE VASS – A Day A Month (Buie Records BUIECD004)

Scottish musicians lead very busy lives. In fact, I sometimes wonder how they keep track of what they are playing where and when and with whom. So it was that when Mairearad Green and Mike Vass decided that they wanted to play together they tried to set aside a day ...
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LUKAS NELSON & THE PROMISE OF THE REAL – Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real (Fantasy)

I’m sure it’s true of daughters and mothers too, although, off the top of my head, I can’t think of a case to cite, but sons of famous singing fathers generally get a hard time of it, always finding themselves compared to dad even if the music sounds completely different ...
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SAM RYAN – The Traveller EP – (own label)

Devon based up and coming singer songwriter Sam Ryan, has released his debut EP at 19 years of age, and has a bevvy of fans already.With an excellent pedigree of folk legend talent in his family, Sam’s amazing raw edged debut EP entitled The Traveller will be launched in Exeter ...
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THE COGNAC TWINS –The Cognac Twins (Loopmaniac Records LOOP 1)

After writing, singing, jamming and performing together for over two decades, Craig Anderson and Paul Connelly, The Cognac Twins, are here with their self-titled debut album. The ridiculously catchy ‘Pretending’ opens the disc, as its combination of mandolin and ukulele runs, handclaps, solid lead vocals and spot-on harmonies set the ...
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CROPREDY 2017 – Campie’s Highlights Of An Amazing Few Days

Last year I was a Cropredy virgin, but this year on THAT field in August, I knew what the score was. Well, until I tried to do the camping and putting up the tent thing! Every year will bring new things I guess! Arriving at the Folkmaster’s abode on Wednesday ...
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KEVIN CRAWFORD – Carrying the Tune (Brooklyn Boy Records BBR 001)

Carrying The Tune is the third solo album in the extensive discography of the critically acclaimed flautist Kevin Crawford, and accompanied by bouzouki (Mick Conneely and John Doyle), guitar (Doyle) and bodhrán (Brian Morrissey), it is immersed, as ever, in the sounds of Celtic tradition, displaying Crawford’s virtuosity at every ...
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BEMIS – A World Of Difference (Mayfield Records)

“I’ve got the new Bemis album for you”, said the boss. ‘Fine”, I said wondering what he was going on about. I Googled them and it turns out that they make toilet seats. Ah, not them, then. Bemis are a folk-rock band from Portsmouth and A World Of Difference is ...
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CONNOR WALSH – The Hardest Path EP (own label)

Connor Walsh – a very talented, young, upcoming musician, based in Devon is to release his new EP, The Hardest Path, on September 2nd, and a fabulous EP it is! Connor has written this from experiences in his own life, and says that “…there is a strange beauty in the ...
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Wickham 2017 Reviewed

Click on the photo below to see the full set... ‪Squelch... Wickham Festival finally kicked off to a great start with sets from ‪Low, Barker, Morris & Tunstall which sounds like a firm of solicitors instead of musical, dance and poetry partners in festival law; Andy Fairweather Low, Les Barker, ...
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DARIA KULESH & JONNY DYER – live at The Troubadour

The Troubadour is one of the iconic venues in the country. Founded in 1954, it still occupies the coffee shop in Old Brompton Road near Earl’s Court where it started. It has played host to most of the greats on the folk scene, many before anyone else had heard of ...
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JOAN OSBORNE – Songs Of Bob Dylan (Womanly Hips Records WHCD001)

I should say from the outset that I’m a sucker for covers of Bob Dylan songs. Artists can and do so much with them and occasionally transcend the originals even though that may sound like heresy. So when Joan Osborne’s Songs Of Bob Dylan appeared on my horizon I practically ...
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SINGLES BAR 24

A round-up of recent EPs and singles MERRY HELL describe the title track of their new EP, Come On, England, as an alternative National Anthem. Needless to say, the song bears no resemblance to the chants of the football terraces or EDL marches. Instead Bob Kettle invokes the Diggers and ...
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DAVID RAWLINGS – Poor David’s Almanack (Acony)

The material is all new, but, in part because several are based on traditional stories and songs, the feel is ageless as David Rawlings evokes a sense of a vanished rural America in a similar gothic folk manner to his longtime musical partner, Gillian Welch who, as ever, joins him ...
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THE YOUNG‘UNS – Strangers (Hereteu Records YNGS17)

The Young’Uns have come a long way in a few short years. Strangers is their fourth studio album, coming a mere three years after they turned professional. The trio are strong singers, they enjoy the sort of on-stage banter that only good friends can get away with and they have ...
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ELEANOR McEVOY – The Thomas Moore Project (Moscodisc MOSCD4015)

Well, you certainly can’t accuse Eleanor McEvoy of being predictable when it comes to releasing albums. Over the past six years she’s done stripped down solo (Alone), bluesy (If You Leave), a collection of fan-requested rarities (Stuff) and studio recordings of songs played as in a live show (Naked). Now, ...
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RICHARD THOMPSON – Acoustic Classics II (Beeswing BSW015P)

The latest batch of new solo, stripped back acoustic recordings from the Thompson songbook brings together material previously only available in band format or not on his solo releases. Fairport devotees will be particularly enthused by a version of the song that launched it all, ‘Meet On The Ledge’, a ...
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MEGAN HENWOOD – River (Dharma Records DHARMACD30)

The third album by singer-songwriter Megan Henwood, River, is due for release on 27th October 2017. And it demonstrates the evolving talent and maturity of a singer who had already made considerable impression in 2009, when she and her brother Joe won Radio 2's Young Folk Award, and a writer ...
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MARTIN SIMPSON – Trails & Tribulations (Topic TSCD593)

Martin Simpson never disappoints, whether live or on record, but rarely does he surprise. Rather he evolves over time and emerges with something new and different as he has here. Trails & Tribulations is his 20th solo album in a career going back to the early seventies. You sort of ...
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BOB LESLIE – Land and Sea (Big Red Records. Big Red 3)

Following 2010’s In a Different World and 2011’s Fat Cat, Land and Sea is the third release in the discography of Bob Leslie, and it offers a dozen tales, some from history and others from the heart, but all of which are well informed, well composed and personally felt in ...
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TOM RUSSELL – Folk Hotel (Proper PRPCD143P)

Tom Russell releases a new studio album Folk Hotel on September 8th. Russell has been described as “The greatest living folk-country songwriter” by John Swenson in Rolling Stone. Folk Hotel is a mix of Americana, Tex-Mex, Cowboy, Folk, Blues, Poetry and Elizabethiana (I may have invented the word but have ...
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PONS AELIUS – Captain Glen’s Comfort (own label PACGC01)

Great band name, Pons Aelius. To save you the trouble, the original was a small Roman fort on Hadrian’s Wall so the name reflects their musical heritage: mostly Newcastle with more than a dash of Scots. Captain Glen’s Comfort, named for a tune by piper and whistle-blower Jordan Aikin and ...
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PAUL BRADY – Unfinished Business (Proper PRPCD144P)

On September 8th, Paul Brady releases Unfinished Business. It features nine new compositions and two traditional folk songs. The album is Brady’s fifteenth solo album and covers a range of styles – as well as the traditional folk songs there are elements of jazz, country, Brady’s own unique folk style ...
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RYAN YOUNG – Ryan Young (Ryan Young Music RYM01CD)

Ryan Young has already begun garnering what are doubtless only the first of many awards and accolades for his superb fiddle-playing. His self-titled debut album simply brims over with originality and talent: a little sonic jewel. That his fans went out and secured the talents of Grammy-winning Jesse Lewis to ...
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BLIND RIVER SCARE – Pastures New (Creosote CR004CD)

Blind River Scare is the performing vehicle for South Wales based singer-songwriter, Tim Manning, here, on their fourth album, working as a trio with Steve Loosemeore on upright bass and Mike Hopkins providing harmonium, mandolin and Hammond augmenting his acoustic and resonator guitar. Musically, he’s rooted in Americana, alt-country and ...
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PAUL ANDERSON – The High Summit (Fingal Records FINCD506)

I sometimes while away an idle moment trying to discern trends in Scottish music and I always fail. There are young musicians playing the oldest tunes they can find, others pushing the boundaries of composition in their reinterpretation of old forms and some playing rock’n’roll on bagpipes and big drums ...
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ODDFELLOW’S CASINO – Oh, Sealand (At The Helm/Microcultures)

Taking their name from Ambrose Oddfellow, a Victorian freakshow host whose moustache frontman David Bramwell apparently inherited from a great-aunt, the Brighton outfit have released seven albums over their 15-year career. The latest emerges from John Higgs’ commissioning Bramwell, himself an author of various books and presenter of assorted Radio ...
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SAM DRAISEY – As I Live And Breathe (own label)

“I’m the last of the protest song heroes” sings Sam Draisey in ‘Five Years Later’. That in itself is unusual because many writers of protest songs deny that’s what they are. Furthermore, ‘Five Years Later’ is a very good protest song and it comes on the back of ‘The Worst ...
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BLAKE’S FORTUNE – Hello World (own label)

Blake’s Fortune is the nom de plume of a young singer-songwriter from Dublin. His real name is John Lennon which, you have to admit, is something of a hostage to fortune for a man in his position. He’s been around a while, previously working as a member of Pina Kollars' ...
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BIRD RADIO/BONES & THE AFT – You’ve Been Kind! (Liver & Lights No. 55)

John Bently never does things the easy way. You’ve Been Kind! is available on vinyl with a hand printed sleeve and poster or on CD. Both have a lyric booklet (also hand made) which is slightly different in each version and both are very limited editions. It is more easily ...
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GREG RUSSELL – Inclined To Be Red (Fellside FECD281)

More commonly seen in partnership with Ciaran Algar, Greg Russell now also embarks on a solo career with an album the title of which refers more to his politics than the colour of his hair. That said, accompanied just by banjo, he does include a cover of the American traditional ...
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THE LAST DINOSAUR – The Nothing (Naim Records NAIMDD350)

Funny thing, grief. There might be an immediate gut punch of loss, but the full effects are often only truly recognisable with years of hindsight. The Nothing, The Last Dinosaur’s second album, allows singer/songwriter Jamie Cameron finally to give voice to the grief of losing his closest friend in 2005 ...
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COHEN BRAITHWAITE-KILCOYNE – Outway Songster (WildGoose WGS 422 CD)

An outway songster was one who sang traditional song and popular hits of the time but “actually invented new ones themselves” according to Lucy Broadwood and Fuller Maitland. Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne doesn’t go as far as covering Lady Gaga and it is difficult to point the finger at the song he ...
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AMANDA ANNE PLATT & THE HONEYCUTTERS – Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters (Organic Records OR 16902)

Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters (formerly known simply as The Honeycutters) is the fifth Long Player from the group and is available in the UK from August 4th, coinciding nicely with their first ever British tour. While there are folkie and rocky influences within this album, it is most ...
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SONGDOG – Joy Street (Junkyard Songs JSLPCD17)

I became a convert to Welsh poet-novelist-playwright Lyndon Morgans’ often talk-sing vocal style and deeply poetic narrative lyrics with the band’s second album and have not been disappointed since. Joy Street, his seventh release, doesn’t break the spell. Produced by Nigel Stonier and featuring backing trio of Karl Woodward on ...
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THE FOUR OF US – Sugar Island (Future FUTURECDS011)

The Four of Us have had limited exposure elsewhere in the UK but have been a major force in Irish music since 1989 when they had a massive hit with ‘Mary’. The core of the band are brothers Brendan and Declan Murphy. They beat U2 to the title of Best ...
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BILL MADISON – If I Had The Time (own label)

Unlike his last release, the latest offering from the deep and dusty voiced New England singer-songwriter, his thirteenth, is, save for one number, all self-penned, either solo or in collaboration, Bill playing guitars, dobro, dulcimer and synth with contribution on drums and lead guitar from John Dudli and JP Kallio ...
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ANDY GRIFFITHS – Big Red Monster (Musician Records MR011)

The Big Red Monster of the title is probably the rusting old tractor on the back cover but even Andy Griffiths isn’t quite sure. This is Andy’s third album of original songs, gentle and thoughtful with the laid-back support of a fine group of musicians including Rick Foot, Natasha Pattinson, ...
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CATHERINE MacLELLAN – If It’s Alright With You: The Songs of Gene MacLellan (True North TND670)

The name might not be familiar, but you should certainly be familiar with the late Gene MacLellan’s songs, if not as a performer himself (though he did make four albums), but as writer whose work has been covered by the likes of Loretta Lynn, Joan Baez and Elvis. One in ...
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OFFA REX – The Queen Of Hearts (Nonesuch)

Born in Florence but raised in Oxford, Olivia Chaney’s 2015 debut album following contributions to assorted collections and albums by Seth Lakeman and Alasdair Roberts earned her extensive praise and many fans. Not least among them being Colin Meloy of Portland indie rock Americana outfit The Decemberists who struck up ...
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REV HAMMER AND NICK HARPER – Live at Unit 23 Live, Totnes

Folk Rock legends, Rev Hammer and Nick Harper wowed the audience at Unit 23 Live in Totnes, South Devon recently. The venue owner Simon has just taken over, and making a huge mark on this quirky venue in the middle of an industrial estate. Ex South Hams Radio presenter – ...
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AULD HAT NEW HEIDS – Volume 1 (Rickety Rackety Records RRR005)

The stated aim of Auld Hat New Heids’ album is to recreate the glory days of folk clubs – you remember; when we could go out for a good sing, have a couple of pints and still go home with change from a quid (yes, I am that old). This ...
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