A round-up of recent EPs and singles

Singles Bar 19KADIA are a young trio from Dorset who already have one album, East Of Alexandria, to their name. The Outlandish Collection is a five-track EP of traditional songs and tunes. The band comprises Lee Cuff on cello, double bass and piano; Chris Bailey on guitars and accordion and David Hoyland on mandolin and percussion. All three sing and with the range of instruments at their disposal they can produce a variety of sounds and moods. They open with the well known ‘Captain Ward’ followed by ‘The Cricketers Set’ which opens with ‘Cooley’s Reel’ (I would have sworn it was ‘Drunken Sailor’) and  ends with ‘King Of The Fairies’. Their lead single is ‘Lady Isabel & The Elf Knight’ and they finish with ‘The Keeper’ and ‘Randy Dandy’ – I never realised that the former was “full of innuendo and metaphor” and I wonder if our primary school teachers knew! I’m sure we’ll be hearing much more of Kadia.

A prelude to her forthcoming tour, California-based singer-songwriter/artist CORINNE WEST releases a cover of The Battlefield Band’s ‘The Yew Tree’ (Make Make 333). It’s far more stripped down than the original; West hauntingly intoning the lyrics about Scotland’s history, referencing the slaughter at Flodden Field and the preachings of John Knox, to the backdrop of a cello drone, giving it a potent protest feel.

Formerly trading as Alessi’s Ark, Alessi Laurent-Marke.has now pared herself down to just ALESSI and, after a three year absence following 2013’s The Still Life, is readying a new album, Love Is The Currency. As a taster she’s just self-released Wives (the limited edition 8” having sold out, it’s now available as a download), a swirringly atmospheric slice of chilled out folk-pop that muses on womanhood, women’s roles and responsibilities, and the importance of nurturing their own spirit as the best way to sustain a partnership.

‘He’ll Fight’ is the first single from the debut album by SPEAK, BROTHER an indie-folk quartet from the midlands. Written by singer and guitarist, James Herring, it’s a powerful song of drug addiction and redemption built on acoustic guitar and keyboards with solid bass and drums and clear harmonies. Speak, Brother are already making a name for themselves after two EPs and this song suggests that we can expect good things from their album.


2011 will see US guitarist and songwriter Walter Strauss releasing PLANET SOLITAIRE, a collection of ambitious solo recordings inspired by a diverse world of influences. There are multilayered instrumentals for the kora, a twenty-one stringed West African harp, rendered fluidly on the guitar, this shown perfectly on the track Djimbaseh.Walter’s song writing moves from a soulful account of forgotten US history on the song Ishi, a tale about the last ‘wild’ native of North America who survived forty years of living in hiding to The Salamander, a catchy and funky feel-good song wrought through the eyes of a salamander.  The ambitious instrumental Gypsydish finds its roots in an unlikely assemblage of influences including an Oklahoma songwriter, the great traditions of the Spanish guitar and the kamal’ngoni, a West African hunter’s harp. Sitting comfortably alongside these fine tracks is a creative instrumental variation of the George Harrison penned epic Within You, Without You taken from the Sgt. Pepper’s album, a homage to Harrison’s exploration of Indian music and culture.Also featured on the eleven track release is a spirited re-working of an obscure Woody Guthrie track entitled The Great Historical Bum. Featured throughout is Walter’s singular guitar work, a mix of mastery and innovation, a multi cultural cocktail. PLANET SOLITAIRE has a fresh and unique sound immediately recognizable as Walter Strauss.

PLANET SOLITAIRE can be seen as an album of many elements, a mix of vocal tracks and instrumentals that cover a multitude of genres, folk, world, country and classical. On the vocal tracks Walter has that smooth wood smoke and whisky intimate delivery that pulls the listener in making them feel as if the song is for them alone.

Before embarking on his solo career, Walter had spent over fifteen years playing at festivals and shows throughout the United States, Canada and Ireland alongside such notable performers as legendary fiddle player Vassar Clements, Martin Simpson, Corinne West and Alex de Grassi. The past few years has seen Walter performing solo and with The Walter Strauss Trio comprising bassist Sam Bevan (David Grisman/ Joe Craven) and percussionist Kendrick Freeman (Alison Brown/ Rob Ikes).

A fan of any instrument with strings attached Walter has also toured as a duo with Malian kora master and 2010 Grammy winning artiste Mamadou Diabate and has also collaborated with Malian kamal’ngoni player Mamadou Sidibe.

“Glorious playing!” Bob Harris BBC Radio 2

“The man is class” fRoots magazine

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).

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