May highlights at Cecil Sharp House

May

Luke Jackson with special guest Rebecca Loebe
Wednesday 3 May, 7.30pm
Tickets:  £14 | £10 under 26s

Luke jacksonA meeting in Kansas, USA led to a transatlantic partnership of two exceptional charismatic young songwriters.

Luke Jackson is a rising young Roots singer/songwriter from Canterbury in Kent.  2013 saw him nominated for both the Horizon Award for Best Emerging Talent and the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award and in 2014 he was named Fatea’s Male Artist of the Year.

Rebecca Loebe is a young singer-songwriter known for her distinct voice, well-crafted songs and ability to bring an audience to her journeys, introducing them to the characters she meets and observations she makes as she travels.

Jon Boden
Thursday 18 May, 7.30pm
Tickets:    £20 | £10 under 26s

Jon BodenJon Boden has become the stand out performer of his generation of traditional folk artists, but one whose repertoire extends far beyond the boundaries of the genre.

As a total contrast to the eleven-piece Bellowhead, autumn 2016 saw Jon launch his first ever solo tour. The show promises to incorporate elements from the wide creative span of his career to date – from the self-penned pop songs of Painted Lady, to the funked-up power-pop arrangements of folk songs that characterised Bellowhead and Spiers & Boden, to the post-Apocalyptic song-world of Songs From The Floodplain, to unaccompanied ballads as featured on his mammoth A Folk Song A Day project in which he recorded and released 365 folk songs in one year across 2010-2011.

Through his solo work and his work with Bellowhead and Spiers & Boden Jon has won eleven BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – more than any other artist. His solo shows will provide an intimate insight into a man of many and various talents and promises to take the audience deeper into the song worlds of traditional music and of his own song writing.

Rosie Hodgson
Wednesday 24 May, 7.30pm
Tickets: £12 | £10 under 26s

Rosie HodgsonAs a rising star of the English folk scene, Rosie Hodgson will present an evening of songs from her new album Rise Aurora, accompanied by fiddle-singer Rowan Piggott. Expect an eclectic mix of original and traditional material; beautiful inventive songs overlaid with delicate harmonies, driving fiddle, spell-binding guitar lullabies and maybe even some clog stepping! There is a very long and bright future dawning for this young duo.

Heg & The Wolf Chorus
Wednesday 31 May, 7.30pm
Tickets: £12 | £10 under 26s

Heg & The Wolf ChorusFollowing the hugely successful UK tour throughout the Autumn, Bristol four-piece Heg & The Wolf Chorus are back on the road in the spring 2017 performing their acclaimed debut album Raising The Fires.

The band performs the album’s enchanting story of a witch who was wrongfully burnt at the stake. The scorned woman casts a spell, ending the world as we know it and conjuring all the mythological creatures back to roam the Earth. Inspired by traditional Scottish folklore and written at the foothills of the Cuillin mountains on the Isle of Skye, the vivid imagery and magnificent landscapes can be heard in every spine-tingling song. This release presents the band’s distinctive sound and Heg’s visionary songwriting on a scale unlike anything they have released before, bringing theatrical elements to their performance with a strong story-telling theme throughout.

Folk Sounds Best at Cecil Sharp House

Folk Sounds Best
The English Folk Dance and Song Society has unveiled its line up for the 2017 summer music and performance season at England’s national folk arts centre, Cecil Sharp House in London.

Elliott Morris
Wednesday 21 June, 7.30pm
Tickets: £12 | £10 under 26s

Elliott MorrisWith hundreds of gigs behind him Elliott Morris has a formidable reputation as one of the hardest-working and most sought-after young artists on the acoustic scene.  The singer-songwriter, featured in Acoustic magazine as “The Next Big Thing”, taps the strings and beats the guitar’s body to create an intricate spectacle, together with an original and unique sound integral to his songs.

Elliott’s original compositions marry intricate guitar lines with heartfelt, honest vocals and clever wordplay, combining elements of folk, roots, jazz and country. Embracing the traditional and the contemporary – this is folk music for the 21st century.  Elliott’s versatile blend of folk, pop and rock has complemented a range of major artists he has supported including Frank Turner, Seth Lakeman, Lau, Big Country, and The Three Degrees, and revered folk veterans Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick. He has also supported Paul Carrack (Squeeze, Mike + The Mechanics, Eric Clapton) on many of his UK tour dates.

“One of the most impressive guitarists to grace our studio for a very long time…a compelling listen – and mesmerising to watch!”  Dean Jackson – The Beat / BBC Introducing

The Takeover
Sunday 9 July, 7pm
​Tickets: £6

Showcasing talented young folk bands and musicians, this concert wraps up an evening of activities for young people, including ceilidh dancing and a jam session. The Takeover is curated, organised and hosted by EFDSS ‘​ Youth Forum and EFDSS’ resident folk collective, London Youth Folk Ensemble.

Venue website: www.cecilsharphouse.org/csh-whats-on.

SINGLES BAR

A round-up of EPs and singles that have come our way

SINGLES BAR 30 Oct 2015JAKE AARON is a singer-songwriter from London with a distinctive spiky guitar style and a youthful voice and outlook that seem at odds with the grey in his hair. I’m still puzzling over the first two songs on his eponymous EP. ‘1790’ is clearly very personal and I suspect that only one other person fully understands it. ‘Record Player’ is equally deep – “I’m not a rock, I’m a record player” seems to be the key line. I’m not rigid, I’m open to influence? I don’t know. ‘High Rolling’ is an instrumental, not pretty but hypnotic, and then comes possibly the best song in the set, ‘Dalston Kingsland’. Again, it’s a young man’s song as is the final ‘Constitution Blues’. Jake reminds me of all sorts of people but I can’t think who they are but I do know he is a name to watch.
www.jakeaaron.com

SINGLES BAR 30 Oct 2015Raising The Fires, the debut album from HEG & THE WOLF CHORUS, will be with us next year but here’s our first taste, a single containing two versions of ‘The White Witch’. The “standard” version, if that’s the correct term, begins gently with Heg’s voice and piano before building up with echoey drums and strings to a big finish. The second version, The Jillk Remix starts with strange percussion and electronics with just the bare skeleton of the song remaining and Heg’s voice manipulated to a stutter. If the remix doesn’t appear on the album you’ll wish you’d bought this. Excellent.
www.hegandthewolfchorus.com

SINGLES BAR 30 Oct 2015‘Seed Stitch’ is the single taken from Coracle, the most recent album from EMILY PORTMAN. Like so many of Emily’s it’s wrapped up in myth and memory and metaphor. Ostensibly about knitting it is a song of loss, of breakdown and new beginnings. Initially I thought it was about the loss of virginity and innocence but now I’m not so sure. Paired with it is ‘Nightjar’ another complex song full of imagery which often goes unexplained and one really weird line which will continue to haunt you.
www.emilyportman.co.uk

SINGLES BAR 30 Oct 2015THE DEADLY WINTERS are a five-piece band from Edinburgh who are beginning to make a name for themselves. Table In The Corner is their latest EP; the title track being the story of a piece of pub furniture that no-one ever uses because … well, that’s the story and we’re not privy to the answer to the unspoken question. ‘Liars, Liars, Liars’ is the tale of a man on the run pursued by stories that make him out to be much worse than he is – it’s a very clever song. ‘Sam Did Run’ tells of a war hero pursued by bullets which leads nicely into ‘Gone To Ground’. The band has a sound that is part folk-rock, part Americana and a fine songwriter in Christopher Blair. We should hear more of them.

Heg & The Wolf Chorus – new single heralds debut album

Heg & The Wolf Chorus new single heralds debut albumHeg & The Wolf Chorus are a band showing the world of folk that they are one of the best narrators around. Approaching songs like aural fairytales, the exciting avant-garde four-piece entices and entertains the listener as storytellers of old.

The enchantingly mythical single ‘The White Witch’ out 26th October, tells the awe-inspiring story of a witch who was wrongfully burnt at the stake and casts her spell that brings the world, as we know it, to its demise. The scale and grandeur of the mythological sites of the Isle of Skye, Scotland that inspired Heg’s song writing can be heard in every breath-taking musical flourish.

The band bring the first single from their debut album Raising The Fires fresh from playing a horde of summer festivals, supporting BBC Sound of 2013 winners HAIM, performing live at Bristol’s Colston Hall for the BBC and being selected for Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent long-list by Helen True from For Folks Sake. BBC Introducing and fRoots magazine are firm supporters of the uniquely theatrical four-piece with the band performing a showcase for fRoots at Sidmouth Folk Festival.

The folk rhapsodist’s showcase their beautiful and distinctly different sound on ‘The White Witch’, set for release 26th October. As epic and dramatic as the landscapes that inspired it, Raising The Fires is set for release in 2016.

Heg & The Wolf Chorus will be special guests to folk heroes Moulettes and Nizlopi this Novemberember on their co-headline tour.

Artists’ website: www.hegandthewolfchorus.com

‘The White Witch’ – official video:

 

HEG & THE WOLF CHORUS – Rain (own label)

Rain2While we still wait for their debut album, promised for 2016, the rather wonderful Heg & The Wolf Chorus bring us the third of their “hand-crafted” EPs with matching artwork by Heg Brignall – a future collector’s item if you have the set, I have no doubt.

After the boisterous A Tale Of Sailors these three songs seem rather more considered. The first track, ‘Song For Home’, begins with the sound of a distant storm – synthesised, I think – and the rumbling of Joe Kelly’s double bass. The theme and style are continued with ‘Rain’. In both, we are exposed to the elements, travelling and changing as we go – “nothing will feel the same”. ‘Sail On’ is the perfect place to leave us wanting more as they return explicitly to the maritime theme which runs throughout their music. “I’m stepping into the unknown”, sings Heg, “I’m reaching out” and indeed they are.

The arrangements are as complex and detailed as ever with Heg’s keyboards and Vince Martin’s violin providing the leads over the bass and percussion. There are some glorious harmonies, sometimes churchy, sometimes pastoral, sometimes with the backing voices singing alternate lines with Heg, particularly effective on the title track. Producer Gareth James Bailey deserves praise for his work on all three EPs but particularly on this one which shows off the band’s musical ingenuity to best effect.

And now we wait.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website: www.hegandthewolfchorus.com

There’s nothing from the new EP on video yet but this is gorgeous. From 2013,  the single B-side ‘Maiden’:

HEG & THE WOLF CHORUS – A Tale Of Sailors (own label)

A Tale Of SailorsAfter two singles Heg & The Wolf Chorus stretch out to an EP. The band: Heg Brignall, who writes the songs, Stephanie Taylor, Richie Dobson, Vince Martin and double-bassist Joe Kelly live in Bristol and have links with Dartington College. Their previous release, Giant, explored folk tales from the Bristol area and A Tale Of Sailors comprises four songs of the sea.

For a band with avant-garde connections the songs on A Tale Of Sailors are quite traditional in construction. ‘Three Sailors’, for example, tells of the titular characters being picked off one by one by a sea serpent. The accompaniment is based around Heg’s piano, Vince’s violin and a string quartet with percussion from Stephanie and Richie. ‘Annie Of The Atlantic’ is the record’s big production number, a story taken from Heg’s family history, and ‘Boat And I’ is a reworking of their first single. ‘Sea Shanty For Bessie Harker’ is the story of a heroine who effected a hazardous rescue, although it doesn’t really conform to any shanty form – you might just about work the halyards on the ho’s, I guess.

Now, after tantalising us with three short offerings, I do think that it’s time that Heg presented us with a full album.

Dai Jeffries

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

‘Three Sailors’ – the official video: