Scottish trio Assynt announce their debut album and launch tour

Assynt

Assynt are one of Scotland’s newest, most exciting folk trios featuring award winning musicians Graham Mackenzie (fiddle), David Shedden (pipes/whistles) and Innes White (guitar/mandolin). Having performed together for many years, 2018 sees the official launch of Assynt and their debut album Road To The North. Predominantly comprising self-penned tunes, the album draws upon influences from traditional Scottish fiddle and pipe music, in particular the Highland and Gaelic traditions.

Over a year in the making and with the addition of BBC Radio Scotland Young Musician of the Year, Charlie Stewart on double bass and drummer, Scott Mackay, Road To The North was recorded and mixed by Scott Wood at Oak Ridge Studios and mastered by Michael Fossenkemper at TurtleTone Studios in New York.

As a band, Assynt are keen to explore their own compositions with nine of the ten tracks written by members of the band. However, deeply rooted in traditional folk music, the final track of the album, an arrangement of three well known Scottish tunes, clearly shows where the band’s roots lie.

Beginning 2018 at Celtic Connections in the New Auditorium with a collaboration with Iranian piper, Mohsen Sharifian and the Lian Band, Assynt have continued to preview music from their debut album in a sell out concert in Inverness as well as gigs in Glencoe and Glasgow. August will be see them perform in Arisaig; The National Piping Centre in Glasgow as part of the Piping Live festival; Braemar, and in September they will perform as part of the Blas festival in Portmahomack and Invergarry.

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: www.assyntmusic.com

‘Aidan Jack Jigs’ – live:

Tour Dates

17th August Arisaig Hotel, Arisaig

18th August Piping Live! National Piping Centre, Glasgow LAUNCH

19th August Braemar Village Hall

10th September BLAS Carnegie Hall, Portmahomack

11th September BLAS Glengarry Village Hall, Invergarry

Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith announce new album

immy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith

The release of their critically acclaimed second album Night Hours in 2016 cemented Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith’s reputation as two of the most exciting musicians and social commentators on the British folk scene. Songs have always taken centre stage with Jimmy and Sid and on Many A Thousand we see the duo flexing not only their vocal and instrumentation skills, but also their talent as composers. Part of what makes this compelling duo tick is a love of traditional folksong and a mutual passion for the history that is carried in the music. On Many A Thousand the past and present sit side by side, with original songs more than comfortably holding their own next to the traditional. Another crucial element to this partnership is a shared world-view – sustainability, traditional crafts and living in tune with the land – all elements that deeply inform their music.

The shared world-view that is so integral to Jimmy and Sid’s ethos was arrived at from two very different starting points. Although the two grew up five miles apart in Norfolk, they didn’t actually meet until eight years ago. Prior to becoming a professional musician Sid worked for many years in traditional forestry and as a grower on an organic farm on the edge of Bristol. Jimmy did a PhD in Politics and Energy and then worked for several years as an environmental policy advisor at a think tank in Westminster. Both were stalwarts of the Bristol session scene and kept bumping into each other. They’d share the odd tune but it was only when they found themselves in the same ceilidh band (performing at big barn dances across the UK), that they started playing songs together, eventually deciding to form as a duo. They may have come from different ends of the spectrum of environmental work, but they were driven by the same purpose, one that converges in their music and which ultimately drives them to select the songs they sing.

Despite moving away, both are still active on the Bristol scene and involved with the huge barndances around the city, and further afield. These are raucous events with 3-400 young people letting loose to traditional music – not something that you hear about every day. Such a young and vibrant scene, however, needs nurturing and to this end, they are heavily involved in tune sessions and singarounds with the aim of gathering people together and cultivating new singers. Another impetus to create these new nights is that many of the long running folk clubs are starting to close down. This is something that Jimmy and Sid feel passionately about – that the history and community that exists within our folk clubs continues.

The eleven tracks that make up Many A Thousand include traditional songs such as ‘Working Chap’, a bothy ballad from Scotland, which timelessly depicts the struggles of poverty and working to make ends meet, with an additional verse written by Martin Carthy who first recorded the song in 1990. There’s ‘Poacher’s Fate’, a song Jimmy and Sid learnt from one of their all-time favourite Norfolk singers, Harry Cox, who was recorded singing it in 1970 (the act of poaching in traditional songs seen by the duo as an illustration of the age-old battle against land and power lying in the hands of the rich). Then there’s ‘The Reedcutter’s Daughter’, a traditional song about a traveller who falls in love with a girl from Hoveton – a village very close to where the two grew up and which features the organ from St Mary’s, the village church. ‘Hawk’s Call’ is Jimmy and Sid’s re-write of the slave spiritual ‘No More Auction Block’ – their version imagining a world without military conflict. Then we have the original songs – ‘Turning Of The Year’, about the power of the elements to blow away our troubles; ‘The Tide’, written for an event celebrating the history of Rotherhithe on the South bank of the Thames, reflecting on the relentless rhythm of the tide of both river and people in and out of London every day; ‘A Monument To The Times’, a song about Shirebrook in Derbyshire, which for years was the home of a unionised colliery and which now houses several giant warehouses employing people on zero-hours contracts and paying less than minimum wage. And then there’s ‘Hope And Glory’, more pertinent than ever, a defiant song in response to the rise of nationalism in England and the use of a whitewashed image of what the country once was in order to stoke fear of change.

Whatever your political views, these are beautiful and eloquently executed songs, combining outstanding vocal work and sensitive instrumentation. With a powerful sense of social conscience, the common thread of political struggle, resistance and justice runs through their music and their live shows. Call it a kind of quiet, calm activism, if you will, but there’s an integrity that shines through their work that is both invigorating and compelling.

Alongside Jimmy on vocals, banjo and guitar, Sid on vocals, guitar, concertina and double bass, the album also features Tom Moore on violin and viola, Twm Dylan on double bass and Fred Harper on drums and pandeiro.

Many A Thousand will be released on 7th September and launched at Kings Place in London on 6th September. This is followed by a full UK tour including dates at All Hallows Church, Leeds (16th Sept) and Bristol Folk House (30th Sept).

If you would like to order a copy of the first 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.jimmyandsidduo.com/

‘Moved On’ – official video:

Trail West announce new album

Trail West

From The Sea To The City is the latest album from Trail West, a band leading the thriving scene of Gaels in the city of Glasgow.

Having started out as a four-piece line-up with strong links to the Hebridean Isles of Tiree and South Uist, they have now enhanced their line-up with Jonathan Gillespie from Glasgow on keyboard and vocals along with Allan J Nairn from Ardnamurchan on electric guitar.

From The Sea To The City refers to the journey that many Gaels have to take at some point in their life, moving from their homes by the sea to the city, to pursue further educational and working opportunities. The album is a broad mix from various genres, representing the numerous influences that Trail West have had from both their rural and city upbringings.

The album follows on from their last release, which highlighted a key development in the band’s outlook, with a wide selection of songs becoming an integral part of the band’s repertoire alongside the recognisable accordion and whistle combination of Seonaidh Maclntyre and Ian Smith.

Now with the added talent of Jonathan Gillespie leading three of the songs alongside Seonaidh Maclntyre’s familiar vocals in both English and Gaelic, this album delivers a polished quality to the band’s sound yet with total appreciation for the tradition they are inspired from.

Artists’ website: www.trail-west.com

A taste of Trail West live:

Hamish Napier announces new album, The Railway

Hamish Napier

The Railway is the much-anticipated new album from Scottish musician Hamish Napier. The follow-up to Hamish Napier’s critically-acclaimed debut solo album The River, Hamish’s newest album will be released on Friday 3rd August.

Returning to his hometown of Grantown-on-Spey, Napier’s collection of new compositions and songs were specially commissioned by the new Grantown East: Highland Heritage & Cultural Centre – the formerly derelict Grantown East railway station that is been lovingly restored as a cultural centre and is set to open on 2nd November 2018.

In 2016, the new owners approached Hamish, as one of Scotland’s finest traditional wooden flute players, to capture the sounds, atmosphere and culture surrounding the old Speyside Line.

In the course of his research for the new album, Hamish conducted interviews with railwaymen closely connected with the Great North of Scotland Railway, including Jimmy Gray (93, a driver from Aviemore), Jocky Hay (94, a driver from Inverness) and James Telfer (94, the last signalman at Grantown-on-Spey East Station). Many of the tunes and songs on The Railway have been inspired by the great stories these men have to tell about their working lives.

The album showcases a stellar line-up of Scottish musicians including Ross Ainslie, Patsy Reid, Ewan Robertson, James Lindsay and Fraser Stone. The Railway also features two songs written for the project by Hamish’s brother Findlay Napier, and cameos from the Strathspey Railway’s whistles, wheels and brakes.

A few words from Hamish on his new album:

“When I performed my debut album in Grantown during the summer of 2016, the new owners of the Grantown East: Highland Heritage and Cultural Centre approached me and asked if I would compose a soundtrack for this fantastic new venture – I was so honoured to be asked!

“‘The Old Railway Station’ as I called it when I was wee, was just over the river from my house. It was haunted and as a dare my brothers, pals and I – including Fraser Stone, the drummer on this album – would sometimes sneak into the forbidden derelict buildings. Over two decades later, with the ruin carefully restored as an important local monument and centre, the ghosts of the railway people are given a platform to tell the world their story.

“This album is dedicated to the railwaymen and women who I spoke to during my research – the inspiration for so much of the material on this album has come from them and the stories they shared with me about their working lives.

“I am so honoured and proud to be given the opportunity to help bring new life to the heritage of my local area with this album. I hope that the listener feels that the music, lyrics, titles and tales capture the atmosphere and sounds of the lost railways of the North and the people that were closely connected with them.”

Hamish Napier is originally from Strathspey in the Scottish Highlands. For over a decade he has been an integral part of Glasgow’s vibrant folk music scene, whilst also touring in Europe and North America.

Hamish’s Celtic Connections’ New Voices commission The River received 4 and 5-star reviews in four national publications, and was released as a highly-regarded debut solo album, named ‘Album of the Week’ on four BBC folk radio shows in Scotland, Shetland, Lancashire and Ulster.

Hamish and his band will present a live performance of The Railway as part of Piping Live Festival in Glasgow on August 17th & 18th, they will also do be performing a live set for BBC Radio Scotland’s Travelling Folk special from the Edinburgh Festival on Sunday 5th August before going on to open the new Grantown East: Highland Heritage & Cultural Centre on Friday 2nd November.

Napier is part of the bold traditional duo Nae Plans with fiddler Adam Sutherland and also performs regularly with Duncan Chisholm, The Jarlath Henderson Band and Ross Ainslie.

He has recorded on over forty folk albums to date, recording with leading Scottish musicians such as Karen Matheson, Donald Shaw, Mike Vass and Eddi Reader.

Over the last decade Hamish has been shortlisted for twelve MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, including Composer of the Year, Album of the Year and Tutor of the Year.

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: www.hamishnapier.com

‘1000 Horsepower’ – may contain language:

Read Dai Jeffries’ review of Hamish’s debut solo album here: https://folking.com/hamish-napier-the-river-strathspey-records-srcd001/

Derby Folk Festival – all the details

Derby Folk Festival
Photograph by Peter Dunwell

The complete line-up for Derby Folk Festival is now confirmed, featuring main and headlining artists.

This will be the 12th year that the festival will be held right in the centre of Derby, and it has become embedded in the City’s events calendar. Derby Folk Festival is jointly produced by Derby City Council’s Derby LIVE and Derbyshire-based PR Promotions.

Two of this year’s headline acts Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band and Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys were nominated for Best Group in this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk awards.

For the first time ever the festival has become a four day event. Derby LIVE and PR promotions have extended the festival after deciding they could not fit all the fantastic acts into three days. As well as the full weekend, there will now be a great evening concert on Thursday 4 October.

Kicking the evening off, and setting the mood for the night will be the amazing Zulu Tradition. Then Gary Stewart’s Graceland (Gary Stewart Band / Hope and Social) bring together a spectacular group of musicians to recreate Paul Simon’s landmark album in all its glory.

Full price tickets are £16 for this additional evening concert. For those who have already bought a Weekend Ticket, they will be able to add this extra night for just £10.

The latest acts to be confirmed are

Festival regulars the Melrose Quartet will be joined by a few special friends for a fabulous one-off concert Sheffield Made. It has been a busy few years for Melrose Quartet since being nominated for Best Group at the BBC Radio 2 folk awards in 2014 and they now have their new album Dominion.

Louise Jordan played as part of the festival fringe a couple of years ago and now she is back. With an exquisite voice, and perfect self-accompaniment she will be performing her show No Petticoats Here. The show is about the inspirational women who challenged expectations through original song and storytelling. From the woman who dressed as a soldier on the Western Front to the women football players banned by the FA, the ambulance drivers running the gauntlet of enemy fire in Flanders and the so-called ‘surplus million’ single women.

Bringing together some of the most exciting musicians on the UK folk & roots scene, The Willows blur the boundaries between contemporary song and folk traditions on either side of the Atlantic.

In an English folk scene currently bursting with bold and innovative folk music, vocal trio Lady Maisery shine brightly. With their unique approach to harmony singing, intelligent and thoughtful arrangements of both traditional repertoire and original compositions, Hazel Askew, Hannah James and Rowan Rheingans harness and celebrate their united voice.

Events will run in the City Marquee on the Market Place, in the Guildhall Theatre, The Old Bell Hotel and Derby Cathedral throughout the weekend. As well as ticketed concerts and events, there will be dance displays throughout the streets and free music performances during Saturday and Sunday as part of the ever-expanding fringe.

The full festival line up is available at derbyfolkfestival.co.uk

With the whole festival programme taking place in and around the city, it is perfectly placed for those arriving by either bus or train. Festival tickets are still available and can be purchased through the Derby LIVE Box Office on 01332 255800 or online at derbylive.co.uk they can also be purchased at the Sales and Information Centre, Derby, DE1 3AH.

Tickets for the whole weekend are £90 (adult), £50 (Students) and £20 (under 16’s) and are on sale now. Weekend tickets allow access to all events throughout Friday 5 to Sunday 7 October, with the Thursday 4 October evening concert being an add-on event (open to all, but at a special price to weekend ticket holders). Tickets to the concert on Thursday can be added to Derby Folk Festival Weekend tickets for just £10 (once you have logged in with your account after you have purchased the weekend ticket, the discount will apply automatically). Day and Evening tickets for those who can’t make the full weekend are also available to book across all of the days.

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A Night For Lonnie Donegan

Lonnie Donegan

Monday 3rd September 2018: London, Union Chapel

Finally. After way too long, we have a great follow up concert to the ‘Rock Island Line’ memorial concert for Lonnie Donegan back in 2004.

The late “King Of Skiffle” and “Godfather Of British Rock’n’Roll” whose hits include ‘Rock Island Line’, ‘Pick a Bale of Cotton’ and  ‘Jack of Diamonds’ – to name a few – inspired so many artists from The Beatles to the Rolling Stones, from Van Morrison to even The White Stripes’ Jack White – names Lonnie as one of his major influences.

Billy Bragg’s latest hit book which is flying off the shelves – Roots Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed The World – is centred around the importance Lonnie Donegan had in almost single headedly changing the British music industry from his first hit ‘Rock Island Line’ and creating the ‘teenager’.

Joining us for this this very special event will not only be Billy, but a host of other great names including but not limited to: Ralph McTell, Chas and Dave, The Jive Aces, Chas McDevitt, Chris Difford, Vince Eager, Deborah Bonham, along with Nora Guthrie, daughter of seminal American folk writer, Woody Guthrie – whose songs provided Lonnie with several hits – and The London Philharmonic Skiffle Orchestra.

All these wonderful guest artists will be backed by the surviving members of Lonnie’s band of the last 40 years and the night will be hosted by Lonnie’s sons, Peter and Anthony Donegan, as well as some special guest hosts including broadcaster and author, Mike Read.

All proceeds go to assisting Lonnie’s grandson get his ABA therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

This one off special concert will take place at beautiful and evocative Union Chapel in Islington, London.

Tickets available at: https://www.unionchapel.org.uk/

‘Jack O’Diamonds’ – live in 1960: