Folking at Cambridge Folk Festival 2013 – Day 2

Foxy Fri 300x400Blimey, its 6.00am and I’m in the shower… what the folking heck is going on. It’s not what your thinking… unless you are talking about it being “probably the best festival shower block in the world“… hot water at daybreak – on a campsite – who’d have though it, but after all, this is the 49th Cambridge Folk Festival, so they have had plenty of practice getting it right.

Due to the time it takes putting these things together, I didn’t actually get to see yesterdays opening act on the main stage as I was working on the folking day 1 review, but could hear, from the press office that it was lively set by a band called Korrontzi.

So my first visual act of the day was Finland’s frigging brilliant Frigg. A blend of Nordic folk and American bluegrass dubbed “Nordgrass”. See them in action below.

I then needed to head off and sort out the accommodation arrangements for the folking new resident photographer, who had finally turned up… the son of Clicker… for those old enough to remember the intensely focused original, he has got a lot to live up to.

LAPD 300x224Got back just in time to see the final number from Patty Griffin and then rushed down the front to wait in anticipation for one of the highlights of my weekend, LAPD, which for those of you in the know, are three quarters of Planxty (Liam O’Flynn, Andy Irvine & Donal Lunny) and the original Bothy Band fiddler (Paddy Glackin). We were treated to the Sweeney’s Men’s classic, My Heart’s Tonight In Ireland  and the Planxty standard, The Blacksmith. What a set, from one of the original Irish boy bands!

Now with son of clicker joining the folking team we raced round for the next hour or so and managed to catch Amadou & Mariam, for a bit African electric blues and then SOC (Son of Clicker) made it over to see Darrell Scott, of Robert Plant’s Band of Joy fame doing his own improvisational set. SOC thought it was brilliant and I was folking pissed I missed it!

Ross Couper & Tom OakesSOC headed for the club tent and shot some great footage of Ross Couper and Tom Oakes, a dynamic young, fiddle player and guitarist duo, adding a modern touch to the Scottish and Irish tradition.

Then we plunged into the double whammy of the Levellers followed by Bellowhead, two headliners in one night!

Levs1 300x225The Levellers played a storming set of old favorites and newer numbers, finishing with the unique experience of a stage full of Levs and Bellowhead for ‘The Recruiting Sergeant‘. How they get them all on the stage I don’t know!

Bellowhead followed with their own set with tracks from their latest ‘Broadside‘ release and Jon Boden’s ever natty suit jacket!

Emily Barker 300x225 Cams FFWe also managed to get over to Stage 2 to see the angelic Emily Barker , a compelling singer-songwriter and mesmerising live artist, who along with her band The Red Clay Halo blend classical, rock, country and folk influences to stunning effect. Emily’s appearance recently on the BBC Radio 2 Dermot O’leary show and performance with Frank Turner at the London 2012 Olympics in front of a global televised audience is certainly moving her and the band up the musical genre food chain.

Roving Crows 300x224Then over to the Club Tent to see the Roving Crows, we covered the last album Bacchanalia back in May last year and I had been itching to see them ever since.

Here is the link If you missed NANCY DUNHAM’s review: http://folking.com/the-roving-crows-bacchanalia/

They gave a great closing performance to the Friday night in the club tent and any festival organiser reading this, I urge you to book them as soon as possible as they are a folking brilliant live act!

The queue to the bus back to Coldham’s Common campsite was huge so we decided to reenact the Richard Thompson song and walk those long miles home. The temptation of bed was calling but the lure of another beer and the campsite stage was too strong and as we watched the current act finish, we found a seat and a beautiful young girl took to the stage, with a solitary guitar and opened her mouth, and wow, what came out made my night, a sound somewhere between Janis Joplin and Sandy Denny. Sue Marchant, from BBC Radio Cambridge had arranged the last minute slot and boy am I glad she did! We’ll feature one of her own compositions called “Fall across the sea” as a later feature, but to wet your appetite now, here is her version of Robert Johnson’s “Me and the devil blues”… Ladies and gentlemen and general reprobates, I give you Leila Jane… The end to what Lou Reed would describe as “a perfect day”.

The folkmaster

Levellers release Mutiny video

Levellers have just released the latest instalment of their project to record a video for every track from their recently released album, Static On The Airwaves.

Mutiny tells the story of the 1917 Étaples Mutiny by British troops in France during the First World War, and in particular that of its exectuted ‘leader’ Corporal Jesse Robert Short. The video was produced by Rich Mulryne and Emma Birchett Continue reading Levellers release Mutiny video

Levellers – the new album videos plus free track download

Folk-rock band Levellers will release their tenth studio album, Static On The Airwaves, on 25 June 2012.

They have also just announced an 11 date UK headline tour in November including a night at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Saturday 24 November. Levellers will be joined by special guests Citizen Fish and have an acoustic tour planned for September.

Already being heralded as their most accomplished album to date, Static On The Airwaves is the sound of a band whose incisive lyrics, innate musicality and passion have continued to improve rather than diminish in nearly a quarter of a century of writing, recording and performing.

‘Truth Is’, the first single from the album was released on Saturday 21 April as A Limited Edition Red Vinyl 7” version as part of Record Store Day, the digital download is also now available.

Produced by Sean Lakeman, who is renowned for producing his brother’s Mercury-nominated and gold-selling albums as well as Letters From The Underground (Levellers’ previous album), Static On The Airwaves was recorded ‘as live’ at Sono Studios in Prague and mixed in New York by the legendary Victor Van Vugt (PJ Harvey, Beth Orton, Nick Cave).

Sell-out tours and nine years of a sell-out festivals are powerful proof of the power of the underground and the power of great live music. Renowned for their energetic live shows, longevity has not diminished the Levellers’ ability to put in a performance and get everyone in a room, or field, dancing.

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 web links and tour dates: http://www.levellers.co.uk

Nick Burbridge – New Album, Gathered

After six McDermott’s Two Hours albums (versus The Levellers or in their own right), singer-songwriter Nick Burbridge has joined forces with multi-instrumentalist and producer Tim Cotterell, to release the unplugged album of articulate contemporary songs rooted in the traditional Celtic idiom, which many have awaited for so long.

Gathered comes, simply, with a challenge. If any similar album tackles inner and outer struggles so artfully yet honestly, showing such respect for the tradition yet awareness of contemporary forms, then let this onebe rolled aside. If not, let it take its rightful place in the idiom where it belongs.

Gathered is a lyricist’s delight, as would be expected from a writer fluent in many forms: a profound and coherent expression of all kinds of implacable commitment, personal or political, related with a tender and unflinching hand. Here, Burbridge’s dark-humoured, melodic pieces, his genuinely weathered voice and singular guitar-playing, are augmented only by the subtle shade and impetus of Cotterell’s sensitive interpretation on a range of instruments. It is an album to sit down with late into the night and listen to repeatedly, which nonetheless abounds with fragments of jigs, reels and other tunes.

Great melodies, acerbic, canny lyrics” (fRoots)
“The sound of a musician and songwriter at a creative peak” (R2)

This is a fruitful partnership. Burbridge’s career spans decades, writing songs covered by artists from Levellers (a whole area at their Beautiful Days festival is named after his song ‘Dirty Davey’) to Damien Barber and Maggie Boyle, and published by Joe Boyd; niche poetry collections, fringe theatre plays and Radio 4 productions; a political thriller, and a non-fiction book on Northern Ireland launched at the House Of Commons.

A recurrent source of inspiration has been his work with McDermott’s Two Hours, a band that “cut the mustard’’(Q) and whose last album Goodbye To The Madhouse R2 called an “epic collection that is essential listening.” Cotterell, meanwhile, who both recorded and mixed this record, is one of the younger generation of Alt Folk specialists, a director of Brighton’s Access To Music, mainstay of Martha Tilston’s The Woods, Legacy and Tricks Upon Travellers, session player for the Oysterband’s John Jones,among many others, and a vital cog in the eccentric McDermotts machinery.

Dr Ben Burbridge Sussex University

Available from – www.burbridgearts.org – www.levellers.co.uk

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.

DAN DONNELLY – COUNTRY AND NORTHERN

The long-awaited album from Belfast born singer/songwriter Dan Donnelly is upon us, after a fabulous taster of an EP released a while before his full album to keep his legion of fans happy! Dan has toured extensive with the Levellers, The Oysterband, supported Seth Lakeman on his tours on more than one occasion and has been delighting the British public after moving back here from the States almost 2 years ago.  He has appeared at various Festivals including Beautiful Days, the Big Session and a regular at GlastonburyContinue reading DAN DONNELLY – COUNTRY AND NORTHERN

Mark Chadwick (lead singer of the Levellers) speaks to Paul Johnson about his new solo album

Folking.com’s Paul Johnson in conversation with Mark Chadwick (lead singer of the Levellers) at Beautiful Days Festival in August 2010. Mark talks about the festival and his new solo album project “All the Pieces”.  For those not in the know, Mark is one of the UK’s most successful song-writers and has co-written 20 chart singles and 6 top 40 albums (including a number 1). “All the Pieces” is not a Levellers (the band he has fronted for the last 20 years) album but in my opinion each of the 12 autobiographical acoustic folk-pop songs have an early Levellers “wood smoke” spirit to them and hark back to an earlier late sixties/ early Seventies age. The album was produced by the award-winning Sean Lakeman and Mark is joined by a surprise all-star folk cast (which I won’t give away now as you hear about it in the interview below).

Folkmaster – September 2010

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 Web link: http://www.markchadwick.org/