MARTHA TILSTON – Nomad (Squiggly Records)

NomadThis recently released album is a pure joy to listen to. Martha is the daughter of highly acclaimed singer/songwriter – Steve Tilston, but Martha is a fabulous singer/songwriter on her own merit. She has various critically acclaimed albums already under her belt and this latest album looks like being another one!

There are ten glorious tracks on the album. Ranging from easy tempo/easy listening through to blues and jazz with a little bit of Latino thrown into the mix on ‘Fish Tank’. Some very unusual names for song titles, but all of the tracks tell a superb story, which is what Martha is good at. The album wasn’t planned, but started as a session in Cornwall, and it evolved itself into the beautiful album it is now.

Nomad is an album that has a variety of tempos; the opening track is ‘Nomad Blood’, introducing the listener to Martha’s fabulous voice and fabulous guitar playing. Superbly atmospheric story telling at its best. A song of coming home to rest and see the family, and then having to journey off into touring again.

‘Green Moon’ is about survival of relationships, and band member Matt Kelly leads the way with his fabulous musician’s skill into a really atmospheric and haunting track.

‘Little Arrow’ is about the loss of a special person, and I guess this would be her Mum – Maggie – who was taken far too soon, and was a special person to a huge amount of people, as well as the family. Slightly bluesy with a tempo with drums and electric guitar.

‘Stories’ is an easy listening track that brings memories of childhood and how different memories become in different circumstances.

‘Ribbons For John’ has a rather Americana feel, about a young lady meeting what sounds like a tornado of a man.

‘Taxi Light’ is about being available and not being available. Co-written by Luke Parker some time ago, while waiting for a relationship, but then deciding to head home. A catchy little number.

‘Fish Tank’ was very new when recorded, is about finding confidence in yourself and then going for it! Rather jazzy and a little bit of Latino thrown in!

‘Climbing Gates’ is about Martha thinking about her decision to be a touring musician.

‘Scribbled Fever’ – Easy catchy tempo with superb guitar work, about a sad young lady and her love breakup, and wanting to stay in her dreams.

‘Blue Pearl’. A huge message to the world, questioning what are we doing with it – where is everything going as attitudes are shocking. The Blue Pearl being our beautiful planet in space. A gentle, but haunting track, and a far reaching message to finish on.

I really love this album, and would urge anyone to purchase it. It is available on Squiggly Records and can be purchased from the links below, where you can also find Martha’s tour dates.

Looking forward to seeing her live in June on her last tour date of the Nomad album tour.

Jean Camp

If you would like to order a copy of the one of the albums (in CD or Vinyl), download them or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the MARTHA TILSTON – Nomad 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.

ORDER – [CD]

ORDER – [VINYL]

Artist’s website: www.marthatilston.co.uk

‘Nomad Blood’ – the single:

BRINDLEY HUNT – Find My Way… (own label)

Find My WayStaffordshire based singer/songwriters Barry Hunt and Bryan Brindley have formed a duo – namely Brindley-Hunt – and the result of this collaboration has led them to create a fabulous album, entitled Find My Way… Well known for their solo work individually, they have embarked on a little team work, and wowing audiences wherever they go!

All twelve tracks are originals and penned by themselves, and what a treat this album is! The lyrics of these tracks are about life and it’s up and downs, lost love, mostly gut wrenching and fabulously crafted. Full of superb harmonies, acoustic and electric guitar, drums, mouth organ, it has it all. Very easy to listen to and has not been off my car player since I received it!

‘Peace that Makes Me Whole’ kicks off the album with an up-tempo and full band sound. My feet are tapping already, and carries on with the next track of ‘I’ve Left it Too Long. Find My Way…’ another up-tempo number and the title track paints a picture of mountains, rivers and a hard road to travel (in life). Change of tempo comes next with the rather bluesy ‘Never Stop Holding On’ – very nice.

‘She Walked Away’ is very “Claptonesque” and reminded me of the classic Clapton track ‘Wonderful Tonight’ which always makes my heart string melt, (Barry has a comedy version of ‘Wonderful Tonight’ in a Brummy accent and is hilarious) and the Brindley-Hunt track is superb too!! I was awoken from my ‘dream’ with the rock and roll beat of ‘You Light Fires’. Up-tempo prominent guitar and voices with a rough edge!! Back to a bluesy feel with ‘All I Said I Want to Be’. Another Clapton type feel to it. Lovely. ‘Boy To A Man’ is of young boy’s thoughts in adolescence and thinking of his journey into manhood. ‘Closer To You’ is very much a love song. Two people in love and how uplifting it is.

‘Baby Blue Eyes’, although I love all of this album, is my favourite track. Very singalong, lovely melodies and harmonies. Fabulous guitar work. ‘She Could Be The One’ holds fabulous harmonies, drums and the title speaks for itself! Lastly but by no means least ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’, no, not the Beach Boys track, gives a band sound, and great number to finish the album, leaving me wanting more.

This album is a must for everyone’s album collection due to the skill, craftsmanship, dedication and hard work it has had put into it, as well as it sounding great!

Can’t wait to see Brindley-Hunt live and wish them well. They deserve every ounce of success! Find My Way… is released on May 20th and you can purchase the album from the Brindley-Hunt website where you can also find where they are appearing in their tour diary.

Jean Camp

Artists’ website: www.brindley-hunt.co.uk

Brindley-Hunt’s live showreel:

REV HAMMER – Skald (own label)

SkaldIt is always good when you hear that Rev Hammer has released a long awaited new album! He has done just that in the recently released Skald, featuring acclaimed guitarist and singer/songwriter Nick Harper together with Rev’s son Samuel Ryan, who is establishing himself as a singer/songwriter and about to follow in his father’s footsteps. He wrote the instrumental and title track Skald . For those of you who are uninitiated into the Scandinavian language by the way, Skald is their word for ‘poet, historians, and keepers of lore’. A very apt phrase to describe Rev Hammer!

Track one of the album is entitled ‘Apple/This Time’ is a perfect example of Rev Hammer vocals and acoustic guitar that we have all come to know and love. His six year old daughter being the Apple of his eye, superb track.

Track Two – ‘Happy Father’s Day’, heavy strummed guitar/mouth organ and lyrics of Land of Broken Dreams and don’t be sad or alone. Gut wrenching.

Track Three – ‘Corncrake’, featuring renowned singer/songwriter Nick Harper is probably my favourite track, if pushed to name one as they are all fab!

Track Four – ‘St John’, featuring Nick Harper, very powerful and dramatic track.

Track Five – ‘Ready And Waiting’, featuring Nick Harper – a dark and brooding tale of a person waiting to go into the next world. The lyric of ‘waiting for a light too bright to see’ shivered me to the core. A dramatic strain of guitar in the background just sets the mood.

Track Six – ‘Long Way Down’, featuring Nick Harper and set in Bristol. Fireworks, eyes, 7 floors above – listen to the track!

Track Seven – ‘Saline’, a dark track in the Garden of Gethsemane, taxis and revenge.

Track Eight – ‘Nose Dive’, Nick Harper in the mix once again, all about transmitting and receiving – or not. Most of us can relate to that.

Track Nine – ‘Flight of Fancy’, A melodic simple tune mostly acoustic taking us into the dawn.

Track Ten – ‘This Is The Love’, Nick Harper featuring and rather rock and roll. Fabulous backing.

Track Eleven – ‘Skald’, featuring Samuel Ryan. Funky and dramatic, interspersed with a foot tapping rhythm. A high note to end this fabulous album.

All in all there are eleven fabulous tracks. I just loved it. Typical Rev Hammer and then some featuring the glorious talent of Nick Harper ending with the fabulous talent of Samuel. One definitely taking pride of place in my CD collection and was well worth waiting for!

Jean Camp

If you would like to order a copy of the one of the albums (in CD or Vinyl), download them or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the REV HAMMER – Skald 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.

DOWNLOAD – [CD]

Artist’s website: http://www.revhammer.com/

THE HYDES – Green & Blue (Hyde Music Productions – HYDECD1)

Green & BlueThis recently released debut album from Denver sibling duo – Joanna and Iain Hyde – who have mastered the art of Irish music, and entwined it with a dash of Americana and bluegrass, is a fabulous album! They have already won 2 accolades this year – Best New Group 2017 from Liveireland and Best New Group from Chicago Irish American News! Iain is a multi-instrumentalist in his own right and extremely versatile. Joanna was selected from 10 pupils across the US to receive the prestigious Jack Kent Foundation’s Graduate Arts Award in 2011 whereupon she moved to Ireland to study Irish traditional music and achieved a MA in Irish Trad Music Performance. Not a bad start. After travelling around Colorado and Ireland, they have brought together an interesting fusion of various roots music and crafted it into Green & Blue.

Ten tracks for your delectation kicks off with a fiddle led Irish tune – ‘Along The Saint Vrain’ which sets the scene slowly then bursts into different tempos from mid track. Lovely guitar and rhythm. Very nice.

The title track – ‘Green and Blue’ – features the lovely melodic vocals of Joanne with Iain harmonising and was written as a collaboration between them. ‘Lands End’ is a traditional arrangement and back to fiddle and bodhran. Catchy little number! ‘Sweet Bride’ originally by Kate Rusby, gives beautiful harmonies and incorporates a lovely melodic haunting tune from the piano to compliment the voices.

Karine Polwart’s ‘Rivers Run’ – comprises of all strings and Joanne’s melodic voice. Next up ‘The Milky Way’ – a traditional collection of five tunes flowing into each other and incorporating all strings, piano accordion and bodhran. ‘Muddy Water’ – a creation of fine singer/songwriter – Boo Hewerdine, features Joanne on lead vocals with Iain harmonising. Nice mandolin on this track too.

‘Finn, On a Lark’ featuring fiddle, mandolin and bass is a lovely, rich mournful tune, with superb mandolin and fiddle. The penultimate track – ‘Coopers’ – is uptempo, catchy and uplifting. I felt myself tapping my feet with gusto!

The album ends with Sam Cooke’s ‘Nothing Can Change This Love’ which features Joanne on vocals and is a very bluesy/jazzy arrangement. Very different from the rest of the album, but nevertheless, a beautiful arrangement.

I really like this album, a cracking debut album, and one that deserves to be listened to as they have studied hard with their music, and it shows.

Jean Camp

If you would like to order a copy of the one of the albums (in CD or Vinyl), download them or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the THE HYDES – Green & Blue 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.

ORDER – [CD]

Artists’ website: www.hydesmusic.com

‘Rivers Run’ – official video:

STEVE PLEDGER live at Dunster Castle Hotel

Steve Pledger live

Friday 9th February 2017

A very chilly evening in Dunster, North Somerset was made glowingly warm by a lovely gig, courtesy of award winning singer songwriter Steve Pledger.

I had been looking forward to this event immensely, after attending his album launch at Dunster Castle itself in November, and was not disappointed. The room at the Dunster Castle Hotel had been set out bistro style with candles, and there was a very pleasant ambience about it. Very cosy and intimate.

Since our last meeting, Steve has won Folkwords Album of the Year by a male artist for Somewhere Between, and FATEA awarded Steve Best Album of the Year 2016 for the same album. Not bad for a rising star!

There were other avid fans in the audience who had come from far and wide. I saw a lady buy three albums which was great to see. As Steve had picked tracks to sing from all three albums, she didn’t want to miss anything!

Steve kicked off the gig with ‘If You Fall’, which is an unusual number for him to start with, but he had the audience hooked from the start. An introduction into the songs as he was about to sing them, told us how they came about, which was interesting. Very early on we had an audience participation tune – ‘This Land Is Poundland’ from his second album – Striking Matches In The Wind, Doing Well gave us a political swipe at Government v Benefits, ‘Quit Blubbin’ In The Cheap Seats’, again from Striking Matches, got us all singing again and before long it was time for the interval. More CDs flying out ensued in the break.

He returned with ‘I Spat Fire’ from his new album followed by Eva Cassidy’s fabulous track – ‘People Get Ready’. Further tunes were off all three albums and all were sung in the way they were written, the tune regarding depression – ‘Me And The Silence’ is particularly moving as is ‘Other’ which is about people expressing themselves whatever it may be.

And so it came to the end of the concert – much too soon. An encore was granted and ‘Hallelujah’ was giving the Pledger treatment. Goosebumps filled my entire spine and I might have had something in my eye. Just so love how he sings this amazing song.

The audience had thoroughly enjoyed it if the applause was to be believed, and afterwards Steve chatted to his public, signed albums sold by his very supportive and proud wife Becky, and was in no rush to get away. Steve is quietly political in his own way which shows in some of his lyrics, but also a very kind, generous, tremendously gifted soul, who deserves to soar up the ladder of success.

See you soon at another gig soon Steve!

Jean Camp

Go to www.stevepledger.co.uk to purchase his music and to see where he is playing near you.

THE AMPLIFIED ACOUSTIC BAND – Now. Here. This. (100Promotion 100P038)

I was approached by acclaimed Czech and London based singer songwriter Jamie Marshall to do a review of ‘Now. Here. This.’ – the debut album by The Amplified Acoustic Band, who have been wowing live audiences in Prague and surrounding areas for some time.

I had heard a taster of what I now know to be a fine album, and was looking forward to receiving it, as had been really impressed by what I had heard. The album sleeve is fabulous and classy, it includes the lyrics and lots of information on the band members.

The first track was penned by Jamie Marshall, who has a catalogue of notaries he has performed alongside, such as Don ‘Mr American Pie’ McLean, Glen Tilbrook, Paul Young and many more. ‘Trust Me’ is a great foot tapper – about lies and revenge. Something a good many of us can relate to.

The second rather jazzy bluesy track is sung by double bass player Svatka Štěpánkova (who is married to the guitar player – Radek) and she has an amazing voice and does justice to it entitled ‘Chocolate Jesus’, a Tom Waits number. ‘I’m Falling Apart’ is the sad time when a relationship ends, duet comprising of Jamie and Svatka, band number with drums and great guitar! Collaboration between Jamie and acclaimed singer songwriter Clive Gregson produced ‘Yes I Do’, a sad tale of a broken heart missing someone. A lovely melodic haunting track.

‘One Day Soon’ gives a great riff of electric guitar in the right places, a foot tapper to cheers us up, of hope and dreams to be fulfilled in the future. Dedi Madden wrote ‘Home’ which is a poignant track about loneliness and the subject of the track wanting to put down roots I think. A place where a few could relate to I’m sure. Superb sax on this track too. ‘This Time’ is about things working out at last! ‘Until I Hear It From You’ is the opposite! Both are written by Jamie Marshall.

‘Trouble’ is a very dark track written by Carlos Henderson and Lizz Wright, very ably sung by Svatka, had goose pimples listening to this! ‘Good News From The World Outside’ is a knock at what’s happening in the world today. ‘Just Enough of a Moon’ is a simple tango and a story of acting impulsively! ‘Love to Learn is a mournful slow jazzy blues track featuring Svatka on vocals, alongside a mournful fiddle and acoustic guitar. The last track ‘Word Up’ is a funky r&b lets dance and sing number. Dance your cobwebs away and enjoy!

I enjoyed all thirteen tracks, a refreshing change to some albums, as they were all different. The album was sponsored by supporters, and the band should be rightly proud of what they have achieved. Love it!!

Jean Camp

Artists’ website: www.amplifiedacousticband.com

‘Word Up!’ – official video: