Talisk announce UK tour dates


Mohsen Amini, current (and youngest ever) holder of BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards coveted ‘Musician of the Year’ title will head out on the road with Scotland’s celebrated Talisk trio in April.

The nine date tour (April 24-May 3) which opens in the Scottish Highlands and ends at Edinburgh’s Queens Hall, will see the Glasgow-based concertina maestro, ‘splendidly expressive’ fiddler Hayley Keenan and gifted guitarist Graeme Armstrong showcasing their latest acclaimed album Beyond, released last year, as well as new material.

Described by Glasgow Herald as “a rockin’ powerhouse” Talisk are one of the most exciting acts on the UK folk scene, renowned for their innovative, high energy instrumental music.

In just five years they have pinned themselves firmly on the acoustic music map, winning the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award and the 2017 Scots Trad Music Awards ‘Folk Band of the Year’ gong as well as being nominated for the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Horizon title – for best emerging act. They have won over festival audiences around the world from Denmark’s Tonder to WOMAD, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Milwaukee Irish Festival and Canada’s Celtic Colours.

Their debut album Abyss was shortlisted for Album of the Year at the 2016 Scots Trad Music Awards but they came of age with 2018’s Beyond, bursting with their dynamic, feelgood, slickly crafted, self-penned tunes. The esteemed Songlines magazine gave it a 5* ‘Top of the World’ review, praising the band as “incredibly infectious and endearing –fresh, invigorating, accomplished and playfully frisky”.

Fuelled by their global travels, the frenetic, driving rhythms, vibrancy and versatility were tempered with soothing, gentle textures as they took listeners on a roller coaster journey from Montreal to Ohio, Serbia to Nova Scotia and home to Scotland. The track ‘Farewell’ saw the addition of vocals provided by some of UK folk’s biggest names, working as a huge choral collective.

The pedigree of this folk/trad trio is undeniable and their live dates unmissable. Opening on April 24 at Ullapool’s Ceilidh Place the tour will take Talisk to Cumbria, Cornwall, Lancashire, Oxfordshire, Wales and London’s St John on Bethnal Green 19th century church.

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

‘Echo’ – live:



 24th: ULLAPOOL – The Ceilidh Place
Box Office: 01854 612 103

26th – WHITEHAVEN – Rosehill Theatre
Box Office: 01946 692422

28th – FALMOUTH – The Tolmen Centre
Box Office: 01326 341353

29th – NETTLEBED – Nettlebed Village Club
Tickets: 01628 636620

30th – LONDON – St. John on Bethnal Green
Sam Lee (Promoter): 07967 485708


1st – CARDIFF – Acapela Studio
Box Office: 029 2089 0862

2nd – YSTRADGYNLAIS (Swansea) – The Welfare
Box Office: 01639 843163

3rd – EDINBURGH – Queens Hall
Box Office: 0131 668 2019

11th– BURY – The Met (Big Whistle Festival)
Box Office: 0161 761 2216

Beau announces 50th anniversary album


On April 18th way back in 1969, Trevor Midgley completed the recording of his debut Beau album for John Peel’s Dandelion label.

On Thursday, 18th April 2019 to celebrate the occasion, Cherry Red Records are releasing Damascus Road, a brand new 50th Anniversary set of songs.

Damascus Road will be available from download sites around the world (including of course iTunes and the Amazons), and will also stream on Spotify, Deezer and all other popular streaming services and Folking will be writing a review.

As always, the news agenda has come up trumps (no pun intended!), inspiring songs about demagoguery, diplomacy, the casting couch, Masonic influence, and a whole host of other topics.

Artist’s website: http://www.trevormidgley.com/

‘Demagogue Rules’ – official video:

JACOB & DRINKWATER – This Old River (Polyphonic Life Records PRCD001)

This Old RiverFollowing on from the Devon duo’s debut EP and 2016’s Live At Hope Hall, singer/guitarist Tobias Ben Jacob and Lukas Drinkwater (everything else) now release their first studio album, a collection of nine self-penned songs and their arrangement of one traditional number that weaves a melancholic mood but, as Cohen put it, with cracks where the light gets in.

Indeed, that’s exactly how it starts with ‘Song Of The Sun’, a melodically cascading dawn chorus as Jacob sings about how “the light pours in upon our golden slumbers”, waking to a new day amid the rhythms of the ancient English landscape, the lyric drawing on the folklore motif of the sleeping giant.

The title track strikes a note of nostalgia, Jacob recounting over Drinkwater’s piano notes and acoustic guitar, how, in 1934, the Lancashire town of Walton-le-Dale was witness to an aeronautical display by Royal Flying Corps veteran Sir Alan Cobham’s flying circus, a jumping off memory to ride the time stream and recall the Lancashire cotton mills and their smoky chimneys, an image of industrialisation offset by lines that speak of breezes blowing through cornfields, of corncrakes and willow warblers singing as the song becomes a lament for the loss of such halcyon days to the march of technology.

The mood of reverie continues into romantic realms on ‘Real Love’, which, caressed by a bowed double bass, is both a yearning to find the grail the title offers and an openhearted pledge of devotion (“I’ll treat you right no matter what you heard/I’ll be someone you can believe in”) and offering a haven in troubled times (“you come to me with wounded wings/Lost and broken hearted/In golden light come gather all your dreams around me/We’ll be alright”).

In stark contrast, again with double bass as its pulse, ‘There’s A Shadow On The Sun’, Drinkwater also providing harmonies, was written after reading accounts of life in war-torn Syria sung in the voice of a man whose wife was taken from him in a bombing raid (“I held her hand I watched her die”), his heart, like thousands of others in the war torn country, consumed by darkness, leaving him and the Syrian people, to paraphrase Cohen, “a thousand sorrows deep.”

There’s a great sadness in this world”, sings Jacob resignedly in the closing refrain, leading appositely to ‘Nottamun Town’, a medieval English folk song, given a stark, funeral march arrangement (reminding that Dylan borrowed the melody for ‘Masters Of War’) with icy piano trills and reworked and additional lyrics to enhance its anti-war sentiments, the reference to longboats possibly a nod to the fact that, following their invasion of East Anglia, Vikings likely established a settlement in what would become Nottinghamshire.

Coming up the years, set to a ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ circling bass line, ‘Imagined Letter #4’ pairs a note to a lost love (“I rarely talk about you to my friends/Last week I thought I saw you coming down the stairs/How the heart sinks even as it bends”) with a commentary on increasing social alienation (“Everyone here seems so self-absorbed”) and the changing face of London (“they’re closing down the units and the old café/Sold them all to new millionaires…And nobody at the top seems to care”), Jacob’s lament echoing Elizabeth Smart (or maybe Ashley Hutchings) in the line “By Liverpool Street Station I sat down and wept.

But while “Maybe romance is dead as a theme these days”, there’s yet a glimmer of hope (“I still have my suitors so I must be lovable”) and even though “Time is the eternal boat/That carries all our dreams away”, he still calls to stand “weary wings unfurled”, “exercise the voluntary muscles of the heart” and, conjuring Dylan Thomas, to “oppose those dying days/Don’t let your spark burn away”.

Thematically channelling Steve Winwood, crooned over acoustic guitar and double bass, ‘Higher Love’ continues the album’s positive trajectory away from the darkness (“seven days in a line/Each one came to pass a little better than the last”) for, although “the heart is a fragile thing”, “we rise with the morning sun…distil the life and sing”.

Graced with the line “the air it quivered like the tuning fork of all creation”, opening with whistling behind the acoustic guitar notes, the summery, sun-drenched ‘Iridescent Light’, its choppy rhythm and vocals conjuring Paul Simon, is an untrammelled celebration of life (“I woke up laughing madly and I don’t know why”) with the dawn unfolding as a “symphony of murmuration/An undulation fluttering through the sky” , of optimism (“I said that this could be the day our plans all come together”) even in the face of depression (“I asked you if you’d be alright/You said I don’t know if I ever will”).

Given the Simon echoes here, it’s perhaps no accident that, while their pacings are completely different, slowly unfurling on Spanish guitar and double bass, ‘Polaroid’ kind of plays as their answer to ‘Kodachrome’ in its reference to photographs as memories, the song also a nod to the healing power of music (“I wanted you to know/The song you wrote it helped me out when I was low”) and, once again, drawing on the image of new dawns (“I awoke, kissed my sleeping wife/And fell into the open arms of this life”).

For all the gloom, despondency, pain and loss that cast their shadows, ultimately the album serves a reminder that, as the bowed bass and piano-accompanied, hymnal-like closing track with its oohing backing vocals says, ‘It’s Still A Beautiful World’ and that, while we may be exiles on life’s weary road, poor wayfarers and disaffected refugees, we still have the capacity to “listen for the ocean in the shell”, to balance “a pocket full of heartbreak” with “a headful of heaven”, to find comfort and refuge in another’s love, to feel the joy of a newborn child and know that while empires may pass away, “the sun will rise just like it did today.” Throw back the curtains and let this album illuminate the chambers of your soul.

Mike Davies

We have set up a new UK & U.S Storefront for brand new CD/Vinyl/Download releases recently featured together with a search facility for older stuff. The link for the folking store is: https://folking.com/folking-store/

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Buying through Amazon 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: www.jacobanddrinkwater.com

‘It’s Still A Beautiful World’ – live:

HOLY MOLY AND THE CRACKERS – Take A Bite (Pink Lane Records)

Take A BiteHoly Moly & The Crackers release Take A Bite on April 5th. Sometimes it brings a smile to your face to see a band grow and develop – for me, this is one of those bands. “All roads lead to the stage. It boils down into one manic, riotous party. That’s where we connect with the audience and with each other and that’s what we’re all about,” says the band’s Conrad Bird. I saw them a couple of times a few years ago playing local halls when a friend put them on as part of Nottinghamshire’s Village Ventures events. In a live performance, Holy Moly don’t half give an exuberant concert.

They are now a six piece band – fiddle, guitar/electric guitar, trumpet, accordion, bass and drums with an energetic sound – “foot-stomping folk pop” is their description. Take A Bite is Holy Moly and the Crackers’ third album and it moves them on from their folk/blues/indie origins to more mainstream music.

