NICK BURBRIDGE & TIM COTTERELL – Resolved (On The Fiddle OTFCD032)

ResolvedNick Burbridge is one of music’s renaissance men: poet, singer, songwriter, novelist and playwright; generally held to be one of the finest songwriters that the world, for the most part, hasn’t heard of yet. Multi-instrumentalist Tim Cotterell also works alongside Nick in McDermott’s Two Hours and plays all the melody parts except for Philippe Barnes’ flute.

Before you start to listen you need to know that a tanka is classical form in Japanese poetry, thirty-one syllables long. Nick intersperses Resolved with six sung tanka, topping or tailing certain of the songs. You also need to understand that this is not easy listening. It’s not a night out with McDermott’s. Having listened to it once I had to put it to one side and clear my head – that’s not a criticism, it’s just that you don’t come across many songs that include words like quincunx.

These are powerful, serious songs and with Nick being an associate of the Levellers, politics are never too far away. Even ‘Another Song’, the first major track which is ostensibly about love, separation and death has a dig about “tyrants and corrupt laws”. ‘Song Of A Pacifist’ and ‘Song Of A Partisan’ are the yin and yang of the struggle. The former highlights Nick’s Irish background with its passing reference to Bloody Sunday while the latter betrays something that we’re all feeling – if only there was a gun in the attic.

‘Song Of A Seeker’ with its traditional feel strikes me as an modernised metaphor based on ‘Bonny Black Hare’ just as the original was in its own way while the final ‘Song Of A Celebrant’ is perhaps the most complex song here. Again metaphorical, it feels like a commentary on the dreadful year that has been 2016 and I only hope that I’m not reading too much into it. Even the superficially optimistic tracks like ‘Song Of A Seafarer’ and ‘Song Of An Old Quaker’ hide a streak of bitterness and Nick doesn’t always sing the words he writes, if you get my drift. Live, I suspect, you’ll get the full force of his writing.

Resolved is a superb set of songs but not one to be entered into lightly.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website: http://www.burbridgearts.org/

Listen to ‘Another Song’:

Maggie Boyle (1956-2014)

Photograph: Nigel Hillier
Photograph: Nigel Hillier

It is with deep regret we announce that London-Irish singer Maggie Boyle lost her life to cancer on 6th November 2014, aged 57.

Brought up in a vibrant musical family in London during the 1960/70s, Maggie Boyle developed a love and appreciation for traditional music and community. As a youngster, Maggie performed with the local branch of Comhaltas, gaining All-Britain singing titles. In the 1980s she formed a duo with her then husband Steve Tilston, recording several highly acclaimed albums and later, three further solo albums. Over the years, Maggie collaborated with luminaries such as The Chieftains, Incantation, Fairport Convention and Bert Jansch and regularly performed in numerous line-ups, the most significant as a duo with Paul Downes and the all-female trio Grace Notes. Maggie also engaged in cultural works outside the folk scene including the Ballet Rambert’s performance piece Sergeant Early’s Dream and John Renbourn’s Ship of Fools. She also contributed to film soundtracks, notably Patriot Games and Legends of the Fall.

Throughout her musical career, Maggie was dedicated to supporting younger singers and developing the tradition. She was instrumental in establishing artist-run co-operatives Three’s Company and Skinnymalinks through which she helped develop new talent, including The Demon Barbers and The Witches of Elswick. Maggie organised concerts promoting young performers and taught regularly at Breton Hall and Newcastle University. Since 2012 Maggie pioneered a scheme to visit her musical heroes and record intimate exchanges with the support of BBC Radio Leeds. The Kitchen Songs Project gets to the heart of luminaries such as Ralph McTell, and demonstrates Maggie’s innate love, respect and passion for this music and her fellow musicians far beyond the bounds of ‘career’.

Revered for her ability to enchant a room with her ethereal voice, this captivating quality penetrated her very being; Maggie had a pure soul which brought joy and peace to others wherever she went. She was dedicated to her wider family and had a profound impact on many more. After touring the country constantly for the past three decades, Maggie is well known to many throughout the folk scene. Those who met her, even briefly, were greeted with an open warmth and generosity of spirit they haven’t forgotten. Her family are immeasurably grateful for the astounding love, care and generosity shown to Maggie over the past year by countless people in the folk community and beyond.  Maggie leaves behind an exceptional presence; her absence is felt most keenly by her devoted partner, Bill, two children, Molly and Joe, and beloved granddaughter, Betty Sue.

There will be a Memorial Service at 12 noon and a celebration of Maggie’s life and times from 2pm on Monday 17th November, both at Victoria Hall, Keighley. All are welcome, please bring instruments and memories.

Fay Hield

For further details please contact Fay Hield: info@fayhield.com

Maggie, accompanied by Paul Downes, sings Nick Burbridge’s ‘Old Man’s Retreat’. It seems an appropriate choice.

Folk Legend Nick Burbridge Releases McDermotts 2 Hours Best Of Album

Anticlockwise - McDermotts 2 HoursNick Burbridge, the mastermind behind legendary Brighton-based folk-punk-poetry pioneers McDermott’s 2 Hours has announced an extensive partnership with the Levellers’ and their “On The Fiddle Recordings”. In celebration of this event, the McDermott’s back catalogue will be released digitally via iTunes and Spotify for first time, alongside some new material. Nick has also signed past and future song-writing to the band’s On The Fiddle Publishing enterprise.

This marks the climax to a long and fruitful association between Nick, McDermott’s and The Levellers dating back over twenty years, from the time the Lev’s put out a CD version of the original 1989 vinyl classic The Enemy Within, through several collaborations and other recordings, to Besieged, the forthcoming Levellers album that award-winning producer Al Scott (June Tabor/ Oysterband) is busy arranging and producing, which will emerge early in 2014. Continue reading Folk Legend Nick Burbridge Releases McDermotts 2 Hours Best Of Album

Gathered – Nick Burbridge and Tim Cotterill – Album reviewed by Valerie Moss

Once again Nick Burbridge has produced a jewel of an album.  Somehow every word of every songs seems to crackle with energy. His folk music has also been compared to the “emo” genre but it is far deeper than the miserable pop offerings – darker and more complex.

“Gathered” differs from Nick’s previous work with McDermott’s 2 Hours in that is has a much more acoustic base, Nick’s expressive voice paired only with Tim Cotterill’s varied instrumental accompaniment.

This is an album full of the poetry of contrasts – hope and despair, defiance and defeatism, mourning and celebration, faith and delusion, romance and longing, modern archetypes and Greek mythology.

Strange and beautiful songs for those who aren’t afraid of the dark.

Valerie Moss

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 Nick Burbridge 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.

ORDER – [CD]

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

Available from – www.burbridgearts.org – www.levellers.co.uk and selected retail outlets

 

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.