The Shires added to Towersey line-up

The UK’s biggest country/ Americana act completes Towersey Festival’s massive 2018 line-up

Towersey

Acclaimed British country duo The Shires are the final headline act to be announced for the 54th Towersey Festival (24-27 August 2018, Thame, Oxfordshire).

Hailing from Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes, aka The Shires, are the biggest selling UK country act of all time, and the first UK act to be honoured with a Country Music Association (CMA) Award. Winning over US audiences with their lauded take on the revered genre, they’ve even performed in Nashville’s hallowed Grand Ole Opry, the very heart of country music.

With two record-setting Top 10 albums behind them (Brave and My Universe), their much-anticipated third collection, Accidentally On Purpose, is released on 20 April 2018. Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, the album combines massive country-pop choruses with emotive lyrics inspired by their whirlwind journey, relationships, and their time in the States.

The duo close Towersey Festival on Monday 27 August 2018, and join previously announced headliners Richard Thompson Electric Trio (Fri), The Proclaimers and Big Country (Sat), and Beth Orton (Sunday). The line-up also features the Americana-tinged Wildwood Kin, songwriter/ guitarist Blair Dunlop, William The Conqueror, and the bluegrass influenced Bella Gaffney and Polly Bolton.

Towersey Festival Director Joe Heap said: “We’re so pleased to finally announce The Shires as the last of our headline acts this year. They’re quite simply the biggest UK country/ Americana act there is, and they’ll be making the August Bank Holiday Monday a day to remember!”

Situated in easy reach of London and Birmingham, on the Oxfordshire/ Buckinghamshire border, and established in 1965, Towersey is one of the UK’s longest continuously running independent music festivals. Boasting 11 venues, alongside an extensive music programme the festival also features 24hrs of ceilidh, daily workshops, a well-stocked real ale bar, street food, spoken word, film screenings, events and activities for children and younger festival-goers, and more.

Tickets for Towersey Festival, which runs from Friday 24 to Monday 27 August 2018 at Thame Showground in Oxfordshire, are available now (Tier 3) from £129 (adult), £115 (conc), £91 (youth), £59 (child) for the full four days. Day tickets are also available (adult £40; youth £28; child £18). Under 5s are free.

For further information, and to book, see: www.towerseyfestival.com

TOWERSEY FESTIVAL reveal line-up for 2018

Photo by Murdo Macleod

The Proclaimers, Richard Thompson, Beth Orton and Big Country are among the acts headlining the 54th Towersey Festival (24-27 August 2018, Thame, Oxfordshire).

Joining them at one of the UK’s longest running festivals are Fishermen’s Friends, the Sharon Shannon Band and Daphne’s Flight.

It’s been 31 years since Scottish twins Charlie and Craig Reid, aka The Proclaimers, came to widespread public attention. Calling on folk, country, rock’n’roll and punk, the brothers have built up an impressive back catalogue, with such hits as I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), Letter From America, King Of The Road, and more. They’ve even inspired a musical, the play and film Sunshine On Leith.

Richard Thompson is no stranger to Towersey, having last appeared at the festival solo/ acoustic back in 2015. For his latest appearance, the Fairport Convention co-founder brings his acclaimed Electric Trio.

Singer-songwriter Beth Orton‘s enticing mix of acoustic and electronic elements have won her huge acclaim. Her 1999 record Central Reservation picked up the BRIT Award for Best Album, and her recent releases, Sugaring Season and Kidsticks, continue to beguile.

Celtic rock band Big Country‘s hits include Field Of Fire (400 Miles), In A Big Country and Wonderland. The Live Aid veterans visit Towersey to perform their acoustic set.

Other notable acts on the bill include award-winning Irish accordion player Sharon Shannon; Cornwall’s chart-busting eight-piece Fisherman’s Friends, who are credited with kick-starting a revival in shanty-style choral singing; singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph; and a reunited Daphne’s Flight, featuring five of the most acclaimed female singer-songwriters from their generation (Helen Watson, Melanie Harrold, Julie Matthews, Chris While and Christine Collister).

They’ll be playing alongside 10 times winners of the National Brass Band Champions of Great Britain, the Brighouse and Rastrick Band; rising Americana/ roots trio Wildwood Kin; a collaboration between Peter Knight (Steeleye Span) and John Spiers (Bellowhead); and Whetstone Brinsford Kirkpatrick, recreating Dave Whetstone’s landmark mid-90s folk album The Resolution for an exclusive Towersey appearance.

Towersey Festival Director Joe Heap said: “We’ve got a great mix of big names making their Towersey debuts this year as well as some real returning favourites, such as Richard Thompson. We’re especially pleased to welcome The Proclaimers for the first time – they always put on a great show and have so many fabulous songs.”

But as Joe states, one final piece of the jigsaw puzzle is yet to be revealed: “There is one more incredible headline act to announce for August Bank Holiday Monday. We’ve just confirmed and will be announcing officially very soon – so keep an eye out for some exciting news …”

Situated in easy reach of London and Birmingham, on the Oxfordshire/ Buckinghamshire border, and established in 1965, Towersey is one of the UK’s longest continuously running independent music festivals. Boasting 11 venues, alongside an extensive music programme the festival also features 24hrs of ceilidh, daily workshops, a well-stocked bar, street food, spoken word, film screenings, events and activities for children and younger festival-goers, and more.

DAY BY DAY LISTINGS (key acts only):

FRIDAY 24 AUGUST 2018
Richard Thompson Electric Trio
Sharon Shannon Band
Wildwood Kin
Faustus
Whetstone Brinsford Kirkpatrick (Exclusive Towersey appearance)

SATURDAY 25 AUGUST 2018
The Proclaimers
Big Country (Acoustic)
Daphne’s Flight
Martin Simpson
William The Conqueror
Tickled Pink

SUNDAY 26 AUGUST 2018
Beth Orton
Fisherman’s Friends
Martyn Joseph
Blair Dunlop
Brighouse and Rastrick Band
The Rheingans Sisters

MONDAY 27 AUGUST 2018
[Headline Act To Be Announced]
Blackbeard’s Tea Party (Festival Finale)
Roy Bailey
Peter Knight and John Spiers
Blowzabella
Lady Maisery

Tickets for Towersey Festival, which runs from Friday 24 to Monday 27 August 2018 at Thame Showground in Oxfordshire, are available now (Tier 2) from £119 (adult), £115 (conc), £84 (youth), £59 (child). For further information, and to book, see: www.towerseyfestival.com

SEEKER LOVER KEEPER

Seeker Lover Keeper is the arresting meeting-of-minds of three of the finest female songwriters working today. Sarah Blasko, Sally Seltmann and Holly Throsby are all critically acclaimed, award-winning solo artists in their own right, and Seeker Lover Keeper is not just an album but a love token, a musical keepsake to cherish.

The seed for Seeker Lover Keeper was initially a way for the three long-term friends to tour together, singing each others’ songs every night. It was Sally who suggested instead that the three of them form a band, and Sally who came up with the name – “I just really love those three words together and how it suggested that one (of us) is the Seeker, one is the Lover and one is the Keeper.”

Seeker Lover Keeper became a haven where disparate song ideas that required outside help or another voice were traded and worked on – often one performer would bring a song to the table with someone else’s voice in mind, notably on the Sally-penned, Holly-sung single ‘Even Though I’m A Woman.’ Although Sally had written for others before – notably with Feist on ‘1,2,3,4’ – it was the first time Holly or Sarah had penned for voices other than their own, yet the result is a truly collaborative effort.

The album was recorded in just two weeks in New York, and produced by the band along with Victor Van Vugt (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Athlete, Beth Orton). Beginning with the hushed reverence of the Blasko-sung ‘Bring Me Back’, the 11 tracks that make up ‘Seeker Lover Keeper’ take in romance, affection, resignation and devotion, with music that is almost cinematic in its evocative quality. An early, and critical, song in the writing process was album closer ‘Rest Your Head On My Shoulder’, which was designed to be sung round the piano by all three artists. The song’s refrain “Rest your head on my shoulder and I’ll take care of your worries / It was you who promised this to me / It was you who offered me courage” perfectly encapsulates the spirit of unity and intimacy that emanates throughout the album.

Despite their separate successes and experience, all three members of Seeker Lover Keeper found the writing and recording process to be an education. When Holly brought ‘Light All My Lights’ to the group, Sarah and Sally were initially unable to grasp how she envisaged the out-of-kilter, double-time beat underneath the song, but as the three of them became accustomed to each other’s methods of working they all found new ways to write. “When you’re so used to singing your own stuff, you get in your own patterns” says Sarah, “Working with them shook me up a bit, in being able to get inside someone else’s world.” The more classically trained Sally brought her experience of music theory to the group, which was a totally new experience for Holly and Sarah.

As a result, ‘Seeker Lover Keeper’ sees the three performers crafting songs in new ways with always exquisite results. Whether it’s the lovelorn declaration and skittering beats of ‘Rely On Me’, the slowed-down blues of ‘Going To Sleep’ or the shuffling ‘Theme 1’, the album continues to surprise and delight with each new turn. Whichever of the girls – Sarah, Holly or Sally – is on main vocals, each song still rests on a bed of the others’ voices, such as on the gorgeous ‘If The Night Is Dark’ or the almost campfire singalong of ‘Bridges Burned.’ Lyrically the album encompasses matters of the heart and mind but also of the universe itself – ‘We Will Know What It Is’ is a gorgeously picked acoustic lament on the nature of life.

It’s clear that ‘Seeker Lover Keeper’ the album is the start of something truly beautiful – a band strengthened by the bonds of friendship and the individual experiences of life as a solo artist, who will carry on making music that intrigues and challenges each other and their listeners.

‘Seeker Lover Keeper’ is the first release from Microdata Records, distributed byADA/ Warner.

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