Durham-based musician and songwriter Harri Endersby is proud to release her full-length, debut album Homes/Lives. The 11-track album is a collection of songs written by Harri over the past two years, the recording of which has been made possible by 85 ‘backers’ who funded the album process through her successful Kickstarter campaign.
Growing up in County Durham and its thriving folk scene, Harri’s music has been heavily influenced by the region’s crowd of prestigious folk singers and musicians, her lyrics being firmly rooted in the pastoral and the world of story-telling. Her new album Homes/Lives presents a transition in style, beginning with acoustic, stripped-back tracks whilst gradually introducing electronic instrumentation and beats as the album progresses. This interweaving of genres has been inspired by Harri’s love of Icelandic electro-folk and the likes of Ásgeir and Samaris.
Her 5-track EP Ivy Crown released in 2014, rose to number 17 in the iTunes singer-songwriter charts and had tracks played on BBC Newcastle Introducing, The Folk Show on Bishop FM and Roger William’s World of Difference.
Harri Endersby is currently scheduling a tour for autumn 2017.
Three-time Juno award winner Ron Sexsmith has revealed details about his new album, The Last Rider. Ron’s thirteenth studio recording was co-produced at The Bathouse Studios in Kingston, Ontario by longtime drummer and collaborator Don Kerr and Sexsmith. The album is his first to include Ron’s touring band.
Since making his major-label debut in 1995, Ron Sexsmith has become recognized worldwide as one of Canada’s most reknowned songwriters. He counts among his fans no less than Elvis Costello, Elton John and Paul McCartney and has amassed no less than eight Juno Award nominations as Songwriter of the Year.
“At this point, it’s just second nature for me to write short, melodic songs that say everything I want to say,” says Sexsmith. “But having my band totally involved on this album maybe brought out more in the songs than on other recent albums. It felt special, anyway.”
On the album’s most poignant moments, such as ‘Man At The Gate (1913)’, there certainly is a sense—as with all of Sexsmith’s best songs—that life is often richer than we make it out be, and we should embrace that. In this case, the point is made through a photograph taken a century ago in front of Toronto’s Trinity-Bellwoods park, conveying the message that although styles and attitudes change, we all remain connected through our shared humanity. It all sprang from Sexsmith simply buying a postcard at a shop near his house one day.
“In the photograph, there’s a man walking by the gates of the park, and you can barely see him, but that’s the kind of thing I easily get obsessed about,” he says. “I couldn’t stop thinking that that guy could be me 100 years later, and really could be all of us. We’re here for a certain period of time, and we leave behind these traces of who we were that have the potential to inspire people who come along after we’re gone. To me, that’s really beautiful.”
Although Ron Sexsmith has more music to come that is sure to inspire us, for now The Last Rider is the latest addition to a body of work as impressive as any produced in the past quarter-century. Through truth and simplicity, Sexsmith’s songs help us get closer to the things that make us better people, meaning that an album like The Last Rider is as necessary now as anything he has ever done.
The Last Rider will be released April 21st, 2017 on Compass Records.
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 Ron Sexsmith 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.
Jenn Butterworth (guitar and voice) and Laura-Beth Salter (mandolin and voice) have each been a presence on the UK folk scene for a number of years. They were brought together by the close-knit and progressive Glasgow folk music community, spending lots of their time jamming an eclectic mix of folk music from across the globe, particularly the UK, Scandinavia and America. The years of playing together brought a deep affinity between the two artists; their rhythms lock tightly, their voices blend so closely that it’s often hard to tell them apart. They have developed a natural telepathy: two musicians bound together.
Their debut release Bound is a celebration of the last eight years of the duo. It contains some old favourites, such as ‘Come To Jesus’ and ‘Elzwick’s’, and newer arrangements created for the album such as ‘The Braver One’ and ‘Let the Sun Shine Down On Me’. Arranged entirely by the duo, the album contains some self-penned work, some re-invention of older tunes and songs, and some more recent covers, such as Boo Hewerdine’s ‘Wings On My Heels’. When Jenn and Laura-Beth set out to record this album, they felt it was important to keep things simple. They wanted capture the raw energy of their live gigs and wanted the recording to feel natural. The way they play on the album is the way they play live; for the most part the tracks were recorded either live in the same room, or facing each other through a glass door. The album was recorded at Carrier Waves Studios in Glasgow, engineered by Keir Long and mastered at Castlesound Studios in Pencaitland.
“Our brand new debut album, Bound, is a representation of the last eight fantastic years of playing together. A snapshot of where we have come from and where we are now. We hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we have enjoyed playing and recording it.” Jenn & Laura-Beth
Laura-Beth is a founding member of renowned folk band, The Shee, and has also toured extensively with bands such as Frigg, Shooglenifty and Dougie MacLean’s The MacLean Project. In 2013 she was nominated for the MG Alba Scots Trad Awards Composer of the Year award after the success of her Celtic Connections commission and debut album, Breathe.
Jenn Butterworth is one of the UK’s foremost folk guitarists. She began her career touring worldwide with award winning Anna Massie Band, and has gone on to perform with well regarded acts such as Fiddlers’ Bid, Phil Cunningham and the highly acclaimed Songs of Separation.
Wait Till The Clouds Roll By is the debut album from young Irish singer Fintan McHugh. It has been available for a while but has only recently come into our possession and we feel compelled to bring it to your attention. Fintan plays guitar and cittern and for his instrumental breaks he chooses harmonica. Bringing a modern style of moothie to a traditional ballad gives the song a new slant.
Fintan opens the set with the title track, a nineteenth century parlour until it was appropriated for the folk scene, probably by Uncle Dave Macon. It’s an excellent start with a good chorus to settle the listener in but, for me, the key track comes next. ‘Lord Saltoun & Annachie Gordon’ is one of my favourite ballads and Fintan’s long version wrings every ounce of pathos out of the text. The use of the harmonica somehow transforms the song, giving it a modern resonance in a way that I can’t quite explain.
‘The Rocks Of Bawn’ is a song I’ve never quite understood but it would seem that after Cromwell “subdued” Ireland the best land was given to the Protestant incomers while the Irish were moved to the inhospitable west coast. Some versions refer to a recruiting sergeant because a life in the army was considered a better bet than scratching a living out the rocky coast. Fintan’s version goes straight to the top and wishes for the Queen herself to ride along and recruit him. He uses the cittern almost as a percussion instrument on the song, maintaining a steady beat on the bass strings.
Fintan was much influenced by Andy Irvine as a youth, borrowing ‘You Rambling Boys Of Pleasure’ from him and basing his arrangement of ‘The Blacksmith’ on Planxty’s. There is a dynamism about his guitar playing that reflects their style. He sings ‘A Stór Mo Chroí’ unaccompanied, almost as a warning to the addressee who has made the decision to leave Ireland to escape the potato famine rather than as a song of sentiment and longing.
There are two of Fintan’s own songs in the set and it’s interesting to note that sometimes his phrasing echoes the uneven line lengths of traditional ballads. To be honest, these songs are rather insubstantial compared with the mighty texts they sit among, but this is still an impressive debut album.
Nominated for best musician at last year’s BBC Folk Awards and touted as one of the finest banjo players in the UK as well as being a superb singer, songwriter and guitarist, Dan Walsh is described as ‘the real deal’ (UNCUT). 2017 sees the release of highly anticipated new solo album Verging On The Perpendicular after the success of critically acclaimed album Incidents And Accidents which was lauded as ‘absolutely terrific’ by Mark Radcliffe on BBC Radio 2.
Describing what Dan does is no easy task but at the heart of it is British, Irish and American folk music delivered with a healthy dose of funky grooves – all performed with his unique and dazzling take on clawhammer style banjo. Add to all that poignant songs, astonishing musical departures and lively humour and the result is a truly memorable live show which has wowed audiences across the world from intimate seated rooms to huge dancing crowds in festival fields.
As well as many tours of the UK, Dan also has recent successful trips to the USA, Canada, Germany, India, Norway and New Zealand to his credit. Having made his name with duo Walsh and Pound, he is now an extremely busy performer touring throughout the world both solo and as a member of the award-winning Urban Folk Quartet. There have also been recent guest appearances, on stage or in the studio, with the likes of Imelda May, Joss Stone, Seth Lakeman, the Levellers, Duane Eddy and Martin Simpson.
His eclectic and innovative approach has led to many exciting collaborations alongside his solo work and the UFQ. The latest is with fellow banjoist John Dowling, combining beautiful harmonies with red-hot picking. Other work has included tours with North East concertina legend Alistair Anderson, sensational Indian sarangi player Suhail Yusuf Khan, Canadian country singer Meaghan Blanchard and even London Sinfonia. Dan also retains a passion for outreach work and through the prestigious Live Music Now scheme has performed throughout the UK in hospices, hospitals, special schools and care homes. He also teaches banjo both in person and over Skype and is the only international banjoist to be invited to teach at the Midwest Banjo Camp in the USA.
There was a time when I would stand in front of a ceilidh band and when things were going well and you had a hall full of people who were into it it was the most fun you could have with your clothes on. When it comes to recording an album a ceilidh band has two choices: play the music four-square for dancing and teaching or spice it up a bit. The first option must be deadly for the band so, with Mutation, Monster Ceilidh Band have opted for the latter, recording this set live off the floor at Castle Sound under the watchful eye of Stuart Hamilton.
The band can boast four writers who are responsible for 80% of the record. There’s Amy Thatcher, purveyor of accordion to The Shee and Kathryn Tickell, fiddlers Shona Mooney (The Shee) and Grace Smith (The Rachel Hamer Band) and multi-instrumentalist Kieran Szifris, who restricts himself to octave mandolin on this album. Add a couple of traditional tunes and a borrow from Adam Sutherland and there you have it. Monster Ceilidh Band don’t go in for monster medleys only pairing tunes.
The opening set, ‘Venus’, is one such pairing, mating ‘Proximo B’ by Shona with ‘Venus’ by Amy. The others are ‘Mutated Beeswing’ pairing the essentially fiddle solo of ‘The Beeswing Hornpipe’ with Shona’s title track. It’s not clear who the soloist given but as Amy joins in after a couple of minutes I’m guessing it’s Shona. ‘Mutation’ is mutated by Joseph Truswell’s electronics which are a feature of the album. Here, there is something that could be accordion but could equally be distorted wordless vocals.
The band move seamless from that to the relatively conventional ‘All The Swingle Ladies’ by Keiran, half of which you could dance to if you could keep up the pace. Great titles include ‘Trouser Worrier’, ‘Octopus’ and ‘Disgrace’, the latter coming from the quill of Grace Smith as if you had to ask. Even past the record’s half-way mark we hear something new as ‘Never Will’ is introduced by snarling, distorted…what? Bass, I suppose as David de la Haye takes a brief solo.
No, you’re not going to dance (in any formal sense) to ‘Mutation’, although Joseph’s drums are rock solid throughout, but you will enjoy some musical invention.
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 MONSTER CEILIDH BAND – Mutation 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.