SINGLES BAR 28 – A round-up of recent EPs and singles

Singles Bar 28Leviathan! by BLACKBEARD’S TEA PARTY is an energetic and accomplished recording by these York-based folk-rockers that did strike some nostalgic (power) chords, with electric guitar, bass and two drummers driving the folkier fiddle and melodeon. There are versions of two traditional songs – ‘The Bonny Ship The Diamond’ and ‘The Weary Whaling Grounds’ – that you may remember from Bert Lloyd’s similarly entitled whaling song collection from 1967, but the tone here is very different. Also featured are two home-brewed instrumentals – ‘DFLN’ and ‘The Lost Triangle/The Lone Pancake’, both highly reminiscent of 60s-70s folk rock – and the very effective song ‘Leviathan’, based on the story of albino sperm whale Mocha Dick that partly inspired Moby Dick. Not for purists, but well worth a listen.
www.blackbeardsteaparty.com

Brother WindGNOSS, once a duo, is now a four-piece hailing from Glasgow’s fertile hotbed of fine musicians, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Their four-track EP, Brother Wind, provides a pleasingly versatile balance of two songs and two tunes. The title track hits with an immediate Disney-soundtrack catchiness before opening up its folky heart with some terrific harmonies. From the snaking groove of ‘The Closet Bodhrán’ to the vigorous reels of ‘Moul Head’ via the sensitive rendering of ‘My Ship’, it’s very easy to understand why this band is being so hotly tipped as one to watch.
www.gnossmusic.com

Amy GoddardA self-released EP of songs connected to mining, at the heart of Welsh singer-songwriter AMY GODDARD’s Green Is The Colour lies her six-minute Remembering Aberfan, a charity single released in 2016 to mark the 50th anniversary of the disaster when a slag heap in the Merythr valley slid killing 116 children and 28 adults in the nearby school and neighbouring buildings. A stark, acoustic number with a mournful backing choir, it’s a haunting listen.

However, the tracks that surround it are no less strong. Initially sung unaccompanied, the title track was inspired by the arsenic mines of Devon and Cornwall, the biggest of which was owned by the family of William Morris, its poisonous green pigment used in his iconic wallpapers. There’s a brace of well-known covers, the first being ‘North Country Blues’, an early Dylan number about the closure of the iron ore mines and the effect on the mining community, a history repeated in Wales in the 1980s, the other a chiming acoustic guitar waltz through Merle Travis’ ‘Dark As A Dungeon’.

The perils of working underground inform the sprightly self-penned folksy strum ‘Underground Road’ which, featuring Hannah Fisher on fiddle, charts the life of a mining community. Sharing a poisoning theme with the opening number, sung with just hand percussion accompaniment, the final track has Goddard has duetting with Andy Adams on ‘Blue Murder’, an Alistair Hulett song about asbestos mining.
http://www.amygoddardmusic.co.uk/

Al ShieldsNow backed with The Delahayes, Edinburgh-based troubadour, AL SHIELDS returns with a new collection of freshly squeezed Americana, in the form of the Fire On Holy Ground EP, due for release on Shields’ own label, Al Shields Music (ASM004), on April 30th.

The band-backed electric sound is a slight deviation from Shields previous all-acoustic efforts, but with the same old glimmers and shades of Ryan Adams and co. it is a most enjoyable listen. From the disc’s half-dozen numbers, ‘Counting the Hours’, ‘Kick Your Feet Up’ and ‘The Boys in the Band’ are among the stand outs, but then, there is very little to dislike about this record.
https://www.alshields.com/

Rag’N’Bone (And The Coal Rippers Daughter) is an upcoming EP from singer-songwriter NEIL BROPHY. So far only a single comprising two versions of the title track has been released. The song is set in 19th century London: Rag’N’Bone is obvious and apparently a coal ripper is or was a man who dug out the rock above a coal seam and shored up the walls and roof. Who knew? The story is of a love story set among the squalor – “my dog died, too, and you can have his bones” – as two young people set out for a life among the mudlarks at Blackfriars. The acoustic version features Neil on guitar, harmonica and kick-drum while the radio edit is a full band version with a Levellers feel about it.
www.neilbrophy.co.uk

KIM LOWINGS & THE GREENWOOD have a new single in the form of the five-minute plus ‘New Moon’, a track that doesn’t feature on the recent Wild & Wicked Youth album,. Driven by a persistent repeated drum pattern from Tim Rogers and Dave Sutherland’s throbbing upright bass with a hypnotic circling guitar line by Andrew Lowings and Kim on dulcimer, it’s a nod towards late 60s/early 70s progressive folk rock of outfits like The Trees, Bread Love and Dreams and the pre-epic Renaissance rather than the more traditional inclinations of her other material.
https://www.kimlowings.com/

Jake AaronThat’s a great cover picture. ‘Give Me Your Horse’ is the new single from genre-bending guitarist JAKE AARON. The guitar is somewhat submerged here with Steve Lodder’s Hammond and Steve Waterman’s trumpet taking the lead over the bass and drums of Guy Pratt and Marc Parnell. You’re forever expecting a vocal line to appear but for all that it remains resolutely instrumental.
www.jakeaaron.com

The Folking Winners – Public Vote 2016

First of all, a big thank you to the thousands who voted in our inaugural Folkies awards. Congratulations to the winners and commiserations to the runners-up, although all our nominees are winners to the team who enjoyed their music, either live or on record, over the last year and placed them on the short list. Here are the folking public vote winners and now, may I have the first envelope please…

Soloist Of The Year – Steve Knightley

The Folking Winners - Steve Knightley

http://folking.com/steve-knightley-bio/


Best Duo – Show Of Hands

The Folking Winners - Show Of Hands
Photograph by Dai Jeffries

http://folking.com/show-of-hands-bio/


Best Band – Blackbeard’s Tea Party

Best Live Act – Blackbeard’s Tea Party

The Folking Winners - Blackbeard's Tea Party

http://folking.com/blackbeards-tea-party-bio/


Best Album – Disco At The Tavern – The Demon Barbers

The Folking Winners - Disco At The Tavern

http://folking.com/disco-at-the-tavern-review/


Best Musician – Peter Knight

The Folking Winners - Peter Knight

http://folking.com/peter-knight-bio


Rising Star – Will Varley

The Folking Winners - Will Varley

http://folking.com/will-varley-bio


Best International Artist – Gretchen Peters

The Folking Winners - Gretchen Peters
Photograph by Gina Binkley

http://folking.com/gretchen-peters-bio



If you would like to order a copy of an album (in CD or Vinyl) of any of the artists featured here, download an album or track or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then type what you are looking for in the search bar above to be taken to that relevant page via 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.

Welcome To The Folkies

With Oscar fever rising to a climax it’s time to say “Welcome To The Folkies” – the 2016 Folking Awards. We’ve sifted through the albums and performances of 2015 – always a long and difficult task punctuated by bouts of thumb-wrestling to settle disputes. Adopting the pattern followed by everyone else, here, in no order of precedence, are our nominations. With the exception of one category we have restricted our choices to British acts.

All nominations are 2016 Folking Awards winners.

Welcome To The Folkies

Soloist Of The Year

Steve Tilston
Sam Carter
Kathryn Roberts
Steve Knightley
Ange Hardy

Best Duo

Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin
India Electric Co.
Show Of Hands
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman
Clype

Best Band

Blackbeard’s Tea Party
Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band
Tradarrr
False Lights
Merry Hell

Best Live Act

The Demon Barbers XL
Blackbeard’s Tea Party
Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band
Tradarr
CC Smugglers

Best Album

Layers Of Ages – Peter Knight’s Gigspanner
Head Heart Hand – Megan Henwood
The Girl I Left Behind Me – India Electric Co.
It’s Not Your Gold Shall Me Entice – Elle Osborne
Disco At The Tavern – The Demon Barbers

Best Musician

Dan Walsh
Peter Knight
P.J. Wright
Chris Leslie
Kris Drever

Folking’s Rising Star

Will Varley
Sam Kelly
Wes Finch
India Electric Co.
Chris Cleverley

Best International Artist

Gretchen Peters
Tom Russell
Gandalf Murphy And The Slambovian Circus Of Dreams
Justin Townes Earle
Los Lobos

To give the awards a further edge, we opened the vote to our visitors and run a public poll in all of the 8 categories (as listed above).

The Public Vote closed Sunday 28 February at 20.00 hours and “The Folking Winners” have now been announced here at: http://folking.com/the-folking-winners/


If you would like to consider ordering a copy of an album for any of our award winners (in CD or Vinyl), download an album or track or just listen to snippets of selected songs (track previews are usually on the download page) then type what you are looking for in the search bar above.

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

BLACKBEARD’S TEA PARTY Reprobates (own label BTP004)

BLACKBEARD'S TEA PARTY ReprobatesBlackbeard’s Tea Party’s fourth album starts out quite gently … for all of ten seconds. Then it launches into one of the strangest songs I’ve heard in many a long year. Stuart Giddens’ ‘The Steam Arm Man’ tells of a soldier who loses an arm at the Battle Of Waterloo with consequences that are something out of The Twilight Zone. Long-standing fans will not be disappointed.

That’s followed by ‘Hangman’s Noose’, an instrumental set which begins with old-timey fiddle from Laura Boston-Barber and then takes of into pure Blackbeard territory. It sounds like the band are having huge fun and perhaps that’s to do with having two hand percussionists instead of a more conventional drum-kit. They manage to be tight and sound loose at the same time. Giddens is responsible for two more of the record’s big songs: ‘The Slave Chase’ – heavily adapted from a nineteenth century song – and ‘Jack Ketch’, the man notorious for taking five strokes of his axe to despatch the Duke of Monmouth and a dozen to execute Lord Russell. All good clean fun for the kiddies.

Tim Yates’ bass is a big sound on Reprobates, featuring heavily on his own track, ‘The Devil’s Doorbell’ and ‘Star Of Munster’. The treatment of Peter Bellamy’s ‘Roll Down’ sounds a bit odd to my ears but I’ve known the original for many years. Its phrasing is altered to fit the traditional tune ‘Tater Patch’ which surrounds it giving it an entirely new dynamic well away from the singarounds where it is usually heard these days. Actually, it’s pretty good now I think about it. The Diggers’ anthem, ‘Stand Up Now’, is really big and funky but ‘Close The Coalhouse Door’, which closes the set, is treated with appropriate respect with the vocal over thudding percussion and doomy fiddle and guitar. It has the Blackbeard’s Tea Party stamp but remains true to its origins which is quite a feat.

If someone asks you what is the point of folk-rock in the 21st century just ignore them. They don’t know what they’re talking about.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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.

Artists’ website: www.blackbeardsteaparty.com

‘The Ballad Of William Kidd’ – official video:

Blackbeard’s Tea Party announce new album

Blackbeard's Tea Party announce new album

On Reprobates, their third full-length album, Blackbeard’s Tea Party have mined history books and the folk canon for stories of wicked and nefarious characters. Be they murderous pirates, blood-thirsty executioners or rebellious slave-traders, each has in common a dubious morality.

Musically, Reprobates follows the band’s eclectic recipe of gutsy folk rock with elements of funk, dance and classic rock bringing a contemporary edge to traditional source material.

Live, Blackbeard’s Tea Party have earned a considerable reputation for pairing a frenetic energy with accomplished musicianship, and Reprobates’ captures this dexterous party sound.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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.

About Blackbeard’s Tea Party

Playing together since the summer of 2009, Blackbeard’s Tea Party have become firm favourites on the English folk scene. An independent band with three albums to their name, Blackbeard’s Tea Party have also completed a number of successful UK headline tours.

Reprobates was produced by Dave Boothroyd at Reel Recording Studios. Barn-storming folk tunes rub shoulders with narrative folk songs, telling dark tales of wicked and nefarious characters. The album shows off the band’s imaginative arrangements, accomplished musicianship and dark sense of humour.

Reprobates follows the 2009 mini-album Heavens to Betsy; the band’s first full-length album, 2011’s Tomorrow We’ll Be Sober; and 2013’s Whip Jamboree which R2 magazine called “the best party going on five inches of plastic.”

The title Reprobates doesn’t just give the album its theme. It’s also a nod to the band’s reputation for musical mischief, frequently breaking folk-rock’s conventions. Blackbeard’s Tea Party combine fiddle, melodeon and voice with the interlocking grooves of two hand percussionists, a distorted electric guitar, and funk-inflected bass patterns. Though their music often takes traditional tunes and songs as the starting point, it’s clear that Blackbeard’s Tea Party is not for folk purists.

Theirs is a gutsy take on folk which aims to renounce the trendy twee of bands like Mumford and Sons in favour of folk’s darker and more primitive origins, all by way of classic rock, funk and dance music. The resulting arrangements are often quirky and boisterous. This playfulness – along with their anarchic and ebullient stage show – has won Blackbeard’s Tea Party a small legion of fans.

Reception for the band has been phenomenal over the last two years: the Huffington Post called Blackbeard’s Tea Party the ‘THE band to see at Glastonbury 2014’ and, after they played to their biggest ever crowd at Fairport’s Cropredy Convention, they were overwhelmingly voted the best band of the festival by Fairport Convention fans.

Autumn 2015 sees the band embark on another UK headline tour in support of Reprobates, plus Blackbeard’s Tea Party are already lining up another string of festivals for summer 2016. See our previous post for an exhaustive list of dates.

Artists’ website: www.blackbeardsteaparty.com

The Lost Art – new single

The Lost Art - new single

Having developed a reputation as a fascinating and spectacular live act, The Lost Art have now mastered the art of doing things a little unorthodoxly. With immediately engaging vocals and dazzlingly innovative guitar work, the duo have been captivating audiences throughout the UK with the band already having supported the likes of Cara Dillon, Lotte Mullan and Emma Stevens.

Written whilst under the influence, the stomping new single ‘Kicking the Habit’ out 12th October, finds Greg Hooper and Gordo Francis in a playful, raucous mood. The creative track brings lively vocal hooks, exciting arrangements, provocative pace and inventive guitars to keep the ears guessing whilst giving a familiar summertime feel, transporting the listener straight back to the festival season and hitting you in the head like a serotonin beach ball.

’Kicking The Habit’comes from pair’s Special Edition version of their self-titled debut album set for release 2nd November. Included with the release are special remixed songs along with a fully notated score allowing fans to enjoy this forward thinking duo’s music in a new and unique way. Mixing the old with the new, the varying cocktail of quirky remixes add extra flavour to this inspired thirst quencher of an album.

‘Kicking The Habit’ live at Eynsham Hall:

 

Artists’ website:   http://www.thelostartduo.com