ELLIOTT MORRIS – Lost & Found (Dominoes Club DCRCD001)

Lost & FoundAn Anglo-Scot, based in Yorkshire, the soft-voiced Elliott Morris plies a mix of folk and blues that highlight his percussive guitar slapping technique on a collection of originals, collaborations and a couple of traditional reworks. He eases listeners into his debut album, Lost And Found, with the pastoral ambience of ‘Lost’, a brief instrumental etched on acoustic and electric guitars that flows seamlessly into the soothingly sung ‘The End Of The World Blues’, introducing a line-up of backing musicians that include core rhythm section of bassist Bevan Morris and drummer Jack Carrack alongside the latter’s father, Paul, on Hammond, Laura-Beth Salter on mandolin, and fiddle players Innes Watson and Mike Vass, as well as showcasing a bluesy electric guitar solo.

Loosely based on the traditional ‘The Bent Sae Brown’, ‘Sixteen Long Miles’ picks up a shuffling traintime rhythm before suddenly shifting to a slide driven blues boogie reading of the traditional ‘I’m A Stranger’, the lyrics taken from ‘The Strands Of Magilligan’ and ‘The American Stranger’.

‘One More Day’ takes the mood down again for acoustic mid-tempo folksy-pop, the laid back atmosphere continuing through the dreamy summery haze of ‘Sirens’ with its slow waltz shanty melody feel subtly underpinned by Carrack’s Hammond.

The second half of the album title, another instrumental, the spectral progressive folk ‘Found’, with Jim Molyneux on grand piano and Elliott’s John Martyn-like guitar opens the second half of proceedings, leading into the bluesy tinged ‘Looking For Something That Isn’t There’ with its nagging title refrain and chugging bass. Accompanied by twin fiddles. Let It Out is another gently rippling acoustic number, Salter harmonising and subtly complementing on mandolin on a song about taking opportunities when they arise.

The album closes with the first of two co-writes, ‘All Comes Back’ a relaxed, slightly jazz-tinged airy love song co-penned by and featuring Lisbee Stainton on harmonies, while bassist Morris shares credits on ‘Friday Night’, a fast-slow uptempo celebration of good company and fine whisky, guitar and fiddle driving things along as he sings how “a wasted night is not a wasted night with friends.”

This may not prove the important breakthrough album to a winder audience, but it will certainly consolidate his current following and serve as a strong stepping stone to the next move forwards.

Mike Davies

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

‘The End Of The World Blues’ – in the studio:

Elliott Morris announces debut album

Elliott Morris

Lost And Found is the debut album from singer/songwriter and guitarist Elliott Morris. Recorded at Caribou Studios, Scotland and produced by Mattie Foulds, the album is a melting pot of folk, rock, blues and country. Blending progressive, contemporary ingredients with still vibrant British folk and roots traditions, this is folk music for the 21st century.

The album showcases Elliott’s expert percussive acoustic guitar playing, swooping and soulful electric solos, heartfelt lyrics and strong, honest vocals.

And he’s put together an all-star ensemble. Playing alongside are Paul Carrack (Ace, Squeeze, Mike + The Mechanics, Eric Clapton) on Hammond organ, Paul’s son Jack Carrack on drums, Innes Watson (Treacherous Orchestra) and Mike Vass (PRS Scots Trad Composer of the Year, SAY Award Nominee) on fiddles/strings, Laura-Beth Salter (The Shee) on mandolin and vocals, Lisbee Stainton (Seth Lakeman Band) on guitar and vocals, Jim Molyneux (4Square) on piano and Fender Rhodes, Alan Thomson (The John Martyn Band) on fretless bass and Elliott’s brother Bevan Morris (Dallahan, Pons Aelius) on double and electric bass.

Music blog WriteWyattUK proclaimed that Elliott Morris “redefines folk…with a little John Martyn influence delivered in Seth Lakeman style” and BBC 6Music’s Tom Robinson described him as “absurdly talented”.

Lost And Found is released both on CD and on iTunes worldwide on 16th June 2017. Elliott plays a special launch gig at Cecil Sharp House in London on 21st June, and at Café Portico in Lincoln on 30th June.

With hundreds of gigs behind him – and a coveted Danny Kyle Award from Celtic Connections 2013 – Elliott Morris has a formidable reputation as one of the hardest-working and most sought-after young artists on the acoustic scene.

The singer-songwriter, featured in Acoustic magazine as “The Next Big Thing”, taps the strings and beats the guitar’s body to create an intricate spectacle, together with an original and unique sound integral to his songs.

Half English, half Scottish and raised in Wales and Lincolnshire, Elliott is continuing this journey by means of his almost constant touring schedule. He plays across the British Isles, from Orkney to Plymouth, Boston to Llangrannog, Belfast to Clonakilty.

Elliott’s original compositions marry intricate guitar lines with heartfelt, honest vocals and clever wordplay, combining elements of folk, roots, jazz and country, all the time embracing the traditional and the contemporary.

Elliott has honed his craft on the road, regularly clocking up 120+ gigs a year. He has headlined in Germany, Holland, Ireland and Upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London, as well as performing at major festivals such as Cambridge Folk Festival, Hop Farm, Towersey Festival, The London Acoustic Guitar Show and the Ullapool Guitar Festival. He scooped a prestigious Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections in Glasgow, and last year BBC Alba broadcast a duo performance with Dougie Maclean at Perthshire Amber.

Elliott Morris twice toured the UK opening for Paul Carrack (Squeeze, Mike + The Mechanics, Ace, Eric Clapton), taking in over fifty major venues including a show at The London Palladium.

He has also supported a seemingly endless list of other respected acts, among them Frank Turner, Andy McKee, Seth Lakeman, Lau, Big Country, The Levellers, Ed Sheeran, Cara Dillon and Eddi Reader. But now Elliott moves centre stage, the spotlight focused on him.

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 Elliott Morris – Lost And Found 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: www.elliottmorris.co.uk

‘Sirens’ and Elliott’s tour video:

Fraser Shaw – posthumous tune book and CD

Fraser Shaw
The Islay Sessioners

Fraser Shaw was a wonderful piper, whistle player and composer from Glasgow who resided on the Isle of Islay. After his passing in May 2015, a group of friends and family started a Trust in his honour. The foremost aim of the Fraser Shaw Trust is to raise money for the relief of multiple sclerosis, particularly in Argyll, Scotland, through a series of projects and events celebrating Fraser and his music.

A few years before Fraser’s passing, he had it in mind to release a book of his own compositions, the proceeds of which would go towards the MS Care Centre in Lochilphead, Scotland. Unfortunately, due to his illness, this never came to fruition.

Over the last year and a half, the Trust have been working hard to bring this idea to life and release this much anticipated book, along with an album comprised of Fraser’s tunes. In November 2015 a group of musicians gathered on Islay, to play a special memorial concert at Fraser’s festival, The Islay Sessions, thus laying the groundwork for this album. In January 2016 at Celtic Connections this same group of musicians, “The Islay Sessioners”, as they called themselves, performed this music as part of Islay Night, a concert that both celebrated the music and culture of Islay, and the music of Fraser Shaw.

In September 2016, recording began for the album in Castlesound and Carrier Waves Studios. Many of the arrangements heard at Islay Night have been recorded, along with a few additional tracks. Playing on the album are; Adam Sutherland, Eilidh Shaw, Gráinne Brady, Lori Watson, Innes Watson, Angus MacKenzie, Calum MacCrimmon, Kevin O’Neill, John Somerville, Laura-Beth Salter, Jenn Butterworth, Ross Martin, Tina Jordan Rees, Duncan Lyall, with very special guests; Kathleen Graham, Mhairi Hall and Ross Couper.

The Fraser Shaw Trust is delighted to announce the release of the book and CD on Tuesday June 27th 2017, with a big launch on the Isle of Islay to mark the occasion. The event will take plce in Bruichladdich Hall, with a concert featuring the musicians on the album. A second launch in Glasgow is set for Monday August 7th in St Luke’s Church as part of Piping Live!

Hard copies of Fraser’s CD will be available exclusively at the pre-launch party which will take place in The Sparkle Horse, Glasgow on Tuesday May 16th. Tickets for launch concerts and pre-orders will be for sale online from May 16th through the website – www.FraserShawTrust.com.

Proceeds of the tunebook will go directly towards the MS Care Centre in Lochilphead. Proceeds of the album and further donations will be used for the advancement of education, arts and culture and for the relief of those living with multiple sclerosis in Scotland, particularly on the Isle of Islay.

JENN & LAURA-BETH – Bound (JBLB Records JBLB01)

BoundJenn Butterworth and Laura-Beth Salter have worked as a duo for eight years but Bound is their first album as a duo. The reason for this is simple; they have been far too busy. Jenn has worked with Anna Massie and the Rachel Hair Trio and most recently as a member of the collective that produced Songs Of Separation. Laura-Beth is a founding member of The Shee and has played alongside Frigg and Shooglenifty.

Bound is a mixture of Jenn’s Scottish roots and Laura-Beth’s fondness for Americana. With just two voices, guitar and mandolin, the album was recorded as live and the dynamism of their playing leaps off the plastic.  I don’t believe that ‘If I Had A Lover’ sounds anything like the way Bert Jansch envisaged it now it’s mixed with Jenn’s tune ‘The Belle Of The Ball’ but it’s great. Boo Hewerdine’s ‘Wings On My Heels’ was taken up by Eddi Reader and it wasn’t one of my favourites. Jenn and Laura-Beth make it much more country with their harmonies and I feel rather better about this reading of it. ‘The Great Divide’ by the late Kate Wolf is a lovely song by a relatively unknown writer.

Laura-Beth’s song, ‘The Braver One’, should be widely heard. Its theme is that it takes a brave person to go against the tide of popular opinion and not join the rabble even though you might sort-of agree with their viewpoint. It’s a complex idea and Laura-Beth expresses it so much better than I could. Then we have the instrumental sets. Their pairing of two originals, ‘1,2,3,4’ and ‘Joseph Salter’s’ sees them trade lead and accompaniment between guitar and mandolin, a trick they use quite often although ‘Apple At The Crossroads/Elzwick’s Farewell’ is really Laura-Beth’s chance to show off.

As a debut, Bound has been a long time coming; let’s hope we don’t have to wait so long for the follow-up.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website: http://www.jennandlb.com/

‘The Great Divide’ live:

Jenn & Laura-Beth announce debut album, Bound

Jenn & Laura-Beth

Jenn Butterworth (guitar and voice) and Laura-Beth Salter (mandolin and voice) have each been a presence on the UK folk scene for a number of years. They were brought together by the close-knit and progressive Glasgow folk music community, spending lots of their time jamming an eclectic mix of folk music from across the globe, particularly the UK, Scandinavia and America. The years of playing together brought a deep affinity between the two artists; their rhythms lock tightly, their voices blend so closely that it’s often hard to tell them apart. They have developed a natural telepathy: two musicians bound together.

Their debut release Bound is a celebration of the last eight years of the duo. It contains some old favourites, such as ‘Come To Jesus’ and ‘Elzwick’s’, and newer arrangements created for the album such as ‘The Braver One’ and ‘Let the Sun Shine Down On Me’. Arranged entirely by the duo, the album contains some self-penned work, some re-invention of older tunes and songs, and some more recent covers, such as Boo Hewerdine’s ‘Wings On My Heels’. When Jenn and Laura-Beth set out to record this album, they felt it was important to keep things simple. They wanted capture the raw energy of their live gigs and wanted the recording to feel natural. The way they play on the album is the way they play live; for the most part the tracks were recorded either live in the same room, or facing each other through a glass door. The album was recorded at Carrier Waves Studios in Glasgow, engineered by Keir Long and mastered at Castlesound Studios in Pencaitland.

“Our brand new debut album, Bound, is a representation of the last eight fantastic years of playing together. A snapshot of where we have come from and where we are now. We hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we have enjoyed playing and recording it.” Jenn & Laura-Beth

Laura-Beth is a founding member of renowned folk band, The Shee, and has also toured extensively with bands such as Frigg, Shooglenifty and Dougie MacLean’s The MacLean Project. In 2013 she was nominated for the MG Alba Scots Trad Awards Composer of the Year award after the success of her Celtic Connections commission and debut album, Breathe.

Jenn Butterworth is one of the UK’s foremost folk guitarists. She began her career touring worldwide with award winning Anna Massie Band, and has gone on to perform with well regarded acts such as Fiddlers’ Bid, Phil Cunningham and the highly acclaimed Songs of Separation.

Artists’ website: www.jennandlb.com

‘The Scottish Situation’:

Doghouse Roses announce new album

doghouse roses

Glasgow’s Doghouse Roses once more present their unique take on contemporary folk and reaffirm that they are “Something a little bit special” (The List) with the release of their long-awaited third studio album Lost Is Not Losing.

In 2014, an invitation to open for Television brought the pairing back to the stage for the first time in almost two years. Inevitably, this lead to the realisation that both had been unintentionally writing songs destined for the duo. Once seasoned with the progressive fingerpicking of Paul Tasker’s guitar and the impelling vocal delivery of Iona Macdonald, recording became the next step. Whilst the almost constant comparisons to Sandy Denny and Bert Jansch might leave some to expect yet another attempt at reviving the folk revival of the 1960’s, the colours on display here are contemporary reflections.

‘Pour’, is a defiant and quirky opening track, telling a tangled tale of love and alcoholism, brought to life by Craig Laurie on drums and Stephen McGourty on bass. ‘Feed the Monster’, ‘New Year Rag’ and ‘After Sun’ are overtly political, but without the oft dictatorial edge of protest songs. “Life is political”, according to Iona. “Politics isn’t about detached politicians. It’s about how we choose to live our lives every day and how we choose to treat the people and the world around us. It’s about the questions we ask.”

The band shifts into classic country territory for the leaving song, ‘Diesel Engine’ complete with guest co-lead vocal from Biff Smith of A New International and stinging lead guitar from Slovenian virtuoso Dejan Lapanja. Backing vocals are provided by Jo Shaw and Katie Macarthur, who also perfectly complements Iona Macdonald’s voice by providing harmonies on the ballad of a former prostitute, ‘Fairground’. John Alexander adds acoustic guitar to ‘ To Decide’ and ‘Days of Grass and Sun’, and the album is fully realised by Laura-Beth Salter on mandolin and Jez Hellard on harmonica.

There is often dark humour and a rich seam of inspiration to be found when life leads you off the beaten track, through the dark cities and scattered bars of ‘Lost Is Not Losing’. For an album that is borne from tales of the road, it is only fitting that Tasker and Macdonald take the songs back to their breeding ground as they embark on a German tour in the winter, with UK dates to follow in April 2017

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 Doghouse Roses 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: http://doghouseroses.net/

‘I’m Gonna Drink’ – official video: