David Francey release his new CD Late Edition

David Francey – from carpenter to songwriter. Since leaving the construction business to record the album Torn Screen Door in 1999, Scottish-born Canadian David Francey is now recognized as one of today’s finest singer-songwriters. Francey’s straightforward songs tell honest stories of real people and real places. Poetic perception and a keen eye for the heart of the matter are trademarks of Francey and his music. His songs and stories are a direct connection for audiences seeking depth and meaning in the day-to-day.

David has released nine CDs to date. His most recent, Late Edition, has garnered much praise receiving two Canadian Folk Music nominations. A three time JUNO award winner David Francey has also had the honour of receiving the prestigious SOCAN Folk Music Award. In the last few years he took home the Grand Prize in both the International Acoustic Music Awards and in the Folk category for the John Lennon Songwriting Awards.

David Francey was born in 1954 in Ayrshire, Scotland where he got his first taste of the working life as a paperboy. At the age of ten he was devouring the newspapers he delivered, establishing a life-long interest in politics and world events while developing the social conscience that forms the backdrop to his songs. David was twelve when he and his family moved to Toronto. His love of the landscape, the history and the people of his adopted country can be traced back to family weekend drives exploring Southern Ontario.

Music played a large part in these family outings. The Franceys sang traditional Scottish tunes as they drove through the Canadian countryside. David’s dad and sister sang melody while David and his mother sang harmonies. David’s attachment to Canada grew with his travels. He hitchhiked across the country three times and then thumbed his way to the Yukon. This attachment surfaces in his songs of rail lines, farms and the St. Lawrence Seaway. His understanding of the people grew as he worked in Toronto train yards, in the Yukon bush and in construction in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

In concert David Francey is a singer and a storyteller. His wry humour and astute observations combined with his open-hearted singing style have earned him a loyal following. Amongst the many artists who have recorded David Francey songs are The Del McCoury Band, Tracy Grammer, The Rankin Family, James Keelaghan, Raylene Rankin, Harvey Reid,

“David Francey’s songs are lean, whippet-like creations, a bit like the man himself. With not one wasted word or superfluous line he takes the everyday, often mundane business of living and elevates it into something infinitely more noble and memorable, the mark of a truly gifted songwriter.” Eric Bogle

Artist web link: http://www.davidfrancey.com/index.html

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.

Mary Black – Stories From the Steeples (3ú Records / Blix Street Records)

This is the first studio recording from Mary Black in six years, and it’s a collection that demonstrates an artist in full command of her bewitching vocal prowess. Throughout an impressive career, Mary has consistently demonstrated impeccable taste in her choice of material, and the evidence presented here suggests that her ear for seeking out songs of utmost grace and beauty is as keen as ever. With a voice that has only gained in depth and resonance over the years, Mary brings her trademark warmth and sincerity, casting light and shade amongst the lyrics to create her own personal space amongst the words of carefully chosen songwriters. Never one to rest on her laurels, we’re gifted songs from familiar friends such as Shane Howard, Eric Bogle and Julie Matthews, alongside burgeoning writing talents, including Danny O’Reilly and Ricky Lynch.

Sharing the stage with a number of guests, Stories From The Steeples contains three duets: the beguiling “Lighthouse Light” features Janis Ian in a perfectly balanced performance that whets the appetite for further exploration of this winsome partnership; the robust, soulful voice of Imelda May joins Mary on an affirmative song of place and belonging, “Mountains To The Sea”; and the playful “Walking With My Love” finds Mary exchanging lines with the legendary Finbar Furey. All three performances are notable for their palpable sense of modesty and mutual admiration.

Two stand-out tracks come from particularly close to home, being written by Mary’s son, Danny O’Reilly. “Faith In Fate” paints a stark contrast between the sheer despair of a broken relationship with a determined hopefulness to move on and patch things up. Managing to be simultaneously bleak and uplifting with its heady infusion of hurt and devoted affection, it’s a song that plays to all the strengths of Mary’s typically emotion-wrought interpretation. Offering a similar cocktail of emotions, “Wizard of Oz” is a mournful reflection on the search for strength and happiness, underpinned by a dreamy string arrangement over which Mary lays her heartwarming vocals.

Fulfilling the role of storyteller, Mary excels in bringing lifelike colour to the characters of “Marguerite And The Gambler,” a Ricky Lynch song that recounts the familiar tale of many a traditional folk ballad, with its gamblers, true love, misguided familial intervention, heartbreak and devastation. Those purchasing the extended version of the album are handsomely rewarded with an exquisite reading of Chris Woods’ “One In A Million,” a story of true love that takes the mundanities of life and turns it in to utter magic, and proving beyond any doubt that Mary remains a song’s best friend.

Paul Kelly’s “They Thought I Was Asleep” benefits from a tender reading, cloaked in Mary’s trademark warmth, depicting the torment of a child inadvertently witnessing from the back seat of a car, the emotional breakdown of his parents’ relationship. Equally devastating, though of more epic proportions, Eric Bogle’s “All the Fine Young Men” is made all the more disarming, thanks to the sheer reverence with which Mary furnishes this stark, anti-war anthem.

With a little less polish than some of her earlier releases, Stories From The Steeples steps forward as an intimate, unpretentious collection, bathed in a soft but radiant glow of effortlessness and wholehearted integrity. Time will tell, but Stories From The Steeples may well prove to be Mary’s best yet. Mike Wilson

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.mary-black.net

Eric Bogle Live At Stonyfell Winery (Greentrax Recordings DVTRAX2022)

What better way than to celebrate his ‘retirement’ from performing in the UK than a DVD by singer-songwriter Eric Bogle. A visual record of Eric along with trusted sideman of many years John Munro (guitars, mandolins), Emma Luker (fiddle), Hastings own Pete Titchener (guitar), Damien Steele-Scott (electric bass) and Jon Jones (percussion) this recording proves an ideal souvenir for everyone out there who has enjoyed this proud Australian/Scot’s words and music over the years. The photography is first class with crystal clear close-ups of digital dexterity from the musicians and plenty of head and shoulder shots of the man himself. In amongst the 21 tracks are favourites including “Now I’m Easy”, “No Man’s Land” and the towering “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”. Bogle would appear to be a very contented individual according to his observations in the interview section and, whether he likes it or not, as Munro points out he will leave this planet with a legacy of some of the finest ‘folk’ music ever written. Recording engineer Mick Wordley and director Corey Piper are to be roundly applauded for capturing a concert that is full of warmth and humour and is a vital record for those of us that were unable to attend any of Eric’s ‘final’ tour of the UK. Further information from www.greentrax.com PETE FYFE