The Young’uns road trip and tour dates

The Young'uns
Photograph by Elly Lucas

Teesside trio The Young’uns have embarked on a road trip to meet four men who have inspired songs on their acclaimed new album Strangers (out Sept 29) – two in the UK, one in France and one in Germany.

First Sean Cooney, Michael Hughes and David Eagle were in their native Teesside to meet Middlesbrough man Ghafoor Hussain (right).

Songwriter Sean Cooney was touched by the Teesside grandfather’s humanitarian work in 2015 when he converted a bus into a travelling kitchen to feed migrants and refugees across Europe. At one point, in the refugee camp in Dunkirk, he was serving 3,000 hot meals and 10,000 cups of tea a day. The catchy resulting song, ‘Ghafoor’s Bus’ has proved popular both here and in Canada, with its optimistic message.

Today (20th) they fly to Paris where they will meet Mark Moogalian, the 53 year-old French-American hero of the Thalys train attack, shot when he tried to tackle the gunman. Sean wrote the song ‘Carriage 12’ about the incident and the incredible bravery of Moogalian and others who confronted the attacker. Moogalian heard the song and wrote to The Young’uns to say: “Many thanks for this wonderful song – the only thing that has ever brought tears to my eyes regarding what happened that day”.

From Paris the trio will travel to Berlin tomorrow (21st) to make the acquaintance of Hesham Modamani, who fled Syria following the disappearance of his brother and took the drastic decision to swim the Aegean Sea with fellow Syrian Feras Abukhalif. Sean wrote the beautiful song ‘Dark Water’ about this.

Hesham is now studying in Germany and contacted Sean saying “I am honoured that my journey made words for your song.”

Back in London on Wednesday (23rd) they will finally meet Matthew Ogston whose affecting story inspired the song ‘Be The Man’.  Matthew founded the Naz and Matt Foundation to tackle religious and cultural homophobia following the traffic death of his fiancé Nazim Mahmood. www.nazandmattfoundation.org

‘Be The Man’ is the first single taken from the album.

The Young’uns will be writing an on-the-road blog and making a podcast of the road trip.

In the space of little more than a decade – and just three years after giving up their day jobs – they have become one of UK folk music’s hottest properties and best-loved acts.

Stockton Folk Club’s star graduates clinched the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ‘Best Group’ title two years running (2015 and 2016) and last year saw them spreading the net, taking their unique act and instant audience rapport to Canada, America and Australia.

With their strong songs, spellbinding harmonies, human touch and rapid fire humour, they have achieved one of the trickiest balancing acts – an ability to truly ‘make them laugh and make them cry’, while cutting straight to the heart of some of our most topical issues.

On September 29 they will unveil their fourth studio album Strangers – playing their strongest suit to date.  Bold, profound and resonant it showcases the growing talents of Sean Cooney, fast becoming one of folk’s finest songwriters, in a collection of folk songs for our time.

  • Strangers will be showcased on an extensive UK tour (October 4-27) including a debut at London’s Union Chapel and dates at

Sage Gateshead (Hall 1), Glasgow’s Oran Mor and The Sugar Club in Dublin – their first headline gig in Ireland. Support for most dates comes from The Hut People, with singer songwriter Greg Russell opening for the trio in Nottingham and Lincoln.

Artists’ website: http://www.theyounguns.co.uk/

‘Be The Man’ – radio edit:

The Young’uns Strangers album tour – October 2017

4  LANCASTER Dukes Theatre
https://dukes-lancaster.org/?event=younguns  01524 598 500

5  SHEFFIELD City Hall (Memorial Hall)  www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk/events/The-Young-Uns
0114 2 789 789

6  GLASGOW Oran Mor  www.seetickets.com/event/the-young-uns/oran-mor/1086128

SHREWSBURY Theatre Severn www.theatresevern.co.uk/shows/whatson/the-young-uns/  
01743 281281

OXFORD The North Wall Arts Centre www.thenorthwall.com/whats-on/the-younguns/  01865 319450

9  COLCHESTER Arts Centre www.colchesterartscentre.com    01206 500900

10 BURY ST EDMUNDS Apex  www.theapex.co.uk/whats-on/event/3283/the-younguns  01284 758000

11 BRISTOL Colston Hall Lantern www.colstonhall.org/shows/the-younguns/ 0117 203 4040

12 LONDON Union Chapel  https://store.unionchapel.org.uk/events/36caa4b0-fdb6-0134-4600-520ebcb4555f  0871 220 0260

13 SHOREHAM-BY-SEA Ropetackle Arts Centre https://ropetacklecentre.co.uk/events/the-younguns/ 01273 464440

14 LINCOLN Drill Hall www.lincolndrillhall.com/shows/the-young-uns-strangers-album-tour/ 01522 873894

15 NOTTINGHAM Glee Club  https://www.glee.co.uk/performer/the-younguns/  0871 472 0400.

17 BRECON Theatr Brechyneiog https://theatrbrycheiniog.ticketsolve.com/shows/873572817?locale=en-GB 01874 611622

18 SOUTHPORT Atkinson www.theatkinson.co.uk/events/younguns-strangers-album-tour/ 01704 533 333

19 LEEDS City Varieties   https://www.cityvarieties.co.uk/online/YoungUns 0113 243 0808

20 MANCHESTER Home – Folk Festival  https://www.manchesterfolkfestival.org.uk

21 BIRMINGHAM Mac https://macbirmingham.co.uk/event/the-younguns-strangers-album-tour 0121 446 3232

22 CANTERBURY Cathedral Lodge www.folkinthebarn.co.uk/WhatsnewInfo.aspx?id=193 01227 831493

24 DUBLIN The Sugar Club
www.ticketmaster.ie/the-younguns-dublin-10-24-2017/event/18005285B4AC477B

27 GATESHEAD Sage 1
www.sagegateshead.com/event/the-younguns44036/ 0191 443 4661

DARIA KULESH & JONNY DYER – live at The Troubadour

Daria Kulesh
Photograph by Tony Birch

The Troubadour is one of the iconic venues in the country. Founded in 1954, it still occupies the coffee shop in Old Brompton Road near Earl’s Court where it started. It has played host to most of the greats on the folk scene, many before anyone else had heard of them. I say that because this was my first visit – it being in That Lunnon and me a country boy – and also Daria and Jonny’s debut performance there. And, as Daria pointed out in her introduction  to ‘Distant Love’, the first time that a song in the Ingush language had been sung on that stage.

They followed ‘Distant Love’ with Daria’s greatest hit, The Moon And The Pilot’, with Daria, resplendent in black and gold, at her expressive best. Then came something new.  Daria and Jonny were premiering some new songs – not a follow-up to Long Lost Home – but covers of some of the singers and songwriters who have graced this stage. What better place to air them first?

The first of them was ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’, a song that is so well known that no-one sings it any more. Daria gives a new innocence over some absolutely delicious rolling guitar figures from Jonny. After ‘Amanat’ came ‘Masters Of War’ with Daria playing pulsing shruti and a mini-tambourine strapped to her foot. It is a song that is rapidly becoming relevant once more and one that is very important to Daria; there was a palpable anger in her performance. After ‘Panther’ (modesty forbids me from quoting her introduction) came ‘Northern Sky’. Most singers covering Nick Drake try to find the inner fragility of this notoriously reticent man. The original version of the song is drenched with arrangements that Nick himself disliked but which give it a power but Jonny reduced the arrangement to just a keyboard part and Daria turned it into a torch song. It might be considered revolutionary but it is quite magnificent.

Three more songs from Long Lost Home: ‘Untangle My Bones’, ‘Tamara’ and ‘Only Begun’ followed before they tackled the big one: ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes?’. Here’s another song that has been sung thousands of times over the years but, over Jonny’s guitar, Daria managed to instil something of herself into it, which is no mean achievement. They encored with another song associated with Sandy Denny, ‘Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood’, with attention drawn to the line “love is lord of all”. It brought the set to a reflective end – another old song that is still important and relevant.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website: http://www.daria-kulesh.co.uk/with-jonny-dyer/

‘Amanat’ when it was new – live:

JOAN OSBORNE – Songs Of Bob Dylan (Womanly Hips Records WHCD001)

Songs Of Bob DylanI should say from the outset that I’m a sucker for covers of Bob Dylan songs. Artists can and do so much with them and occasionally transcend the originals even though that may sound like heresy. So when Joan Osborne’s Songs Of Bob Dylan appeared on my horizon I practically demanded a copy at gunpoint.

Joan avoids the trap of going straight to the obvious acoustic titles – ‘Masters Of War’ is the oldest song here – and some of her choices are quite surprising. She opens with ‘Tangled Up In Blue’, a country-rock treatment with that crack in her voice giving the song an edge of fatalism. Surprise number one comes with ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’, stripped of that insane marching band and driven by Jack Petruzzelli’s electric guitar. ‘Buckets Of Rain’, very much a guitar piece in its original incarnation, is taken over by Keith Cotton’s piano before acoustic guitar picks it up at the end.

Surprise number two is in the shape of ‘Highway 61 Revisited’. Joan slows it down a fraction and turns it into a blues-rock shouter with an accompaniment that maintains sufficient elements of the original arrangement to make you smile knowingly. ‘Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)’ begins with a late-sixties organ swirling through it, which is nice touch, before taking on a gospel vibe and ‘Tryin’ To Get To Heaven’ comes close to transcending the original, partly because of the clarity of Joan’s vocals, but because she succeeds, for me at least, in painting a different mental picture.

If I must be critical I have to say that Joan misses the opportunity to take at least one song back to its bare bones until we get to ‘Masters Of War’ with its throbbing acoustic and piano and I find ‘Dark Eyes’, for example, to be rather too busy. That said, ‘High Water (For Charley Patton)’ has the kitchen sink thrown at it and works really well and ‘Ring Them Bells’ is a glorious finisher with Cotton’s piano ringing out and Joan’s voice clear and…well…bell-like.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of the one 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 Joan Osborne – Songs Of Bob Dylan 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.

ORDER – [CD]

Artist’s website: www.joanosborne.com

‘You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere’ – live:

Tracy Nelson and Mother Earth – Poor Man’s Paradise reissued

Tracy Nelson

With a career that stretches back to the 1960s, vocalist Tracy Nelson has pursued her own path through roots music.

A skilled, acclaimed interpreter of songs, Tracy  Nelson was an early supporter of songwriters such as Steve Young, John Hiatt, and Eric Kaz. ‘Poor Man’s Paradise’ was originally recorded and released in 1973 on the Columbia Records label.

As Tracy says herself in the CD booklet notes, on the day of the album release, she was also released from her contract with the label, she and it being a victim of internal label machinations. A shame, because Poor Man’s Paradise is a fine collection that mixes Tracy’s fondness for Blues and Country, and shows her cultured vocal skills to great effect.

Poor Man’s Paradise is to be reissued on Friday August 4th 2017 on the Retroworld reissue division of North London indie label Floating World.

If you would like to order a copy of the one 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 Poor Man’s Paradise 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.

ORDER – [CD]

Label website: http://www.floatingworldrecords.co.uk/

Golden anniversary show at Cropredy 2017

Cropredy
Photograph by Ian Wright

Festival-goers attending Fairport’s Cropredy Convention in Oxfordshire enjoyed three days of diverse music in fine weather when the event took place on 10-12 August.


“We had a really great three days,” said Festival Director Gareth Williams. “The music was terrific and our crowd loved the variety of the line-up.”


“During the run-up we were a bit worried about the weather,” Mr Williams continues. But luckily the rain held off for the festival and the ground had dried out by the time we opened.  Everybody was in great spirits, everything ran smoothly and there were no incidents to report. We heard a lot of great comments from people telling us how much they were enjoying themselves.”

‘Suzanne’ – Fairport Convention live at Cropredy:

Fairport is celebrating its golden anniversary this year and their marathon three-hour-plus show on the Saturday night reflected this landmark. Their Cropredy finale featured the current five-piece line-up, six former band members and four other guests from Fairport’s musical family.


This year’s festival completely sold out; in fact, it reached its capacity of 20,000 back in June. “Quite a few of people turned up on spec but, sadly, we had to turn them away,” said Mr Williams.

‘Reno Nevada’ – Fairport Convention live at Cropredy:

Next year, Fairport’s Cropredy Convention takes place on Thursday 9, Friday 10, and Saturday 11 August 2018.

Darren Beech’s full photo gallery of Cropredy 2017 can be viewed HERE

THE YOUNG ‘UNS – Strangers (Hereteu Records YNGS17)

StrangersThe Young’Uns have come a long way in a few short years. Strangers is their fourth studio album, coming a mere three years after they turned professional. The trio are strong singers, they enjoy the sort of on-stage banter that only good friends can get away with and they have a fine songwriter in Sean Cooney. The theme of the album is, I think, that there are no strangers, or if there are it doesn’t really make a difference. Cooney’s songs in this set are full of “ordinary” people doing extraordinary things on behalf of people they don’t necessarily know.

The album opens with ‘A Place Called England’ which suggests that we are now strangers in the country we thought we knew. They take it a bit fast for my taste but I’ve heard Maggie Holland’s original so many times that it feels “right” now. Next is ‘Ghafoor’s Bus’, the story of a grandfather from Teesside who converted a bus into a mobile kitchen and drove to Europe to feed refugees. To him, they weren’t strangers. Switching from accompanied harmony we have ‘Be The Man’ with David Eagle on piano and Michael Hughes on guitar with support from Rachael McShane on cello and a topping of flugelhorn from Jude Abbott.

‘Carriage 12’ tells the story of the terrorist attack on a French train two years ago. We’re back to unaccompanied harmony with a tune inspired by the familiar cadences of country music that suits the song perfectly. The four heroes of the attack could have run and saved themselves but they stood and fought. ‘Cable Street’ is a story familiar to all of us and ‘Dark Water’, the story of two refugees fleeing by swimming five miles of open sea, returns to the accompanied style and features Mary Ann Kennedy on harp.

Sean borrows the idea of pairing a jolly, singalong tune with a lyric that carries a serious message but he doesn’t overuse it. ‘Bob Cooney’s Miracle’ tells how fifty-seven men in the Spanish Civil War were fed from a loaf of bread and a tin of corned beef. OK, it’s not exactly Biblical but the humour makes it. Arguably, the best song is ‘These Hands’, the story of Sybil Phoenix, the first black woman to be awarded the MBE for fostering children in London but who faced racism throughout her life. The song is uplifting and ultimately ends happily. Finally we have ‘The Hartlepool Pedlar’, about a Jewish refugee named Marks who opened a shop in Leeds and took on a partner – and we all know what happened to them.

So The Young’Uns go from strength to strength with an album of great, thought-provoking stories and they probably have another forty years left in them yet.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of the one 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 THE YOUNG ‘UNS – Strangers 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.

ORDER – [CD]

Artists’ website: www.theyounguns.co.uk

‘A Place Called England’ – live: