Keith James tours The Songs Of Leonard Cohen

www.keith-james.com

His wonderful Tower of Songs
Stripped back, desolate, naked and sensual

Born 1934 into a traditional Jewish family from Montreal Canada, Leonard Cohen can now be described as one of the most accomplished and celebrated singer-song writers and poets of our time. He published his first book of poetry in 1956, but it was from 1960 during his time spent on the Greek Island of Hydra that his hedonistic genius as a songwriter began to emerge. In true bohemian style, he returned from Greece, by all accounts, penniless and joined, almost by accident, the folk revival that existed in Greenwich Village, New York during the mid-60s. During these years he penned the poetic and deeply moving songs that were to change not only his life, but the lives of an entire generation of fans – those of an acoustic music listening counterculture that prevailed at that time across most of the western world. The rest, as they say, is history.

The core of his writing focused on the deepest of thoughts and feelings known to man; such as sexuality, complex interpersonal relationships, war, religion and morality. Cohen was highly regarded by critics for his lucid, rich, often daring lyrics.

He produced intimate compositions of high artistic quality across 14 studio Albums during a five decade career. His last Album You want it Darker was released just 3 weeks before he died aged 82 and occupied top Album chart positions for many weeks after.

It was a chilling announcement when the world lost this enigmatic and mysterious Man. Within every line of his writing, he had been challenging us to listen more carefully, speak more thoughtfully, think more deeply and recognize our own failings. Leonard Cohen was an unflinching character, with an exact sense of prose, a wry humour and courage to wrestle with the unspoken, forgiving human frailty with the brush of each line. He was a Man of Grace and we will miss him very much.

With a lifetime reputation of performing in this exact way and an undying love of the ‘pure song’ Keith James gives you a concert of Cohen’s amazing material in the most intimate and sensitive way imaginable, exposing the solitary inner strength of his greatest songs in their original perfect form.
Nick Drake songs

“I have paired each song back to it’s central core and original sense of purpose by performing each song as near to the way it was originally written, exposing Cohen’s unprecedented sense of humanity. I have given a great deal of individual thought to each song; why it was written, where it was written and have considered the dynamic forces, both internal and worldly that has brought pen to paper”

Amongst a concert of such songs as; Famous Blue Raincoat, Sisters of Mercy, Suzanne and Hallelujah, are also Poems by Lorca that Keith has set to music; Cohen’s greatest influence. There will also be songs from ‘You want it Darker’ released only 2 weeks before his death – produced by his Son, Adam.

Over the past six years, Keith has performed an extensive tour of this concert in Theatres and Arts Centres across the UK, giving almost 400 concerts to what has amounted to more than 100,000 people. Singing his bare and passionate interpretations of these masterfully written songs has proved to be one of the greatest honours in Keith James’ 40 year career in music. Keith lives in Powys, Wales and Andalucia, Spain.

‘Some of the most atmospheric and emotive music you will ever hear’ The Independent

‘Keith James has become a pillar of trust. A sublimely intimate and engaging voice’ Sunday Times

‘an elegant and beautifully crafted reinterpretation of a great Artist’s words’ BBC Radio Scotland

‘certainly the UK’s most celebrated and evocative interpreter of golden music’ The Guardian

‘a sensitive and pleasingly understated delivery, all the better that the songs might speak for themselves’ Acoustic Magazine

BARB JUNGR- Hard Rain (Krystalyn Records KLCD1P)

CDHardRainsquare_110454I’m a sucker for covers albums particularly when Bob Dylan is involved. Some are good, some are dreadful but they all have something to recommend them. Add Leonard Cohen to the mix and I begin to salivate.

Barb Jungr has the ability to take a well-known song and make it her own. With early Dylan and, indeed, early Cohen it’s not difficult to move away from the original – a single acoustic guitar and a somewhat metronomic delivery is easy to soup up. It worked for The Byrds. Barb starts by completely ignoring the originals although later Cohen songs like ‘First We Take Manhattan’ and ‘1000 Kisses Deep’ suit her perfectly as they are. She imbues ‘Hard Rain’ with a bitterness that Dylan only hints at and takes the torrent of words that is ‘It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)’ and, by enunciating each one clearly, makes perfect sense of the song.

The music is piano-led with mostly hand percussion. Add a flute (actually shakuhachi) and it’s west-coast hippy with a hint of jazz – ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’, for example – add stand-up bass and it’s more late-50s beatnik in a smoky dive – that’s where ‘Everybody Knows’ comes from. All the arrangements are understated, though, the songs and the voice are the important ingredients but they always feel right for the song. This is knockout album.

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

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

 

Barb Jungr – new album and making of video

CDHardRainsquare_110454The UK’s finest interpreter of song, Barb Jungr returns to the songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen with the release of Hard Rain. Oft referred to as “the politicised chansonnier” and cited as one of the world’s best performers of Dylan’s material, Barb turns to six of his most politically hard-hitting songs along with five of Leonard Cohen’s most impassioned songs of conscience. Barb’s selection for Hard Rain reflects her despair with the political times that we live in and she has deliberately chosen songs that resonate as strongly today as they did when they were originally written: Blowin’ In The Wind is now 51 years old and its sentiments are as relevant today as they ever were.

“The space in between has always been my default position. Between song and singer, lyric and music, arrangement and performance. So I am amazed to be so clear about this collection. I knew right from the start it was all the tougher songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen that I wanted to sing. I knew there was somehow a through thread to them – that the world they described and the actions they rejected and celebrated were of as much importance today as the day those songs were penned. There’s something in both writers that transcends the material itself, as though the words and music have powers beyond the paper and the groove, beyond the voice and the piano. So I’m entering a new decade with singing a clutch of special songs that have moved and shaken, caressed and struck me. I hope you’ll love the glorious music of both of these writers as much as I do….if that’s possible…. and let’s watch the dawn of the new day together.” (Barb Jungr)

Artist’s website: www.barbjungr.com

Watch the ‘Making Of’ video:

Tracklisting:

1. Blowin’ In The Wind  (Bob Dylan)
2. Everybody Knows  (Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson)
3. Who By Fire  (Leonard Cohen)
4. Hard Rain  (Bob Dylan)
5. First We Take Manhattan  (Leonard Cohen)
6. Masters Of War  (Bob Dylan)
7. It’s Alright Ma  (Bob Dylan)
8. 1000 Kisses Deep  (Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson)
9. Gotta Serve Somebody  (Bob Dylan)
10. Land Of Plenty  (Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson)
11. Chimes Of Freedom  (Bob Dylan)

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.

The album comes complete with insightful liner notes by writer Liz Thomson, who as Elizabeth Thomson prepared “the director’s cut” of No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan (2014). She was also the co-editor of The Dylan Companion. As a young journalist, her first ever interview was with Leonard Cohen.

All of the arrangements on the album are by Barb and her long-standing collaborator and accompanist, the pianist Simon Wallace, who also produced the album. In addition to Simon (piano, Hammond organ and synthesizers), Barb is also joined by Neville Malcom on bass (with Steve Watts providing bass on tracks 1,3,8 and 10); Gary Hammond (percussion); Clive Bell (Shakahachi) and  Richard Olatunde Baker on talking drum and additional percussion. Together with Barb, they inject new life and energy into each song.

Hard Rain will be released on Kristalyn Records on 24th March 2014. The album will be supported by an extensive run of live dates and will be launched with a special premiere performance of this Dylan/Cohen collection at London’s Purcell Room on Friday 14th February before going on tour throughout the UK.

Barb has recently completed another triumphant run of shows in the U.S.A. Over the past few years the British chanteuse has been wowing critics and audiences alike at home and abroad with her insightful, intelligent interpretations of well-loved songs combined with her powerful and often witty performance style. Barb Jungr is a British performer that we should truly cherish.

“…a fantastic English singer … I was just amazed by her voice….” Jeremy Irons – Desert Island Discs

“Possibly our best interpreter of Dylan’s songs” Billy Bragg

“Bob Dylan, jazz, northern soul, Nina Simone and continental Europe’s cabaret music perform a subtle dance in Jungr’s consciousness” The Guardian

Debut LP From Acclaimed Aussie Folk/Americana Band Buffalo Tales

Wes Carr Buffalo TalesWith a ragged, soaring voice recalling Bon Iver, coupled with the rambling spirit and storytelling of Woody Guthrie, Buffalo Tales’ Wes Carr has a keen ear for the past. On their debut LP Roadtrip Confessions, Buffalo Tales spin universal tales of hard-bitten love, travel, and the eternal search for happiness and salvation. At the age of 30, Carr sounds like an old soul on Roadtrip Confessions, a man who has walked through the fire and paid more than his share of dues, and emerged cleansed the other side. Buffalo Tales is a farewell to the past, and Roadtrip Confessions is a mission statement for the future: heartfelt, acoustic songs, with no gimmicks.

The space and openness of Roadside Confessions recall the landscape where Carr grew up: the bare scrub-land north of South Australia’s capital, Adelaide. “That’s where three of the songs were written: “Please,” “Waiting for You” and “Tricks to Magik” were all written when I was younger,” Carr explains. “That was my first explosion of songwriting. Mum gave me a John Lennon anthology box-set and I got inspired by all of his home recordings. It did something to my brain. I just went RAAA!”

Roadtrip Confessions was recorded simply, with a guitar, voice, and trusted friends old and new. “Making it was just me and my best mate Stu Hunter,” Carr recalls. “We just sat in his studio and went ‘This is what I want to say.’ Some of the songs are live and they’re all very easy to perform, because they’re the truth, really.” Adopting the “write what you know” motto, much of the album was written in the last year as Carr experienced one of life’s great changes. “Most of it was written when I knew my wife was pregnant,” he laughs. “That’s been the secret link; that this new being was coming and joining us forever, and I had no time to waste.”

He’s also put his own spin on two covers: the Leonard Cohen classic “Take This Waltz” and Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” which has been given the thumbs up on Twitter by its author (and fellow Adelaidean) Sia Furler. Buffalo Tales captures Carr at his most vulnerable and energized, and Roadside Confessions is a dually rollicking and delicate testament to the legacy of folk and storytelling, along with Carr’s musical and personal reinvention.

Eugene Twist – The Boy Who Had Everything

If it’s possible to emerge studied, grounded and with a Clint Eastwood snarl, from the eye of an intense musical storm, Glasgow’s Eugene Twist is your man. At 25, he maintains a fiercely individualistic sense of creativity in his songwriting, nurtured from an early exposure to artists as diverse as Leonard Cohen, Pixies and Buena Vista Social Club. As a longtime composer and multi-instrumentalist, Eugene has always explored intuitively on the path to finding his own voice. The result: an effortless pop sensibility, seasoned musicality and killer narrative are equally at home in an ethereal landscape as they are in his sophisticated ballads.

Eugene’s self-produced debut album ‘The Boy Who Had Everything’ is tailored to anyone seeking a new voice in songwriting: One that has not fallen contrived to the overwhelming stylistic pressures of contemporary song but rather holds its own torch high in the name of organic expression. As the title perhaps intends, it is a homage to the cultivations of a far-reaching artistic upbringing and vow to a constant sharpening of identity and craft.

EUGENE TWIST – THE BOY WHO HAD EVERYTHING – Out July 9th on Tough Act Records

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.

“Unbelievably accomplished and inspired, definitely one of my tips for 2012”

Vic Galloway – BBC Radio Scotland

“An amazing journey to an era of musical idealism”

Mark Plati – Producer: David Bowie / The Cure

“You’re going to be hearing a lot more about him on our show”

Ricky Ross ‘Another Country’ – BBC Radio Scotland

Texan fiddler-singer-songwriter Amanda Shires released new album ‘Carrying Lightning’

Texan fiddler-singer-songwriter Amanda Shires announces her first headline tour of the UK & Ireland in April & May, including shows at this year’s prestigious Kilkenny Roots Festival, accompanied by Rod Picott on guitar and Todd Pertll on lap steel.

Widely regarded for her regular collaborations with Justin Townes Earle, Jason Isbell and Rod Picott, Amanda is taking a deserved turn in the spotlight, promoting her spellbinding new album Carrying Lightning – see below for full tour itinerary & album details.Amanda will also be recording sessions during the tour for Bob Harris’s BBC Radio 2 Sunday show and Barry Marshall-Everitt’s House Of Mercy during the tour.“Carrying Lightning builds on the evocative alt-country of 2009’s excellent West Cross Timbers, showcasing both the breathless immediacy of her singing voice and the plainspoken elegance of her songwriting voice. Full of Tom T. Hall’s wry humor and Leonard Cohen’s dark intimations, these are songs full of dark undercurrents and uncertain desires.” American Songwriter

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.

Artist web link and tour dates: http://amandashiresmusic.com/