MT. JOY EUROPEAN TOUR INCLUDING LONDON BUSH HALL DATE

Photo credit Mac Kotas

After having released their self-titled, debut album last year, LA indie rock five-piece band Mt. Joy is returning to Europe next week. The tour includes a headline London show at Bush Hall on Tuesday 25th June, the first following last year’s sold-out gig at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen.

Their debut album ‘Mt. Joy’, released last year in the UK via Dualtone/Entertainment One, has received great critical acclaim in the U.S and Europe, reaching over 86 million Spotify plays.

Mt. Joy’s debut, produced by Jon Gilbert (The Kills), is a startlingly open document, wracked with the anxieties and fears that come just as life seems to start working out. It’s a natural reaction from a wary band like Mt. Joy – the result of a sort of professional vertigo, as they’ve gone from virtual unknowns to hot young commodity in little over a year.

There’s a sense of hope underlying everything, girded by the fact that the Mt. Joy album is an impressive, honest portrayal of a young band facing that moment where dreams become reality, and finding beauty in the exhilarating uncertainty of it all.

THE BAND PERFORMING SILVER LINING

“Your new folk-rock heroes…” Rolling Stone

“Well-crafted songs that drip with nostalgia.” NPR Music / WXPN

“A powerful statement against all that is wrong with current-day America.” Ones To Watch

“An intense blast of Americana beauty” KCRW

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EURO TOUR DATES:

Saturday 22 June – Azkena Rock Festival – Vitoria-gasteiz, Spain – TICKETS

Tuesday 25 June – Bush Hall – London, United Kingdom – TICKETS

Saturday 29 June – Lollapalooza Stockholm – Stockholm, Sweden – TICKETS

Sunday 30 June – Metropolis Festival – Rotterdam, Netherlands – INFO

Artist’s website: https://www.facebook.com/mtjoyband

Copperplate Podcast 236 – Presented by Alan O’Leary

folking.com brings you the latest podcast from that aficionado of Irish music, yes you guessed it, the one and only Mr. Alan O’Leary with his regular monthly instalment of Copperplate goodies.


Click the play button below to listen to the show.

Playlist:


1PADDY GLACKIN:        Top It Off.    Glackin
2. MACALLA:    
Blackberry Blossom/Lord McDonald’s/Vincent Brodrick’s.   The Women of Ireland
3. TOMMY McCARTHY & LOUISE COSTELLO: The Broken Pledge/The Boy in the Gap. Grace Bay
4. TERESA MULLANE: Donal Og.    Lan Mara
5. ISLAND EDDY:  Guitar Island/Matt Peoples.   Island Eddy
6. JOHNNY O’g CONNOLLY:   Pota Mor Fatai/Sadbh Ni Bhruinnealla/Cailleach an Airgid/
Whiskey O Rowdledum Ro
.     Fear Inis Bearachain
7. DUBLIN LEGENDS: 
I’ll Tell Me Ma. Live in Vienna
8. SEAN O’DRISCOLL
The Twin Cities/Winnie HayesSo There You Goi
9. CATHERINE McEVOY:  McGovern’s/The Casagh Reel/Martin Ainsboro’s. The Home Ruler 
10. 
NIAMH DE BURCA:      The Fairy Boy.   Where The Heart Lies
11. LIAM O’FLYNN: 
Humours of Kiltyclogher/Julia Clifford’sThe Piper’s Call
12. BRIAN CONWAY: 
Trime the Velvet/Lord Gordon’s.  Consider The Source
13. MACALLA:    An Cailin Aerach.    The Women of Ireland
14. KEV BOYLE/MOVIES CB: Bon Cabbage/Earls Chair/Croydon Reel.   Bon Cabbage

For further information on the music featured in the show visit: http://www.copperplatemailorder.com/

Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars (Columbia)

Tucson Train Bruce Springsteen
Photo credit: Rob Demartin

Released today, Western Stars is Bruce Springsteen’s 19th studio album. A beautiful sweeping soundscape, which for me musically, conjures up the image of a rancher looking out over a large expanse of a Western dusty land. Stallions gently whicker to the sound of a transistor radio, playing sweeping Southern California pop records from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.

Its beautifully laid back, with themes of distance, travel, dusty highways, reflection and wanderlust. The opening track ‘Hitch Hikin’ gets under the skin of that ‘rolling stone’ spirit that Springsteen does so well, the characters that pick him up, the observations that are made along the way. Like the photos and mementos from a loved one on the dashboard or hanging from the rear-view mirror. The stories that are told on the ride, by the different faces of the drivers and the appreciation shared for the vehicle which bonds the strangers in some connected way.

‘The Wayfarer’ follows with itchy feet and a strings section to put distance between this town and the next, a tale of night travel when most are at rest, the ‘wheels hissing up the highway spinning round and round’ and dreams of moving on ‘When I go to sleep, I can’t count sheep for the white lines in my head’. There is a sense of longing and looking for that ‘one that got away’ as brass heralds the call for what is longingly missing as organ fades out.

Things then pick up a pace as the clicking percussion wheels on the tracks lead in to ‘Tucson Train’ with horn section announcing its arrival. Its probably the most ‘what you would expect a Springsteen track to sound like’ one on the album but then again, Western Stars is not your typical Springsteen album which makes it special. It’s a song of regret and ‘fighting hard over nothing’ and perhaps reconciliation is in the narrative as the words ‘my baby is coming in on the Tucson Trainsuggest.

Somewhere North of Nashville’ with its stripped back feel could have fitted well on The Ghost of Old Tom Joad album as it tries to recall that misplaced melody, somewhere down that lost highway, tallying up all the things that could have been done differently or better. As I said earlier, Springsteen digs lyrically deep on this record and perhaps there is no better example than ‘Stones’. Family and relationship, emotionally delivered ‘I woke up this morning with stones in my mouth – you said those were only the lies you told me’, just fantastic, interlaced with pining Orchestral strings.

“This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements,” says Springsteen. “It’s a jewel box of a record.”

The 13 tracks of Western Stars were recorded chiefly at Springsteen’s home studio in New Jersey, with additional recording in California and New York. Ron Aniello produced Western Stars with Springsteen and the album was mixed by Tom Elmhirst with contributions from more than 20 other players.

A many faceted, sublime body of work from the ‘Boss’, evoking a Nashville tinged sadness of nostalgia, mystery love, distance, the road and endless highways and cinematic open desert spaces. Its sweeping range of American themes are musically set to orchestral arrangements of strings, horns and pedal steel and grounded in themes of seclusion, community, home, hard work, family and hope. Its a real treasure to be treasured.

Darren Beech

‘Western Stars’ track listing…

  1. Hitch Hikin’
  2. The Wayfarer
  3. Tucson Train
  4. Western Stars
  5. Sleepy Joe’s Café
  6. Drive Fast (The Stuntman)
  7. Chasin’ Wild Horses
  8. Sundown
  9. Somewhere North of Nashville
  10. Stones
  11. There Goes My Miracle
  12. Hello Sunshine
  13. Moonlight Motel

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NAOMI BEDFORD & PAUL SIMMONDS – Album Launch Interview

NAOMI BEDFORD & PAUL SIMMONDS – Album Launch Interview
Photo by: Darren Beech

“The Men were up from Kent, and out of Essex too – Though naught but the Thames divides us and unites us onwards – Through all the villages of England and on to London town”. Well maybe not quite the “Wat Tyler” rallying cry (by way of Fairport Convention) … However … Paul Johnson was coming from Kent and I from Hampshire to see Naomi Bedford and Paul Simmonds launch Singing It All Back Home at Cecil Sharp House in North London on Wednesday 5 June and it felt like a traditional folk and Appalachian call to arms.

Many will know Naomi Bedford, but for those that have not made her acquaintance yet, she is an English roots singer that was introduced to the wider world in 2001 after a guest appearance on later with Jools Holland with the band Orbital. Justin Currie from Del Amitri describes Naomi as “An English Emmylou” and Shirley Collins as “A favourite voice of mine… I love to hear her sing”.

Naomi Bedford’s official debut album, Tales From the Weeping Willow was released in 2011 and featured guest contributions from Paul Heaton, Justin Currie, Alasdair Roberts and Paul Simmonds (from The Men They Couldn’t Hang). A History of Insolence (reviewed here – https://wp.me/p5SuEn-4eU) followed in 2014 which picked up a Radio 2 Folk Award nomination in the Best Original Song category (alongside her musical partner Paul Simmonds), for The Spider and the Wolf. This was then followed by Songs My Ruiner Gave to Me (reviewed here – https://wp.me/p5SuEn-aGQ) in 2017 which added Paul Simmonds name officially to the album title.

However, the concert was all about the new album Singing It All Back Home, as indeed was the first half of the show. You could tell it was going to be a special night as the musicians joining Naomi Bedford and Paul Simmonds incorporated the national guitar, banjo and mandolin wizardry of Ben Walker (who also produced the album), the 12-string guitar and backing vocals of Richard Leo, the stunning harmonies of Donna Edmead and the bass of Rhys Lovell.

NAOMI BEDFORD & PAUL SIMMONDS – Album Launch Interview
Photo by: Darren Beech

I Must And Will Be Married kicked things off with some great stage banter on the songs content preceding it. I was also filming and taking photos throughout the performance, so I’m not sure of the exact running order but feel confident that A Rich Irish Lady (learnt from Naomi’s mother from the Hedy West version), Hangman and The Rebel Soldier were all in the first set. Hangman had its roots in the Jean Ritchie and Peggy Seeger version with a nod towards the folk/country/rock versions of Gallows Pole. The Rebel Soldier closed the first set and that wonderful moment was captured in my video below.

In the second set, the Hedy West theme continued (one of Bedford’s seminal influences) with The Sheffield Apprentice, again from the new record. The harmonies throughout the night were really amazing with songs like Hands On The Plough and Who’s That Knocking (again from the new album) benefitting from the full 4 part harmony with Bedford, Simmonds, Edmead and Leo.

NAOMI BEDFORD & PAUL SIMMONDS – Album Launch Interview
Photo by: Darren Beech

In traditional territory, but closer to home came Gypsy Davy (from the album A History of Insolence: Songs of Freedom, Dissent & Strife), with a vocal delivery approach from Bedford that was very much on the other side of the Atlantic, drawing on Jean Ritchie (Naomi’s favourite version) and the Tom Paley and Peggy Seeger version to produce a mashed up version of the two with the sentiment of Woody Guthrie.

NAOMI BEDFORD & PAUL SIMMONDS – Album Launch Interview
Photo by: Darren Beech

The second set also included the chilling The Cruel Mother, this version set in New York to accommodate the arrangement from the album Songs My Ruiner Gave To Me. They closed with Railroad Bill from the album Tales from the Weeping Willow from 2011.

A great night, that breathed new life into their collected versions of Appalachian songs that had very much been rooted in the heart of the English and Scottish song tradition. Cecil Sharp House was the perfect place to launch the album.

Paul Johnson and I caught up with Naomi and Paul after the show. Click the play button below to listen to the interview.

Darren Beech

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Artists’ website: https://www.naomibedford.com/

We The Drowned – Lisa Hannigan & S t a r g a z e

We The Drowned Lisa Hannigan & S t a r g a z e
Photo by Gerry Sugrue

Lisa Hannigan’s spellbinding live album in collaboration with Andre de Ridder’s contemporary-classical s t a r g a z e orchestra is out now via Play It Again Sam. To celebrate, the Irish singer-songwriter is sharing a new video of her and s t a r g a z e playing the emphatic, hauntingly-beautiful ‘We The Drowned’ at Dublin’s National Concert Hall on the night the LP was recorded. You can watch the video for ‘We The Drowned’ below.

Originally taken from Lisa’s 2016 album At Swim, produced by frequent collaborator Aaron Dessner of The National (who’s latest full-length features guest vocals from Lisa), the live performance of ‘We The Drowned’ is complete with an orchestral arrangement written by another member of the cult American band in Bryce Dessner. It’s a gorgeous, widescreen reimagining of her otherworldly folk that swaps the sparse, delicate sensibilities for an all-encompassing and deeply moving chamber ensemble comprised of mesmerising piano, emotive string and brass sections and dreamy backing vocals.

Talking about the track, Lisa says: “This is probably my favourite arrangement on the record. Thank you so much to Bryce Dessner for bringing his incredible talent to this song! And of course, thank you to s t a r g a z e for making me want to weep throughout.”

Live In Dublin is comprised of one new cut titled ‘Bookmark’ and 13 more tracks plucked from her extensive back-catalogue; one that’s spanned 17 years and several award nominations, from the Mercury Prize to Ireland’s Choice Music Prize and Meteor Music Awards. This meeting of minds captured on the album was the product of a chance-encounter at Cork’s Sounds From A Safe Harbour Festival in 2015. Both performing at the festival, it was there where Lisa met André de Ridder and the conductor would discuss his work with his European orchestral collective named s t a r g a z e, who had been busy working with everyone from Terry Riley, Nils Frahm and Julia Holter, to Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, These New Puritans and Iceage.

The following summer, at Berlin’s PEOPLE Festival, s t a r g a z e would end up inviting Lisa to perform a couple of her songs with them on stage and the project spiraled on from there.

“Walking in I felt vaguely trepidatious. Sometimes working with classically trained musicians can be slightly nerve-wracking as a singer songwriter because they speak a language so beautifully fluently that I can only fumble towards,” Hannigan recalls: “In a band, so much communication is done through the shoulders, the lift of an eyebrow, the feel of a small group breathing and dancing together. It’s hard to extrapolate that out into twenty, forty, even eighty people! It can feel like a glorious ocean liner tied to a creaking rowboat.”

Live In Dublin by Lisa Hannigan and s t a r g a z e is out now on digital platforms, vinyl and CD via PIay It Again Sam.

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Thankfully, Hannigan’s apprehensions would prove to be unfounded: “When we started to play though, it felt like all of s t a r g a z e had climbed aboard my rowboat. They approach a song very much as a band would, with an enthusiasm and musicality which immediately felt like home. I was overwhelmed to hear my songs in such a widescreen way, going from black and white to technicolour, and hoped we could do more.” And just like that, the idea of a live album was born: “The idea of eventually making a record and playing more together felt very natural and easy. Having made three records of my own I had a notion of making a live record but wanted to do it in a slightly more unusual way. We called on some wonderful arrangers over the following couple of years and built our setlist up one song and festival at a time.”

Artists’ website: https://lisahannigan.ie/

Come Find Me – The New Single from Mick Flannery

Come Find MeIreland’s award-winning, double-platinum selling artist, Mick Flannery has announced the release of his forthcoming sixth album. Self-titled and available on July 5 through Rosaleen Records, the album will be his first official UK release and comes supported with new single ‘Come Find Me,’ which was released on Friday. You can listen to the track below:

A cliché has it that you have to beware of the quiet ones, because most of the time their voices speak sharper and with more range than the loudmouths. Every cliché, however, has a grain of truth in it, and so it’s fair to say that while County Cork singer-songwriter Mick Flannery is outwardly reserved, his songs are fluent in expressing layered aspects of the human condition; its flaws, triumphs, and general uncertainty, are all particularly evident in his new single, ‘Come Find Me.’

Taking about the track, Flannery says: “The song is basically about someone who would like to find a partner but doesn’t quite know where to start. It looks at trying to stay positive about life, even in a city, where crowds of people can make someone feel even more alone.”

Mick Flannery is on the brink of releasing not only his new album, but also overseeing the worldwide premiere of the stage musical, Evening Train (so named after his 2007 debut album). He began to write songs as a teenager in his home of Blarney, County Cork. As musical influences from albums by the likes of Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits seeped into his creative DNA, Mick absorbed, learned and honed the craft that would send him on his way into the world. The path was smoothed somewhat when, at the age of 19, he became the first Irish songwriter to win the Nashville-based International Songwriting Competition. By the time he turned 21, he had signed to a label and released his debut album.

Mick Flannery’s self-titled album is set for release on Friday 5th July 2019. The stage musical, Evening Train, premieres at The Everyman Theatre, Cork, 13th – 23rd June, 2019, as part of Cork Midsummer Festival.

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UK live dates are expected to be announced shortly.

Artists’ website: https://www.mickflannery.com/