THE WAILIN’ JENNYS – FIFTEEN

Photo by Morten Fog

One of today’s most respected folk groups, The Wailin’ Jennys are releasing their first new recording in six years, Fifteen. This long-awaited follow-up to Bright Morning Stars finds the trio bringing their passion and stellar musicianship to a carefully curated collection of some of their favourite songs, including tracks by Tom Petty, Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton. For members Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody and Heather Masse, Fifteen celebrates a 15-year musical partnership that has created three award-winning, Billboard-charting studio albums and one magical live recording and brought them a loyal worldwide fanbase.

Steeped in the artistry and elegance that has defined their career, Fifteen presents The Wailin’ Jennys at their very best. Opening with their stark yet exquisite rendering of ‘Old Churchyard’, sung a cappella over a single droning viola tone, the album then shifts to a gorgeous full-band acoustic version of Tom Petty’s ‘Wildflowers’. Other highlights include their moving interpretation of Emmylou Harris’ ‘Boulder to Birmingham’, their update of Paul Simon’s ‘Loves Me Like a Rock’ (from a women’s point of view) and songs by Jane Siberry, Warren Zevon and Patty Griffin. They also do an achingly beautiful a cappella version of Dolly Parton’s ‘Light of a Clear Blue Morning’ that resonates as a call to hope in these troubled political times.

All three of the Jennys now have young children and – coupled with living in two countries and different sides of the North American continent – making the time to record has been a challenge.

“We are all mothers now, living in different cities, so we knew we couldn’t spend a month in the studio the way we used to”, Moody says. “Nicky and Heather could only be away from their boys for a week, which gave us five days! So we decided to do something that was true to our live show. Arranging other people’s songs has been something we’ve enjoyed doing since the beginning, so we thought that a covers album would be fun to do, especially given the time restraints. Even so, it was a little nuts. We were arranging harmonies on the fly… my son was just shy of three months old and I was feeding him every couple of hours… Nicky had a bad cold which made things tricky for her. But we just went with it, and trusted that it would all work out; maybe that’s the thing we’ve gotten better at as mothers.”

Produced by The Wailin’ Jennys and engineered by Joby Baker, the album also features additional musicians Richard Moody (Ruth’s brother), Sam Howard, Adrian Dolan and Adam Dobres.

NPR wrote of their last Newport Folk Fest appearance, “The Wailin’ Jennys are more than just impeccable bluegrass harmonizers; they’re also terrific bandleaders who give their traditional roots music a sense of real reverence.” It’s this respect for their craft, as well as the Wailin’ Jennys heartfelt, impeccable vocal performances, that has cemented the trio’s reputation in folk and roots music circles.

Starting as a happy accident of solo singer-songwriters getting together for a one-time-only performance at a tiny guitar shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, The Wailin’ Jennys have earned their place as one of today’s most beloved international folk groups. Founding members Ruth Moody and Nicky Mehta, along with New York-based Heather Masse, continue to create some of the most exciting and exquisite music on the folk-roots scene, stepping up their musical game with each critically-lauded recording and thrilling audiences with their renowned live performances.

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 Wailin’ Jennys – Fifteen – Track by Track

Some of the covers are songs we’ve had arranged for a while but haven’t had the chance to record. The others were brought to the mix for this record. They are all songs that are close to our heart for one reason or another or that feel appropriate for the times.

Old Churchyard – This is an English traditional song, evocative and otherworldly, as traditional music often is. Waterson-Carthy did a version that is very spirited, almost like a march. We took a more gentle approach.

Wildflowers – We’ve been singing this Tom Petty song for a few years and a lot of fans have asked us to record it, so we finally did. It’s just a great song, and it feels really good to sing it.

The Valley – We all think this is the most beautiful song. It is deep and compassionate…a spiritual anthem, with a touch of Jane Siberry eccentricity. Nicky brought this one to the band and suggested we trade off lead vocals. The boys dug deep in their performance. Richy added some gorgeous string parts. It was one of those things that just came together magically.

Light of a Clear Blue Morning – We were asked to arrange this song for an independent Canadian film called ‘The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom’, which featured Dolly’s music and received her stamp of approval. What can we say – we love Dolly, and this is a mammoth of a song, so we were honoured to do so.

Loves Me Like a Rock – Heather thought this would be fun to do with the Jennys, and she was right. We tend to gravitate towards the serious, so it’s good for us to lighten up once and a while. It’s a feel-good Paul Simon classic that feels ever appropriate.

Boulder to Birmingham – I have loved this song for as long as I’ve loved songs – it’s such a poignant and heartbreaking tribute to a lost love. The fact that Emmylou wrote it after Gram Parson’s death makes it all the more meaningful. I’ve always wanted to try it with the Jennys but the melody really weaves around, which can be challenging for creating harmonies. I love what we ended up with. The high part in particular ventures way out of Nicky’s normal range, but she nailed it. This was another one that felt magical when it was going down – we performed it a few times, but in the end we chose the first take.

Not Alone – Penned by the magnificent Patty Griffin and suggested by Heather, Not Alone is a tragic rendering of a life lost suddenly and a loved one left behind. Despite the gravity of the tale, it carries with it a message of deep hope and love. The haunting strains of Richard’s viola and Adam’s electric guitar make this song cut straight to the bone.

Keep Me in Your Heart – Warren Zevon wrote this song at the end of his life after battling cancer. It’s a beautiful sentiment – a piece of himself left for his family and friends, and the rest of us! Richy, Sam and Adam came up with a beautiful string arrangement in the studio and we think it really made the song come to life.

Weary Blues From Waitin’ – This Hank Williams song was one of the first songs the three of us sang together, the night we met Heather at The World Cafe in Philadelphia. We wanted to see how our voices blended, so we ducked into a public bathroom, locked the door, and sang a few songs. I’m pretty sure we asked her to join the band right then and there.

Artist web links:

www.thewailinjennys.com
www.facebook.com/thewailinjennys

JERRY DOUGLAS – Traveler

Jerry Douglas TravelerWhen you’ve got a little black book loaded with contacts you use them don’t you? And in the case of dobro maestro Jerry Douglas that’s quite some book. Paul Simon, Alison Krauss, Eric Clapton etc they’re all in there and only too pleased to lend a hand on this, his thirteenth solo album. I first became aware of Jerry’s playing in 1987 on Davy Spillane’s “Atlantic Bridge” album and was stunned by the musicality and expression on what I thought at the time was a pretty anodyne instrument. Of course, since then I’ve become an avid fan and Mr Douglas’s collaborations are without doubt some of the most stimulating I have encountered anywhere captured on numerous silver disks. From the opening blues of Huddie Ledbetter’s “On A Monday” it’s pleasing to hear his vocal talents coming to the fore. OK, so he may not be Alfie Boe or Andrea Bocelli but then again I’m sure he’s not trying to be…just happy in the knowledge that he’s able to hold a song for solo projects. If I was to choose a favourite track then I’d go for “Right On Time” where Jerry is joined by vocalist Marc Cohn showing an almost empathic restraint on lap steel guitar. This is the kind of album in which the listener feels proud in the knowledge that they know something the greater public are unaware of and in this respect I mean Jerry has enriched our lives and although not a ‘star’ in the truest sense of the word the world of country and folk music would be a poorer place without him. The accolades for this album will doubtless come thick and fast and personally speaking none more deservedly so.

PETE FYFE

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: www.jerrydouglas.com

Topic Records announce The Great Big Digital Archive Project 2013

70-years-of-Topic-150px The Great Big Digital Archive Project – 2013 

“Going Forward With Our Past”

From January 2013, the venerable and redoubtable Topic Records (now 74 years old) will be making available another of its ‘gifts to the nation’, in the form of The Great Big Digital Archive Project. Thereafter, a programme of 6 – 10 additional titles will be released every month throughout the year. With the possible exception of Smithsonian Records in the US, this will probably constitute the largest digital project of its kind undertaken by an independent record company anywhere in the world.

Topic has always had the underlying philosophy of making traditional based music as widely available as possible. The ambition of the label is now to make as much of its vast historical catalogue available using the current format – digital. What makes this project distinctive is that at the moment, digital delivery all too often divorces the audio recording from all artwork, documentation and sleeve-notes. The plan at Topic is to restore and include all of the information that accompanied the original releases of the past.

In January 2013, 84 of these albums will be available to download complete with digital booklets. The digital booklets will be available from the Topic website as well as iTunes. There will also be a short YouTube film explaining the project in detail and the content of specific digital booklets.

The first tranche of 84 digital releases will include albums originally released on vinyl LP in the late 1950s, the 60s, 70s and 80s. Many have been out of print for twenty years or more and include titles which were championed by John Peel and other influential broadcasters.

Much of the repertoire on the field recordings included in the Topic archive has fed into the latest British folk revival, whilst many recordings of Irish traditional music are of cultural and political significance and date from a period when there were few domestic labels in Ireland releasing such music.

Example:

TSDL070

The original recording of Davy Graham’s ‘Angi’ was made in Bill Leader’s Camden Town basement flat in 1962 and released on the seminal Topic 7″ vinyl EP – 3/4 AD. The vinyl release appeared in three different sleeves during the early 60s and with slightly different sleeve notes by Alexis Korner. The digital booklet will incorporate all the sleeve notes and illustrate the variant sleeve designs.

‘Angi’ is widely regarded as one of the cornerstone compositions of the sixties’ acoustic guitar movement, famously recorded by Bert Jansch, Paul Simon, Ralph McTell, etc.

And – looking a little further ahead – leading up to Topic’s 75th birthday in 2014, the label also plans to make available digital booklets for all current Topic releases, artist by artist, as well as new “themed” digital collections.

The first 84 TOPIC archive digital releases for January 2013

TSDL035 DOMINIC BEHAN Down By The Liffeyside (Irish Street Songs)

TSDL051 A L LLOYD Outback Ballads

TSDL070 DAVY GRAHAM 3/4 AD

TSDL084 THE WILLETT FAMILY The Roving Journeyman

TSDL093 RAMBLING JACK ELLIOTT Talking Woody Guthrie

TSDL110 VARIOUS ARTISTS Sea Songs & Shanties

TSDL113 PEGGY SEEGER & TOM PALEY Who’s Going To Shoe You’re Pretty Little Foot?

TSDL117 HEDY WEST Old Times and Hard Times

TSDL118 A L LLOYD First Person

TSDL120 THE CAMPBELL FAMILY The Singing Campbells

TSDL125 VARIOUS ARTISTS New Voices

TSDL130 EWAN MacCOLL Bundook Ballads

TSDL134 JESSE FULLER Move On Down The Line

TSDL137 THE FISHER FAMILY Traditional & New Songs From Scotland

TSDL139 PADDY TUNNEY A Wild Bees’ Nest

TSDL147 EWAN MacCOLL The Manchester Angel

TSDL163 HEDY WEST Ballads

TSDL175 WILLIE CLANCY The Minstrel From Clare

TSDL182 MRS. SARAH MAKEM Ulster Ballad Singer

TSDL183 WILLIE SCOTT The Shepherd’s Song

TSDL185 LIZZIE HIGGINS Princess Of The Thistle

TSDL186 THE HIGH LEVEL RANTERS Northumberland Forever

TSDL190 DAVE & TONI ARTHUR The Lark In The Morning

TSDL193 PHOEBE SMITH Once I Had A True Love

TSDL200 PETER BELLAMY The Fox Jumps Over The Parson’s Gate

TSDL203 A L LLOYD The Great Australian Legend

TSDL206 THE OLDHAM TINKERS Oldham’s Burning Sands

TSDL212 OAK Welcome To Our Fair

TSDL214 THE CHEVIOT RANTERS The Sound Of The Cheviots

TSDL216 FRANKIE ARMSTRONG Lovely On The Water

TSDL222 THE CHEVIOT RANTERS The Cheviot Hills

TSDL229 VARIOUS ARTISTS English Country Music From East Anglia

TSDL230 VARIOUS ARTISTS The Lark In The Clear Air

TSDL237 THE OLDHAM TINKERS Best O’ T’ Bunch

TSDL240 VARIOUS ARTISTS Boscastle Breakdown

TSDL247 JOHN KIRKPATRICK & SUE HARRIS The Rose Of Britain’s Isle

TSDL250 SEAMUS ENNIS The Wandering Minstrel

TSDL251 THE RUSSELL FAMILY Of Doolin, County Clare

TSDL253 VARIOUS ARTISTS Songs Of The Open Road

TSDL256 ROY HARRIS Champions Of Folly

TSDL274 BOB DAVENPORT Down The Long Road

TSDL275 BOB CANN West Country Melodeon

TSDL276 THE OLDHAM TINKERS For Old Time’s Sake

TSDL277 ARCHIE FISHER Will Ye Gang, Love

TSDL286 GEORGE MAYNARD Ye Subjects Of England

TSDL295 JOHN KIRKPATRICK & SUE HARRIS Among The Many Attractions At The Show…

TSDL297 THE HIGH LEVEL RANTERS Ranting Lads

TSDL305 THE O’HALLORAN BROTHERS The Men Of The Island

TSDL306 JIMMY POWER Irish Fiddle Player

TSDL307 BELLE STEWART Queen Among The Heather

TSDL315 DICK GAUGHAN Coppers & Brass

TSDL316 ROSE MURPHY Milltown Lass

TSDL318 BOB DAVENPORT Postcards Home

TSDL319 BOB SMITH’S IDEAL BAND Ideal Music

TSDL323 THE OLDHAM TINKERS Sit Thee Down

TSDL335 TOMMY HEALY & JOHN DUFFY Memories Of Sligo

TSDL337 JACK & CHARLIE COEN The Branch Line

TSDL350 BOB DAVENPORT & THE RAKES 1977

TSDL355 JOHN KIRKPATRICK & SUE HARRIS Shreds & Patches

TSDL361 BOB ROBERTS Songs From The Sailing Barges

TSDL362 MARY-ANN CAROLAN Songs From The Irish Tradition

TSDL366 DAN SULLIVAN’S SHAMROCK BAND

TSDL371 ALISTAIR ANDERSON Corby Crag

TSDL378 VIN GARBUTT Eston California

TSDL380 SHIRLEY & DOLLY COLLINS For As Many As Will

TSDL382 NEW VICTORY BAND One More Dance & Then

TSDL385 VIN GARBUTT Tossin A Wobbler

TSDL388 THE HIGH LEVEL RANTERS Four In A Bar

TSDL392 WALTER PARDON A Country Life

TSDL398 JOHN DOHERTY Bundle And Go

TSDL399 THE OLDHAM TINKERS That Lancashire Band

TSDL403 ALISON McMORLAND & PETA WEBB

TSDL405 CILLA FISHER & ARTIE TREZISE Cilla And Artie

TSDL408 JOHN KIRKPATRICK & SUE HARRIS Facing The Music

TSDL416 UMPS AND DUMPS The Moon’s In A Fit

TSDL430 MARTIN SIMPSON Grinning In Your Face

TSDL435 CURLEW Fiddle Music From Shetland & Beyond

TSDL438 MARTIN SIMPSON Sad Or High Kicking!

TSDL441 BILL CADDICK The Wild West Show

TSDL446 MARTIN & JESSICA SIMPSON True Dare Or Promise

TSDL447 ANDREW CRONSHAW Till The Beast’s Returning

TSDL453 JOHN KIRKPATRICK & SUE HARRIS Stolen Ground

TSDL502 EWAN MacCOLL Chorus From The Gallows

TSDL1050 ANDREW CRONSHAW The Language Of Snakes

Further information: http://www.topicrecords.co.uk/category/archive-digital-catalogue/

Sam Sallon – Kathy’s Song video released

Kathy’s Song (EP) was released through AWAL on indie imprint Indigo-Octagon yesterday. The EP has received great reviews from Hitsheet, MusicWeek and Classic Rock Society so far. Music press and mainstream press reviews won’t run until later this month but we’re giving it the “folking thumbs up” right now, so well done Sam and fingers crossed. The title track has already been played several times by Chris Hawkins at 6 music and the response from listeners has been excellent. More stuff about Sam can be found here: www.samsallon.com

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.

ROY HARPER – Songs Of Love And Loss – SALVO SALVOCDC222

Roy Harper is seventy and living in semi-retirement as far as making new music is concerned. He has, however, been preparing to make his complete catalogue available as digital downloads for the first time beginning with this double set which is also released on CD.

These are, as the title suggests, love songs so there are none of the long musical excursions that Roy is also noted for. Thinking of a song like ‘I Hate The White Man’ it’s easy to pigeon-hole Roy as a political song-writer but that’s not really the way he is. Certainly he has strong views and principles that have made for edgy relationships with record companies. He is firmly opposed to organised religion of any kind but his thoughts on the existence of a deity are more complicated than the simplistic “God is dead”. Most of his songs are about people, family and lovers, and England in all its beauty and ugliness. Included in this set is ‘South Africa’ which could be an ode to a country imprisoned by apartheid or a metaphor for a woman of whom he says “We have never met each other but it can’t be long”. That’s the beauty of Roy Harper: you can analyse his lyrics fruitlessly for hours.

This album includes some of Roy’s perennial favourites: ‘Francesca’, ‘Commune’, ‘Another Day’ and ‘North Country’ amongst them but there are songs from later, perhaps lesser-known albums: songs like ‘Sleeping At The Wheel’, ‘On Summer Day’ and ‘Waiting For Godot’. The quality of the remixing/remastering is astonishing. Even listening in the car I swear I can hear things I’ve never heard before. The tracks drawn from Valentine are gorgeous with David Bedford’s orchestrations soaring and leaping from the speakers. Most of my Harper albums are on vinyl and although I’d never part with them I’m seriously considering supplementing them with new digital versions. 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.

Artist Web Link: www.royharper.co.uk

ROY HARPER – ‘SONGS OF LOVE AND LOSS’

Few survivors from the golden age of British folk-rock have kept their reputations intact. Of the generation of troubadours who came of age in the folk clubs of Londonin the mid-1960s, there is one figure whose body of work, comprising 23 studio LPs and almost as many live and compilation releases, has come to stand for a particularly single-minded form of integrity. That man is Roy Harper.

On September 19th Union Square Music/Salvo Records releases the physical version of the 2CD set ‘Songs of Love and Loss’ Volumes 1 & 2 – 23 songs of raw, uncompromising honesty and emotion spanning Harper’s work from 1966 to 1992. One of the most innovative song writers to come out of the mid 60’s folk boom, ‘Songs of Love and Loss’ displays his remarkable array of styles, from the early folk finger pickings of Black Clouds and mysterious All You Need Is, to the bluesy ‘Little Lady’, the resonating ‘Frozen Moment’ and the lamenting ‘Another Day’.

Now officially ‘retired’, and living in a secluded corner of Ireland, Harper has recently been hailed as a key influence by a much younger generation of devoted starsailors who instinctively recognise his innovations, his refusal to compromise and his visionary world view. The likes of Fleet Foxes, Joanna Newsom and Jim O’Rourke are avowed fans; and in previous decades he has enjoyed public endorsements and tributes from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Kate Bush, Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour and many more.

Born in 1941 near Manchester, he was raised by a father and Jehovah’s Witness stepmother (his mother died when he was a baby) and developed an early aversion to dogma and organized religion. Running away he joined the Royal Air Force as a teenager, but didn’t take too well to their rules and regulations. Leaving wasn’t so easy as running away from home, however, and Harper opted to plead insanity to get his release. Part of the discharge deal meant he had to undergo unpleasant ECT treatment at a mental hospital. Harper later drifted throughout Europe, and by 1965 was a mainstay of London’s Les Cousins folk club, performing alongside the likes of Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, and Nick Drake.

In 1966 the tiny indie label Strike issued Harper’s debut LP, The Sophisticated Beggar; the record brought him to the attention of Columbia, which released his sophomore effort, Come Out Fighting Genghis Smith, the following year. In 1968, Harper mounted a series of free concerts in London’s Hyde Park, which greatly expanded his fan base in preparation for the release of 1969’s Folkjokeopus, which included “McGoohan’s Blues,” the first of his many extended compositions.

After meeting Pink Floyd manager Peter Jenner, Harper was signed to EMI’s Harvest subsidiary, and in 1970 he issued Flat Baroque and Berserk, recorded with contributions from members of the Nice; that same year marked the appearance of Led Zeppelin III and its track “Hats Off to Harper,” a tribute penned by longtime friend Jimmy Page. Upon relocating to the Big Sur area of California, Harper began writing 1971’s Stormcock, regarded by many as his finest record; the following year he starred in the film Made, releasing the music he composed for the picture’s soundtrack in 1973 under the title Lifemask.

Valentine, a collection of love songs, appeared in 1974, and was quickly followed by the live album Flashes from the Archives of Oblivion, featuring appearances by Page, Keith Moon, Ronnie Lane, and Ian Anderson. In 1975, Harper formed Trigger, a backing group including guitarist Chris Spedding and drummer Bill Bruford; however, after releasing just one LP, HQ, the unit disbanded. In 1975 Harper also took lead vocals on “Have a Cigar,” a track on Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here.

Harper rode the unsteady waves of the music industry during the 1980s but kept up a productive output and in 1994, he set up his own record label, Science Friction, to curate and re-release his entire back catalogue, along with a clutch of CDs of live and unreleased material covering his entire career. In his book, The Passions Of Great Fortune (2003), he published his complete lyrics together with photos, annotations and re-evaluations of every one of his songs. In 2005, old pal Jimmy Page presented him with the prestigious Mojo magazine Hero Award.

2011 will see a great deal of Roy Harper activity; Roy celebrates his 70th birthday, ITV Home Studios are to release a live concert DVD newly recorded at Metropolis studios and Roy will also play a sell-out gig at the Royal Festival Hall. Along with the reissue of a number of his original albums in digital form, Roy Harper’s incredible, visionary catalogue of work enters the digital domain in time for his music to take on a new, urgent and timely appeal, in an age in which the hypocrisies and injustices he railed against are more present than ever before. It’s been a damned good innings and he’s still not out.

Track listing sequence:

Volume 1

1.Black Clouds
2. Girlie
3. All You Need Is
4. Francesca
5. East Of The Sun
6. Little Lady
7. North Country
8. I’ll See You Again
9. Naked Flame
10. Commune
11. Frozen Moment

Volume 2

1. Davey
2. Another Day
3. South Africa
4. Hallucinating Light
5. Sleeping At The Wheel
6. Waiting For Godot
7. The Flycatcher
8. On Summer Day
9. Cherishing The Lonesome
10. My Friend
11. One More Tomorrow
12. Forever

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: http://www.royharper.co.uk/