The Urban Folk Quartet continue 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

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

DEMPSEY BROUGHTON – Off By Heart (own label SAECD14)

Off By HeartKevin Dempsey and Joe Broughton have been in the business for so many years and in so many line-ups that it seems impossible to count. You can mention The Albion Band, the Conservatoire Folk Ensemble, the Urban Folk Quartet, Dando Shaft, Whippersnapper and Lazarus before you have to stop and think. Kevin and Joe have worked together for almost two decades and Off By Heart is their fourth album as a duo.

The record opens in a rather unexpected way. You might have thought that two such celebrated instrumentalists would kick off with something to get the feet moving but instead they begin with Kevin singing ‘Resurrection Jack’, an anti-racist poem by Evangeline Paterson which Kevin has set to a simple and deliberately un-sensational tune. The story itself is a moving one but also told in very unemotional terms. That is followed by ‘Wheels Of The World’, a traditional Irish song explaining why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Who says folk music isn’t relevant?

Of course there are instrumental fireworks and they begin with ‘The Post Truth Reel’ a tune that Joe describes as having “some slightly bits, some positive bits and a bit of reflection”. Next are two linked tunes. ‘Just Before The News’ and ‘De Pascale’ were written around the death of their friend, renaissance man Ernesto De Pascale’ and into them is poured all the emotion they can find. Fittingly, they sit at the heart of the album.

The album closes with two more instrumentals and two traditional songs. ‘Wicked Polly’ comes from the Ozarks and Paloma Trigás adds massed violins and ‘Two Constant Lovers’ is from Sussex with all sorts of things going on behind Kevin’s voice. ‘La Moreau’ is a two-part tune, or rather one tune played in two very different ways, and the final tune is ‘The Recovery Shuffle’ – a bluesy guitar riff over which Joe has written a jig. There is a great deal to enjoy here.

Dai Jeffries

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 DEMPSEY BROUGHTON – Off By Heart 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]

Artists’ website: https://www.joebroughton.com/dempsey-broughton

‘Wicked Polly’ live – an old video but none the worse for that:

 

Dempsey Broughton – new album

The collection’s nine tracks range from outlandish and inventive instruments, to traditional and original songs, with “a slightly political twist” running through.

Highlights include ‘Wheels Of The World’, an old comment on politicians that seems even more relevant today; ‘The Post Truth Reel’, an instrumental filled with anger and sadness; and ‘Resurrection Jack’, which is based on an anti-racist poem by the late Dublin-born writer and editor, Evangeline Paterson.

Since forming in 1999, this incredible duo have now recorded three albums and toured extensively in over 20 countries round the world. Combining emotive songs, unrivalled instrumental capability, and a spectacular high energy show, they never fail to create a spellbinding atmosphere.

The list of musicians they have played with is impressive, and includes Whippersnapper, Mary Black, Joss Stone, Dando Shaft, The Urban Folk Quartet, Fairport Convention, The Albion Band, Dave Swarbrick, and even Percy Sledge. But their partnership is a unique pairing.

“Whatever other projects we have done over the years, we always end up back together because we have so much common ground in our music,” says Joe.

To pigeon hole their style of music would be to do them a disservice. They draw on folk music from all corners of the world, but their experience in jazz, soul, classical, pop and rock music takes the results into original and uncharted territory.
What you’ll notice at their concerts is not only the originality of what this acoustic duo plays, but also the simple fact that they do it so well. Kevin has a fantastic voice and is widely regarded as one of Europe’s greatest acoustic guitar players, whilst Joe is simply unmatched in the world of fiddle pyrotechnics.

To top it all, the Dempsey Broughton show is playful and entertaining – you almost have to pinch yourself and remember to take it all in as they swoop from beautiful song to mind blowing tune, via a stream of hilarious banter. Two hours with Kevin Dempsey and Joe Broughton can seem like 10 minutes.

The release of Off By Heart is accompanied by a series of intimate dates.

“We’ve been working on this album for some time now, but we wanted to get it just right,” says Joe. “And now feels like the moment – it’s the right time for this material to get out there, and we’re really excited about sharing it with everyone.”

“Superb musicianship, brilliant conception and execution…all you people who think you can jazz-up folk music – hear this and weep!” – Flos Headford

Artists’ website: http://www.joebroughton.com/dempsey-broughton

Listen to ‘Resurrection jack’ here:


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:

RETURN OF THE CROPREDY EXILE – By Dai Jeffries

Whisper this, but I hadn’t been to Fairport’s Cropredy Convention for twenty years. I had felt it was getting too big for my personal comfort – when I first went there was one campsite, now there are seven – but an insistent invitation drew me back this year. In fact what are bigger are the camper vans, the folding chairs and, dare I say, the waistlines. We older and …er…more substantial punters do like our comforts. Some aspects of the festival are more technological and sophisticated. The bar is a marvel of mobile opulence although initially no more efficient than in the days when there was oneWadsworth’s lorry, lots of barrels and one choice of beer. That’s no reflection on the brilliant bar-staff, by the way, but logistics do sometimes let the side down. Continue reading RETURN OF THE CROPREDY EXILE – By Dai Jeffries