Dan Walsh: new album – Incidents & Accidents

Released March 16th on Rooksmere Records

Photograph by Sean Elliot
Photograph by Sean Elliot


Incidents & Accidents is the highly anticipated follow up to Dan Walsh’s critically acclaimed Same But Different album release. On the new album we get to hear Dan in a more stripped back format with just a few guest appearances from Patsy Reid (fiddle), Nic Zuppardi (mandolin), Mark Hutchinson (percussion/vocals) and Canadian singer Meaghan Blanchard. The album was also produced by Mark Hutchinson at his Rooksmere Studios, known for producing albums by Blair Dunlop, Fabian Holland and of course Walsh & Pound. There are seven songs and four instrumentals. The song lyrics are a major focus on this album but there is still plenty of Dan’s signature fast and furious banjo playing to keep the fans happy. Of the livelier songs ‘Time To Stay’ tells of Dan’s mixed emotions of moving back to his home town of Stafford after six years living in Newcastle upon Tyne along with the bluegrass inspired ‘Lost Rambler’, showing his love of the mountain music minor tunings. Of the slower songs, the contemplative ‘Dancing In The Wind’ and ‘The Song Always Stays’ are perfect examples, the former telling of a moving moment on a family holiday in Ireland and the latter relates to Dan and Nic Zuppardi’s experience of playing a gig to Scottish singer Glen Mason in a Surrey care home and rekindling his love of singing and performing in his twilight years. Dan originally started playing banjo due to his love of Scottish and Irish jigs and reels and the aptly named ‘The Tune Set’ contains four tunes from a slow air building right up to a fast and furious reel with names inspired from touring from the Isle of Barra to New Zealand. To complete the musical world tour, ‘Whiplash Reel’ displays Dan’s new found passion for Indian classical music.

Touted as one of the finest banjo players in the UK as well as being a superb singer, songwriter and guitarist, Dan Walsh is described as ‘The real deal’ in UNCUT magazine. To date he has released two critically acclaimed solo albums and has toured the world including visits to Canada, Norway, Germany, India and New Zealand and of course has played solo at venues and festivals across the UK. Having made his name with the duo Walsh and Pound and now a member of the award winning Urban Folk Quartet, as well as guest appearances on stage and on record with the Levellers and Seth Lakeman, this unique and eclectic musician continues to stun audiences across the world.

His eclectic and innovative approach has led to many exciting collaborations alongside his solo work and the UFQ, including tours with Northeast concertina legend Alistair Anderson and with sensational Indian sarangi player Suhail Yusuf Khan as well as Canadian country singer Meaghan Blanchard.

‘The real deal, a demon picker’UNCUT
‘Incredibly gifted, you must see him’ BBC RADIO 2
‘Eclectically inspired and consistently brilliant’fRoots

Artist’s website: http://www.danwalshbanjo.co.uk/

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.

‘Time To Stay’ from Incidents & Accidents:

BLAIR DUNLOP – House of Jacks (Rooksmere Records, RRCD112P)

Blair_Dunlop_-House_of_Jacks_Son of Ashley Hutchings he may be, but ‘Something’s Gonna Give Way’, the riff driven opening track on his sophomore album, firmly suggests the influences of Seth Lakeman and, more pointedly, especially in the third person narrative murder ballad lyrics about school bullying revenge, Richard Thompson.

In tender musical contrast, the fiddle-soothed ‘Fifty Shades Of Blue’ is a slow waltzing meditation on denial that (soaring vocal intro recalling Chris De Burgh) gives way to a title track anchored to the heart and its sometime inability to articulate the depth of its feelings. Clearly not a songwriter to settle for simplistic clichés and the mundane, ‘Chain By Design’ is a simple acoustic slow march exploration of determinism and free will, the more progressive folk rock sonorous, organ underpinned ‘Different Schools’ addressing the need for and barriers to communication and, inspired by Robert Hasting’s poem and, set to a scurrying fingerpicked rhythm, ‘The Station’ muses on life’s journey to its final destination and appreciating the scenery along the way. Continue reading BLAIR DUNLOP – House of Jacks (Rooksmere Records, RRCD112P)

RAINBOW CHASERS – Chimes At Midnight (Talking Elephant TECD255)

Chimes@MidnightRainbow Chasers are a band that promised much and delivered relatively little – sad but true. The band that Ashley Hutchings put together in 2004 made two studio albums, the second, Fortune Never Sleeps, being particularly good, and released a Best Of set, a move that might be considered a bit premature. They’re still going, albeit without Mark Hutchinson, but it seems like a struggle.

Chimes At Midnight is another compilation album although there are seven previously unreleased tracks including a cover of Pete Seeger’s ‘Big Muddy’. If you’re familiar only with Hutchings’ projects this might come as something of a surprise. Firstly, there are big string arrangements by Ruth Angell and Jo Hamilton, exemplified by ‘The River’s Tale’ and secondly there are glorious harmonies built around five voices. They are not homogeneous, however. ‘Looking For A Change’ is reminiscent of the While/Matthews Albion Band line-up; ‘Gypsy Jigg’ takes off into flights of fiddle fancy and ‘First Europeans’ is one of Ashley’s historical studies. Continue reading RAINBOW CHASERS – Chimes At Midnight (Talking Elephant TECD255)

Fabian Holland – debut album

Fabian-Holland_Album-Cover1400x1400The self titled debut album from Fabian Holland was released on Rooksmere Records on 7 October following the release of the single ‘Home’ on 26 August.

 Fabian seems to have sprung fully‐fledged from nowhere though he’s been playing music and performing live since a youngster. He grew up in an artistic household where performance and artistic expression were part of everyday life, listening to blues guys such as Sonny Boy Williamson and Muddy Waters. His early influences (drawn from his father’s record collection) were Muddy Waters,  R.L Burnside,  Son House,  Howlinʼ Wolf, Chuck Berry and Skip James (the last’s classic ‘Hard Times Killing Floor Blues’ is rendered subtly and hauntingly on Fabian’s début album). He started playing guitar at the age of seven, taught by his father who also played harmonica. Fabian later attended the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, studying under the watchful guidance of the sadly missed guitar virtuoso Eric Roche. After his studies he moved to the mountains of the Abruzzo Region, Italy, where he spent four years developing his musical style, busking, gigging and composing. He later returned to the UK to pursue his music career; he now lives on his narrow boat on London’s canal network.

Fabian plays two Lowden guitars, a 1994 Lowden O10 (which he currently uses as his main instrument) and an old Lowden S22 that was bought from a luthier in Scotland who claimed it once belonged to a member of Steeler’s Wheel. ”Lowdens in general are just lovely to play”, he confirms. Whatever the model or make, Fabian plays guitar with a subtlety of touch and great fluency. His creativity is a joy to hear.

His eponymously titled, début album is produced by Mark Hutchinson (who also produced recent albums for the likes of Blair Dunlop,  Walsh and Pound,  Spiers and Boden and the Albion Christmas Band).

“I think Mark and I both agreed from the start that simplicity would be the key to this album,” says Fabian ”with guitar and vocals being the main focus. We decided on a concise album and picked the tracks carefully. Most of my songs are stories influenced by people I’ve met along the years and I’ve travelled about a bit so I’ve met all sorts of interesting people. There are two traditional tracks in the album, ’Banks Of The Dee’ and ’Dr Price’. These are not widely known trad songs; I like that because it offers people something they may not have heard before. Through the whole album the guitar and vocals were recorded at the same time and I think this produces a very real and immediate sound, rather than something contrived through studio trickery.”

That reliance on the performances themselves, his vocals and guitar stylings, produces a most compelling début album. In its simplicity and directness, it harks back to the folk of an earlier golden age, but it has no need to reference specific musical influences or iconic performers. Fabian Holland is indeed a singular new talent.

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 Fabian Holland – 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.


Artist web links www.fabianholland.com – www.rooksmerestudios.com

TICKLED PINK – Ceilidh (Rooksmere Records RRCD101)

The term Ceilidh, meaning “…an informal social gathering at which there is Celtic dancing, singing and storytelling” is now regularly being adopted by many English ‘folk-dance’ bands in preference to the term ‘barn dance’. Something of a throwback to the influential days of the Albion Dance Band and Ashley Hutching’s album “Kickin’ Up The Sawdust”, I certainly hope Tickled Pink won’t be too offended by my mentioning another band but, let’s face it the folk-rock being produced at that time (around 1977) certainly influenced a majority of those of us that enjoyed a good old fashioned folk knees-up. The music wasn’t precious or pretentious the way many of today’s artists try to pretend it is. No, this music was very much born of a case of the “…let’s get stuck in and have a good time” attitude. Therefore, uninhibited by any restraints of attempting to be ‘artistic’ it sounds very much as if Tickled Pink were given the freedom of playing (more or less) whatever they wanted in the studio and release their pent up energy as if they were performing ‘live’ for an audience of eager dancers. The length of the set pieces (often one tune repeated many times over) allows plenty of room for each of the musicians to shine and with the creative juices of Simon Care, Gerald Claridge, Rob Kay, Mark Jolley, Trevor Landen, Mark Hutchinson and Guy Fletcher in full flow you can’t help but be swept away by the infectiousness of it all. This is the kind of CD that will make you smile, laugh and above all ‘want’ to dance. PETE FYFE