SINGLES BAR

A round-up of recent  EPs and singles

Strawberry MoonRESIDENT ALIEN is an apt name for Russian-born songwriter/musician Daniel Herzog. Now based in London, Daniel released his first album in 2010 and now he is partnered by Chris Pepper and supported by Stephen Picard who co-wrote the final track, ‘Circle Without End’, on which he plays acoustic guitar and which features a really nice electric solo. The title track of his EP Strawberry Moon is a little radio-friendly but ‘Child Of The City is the star turn here.
http://residentalienband/

RealityNineteen-year-old FINLAY LESLIE releases her debut single, ‘Reality’ next week. Originally from Dover, Finlay is a member of the YouTube generation which is where her break came. She plays acoustic guitar and the backing is built up on a foundation of piano and bass which never threaten to overwhelm the song. There seems to be great deal of youthful angst in ‘Reality’ but it has to be said that Finlay’s diction is not her greatest asset and too much of the lyric is lost.
https://www.facebook.com/Finlaylesliemusic/

Tide & TimeKITTY MACFARLANE has some impressive friends including Sam Kelly who produced her debut EP, Tide & Time, Jamie Francis, Lukas Drinkwater and Ciaran Algar – that’s a pretty good band. Kitty is from Somerset and has an affinity with the sea. ‘Wrecking Days’ is a story of beachcombing and the title track was inspired by Normandy oyster fishermen while ‘Lamb’, based on a poem by William Blake, evokes a stretch of the Somerset coast. ‘Bus Song’ brings us inland and anyone who has lived out in the country will identify with it. Finally, Tim Buckley’s ‘Song To The Siren’ uses the sea as a metaphor for lost love. Kitty has a strong voice and way with a lyric that makes her a name to watch.
www.kittymacfarlane.com

Ha Ha Haf‘Ha Ha Haf’ is the debut release from Welsh band OMALOMA – George Amor, Daf Owain, Gruff ab Arwel and Llyr Pari. It’s a happy, poppy, almost psychedelic song for summer big on keyboards with a clever instrumental break that comes in at about the ninety second mark.
http://www.recordiaucaegwyn.com/

Julie FelixHers may be a name from the past but JULIE FELIX has her finger on the pulse of the contemporary folk scene. Her first single (download only) for Foskett’s Folk Factory is a gorgeous cover of Peter Knight’s song, ‘From A Lullaby Kiss’. Peter plays violin on the track and Julie’s voice is immediately recognisable although like Joan Baez and Maddy Prior she has a lower register now with the power that goes with that richness of tone. Although Julie has never stopped working her profile has been far too low recently. Let us hope that this release does something to address that.
http://www.foskettsfolkfactory.com/

CIARAN ALGAR – The Final Waltz (Fellside FECD270)

CIARAN ALGAR The Final WaltzThe Final Waltz is Ciaran Algar’s debut solo album – something to do in his gap year, allegedly – and it’s sort of what you’d expect but, then again, not really. We know Ciaran as a particularly fine multi-instrumentalist and he has added to his band another in shape of Toby Shaer with Eden Longson on drums, Giles Deacon on keyboards and Sam Kelly, who shares the vocal duties with Kitty Macfarlane. There are four songs in the set, three of them written by Ciaran but he sings only one. Quite why he decided this I can’t tell –he has a very characterful voice, albeit not as polished as Sam’s, but well suited to the material.

The songs give Ciaran a chance to stretch his arranging talents – and those of his band – away from the traditional tunes for which he is better known. All the subtlety of which he is capable comes out in ‘The Final Waltz’ and the downbeat sentiment of ‘Our Home Now’ but then we are immediately whisked away into the gaiety of a set like ‘The Luck Penny’ before ‘Until We Meet Again’ takes the mood down again.

Having set an emotional pattern on the album, Ciaran reverses it with a relatively upbeat song, ‘Locks’, followed by the desolate beauty of ‘The Wild Geese’. I like everything on this album and I’ve spent time thinking about how I would sequence it to balance the highs and lows – and of course, I couldn’t do any better. You just have to climb aboard and go with it.

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 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.

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

‘Our Home Now’:

SAM KELLY The Lost Boys

SAM KELLY The Lost BoysThis is the album that the folk world has been awaiting for months, given Sam Kelly’s unique musical history and his seemingly putting his solo career on hold to work with The Changing Room.

The Lost Boys are an expanded Sam Kelly Trio with Ciaran Algar and Graham Coe joining Jamie Francis and Evan Carson and further contributions from fellow Stark Josh Franklin, who also co-produced the album, plus Lukas Drinkwater and Kitty Macfarlane.

The album opens with ‘Jolly Waggoners’, one of the chorus songs we used to roar out in the sixties. Sam takes a more considered approach to it, tweaking the tune a little here and there and revealing that the words are still relevant – “the folks in power pay no heed to the likes of me and you”.

Jamie Francis’ alt-blues affiliations come to the fore in the arrangements of ‘Little Sadie’, ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ and ‘The King’s Shilling’, which is traditional but makes you think it isn’t. His banjo is the dominant instrument on several tracks and, with Carson’s drums going flat out the final track, ‘Dullahan’, is pure folk-rock. At the other end of the spectrum ‘Down By The Salley Gardens’ enjoys a quite conventional pastoral arrangement. Kelly and Francis share the writing and arranging, with Francis contributing ‘Six Miners’ (despite the cover credit I don’t believe he wrote ‘Banish Misfortune’) and Kelly writing ‘Spokes’ while they share the credit for ‘Eyes Of Men’ and ‘Dullahan’.

This is a really good album from start to finish, well programmed with its first peak at ‘Little Sadie’, a “false” climax at ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ and a big finish at the very end. The arrangements are inventive without detracting from the essence of the songs. Their setting of ‘The Golden Vanity’ seems much too jaunty at first but just like everything else here it works. The Lost Boys is going to be huge.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to download a copy of the track or just listen to snippet of it 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.

Artist’s website: www.samkelly.org

Sam and Jamie perform ‘Eyes Of Men’ – Songs From The Shed:

Sam Kelly introduces The Lost Boys

Sam Kelly introduces The Lost Boys

The widely anticipated debut full-length album, The Lost Boys, from folk singer and multi-instrumentalist Sam Kelly is due for release on 19th November 2015. The album promises to take the listener to all corners of the British Isles, across the Atlantic, and back again on a musical journey led by Sam’s expert vocals, tasteful arrangements, and high-class instrumental performances. Tender, heart-breaking ballads rub shoulders with dynamic, riff-based folk rock in an exciting mix of traditional and original material.

Touring as The Sam Kelly Trio for the past three years Sam is omnipresent amongst the folk music scene. The trio includes Jamie Francis on banjo and Evan Carson on percussion. Two new band members, Ciaran Algar on fiddle and Graham Coe on cello join the fold to create a full, authentic roots vibe for the album.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with the amazing folk scene we have in this country for the past three years. Huge festival bands, young musicians like myself, and people singing floor spots in tiny folk clubs have all inspired me in equal measure, and this album is a musical montage of all my favourite memories and experiences so far,” explains Sam.

Sam has also honed his skills as a producer under the watchful eyes of Sam and Sean Lakeman, and this album is produced and recorded by himself, Joshua Franklin, and Jamie Francis. It also also features the mixing and mastering talents of Stu Hanna (Megson), and guest musicians Lukas Drinkwater and Kitty Macfarlane.

The Lost Boys has been widely anticipated by both his peers and a dedicated fan base and is the culmination of what has been an incredibly successful year for Sam. Nominated Best Singer 2015 Spiral Earth Awards, numerous plays on Radio 2 and 3 including a live session and interview on the Mark Radcliffe show, features in R2, fRoots, Living Tradition and Fatea magazines, and much more. It’s easy to see why he has already been tipped for greatness by the likes of Mike Harding and Cara Dillon.

Billed as Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys, the five piece will be taking the album on tour in 2016 and cementing Sam’s place as one of the most exciting young prospects on the British folk scene.

Artist’s website: www.samkelly.org

‘Jolly Waggoners/Banish Misfortune’ – Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys: