Robbie Cavanagh announces new album

Robbie Cavanagh

Robbie Cavanagh returns with his stunning second album To Leave / To Be Left, out 13th October via At The Helm Records

Recorded at Eve Studios near Manchester, To Leave / To Be Left finds Robbie Cavanagh (sounds like ‘Copa Cabana’) building upon his debut with eleven new tracks exploring, “leaving and being left. What’s taken away and what’s left behind.”

Eve Studios is an old vicarage full of old BBC equipment and collected antiques, giving the album a really natural, old sound without feeling forced. Robbie, producer Roo Walker and engineer Henry Broadhead worked closely together, deciding on each sound, each instrument, each tone. Keen to make the album sound as natural as possible, drums, bass and at times guitar and vocal were all recorded live.

“Most of my vocals were one take. I think the whole record just has a very live feel to it. It’s more instinctive.” Cavanagh continues: “This collection of songs has been accumulated over a few years. Some are much more recent, some were written just after the first record. We started with about 25 songs, and in quite a natural way, the more I played them, to myself, other people or at concerts, the more they started a natural selection process and soon it was clear which songs were the strongest and which fitted in a frame work. It was important having Roo involved, because it’s easy to get precious about certain songs that may not be the strongest but have an emotional tie. Roo was able to make sensible decisions on the song choices and together we put together a record that has a theme, a style and a mood that we’re really happy with.”

The personal, emotional tales and stories on To Leave / To Be Left find Cavanagh further understanding his approach to songwriting,

“Sometimes writing is a very natural process. I tend to find in a lot of situations, the first thing you wrote was the best. The more you wrestle with an idea and try to change it, the more contrived it becomes. I’ve learned to go with my instincts a little more.”

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 Robbie Cavanagh 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.robbiecavanagh.co.uk

An oldie – ‘Which Way To New York’:

EDGELARKS – Edgelarks (Dragonfly DRCD004)

EdgelarksHaving 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 Lukas Drinkwater on bass, John Elliott on drums and keyboards and table player Niall Robinson, inspired by last year’s tour of Australia, the album deals with themes of margins and marginalisation, of boundaries, transition and hope, opening in ‘Landlocked’, a moody, banjo-pinioned song about Nancy Perriam, a woman from Exmouth, who, in the early part of the 19th century, went to sea and travelled the world with the navy.

The slouching rhythm of ‘No Victory’ introduces a new instrument to their musical repertoire with Martin playing a pedal powered shruti box while the track also features Henry’s beatbox harmonica technique. Indeed, the instrumentation throughout is as eclectic as it is extensive, featuring Dobro, fiddle, banjo, a variety of guitars and the return of the Chaturangui, an Indian classical slide guitar played by Henry. On ‘Undelivered’, a song inspired by the discovery of a trunkload of undelivered 17th century letters, specifically one from a woman to the father of her unborn child, he even plays his lap slide Weissenborn with a paintbrush to create a buzzing drone.

Of a more recent origin, three intersecting true stories make up the sparse, drone-backed ‘Caravans’, pivoting around the 2010 sub-prime mortgages crash documented in the film The Big Short and exploring themes of ensuing loss and lives lived outside the financial vortex where dreams can kill.

Elsewhere, the Celtic-tinged ‘Signposts’, the most traditional folk sounding number, and the minimalist and appropriately glacial arrangement of ‘Iceberg’ offer fairly straightforward metaphors about making connections and people having hidden depths, respectively.

A suitably discordant affair, ‘Yarl’s Wood’ strikes a political note, being titled after and written about the Bedfordshire immigrant removal centre and the allegations of the abusive treatment of the women detainees, the theme of refugees resurfacing on ‘Borders’, which, set to drone and clacking percussion, is based around the true story of Afghan refugees who, seeking to ensure her future, send their five-year-old daughter on a journey, on foot, with two cousins to northern Europe in search of asylum.

Thematically connected, the tabla-dappled ‘Song Of The Jay’, ostensibly about how the Californian Bush Jay apparently sings a special song for the ‘funerals’ of other birds, of different species, serves as a metaphor for universal kinship. The drone is also created from a sample of a Jay singing.

Although also going by the title ‘The Emigrants Song’, sung in Cornish by Martin, the rhythmically pulsing traditional ‘Estren’ takes a different tack in the tale of an American traveller in Cornwall, leaving it open to question whether he intends to be true to the woman he meets and declares he’ll take back home or that she’s the latest in the list of those to whom he’s pledged s his loves.

There’s another traditional number to be found with the mortality-themed ‘What’s The Life of Man?’ given a suitably simple and reflective tone before the instrumentation swells in the final stretch. As well as them both featuring the Chaturangui, it also serves to set the scene for the upbeat final track, the self-penned, acoustic accompanied ‘The Good Earth’ which treats on nature’s life cycle of death and renewal and, by extension, the connections we share with one another, both those around us and those who have gone before as she sings how “we grow on old wood, we are links in the chain.”

The couple say they chose their new name as it captures the concept of liminality or transition explored in their songs and the idea of their music being on the periphery. Given the quality here, that may be a status that will also prove to be in a state of transition.

Mike Davies

Phil Henry and Hannah Martin 24/9/17a

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 Edgelarks 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.edgelarks.co.uk

‘Song Of The Jay’:

JEREMY PINNELL – Ties of Blood and Affection (Sofaburn SBR2-032)

Ties Of Blood And AffectionOpening 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 track, the swampy chug of ‘Ballad Of 1892’ with its “bad times ahead and good times behind”, and throughout the whole album.

Drawing on the Bakersfield sound and often likened to Waylon Jennings, he continues with ‘Take The Wheel’, less throaty in its delivery with lap steel guitar and a rollalong bluesy rhythm as he sings “I forgot how much I loved music, cos for so long I thought I might lose it”, an upbeat testament to the power of a good tune to get you out of a funk. The acoustic backed ‘Feel This Right’ is more straight down the line jaunty honky tonk country with its pedal steel and keening vocal, the line “some call it pay day, I call it paying bills, sometimes they look like mountains but I’m told they’re hills” reinforcing the running themes of dealing with everyday working life, family, faith and relationships; it even talks of a having a satisfied mind. It’s echoed in the romantic ‘Different Kind Of Love’, a from the heart love letter to his woman and a reminder of why he goes out the door every morning to do what he does.

He’s back to roadhouse rocking for ‘I Don’t Believe’, set to a line dancing rhythm that’ll be familiar to Mavericks fans (not to mention Dave Edmunds), as he sings about religion and faith accompanied by a bouncing steel and guitar break while the chugging ‘I’m Alright With This’ has a touch of Cash about it with its lyrics about reforming your ways (“I got tired of going to jail every time I drink a beer’) and leaving the darkness behind and finding the light through the love of a good woman. Indeed, she’s his saviour in the classic old school cowboy hymnal feel of ‘Best I Could Do’, a song about meeting your maker knowing you’ve tried your best with the cards you’ve hard.

He heads to the end with the honky tonk rollicking ‘Ain’t Nothing Wrong’ about having to resist the temptations that come his way and “keeping that devil down” and not slowing down until “I see that old bright light”, living on his own terms and not losing sleep over what other people say. Which, brings him naturally to the equally musically upbeat closing ‘The Way We See Heaven’ as, reflecting on how “in nineteen hundred and seventy seven my mama thought I came from heaven…later in life she knew I came from hell”, he finds himself at the pearly gates and, finding that he’s being consigned to the fire below, unapologetically telling St. Peter, “hey man that’s alright, y’see. Least I’ll be with the ones that really love me.” Pinnell doesn’t see the glass as half full or half empty, he sees it as to be drunk. Cheers to him.

Mike Davies

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 JEREMY PINNELL – Ties of Blood and Affection 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.jeremypinnell.com

‘Feel This Right’ – live:

The Young’uns – new video, ‘Be The Man’, and tour dates

‘Be The Man’ – official video:

October Tour Dates

15 NOTTINGHAM Glee Club  https://www.glee.co.uk/performer/the-younguns/  0871 472 0400.

17 BRECON Theatr Brechyneiog https://theatrbrycheiniog.ticketsolve.com/shows/873572817?locale=en-GB 01874 611622

18 SOUTHPORT Atkinson www.theatkinson.co.uk/events/younguns-strangers-album-tour/ 01704 533 333

19 LEEDS City Varieties   https://www.cityvarieties.co.uk/online/YoungUns 0113 243 0808

20 MANCHESTER Home – Folk Festival  https://www.manchesterfolkfestival.org.uk

21 BIRMINGHAM Mac https://macbirmingham.co.uk/event/the-younguns-strangers-album-tour 0121 446 3232 LIMITED AVAILABILITY

22 CANTERBURY Cathedral Lodge www.folkinthebarn.co.uk/WhatsnewInfo.aspx?id=193 01227 831493

24 DUBLIN The Sugar Club
www.ticketmaster.ie/the-younguns-dublin-10-24-2017/event/18005285B4AC477B

27 GATESHEAD Sage 1  www.sagegateshead.com/event/the-younguns44036/ 0191 443 4661

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 YOUNG ‘UNS – Strangers 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: http://www.theyounguns.co.uk/

THE EAST POINTERS – What We Leave Behind (East Pointers Music EPCD17)

What We Leave BehindA 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 fiddle tune ‘A Good Head, A Good Heart’.

That’s followed by the first of the vocal numbers, ‘82 Fires’, a slow-paced, almost worksong rhythm number inspired by the wildfires that were burning during their tour of Tasmania. Then it’s back to ‘Party Wave’, another instrumental medley, here of the foostomping banjo tune Space Camp, fiddle tune Beyond The Break and the surfing-inspired fiddle/handclaps title itself.

And so they pretty much continue to alternate, ‘Two Weeks’, a melodically catchy song about having to leave friends and family to work away as Chaisson sings “Nobody warned me I’d leave there so broken, come back so lonely”, and the folk pop of ‘Miner’s Dream’ sandwiching the album’s reflective, banjo-led Celtic-hued title track. There’s a brace of instrumentals in a row with the lively reel ‘Pour Over’ and the slower five-minute plus two part ‘The Crossing’.

Closing the set, ‘No Bridge Too Far’, a nimbly-played medley of three more Celtic-infused tune, is bookended by the lilting shanty-toned swayalong ‘John Wallace’, the story of a 19th century shipwreck off the Prince Edward Island coast, and ‘Hid In Your Heart’, a slow, moving and yearning ballad about the loss of a loved one, though whether that’s to death or betrayal is open to interpretation.

On tour in the UK through October, this promises to boost their reputation and following no end.

Mike Davies

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 EAST POINTERS – What We Leave Behind 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.eastpointers.ca

Not on the album but we had to include The East Pointers version of ‘Heroes’:

THE RAILS – There Are Other People In This World Not Just You (The Orchard PSYCHED CD010)

Other PeopleTheir 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 with the debut, the folk rock musical DNA is well evidenced here.

Produced by Ray Kennedy and recorded in Nashville, it opens with ‘The Cally’, a song that (originally released on the ltd edition Australia EP) pulls off the difficult trick of sounding like a hybrid of both vintage RT and Shane MacGowan. With vocals and harmonium by James (who, of course also happens to play with The Pogues), it’s a lament for the changes being wrought on the London landscape with no regard for tradition and history, the title being a reference to the Caledonian Road, filtered through his grandfather’s memories. Likewise, the brooding “Brick And Mortar” on which he sings about another boozer taking its final bow and the dismantling and selling off of old London (specifically Denmark Street, Soho, St Giles, and Camden, victims of Crossrail) to developers, fat cats and the highest bidders.

Indeed, a protest theme – both in political and personal terms – runs throughout. The title track. on which Kami sings lead and features an immediately catchy title line refrain, concerns me-ism and looking out for others while, also sung by Kami, both the traditional styled waltzer ‘Leaving The Land’ (about emigration) with its rousing mid-section guitar break, and the slow march tempo ‘Mansion Of Happiness’, with Walbourne on mandola, deal with the personal outcomes of austerity Britain.

In terms of relationships, the verse sharing ‘Drowned In Blue’, another slow march tempo and again reminiscent of Thompson Snr, concerns how they can become a war of attrition, while, arguably the album standout, the strongly melodic ‘Dark Times’ is about domestic abuse, unusually sung from the perspective of the perpetrator, and features both deep twanging guitar and an 60s-sounding organ solo straight from the Ray Manzarak manual.

Elsewhere, ‘Late Surrender’ nods to twanging Americana noir, while the chorus powerfully calls to mind Thompson’s parents’ early albums, ending in another fiery guitar break from her husband and, the opening of the depression-focused ‘Hanging On’ nods to the medieval troubadour tradition before settling into a slow march folk rock rhythm. And then there’s ‘Shame’, which returns to James’ lead vocals for a remonstration about taking responsibility for your actions, slipping in both a football reference and, in the phrase ‘time to ring the changes’, a lyrical and musical nod to one of Richard’s classics. With their debut, The Rails set themselves a high bar, this clears it with ease.

Mike Davies

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 RAILS 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.therailsofficial.com

‘The Cally’ – official video: