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.

MARK T. – From Blues To Rembetika (Circle Of Sound COS330CD)

From Blues To Rembetika neatly encapsulates the two strands of Mark T’s music and his love for both the resonator guitar and the bouzouki although there is rather more of the former than the latter here. Rembetika is an urban music from Greece and Turkey which spawned the bouzouki music ...
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SHANKARA ANDY BOLE – Rainbow Crow (Left Leg Records LL2017)

Rainbow Crow is a new CD from Shankara Andy Bole, featuring what are described as seven "spontaneous compositions" recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios. Bole is best known, perhaps, for his work (especially on guitar) with the late Daevid Allen's Glissando Guitar Orchestra and the folkier Bonfire Radicals, as ...
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ONE BLOKE ONE MANDOLIN – Fair Travels & Fine Times (Mind If I Play Records MI-IPR-2148)

One Bloke One Mandolin is better known to his friends as Stevie Simpson. He’s a much-travelled veteran who exists under the radar as far as too many people are concerned and he’s still paying his dues. That can’t be right. Fair Travels & Fine Times is something like his sixth ...
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CARA DILLON – Wanderer (Charcoal CHARCD009)

Following last year’s release of her first Christmas album, Upon A Winter’s Night, Dillon returns to secular form with a predominantly traditional collection, again produced by and featuring husband Sam Lakeman. Pivoting around an underlying theme of transition and departure, whether that be through emigration or the search for love, ...
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BIERE DE LUXE – Into The Thicket (own label)

Biere de Luxe are five guys from Falmouth who don’t say much about who they are except to describe themselves as rural gypsy-punks. They do live up to the punk ethos in some ways. Into The Thicket is very much a collaborative effort in a sleeve that carries minimal information ...
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JAMES FREDHOLM – Love Is The Answer (Honeybee Records GmbH)

James Fredholm releases the singles ‘Oars’ on October 27th. It is taken from his album Love Is The Answer. The album includes not only this single but also Uncaged, a book of Fredholm’s poetry. Fredholm grew up in Austin, Texas in the 70’s, played in local bands, recorded jingles for ...
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DAVY GRAHAM – Folk, Blues & Beyond (Bread & Wine BRINECD1)

Davy (or Davey) Graham's Folk, Blues & Beyond is a reissue of his 1965 Decca album on licence to Bread and Wine Records/East Central One, due for release on October 27th 2017. It retains the same tracks and running order as the original vinyl release and the Topic reissue CD ...
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CIARA SIDINE – Unbroken Line (own label)

It’s been six years since the Irish singer-songwriter and book editor released her debut, but she’s finally got round to a second, one drawing an Americana and country blues, filtered through her Gaelic heritage and featuring the stunning guitar work of Conor Brady. Thematically, it balances with the pointedly and ...
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EDGELARKS – Edgelarks (Dragonfly DRCD004)

Having previously traded under their own names, Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin have decided to save space on the album sleeves (well, after this one anyway) by reinventing themselves as Edgelarks. Fans will be pleased to know, however, that, musically, the duo haven’t rung too many changes. Featuring contributions from ...
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SAM KELLY & THE LOST BOYS – Pretty Peggy (Navigator NAVIGATOR 102)

Based in Bristol, but born in Norfolk, Kelly stakes a claim for a Best Album nomination in next year’s Radio 2 Folk Awards to add to this year’s Horizon win. Backed by his six-piece live band, comprising Jamie Francis on banjo, fiddler/guitarist Ciaran Algar, percussionist Evan Carson, Graham Coe on ...
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VARIOUS ARTISTS – Hobgoblin Music – 40 Years (Hobgoblin HOBCD040)

It’s forty years since the founders of Hobgoblin Music set out to make, and I quote “what was then almost impossible – finding good quality folk instruments – possible”. As the sleeve notes acknowledge, that seems almost ordinary now and you can buy just about anything from a Hobgoblin shop ...
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JEREMY PINNELL – Ties of Blood and Affection (Sofaburn SBR2-032)

Opening your album with the line “laid up in the house full of hookers and wine” is a pretty good way to get the listener’s attention, but you still have to keep it. And, on this, his second release, the Kentucky country singer-songwriter does that effortlessly, both on that opening ...
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THE MINING CO. – Mountain Fires (own label)

As is increasingly fashionable these days, The Mining Co. is a one man band, although I believe he was once a trio, and that man is Michael Gallagher. Mountain Fires is his second album. The record’s packaging is pretty minimal so I have no idea who else is playing but ...
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THE EAST POINTERS – What We Leave Behind (East Pointers Music EPCD17)

A trio from Canada’s East Coast, fiddler and nasally-voiced singer Tim Chaisson, banjo player Koady Chaisson and guitarist Jake Charron serve up bluegrassy songs and instrumentals in equal measure, the former getting What We Leave Behind rolling with a medley of the moodily atmospheric banjo-led ‘Tanglewood’ and the more spirited ...
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THE RAILS – There Are Other People In This World Not Just You (The Orchard PSYCHED CD010)

Their debut album Fair Warning, being one of the finest folk albums of 2014, expectations were high for a follow-up from Kami Thompson and James Walbourne. They have been matched and, in some cases, exceeded. As you’ll be well aware Thompson is the daughter of Richard and Linda and, as ...
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JOOST DE LANGE’S ROCK BLUES EXPERIENCE – Live In Antwerp (own label)

Joost de Lange, though well known as guitarist with Zeeland band Yes You Did (among others), has fairly recently emerged as a vocalist/guitarist with his own band Joost de Lange's Rock/Blues Experience, also featuring Mitchell Goor on bass and Ramses Donvil on drums. The band's latest CD is Live In ...
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Edgelarks – Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin – New Album and Tour Dates

We were recently treated to the hatching of Edgelarks (the new name for duo Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin) at the Southdowns Folk Festival in Bognor Regis last Sunday evening. The name change also spearheads the launch of the new album by the same name that is released 6.10.17. The ...
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SHAKE THE CHAINS – Shake The Chains (Quercus Records QRCD003)

Even supposing you knew nothing about this album, a quick glance down the track listing would instantly identify Shake The Chains as a politically conscious project. A new generation of protest songs sit comfortably alongside some old standards. Despite Edwyn Collins’ complaint in ‘A Girl Like You’ about “too many ...
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DARREN BLACK – Wisperau (own label DBCD005)

Darren Black is not a man to repeat himself. His previous album was inspired by his boyhood in industrial south Wales but Wisperau is a meditation on the seasons in rural Hampshire where he now lives. I suppose that every songwriter feels compelled to do something of the sort at ...
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TOMMY GUIHEN – The Torn Jacket (Cló lar-Chonnacht ClCD 204)

Tommy Guihen has been making music since players in ceilidh bands wore ties and he is an acknowledged master of the North Connaught flute style – the same region that brought forth Matt Molloy. Tommy won the senior all-Ireland flute title in 1978 but for all his experience The Torn ...
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THE EVERYDAY SINNERS – Shakedown (Coll 051)

The lead singer is called Jack Cade, after the man who led a rebellion to end government corruption in 1450, and it’s no surprise that some of the songs on Shakedown, the new album by The Everyday Sinners, have a strong political message. The style is vibrant, by turn driving ...
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BLUE ROSE CODE – The Water Of Leith (Navigator NAVIGATOR103)

Blue Rose Code, aka Ross Wilson, has a deservedly growing reputation, with luminaries as diverse as Edith Bowman, Ewan McGregor and Ian Rankin among his fans. Time Out described the music as “Imagine John Martyn meeting a young Van Morrison and being shipwrecked with bundle of Chet Baker records." The ...
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PILGRIMS’ WAY – Stand & Deliver (Talking Cat Records TCCD1748)

There has been a change along the Pilgrims' Way. Lead vocalist Lucy Wright has moved on and in her place has come singer and maestro of reeds and wind, Jude Rees, formerly known as The Littlest Oboe during her time with Isambarde. Jude brings the band’s complement of instruments to ...
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JOLIE HOLLAND & SAMANTHA PARTON – Wildflower Blues (Cinquefoil Records CINQ-CD-017)

If you’re struggling to remember, Jolie Holland and Samantha Parton are former members of the wonderful Be Good Tanyas, the exact status of whom is currently uncertain. Jolie actually left the band before their debut album was released but she is now reunited with Samantha for Wildflower Blues, their debut ...
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HEAD FOR THE HILLS – Potions And Poisons (Head For The Hills)

Despite a slightly altered line up (with original mandolinist, Mike Chappell departing to pursue other endeavours) the Colorado-based quartet, Head For The Hills, are back with another album, in the form of the self-produced and self-released, Potions And Poisons, which will be available from November 1st. While its predecessor, Blue ...
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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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