Martha Tilston to release Machines of Love and Grace and new single ‘Stags Bellow’ plus UK live dates…

Martha Tilston will release her new album Machines of Love and Grace on October 22. The new album will be accompanied by the single ‘Stags Bellow’, and a headline UK tour, including London’s Bush Hall on Thursday, November 8.

The daughter of folk legend Steve Tilston, Martha Tilston found herself drawn to folk’s protest spirit and its themes of social justice from an early age. She crafted her own anti-war anthem, ‘Saddest Game’, in 2004, for Big Issue’s Peace Not War compilation, an early foreshadowing of the eloquent, politicized questioning that suffuses her latest LP, Machines Of Love and Grace, a collection of subtly charged acoustic folk songs tinged with electric guitar and touches of electronica. The title is a nod to a beat poem by Richard Brautigan and the BBC2 documentary that lifted the poem’s title: All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace.

“The programme blew me away. It tackled a lot of the questions my peers are asking: how the finances are run, how we’ve let machines take over and how those machines run us”. Martha Tilston

Like Mitchell’s Woodstock, which painted an image of exploding bombs transforming into butterflies, Tilston’s Machines ponders the conflict between human life and the machinery of modern age.

Tilston underpins her pastoral narratives with meaningful contexts, such as lead single ‘Stags Bellow’, a stirring paean to freedom and the wild deer that roam the Royal Parks. Tilston’s songwriting eschews the hoary ‘moors and maids’ folk imagery of old for gentle, probing meditations on modern concerns such as consumerism (“More”), urbanization (“Suburbia”), unheard voices (“Silent Women”) and with “Wall Street”, the disastrous ebb and flow of stock market tides, a paced, determined number Tilston wrote inspired by the then-emerging Occupy movement.

“A few years ago, folk went very mainstream. It was good in a lot of ways, because it meant loads of people were taking up instruments and learning the old songs. But the world was in crisis and it felt weird that folk, which has always been the people’s music, was totally avoiding that and not acknowledging it”. Martha Tilston

Martha’s background  – Martha began her musical tenure in folk duo Mouse, with Nick Marshall, releasing debut album Helicopter Trees in 2000 and a follow up, Mouse Tales, in 2001.  She released her lo-fi debut, Rolling, in 2003, while touring Ireland as support for folk troubadour, Damian Rice.  Inspired by Damian Rice’s self-produced, home-recorded hit debut, O, she funded the pressing of her next record, 2005’s Bimbling, through the sale of the album’s canvas-painted artwork.  2006 saw her team up with band The Woods, an outfit that includes Lamb bass player Jon Thorne (who guests on Machines) to release Ropeswing, and by 2007, Martha was opening the Acoustic Stage at Glastonbury with songs from her album Milkmaids and Architects, garnering a nomination for Best New Act at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.  By 2009, Tilston’s vocals had been courted beyond the folk world, by producers such as J-Spool and Tru Thoughts Records Mawglee and Mangatout, and pop group Zero 7, who invited her to guest on their 2009 album, Yeah Ghost.

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

Chris Helme The Rookery now released

Chris Helme, who first rose to prominence as the front man of John Squire’s post-Stone Roses band ‘The Seahorses’ has now released his brand new solo album. Still rightfully remembered for the anthemic Britpop classics Love Is The Law and Blinded By The Sun – songs that evoked everything the 90’s stood for, the excitement, the culture and the bands that provided a voice in a period of political and social imbalance. Present day societal context may well in fact mirror those times but the man himself, now, appears cut from an entirely different cloth (hence why we have picked up on it at folking).

Helme’s is an enviable back catalogue, bolstered further by his acclaimed works with The Yards, but it’s The Rookery’s knack for melody and imaginative, intricate, three-way guitar interplay that brings each track to such lush, blossoming, climaxes. Add to this Helme’s keen ear for arranging and those brooding string passages resonate even more deeply.

Recorded in just 9 days at The Rookery, a country hideaway nestled in the wilds of the Yorkshire Dales, the album reveals a beguiling vulnerability in both Helme’s voice and lyrics. The wonderfully restrained Darkest Days’ somber refrain, ‘Following you, leads me astray’, rings out with the sentiment of changing direction, putting paid to past misdemeanours, while on the forthcoming single Long Way Round, Helme is found resolute in his plaintive cry, ‘Now you’ve found yourself, you’re on your own’. An apt lyric indeed as his solo path turns this dramatic corner.

There is plenty on offer here as Chris and producer Sam Forrest (Nine BlackAlps) showcase their depth of sonic understanding as fuzzed out guitars are married with distorted Mellotron, melting strings, whistling feedback and haunting orchestral vocals. Melodies rooted in traditional folk structures are vividly re-imagined on an album of startlingly rich variation. Even the Rolling Stones’ stomp of Daddy’s Farm book-ended between the blues filth of Pleasedand the gorgeously mellow Summer Girl, doesn’t stick out, testament to Helme’s most powerful weapon – his voice.

Artist web link: www.chrishelme.co.uk

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

Ben Glover’s New Album – Do We Burn The Boats is now out…

Recorded in the heart of Nashville, the album was produced by Neilson Hubbard (Kim Richey, Glen Phillips, Garrison Starr) and features a track (Rampart Street) co written by seasoned folk songstress Mary Gauthier (who we featured very recently on folking.com).

“I intended to record just five songs for an EP, but after three days in the studio we all felt that there was a momentum happening that we couldn’t ignore. So we decided to go full steam ahead and cut ten songs and make an album,” says Glover. “It all happened very quickly and organically, but I’ve learned that sometimes the creative process takes on a life of its own and when it does it’s best to follow it’s direction.”

Glover has garnered rave album and concert reviews from across the globe and has toured extensively both as an opening act as well as a headliner. In the past calendar year his touring schedule included dates in Belfast, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh,Dublin, New York, Brussels as well as dates at the famed Hotel Café in Los Angeles and sold out shows in the Nashville’s legendary Bluebird Café.

He hails from Glenarm, Co Antrim, a small coastal village 30 miles from Belfast, N. Ireland and splits him time between there and Nashville, Tennessee. This singer/songwriter traded in a degree in law to peruse music and from all accounts it was a move that has paid off.

‘I was always drawn to and continue to be attracted to artists of a poetic nature, or great storytellers—obvious names like Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, and Paul Simon. And I’ve always had a great affection for country music, the Americana imagery always fascinated me. So people like Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson are important sources to me, as well. I suppose I am drawn to artists who had a very strong identity—maybe not the best singers in the world—but said important and meaningful things in their songs. Essentially, music has to come out of life, and if there’s no life there is no music.’

Glover has toured and/or performed with Vince Gill, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Mary Gauthier, Jason Mraz and Tift Merritt. His songs have been used in feature films such as “Finding Joy,” hit webisode series “Adults Only,” and as the theme song for BBC N.Ireland sports programme “The Championship.”

Artist web link: www.benglover.co.uk

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

Introducing Dodson and Fogg – Folk singer songwriter psychedelia

Folk singer songwriter psychedelia makes a welcome return in the form of Dodson and Fogg and Fogg, a new project led by songwriter Chris Wade. The influences of the early pioneers of 70s folk-rock is apparent and the new album tries to counterbalance this theme with a modern, atmospheric approach. Chris certainly has his work cut out providing vocals, guitars, keyboards and percussion parts (will be interesting to see him do all this playing live!). Joining Chris for moral support are heavyweights Nick Turner on flute from Hawkwind fame, Celia Humphries on vocals from trees and Judy Dyble on vocals from the original line-up of Fairport Convention. Completing the set are: Alice White on Violin, Ellie Davies on Cello and Kzrysztof Juzskiewicz (of Skin Alley) on Accordion. Check out the video below and if you like what you see then you can get your hands on a copy of the album via the web link below.

Incidentally, Chris Wade is also a writer who worked with comedian Rik Mayall on the audio-book “cutie and the sofaguard“… is there no end to the man’s talents! folkmaster

Artist web link: http://wisdomtwinsbooks.weebly.com/dodson-and-fogg.html

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

Mary Gauthier – LIVE AT BLUE ROCK

After twelve years of relentlessly touring the world with her acoustic guitar and harmonica, singing on stages large, small and in between, Mary Gauthier is proud to announce the release of her first live recording.

Recorded with a small band at the very highest level at the incredible Blue Rock Artist Ranch and Studio just outside of Austin, Texas, Mary Gauthier LIVE at Blue Rock is an emotional evening of songs from an artist who has put in her ten thousand hours and mastered her craft. This recording is the culmination of a lifetime of Mary’s passion for story songs and tales that speak to the heart of the human condition. Many of the characters she sings about are hard hit, wounded and wandering outcasts – people whose lives have been scarred with blows so unexpected and traumatic that they were knocked into another place, a place unfamiliar – a place where transformation can happen. Continue reading Mary Gauthier – LIVE AT BLUE ROCK

Pete Fyfe reviews ALEXANDER WOLFE – Skeletons (Dharma Records DHARMACD15)

I used to play at the New Cross Inn, London years ago and was somewhat intimidated by the dowdy interior of the venue…just thought you’d like to know that, but if New Cross itself can bear witness to housing singer-songwriter Alexander Wolfe then we all have a lot to be thankful for. This is a young man who appears at ease revealing his sensibilities to a wider public via the medium of ‘acoustic’ music and by utilising ‘bedsitter’ type imagery in much the same way that say Al Stewart and Dave Cousins captured the spirit of the late 60’s many of the songs will prove eloquent and heart-rending. Putting his multi-instrumental skills and production values to good use Wolfe could seriously give the likes of Tony Visconti and Steve Lillywhite with their luscious string and brass arrangements a run for their money in much the same way he did on his previous recording “Morning Brings A Flood”. Although I have always enjoyed the ‘art’ of singer-songwriters (mainly due to musical production of the songs) I must admit that I paid scant attention to the lyrics (shame on me) but I have thoroughly engaged with Alexander’s songs and if you feel like exploring the avenues and alleyways with him this album will enrich the lives of all of those it comes into contact with. Perhaps not as consumer friendly as his old band mate Jamie Cullum this album will touch those who possess a soul and who are prepared to have meat with their veg. Highly recommended! PETE FYFE

“I was in the middle of writing and doing demo’s for another album called ‘From The Shallows’ (which still lays unfinished on the cutting room floor) when Skeletons took over. I went through a fortnight of insomnia and when I did sleep I would have these really vivid dreams and get up in the night and scribble down images and lyrics. I had no idea what I was writing about at the time, what the metaphors were etc… lots of bone and teeth references, skeletons, blood, horses dying etc… some pretty dark stuff. Some of the dreams were about people and places I hadn’t seen or thought about in years, people I’d forgotten, places left behind. It just came straight from my subconscious. When I listen back to it now I recognise I was partly writing about the break-up of the relationship before it happened. It’s my subconscious sensing what was coming before my conscious mind had any idea.” Alexander Wolfe

Listen to tracks or order/ download from the links below:

Vinyl