Songs Of Separation – single and new album

Songs Of Separation - single, album and tour dates

Songs Of Separation is a highly significant collaborative recording project which reflects, through song, the issue of “separation” in its many forms. Featuring ten of England and Scotland’s most celebrated female contemporary folk artists, together they explore the similarities and differences in our musical, linguistic and cultural heritage. The ten participants are Eliza Carthy, Karine Polwart, Rowan Rheingans, Mary Macmaster, Hannah Read, Kate Young, Jenn Butterworth, Hazel Askew, Hannah James and Jenny Hill (who conceived the project).

Ahead of the release of the Songs Of Separation album and tour, Navigator Records are pleased to announce the release of a double A-side single release from the forthcoming album; ‘Echo Mocks the Corncrake’, featuring. Karine Polwart, and ‘A’ For Our Rightfu’ King’, featuring Hannah Read.

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.

‘Echo Mocks The Corncrake’ – a sort of video:

The Songs Of Separation ensemble will embark on a short tour early in 2016, culminating at Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow on 24th January. Songs Of Separation aims to capture a sense of our times, exploring topical social and political issues through powerful music.

Artists’ website: www.songsofseparation.co.uk

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Ron Pope and The Nighthawks Debut Band Album

Ron Pope and The Nighthawks Debut Band Album

Ron Pope & The Nighthawks’ self-titled debut album is out January 8 on his own label Brooklyn Basement Records. The band will celebrate at New York’s Irving Plaza on January 9 before kicking off a 31 city tour across the U.K. and Europe before traversing America.

Following his fifth studio album in 2014 and extensive worldwide touring, the Nashville based Pope began recording new music written on the road with his favorite Brooklyn-based musicians who later took the name The Nighthawks. The recording began in Lake Blue Ridge, Georgia followed by a loft in Louisville and finished up at The Magic Shop in New York. The final album was co-produced by Pope and Grammy award winner Ted Young (The Rolling Stones, Kurt Vile, Grace Potter) with Paul Hammer, Alex Foote, Andrew Pertes, Alex Brumel, Alan Markley and Michael Riddleberger of The Nighthawks.

While recording, the band enlisted filmmaker Kelly Teacher (No Cameras Allowed, Austin To Boston) to create “One Way Ticket,” a feature-length documentary following the band as they record their debut album and tour the U.S.  The film uses the story of Ron Pope & The Nighthawks as a backdrop to explain the state of the contemporary music industry and how to forge a career in the new digital age. “Here’s a guy who’s figured out how to do this basically by himself, and is really proving the power of streaming music,” says Spotify’s D.A. Wallach in One Way Ticket.

As a solo artist, Pope has sold over two million singles to date and averages 15 million spins a month on Pandora. His songs have been streamed over 126 million times via Spotify, with over 100 million YouTube views and over 14 million plays on Soundcloud. His music has been featured on NBC’s The Voice, CW’s Vampire Diaries and 90210 and multiple seasons of FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance, which sent two of his albums into the top 100 on iTunes simultaneously. Pope also guest stared on Nashville as himself last season.

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://ronpopemusic.com/

‘Headlights On The Highway’ – live acoustic version:

PETER GALLWAY Muscle And Bone (Gallway Bay Music GBM 109)

PETER GALLWAY Muscle And BoneSix months on from musical partner Annie Gallup’s recent solo album, the other half of Hat Check Girl releases his own first collection of new material since 2013’s ‘Hello Stranger’. Described as a plea written in outrage, sorrow, anger, shame, hope, hopelessness, expectation, regret, belief, release and prayer in response to the state of the world and featuring a cover photo of soldiers in battle and quote about brotherhood by James Baldwin on the inner sleeve, it clearly plants it feet in the politicised protest genre with two songs featuring excerpts from the writings of Gandhi and one inspired by the life of Lorca.

It opens with the slow-rolling ‘Anthem’, a kind of gospel infused peace train number with hints of Robbie Robertson and Peter Gabriel that features a spoken passage which, in its mention of Jerusalem, Mecca and Washington, underscores the universality of its message. The pace picks up with the 10 minute ‘Downtown Ferguson’, drums and keyboards driving the tempo along in a song about the 2014 shooting of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in Ferguson, St Louis County, and the subsequent riots, sung in Brown’s voice with a spoken extract from Gandhi’s ‘The Story of My Experiments With Truth’ where he writes “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won.”

At just under six minutes, piano ballad ‘Hymn’ is the shortest track here, the semi-spoken lyric offering a dictionary definition of religion and a call for deliverance from our troubles, then tumbling drums herald the Lorca-inspired ‘The Distance of My Fall’, which, somewhere between Bruces Springsteen and Cockburn, seems to be sung in the voice of someone (a rebel?) facing execution in the lines “I stand unforgiven, stand to the wall. Stand for all that is true at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. In the dust and dirt the bells will toll.”

Hissing synth provides a march beat for ‘Reversal’, a shadowy song about diaspora and genocide, rooted, I’m guessing, in the exodus of Russian Jews to Europe, that provides the album’s title, and then comes the bluesy and jagged ‘Tear Something Down’ with its heavy drums, brass and distorted guitar, Gallway’s spat out staccato delivery capturing the thick air of anger and frustration that engulfs the lyrics.

By contrast, ‘Citrine’ is ghostly and spooked with its pulsing synth, etching the (presumably fictional) story of a Paris bank robbery gone wrong (“You did the best an innocent could. Words to warn, words to save, words to kill. Gunshot and powder and unmarked bills”).

The album closes on another touch of Cockburn with the snare-driven ‘Blow This World’, which, featuring a spoken coda of ‘Tango’, taken from Gallway’s poetry collection Big Mercy, and, joined by Gallup, the “Your beliefs become your thought” quote popularly ascribed to Gandhi, delivers both a cry of anguish and a call to arms for change in the lines “We walk these streets it’s like fire and ice with the hungry and lonely, forsaken, forsaken. So we’re gonna blow this world, leave it behind. Blow it up with hope, mercy and pride.”

It’s a slow burn album that worms its way inside you, both musically and lyrically and, with half of the proceeds going to Save The Children, one that can actually make a difference.

Mike Davies

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.petergallway.com/

‘Reversal’ – official video:

MARRY WATERSON AND DAVID A JAYCOCK Two Wolves (One Little Indian tplp1284cd)

MARRY WATERSON AND DAVID A JAYCOCK Two WolvesWhen her brother, Oliver Knight, decided to take a break from music, Marry Waterson found herself with something of a quandary. Not playing any instruments herself, while she might have the words, setting them to music was a bit of a problem. However, an unexpected, and frankly unlikely, new ‘musical foil’ presented itself in the form of Jaycock. Described by mutual friend James Yorkston as a “Cornish hermit and underground psychedelic freak-ball”, he’d been impressed when he saw her performing in 2009 and, out of the blue, got back in contact to see if she’d be interested in working together.

Although this mostly took place by e-mail and phone, the pair clearly developed a fruitful rapport, he retaining his experimental approach but tempering this with a more traditional structure, and she finding ways to wrap her words round the melodies. With guitarist Neill MacColl and multi-instrumentalist Kate St. John handling production duties, contributions from the likes of Simon Edwards, Alison Cotton and Kami Thompson and instrumentation that includes piano, oboe, viola, cello, accordion and Weissenborn, the album began to take shape, the songs roaming across a wide range of subjects.

Setting the tone, it opens with the watery guitar and dreamlike pastoral cor anglais and oboe-shaded sound of ‘Sing Me Your Tune’ (a instrumental reprise providing the album’s play out), the line “You were the strange melody that came fully formed to me, the picture you painted filled the space vacated” almost a summation of the working relationship. Musically, it summons up a sort of Arthur Rackham world, a landscape of ferns, dew-hung spider webs and dragonflies hovering over standing waters, an atmosphere that permeates the following ‘Hoping To Be Saved’, a visit to the beach littered with piano arpeggios about Britain’s disappearing village communities, and, indeed, much of the album.

The seaside also finds its way into the acoustic guitar and piano dream world of ‘The Honey And The Seaweed’, the lyrics shaped from the words of her late mother, Lal, found in the same 60s notebook from whence came many of the early songs for the ‘Bright Phoebus’ project. There’s another nod to the family legacy on ‘Velvet Yeller’ which interweaves samples of her late uncle Mike’s recording of the traditional ‘Tam Lin’ between Waterson’s own verses.

With a melody line at times reminiscent of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Stranger Song’, the title track explores the duality of human nature, a fight between ego and empathy, sorrow and serenity, etched with circling acoustic guitar and a wailing Jen-1000 synth that’s mirrored by Waterson’s mournful howl. If that conjures thoughts of late 60s progressive folk, so too do ‘Caught On Coattails’ and the accompanying a capella ‘Ginger Brown & Apple Green’, both of which are redolent of Pink Floyd, the former circa Piper At The Gates Of Dawn while the birdsong on the latter can’t help but recalls ‘Grantchester Meadows’ off Ummagumma. That same air of pastoral psychedelia also hangs over ‘Brighter Thinking’.

Featuring MacColl on marxophone, the dreamily lilting ‘Woolgathering Girl’ is a particular highlight, lyrically underscoring such Waterson influences as Dylan Thomas and Billie Holiday, the ghost of the latter also haunting the jazzy blues ambience of ‘Emotional Vampire,’ while the final stretch also offers the breathy, banjo-dappled intoxication of Mockingbird with its talk of “everyday déjà-vus” and the childhood nostalgia of the music hall coloured ‘Circa ’73’ with its playful Lewis Carroll-like imagery about Wendy houses, telephones made from paper cups. “stilts made from empty tins of powdered milk” and “quick brown frogs jumping over the dogs”.

Ethereal and melancholic, like its shadow play cover illustration, it conjures and transports you to a timeless world that exists just behind the veil of our perceptions, at once mysterious and unsettling, but also alluring and comforting.

Mike Davies

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: http://marrywaterson.com/

‘The Honey And The Seaweed’ – official video:

Fay Hield Announces Details of New Album

Fay Hield Announces Details of New Album

Following the considerable success of The Full English album and touring band, which she assembled, singer Fay Hield is due to release her 3rd solo album, Old Adam on Soundpost Records on 12th February 2016 and will tour in February and March too. Meanwhile, a digital single, taken from the album, featuring ‘Willow Glen’ and ‘Green Gravel’ is now available.

Old Adam is a fresh and original exploration of how we use stories and music to understand what it means to be human and combines not only Fay’s gift for unearthing striking material but also her distinctive and naturalistic delivery of it. These qualities have won her critical acclaim for her previous solo albums (Looking Glass in 2010 and Orfeo in 2012, both on Topic Records) including several BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and a nomination for Folk Singer of the Year.

Old Adam contains 14 tracks, ranging from ‘The Hag In The Beck’ from the 1600s to ‘The Briar and the Rose’, a version of a Tom Waits song. The title track explores the oldest story in the book: the fantasy of a purity of life, before corruption and sin. “Perhaps it was a result of the developing sins that we have these songs to help us make sense of it all”, says Fay.

‘Willow Glen’ is taken from the Lucy Broadwood collection, while ‘Green Gravel’ (from Alice Gomme’ s Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland) is an interpretation of a playground song. ‘Raggle Taggle Gypsy’ moves into the realms of fantasy, with an enticing glimpse of a world we could inhabit, if only we would follow our hearts. Themes of justice (and injustice) are explored in ‘Queen Eleanor’s Confession’ (from a version by Tim Hart and Maddy Prior) and ‘The Hornet and the Beetle’ is from the collection of Ralph Vaughan Williams. Many of the lyrics are adapted by Fay and she has written several tunes as has her partner, Jon Boden. The arrangements on the album are all by Fay Hield and The Hurricane Party.

Fay is accompanied on Old Adam by her stellar band, The Hurricane Party, which consists of some of the finest folk musicians working today; Rob Harbron (English concertina, fiddle, vocals), Sam Sweeney (fiddle, viola, cello, nyckelharpa, vocals), Roger Wilson (fiddle, guitar, mandolin and vocals), expanded to include Ben Nicholls (bass) and Toby Kearney (percussion) and including special guests Jon Boden and guitar maestro, Martin Simpson.

As well as enjoying a blossoming recording and performing career, Yorkshire born and bred Fay is also an academic, lecturing in Music at the University of Sheffield where she specialises in the role folk music plays in the construction of communities. With her unique combination of performance and academic talents, it was perhaps inevitable that she would be invited by the English Folk Dance & Song Society to head their ground-breaking Full English project. For the first time many of the finest early 20th century folksong collections can be found in the most comprehensive searchable database of British folk songs, tunes, dances and customs in the world.

Fay assembled The Full English Band, pulling together half a dozen of the top talents on the English folk music circuit, including Seth Lakeman, Martin Simpson, Nancy Kerr, Sam Sweeney, Rob Harbron and double bassist Ben Nicholls. This “supergroup” toured for two years and released a self-titled album, again on Topic Records, winning Best Group and Best Album at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Fay Hield continues in her passionate and engaging exploration of the repertoire of the English tradition. At times sparse and contemplative, at others, fired-up with a spirit lifting rhythm and plenty of rousing choruses, the music on Old Adam is both captivating and thought-provoking.

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.fayhield.com/

‘The Poor Old Weaver’s Daughter’ live :

Steel Threads Announce Third Album

Steel Threads Announce Third Album

Steel Threads to release their third album The Rule Of Three on Mon 14th Dec, 2015.

Steel Threads are an original band performing their own unique blend of acoustic rock and alternative folk.

Formed in 2011 the band comprises of Neil Wardleworth on guitar, bass drum and vocals, and Laura Wilcockson on violin and vocals and Tracy Beardmore on bass, violin and vocals.

Influenced by Led Zeppelin, Crowded House, and Fleetwood Mac, Steel Threads pride themselves on their strong songwriting and energetic performances.

The band’s debut album Timing Is Everything was released in June 2012 and the band has gigged throughout the UK, building a strong following ever since. The strength of support is evidenced by the fact that the second album For Those Who Are Left was pledge funded by fans and reached its target much more quickly than the band expected.

The next album The Rule of Three is influenced by the decision to become a three piece band again in February 2015, the extra energy that has created, and the fact it is the band’s third album.

Steel Threads maintain a very full gig schedule, with dates up and down the UK including many a festival, venue and real ale pub along the way.