There’s a diversity of songs on the album from the massively up tempo ’Sister’ or ‘All I Got Is You’ – which you can hear in the video below – to the slower beauty of ‘I’d Give It All’. Holy Moly and the Crackers began in Newcastle in 2011 as “little more than a laugh” but over the years have kept their energy and become more than a bunch of mates playing together, their playing honed in the old-fashioned way by years of touring and it gives the album much of the dynamism and strength of their live performances.

They describe Take A Bite in words reminiscent of a graduation or the end of an apprenticeship: “We’ve arrived at a place here, with this album, where we can start the journey that we want to be on”. Certainly this album raises the bar. They are on tour from April 4th – 21st, mainly in the North and Scotland, and in places with a great musical history – the Welly, the Musician, the Greystones et al.

It’s a couple of years since I’ve seen the band but if you like the liveliness of ‘All I Got Is You’ you can see there’s more than a fair chance you’ll have a good night if you can get to see them live.

Mike Wistow

We have set up a new UK & U.S Storefront for brand new CD/Vinyl/Download releases recently featured together with a search facility for older stuff. The link for the folking store is: https://folking.com/folking-store/

Click to order featured CD/ Vinyl/Download/Book/DVD

Buying through Amazon 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: https://www.holymolyandthecrackers.com

‘All I Got Is You’ – official video:

SIR SILENCE & LADY HUSH – It’s Time She Said (Hushland Creative HUSHCD06)

It's Time She SaidThe third collaborative album by Bill and Rachel Taylor-Beales under their musical partnership name trawls some thirty-five years for what they call balladeering ‘dystopian maladies’, musings on time and existing within it, penned across the decades in places as diverse as Melbourne and Nottingham and finally coming home to roost.

Drawing on shared and individual influences, David Bowie and Tom Waits included, Bill on vocals and Rachel providing back-ups as well as sax, it ranges across musical textures, embracing baroque folk, blues, jazz and narcotic rock shapes, opening with the heady, atmospheric title track which, with its mantra like refrain, dazedly moves from a musical fug to the pealing finale.

Wrapping dissonant guitar notes around a 60s psychedelic pop melody ‘Seaside Town’ draws a picture of autumn years romance and memories before late night sax wails over the keyboard mists of ‘Old Blind Jack’ with its evocative chorus of “Tonight I’ll tame the dragon/All fiery orange and blue/I tattoo my arm to try and keep warm/And I do it just for you”.

The slurred ghost of Lou Reed hovers over the self-imposed isolation of the musically skeletal ‘How Many Times’ (“How many times do I have to tell you not to walk so close by my side?”), the images of emotional dislocation (Rachel echoing “it’s not unusual – to be alone”) percolating through the heavy-lidded, druggy sluggishness of ‘Heaven’.

Moving to a slow, weary sway, ‘Living On Concrete’ stems from Bill’s work as a socially engaged artist and creative practitioner wherein he uses music and portraiture to interact with people looking to find a voice and tell their story. Specifically, it was inspired by conversations with residents in a children’s hospice, hence the theme of mortality that pervades the lyrics as he sings about a woman whose “body was broken/Before she was born” who says she’s going “Some place better than here”, just sooner than she’d like.

Etched out on hymnal piano, the softly sung, somnolent ‘Neptune Didn’t Rise’ (“what’s a god supposed to do when the Devil is always new?”) has a gospel feel, reinforced by Rachel’s backing vocals, shifting to the musical box intro of the sparsely arranged, similarly spiritual musical colours of ‘Lay Down’, Rachel taking over the vocals for the play out lines “Gonna’ sink all the boats in the harbour now/You can dive, you can dive right in”.

Another musically pensive number, picked out on single piano notes and ambient backing, ‘Running Home’ (which reminded me a little of Procul Harum) is another example of Bill’s often impressionistic and evocative lyrics (“Ladies sit, mirrors on their laps/Waiting for the fine dust to fall/And the ladies sit wiping from their lips/Fine powdered sugar from the sky”), before things come to a close with the five and a half-minute splendour of the apocalyptic ‘Sometime Later’ which, opening with radio static, air raid siren, crackling beats and piano, has Bill, live from the Armageddon Broadcasting Company, providing the spoken narrative introduction before Rachel steps into the vocal spotlight for the chorus on a song namechecking and celebrating the musical legacy of Dylan, Waits, Joplin, Denny, Patti Smith and Gillian Welch and remembering “their kind words and wisdom” before the tower of song finally crumbles into the sea.

An album that requires you to sit down and let it soak in, it repays the time you spend. And, on top of which, all proceeds will go towards funding Picture Me, a project partnership between Hushland Portraits and Ty Hafan, a Welsh children’s hospice, to provide free portraits to the children’s family members.

Mike Davies

We have set up a new UK & U.S Storefront for brand new CD/Vinyl/Download releases recently featured together with a search facility for older stuff. The link for the folking store is: https://folking.com/folking-store/

Click to order featured CD/ Vinyl/Download/Book/DVD

Buying through Amazon 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: www.hushlandcreative.com/sir-silence

‘It’s Time She Said’: