The West End Centre unveils its autumn programme

West End Centre

The autumn programme at the West End Centre kicks-off in September with Leveret, a unique collaboration between three of England’s finest folk musicians, Andy Cutting, Sam Sweeney and Rob Harbron. Leveret’s music is firmly rooted in the English tradition but with a sound that is fresh and new.

Next up is Molotov Jukebox, a London six-piece who deliver an accordion, Balkan fiddle, and Latin trumpet mix. Having racked up hundreds of festival appearances including Glastonbury, Eurosonic and Womad, the band are guaranteed to get the crowd moving at every raucous show.

Closing-off September, Sam Carter performs at the West End Centre. Since being named Best Newcomer at the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Sam Carter has been stirring audiences from Camden to Canada and has been described as ‘the finest English-style finger-picking guitarist’.

The October line-up sees two of the UK’s finest and most prolific songwriters Kris Drever and Boo Hewerdine take the stage. Touring together for the first time in over three years, 2018 finds both artists on top form, with Kris having won the BBC Folk Awards Best Singer award and both performers releasing music which is widely considered to be their best work so far.

Later in the month, the West End Centre welcomes folk legends guitarist/singer Martin Carthy and squeezebox virtuoso/singer John Kirkpatrick – long-time collaborators in a variety of seminal musical projects: from John’s iconic 1976 Morris tunes album Plain Capers through Steeleye Span to Brass Monkey. The evening is certain to be a memorable occasion.

In the first of five gigs in November, Mabon start the busy programme. Led by Jamie Smith on accordion, Mabon play music that draws inspiration directly from the traditional folk music of the Celtic countries. They combine recognisable British forms of jigs and reels with Breton ‘an dro’, French ‘mazurka’ and Galician ‘muinera’ bass (upright and electric).

Next on the programme is Evening Star – a band formed by six of the most original musicians from France, Italy, Spain and the UK who play traditional dance music influenced by the spirit of free improvisation, pop and 21st century sound.

Newcastle’s Holy Moly & The Crackers continue the up-beat theme. With their high octane ‘Gypsy Folk Rock’ set, this seven-piece band returns to Aldershot after two sell-out shows last year. Wowing their raucous and ever-expanding fan-base with instrument-swapping, squeezebox-growling, fiddle-shredding, brass-howling hoe-downs, the group have been able to hone a sound that is organic and invigorating – forged in the sweat and heat of the live show.

Moore Moss Rutter are next on the line-up. It’s been three years since the release of the band’s second studio album ‘II’ – and there’s a heightened sense of anticipation around the reunion of Tom Moore (fiddle, viola), Archie Churchill-Moss (melodeon) and Jack Rutter (guitar). The trio won the 2011 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award.

Completing November’s programme is Chris Wood – an exceptional songwriter whose music reveals his love for the un-official history of the English-speaking people. With gentle intelligence he weaves the tradition with his own contemporary parables.

Early December sees East London five-piece folk band Stick In The Wheel at the West End Centre. Headed by singer Nicola Kearey, and guitarist/producer Ian Carter, their debut From Here (2015) was fRoots magazine Album of the Year and a MOJO Folk Album of the Year. They have also received four BBC Folk Award nominations since their inception in 2013. Known for Kearey’s fierce, authentic delivery, this is culturally and politically switched-on music with its roots firmly embedded in the genre’s traditional, working-class heritage.

Oxfordshire-raised, Cheshire-based singer and songwriter Thea Gilmore has gained global acclaim for making music not only of extraordinary beauty, but of rare honesty and insight. In 2009, Thea released Strange Communion an album that included ‘That’ll Be Christmas’ which became the most played festive song on BBC Radio 2 that year

A few days before Christmas, CoCo And The Butterfields come to the West End Centre. They are an indie-pop/folk band, from Canterbury, Kent. Since their inception in 2012, CoCo And The Butterfields have spent much of their time on the road, touring the UK and Europe, selling out headline shows and featuring at many major festivals.

Barney Jeavons, Director of Aldershot’s West End Centre told us:

“We have a tremendous line-up at the West End Centre this autumn – from traditional folk artists through to roots-based contemporary bands. Don’t miss the opportunity to see both up-and-coming and well-known acts in a celebration of some the UK’s best folk and roots music.”

For more information and bookings visit www.westendcentre.co.uk or call 01252 330040.

The 2018 Folking Awards

Welcome to the 2018 Folking Awards and thank you again to everyone who participated last year. The nominations, in eight categories, come from our ever-expanding team of writers and were wrangled into shape with considered argument and arm-wrestling by the Folkmeister and the Editor.

There are five nominees in each category, all of whom have impressed our writers during 2017.

As with the format last year, all are winners in our eyes, as are quite a few who didn’t make the short list. However, it’s not just down to what we think, so again, there will be a public vote to decide the overall winner of each category.

*The Public Vote for each category will close at 9.00pm on Sunday 1st April (GMT+1).


Soloist Of The Year

 Jon Boden
Ange Hardy
Daria Kulesh
Richard Thompson
Chris Wood


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Best Duo

Kate & Raphael
O’Hooley & Tidow
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman
Laura Smyth & Ted Kemp
Winter Wilson


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Best Band

Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys
Merry Hell
Peter Knight’s Gigspanner
Police Dog Hogan
The Unthanks


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Best Live Act

CC Smugglers
Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band
Fairport Convention
Lau
Merry Hell


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Best Album

Bring Back Home – Ange Hardy
Pretty Peggy – Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys
Long Lost Home – Daria Kulesh
A Pocket Of Wind Resistance – Karine Polwart/Pippa Murphy
Strangers – The Young ‘Uns


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Best Musician

Kevin Crawford
Seth Lakeman
Richard Thompson
Karen Tweed
Ryan Young


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Rising Star

Sam Brothers
Siobhan Miller
Jack Rutter
Sound Of The Sirens
The Trials Of Cato


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!!

 


Best International Artist

Rodney Crowell
Anna Coogan
Michael McDermott
Le Vent Du Nord
The Wailin’ Jennys


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


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 click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Use the left and right arrows to scroll.

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.

Folkies 2018

CHRIS WOOD – So Much To Defend (RUF RUFCD014)

So Much To DefendChris Wood’s fifth solo album comes across as a model of restraint on first hearing but first hearings can be deceptive. So Much To Defend is an album made up in part of little lives – people who are not even just about managing. There are bigger stories, too, but even these are told in small, personal ways.

The opening title track is a series of vignettes, snapshots of urban life. Some of the characters – Sharon, Maureen and Victoria, for example – are doing all right in their own terms while Bella, Terry and Thomas are struggling with zero-hours contracts, redundancy and unemployment. But Abigail likes her tuna steak “ever so slightly charred” and Svetlana works the night. Everyone has so much to defend even when they have almost nothing. Yes, it is actually a big story.

‘This Love Won’t Let You Fail’ is song for everyone leaving home and the love in question is  that of the mothers who stand and watch them go, worrying all the time. Chris describes ‘Only A Friendly’ as a love song but it’s an oddly tawdry one as Ebbsfleet United lose again. Both are universal stories told in small personal ways.

‘The Flail’ and a setting of Housman’s ‘1887’ are concerned with history. The flail represents the politicians, the police and the media who feed us their version of history; think Hillsborough. Here Chris reminds us to remember what really happened. The latter is a rather acid meditation on monarchy – 1887 was Victoria’s golden jubilee and Housman remembers the men who died to save the queen. I’m still making up my mind about ‘Strange Cadence’ and ‘The Shallow End’. They both seem to be warning us of the siren voices that tell us to be good little consumers and toe the official line but all four of these songs encourage us to question everything we’re told. With ‘More Fool Me’, Chris looks at his own career at the time when there is less money in the music business than when he started and the final ‘You May Stand Mute’ is another of his quasi-hymn tunes with a message that I’m still deciphering.

So Much To Defend is sometimes stark; just voice and one or two instruments, mostly guitars with occasional banjo so Martin Butler’s piano is the only instrument on ‘1887’ although in contrast, Justin Mitchell adds a haunting flugelhorn to ‘Strange Cadence’ and Gary Walsh’s Hammond organ provides another texture to ‘This Love Won’t Let You Fail’. The songs can stand on their own merits and when it comes to live performances Chris and his guitar are all they will need.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website: http://chriswoodmusic.co.uk/

Chris has just sent us this video for ‘This Love Won’t Let You Fail’:

And here’s an old favourite live at the BBC Folk Awards:

THE SHEE – Continuum (Shee Records SHEE4)

ContinuumThe concept behind Continuum, supported by Celtic Connections, was to celebrate their tenth anniversary by having each of them commission a musician of their choice to write a piece of music for the album. That’s only half the story, of course, for the band had then to arrange the music for six players and write some pieces to bind the whole thing together.

The opening song is ‘From The Shadows’ by Laura-Beth Salter. It’s a powerful call to arms to … ah, well. It could be a feminist piece, the logical first thought, but it could be a warning to the rich and powerful that the poor and oppressed aren’t going to take it any more. Next come two atmospheric pieces by Kathryn Tickell; one evoking the borders and the other with a Scandinavian feel. The playing, needless to say, is exquisite.

Rachel Newton commissioned Karine Polwart and the result is ‘Song For Mary’. The Mary in question is Mary Brooksbank, composer of ‘The Jute Mill Song’ and an archive recording of one verse forms the introduction. We’re not told that it’s Mary herself but I’d like to think it is. Amy Thatcher naturally turned to a box-player and who better than Andy Cutting? Olivia Ross’ choice was Chris Wood who shares the credit for ‘Cradle Song’ with lyricist Hugh Lupton. The Shee turns what could be a pretty little song into something quite strange so you’re not sure whether this a mother singing to her baby from the safety of a warm fireside or struggling home from the storm outside.

Laura-Beth, Amy and Shona Mooney provide the next two tune sets with Shona responsible for the wonderfully titled ‘The Vampire Rabbit Of Newcastle’. Olivia wrote ‘Precious Tears’, a song for children – possibly the band members’ own – and Brian Finnegan wrote a trio of tunes with Lillias- Kinsman-Blake’s flute and a journey through India in mind. Finally, we have Martin Simpson’s song for his mother. ‘Dance With Me’ might be seen as the companion-piece to ‘Never Any Good’. Laura-Beth sings it and plays mandolin where Martin would use guitar and the band play what is almost an orchestral accompaniment.

Continuum is a monument to musical collaboration and the exchange of ideas but more than that, it is a tribute to six exceptionally talented musicians.

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: https://theshee.com/

‘Ower Late For The Lasses/Sheepolska’ and more with Kathryn Tickell live at Celtic Connections 2016:

Top composers join The Shee to celebrate ten years

Top composers join The Shee to celebrate ten years
Photograph by David Boni

Multi instrumentalists and festival favourites, The Shee, have reached the ten-year milestone in their action-packed career, and intend to celebrate by creating a brand new body of original work.

Following three albums and a hectic touring schedule, the six members of the band have each approached a composer hero to write an original piece of music ahead of a prestigious premiere at Celtic Connections 2016.

The composers will then join The Shee on stage to introduce their piece and perform with the band as each is performed for the first time.

The composers are, in alphabetical order:

Andy Cutting
Brian Finnegan
Karine Polwart
Martin Simpson
Kathryn Tickell
Chris Wood   

The Shee’s accordionist, Amy Thatcher, said: ‘We can’t quite believe our luck: we’re getting some of the most influential musicians and composers on the current British folk scene to write original music for us. It’s going to be an incredible experience, and the perfect way to celebrate ten years of making music as The Shee.’

Following the premiere at Celtic Connections on 15 January 2016, the band will head back to the studio to work on a new album for release later that year.

Artists’ website: theshee.com  

DAVID GIBB and ELLY LUCAS – Old Chairs To Mend (Hairpin Records 002)

David Gibb and Elly Lucas are an exciting young duo who play a mixture of original and re‐worked traditional folk material. They hail from Derbyshire in the Midlands and have previously toured the UK extensively as part of David Gibb & The Pony Club.

David plays the guitars, melodeon and sings; Elly plays fiddle, viola and also sings. From these minimal resources, the twosome produce distinctive vocal leads, haunting harmonies and a quite dense instrumental sound. Their singing is simple and unadorned ‐ check out Elly’s wistful vocal on ‘Blacksmith’ from their début album ‘Old Chairs To Mend’ below:

The pair were chosen as finalists in the prestigious BBC Young Folk Awards 2011 and, on the road, have supported such acts as Cara Dillon, Chris Wood,Coope, Boyes and Simpson, Jez Lowe, and Megson.

In early 2011, they released their first EP, entitled ‘Three Children Sliding On The Ice’, garnering praise and national airplay from the likes of the Mike Harding Show (BBC Radio 2) : Mike Harding says ‘I was very impressed’.

‘Old Chairs To Mend’ is the brand new spanking new album from David Gibb and Elly Lucas and although we have not heard the album in full, we loved the snippets from the Amazon web link below – folking.com

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.