Korby Lenker – Thousand Springs

For many artists, stepping into a studio to record an album can be challenging enough. But when East Nashvillian Korby Lenker began working on his seventh album, Thousand Springs, he decided to skip the studio altogether and head to his home state of Idaho to record in places that held particular meaning for him. Venturing forth with his guitar, some recording gear and a tent, he captured his vocal and guitar parts in more than a dozen locales, including the edge of the Snake River Canyon, a cabin north of Sun Valley and his undertaker father’s mortuary.

Then he spent months driving around the country to collect vocal and instrumental contributions from nearly 30 of today’s finest folk talents, among them Nora Jane Struthers, Anthony Da Costa, Carrie Elkin, Amy Speace, Molly Tuttle, Kai Welch, Angel Snow, Becky Warren and the Punch Brothers’ Chris “Critter” Eldridge. In Madison, Wisconsin, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston, Austin and Nashville, he recorded their work in backyards, hotel rooms and even a bookstore, then went home to edit them into Thousand Springs.

Lenker plotted his plan for Thousand Springs after Nashville-based Turner Publishing Co. released his first collection of short stories, Medium Hero, in December 2015 – an experience that, he says, helped him find his “true voice” (and earned him high praise not only from book-world luminaries including Kirkus Reviews and National Book Award winner Tim O’Brien, but Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak).

“For me, the two most important qualities of good art are originality and meaning,” Lenker explains. “You’ve got to tell your own story and not try to borrow someone else’s.”

When he moved to Nashville, he quickly discovered singer-songwriters were about as common as pickup trucks. And most of them were about as original.

“It forced me to really dig in and figure out what I did that was different than what everyone else was doing,” he says. “I spent my first three years in town parking cars at a hotel and taking a bunch of chances, creatively speaking. No one really cared about me, which turned out to be very freeing.”

During that period, he wrote many of the stories in Medium Hero, and focused on writing songs that meant something to him rather than worrying about hit potential.

“Along the way, I discovered there was an audience for this approach to telling my story,” he says. It was a thrilling, and empowering, revelation.

In the years since, he’s played everywhere from small listening rooms to Seattle’s world-renowned Bumbershoot festival, delivering what American Songwriter magazine called “huggable folk-pop” on stages shared with artists from Willie Nelson, Keith Urban and Chris Isaak to Susan Tedeschi, Amy Grant and Nickel Creek. Along the way, he’s earned nearly a dozen songwriting awards, including first-place wins at the 2016 Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, 2012’s Kerrville Folk Festival and 2006’s Merlefest. He also placed second in the 2017 Hazel Dickens Songwriting Contest for ‘Friend and A Friend’, a beguiling Thousand Springs track co-written with Molly Tuttle, who sings harmony. Allowing life to imitate art, Lenker also has been conducting a one-man campaign of sorts, engaging strangers for conversation and shared selfies in an Instagram-hosted exercise he calls #MakeAmericaFriendsAgain. (He also touches on that subject in a new song titled ‘Let’s Just Have Supper’. Written and performed with Struthers, it’s not on this album, but the NPR-premiered video, is worth checking out.)

Ironically, while recording Thousand Springs (and making friends), Lenker lost his voice for nearly two months.

Addressing the loss of a dear family member, Lenker wrote the affecting song ‘Wherever You Are’ while his voice was gone. He also visited the Vanderbilt Voice Center, where doctors immediately started him on physical therapy. Soon, he was recording again. He did ‘Wherever You Are’ solo, in one take. It’s one of five songs he penned alone; the other seven are collaborations with a variety of musical friends including Speace, Tuttle, Robby Hecht, Jon Weisberger and Liz Longley.

Coincidentally, the song that precedes it, ‘Mermaids’, has an understated lightheartedness, almost a softer ‘Magical Mystery Tour’/’Yellow Submarine’ vibe, that would easily appeal to kids. Throughout the album, Lenker deftly shifts through a wide range of moods. He captures his love of literature with charming playfulness in ‘Book Nerd’. The opener, “Northern Lights,” is a spare, contemplative tune containing just a couple of verses, but Lenker’s vivid imagery and forlorn voice are all he needs to speak volumes about lost love.

There’s a delicacy to most of these songs, due in part to Lenker’s gentle delivery; in ‘Nothing Really Matters’, he sounds as if he’s whispering in your ear – in a voice that somehow suggests both James Taylor and Michael Franks, delivered in an Afro-bluegrass style. Driven by Jon Reischman’s outstanding mandolin, it’s reminiscent of Paul Simon’s Graceland; Lenker cites both the artist and the album as major influences.

The hardest-rocking track, ‘Last Man Standing’, was written about Chief Sitting Bull after Lenker read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. He recorded parts of it at Standing Rock, near Sitting Bull’s grave, a month before the Dakota-Access Pipeline protests began. Musically, the song more or less references his own roots; Lenker started studying piano at age 7 and picked up guitar in his early teens, playing a lot of Neil Young and similar artists before joining the obligatory high-school rock band (his was Clockwork Orange).

“There weren’t a lot of people around me making music,” he says about growing up in Idaho’s isolation. “I had to go out and find it.” His search included attending college in Bellingham, Washington, where he studied music theory – and Phish. Reading about jazz led him to Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller – and to an understanding that, as he puts it, “music had a story, a thread that went from musician to musician, through time.” “The idea of finding my place in that timeline has become more and more important to me,” he notes, adding, “Every time I play a show, I think of it as an audition for the next show. Everything for me is a slow build.”

That might explain another of the album’s delights: ‘Late Bloomers’, in which he sings, Here’s to the late bloomers/Holding on till their time arrives/Some people might have gotten there sooner/But for us, it’s gonna be right on time … No matter how hard the path was/We always knew/No dream can outlast us/When it’s coming true.

For Lenker, as for any of us, some dreams come true and some don’t. That’s just life. But on Thousand Springs, he shares those highs and lows as only an artist with a “true voice” can. And that voice, he’ll never lose.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (in CD or Vinyl format), download one or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website.

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Wed 4 London The Troubadour, Earl’s Court
Thu 5 Birmingham Kitchen Garden Café
Fri 6 Saltaire, West Yorks. The Live Room, Caroline Social Club

Further dates to be announced…

+ Saturday August 18 Purbeck Valley Folk Festival

Artist’s website links:


Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite – new single, album and April UK tour


Gearing up for the 30th March release of ‘No Mercy in This Land’, GRAMMY-Award winning artists BEN HARPER and CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE share a new track from the forthcoming album entitled “Found the One.” Dancing along to a bouncing, Bo Diddley-esque beat, the track is a jubilant and euphoric expression of love, with Ben singing of his luck in finding “the one.” ‘Found the One‘ further showcases the range of emotional depth fans can expect from the album, as it promises to take listeners on a sonic journey through Ben and Charlie’s personal stories of survival. ‘No Mercy in This Land‘ is available for preorder now and will include an IG download of ‘Found the One‘.

Found The One’ is a song about never giving up on finding true love. It’s a song about surrendering to love, getting out of loves way, and letting love do the heavy lifting,

” Harper says of the track. “It was also the one song written in the studio during the recording process of the record – Jason Mozersky started hammering out the main riff on guitar and Jimmy Paxson started coming up with this very unique drum pattern using his drum set along with, of all things, a metal trash can! So the two of them started making a wonderful racket and I immediately jumped out from behind the board. Right away, I knew we had to chase this idea down.”

If you would like to order a copy of an album (in CD or Vinyl format), download one or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click 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.

The pair will celebrate the album’s release on March 30th by kicking off an international tour that same evening in San Francisco, CA at the famed Fillmore before heading overseas for a string of European dates. The duo will make it to the UK in April to play three shows:

Tuesday 3 April – Oran Mor – Glasgow – TICKETS
Friday 6 April – Academy 2 – Manchester – TICKETS
Saturday 7 April – Shepherd’s Bush Empire – London – TICKETS


Jon Boden’s intimate bonfire

Jon Boden
Photograph by Tim James

Jon Boden will be performing tracks from his recent album Afterglow round a campfire at a secret location in London (press only event) on 22 March in preparation for the main tour (dates featured below).

Off the back of curating last year’s Cambridge Folk Festival, Afterglow is Boden’s first solo release since disbanding his hugely successful crossover folk outfit Bellowhead (over quarter of a million records sold, with sellout shows including the Royal Albert Hall). This special performance comes in anticipation of Jon’s headline UK tour throughout April and May.

Featuring other former members of Bellowhead amongst his own Remnant Kings band, Jon drew various inspiration for Afterglow from the writings of the likes of Margaret Atwood and Richard Jeffries, Lewes’ notorious coastal Bonfire Night celebrations, and The Dark Mountain Project (a creative collective who’ve also recently influenced the work of Susanne Sundfør).

Jon Boden solo dates:
April 2018:
Tues 17th | Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon / 01874 611 622 / brycheiniog.co.uk
Weds 18th | Pontio, Bangor / 01248 38 28 28 / pontio.co.uk
Thurs 19t | Canolfan y Celfyddydau Aberystwyth Arts Centre / 01970 62 32 32 / aberystwythartscentre.co.uk
Fri 20th | Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea / 01792 602 060 / taliesinartscentre.co.uk
Sat 21st | The Brewhouse, Taunton / 01823 283 244 / thebrewhouse.net
Sun 22nd | The Stables, Milton Keynes / 01908 280 800 / stables.org
Mon 23rd | New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme / 01782 717 962 / newvictheatre.org.uk
Tues 24th | Guildhall Arts Centre, Grantham / 01476 406 158 / guildhallartscentre.com
Weds 25th | The Apex, Bury St. Edmunds / 01284 758 000 / theapex.co.uk

Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings dates:
April 2018:
Fri 27th | Victoria Hall, Saltaire / 01274 588 614 / saltairelive.co.uk
Sat 28th | The Winding Wheel, Chesterfield / 01246 345 222 / Ticket Hotline 01773 853428 / chesterfieldtheatres.co.uk
Sun 29th | Vivacity Key Theatre, Peterborough / 01733 207 239 / vivacity-peterborough.com
Mon 30th | Civic Theatre, Chelmsford / 01245 606 505 / chelmsford.gov.uk/theatres

May 2018:
Tues 1st | The Brook, Southampton / 02380 555 366 / the-brook.com
Weds 2nd | Cheltenham Town Hall / 0844 576 2210 / cheltenhamtownhall.org.uk
Thurs 3rd | Hall for Cornwall, Truro / 01872 262 466 / hallforcornwall.co.uk
Fri 4th | Colston Hall, Bristol / 0117 203 4040 / www.colstonhall.org
Sat 5th | Exeter Phoenix / 01392 667 080 / exeterphoenix.org.uk
Sun 6th | Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury / 01743 281281 / theatresevern.co.uk

If you would like to order a copy of an album (in CD or Vinyl format), download one or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click 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.

Artist’s website: https://www.jonboden.com/

Read Jean Camp’s review of Afterglow here:


Ian Siegal – new album and tour dates

Ian Siegal
Photograph courtesy of The Green Note

A studio album from Ian Siegal is always a seismic event. Recent times have seen this award-winning British songwriter put untold miles on the clock, with the spit-and-grit of his shows bottled in several live albums. But in 2018, it’s tantalising to find his name alongside ten new original songs and to anticipate where All The Rage might take the man whose material was rightly trumpeted by Mojo as “awash with wit, lust and distraction”.

A darkening world calls for dazzling songs. As Siegal looked out last year, he saw a planet with poison in its veins, as evidenced by the ascent of President Trump and the insidious rise of right-wing factions across Europe. A double-edged album title grew from his observations – “All the rage” is usually a reference to popularity and being a craze, the twist here being a nod towards anger and frustration, emotions that are evident in a clutch of reactive songs, from the military beats and aggressive slide-guitar of opener ‘Eagle-Vulture’, through the biting electric-blues of ‘The Sh*t Hit’, to the Latin-tinged apocalyptic imagery of ‘Ain’t You Great?’.

Since Siegal’s post-millennial breakthrough, he has proved himself a prolific talent. An acclaimed album catalogue takes in highlights like 2007’s Swagger, and two Mississippi-recorded releases – 2011’s The Skinny and 2012’s Candy Store Kid – that saw him showered with transatlantic blues awards and touted by Classic Rock magazine as a “national treasure”.

All The Rage has him collaborating with Jimbo Mathus as producer. Seasoned Siegal-watchers will recall the British songwriter first worked with Mathus when the Grammy-winning Mississippian collaborated on 2013’s The Picnic Sessions. Having further bonded on a 2014 acoustic duo tour, Mathus this time stepped forward to the role of producer for this full-on electric album, crossing the Atlantic to record at Amsterdam’s Island Studios.

Writing with Mathus had also been an ambition and here we have three co-writes, ranging from a finger-picked confessional ‘My Flame’, to the stark cyclical blues ‘If I Live’, and the lilting gospel-soul stunner ‘Sweet Souvenir’, which finds Siegal bending a barman’s ear with his trademark grit-and-honey vocal.

The band members are Siegal’s young stalwarts recruited in 2013 and since honed into a telepathic unit. Dusty Ciggaar (guitars), Danny Van’t Hoff (bass), and Rafael Schwiddessen (drums) bind seamlessly with Siegal’s vocals and guitar. Some additional instrumentation from Jimbo Mathus and occasional backing vocals by Merel Moelker were all that was needed to create a big, real sound.

“We were close together in one room, old school, so it was almost like playing a live gig. The whole thing was completed in four six-hour sessions, so you might say it was done in 24 hours. Job done and such a pleasure.”

Dig into the track listing and you’ll find an unbroken run of modern classics. ‘One-Eyed King’,  co-written with Isa Azier and Mischa den Haring, is described as “kind of a murder ballad”, while ‘Jacob’s Ladder.’again written by the trio, is a porch-blues bone-rattler with a gang-chanted vocal (“It’s about both kinds of luck, bad and worse”).

Siegal’s own ‘Won’t Be Your Shotgun Rider’ combines a sunny-side-up country vibe with a lyric advising that, in extreme circumstances, it’s better to let a lost soul sink (“Sometimes people need to jump that particular ride for everybody’s sake”).

Finally, there’s ‘Sailor Town’: a hooky, black-humoured story-song initiated over coffee with multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Hook Herrera, its lyric telling of a hardscrabble dockside district where “some of my friends got locked up, most of the girls got knocked up”.

“Hook Herrera and I were discussing the areas where we grew up and I described mine as kinda rough, y’know, a ‘sailor town’, At which point Hook declared, ‘Boom, there ya’ go – that’s the title of our first song together!’”

As All The Rage plays out, reality bites. This album won’t bring about world peace or take down a wayward president. But while the music plays it’s a balm for troubled souls, a lifeline in a sinking world – and another rung in Ian Siegal’s climb to the summit of the international blues scene.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (in CD or Vinyl format), download one or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click 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.

Artist’s website: http://iansiegal.com/


11 April LONDON Jazz Café Camden
12 April BRIGHTON Komedia
13 April GODALMING W Noyce Centre
14 April DEVIZES Long Street Blues
15 April TEIGNMOUTH Pavilions
16 April BRISTOL Tunnels
17 April POOLE Mr Kyps
18 April CHELTENHAM Vonnies
19 April DERBY Flowerpot
20 April MANCHESTER Ruby Lounge
21 April EDINBURGH Voodoo Rooms
22 April NEWCASTLE Sage
24 April NORWICH Arts Centre
25 April HULL Fruit

Taster video:

Seán McGowan – interview and tour dates

In the run up to his debut album release, lyrically dextrous folk-punk troubadour Seán McGowan has shared an intimate new interview and session video.

Featuring a stirring solo acoustic session of Seán performing currently unreleased track ‘Springhill’, the video also sees the budding singer-songwriter open up about family, football, his current influences, as well as lifting the lid on what to expect from his eagerly anticipated debut album release Son Of The Smith – out 11 May 2018 via Xtra Mile Recordings.

This exclusive video was shot just hours before Seán took to the stage of the hallowed Shepherd’s Bush Empire earlier this year, while supporting Xtra Mile Recordings compadre Will Varley on his latest UK tour.

The video arrives as Seán prepares to go to back to his homeland with a series of Irish shows throughout this week that begin at Cork’s Brú Bar (6 March) and wind up in Belfast this weekend. Seán will then tackle an extensive run of UK and European dates over the coming months as he tours Son Of The Smith.

Giving us our first taster of the new album ahead, Seán also recently released the single ‘Off The Rails’. Recorded at SS2 Studios in Southend with labelmate Sam Duckworth (AKA Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.) and Jay Malhotra, Son Of The Smith will be released on Xtra Mile Recordings on 11 May 2018.  Disarming in its scope, surprising in its erudite tackling of life’s challenges, and strong of voice with just a dab of laddish humour – the album is aural personification of Seán McGowan himself.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (in CD or Vinyl format), download one or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click 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.

Artist’s website: https://seanmcgowan.lnk.to/sonofthesmith

Tour Dates


29 London 100 Club – supporting Ferocious Dog


04 Leiden Gebr De Nobel, Netherlands
05 Utrecht Tivolevredenburg, Netherlands
06 Arnhem Luxor Live, Netherlands
07 Groningen Vera, Netherlands
08 Hamburg Monkey’s Music Club, Germany
09 Berlin Bi Nuu, Germany
10 Kassel Goldgrube, Germany
11 Munster Gleis 22, Germany
12 Trier Lucky Luke’s, Germany
13 Cologne Artheater, Germany
14 Hannover Lux, Germany
15 Wiesbaden Schlachthof, Germany
17 Karlsruhe Jubez, Germany
18 Munich Kranhalle, Germany
19 Baden, Switzerland @ Nordportel
20 Winterthur, Switzerland @ Gaswerk
21 Milan, Italy @ Serraglio


14 London Roundhouse (Lost Evenings II)


15 London Monarch
26 Kingston Fighting Cocks
27 Bristol Crofter’s Rights
28 Birmingham Sunflower Lounge
29 Nottingham Bodega
31 Sheffield Totem


1 Leeds Santiagos
2 Southampton Joiners
3 Cardiff Tiny Rebel
5 Exeter Cavern
7 Cambridge Portland Arms
8 Oxford Cellar
9 Reading Rising Sun Arts Centre

Birds of Chicago release Love in Wartime and announce UK and Irish Tour

Photo by Yves Assad

Birds of Chicago have been riding a swell of good mojo in the Americana scene since their inception in late 2012. With their new album, Love in Wartime, they are set to both confirm that roots world buzz, and break on through to a much wider audience.

Recorded in Chicago against a backdrop of bewilderment, deep divide and dread, Love in Wartime is a rock and roll suite with a cinematic sweep. Co-produced with Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), it evokes epic efforts of the 60’s and 70’s, with love as the undeniable through-line.

Built around the chemistry and fire between Allison Russell and JT Nero, and their rock-steady band, BOC tours hard. Russell and Nero played with different bands in the mid-aughts (Po’ Girl and JT and the Clouds) before finding their way to each other. Nero, who writes the bulk of the songs, found himself a transcendent vocal muse in Russell (a powerful writer herself), and the band honed its chops on the road, playing 200 shows a year between 2013-17. All that shaping and sharpening, over so many miles, led them back to Chicago’s Electrical Audio in January of 2017, to begin recording Love in Wartime.

“Any act of love is an act of bravery,” says Russell. “We want to give people some good news. And we want them to be able to dance when they hear it.”

Their most recent releases include 2016’s Joe Henry-produced Real Midnight and 2017’s EP American Flowers, BOC’s debut from the label Signature Sounds Recordings. Critics have searched for the right words to describe Real Midnight’s deep lyricism, gut-punch singing and musicality. “Secular gospel” was one phrase that caught some traction. That fervour is evident in Love in Wartime as well: “Roll Away the heavy stone/roll away the heavy hours/roll on in the summer moon/who’s alive who’s alive who’s alive?” The invitation is joyous, but urgent. There’s another phrase that they used to describe poetry intoned over roots music mash-ups: Rock n Roll. The Birds consider themselves a rock and roll band first and foremost, and Love in Wartime doesn’t leave any doubt about that.

Birds’ shows attract a mix of indie rockers, jam-kids and Americana/roots lovers, mixing moments of hushed attention with wild, rock and soul abandon.

Says Nero, “a good show can send you back out into the night feeling – for at least a little while – that everything isn’t broken.”

These days, that’s no small thing.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (in CD or Vinyl format), download one or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click 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.

Birds of Chicago · May 2018 Ireland & UK Tour

Featuring JT Nero & Allison Russell with Nick Chambers (drums, vocals), Chris Merrill (bass) & Deren Ney (lead guitar)

Sat 5 Kilkenny, Ireland Kilkenny Roots Festival, Cleere’s Bar & Theatre
Sun 6 Kilkenny, Ireland Kilkenny Roots Festival, Cleere’s Bar & Theatre
Mon 7 Kirton-In-Lindsey, Lincs. Town Hall
Tue 8 Sheffield The Greystones
Wed 9 Nottingham The Maze
Fri 11 Calstock, Cornwall Calstock Hall
Sat 12 Leeds Seven Arts
Sun 13 Saltaire, West Yorks. The Live Room, Caroline Social Club
Mon 14 London The Lexington
Tue 15 Milton Keynes The Stables, Stage 2
Wed 16 Baulking, Oxfordshire St Nicholas Church
Thu 17 Finchingfield, Essex St. John The Baptist Church
Fri 18 Canterbury Gulbenkian
Sun 20 Lerwick, Shetland Mareel

Artist Web Links: