NINEBARROW – The Waters & The Wild (own label)

The Waters & The WildIf music be the food of love, then prepare for indigestion … was the title of a 1967 album by a band I’m not prepared to mention here. It’s not quite appropriate in this case for although The Waters & The Wild serves up some rich fare it is very digestible indeed. I think I’ll stop now before I stretch the metaphor with remarks about loosening the top trouser button and sleeping in an armchair with a newspaper over your face. You get the idea.

If you haven’t caught up with them yet, Ninebarrow are Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere. They are from Dorset and Dorset is a part of them and very much a part of this album. The record begins with two very contrasting songs. The first, ‘The Hour Of The Blackbird’, is a pastoral piece heralding the coming of spring and expanding the pagan idea of the winter and summer kings. It’s followed by ‘Halsewell’, the story of Dorset’s worst shipping disaster with dramatic vocals and a suitably thunderous accompaniment.

Jon’s multi-instrumental skills are augmented by James’ reed organ and various basses and drums, notably from Evan Carson, Joe Limburn and producer Mark Tucker with backing vocals from The Teacups. The biggest sound, however, comes from Barney Morse-Brown’s string arrangements recorded by him and Jane Griffiths and when I say big, I mean big.

‘Prickle-Eye Bush’ is a song that has come back into fashion again – or maybe it never went away – and I’m always tempted to skip over it on an album. Ninebarrow try to do something different with it and the hand percussion breathes some life back into it. That’s followed by ‘While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping’ as borrowed from June Tabor. Neither of these songs are necessarily from Dorset but they could be. Jon and James immediately return home or ‘Hwome’ with that most Dorset of poets, William Barnes, but the song doesn’t overly rely on dialect and the arrangement is really nice, particularly in the outro section.

The title track is definitely an immigrant being derived from W B Yeats’ ‘The Stolen Child’ but the tune of ‘Row On’ was composed by another local, Tim Laycock and ‘Gather It In’ is a catalogue of old harvest customs. The last track is John Kirkpatrick’s ‘Sing A Full Song’, a song with a universal emotional appeal.

The lyrics and background information can be downloaded for free – lucky me, I received a pukka copy with the album; a rare case of a generous press agent. You know who you are. Although the words are not essential to the enjoyment of the album they, and the song notes, help to draw you into Ninebarrow’s musical world which is a very good place to be.

Dai Jeffries

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.

Artists’ website: www.ninebarrow.co.uk

‘Prickle-Eye Bush’ – live:

Holywell Music & Folk – more 2018 concerts

Holywell Music
Photograph by Jo Elkington

Passionate music love and promotor Geoff Smith is keeping Holywell’s music tradition alive and singing in the heart of Oxford with a regular new concert series which is already off to a flying start: Holywell Music & Folk.

Holywell Music Room first opened its beautiful auditorium to the ears of the discerning music lover in 1748, and the room has hosted the best around for over 269 years now, from Handel to the Oxford Philharmonic. Now, thanks to lifelong music fan Geoff Smith, the driving force behind the exciting new live music venture Holywell Music & Folk, some of the best artists from the folk and singer-songwriter scene are now playing in this historic venue in the heart of Oxford.

Geoff has attracted some exciting support from Patron artists of this new venture, all of whom will be performing at the venue in 2018:

“I am thrilled to be joining the 2018 line up at Holywell Music and Folk myself and will bring real-life stories of inspirational and relatable people from the past including songs from my latest project No Petticoats Here” says Louise Jordan. Acclaimed Somerset singer-songwriter Reg Meuross is looking forward to performing in July “This is a fantastic initiative by Holywell Music & Folk and I’m proud to support it in every way I can.” Brilliant Folk Award nominees Ninebarrow are also excited: “The Holywell Music Room is stunning! There is an intangible, magical quality to the space. So, when you take a city as vibrant as Oxford, a concert programme of world class folk and roots music, and a venue the calibre of the Holywell Music Room, you really have got a recipe for something rather special – and we can’t wait for you to experience it!”

The programme in this unique U-shaped auditorium kicked off in January with a very special one off one-man show with Teddy Thompson, the son of Richard and Linda Thompson, described by the New York Times as “one of the most gifted singer-songwriters of his generation.  Next came a sell out show from Oxford based Anglo-Cymraeg-Galego four-piece folk band Xogara followed by an extraordinary performance from Russian born singer-songwriter Daria Kulesh.

2018 dates

September 2nd The Willows exclusive CD release launch –  first date of tour *tickets available soon

Saturday 20th October Ninebarrow  (Support Ben Cipolla)

Saturday 10th November Sera Louise Owen  ​(Support: Genevieve Miles)

Saturday 8th December Emily Mae Winters  (Support Three Pressed Men)

Saturday 14th December A Winter Tour Ben Savage & Hannah Sanders, Jade Rhiannon with Gilmore and Roberts *tickets available soon

Club website:  www.holywellmusicandfolk.co.uk and tickets are available online from  wegottickets.com

Tickets also available from Truck Store 101 Cowley Rd. £12.50 includes £1 handling fee and cash only please

Holywood Music & Folk gigs will all be held at the Holywell Music Room, Holywell Street, Oxford, OX1 3SD.

The 2017 Folking Awards

Welcome to the 2017 Folking Awards. Last year’s inaugural poll was such a success that we had to do it again. The nominations, in eight categories, come from our ever-expanding team of writers and were wrangled into shape with sweat, tears and not a little blood by the Folkmeister and the Editor.

There are five nominees in each category, all of whom have been featured in the pages of folking.com in 2016.

As with the format last year, all are winners in our eyes. However, its not just down to what we think, so again, there will be a public vote to decide the overall winner of each category.

Soloist Of The Year

Luke Jackson
Ralph McTell
Kelly Oliver
Steve Pledger
Alasdair Roberts


Best Duo

Cathryn Craig & Brian Willoughby
Ange Hardy & Lukas Drinkwater
O’Hooley & Tidow
Ninebarrow
Show Of Hands


Best Band

Afro Celt Sound System
Fairport Convention
Harp And A Monkey
Nancy Kerr and The Sweet Visitor Band
Merry Hell


Best Live Act

The James Brothers
Robb Johnson and the My Best Regards Band
Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys
Mad Dog Mcrea
Megson


Best Album

Tall Tales & Rumours – Luke Jackson
Ballads Of The Broken Few – Seth Lakeman/Wildwood Kin
Preternatural – Moulettes
Somewhere Between – Steve Pledger
Dodgy Bastards – Steeleye Span


Best Musician

Ciaran Algar
Phil Beer
Rachel Newton
Gill Sandell
Kathryn Tickell


Rising Star Act

The Brewer’s Daughter
Hattie Briggs
Said The Maiden
Sunjay
Emily Mae Winters


Best International Act

Applewood Road
The Bills
David Francey
Michael McDermott
Eve Selis


Public Vote

The public vote closed Midday Saturday 22 April 2017 and the winners have now been announced HERE


If you would like to consider ordering a copy of an album for any of our award winners (in CD or Vinyl), download an album or track or just listen to snippets of selected songs (track previews are usually on the download page) then type what you are looking for in the search bar above.

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

NINEBARROW – Releasing The Leaves (own label)

Releasing The LeavesReleasing The Leaves is the second album from Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere, aka Ninebarrow. Jon and Jay are from Dorset and the landscape and history of the county inform and inspire their songs and music.

The first track, for example, is inspired by a 13th century chapel near Worth Matravers. ‘The Pinner’ is the story of a woman who works all her life at the craft of pin-making hoping to make a perfect example. The legend tells that women would place trinkets, especially pins in the chapel while wishing for their heart’s desire. It takes the mind of a real songwriter to avoid the obvious tale of a woman who is cruelly misled or, alternatively, finds her true love in this manner. No, this lady wishes for perfection.

‘For A Time’ is a much more modern tale, that of Tyneham, the village commandeered by the government in preparation for the D-Day landings. Again Jon and Jay avoid the obvious and tell the story through the recollections of an old man – a former resident. ‘To The Stones’ is inspired by a long barrow near Abbotsbury and ‘Blood On The Hillside’ comes from observing a murder of crows and extrapolating the old nursery rhyme into something more sinister. The duo’s use of a reed organ emphasises the creepy story.

Amongst the original compositions are a number of traditional songs, each one memorable in its own way. ‘Lord Exmouth’ is a tale from the Napoleonic wars extolling the virtues of Admiral Pellew and sung in a heroically simple style. ‘Weave Her A Garland’ is from Folk Songs Of The Upper Thames, which necessitated the boys writing their own tune and ‘Back & Sides’ is the song of begging and ale given a charmingly rustic setting. ‘Three Ravens’ is well known but none the worse for that and ‘Dark Eyed Sailor’ is one of the great broken-token ballads and one with a happy ending – William doesn’t get handbagged for testing her like that.

A booklet of lyrics, song notes and photographs is free to download and is well worth doing – happily, Ninebarrow sent me a pukka printed version. You can enjoy this fine album without it but go on, spoil yourself.

Dai Jeffries

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.

Artists’ website: www.ninebarrow.co.uk

‘For A Time’ – live:

SINGLES BAR

A round-up of EPs and singles that came our way

SINGLES BAR 21 Sep 2015HEATH COMMON’s new EP, Beatsbox, is released to tie in with Still Howling, a performance and symposium centred on Allen Ginsberg’s infamous poem. Common turns his very individual attention to stories of Jack Kerouac, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ginsberg and his own beginnings as a wannabe Beat. ‘Still Howling’ is a somewhat jaundiced look at the International Poetry Olympics of 1985. Common has a full band, The Lincoln 72s, with him plus special guests on ‘Basquiat And Warhol’ and the nostalgic ‘The Busking Bodhisattva’.
http://www.heathcommon.com/

SINGLES BAR 21 Sep 2015JACK TEMPCHIN used to write hits for The Eagles and the title track of his EP, Room To Run might lead you to think that not a lot has changed since then. ‘Jesus And Mohammed’, however, suggests deeper thinking – it’s not a totally new idea but the thought of the Christ and the Prophet wondering what more they can do certainly is. ‘The High Cost Of Hate (Let’s Make Some Lawyers Rich)’ is a brilliant country parody: “I’m a cheatin’ bastard and you’re a selfish bitch” and ‘Summertime Bum’ provides a laid-back conclusion.
www.jacktempchin.com

SINGLES BAR 21 Sep 2015ANTUN OPIC is a German/Croatian multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter with a voice that dips into Tom Waits/Beefheart territory. Shovel My Coal is an EP with a big band that’s heavy on brass and snarling guitar and bass from Tobias Kavelar. The four tracks pack in so many ideas that it’s hard to tell where he’s coming from or where he’s going sometimes. ‘The Journalist’ is heavy in a conventional western way while ‘Hide & Seek’ is much more Eastern European and not a little creepy, a mood that carries over into ‘Come With Me’.
http://www.antunopic.com/

SINGLES BAR 21 Sep 2015RAINBREAKERS are a blues/rock quartet based in Shrewsbury and their home turf appears to be most of the northwest and west of England. Blood Not Brass would seem to be their first EP and embodies a classic, almost 60s sound with modern flourishes. Think of Blodwyn Pig meeting The Black Keys and you’re about there. Not Folking’s usual territory, we grant you, but they are a band worth listening to.
http://www.therainbreakers.com/

SINGLES BAR 21 Sep 2015NINEBARROW are a young duo of whom great things are being expected. Their single which combines an original song, ‘The Pinner’, with the traditional ‘Dark Eyed Sailor’ is a taster for their second album, Releasing The Leaves, due for release next spring.

Their chosen instruments are harmonium and mandola with the addition of cello on the first track. Their harmonies are effortless and there is a naturalism about their style that makes ‘Dark Eyed Sailor’ sound both old and contemporary at one at the same time. Their treatment of the song sounds simple but the little changes of pace and emphasis they bring to it really grab the attention.
http://www.ninebarrow.co.uk/

SINGLES BAR 21 Sep 2015TOD HUGHES PROJECT from Calgary make their debut with an EP, Changing Gears. It’s country-rock in the classic style, that is, the line-up includes Hammond, piano and clavinet alongside guitar, bass and drums – know what I mean? ‘Let’s Dance’ and ‘Follow Your Heart’ roll along nicely but I was hoping for something deeper from ‘Brad’s Song’ – there is a story behind the story and we’re only getting hints of it. ‘Just Sing’ is a nice philosophy although not a great song but Tod redeems himself with ‘The Quiet’ which plays out with some lovely keyboards and ‘The Only Person Who Won’t Drink With Me Is You’ is an out-and-out boogie to round off the set.
http://www.todhughes.ca/index/

The Armistice Pals

armistice pals header non internetEveryone remembers the charity version of ‘Perfect Day’ with its myriad of voices from the pop and rock world.

Let’s hope everyone will also remember the upcoming answer from the Folk World – ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone?’ – with a plethora of voices from across the acoustic folk and roots spectrum representing the great and the good, young and the old, seasoned and emerging, all on the same single. The group is called The Armistice Pals and is releasing a fitting tribute to Pete Seeger, who sadly passed away this year as well as marking the 100 years anniversary of the breakout of the First World War. All profits will be distributed between four peacekeeping charities.

However, perhaps it’s not a perfect world after all and the late Pete Seeger’s classic anti war song, ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone?’, points a finger at the carnage, supposedly ‘ the war to end all wars’ which tragically mislead us to believe it was worth the sacrifice.  The sacrifice, not only of the lives of those who died, but the resultant desolation and struggle of the loved ones who were left behind. Whole swathes of communities were left bereft of their young men-folk who trustingly signed up into ‘Pals Battalions’, many of whom were never to return, with those who did too often spending lives blighted by the experience.

Armistice Pals is the name of the folk community ‘super band’ who are all performing on this single, which is due out on Remembrance Sunday, 9th November 2014. It was the brain child of Damian Liptrot (manager of folk-rock band Merry Hell), who, as the project expanded, has invited Folkstock’s Helen Meissner on board as co-organiser. The project has attracted over 30 names including Chris and Kellie While, Julie Matthews, Judy Dyble, Christine Collister, Dave Swarbrick, Ray Cooper, Sally Barker, Peter Knight, Boo Hewerdine, Gavin Davenport, Blair Dunlop, Lucy Ward, Ken Nicol, Merry Hell, Luke Jackson and Kelly Oliver. A line up so good that, were it to be a festival, it would undoubtedly be the event of the summer.

The single will be released via the usual digital outlets as well as a physical CD and as a nod to the historical element, a limited edition vinyl 45, on new community label, Folkstock Records.

As this is intended to be a community project, we are inviting Folk Clubs across the country to contribute by organising an ‘Armistice Pals Night’ during the week of the release of the single. This can take any form but should include a collective version of ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone?’ at some point during the evening, followed by a passing round of the hat to support the Armistice Pals charities.

If you would like to know more about the project, all the artists, the charities and the inspiration can be found at http://www.armisticepals.com or contact us direct via armisticepals@hotmail.co.uk

We hope that you will feel able to enlist and offer your support.

Helen and Damian
for The Armistice Pals

THE ARMISTICE PALS: A FULL LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS

Attila The Stockbroker (poet/musician and sheer force of nature, whose father survived the Somme).

Billy Mitchell (one time Jack the Lad, ex-Lindisfarne and much else besides).

Blair Dunlop (One of our brightest, youngest singer-songwriters, currently telling tales from the ‘House Of Jacks’, he also found time for a stint in The Albion Band..).

Bob Pegg (Storyteller, singer-songwriter and member of the legendary Mr Fox).

Boo Hewerdine (one time Bible basher, all time songwriting phenomenon).

Chris While and Julie Matthews (singers, songwriters, multi-instrumentalists, award winners in their own right and members of more prestige bands and projects than you can shake a stick at).

Christine Collister (one time She Devil, ex-Daphne’s Flight, much sought collaborator and loved by Q magazine).

Dave Mather & Peter Robinson (singer/songwriters (one of them has written an opera you know), ex-Houghton Weavers, stand up comedy and currently presenters of Salford City radio’s first folk show).

Dave Swarbrick (simply a living legend. As it says on the flyers, ‘needs no introduction’).

Edwina Hayes (multi-million You Tubed singer-songwriter with the ‘sweetest voice in England’).

Eric Bazilian: (Hooter, hitmaking songwriter worldwide for self and others, now he’s One Of Us!).

Flossie Malavialle (multinational singer et chanteuse aussi, gig travelling traffic reporter).

Gavin Davenport (much vaunted solo singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, award winning, ex-Albion band member).

Gren Bartley (the spine tinglingly beautiful guitarist, banjo playing poet).

Helen Watson (Singer/Songwriter, multi genre artist, producer and erstwhile member of Daphne’s Flight, Carmel and Sons of Arqa, as well as taking a great photo).

Johnny Coppin (broadcasting singer-songwriter, ex-Decameron and now sufficiently multi-faceted to be considered a true diamond).

Judy Dyble (singer/songwriter, ex-Fairport, nearly King Crimson and Facebook dog blogger).

Kellie While (singer-songwriter considered to have one of the outstanding voices of her generation, ex-member of The Albion Band and so much else, her arrival makes The Pals a family affair as her mother and sometime singing partner Chris is also involved).

Kelly Oliver (singer/songwriter, guitarist and harmonicist who has taken Boots Of Spanish Leather to places most of us can only dream of).

Ken Nicol: (globetrotting, guitar endorsing, ex-Albion Band and Steeleye Span virtuoso).

Kevin Brennan MP (an accomplished musician, fan of folk music and passionate supporter of live music).

Lavinia Blackwall (the vocalist who is both a Trembling Bell and a Crying Lion).

Linda Simpson (singer/songwriter, ex-Prog/Folk/Rock legends Magna Carta and supplier of some ideas that are so good that I’d like to present them as my own).

Lucy Ward (singer/song writer and possibly the current heart of British Folk Music as she gets played on virtually every folk show I listen to regardless of the other tastes of the presenters!).

Luke Jackson (bright young purveyer of Fumes and Faith).

Merry Hell (8 piece folk-rocking explosion of melody and joy).

Ninebarrow (award-winning, Dorsetshire folk duo).

Patsy Matheson (singer/songwriter, spent time Waking The Witch, now The Domino Girl).

Peter Knight (singer/fiddle player, Gigspanner, Feast of Fiddles, Steeleye and holder of the world record for continuously playing the violin whilst travelling up and down the lift in the Empire State Building).

Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers (30 Year veteran of punk-folk luminaries, The Men They Couldn’t Hang).

Ray Cooper (singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, ex-Oysterband and now a pearl in his own right).

Richard Ryall (singer/songwriter, member of the band Litmuss and he comes from a land Down Under).

Robb Johnson (Irregular singer/songwriter and social conscience).

Said The Maiden (3 rising doyennes with harmonies the envy of angels).

Sally Barker (folk singer and by popular acclaim, the true winner of The Voice).

Sian James (Singer, writer, harpist, composer, conductor and actress from Wales, a big Armistice pals ‘Creoso’ to her).

In addition, there is also The Pals Chorus, made up of friends and members of several folk clubs who will be recorded together to help swell the voices and to represent the fact that this is a true community project.