REV HAMMER AND NICK HARPER – Live at Unit 23 Live, Totnes

Rev Hammer
Photographs by Jean Camp

Folk Rock legends, Rev Hammer and Nick Harper wowed the audience at Unit 23 Live in Totnes, South Devon recently. The venue owner Simon has just taken over, and making a huge mark on this quirky venue in the middle of an industrial estate. Ex South Hams Radio presenter – Rob Wheeler, who has known Rev for years, put this gig on, so thank you Rob for doing this!

Ably assisted support by young up and coming Sam Ryan and Connor Walsh, the evening was a mixture of pure brilliance!

Connor Walsh kicked off the evening, although I had not seen or heard of him before, he was soon into getting audience reaction. Blue paint was drawn across his eyes like a mask, and I wondered what an earth we were going to hear! War paint?? He kicked off with a drinking song, and off we went! Very lively and we all sat up to listen to this talented young man. Shortly after we had an audience participation song, which went down very well! Connor’s mixtures of songs showed he has an awesome talent and will go far. I loved his set!

Next up came Sam Ryan, son of Rev Hammer, showing his Dad’s talent. Sam was as awesome as Connor but with his own style (not his father’s) kicking off with a lively number, ‘Men’ was just brilliant, and an audience participation song ‘Vikings’ had everyone shouting in unison with gusto when required! Self-penned songs and we will see more of Sam in his own right I’m sure. Sam wrote the title track ‘Skald’ on the new Rev Hammer album and performed on it.

Nick Harper
Nick Harper

Rev and Nick came on stage together and did numbers mostly individually. As Nick produced Rev’s new album he knew the guitar work as had played on it. Nick is an outstanding singer/songwriter, who just blew me away with his guitar playing. Rev joked he had Billy Bragg at his side! Two legends with attitude!

Nick passionately sang some cracking numbers including ‘Bloodsong’, a very bluesy, gritty number and his facial expressions told us he was away with the music. ‘Incredible Skies’ was just awesome, and we were all blown away by the tune and words, ‘I Will Carry You Always’ – a song about baggage, ‘Juicy Fruit Girl’ – which was kind of humorous, another bluesy track. ‘I Need You Now,’ ‘Peace, Love and Happiness’, ‘Real Life’ and Aeroplane was a great song to finish the evening. This got everyone off their seats more or less. Awesome!

Rev Hammer
Rev Hammer

Rev and Nick alternated to perform and when I asked Rev for a set list to do the review, I found out it was going to be random! He gave us ‘Punch Drunk’ to open his turn, love it and so many others did too, as linked to Rev’s association with The Levellers. A favourite Rev song of mine was on the list – ‘No One Or Nothing’, Rev also did a leg pull of Ralph McTell, which I hadn’t heard before, but as I like Ralph McTell, I won’t comment! ‘Garden of Gethsemane’ and ‘I’m Ready And I’m Waiting’ off Skald, ‘Drunkards Waltz’, which the Oysterband covered, and another of my favourites – ‘Every Woman’s Pain’, from his very successful folk opera Freeborn John and which he dedicated to his daughters!

An absolutely fabulous evening and look forward to hearing them all again soon. Check them out and buy Rev Hammer’s Skald album following the link from his website.

Jean Camp

Artists’ websites: www.revhammer.com / www.harperspace.com  / www.facebook.com/Connor.Walsh.Musician www.facebook.com/sam.ryan.3720

‘Apple’ – Nick and Sam are heard but not seen:

LEVERET – Inventions (Rootbeat RBRCD38)

InventionsAfter two very successful albums and sold out gigs, Leveret bounce back onto the music scene with Inventions, an album of original material which was recorded live at Real Life studios in April 2017.

Leveret comprises of fiddler extraordinaire – Sam Sweeney, who was 2015 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Musician of the Year. Not surprising as his talents have enhanced Bellowhead, also Folk Royalty Eliza Carthy’s Wayward Band, and acclaimed singer/songwriter John Boden’s Remnant Kings, not forgetting his own very successful Made In The Great War project.

Melodeon player extraordinaire – Andy Cutting – has won BBC Radio2 Folk Awards Best Musician three times and has played with Topette, Rock legend Roger Daltrey, Blowzabella and June Tabor.

Concertina genius – Rob Harbron who leads the English Acoustic Collective summer school, collaborated with The Full English also Jon Boden, Fay Hield and many more.

So you would expect, with all this talent and skill for them to produce a CD of tunes that would be amazing to hear, and quite rightly, they have! ten glorious original tunes of varying tempos, ranging from reels, jigs and un-pigeon-holeable tempos, they delight the listener. If I have to be pushed for a favourite, it has to be the lively ‘Two Nights at Chieveley/Henry Blogg’.

I have seen them play live and can see the mutual respect for each other, impeccable timing, genuine love of playing their music and delighting the audience. Music at its best, but appealing to those who just like music!

This is a worthwhile album addition to anyone’s collection. I really enjoyed it and is the in the car taking me away from the hustle and bustle of reality. Keep an eye on their website for live gigs, check them out, pre-order the Inventions album and purchase their previous albums.

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 LEVERET – Inventions 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.leveretband.com

‘Grenville Morris’ live:

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: