Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage announce their new album and tour dates

Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage

Two years ago, Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage stirred the folk and acoustic world with a stand-out debut album and there’s been little slumbering since. Now they are set to release an arresting second studio album, Awake. The combination of Hannah’s outstandingly pure, clear voice, their perfect fit harmonies and Ben’s exquisite dobro are the rock-solid foundations of this rising duo, first witnessed in the 2016 album, Before The Sun. This quality pairing unarguably has hypnotic effect, painting aural dreamscapes around them in resonant songs that are given room to breathe.

When Hannah’s folk family travels across Europe and sojourn in America ended and she returned to her native East Anglia, a chance meeting at a Cambridge folk club with The Willows band member Ben was the start of something special. Ben went on to produce Hannah’s solo album Charms Against Sorrow before they ventured into duo territory uncorking a beguiling, intricately woven, ethereal sound all their own. Before the Sun saw them named in many Albums of the Year lists including the 2016 fRoots Critics Poll and hinted at a largely untapped song writing talent amongst the expertly executed traditional arrangements and covers. That song writing skill moves more centre stage in Awake – an album that shows them fulfilling all the promise heaped on them.

Once again, they have returned to Toronto, putting Grammy-nominated Canadian producer David Travers-Smith (Madison Violet, The Wailin’ Jennys) at the helm for this album crafted with infinite care. The eleven-track release has six strong originals alongside innovative arrangements of traditional songs and captivating covers from the Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie cannons. The eye-catching album cover by psychedelic artist Alan Forbes depicts the High Priestess and a deer as The Hanged Man from the tarot card deck and tarot icons run through the CD booklet. Says Hannah:

“We used tarot throughout the recording process to help us think and feel more deeply about the music.”

A duo who delve into the mysterious and often like to release music in line with the lunar calendar, their live show sees them huddled around a single microphone, drawing the audience in. And so it is with this magnetic album.

Alongside Hannah’s trademark mountain dulcimer and Ben’s delicious dobro, they both play guitars on the album. Adding their magic are guest musicians from both sides of the Atlantic – from the UK Jon Thorne on double bass, Evan Carson on percussion and Norwich singer songwriter Jess Morgan, Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts on additional vocals and from Canada Chris Coole on banjo, David Travers-Smith on horns and organ, Burke Carroll on pedal steel and on vocals, Vancouver-born American-Canadian alt country singer songwriter Suzanne Ungerleider who performs under the name Oh Susanna.

Entwined in the sturdy roots of English and North American music, Awake stirs with two original Sanders/Savage numbers – the mythical sea woman yearns to return to her spiritual sea home in the banjo-laced ‘Selkie Song’ and there is more heartache in ‘I Met A Man’, a modern retelling of the ancient story of love between a woman and a green man, with Burke Carroll weaving in his wonderful pedal steel.

The original material continues in ‘A Thousand New Moons’ – a luminous, gossamer-spun reflection on endings and beginnings, with Ben on lead vocal. The symbolic number 7 is the title of a song Hannah wrote for those who search for omens in the natural world, prompted by a friend desperate for a life change. The haunting instrumentation adds pedal steel and horns to Hannah and Ben’s guitar duet and the popular ‘One For Sorrow’ magpie nursery rhyme provides the chorus. The beautiful title track was originally written by Ben to tempt a talented friend out of a musical hiatus but has taken on a wider meaning and here it enjoys a lush vocal crescendo with the duo joined by Jess Morgan and Oh Susanna. Reaching is an exquisite, mellow, pin-drop perfect love song written by Hannah which closes the album in this duo’s soft tread style, building to a flourish which unusually features Ben on drums.

Awake is an album that stirs the soul and further endorses the empathetic class act that is Sanders and Savage. Released on May 11 on the Sungrazing Records label it will be distributed by Proper Distribution.

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).

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Artists’ website: https://www.hannahbenmusic.com/

‘Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key’ – official video:

LIVE DATES

27th June Arts Festival, SOUTHWOLD

29th June Limelight Theatre, AYLESBURY

30th June Courtyard, HEREFORD

7th July Folk Festival, KIMPTON

20th July Downend Folk Club, BRISTOL

 

Gretchen Peters announces new album and tour dates

Gretchen Peters
Photograph courtesy of BBC

Described by Uncut magazine as “One of Nashville’s greatest talents”, Gretchen Peters is releasing new album Dancing With The Beast next month. It’s the follow-up to 2016’s acclaimed record Blackbirds, which was named Album of The Year by the Americana Music Association.

It’s with some anticipation that the record is being released, and she has put together an especially timely record, with the contributions of Matraca Berg and Ben Glover amongst others. Dancing With The Beast puts female characters at the fore, from teenage girls to old women. And intentionally so. With the 2017 Women’s March and #MeToo Movement as bookends to her writing time, Peters knew that a feminist perspective would be the critical core of the record. “Those two events just put everything — as so many things in 2017 — in really stark relief,” she admits. “You can trace the feminist DNA in my songwriting back to ‘Independence Day’ and probably before. The thing that 2017 did is just put it front and centre. It was very easy to kind of go to sleep for a while and just not think about that stuff because we were lulled into complacency for eight years.”

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: http://www.gretchenpeters.com/

‘Disappearing Act’ – official video:

Tour Dates

Friday, 24th August 2018 Wadebridge, Cornwall Folk Festival

Sunday, 26th August 2018 Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury Folk Festival

Frank Turner – BE MORE KIND

NEW FRANK TURNER ALBUM ‘BE MORE KIND’ RELEASED MAY 4th 2018

Frank Turner has announced details of his forthcoming seventh studio album. Be More Kind will be released on May 4th through Xtra Mile Recordings/Polydor Records. Months after the release of Songbook, a career-spanning retrospective which also saw reworked versions of tracks from across the past decade, Be More Kind represents a thematic and sonic line in the sand for the 36-year-old. It’s a record that combines universal anthems with raw emotion and the political and the personal, with the intricate folk and punk roar trademarks of Turner’s sound imbued with new, bold experimental shades.

Be More Kind has been produced by Austin Jenkins and Joshua Block, formerly of psychedelic-rock Texans White Denim, and Florence And The Machine and Halsey collaborator Charlie Hugall.

“I wanted to try and get out of my comfort zone and do something different,” says Turner. Fans got a taste of the new material last month with the first track ‘1933’ and this is followed today by new track (and title track) ‘Be More Kind’ which is available now. Of the track, Frank says, “Be More Kind”, the song, is at the heart of the album, both lyrically and musically; when I finished it I could see the rest of the album coming together around it.’’

Turner was halfway through writing a very different sort of album, a concept record about women from the historical record who had been ignored, when he was reading a collection of Clive James’ poetry and one particular line compelled him to re-think his direction. It was from a poem called Leçons Des Ténèbres: “I should have been more kind. It is my fate. To find this out, but find it out too late.”

“It devastated me the first time I read it,” he says. “A lot of older, wiser people tend to say things like that, that the things that come out in the wash at the end of a human life are the way you treated the people around you. In the modern world, that’s a lesson that all of us, myself included could do to learn.”

Turner and his band, the Sleeping Souls, were on tour in the USA in 2016 “when the world decided to go collectively nuts” and the songs that make up Be More Kind started to come together.

“Somewhere in the record, there’s a convergence of the ideas of personal and political, which is a central theme of the album,” Turner says. One of the driving themes of the album is empathy, even for your enemy. “You should at least be able to inhabit the mental universe of the people you disagree with. If you can’t do that, then how do you communicate with people other than through force of arms, which is something we all agree is a bad idea.”

Behind some of the best songs of Turner’s career is the idea that the human race needs to find better ways of disagreeing than screaming each other down. Turner’s last two records, 2013’s Tape Deck Heart and 2015’s Positive Songs For Negative People, dealt with the fallout from a break-up and saw Turner struggling to cover the cracks in his personal life. Now happily in a relationship and living with his partner and their cat, he again set his sights to the bigger picture.

After the stripped-down, live-sounding Positive Songs…, Turner wanted to try a new approach for the record. Originally, he contacted Jenkins and Block at their Niles City Sound studio in Fort Worth, Texas with the idea of recording a white soul album in the vein of Dexys Midnight Runners. He found they were equally enthusiastic when he changed his mind and decided he wanted to record a more rock-led album with tints of electronic-pop. “I have an obscure corner of my music taste where I’m into glitch electronic music and Warp Records,” says Turner. “It’s not an electronic record but I got into arpeggiator synths.” Positive Songs… was cut in nine, intense days whereas Be More Kind was made over a period of seven months, giving Turner the opportunity to turn songs on their head, try different versions and shake up the dynamics within his band.

Now he just has to work out how they are going to play them live. The Be More Kind World Tour will begin in April, with its first leg playing to over 200,000 people across the UK, the USA, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, taking them through to Christmas. Turner promises that 2019 will include visits to some “slightly more weird and wonderful places.” “My days of being engaged in an arms race to be the hardest touring musician in the universe are behind me now,” he says. “We’re going to tour hard but come home regularly in the middle of it.” The first batch of announcements covers 120 dates. Some old habits die hard. These are songs that demand to be heard and Frank Turner is packed and ready to go.

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.

BE MORE KIND TOUR* – UK & IRELAND DATES:

*Check artist website below for current venue ticket status.

APRIL
13th Manchester, Academy SOLD OUT
15th Dublin, The Academy
18th Belfast, The Limelight
20th Aberdeen, The Garage SOLD OUT
21st Edinburgh, Liquid Room SOLD OUT
22nd Newcastle, O2 Academy
24th Sheffield, O2 Academy
25th Liverpool, O2 Academy SOLD OUT
27th Bristol, O2 Academy SOLD OUT
28th Exeter Uni, Great Hall
30th Cambridge. Corn Exchange

MAY
1st Southampton, Guildhall SOLD OUT
2nd Southend, Cliffs Pavilion
4thLeicester, O2 Academy SOLD OUT
5th Oxford, O2 Academy SOLD OUT
8th Hull, City Hall
9th Norwich, UEA
11th London, Roundhouse, SOLD OUT
12thLondon, Roundhouse, SOLD OUT
13thLondon, Roundhouse, SOLD OUT
14th London, Roundhouse, SOLD OUT

Artist Website: http://frank-turner.com/

No Petticoats Here: Inspirational First World War Women

No Petticoats Here
Photograph by Richard Budd

Critically acclaimed musician and singer Louise Jordan performs No Petticoats Here to tell the stories of remarkable women from the First World War. Based on extensive research and combining original live music with recorded sound, this one-woman performance is a theatre concert like no other; a rich visual and auditory experience that truly connects the audience with the past and the words of these inspirational women.

Following two successful tours Jordan was granted Arts Council England funding to develop the performance working with theatre director Lizzie Crarer (Over The Top, Bronte, we’re here because we’re here) and sound designer Jules Bushell (Platform4, Hoodwink Theatre). Jordan says, “This performance is very different to most concerts: it is enhanced by technology with pre-recorded sound tracks bringing the words of the women and the sounds they experienced to life. This soundscape weaves around the original songs I have written and I also present framed images of the women and perform in costume to help the audience visualise the stories.”

No Petticoats Here tells the real life stories of varied and remarkable women of the Great War and was inspired by the story of Dorothy Lawrence; an orphan whose guardian lived in Salisbury Cathedral Close. Dorothy dressed as a soldier in order to visit the Western Front and pursue her journalistic ambitions. Louise quickly became fascinated by the stories of female ambulance drivers, scientists, footballers and spies.

No Petticoats Here is the culmination of twelve months of research that has taken Louise to the battlefields of France and Belgium including the Somme and Ypres as well as countless museums and historic research centres across the UK and western Europe. Through contact with the relatives and biographers of some of these extraordinary women Louise has been able to add greater depth and detail to their stories bringing to life their courage and compassion.

Now a familiar face on the UK music scene, Louise Jordan has used her classical music background and her seven years’ experience of touring to arts centres, theatres, folk clubs and festivals in the UK and Europe alongside her earlier career as a secondary school history teacher to produce No Petticoats Here.

“The First World War too often remembers women as the mourners of the fallen, as frugal housewives ‘making do’ or angelic nurses caring patiently for the men who returned from the Front Line. Through No Petticoats Here I remember some of the many women whose stories do not fit conveniently into boxes and whose experiences are both astonishing and relatable one hundred years on.”

From the driving, rhythmic piano of ‘Queen of Spies’ which captures the story of the charming and bold Frenchwoman Louise de Bettignies, to the intensely personal ‘Mairi’ about the disintegration of a devoted friendship, this is a performance as musically diverse as the women’s stories it tells. ‘Ripple and Flow’ captures Hertha Ayrton’s patient pursuit of change through her scientific achievements, the elegant interweaving clarinet and piano mirroring the ebb and flow of the water motions she studied. By contrast the resolute march of the army of women workers ‘Toil, Women, Toil’ is accompanied by a single snare drum.

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.

A full list of tour dates is available at www.louisejordan.co.uk/tour-dates

The High Kings announce UK tour dates

The High Kngs

The High Kings, the true heirs of Ireland’s Folk Heritage, are delighted to announce the first UK shows on their DECADE – The Best of The High Kings, 10th Anniversary Tour in March 2018.

The dates will feature new member George Murphy, who was drafted into the band late in 2017 following the departure of original High King, Martin Furey. The November release of DECADE – Best of The High Kings has been greeted with record sales on both sides of the Atlantic, entering the Irish Independent Album Chart at number 1 and staying there for 3 weeks, and earning a very credible debut chart position in the Billboard World Music chart at number 15.

The DECADE World Tour began in Ireland in early December 2017 and will run until the end of April 2019, taking in stops in every major territory in the world. The new live show will showcase fan favourites from The High Kings extensive catalogue from the past ten years and will feature some new additions too.

Early booking is advised for all shows which will go on sale at 10 am on Friday 16th February Speaking from High Kings HQ in Dublin, Finbarr Clancy today said

“After ten years with The High Kings, we are delighted to say we have achieved what we set out to do back in 2007 – we have moved the Irish ballad tradition to the here and now, and we are deeply honoured to become the bearers of the torch which has been borne with such power and dignity over the past half century by The Clancy Brothers and The Dubliners”

. . . To say that The High Kings are charting a new course for Irish ballad music – equal parts rousing and reflective, energetic and insightful – is an understatement. They are, essentially, marking out a new and bright era for Irish folk music. This story will evolve for the next Decade . . .

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: https://www.thehighkings.com/

‘Ride On’ – live:

Tour Dates

November 10 : Birmingham Town Hall

November 11: The Stables, Milton Keynes

November 12 : ARC Stockton, Stockton on Tees

November 13 : City Varieties Music Hall, Leeds

November 14 : St Georges, Bristol

November 16 : Union Chapel, London

November 17 : Atkinsons Arts Centre, Southport

November 18 : The Lowry, Salford

Reg Meuross announces new album and tour

Reg Meuross

In 2011 Stephen Jordan, the Head Librarian at The Bodleian Music Library in Oxford, approached Reg Meuross with the idea of commissioning a compilation of unreleased material. After a cursory search down the back of the sofa Reg managed to find 20 songs that he had recorded to various stages of completion between 2006 and 2011 but which had failed to make the final cut onto albums. Stephen reduced the list to 13 and the result was the signed limited edition album The Dreamed And The Drowned.

Surprisingly to Reg that collection of songs which he had considered unsuitable for the various designated albums at the time of release attracted some of the best reviews of his career: “There is no doubt after listening to this selection of Reg’s unreleased songs that my view of him being one of our best singer/songwriters of our time is reinforced still further.” Alex Gallagher, Folk Radio UK. Anyone who is lucky enough to own a copy of The Dreamed And The Drowned will know very well that a rejected Reg Meuross song is in no way a reflection of its quality – but more a question of its suitability to the collection, or as (the now late) Stephen Jordan said himself “some songs are right books put on the wrong shelves.”

Now, with two successful solo albums under his belt (December and Faraway People) and a third on the way to complete the trilogy and as a nod in honour and appreciation of Stephen, who died in 2015, we felt it would be a good time to have a scratch around and see what else may have been overlooked. The resulting album Songs About A Train is a limited, signed release comprising eleven songs recorded by Reg between 2013 and 2017. Release date February 2nd 2018 (via Proper Records).

Reg will be touring with this album, plus previous release Faraway People, throughout the first half of 2018 in a Two Albums Tour.

“Some songs don’t stay still long enough and scamper off, some are dazzled by the dragonfly’s gleam. Some songs are right books put on the wrong shelves.” Stephen Jordan (1957-2015)

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: regmeuross.com

‘Letting Go’:

Tour Dates

JULY

3 House concert, North Devon
6 Americana Fest 2018, Kelham Hall Notts
7 New Forest Folk Festival, Hampshire
12 Frome Festival + The Portraits Somerset
13 Holywell Music & Folk, Oxford
21 House party, Portsmouth, Hampshire
26 Orpington Folk Club, Kent
27 Coastal Connections, Brighton, East Sussex