VARIOUS – From Here: English Folk Field Recordings (From Here Sitw005)

From HereThey may be newcomers to the scene, but Stick In The Wheel are certainly making their mark, not just with their own recordings and associated artifacts, but in their involvement with the folk world in general, and the traditional in particular.

Band members Ian Carter and Nicola Kearey serve as curators, collaborators and producers for this collection of new live recordings by both the great and good and some of the lesser known luminaries in the genre. The remit for those involved was to record songs that explored either place or their musical identity, culminating in a gathering of field recordings captured in locations as diverse as a stone cottage in Edale, a bank vault and a garden at Robin Hood’s Bay using just two stereo microphones and with no subsequent overdubs.

As you would imagine, the tracks are stark and raw, first up being ‘Bedfordshire May Carol’, chosen by performer Jack Sharp, leader of psych-folk outfit Wolf People, as it supposedly originated just a few miles from where he grew up. Next up, Eliza Carthy leads a flurry of more familiar names with a self-penned number, ‘The Sea’, a new setting of the broadside ballad found in Manchester’s Chetham Library and featuring on her current album, the initial pizzicato fiddle giving way to more robust playing. She’s followed by one of the veterans of English folk, John Kirkpatrick, applying his accordion to a song from his lengthy repertoire and a folk club staple ‘Here’s Adieu To Old England’, while his sometimes musical partner, Martin Carthy, also chose a number he’s recently reintroduced back into his sets, ‘The Bedmaking’, a familiar tale of the abused and cast aside servant girl. fingerpicked here to a halting rhythm.

Sandwiched in-between is one of the rising stars of the few folk firmament, the Peak District’s Bella Hardy, who went to 19th century collection The Ballads and Songs of Derbyshire for ‘The Ballad of Hugh Stenson’, setting it to a more upbeat tune than the hymnal adapted by Jon Tams, while, another member of folk royalty, Jon Boden puts his squeezebox to work on a contemplative take on 19th century drinking song ‘Fathom The Bowl’.

There’s a couple of spokes from the Wheel, both unaccompanied, Kearey delivering glottal version of the much covered ‘Georgie’ and Fran Foote ‘The Irish Girl’. They’re not the only numbers to be sung naked as it were. BritFolk alumnus Lisa Knapp has a lovely treatment of the tumblingly melodious ‘Lavender Song’, while, also from the female side, Fay Hield tips the hat to Annie Briggs with her choice of ‘Bonny Boy’.

On the other side of a capella gender fence, Geordie folkie Stew Simpson mines his Newcastle roots for ‘Eh Aww Ah Cud Hew’ (which the accompanying booklet helpfully translates as “Oh Yes, I Could Pick At The Coals”), Sam Lee turns the evergreen ‘Wild Rover’ on its head to transform it into a slow, sad lament rather than more familiar rollicking rouser of Dubliners and Pogues note, and, from Wales, a deep-voiced Men Diamler closes the album with ‘1848 (Sunset Beauregard)’, a self-penned political protest ballad about Tory policies. The remaining unaccompanied track is actually a duet, Peta Webb and Ken Hall joining voices for an Irish in London in the 50s marriage of Ewan MacColl’s ‘Just A Note’, about the building of the M1, and Bob Davenport’s account of the dangers of ‘Wild Wild Whiskey’.

The three remaining tracks are all instrumentals. Bristol’s acoustic instrumental quartet Spiro are the only band on the collection and provide their self-penned ‘Lost In Fishponds’, apparently about getting lost en route to a gig, joined here by North Wales violinist Madame Česki, while Sam Sweeney brings his fiddle to bear on two tunes. ‘Bagpipers’, one of the first things he played with his band Leveret, and ‘Mount Hills’, an English dance tune from the 17th century. Which leaves Cumbrian concertina maestro Rob Harbron to provide the third with a pairing of ‘Young Collins’, a Costwolds’ tune learned from Alistair Anderson, and, another from the Morris tradition, ‘Getting Up The Stairs’, which, by way of a pleasing synchronicity, he actually learned by way of John Kirkpatrick on the influential Morris On album.

It more than does the job it set out to achieve, and, likely to loom large in end of year awards, fully warrants a place in any traditional folk fan’s collection.

Mike Davies

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 From Here: English Folk Field Recordings 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.

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Artists’ website: www.stickinthewheel.com

Stew Simpson – ‘Eh Aww Ah Cud Hew’:

The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2016 winners are…

Radio 2 Folk Awards 2016

The winners of this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards have been announced at a spectacular event held at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Now in their 17th year, this major event in the specialist music calendar saw accolades presented for Folk Singer of the Year, Best Duo, Best Album, Musician of the Year and many more, as well as Lifetime Achievement Awards for songwriter Joan Armatrading and traditional folk legend Norma Waterson.

Also on the night some of the most exciting acts in the folk music scene took to the stage for magical performances to celebrate the vibrant folk music scene in the UK and beyond.

John McCusker Band

The evening kicked off with an electrifying performance by the John McCusker Band, and throughout the evening the audience were treated to performances by Grammy Award and BRIT Award nominee Joan Armatrading; British singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer and film score composer, Mark Knopfler; Mercury Award nominated Sam Lee, Dublin folk band Lynched; a special tribute to Sandy Denny by Rufus Wainwright and many more. The evening culminated in a rousing performance by acclaimed Northumbrian group The Unthanks.

Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright performed a special tribute to Sandy Denny who was inducted into the Folk Awards Hall of Fame. For the rendition of Sandy’s classic ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes’, Rufus was backed by musicians including some who were members of Fairport Convention alongside Sandy in the 1960s and 1970s.

Awards were presented by a host of famous folk fans, including actors Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Sherlock, The Office) and Matt Berry (The IT Crowd, House of Fools), musicians Richard Hawley and Graham Coxon from Blur, War Horse author Michael Morpurgo and 1960s star Sandie Shaw.

The night also saw the presentation of the annual BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, which has been finding and championing young folk talent for 18 years. The four nominees in this category also performed live during a special interval programme presented by Radio 2’s Simon Mayo and top folk musician Kathryn Tickell.

Bob Shennan, Controller BBC Radio 2, 6Music and Asian Network and Director BBC Music, said:

“What better way to celebrate the thriving folk music scene than a wonderful night in the impressive surroundings of the Royal Albert Hall. It was a fitting way to recognise the huge wealth of talent and I’d like to congratulate the winners of these prestigious accolades. Here’s to next year!”

The awards will be available to watch on the BBC iPlayer from today and will be broadcast on the BBC Red Button from Saturday 30 April until Thursday 5 May.

The full list of winners:

FOLK SINGER OF THE YEAR
Rhiannon Giddens

BEST DUO
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman

BEST GROUP
The Young’uns

BEST ALBUM
Mount The Air – The Unthanks

HORIZON AWARD
Sam Kelly

MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR
Andy Cutting

BEST ORIGINAL TRACK 
‘Mackerel’ by The Rheingans Sisters

BEST TRADITIONAL TRACK 
‘Lovely Molly’ by Sam Lee

BBC RADIO 2 YOUNG FOLK AWARD
Brighde Chaimbeul

Gift Band 2016

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Norma Waterson

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Joan Armatrading

GOOD TRADITION AWARD
John McCusker

HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
Sandy Denny

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.

Well, if that was not exciting enough, then why not create your own Albert Hall replica out of those discarded food/ electrical cardboard boxes lying around the house, sit on your favourite cushion, grab a glass of something special and re-live it all again here at:

BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – 2016: Full Show

Sam Lee at the Radio 2 Folk Awards and singing with Nightingales

Sam Lee

The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards returned on Wednesday 27th April 2016 and was held at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London. The event featured live performances from ground-breaking folk singer and song collector, Sam Lee, as well as the singer/songwriter Joan Armatrading and Northumbrian folk act The Unthanks.

Since bursting onto the folk scene at the end of the 1990s, Sam Lee has blazed a dizzying trail as an outstanding singer and song collector but also as the driving force behind the eclectic, award-winning folk club, The Nest Collective, which has brought traditional music to younger audiences, to all kinds of new stages and venues.  In the past few years, Sam has taken his dynamic interpretation of ancient songs worldwide, to more than 20 countries. Awarded the prestigious 2011 Arts Foundation prize, nominated for the 2012 Mercury Award for his debut album, Ground Of Its Own, Lee’s most recent album is The Fade In Time which was released to critical acclaim in 2015.

If you would like to order a copy either of the albums (in CD or Vinyl), download them 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.

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As well as a varied career (which has included working as a part-time Burlesque dancer), London born and bred, Sam Lee, is an experienced naturalist. In marked contrast to the Royal Albert Hall performance, during the spring of 2015, saw Sam providing small audiences with a very special opportunity to join him and guest musicians in Sussex woodlands, to sing with Nightingales.

Sam Lee hosted a series of these outdoor feasts at a secret location in East Sussex at which music, stories and folklore celebrated one of Britain’s rarest birds – the nightingale.

The idea for the celebrations grew out of a sell-out event Sam ran in 2014 for the Brighton Festival and listener reactions to his award-nominated radio programme marking the 90th anniversary of the BBC’s first ever outside broadcast, featuring a nightingale and cello duet.

As yet we have not had any word from Sam if he plans to run this again in 2017 but details about the original event can be found via this link: http://thenestcollective.co.uk/shows/singing-with-nightingales-sam-lee/

Sam Lee and Llywelyn Ap Myrrdin investigate the nose

Sam Lee and Llywelyn Ap Myrrdin investigate the nose

Sam Lee investigated the nose with help from pathologist Dr Laura Casey of University College London Hospital, perfume expert Nick Gilbert, Ear Nose and Throat surgeon Professor Simon Gane from University College London Hospital,and Dr Darren Logan from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge. The track is sensitive and intricate with plucked strings, piano and Lee’s distinctive voice as we find another artist truly personifying their chosen organ.

Sam says:

“The nose is by far the least understood of all the organs and one of the great of the human science mysteries, This song explores this “archaic nerve” that penetrates our psyche and unconsciousness in magical transportive ways. This original organ has elevated itself to such a lofty position of biological deportment as to become almost unnecessary, yet so rooted in all our judgements socially, sexually, animalistically and atavistically it could be reckoned as the seat of the highest intuition and most advanced of all faculties”

‘Nose Song’:

Body Of Songs

Body of Songs is a groundbreaking music and science experiment that brings together Britain’s most talented musicians to create a remarkable collection of songs, inspired by our inner workings – the mysterious organs of the body.

These are the 8th and 9th tracks to be revealed from the collection due for release in Autumn 2015. So far you can hear: Bat For Lashes (Skin), Goldie (Brain), Ghostpoet (Liver), Mara Carlyle & Max De Wardener (Kidneys), Dave Okumu (Heart), Afrikan Boy (Blood), Scrufizzer (Larynx).

Through incredible access to specialist clinicians and scientists, making observations in the operating theatre, meeting with alternative health experts and patients at varying stages of illness and ogling body parts in special museum collections – each artist has developed a knowledge and feel for their chosen organ. This is then transformed into an original composition to reflect both their experiences and personal relationship to these hidden parts of the body.

The artists’ scientific journeys have been guided with help from inspirational clinician, Professor Hugh Montgomery and Dr Alistair Connell.

With a line-up of incredible artists, curated by Gemma Cairney (BBC Radio 1), Llywelyn Ap Myrrdin (composer) and Beth Clayton the remaining three songs and body organs from musicians at the peak of their creative powers will be released ahead of the final album in Autumn 2015.

Body Of Songs is supported by the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England. With special thanks to University College London Hospital and the NHS.

Website: http://bodyofsongs.co.uk/

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Folk Awards 2013 (Proper Music Properfolk14)

Folk Awards 2013Glorious…there’s no other word to describe it. Opening with every folk fans favourite band of ragamuffins Bellowhead and “Roll The Woodpile Down” this 3 CD compilation of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards positively blasts forth heralding the achievements of all concerned. We in the folk world have a lot to be grateful for and the inclusion of (amongst others) Hannah James & Sam Sweeney, Gilmore & Roberts and Kathryn Tickell show how they can ‘acoustically’ kick butt along with ‘rock’ music’s finest. It brings a beaming smile to my face to feel privileged as I do that my enjoyment of this much maligned genre really can give every other form of music a run for its money and that recording’s like this will Continue reading VARIOUS ARTISTS – Folk Awards 2013 (Proper Music Properfolk14)

Sam Lee – Ground Of Its Own

Ground of Its Own is the striking debut release by Sam Lee, a young folk musician who is busy forging a unique path, not just in his own artistic development but also by supporting and having influence on a whole new generation of musicians.

Born and bred in North London, Sam Lee has a glorious baritone voice and seemingly boundless imagination and enthusiasm. A graduate of the Chelsea College of Art, Sam decided to abandon work as a visual artist, teacher of wilderness survival skills (he was trained by Ray Mears) and a part-time Burlesque dancer. Instead, he embarked on a journey of discovery into the songs of the British Isles. His main musical training developed from a unique four-year apprenticeship under the legendary, late Scottish Traveller, the balladeer, Stanley Robertson, to whom Ground of Its Own is dedicated. Whilst still in his mid 20s, Sam regularly visited Stanley in the North of Scotland where he inherited a vast repertoire of songs as well as an ancient, idiosyncratic singing craft. Sam became inspired to research and document traditional music, a craft which has since led him to become a regular visiting lecturer to Goldsmith’s College and Newcastle University. Sam is also the first folk singer to teach at the Royal College of Music.

Ground of Its Own is an 8-track release (produced by Gerry Diver and with mixes by John Wood, of Nick Drake fame) comprising traditional material, largely discovered through Sam’s years of dogged research and exploration of often long forgotten songs. Not content to learn only from books or records, Sam has sourced most of his material direct from English Gypsy and Irish and Scottish traveller communities. For example, Northlands is a mighty ballad of betrayal and survival learnt direct from the Cassidy family of Irish Travellers. Meanwhile, On Yonders Hill explores the ever popular theme of the invincibility of the hare in folklore and The Ballad of George Collins, originally collected by Bob Copper from a Sussex Shepherd, Enos White, is given new life with Sam Lee’s highly distinctive delivery.

Live or on record, Sam Lee and his band (Francesca Ter-Berg : Cello, Jonah Brody : Japanese Koto (Harp) Jews Harp & Ukelele, Steve Chadwick : Trumpet & Cornet, Camilo Tirado : Tabla, Percussion & Cantele, Flora Curzon : Violin ; there is even the odd gas cylinder in there too…) present rich tapestries of ancient songs in an innovative and dynamic fashion.

In between times, Sam has became the promoter, live events producer and driving force behind the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winning Magpie’s Nest (now The Nest Collective) organisation which has played a key role in helping to regenerate interest in the live folk music scene, especially amongst younger musicians and audiences, and is the group behind many innovative concerts and festival stages.

In 2011, Sam was presented with the prestigious Arts Foundation Award (by Grayson Perry). That year, he also featured in Vogue Magazine, was a contributor to an 8 part series called ‘Traveller’s Got Talent’ (Sky TV) and was a musical director of a Radio 4 series on the history of the postal service. More recently, Sam has started presenting an eclectic weekly show on Resonance FM Radio.

Listen to tracks or order/ download from the links below:

Vinyl