Yvonne Lyon announces new album with Stewart and Carol Henderson

Yvonne Lyon

Vesper Sky is a stunning and unique collection of songs and poems, written and performed by Stewart Henderson, Yvonne Lyon and Carol Henderson.

Singer/songwriter Yvonne Lyon has been significantly influenced by Stewart Henderson’s poems and songs over many years. This new collaboration has allowed her the opportunity to develop her own craft with material co-written with Stewart and also to respond to various poems with improvised piano accompaniment. Having supported Eddi Reader, performed with Beth Nielsen Chapman and co-written with Boo Hewerdine, Yvonne continues to establish herself as an artist of considerable significance.

Stewart Henderson is a poet, broadcaster and songwriter. Radio critic of The Sunday Times, Gillian Reynolds says that Stewart ‘understands the packed power of words, the importance of their use and measure’, whilst Bob Harris of BBC Radio 2 has praised Stewart’s ‘lyrical intelligence’. Vesper Sky also features poems from his new poetry collection for adults, ‘A Poet’s Notebook…with new poems, obviously’, published by Lion Hudson.

Carol Henderson is a storyteller, broadcaster and practicing iconographer with a varied and distinguished background in publishing, theatre and film. She has performed at such venues as The Royal Albert Hall, London; The University of Toronto; Stanford University, California and The Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, New York. Carol’s extensive radio work includes drama readings on various BBC Radio 4 historical documentaries.

The 20 track playlist with its wide-ranging, contemporary topics and tempos is an engrossing and plaintive ‘journal of our times’. Among the additional guest musicians is legendary slide guitarist and premier session player Bryn Haworth, a long term friend of the Hendersons.

“just stunning music” Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2

“the consistently high quality of songwriting invariably shines through… she’s a gem” Fatea

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’ websites: www.yvonnelyonmusic.com   www.stewart-henderson.com

SINGLES BAR 34 – A round-up of recent EPs and singles

Singles Bar 34Tablelands is the third of the trilogy of EPs by INDIA ELECTRIC CO. that began in the city with EC1M and ends somewhere hot, red and swampy. The format is much the same as before: Cole Stacey on vocals and percussion and Joseph O’Keefe on everything else. The difference is in the sophistication and confidence shown by the duo. The songs are rich and mysterious with lines that lodge in your brain. “There’s something in the water, we all know” comes from ‘Mareeba’, which is a town in Australia, although that knowledge doesn’t really help. ‘In Absence’ is particularly good with more intriguing lines that don’t quite make sense unless you have the context. The closing ‘Gold In The North’ sums up, in a wave of nostalgia, the city/country dichotomy that has threaded its way through the trilogy. “There’s gold in the North”, they admit, “but it’s hard to leave here”.
http://indiaelectricco.com/

MerrymakerRisen from the ashes of Merrymouth, the folk project by Ocean Colour Scene’s Simon Fowler, MERRYMAKER comprises Dan Sealey, who was a member of both (and now, alongside his dad, also part of the revived Cosmotheka which featured his last uncle) alongside Adam Barry (also ex-Merrymouth and the third Cosmotheka member), Paul McCormack and Hannah Lawson. Sealey has a similar Bee Gees-like warble to Fowler, providing a vocal continuity between the bands, and also happens to be an equally excellent songwriter.

Following on from three singles, including 2016’s ‘We Don’t Want A War’ protest against the bombing of Syria, ‘Unnatural Progression’ (self-released) is their debut EP, a five-track collection of four originals and a version of the traditional ‘The Trees They Do Grow High’. Orchestrally arranged opener ‘Evergreen’ is a majestic, soaring anthem that sets the nature theme that runs through the Harvest Moon-like Neil Young trot of ‘Rainclouds’, fiddle-driven midtempo catchy chorus stomp ‘Midst of Summertime’ and the brass-tinged and jazzy woodwind eco-warning ‘The Future Looks Back’. Can we have a whole album’s worth soon, please?
https://www.merrymakermusic.co.uk/

The Girl With The Cloak is a beautiful little bundle of songs by Ayrshire based musician, EMMA DURKAN. At just 25, she already has an impressive array of accolades and honours to her name, not to mention an undeniable talent. Performing on the fiddle and clarsach, the EP is made up of six tracks which are written, arranged and sung by Durkan, creating a tangible fusion between traditional and contemporary.

A majestic, fiddle-led number, titled, ‘The Truth’ kicks off the record, and flows into the equally pretty, if comparatively more stripped back ‘Green Light’. For me, it is ‘Trying’ which steals the show, dealing with the monotonies, expectations, struggles and challenges of daily life in its relatable lyrics, which sit nicely alongside Durkan’s musical arrangement. The title track is perhaps the most mournful of the EP, with its “Girl With The Cloak” protagonist being revisited and referenced in final number, ‘Stepping Stones’ creating a sense of closure, as the record bows out on a truly beautiful note.
www.emmadurkanmusic.co.uk

Available from her website, DARIA KULESH offers up Autumn Delights, the final of her four seasonal EPs (available in a limited handmade sleeve edition) and a prelude to next year’s Earthly Delights album. A four track selection, it again affords an eclectic and geographically wide-ranging mix, opening with a cover of Kara’s ‘Union Street’, a waltztime song celebrating the harvest, here given a gorgeous Quartet arrangement featuring Tristan Seume on guitar, Marina Osman’s descending piano chords and, bookending the number, Kate Rouse providing shimmering hammered dulcimer.

Osman’s also on hand for ‘Boston Waltz’ which, despite the title, is actually of Russian origin, where it’s known as ‘Vals-Boston’. An autumnal vision of a young dancer whirling through the neighbourhood leaves written by Leningrad-born songwriter Alexander Rosenbaum (or, to be accurate, Aleksandr Jakovlevič Rozyenbaum), a highly significant and influential figure on the Soviet cultural scene, it’s his biggest hit though little known outside of Russia. Kulesh (who, at 16, apparently performed it at an Italian beauty pageant, winning the Miss Mystery title), naturally, sings it in her native tongue. There’s a touch of Piaf about the song, so it’s surely no accident that, backed by Jonny Dyer on guitar, she ends singing (in full smoking torch mode) in French, her choice being ‘Les Feuilles Mortes’, a song of longing, loss and decay written in 1945 by Joseph Kosma and Jacques Prévert and, more commonly known in its translated version as‘Autumn Leaves’, first popularised by Yves Montand from whose 1951 recording Kulesh learned it, complete with the original spoken intro.

Again featuring Dyer, the remaining track, by popular request, is her achingly tender and highly emotional reading of the sad and angry ‘No Man’s Land’ (aka ‘Green Fields of France’), Eric Bogle’s classic anti-war song and as fine a recording as you could wish to mark the upcoming 100th anniversary Remembrance Day.
http://www.daria-kulesh.co.uk/

PILGRIM ST release The EP in advance of their debut album. Although Irish in origin their influences come from the other side of the Atlantic – bluegrass and mountain music are to the fore. ‘My Little Blackbird’ is a banjo driven foot-stomper to open the set and you might be suckered into thinking that you’re in for four tracks of rousing “yee-hah”. But…’Givin’ It Up This Time’ is entirely different. It’s slow and sad, talking about “the insomnia train” and “polluting your system”. It’s a bit grim, actually. ‘Emerald’ possibly comes from ancient Irish history but it also speaks to every invasion of one country by another that has ever happened and finally ‘Hurt People Hurt People’ goes back to Americana but without the swagger of the first track. It leaves us wondering.
www.pilgrimst.com

Based in London, CATTY PEARSON trades in folk, country and blues on her October released debut streaming/download EP Time Tells Me (AWAL), recorded with the legendary Chris Kimsey, on which she’s joined by Ollie Clarke on the guitar, drummer Evan Jenkins, Flora Curzon on violin, and folk luminary Lukas Drinkwater on bass with Nichol Thompson and Jansen Santana providing trombone and percussion, respectively playing percussion. Likened to a folksier Norah Jones, she describes five tracks as an enquiry into materialism and the insidious creeping of technology into all areas our lives, opening with the fiddle adorned, steady rhythmic pulse of lead single ‘Electricity’, while ‘Time Tells Me This’ has a smoky late night soul feel reminiscent of Wendy Waldman and ‘Smothered Love’ steeped in prowling jazzy blues flavours. Another breathily sung ballad, this time more acoustic in nature, ‘Northern Sky’ has a suitably clear night air tone, the EP rounded off with the softly sung, circular fingerpicked patterns of ‘Moment Too’. Definitely a name to watch.
https://www.cattypearson.com/

Sunlight is the debut EP from Leicester sing-songwriter TIMOTHY HOAD and it’s a delight. The title track, which opens proceedings, is an up-tempo and, indeed, uplifting song built on a drum and handclap rhythm. Timothy has a gift for both melody and lyrics and the second track, ‘The Ghost I Loved’, has a nicely twisty story and is perversely optimistic given that the singer is about to be executed – or was that his plan all along? The third track is ‘Shapeshifter’ and it just leaves us wanting a whole album.
https://www.facebook.com/timothyhoadmusic/

O&O are a London-based American-Israeli duo consisting of Obadiah Jones and Orian Peled, both graduates of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Truth Comes Out being their self-released debut EP. Described as Fleetwood Mac meets the Civil Wars, they bolster the claim with the steady rolling rhythm of the blues tinged title track and the country-rock chug ‘Saturday Morning’, showing a softer side duetting on the rippling missing-you ballad ‘Tears In The Rain’ (a former single) and the slow burn, pedal-steel stained waltz ‘Rolling On’. A very fine addition to the burgeoning UK Americana scene.
https://www.oandoduo.com/

Some musicians make an EP on a shoestring to get their name out there while they save up to make an album. Not so DAVID LEASK, whose Six In ›6/8 was recorded with nineteen musicians in Toronto, Montreal, Nashville and Muscle Shoals. Scottish-born David lets his native country peep through with some lovely whistle on ‘Red Balloon’ but ‘Caught In The Tide’ quickly crosses the Atlantic to Canada where he now lives and grows in the crossing. Six wants to be an album when it grows up but at six regular-length tracks it doesn’t really make the cut while, at the same time, it’s too heavy duty for an EP. ‘Can’t Make It Back Home’ is probably the best song in the set but it’s swamped by the arrangement.
www.davidleask.com

Another duo with Mac-influences, this time from Birmingham, GASOLINE & MATCHES are Sally Rea Morris and Steve Marks who, aside from regularly hosting local Nashville Sounds in the Round sessions for upcoming UK country names, are establishing their own solid momentum having been nominated alongside The Shires and Ward Thomas for Duo of the Year at the 2018 British CMA Awards. Produced by Gavin Monaghan, their third single is the mid-tempo but full-blooded ‘Not Into Country’, a musical differences break-up number with Morris on lead and Marks providing the muscular guitar breaks.
https://www.gasolineandmatchesmusic.com/

Everything’s Fine is the latest three-track by YVONNE LYON and, like many musicians it seems, she has chosen to be upbeat and optimistic in face of the chaos that is taking over the world. It’s a fine song but ‘Where The Poor Find Gold’ may be even better although not such an obvious lead track while ‘Hope’ rounds out the set with soulful vocals over an electronica backing.
www.yvonnelyonmusic.com

RUSTY SHACKLE provide a taster for their upcoming new Passion, Death & Joy album with ‘Sam Hall’ (own label), a typically driving slice of folk-rock, emphasis on drums and fiddle, telling the story of the 18th century highwayman, here reflecting on his life as chimney sweep to thief to the gallows.
http://www.rustyshackle.com/

LICKING THE MOOSE are a Norwegian Americana band and their single ‘Murder Ballad’ is the audio equivalent of Scandi-noir television. Pained, whisky-soaked vocals sit on a rather ponderous piano-led accompaniment. It’s a strange song, probably something to do with the voice that the singer is hearing. Not a lot of laughs.
https://www.facebook.com/Licking-The-Moose-46368089157/

JOEY COSTELLO has previously featured in these pages and is back with a new single, ‘So High We Lose Our Minds’. Nicely simple with ringing guitar chords and backing vocals and Joey’s all-but-impossible falsetto.
https://joeycostello.com/

 

 

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YVONNE LYON – Metanoia (own label)

MetanoiaMetanoia is Yvonne Lyon’s eighth album and is a mixture old tracks revisited and brand new tracks. The collection opens with an Americana track laced with a helping of bluegrass: ‘Where The Poor Find Gold’. It is a good opener with a moderately lively tempo, and my pick of the tracks, but don’t expect the rest of the album to follow that path.

This a body of work filled with winsome songs. A feeling of melancholia dominates and yet there is an underlying hopefulness in a lot of the lyrics. The only track to kick off its boots is ’Everything’s Fine’, an up tempo dancing song with a positive message.

Yvonne’s voice carries the listener along through the reflective stories. A voice that is melodic and ideally suited to the subject matter of the songs.

The album as a whole is best described as a pleasurable listen. Nothing is going to shake any foundations here. There is nothing stunningly original on offer, but what you do get is quality music accompanied by meaningful words and delivered with Yvonne’s accomplished performances.

Any fan of Americana and American folk won’t be disappointed in this collection of songs that reflects Yvonne’s musical journey.

Ron D Bowes

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’s website: www.yvonnelyonmusic.com

SINGLES BAR 20

A round-up of recent EPs and singles

Singles Bar 20The first of three self-released themed EPs set for 2017 from Devon duo INDIA ELECTRIC CO., pianist/violinist and accordionist Joseph O’Keefe and Cole Stacey vocals/ percussion, EC1M (Shoelay) offers five tracks variously coloured by influences drawn diversely from Ireland, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America. Named for the building in which they lived when they moved to London(the EP title its postcode), ‘Farmiloe’ makes for an intoxicating opener, keys, violin and squeezebox conjuring a sort of mutant Gallic atmosphere (it features found sound recorded in Paris) filtered through Eastern vibes while the chorus references both the traditional ‘Farewell He’ and e e cummings.

Another American poet, Barbara Guest, feeds into ‘Parachutes’ which, with its pulsing fiddle and prepared piano, quotes the title of her poem Parachutes My Love Could Carry Us Higher while also enfolding in midway the traditional tune ‘The Green Gowned Lass’. Tempo shifting ballad ‘Camelot’ is a heavily percussive piano number with plucked violin notes while, named for a champion 1913 racing pigeon to underscore its theme of endurance, ‘The King Of Rome’ takes off into avant-jazz territory, the musical backdrop designed to conjure nonstop traffic. All of which climaxes with the swirling crescendos of the pizzicato ‘Castles In Spain’, inspired by a passage in the celebrated French medieval poem The Romance of the Rose. Impressively inventive and eclectic, I can’t wait to hear that the other two EPs will have to offer.
www.indiaelectricco.com

Robert Jackson and Isaac Collier are two buskers who met in Bristol and became local stars as A DIFFERENT THREAD since when their name has spread nationwide. Their debut EP, Home From Home, produced by Luke Cawthra, might best be described as Anglo-Americana. Jackson writes the songs, sings them and plays guitar and harmonica and Collier plays cello and arranges parts for the half-dozen guest musicians including singer/songwriter Ruth Royall. The opening track, ‘Big Crane’, has a lazy bluesy feel and ‘The Same Cloth’ uses Jonny Bruce’s trumpet to add a touch of classic swing. ‘A Wayward Sun’ is the sort of complex song that you would expect from much older writer and this debut bodes well for a very bright future.
http://www.adifferentthread.com/

Championed by Bob Harris, Scotland’s YVONNE LYON is building a name for herself in the folk Americana field, her latest bid for the spotlight being the self-released Till We Meet Again, a piano backed swayalong song of loss co-written with a friend whose young son died from septicaemia and forming part of her Masters degree on the connection between songwriting and grief. It comes with two extra cuts, the quietly acoustic Celtic-tinged love song ‘Already Made’ and, again musically nodding to her heritage, the eight and a half minute ‘Spike Road Gardens’, a spare piano and fiddle instrumental suite with a brief passage of spoken but not clearly decipherable lyrics.
http://yvonnelyonmusic.com/

MIKE WEST makes his recording debut with Rusted. He plays acoustic guitar influenced by blues and rock but you can tell that he used to play electric and these five tracks were recorded off the floor for authenticity. Mike’s voice frequently strays into Tom Waits’ territory, notably on the opening track, ‘Work On’, but it is probably more effective when he lightens the tone a little. ‘Rock Ferry’ is possibly the best track but ‘Keep Going’ runs it close.
https://mikewest333.bandcamp.com/releases

A quick follow up to his recent album, PAUL McCLURE and the LOCAL HEROES is the self-titled EP (Clubhouse) result of getting a band together to record five of the songs he’s had hanging round but which never quite fitted on his past two albums. The first of a planned shelf-clearing series, it opens on wailing harmonica with ‘Million Dollar Smile’, a number that should chime well with fans of labelmates The Dreaming Spires and the Redlands Palomino Company, members of which also happen to feature on the EP. Rhiannon Payne who can be heard to good effect providing harmonies on the waltz time, brushed drums ‘Weight In Time’, a fine country gospel drinking away my hurt honky tonk number.

Elsewhere ‘Baby That’s You’ is firmly in the tradition of 60s pop n roll, ‘The Good And The Bad Of It’ is a melancholic strung out and moping lost love piano ballad, while, conjuring Dylan by way of The Byrds, the strummed closer ‘Troubadour’s Lament’ was born of listening to a bunch if CDs while stuck in traffic on the way to a gig, musing on pop star billboards, the family, service stations and radio-phone ins among other things. Let’s hope he does his housekeeping on a regular basis.
http://www.paulmccluremusic.com/

In anticipation of their debut album later in the year THE BLACK GUARDS release their first EP, Drawn In, which opens with the full length version of the title track, their first single. Next up is ‘The Ballad Of Mrs O’ which is scheduled to be their second single. The Black Guards are a six-piece from Cumbria and Dublin who mix folk and roots-rock and anything else they can get their hands on. ‘Karma’ has an old-fashioned mittel-European feel built around Anne Marie McStraw’s fiddle and the final ‘Boat Cuts A Water’ begins as a languid, bluesy acoustic guitar piece before everyone sweeps in for the big finish. We’re looking forward to the album already.
www.folkstockrecords.com