KTandSide‘Kathryn Tickell & The Side’
Release Date: 29th September 2014
Label: Resilient Records RES006 (Proper Distribution)

Kathryn Tickell & The Side features Kathryn Tickell on Northumbrian pipes, fiddle and voice; Louisa Tuck (Royal Northern Sinfonia) cello; Amy Thatcher, accordion and voice and Ruth Wall, harps (lever, bray, wire-strung) and voice.

When world-renowned Northumbrian piping virtuoso Kathryn Tickell decided to put a new band together, she wasn’t going to let a mere 600 mile round trip for rehearsals stand in her way (Ruth, the harpist, lives in Cornwall, the rest of the band are in Northumberland) nor was she daunted by the fact that cellist Louisa already had a full-time job with Royal Northern Sinfonia. “These are the musicians I wanted to work with” she says “and the best things in life are not always the easiest!” Eighteen months later, that determination and focus has paid dividends with the release of the ensemble’s eponymous debut album Kathryn Tickell & The Side which will be released on 29th September, followed by a UK tour in October / November.

You may be tempted to think that this is a band of two halves – the folk (Kathryn and Amy) and the classical (Louisa and Ruth). However, when you experience the music you realise that Kathryn Tickell has created a beautifully integrated ensemble. Coming from very different musical backgrounds, these four strong-willed women each bring different influences to bear on the music, exploring new sounds and musical territories, resulting in an album that positively celebrates the cross-fertilisation of ideas and musical genres, whilst still sounding entirely natural. This is also, quite possibly, the only folk album with over 35 BBC Proms appearances between the four band members!

Kathryn Tickell & The Side comprises eleven original pieces by Kathryn Tickell, one by Amy Thatcher, two classical pieces and two traditional folk tunes. The music – as you would imagine – is deeply rooted in the landscape and history of Northumbria.  ‘Dark Skies Waltzcelebrates the area between Hadrian’s Wall and the Scottish border being awarded ‘Dark Sky status’ making it the largest area of protected night sky in Europe. ‘Bonny Breezes’ takes its inspiration from the Northumbrian song ‘Blow the Wind Southerly’. ‘Ad Gefrin’ was inspired by the royal palace of the Kings of Northumbria and brings together the ancient and modern, combining the sound of Ruth Wall’s buzzing Gothic bray harp with occasional echoes from guest Dominic Miller’s electric guitar. Although primarily an instrumental ensemble, The Side include one song on the CD, the intriguing ‘Queen of Pleasure’ (based on a poem by Charles Algernon Swinburne).

Kathryn Tickell & The Side is a tour de force of lush soundscapes, stark lines and rich textures and, of course, stunning musicianship. The album also showcases Kathryn’s skill as a composer: she’s always been able to write a great tune, but here she truly raises the bar.

Kathryn Tickell & The Side also features two special guests from the Royal Northern Sinfonia – percussionist Marney O’Sullivan and violinist (and leader of the orchestra) Bradley Creswick, as well as some tasty guitar work from Sting’s long-time guitarist Dominic Miller.

“Britain’s most celebrated traditional musician and the world’s foremost virtuoso on the Northumbrian pipes… I can’t remember feeling so exhilarated by such a match of music and landscape.” Richard Morrison, The Times

Artist’s website: www.kathryntickell.com


TYDE set to release The Hidden Spoon on Mrs Casey Records 1 April 2013

TydeAcclaimed folk trio Tyde release their much anticipated second album, The Hidden Spoon, on pre-release now via Mrs Casey Music and the bands’ website, and available through all major outlets on 1 April 2013.

Demonstrating a newfound maturity, the collection combines traditional energetic jigs and reels, such as album opener Pietros, with carefully arranged songs.

Instrumental Skytehound Pt I & II seamlessly blends Irish concertina player Niall Vallely’s Mullacreevie with a self-penned tune, while the contemplative Evening Solace sets a verse by Charlotte Bronte to original music, and Katrina recounts the true story of how New Orleans rebuilt itself after 2005’s devastating hurricane. Though they remain rooted in the Scottish and Irish folk traditions, the surprising Haslemere even features a subtle Americana influence.

With all three members now contributing vocals, and with the addition of percussionist Jim Molyneux (4Square, The Old Dance School) and bassist, Pete Thomas (Megan Henwood) on several tracks, the energetic and considered Hidden Spoon clearly finds Tyde upping their game.

“It definitely shows a more mature sound,” says Heather. “We do raucous tunes …  and also complicated and interesting to listen to tracks, but ultimately the progression is in the songs.”

“We’ve all got better as musicians,” reckons Andrew. “We were quite young when we did the first one. For me it’s taken a few years to be more comfortable in the studio, to get more confident. We didn’t know much during the recording of the first album. With this one we were more involved with everything.”

“With the addition of bass and drums, it’s more energetic,” confirms Seth. “The last record felt a bit safe – there’s more of an edge to this one.”

Based in the North East of England and Scottish Borders and formed from members of Kathryn Tickell’s famed Folkestra project – a regional youth ensemble based at The Sage Gateshead – Andrew Waite (accordion), Heather Gessey (fiddle, vocals) and Seth Tinsley (guitar, double bass, vocals) first caused a stir as finalists at the 2009 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards. Their self-titled debut album arrived in early 2010 to widespread acclaim, supported by a period of heavy gigging and major festivals.


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.

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Folk Awards 2013 (Proper Music Properfolk14)

Folk Awards 2013Glorious…there’s no other word to describe it. Opening with every folk fans favourite band of ragamuffins Bellowhead and “Roll The Woodpile Down” this 3 CD compilation of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards positively blasts forth heralding the achievements of all concerned. We in the folk world have a lot to be grateful for and the inclusion of (amongst others) Hannah James & Sam Sweeney, Gilmore & Roberts and Kathryn Tickell show how they can ‘acoustically’ kick butt along with ‘rock’ music’s finest. It brings a beaming smile to my face to feel privileged as I do that my enjoyment of this much maligned genre really can give every other form of music a run for its money and that recording’s like this will hopefully inspire the next generation to pick up the baton and run with it. Mind you…before I sign off (heartily recommending that you purchase a copy of the album) I’d like to credit Smooth Operations Jon Lewis on whose shoulders rest the unenviable task of selecting this compilation as it must have been an agonising decision choosing only one track from each of the featured artists plus the bonus ten track CD of the Young Folk Award contenders. Finally, Proper Music and the production team led by the legendary Brian Ledgard have to be congratulated for their support each year in allowing ‘our’ music such a fantastic shop window (and not a hint of Mary Portas in sight) in which to showcase such astonishing talent.


If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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.

KATHRYN TICKELL – Northumbrian Voices (Park Records PRKCD121)

KATHRYN TICKELL Northumbrian VoicesThere can be nobody prouder than a father and raconteur (Mike Tickell) witnessing his daughter entertaining an audience from centre stage and in this case the daughter (Kathryn Tickell) vice-versa. That much is obvious from the camaraderie of everyone involved on this wonderfully crafted 2-disk set from those very fine chaps at Park Records. Now, where do you place a recording that would comfortably settle on either an audio book or music CD shelf? Well, for me it sits alongside my previous recordings of her albums of which I profess to own most of them. Although internationally recognised for her achievements in ‘folk’ music circles as one of its major driving forces when it comes to her native Northumbria this beautiful part of the North-East couldn’t find a better ambassador. After sifting through many old cassettes Kathryn had the unenviable task of selecting certain recordings that represented her friends, family and neighbours. With respect, that part of the process must have been made easy as all involved impart their wit and wisdom with such convivial jocularity that you’ll wish you could have been there in person. For those of us lucky enough to witness the ‘Border Shepherds’ (Willie Taylor, Will Atkinson and Joe Hutton) in the early 80’s have much to be thankful for and it’s a treat to be reminded of their gentle banter and good humour celebrated by Martin Simpson’s song simply titled “Will Atkinson” and sung acapella by the girls. Talking of which…hearty congratulations all round to Tickell’s accompanying musicians; Hannah Rickard (fiddle), Kit Haigh (guitar), Patsy Reid (fiddle), Julian Sutton (melodeon), David McCracken (voice) and Amy Thatcher’s piano accordion. This album was obviously a labour of love and one that will warmly embrace the listener like a freshly stoked fire and if somebody can kindly get my slippers, pipe and bottle of Newcastle Brown I’ll be an even happier man. Finally…anyone who can complement me on my use of polyrhythm guitar (and know what they’re talking about) at Gosport & Fareham Festival is alright in my books!


Artist web links: www.kathryntickell.com

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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.

KATHRYN TICKELL – The Best Of Kathryn Tickell (Park Records PRKCD107)

I was first introduced to the wonderful sound of Northumbrian Smallpipes on hearing a recording by the High Level Ranters over thirty years ago. Colin Ross and particularly Alistair Anderson were both influential in helping broaden my audio tastes and that continues to this day with the prodigious talents of Kathryn Tickell. Most recently spotted as part of Sting’s entourage I’d forgotten how much I personally missed hearing the smallpipes as part of an ensemble and how easily they cut through the many layered sounds of a ‘band’. It’s the distinctively delicious Northern burr of the instrument much like the Geordie dialect that sets it apart and delivers to its audience a pleasurable, warm feeling. Opening with the melancholic setting of the self-penned tune “Our Kate” leading into the buoyant “Welcome Home” the pipes feature prominently throughout the recording and followed by the digitally demanding “Lads Of Alnwick/Sunderland Lasses/Peacocks March” Kathryn leaves you in no doubt that there is fighting spirit in the exquisite smaller relation to its more brutish cousin the Scottish Highland pipes. Having collected all of our heroine’s albums to date (of which there isn’t a duff one) I’d be hard pushed in choosing my favourites and, as Kathryn states in the sleeve-notes this isn’t really a “best of” but her personal choice of favourites (at present) from throughout her glittering twenty four years recording career. If you’re just starting out on a voyage of musical discovery or are already a fan of this beautiful instrument why not purchase a copy of this great 2-disk ‘calling card’…you won’t be disappointed! www.kathryntickell.com PETE FYFE