HILARY JAMES – You Don’t Know (Acoustics CDACS 070)

HILARY JAMES You Don’t KnowAfter the explicit Englishness of her previous album Hilary James has taken an old direction. Those of you remember Spredthick will be very comfortable with this album – a collection of 20th century standards and classics.

There is an argument that Hilary’s voice is rather too pure for some of these songs. ‘Skylark’, one of three Hoagy Carmichael titles here, is perfect for her. You can imagine her at the microphone in a smoky 1940s nightclub, the band in white tuxedos with an audience of servicemen and their dates enjoying a few hours’ respite. It’s much more difficult for her to roughen those beautiful notes. She manages it for a while on the traditional ‘Frankie & Johnnie’ and uses the lower part of her register for Utah Phillips’ ‘Rock Salt And Nails’. Her version of ‘Need Your Love So Bad’ owes something to Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac although here it is stripped back to guitars and bass and doesn’t resort to massed strings.

Other songs here that really suit Hilary’s style are ‘They All Laughed’ and Patrick Sky’s ‘Separation Blues’ and she opens the album with one of her pieces, ‘Last Show Tonight’ – the break-up of a relationship cast as a performer’s valediction. I really hope it isn’t autobiographical. The final track from which the album’s title comes, is ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’, Hilary following Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday in covering this late night weepie.

Hilary’s band includes many of her regular supporters including lead guitarist Phil Fentiman and the multi-talented Simon Mayor (the original Spredthick). Simon Price plays drums but is replaced for one track by Dave Mattacks and Brendan Power adds harmonica to ‘Deep River Blues’. These musicians have worked together for so long that it’s second nature to them and You Don’t Know shows how good that can be.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below 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.

Artist’s website: www.hilaryjames.com

Hilary James announces new album

Hilary James announces new album

With a background as much in art as music (she studied fine art at Reading University), and despite notions about devoting half her time to each pursuit, it was music that won the early battle for her attention. Teenage influences – spells as vocalist with a big band, an occasional classical lesson, and a love of British and Irish folksong – all left their mark on a vocal style variously described by the press as “quintessentially English”, “one of the most stirring female voices in contemporary British folk music”, and “a superb voice that defies categorisation”. Hilary James’ voice is certainly one that easily crosses the great musical divides. Continue reading Hilary James announces new album

ALISTER ATKIN AND THE GHOST LINE CARNIVAL – To Evangeline (own label)

To EvangelineYou may know Alister Atkin as a maker of fine guitars and you may have heard his debut album, In Time, recorded with Brendan Power and Tim Edey. If not, don’t feel bad. Neither had I until recently and I’m supposed to know about these things.

Alister and his band are based in Canterbury but in his heart he’s Canadian. His wife comes originally from Nova Scotia, a place where the music of the old world meets that of the new and To Evangeline is just that fusion. I love the music of The Band and, clearly, so does Alister. In fact there are one or two borrowings from Robbie Robertson and the removal of one such would improve ‘Shipping News’ immensely. Sorry to be harsh, Alister, but it has to be said. Once over that, this is an extremely good album – witty, literate songs matched with good tunes and a band which includes Geoffrey Richardson and Annie Whitehead, two former members of The Penguin Café Orchestra – this is close to nirvana: The Band and PCO. Continue reading ALISTER ATKIN AND THE GHOST LINE CARNIVAL – To Evangeline (own label)

ALISTER ATKIN AND THE GHOST LINE CARNIVAL

To EvangelineTO EVANGELINE

New Album released 3rd March 2014

To Evangeline is the stunning new album by Alister Atkin and his band The Ghost Line Carnival, who are based in and around the historic city of Canterbury in Kent. This second offering from Atkin is sure to take his reputation as a singer-songwriter towards the heights he already occupies as one of the finest guitar makers of his generation with a client list that includes artists such as Richard Hawley, Elbow, Eddi Reader and Graham Coxon.

The influential roots music site Spiral Earth have previously nominated Atkin’s 2012 debut release In Time in the ‘Best Debut Album’ category in their annual awards ceremony and it also received an excellent response from many others in the industry, including magazines such as Classic Rock, Guitarist and Acoustic and the radio presenter Mike Harding, who praised Atkin’s songcraft and added that his song Tom should be considered a modern day classic. Continue reading ALISTER ATKIN AND THE GHOST LINE CARNIVAL

How music helps BBC award-winning multi-instrumentalist TIM EDEY face his daily demons…..

Tim Edey 2013When Tim Edey walked away from Manchester’s The Lowry stage with the coveted BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Musician of the Year gong last year, few knew of the flip side of this upbeat, charismatic artist and the battle he faces with daily demons.

For despite being one of the most talented musicians on the planet and, according to BBC Radio 2 ‘s Mark Radcliffe, “the nicest man in folk” , Edey has had to overcome a life time of panic attacks, childhood bullying, a OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) diagnosis and a teenage mental breakdown. Continue reading How music helps BBC award-winning multi-instrumentalist TIM EDEY face his daily demons…..

TIM EDEY – The Best Of Tim Edey (Gnatbite Records)

Kaleidoscope may not be the coolest word to use at the moment thanks to John Bercow, Speaker Of The House Of Commons but it happens to be the way I view Tim Edey’s colourful rise to fame within the ‘folk’ community. Having recently been the recipient of the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for 2012 as musician of the year no less Tim’s prowess as a multi-instrumentalist has long been admired by those of us fortunate to have shared his company at sessions or performing on stage. Edey’s unbelievably technical flawless musicianship is displayed on this ten year retrospective proving just how comfortable he is in his own company or with that of his equally talented associates including Michael McGoldrick, Seamus Begley and Brendan Power. Opening with the almost ‘harp’ sounding “Out On The Ocean” thanks to his intricate nylon strung guitar playing this leads nicely into the jazz-styled “Independence Hornpipe” with an astonishing display of digital dexterity on melodeon. As if being a fantastic musician wasn’t enough he also displays a talent for tune writing with his own wistful melody “Little Bird” where he’s accompanied by Sharon Shannon. Anyhow, enough of the name-dropping and on with the jaw-dropping…if it’s digital dexterity that floats your boat (by the way, Tim’s based in the sea-side town of Broadstairs…and proud of it) then I can thoroughly recommend this CD. PETE FYFE

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below 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.

Artist web link: www.timedey.co.uk