Ida Wenøe announces debut album and tour dates

Ida Wenøe

Danish Music Award nominee Ida Wenøe (pronounced EE-da ven-O) is excited to announce the UK release of her impressive debut solo album Time Of Ghosts on April 7th 2017 (Shellshock Distribution). Ida will be returning to the UK in April for a full UK tour, performing at Camden’s Green Note in London on April 18th.

Amongst a digital mountain range littered with accomplished folk–ish bands and singer songwriters, it is a rare miracle to come across a cave so rich in jewels as the one beneath Ida Wenøe’s ribcage.

When touring the UK last year Ida found support from BBC 6 Music’s Tom Ravescroft and Gideon Coe, whilst Clash Magazine described her sound as being “bewitching acid folk with a deeply personal edge…” and Paul Lester’s comments in The Guardian that she “sounds like the young narrator of her own magical-malevolent fantasies…” line the tape heads up nicely.

While she has an obvious appreciation of Americana, her sound is very definitely laced with more English undertones: the kind of sound Edward Woodward might have heard downstairs in the local inn had The Wicker Man been filmed in a remote Danish village, while Sarah Lund scoured for clues in her jumper. Like the best of the Nordic Noir leaving the Danish mainland, the recordings are at once both sonically pure and grimy; there’s a shared loneliness that makes you feel that you’re not at all; and all the while there is an honesty to the songwriting that tugs at your sleeve.

While still fronting the much-feted Boho Dancer, 2014 brought a successful collaboration with Dangers of The Sea, a series of sold out supports in Denmark with Teitur, and a spate of tremendously well received shows both in London and at The Great Escape in Brighton.

Now, with a deep breath in her crystal lungs those two brilliant, oxidised copper green eyes are flickering across the mixing desk once more as she records her debut solo record Time Of Ghosts, reunited with producer Jonas Tranberg who recorded Boho’s first EP.

The music from her debut album has just been picked for Danish TV documentary De Smukke Piger and is the latest nomination for the Danish Music Awards in the ‘Songwriter Of The Year’ category.

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 Ida Wenøe 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://idawenoe.com/

A Boho Dancer track, ‘I Am On Your Side’:

Tour Dates

Thursday 6th April – The Soundlounge, Tooting

Friday 7th April – The Bank Eye, Suffolk

Saturday 8th April – The Old Cinema Launderette – Durham

Sunday 9th April – The Eagle, Salford

Monday 10th April – Oporto, Leeds

Wednesday 12th April – The Canteen, Bristol

Thursday 13th April – B-Bar, Plymouth

Friday 14th April – Acorn Theatre, Penzance

Sunday 16th April – Small World Theatre, Cardigan

Monday 17th April – Ten Feet Tall, Cardiff

Tuesday 18th April – Green Note, London

Wednesday 19th April – What’s Cookin’, Leytonstone

MONSTER CEILIDH BAND – Mutation (Haystack Records HAYCD011)

MutationThere was a time when I would stand in front of a ceilidh band and when things were going well and you had a hall full of people who were into it it was the most fun you could have with your clothes on. When it comes to recording an album a ceilidh band has two choices: play the music four-square for dancing and teaching or spice it up a bit. The first option must be deadly for the band so, with Mutation, Monster Ceilidh Band have opted for the latter, recording this set live off the floor at Castle Sound under the watchful eye of Stuart Hamilton.

The band can boast four writers who are responsible for 80% of the record. There’s Amy Thatcher, purveyor of accordion to The Shee and Kathryn Tickell, fiddlers Shona Mooney (The Shee) and Grace Smith (The Rachel Hamer Band) and multi-instrumentalist Kieran Szifris, who restricts himself to octave mandolin on this album. Add a couple of traditional tunes and a borrow from Adam Sutherland and there you have it. Monster Ceilidh Band don’t go in for monster medleys only pairing tunes.

The opening set, ‘Venus’, is one such pairing, mating ‘Proximo B’ by Shona with ‘Venus’ by Amy. The others are ‘Mutated Beeswing’ pairing the essentially fiddle solo of ‘The Beeswing Hornpipe’ with Shona’s title track. It’s not clear who the soloist given but as Amy joins in after a couple of minutes I’m guessing it’s Shona. ‘Mutation’ is mutated by Joseph Truswell’s electronics which are a feature of the album. Here, there is something that could be accordion but could equally be distorted wordless vocals.

The band move seamless from that to the relatively conventional ‘All The Swingle Ladies’ by Keiran, half of which you could dance to if you could keep up the pace. Great titles include ‘Trouser Worrier’, ‘Octopus’ and ‘Disgrace’, the latter coming from the quill of Grace Smith as if you had to ask. Even past the record’s half-way mark we hear something new as ‘Never Will’ is introduced by snarling, distorted…what? Bass, I suppose as David de la Haye takes a brief solo.

No, you’re not going to dance (in any formal sense) to ‘Mutation’, although Joseph’s drums are rock solid throughout, but you will enjoy some musical invention.

Dai Jeffries

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 MONSTER CEILIDH BAND – Mutation 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.

DOWNLOAD – [CD]

Artists’ website: http://monsterceilidhband.co.uk/

‘Disgrace’:

Seafoam Green announces debut album, Topanga Mansion

Seafoam GreenThe genesis of Seafoam Green followed a chance meeting with Rich Robinson during recording sessions in Nashville. Dave O’Grady was invited by Robinson to open his US and European tour dates and soon the pair began writing and recording in earnest, leading to their collaboration on the stunning debut album.

Debut album Topanga Mansion was recorded at 4th Street Recording in Santa Monica, California and is a fine collection of melodic folk and rock jam Americana with an all round warm sound that invites the listener into its intricacies. Encompassing O’Grady’s varied influences from Creedence Clearwater Revival to Aslan and Christy Moore, the sounds of Nashville, Irish storytelling and more recently the sounds of Liverpool where O’Grady currently resides, it’s a mansion in itself of extravagant beautiful musical décor.

“The first time I heard John Fogerty sing I was like “what is that!!?? and how do I do it?” says O’Grady and in tracks like ‘Down The River’ we can hear footprints of CCR as the track explodes with a whiskey-soaked, gospel-harmony, truck-driving classic rock power that’s just plain awesome. More melodic moments like ‘Celtic Wonderings’ shows another side with its contemplative accomplished folk finger-picking stylings and beautiful backdrop of pedal steel and strings and O’Gradys’ hushed well-worn voice rising above in a haze of wondering.

“The thing I love about Irish folk music is the story telling, the poetic phrasing that passes through verses live waves over sand or stones, no two verses are the same as they are telling a different part of the story and project a different image”, adds O’Grady.

2017 is shaping up to be a year of playing, travelling and meeting people for Seafoam Green and with Topanga Mansion coming out on double vinyl on Liverpool’s Mellowtone Records, O’Grady is coming out of the shadows with a quality of songwriting and music that will no doubt place him at the top of the UK’s Americana, folk and indie scenes.

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 Seafoam Green – Topanga Mansion 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.

DOWNLOAD – [CD]

Topanga Mansion has been supported by Merseyside Arts Foundation using funding from PRS for Music Foundation.

Artists’ website: http://seafoamgreenband.com/

Tour Dates

2 April  Threshold Festival – Liverpool

4 April  Blackheart – London *support Aaron Keylock solo

9 April  Castle Hotel – Manchester – *Ida Winoe support

22 April Record Store Day – vinyl release – Jacaranda Records, Liverpool

Seafoam Green performing “Celtic Wanderings” un-amplified (you’ll need to turn it up but it will be worth it)…

Continuum whirlwind continues with April tour

Continuum
Photograph by Louise Bichan

The Shee’s much lauded 2016 album, Continuum, continues to garner critical acclaim – so much so that the band is responding to demand by taking to the road for a second album tour.

The album, composed and released in celebration of the band’s tenth anniversary, will be the focus of the nine-date tour which takes in venues throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

The dates are:

9 April Coliseum Theatre, Aberdare

10 April Otley Courthouse, Otley

11 April The Sage, Gateshead

12 April Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon

13 April The Met, Bury

14 April Universal Hall, Findhorn

15 April The Stables, Cromarty

16 April Workshops and acoustic show alongside mini festival featuring local artists as curated by The Shee, The Old Brewery, Cromarty

17 April Lyth Arts Centre, Wick

The announcement of the new tour comes after the band’s recent live session on BBC Radio 2’s Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe.

‘We’re delighted to be taking Continuum back out on the road again in Spring,’ says accordionist and clog dancer, Amy Thatcher, ‘playing for people up and down the country is our real passion and we’re so pleased that the album has captured so many people’s hearts and minds.’

What the press say:

‘A sophisticated, unexpectedly emotional set’ The Guardian

‘The Shee have already made a considerable mark on the folk landscape, but this excellent album takes them to another level’ fRoots

‘The premiere of Continuum at Celtic Connections was an unforgettable event; the album that’s grown from it is simply outstanding’ FolkRadio UK

‘Innovative, creative and beautifully crafted’ Bright Young Folk

‘A thoughtful and emotional collection of songs and instrumentals’ FATEA

‘An impressive, intelligent album’ Folk Witness

‘Sophisticated layering and interplay’ The Living Tradition

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 The Shee – Continuum 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]

Artists’ website: www.theshee.com

‘Troubles/Norther Frisk’ live at Celtic Connections:

KING’S GAMBIT – From One To Another (own label)

From One To AnotherIf you take away the rock excesses of folk-rock you’re left with Northampton’s King’s Gambit – a band that rocks acoustically while still capable of musical delicacy. I don’t like to make comparisons but they have something of the style and drive of CC Smugglers. From One To Another is their third album, all original material written by Chris Startup – give or take what he’s done to ‘St. James Infirmary’.

Chris, who is also lead vocalist, plays guitar and harmonica; Katie Paton plays bass; Helen Turton plays cello and Andrew Higgins provides the top notes on mandola, mandolin and banjo. All four sing making for solid harmonies and raucous backing vocals. Chris’s songwriting subjects are varied. ‘People Versus’ is about a pub fight and is reminiscent of something Robb Johnson might come up with in a lighter moment. ‘Mary Jane’ is a drug-fuelled dream but also about the loss of precious environment, a subject he’d already addressed in ‘The Only One’ in a very different context.

He describes ‘Into The Rolling Sea’ as a good ‘ol drinking song but it’s more about the aftermath of too many good ‘ol drinks. The opener, ‘A Maiden Fair’ has the feel of a traditional song, albeit one introduced on harmonica, while being firmly set in the present day and, like all Chris’ lyrics it leaves you with something to chew over later.

There are three instrumental tracks. The first, ‘Charles Baker’, features Andrew with support from Chris Hewett’s guest accordion but the thing that struck me all the way through the album is the role of the cello. Helen happily plays a lead part sometimes but her key job is holding the middle of the musical register with fills and counter-melodies. Katie keeps the beat solid in the absence of drums and even gets a bass solo on the closing title track.

This is an album that I liked from the off and then grew on me.

Dai Jeffries

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 KING’S GAMBIT – From One To Another 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.

DOWNLOAD – [CD]

Artists’ website: http://www.kingsgambit.co.uk/

‘Into The Rolling Sea’:

RODNEY CROWELL – Close Ties (New West Records 6354)

Close TiesWhile I’ve long been aware of Rodney Crowell’s talents as a songwriter, going back at least as far as Emmylou Harris’s 1975 recording of ‘Bluebird Wine’, his songs have always reached me as interpreted by other A-listers. So I jumped at the chance to take a closer look at his album Close Ties, due for release on the 7th April. And I wasn’t disappointed.

While the number of musicians participating in one or more of these ten tracks is too large for a complete listing here, it’s worth mentioning one or two names, their presence giving some idea of the regard in which Crowell is held by his fellow musicians. Besides vocal contributions from John Paul White, Rosanne Cash and Sheryl Crow, there are instrumental contributions from Tommy Emmanuel, Steuart Smith, and Jordan Lehning (who co-produced with Kim Buie) and others.

But there are also ghostly Nashville legends walking these lyrics, such as Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Dennis Sanchez – could ‘Newberry’ in ‘Nashville 1972’ be Mickey Newbury? – but also survivors like Willie Nelson and Buck White. Crowell has been quoted as saying “It’s a loose concept album … and the concept is related to how you tell stories about yourself.” That may sound self-indulgent, but this is not just a personal memoir but an insider view of a somewhat alternative Nashville that has given modern music some wonderful moments. If this suggests an easy listening experience, it isn’t meant to: Crowell’s often sardonic and sometimes bitter wordplay makes few concessions to “the petty politics of bliss“. It demands (and amply repays) close attention.

Here’s the customary track-by-track listing (all tracks were written by Rodney Crowell except where noted below):

  1. Crowell has expressed a hope that “my study of the blues is starting to show up in my music.” ‘East Houston Blues’ is by no means a 12-bar, but the lyric has a hard-times lyric sung feel over a blues-y shuffle beat, benefiting from Tommy Emmanuel’s classy acoustic lead guitar.
  2. ‘Reckless’ is a slow, introspective song, with clever but understated strings behind the acoustic guitars, harmonium and minimal percussion.
  3. In contrast, ‘Life Without Susanna’ has much more of a rock feel, with a hard-edged lyric about “A self-sure bastard and a stubborn bitch/Locked in a deadly game of chess“.
  4. ‘It Ain’t Over Yet’ is closer to country rock, with excellent additional vocals from John Paul White and Roseanne Cash. The uncredited harmonica play-out is sparse yet haunting.
  5. ‘I Don’t Care Anymore’ chronicles disillusion over a riff that reminds me a little of early-ish Stones, with a touch of Chuck Berry’s ‘Too Much Monkey Business’ towards the end of a harsh lyric.
  6. ‘I’m Tied To Ya’ was written by Rodney Crowell and Michael McGlynn, a ballad that also features attractive vocals from Sheryl Crow.
  7. ‘Forgive Me Annabelle’ is another ballad with piano and strings predominant in the accompaniment.
  8. ‘Forty Miles From Nowhere’ is another slow song that hints at a tragic backstory – “If there’s anything that we can do rings hollow down a telephone line“.
  9. ‘Storm Warning’ was written by Rodney Crowell and Mary Karr: it’s a rockier number, but maintains a mood of foreboding and very bad weather. “Ninety-five miles of twisted aftermath…
  10. The CD finishes with ‘Nashville 1972’, a look back at his arrival in “Old School Nashville“: a simple, almost folky song, though I could almost imagine Kenny Rogers singing it.

When I hear or read of a songwriter talking about poets and ‘poetic sensibility’, my first impulse is usually to turn the page or put on a different CD. But in this case, it’s not inappropriate. This isn’t the finely-tuned poetry of great literature – though Crowell can turn a phrase as neatly as any lyric writer I know – but it does have the rough-hewn passion and clear-sighted observation of the best Americana.

David Harley

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 RODNEY CROWELL – Close Ties 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: www.rodneycrowell.com

‘It Ain’t Over Yet’ – official video: