The Urban Folk Quartet announce their autumn tour

Urban Folk Quartet

Following the success of their Live III album tour, The Urban Folk Quartet head back out on the road for a series of shows that will see the band travel from the South of Devon to the Scottish Borders.

The 2016-2017 Live III tour was The UFQ’s longest and most successful to date, seeing the quartet perform to larger audiences across the UK, Scandinavia and Europe. Highlights included the launch their third live collection, the aforementioned Live III, at Kings Place, London, and co-headlining the Imagined Isle festival at Birmingham’s historic Town Hall – their biggest hometown appearance.

In between, the fiery foursome found themselves on a Normandy beach during Armistice Day, attempted to spread the notion of ceilidh/ rave dancing to the Swiss and the French, and played at a micro-brewery in Somerset. Elsewhere, a trip to a leading Danish music festival, where they shared the bill with massive Danish electro rockers Carpark North, US AOR outfit Toto, Scottish legends Runrig, and ’70s Euro disco icons Boney M, concluded with them sleeping in a warehouse after an accommodation mishap. But that’s what happens when you play huge festivals!

Formed in 2009 in the West Midlands, The UFQ have continued to forge a reputation as one of the UK’s most consistently stunning live acts, and boast four highly accomplished musicians: BBC Folk Award nominated banjo player (and occasional UFQ vocalist) Dan Walsh; Galician fiddle player Paloma Trigás, who’s worked with the likes of The Chieftains, Sharon Shannon, Altan, and Carlos Nuñez, Spain’s biggest folk star; percussionist Tom Chapman, widely considered to be the UK’s most accomplished and innovative cajón player; and fiddler, guitarist, mandolin player and producer/ arranger Joe Broughton (The Albion Band, Fairport Convention etc).

In their eight year career, the band have released three studio albums and three live albums, the latter of which aim to showcase the energy audiences witness at their dazzling live performances.

A new, yet to be titled, studio album will be released in 2018, in the run-up to The UFQ’s tenth anniversary celebrations.

“This autumn tour will find The UFQ at their most spontaneous,” says Joe. “It’s the first time in the band’s history that we’ll be gigging and not promoting a specific album. That gives us the freedom to play whatever we like – not just focus on promoting the latest record. So expect to hear some exciting new variations of recent tracks as well as a few new tunes which we’ll be road-testing for that next studio album.”

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 The Urban Folk Quartet link 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.

Artists’ website:  www.theufq.com

‘Boat Up The River’ – live in rehearsal:

Tour Dates

Thursday 19 October 2017
The Stables, Stockwell Lane, Wavendon, Milton Keynes, Bucks MK17 8LU
£15, 8pm
stables.org

Thursday 2 November 2017
Unit 23, Ford Road, Totnes, Devon TQ9 5LE
£10, 8.30pm
www.unit23live.co.uk

Friday 10 November 2017
Atkinson Centre, Lord Street, Southport, Sefton PR8 1DB
7.30pm, £13/ £15
www.theatkinson.co.uk

Wednesday 15 November 2017
The Hippodrome, Harbour Road, Eyemouth, Scottish Borders TD14 5GS
8pm, £12/ £14
eyemouthhippodrome.org

Thursday 16 November 2017
The Cumberland Arms, James Place Street, Ouseburn, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE6 1LD
8pm, £10
www.thecumberlandarms.co.uk
www.theufq.com/gigs

Saturday 18 November 2017
The Goose Nest, Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry, Warwickshire CV4 7AL
7.45pm, £15.50
www.warwickartscentre.co.uk

Wednesday 22 November 2017
The Old Queen’s Head, 44 Essex Road, London N1 8LN
8pm, £10
www.greennote.co.uk

Thursday 23 November 2017
Foxlowe Arts Centre, Market Place, Leek, Staffordshire ST13 6AD
8.30pm, £10
foxloweartscentre.org.uk
www.theufq.com/gigs

Friday 24 November 2017
Artrix, Slideslow Drive, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire B60 1GN
8pm, £14 (£12)
www.artrix.co.uk

Saturday 25 November 2017
Stop. Cafe Bar, Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, The Music Hall, The Square, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 1LH
8pm, £14
www.theufq.com/gigs
www.rhythmandroots.co.uk

Friday 8 December 2017
MET Studio, Stafford Gatehouse Theatre, Eastgate Street, Stafford ST16 2LT
8pm, £15.50
www.staffordgatehousetheatre.co.uk

Urban Folk Quartet – new album

Urban Folk Quartet Live III

Reflecting their reputation as a forceful and electric live act, The Urban Folk Quartet return with an extended tour and new live album.

As the title suggests, The Urban Folk Quartet: Live III is The UFQ’s third live album, and follows the previously released Live (2011) and Live II (2013).

Recorded in concert during their spring 2015/ 2016 tour – at venues in Chester (Alexander’s), Maldon (Town Hall), Stafford (Gatehouse Theatre), and Bristol (Folk House) – the nine tracks see the quartet revisiting material from 2014 studio album, The Escape, and road-testing new tunes.

A perfect showcase for the four-piece’s breath-taking musicianship, Live III embraces their full scope, from the full-on ‘Upward Spiral’, to quieter ‘Resiste’ and ‘The Language Barrier’.

New tracks (pencilled in for their 2018 studio album) underline the quartet’s quizzical restlessness and globe-spanning sense of adventure: inspired by a trip to India. ‘Whiplash Reel’ transports a classical Indian scale into a Celtic setting, while the grooving ‘Long Time Traveller’ presents a distinctly UFQ take on a song adapted from famed American 19th century tunebook, The Sacred Harp.

In the concert environment, tunes familiar from ‘The Escape’ (which featured in several prominent ‘best of 2015’ lists) take on a newfound power and direction, as The UFQ feed off the crowds’ enthusiasm and energy, extending and transforming their growing catalogue.

“The pieces are arranged to deliberately get the audience going, with improvised passages that respond to the audience’s reaction, the vibe,” explains fiddle-player Joe Broughton. “That’s the whole reason we like to do live albums. In ‘Control Zed’, Tom does a phenomenal percussion solo – it’s those special moments of interaction where we use the energy from the crowd …”

While other bands may use the live album format to fulfil contractual obligations or as a filler, the prolific UFQ see their in-concert releases as an integral part of their creative process – hence their plan to follow each studio album with a live counterpart (something which their growing international fan-base have now come to expect).

The UFQ’s sixth album over-all, Live III, however, takes a different approach to its predecessors, I and II.

“Our previous live albums have very much been presented as one night”, says percussionist Tom Chapman. “Even though Live II was recorded at two gigs, when you listen to it it’s easy to hear it as one gig. Live III is very definitely an album collected over months, with varied rooms and audiences giving the album its unique dynamic drive.”

The release arrives at a time of increased UFQ activity. 2016 saw the band perform a series of jaw-dropping sets at various UK and international festivals, including Green Man, Towersey, Cropready, Shrewsbury, Ringsted in Denmark, and Lakeland Festival, in Erlach, Switzerland. They were also personally invited by singer Joss Stone to appear at children’s charity Barnardo’s 150th anniversary concert at London’s The Roundhouse.

The Urban Folk Quartet have been dazzling audiences with their brand of ‘electrifying acoustic music’ since 2009. Galician fiddle player Paloma Trigás has shared stages and recorded with the likes of The Chieftains, Sharon Shannon and Altan, and toured the stadiums of the world with Spain’s biggest folk star, Carlos Nuñez. Long established on the folk scene as a fiery English fiddler and showman, Joe Broughton (Albion Band), is also an exceptional guitarist and mandolin player. Dan Walsh is regarded as one of the finest banjo players in the country, as well as being a gifted singer and guitarist, while percussionist Tom Chapman is widely considered to be the most accomplished and innovative cajón player the UK has to offer.

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

‘The Language Barrier’ live:

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 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.

Dan Walsh: new album – Incidents & Accidents

Released March 16th on Rooksmere Records

Photograph by Sean Elliot
Photograph by Sean Elliot

 

Incidents & Accidents is the highly anticipated follow up to Dan Walsh’s critically acclaimed Same But Different album release. On the new album we get to hear Dan in a more stripped back format with just a few guest appearances from Patsy Reid (fiddle), Nic Zuppardi (mandolin), Mark Hutchinson (percussion/vocals) and Canadian singer Meaghan Blanchard. The album was also produced by Mark Hutchinson at his Rooksmere Studios, known for producing albums by Blair Dunlop, Fabian Holland and of course Walsh & Pound. There are seven songs and four instrumentals. The song lyrics are a major focus on this album but there is still plenty of Dan’s signature fast and furious banjo playing to keep the fans happy. Of the livelier songs ‘Time To Stay’ tells of Dan’s mixed emotions of moving back to his home town of Stafford after six years living in Newcastle upon Tyne along with the bluegrass inspired ‘Lost Rambler’, showing his love of the mountain music minor tunings. Of the slower songs, the contemplative ‘Dancing In The Wind’ and ‘The Song Always Stays’ are perfect examples, the former telling of a moving moment on a family holiday in Ireland and the latter relates to Dan and Nic Zuppardi’s experience of playing a gig to Scottish singer Glen Mason in a Surrey care home and rekindling his love of singing and performing in his twilight years. Dan originally started playing banjo due to his love of Scottish and Irish jigs and reels and the aptly named ‘The Tune Set’ contains four tunes from a slow air building right up to a fast and furious reel with names inspired from touring from the Isle of Barra to New Zealand. To complete the musical world tour, ‘Whiplash Reel’ displays Dan’s new found passion for Indian classical music.

Touted as one of the finest banjo players in the UK as well as being a superb singer, songwriter and guitarist, Dan Walsh is described as ‘The real deal’ in UNCUT magazine. To date he has released two critically acclaimed solo albums and has toured the world including visits to Canada, Norway, Germany, India and New Zealand and of course has played solo at venues and festivals across the UK. Having made his name with the duo Walsh and Pound and now a member of the award winning Urban Folk Quartet, as well as guest appearances on stage and on record with the Levellers and Seth Lakeman, this unique and eclectic musician continues to stun audiences across the world.

His eclectic and innovative approach has led to many exciting collaborations alongside his solo work and the UFQ, including tours with Northeast concertina legend Alistair Anderson and with sensational Indian sarangi player Suhail Yusuf Khan as well as Canadian country singer Meaghan Blanchard.

‘The real deal, a demon picker’UNCUT
‘Incredibly gifted, you must see him’ BBC RADIO 2
‘Eclectically inspired and consistently brilliant’fRoots

Artist’s website: http://www.danwalshbanjo.co.uk/

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.

‘Time To Stay’ from Incidents & Accidents:

SUNJAY – Sunjay (New Mountain Music)

SunjayBorn in Derby and now living in Stourbridge, Sunjay Brayne has apparently been playing guitar since he was four. Still only 20, this is his second studio album (there’s also a live one) and he’s a regular on the folk and acoustic circuit. Having caught one of his sets, I can testify to his accomplished playing and warm, singing style and can well understand the comparisons to a young Ralph McTell. Indeed, Brayne’s influences are very much rooted in the late 60s and early 70s folk scenes of the UK and America, something evident from the choice of covers that comprise the bulk of his album.

Here you’ll find faithful readings of James Taylor’s ‘Close Your Eyes’, Jim Croce’s uptempo blues swing ‘You Don’t Mess Around With Jim’, a fiddle, cello, banjo and mandolin arrangement ‘Going Down The Road’ by folk cult figure Mary McCaslin and Tom Rush classic ‘No Regrets’ (with some nicely understated fiddle from Katriona Gilmore) as well as the slightly more recent ‘Memphis In The Meantime’ by John Hiatt (though it could do with more grit) and Mark Knopfler’s ‘Sailing To Philadelphia’ with its cello contribution from Sarah Smout. He also offers his own arrangement of traditional blues rag ‘Drop Down Mama’, though, as with the a capella handclap and stomp reading of Buskin and Batteau’s ‘A Folk Singer Earns Every Dime’, his voice and delivery simply lack the experience and depth to give them real conviction.

The two remaining numbers are originals, the album opening with ‘London Road’, a song about homelessness written by producer, manager, label owner and erstwhile Bushbury Mountain Daredevils frontman, Eddy Morton, and featuring Dan Walsh on banjo while ‘Sittin’ On Top Of The World’ is a wistful self-penned acoustic end of relationship folk blues ballad. Accompanied by Gilmore, it’s a lovely number, beautifully delivered, that makes you wish there were more of his own songs rather than relying on familiar tunes that may earn gig rapport, but which don’t really work in his favour on disc in terms of reaching a wider market. Hopefully, next time round, there’ll be more of his own material and although he could perhaps do with a little more seasoning to his voice to add a little occasional edge, he’s an accomplished player with a relaxed engaging style and I look forward to seeing him develop.

Mike Davies

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.sunjay.tv

Sunjay sings John Martyn:

The Levellers release charity single for War Child

Brighton folk-rockers Levellers released a five track anti-war EP in May featuring a new recording, with special guests, of ‘The Recruiting Sergeant’. The original version, which is an anti-war song, features on their 10th studio album ‘Static on the Airwaves’ which was released to critical acclaim in 2012.

The new recording of ‘The Recruiting Sergeant’ features traditional English folk singers The Copper Family, plus Shona Kipling and Dan Walsh.

The EP also has 3 other anti-war Levellers tracks – ‘Another Man’s Cause’, ‘Not In My Name’ and ‘Barrel of The Gun’ plus the original album version of Recruiting Sergeant. All profits from the release of the War Child version of The Recruiting Sergeant will be donated to War Child, the charity for children affected by war and set up to protect children living in the world’s most dangerous war zones. Continue reading The Levellers release charity single for War Child