JOHNNY COPPIN – All On A Winter’s Night (Red Sky Records RSKCD121)

all on a winter's nightChristmas is nearly upon us, and acclaimed Gloucestershire singer/ songwriter and Radio Gloucester presenter, Johnny Coppin is currently on his annual tour taking the All On A Winter’s Night Christmas concert to various place in the country. Johnny has been doing a run of Christmas concerts in December for a number of years, with various musicians in his band such as Paul Burgess, Dik Cadbury, Karen Tweed, and Geoff March. Sadly missing is the guitar playing of Mick Dolan, who died in 2014, and who had played in bands with Johnny for a number of years, going back to his Decameron days.

Johnny decided to put some of the lovely songs which are played at these concerts on an album, and it has now just been released.  All of the above artists play on the new album with the addition of Steve Trigg on flugelhorn and trumpet and percussionist David Pickering-Pick.

This album is a real treat to listen to, a selection of songs that warm you for the Festive season and midwinter.  Johnny has a lovely melodic voice that brings out the best in all these tunes, whilst playing his haunting keyboard in his own inimitable way.  I’m not a big fan of Christmas, but love this album, as it takes us back to the true value and meaning of Christmas.  Not about rushing out to feed retail outlets and less meaningful things.  It’s about the true tradition and anticipation of Christmas, of family and reunions, of loved ones not present, The Nativity and all things of midwinter including warm fires!

The tracks included on the album are ‘All On A Winter’s Night’ – a lovely intro, that conveys the joy of anticipation of Christmas, ‘Counting The Hours To Christmas’ – a song of reunion, ‘The Christmas Star’ ( by Kimmie Rhodes) which is one of my favourite tracks, ‘Halsway Carol’ (by Nigel Eaton) named so after Halsway Manor – the National Centre for Folk Arts based in Somerset, ‘Welcome In Another Year’ (by Zoe Mulford), ‘A Connemara Christmas’ written by the late Mick Dolan, especially for the Christmas shows, ‘Snow In The Street’ (from a poem by William Morris), and classics like ‘God Rest You Merry Gentlemen’, the traditional carol ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’ (to Gustav Holst’s tune ‘Cranham’) which we all know and which is a fabulous version on this album, ‘Gabriel’s Message’ (A Basque carol with English words by the Reverend Sabine Baring Gould from Devon), and ‘O Holy Night’ – which you may not know – is a 19th century carol.

All the photos on the album are by Martin Fry, who does the amazing pictures for the Christmas shows and the album is on sale at the Christmas concerts in December 2016. Alternatively purchase through Johnny’s website where you can also find out where Johnny is out on tour.

Jean Camp

Artist’s website: https://johnnycoppin.wordpress.com

PAUL ARMFIELD Found (PSA Records)

PAUL ARMFIELD Found (PSA Records)Born in Birmingham and now based in the Isle of Wight, singer-songwriter Armfield’s sixth album is a collection of 15 songs inspired by photographs found over the years by his friend, Elinor, in the flea-markets of Berlin.

Held in high regard by Guy Garvey and Chris Difford, Armfield’s a workmanlike craftsman and storyteller in the manner of McTell, Scott Walker and Harvey Andrews, his voice smoky and warm, his delivery relaxed, his guitar playing deft but unshowy and his heart on his sleeve.

Opening with ‘Elinor’s Eyes’, a finger-picked acoustic nod to the album’s inspiration, it first shifts into up-tempo jazzy mode with the double-bass driven ‘Of Sky And Sea And Sand’ and then to the swirling strings, harp, brass and woodwind arrangement of ‘The Dubious Trinity’ which, inspired by a snap of three women on the parapet of a church, makes reference to Cohen’s ‘Sisters of Mercy’.

Like Walker, Armfield has been a Jacques Brel interpreter, and you can hear the influence on the likes of the gossamer ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘Wind-Up Gramophone’, while, elsewhere, the two-minute, woodwind-streaked ‘The Secateur Sisters’ conjures the serious side of Jake Thakray and ‘Reflected In My Heart’ is a yearning, Gaelic-tinted piano and military drum beat slow march.

As they say, every picture tells a story, and, one of three tracks featuring Karen Tweed on accordion, ‘Round The Tree’, a rousing, brass-burnished Christmas family and friends gathering song, offers a striking contrast to the poignant, sadness-soaked melancholy of ‘Beneath The War Memorial’, while, with flamenco-coloured guitar melody and mournful violin, ‘The Boy In The Picture’ muses on the fate of a child taken in 1942. Snapshots of time, there is no record of who the people in the photographs were, but, through Armfield’s songs and imagination, they have been given life anew.

The Found photos are being exhibited at Dimbola Lodge, the former Isle of Wight home of pioneering Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, until the end of the year and at the Spring Arts Centre in Havant until the end of November, while the album is being released in a limited signed and numbered edition of 1000, in a matt black box containing the CD and 16 postcards featuring the photographs and the lyrics.

Mike Davies

If you would like to order a copy of the album, 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.

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

Found – the preview:

Johnny Coppin – Borderland (Red Sky Records RSKCD120)

BorderlandJohnny Coppin’s latest album, Borderland, is a collection of songs from England, Ireland Wales and the US. Johnny also has an impressive list of guests singing and playing on the album – Karen Tweed, Paul Burgess, Mike Silver, Geoff March, John Neilson, Kevin Harcourt and David Pickering Pick who all have their own successful careers in their own right.

Borderland is a stripped-down acoustic album with a ‘live’ feel.  Shut your eyes and you have him in your living room or as a passenger in your car. The songs are about ‘real’ people and experiences, about war, romance and feelings. Twelve songs for your delectation and all of them are superb.  The three songs in the “war” section are gut-wrenching and bring home the horrors of WW1 and dreaming of home, lying about their age to get to the front and death. I love Johnny’s voice as it is melodic, haunting and just plain fabulous, and he has done a great justice to this album, also playing guitars and piano in his own inimitable graceful style.

The other nine tracks include arrangements of traditional songs.  Self penned numbers include ‘When The Morning’s Here’, ‘Cariad Cyntaf (First Love)’ and the title track tune ‘Borderland’ in collaboration with John Neilson.

This album has not been off my player and is already a favourite in my extensive music collection.  Do buy the album, and better still, go see him live! Borderland was produced by having sponsors who are all mentioned on the album cover, and the cover and booklet illustrations were exquisitely produced by Johnny’s partner Katharine Neilson, with design by John Neilson. Very pleasantly packaged and presented.

Johnny will be taking his album out on a tour in the spring of 2014, and the official release date of the album is April 7th. A regular Festival favourite, Johnny also has his own long running successful Acoustic Music show on Radio Gloucestershire every Saturday at 17.30.

Jean Camp

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. Ordering through folking.com / folking.org helps us to earn a few pennies to contribute to the sites running costs.

Check out his website for live gigs: johnnycoppin.co.uk

KAREN TWEED – Essentially Invisible To The Eye – MAY MORNING ADVENTURES MMA6327002

“A novel, an autobiography, a casserole and as close to a self portrait as I am able to create”: Karen Tweed’s own words on the cover of this remarkable solo album. Traditional tunes, original compositions and music from all over the world come together in five long sets.

For the autobiography we must start with ‘Edelweiss’ and ‘Que Sera Sera’, part of ‘Karine’ – all the tracks are named after people, a homage to The Enigma Variations, perhaps – which we can imagine as part of Karen’s childhood. In fact, Karine might really be Karen and Aidan O’Rouke’s ‘Mattie And Karine’s’ from which the set takes its name might just be a happy coincidence. Continue reading KAREN TWEED – Essentially Invisible To The Eye – MAY MORNING ADVENTURES MMA6327002

Karen Tweed – Essentially Invisible to the Eye

ESSENTIALLY INVISIBLE TO THE EYE is Karen Tweed’s latest recording and, in being entirely solo, is a departure from her extensive collaborative work which has dominated her career since the early 1990s.

Born in London in 1963 to an Irish mother and English father, Karen took up the accordion at the age of eleven. Since turning professional in the late 1980s, she has appeared on over thirty albums from her early days with The Kathryn Tickell Band to being a founding member of the pioneering all female Poozies, through the Anglo-Swedish ensemble SWAP, American collaboration Undertoe with Stuart Kenney, Marko Packard and Rodney Miller, to The Two Duos Quartet with Andy Cutting, Chris Wood and Ian Carr. Karen’s duo work with Ian Carr, Andy Cutting and also Roger Wilson and John Dipper has left many an audience mesmerised at her breathtaking musicianship, while her trios with Hannah James and Becky Price in Hell Said The Duchess and with Carolyn Robson and Kevin Dempsey are more examples of her diversity and creativity. Continue reading Karen Tweed – Essentially Invisible to the Eye