Tom Hughes posthumously inducted into traditional music Hall of Fame

Tom Hughes

Tom Hughes, traditional fiddle player of Jedburgh, has been posthumously inducted into the Performers section of the Hands Up For Trad Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame 2018.

Tom Hughes was the greatest keeper of his generation of the distinctive Borders style of fiddle playing. A self-taught master who, like his father and grandfather before him, spent his entire working life as a ploughman on farms in the countryside around Jedburgh, in his time away from the plough Tom dedicated himself to the fiddle, playing for dances and in sessions and preserving tunes learned from family tradition for generations to follow.

Tom was born on a farm near St Boswells on 10th October 1907. His father, Thomas, played the fiddle, pipes, melodeon and tin whistle and his grandfather, Henry Hughes, played the fiddle. Two uncles, Bob and Henry, also played the fiddle and occasionally tambourine. Tom’s grandfather, who could fashion anything ranging from a wheelbarrow to a fishing rod from whatever wood came to hand, made tambourines and fiddles and Tom remembered, as a seven year old, watching his grandfather making a fiddle in his workshop that turned out to be Tom’s Christmas present that year.

Listening to his father and grandfather playing tunes together at home, Tom tried to copy what they were doing and gradually, by lifting his fingers off the strings when he didn’t need them, he learned to play his first tune, The High Road to Linton. It was through his DIY approach that Tom learned to double stop – or play two notes at once – which is a characteristic of the Borders fiddle tradition and became an integral feature of Tom’s signature style.

By the time he left school, aged fourteen, in 1921, Tom was playing fiddle with his father at rural events. They cycled to village halls, weddings, kirns (or harvest celebrations) and hiring fair dances in the local area and after moving, in 1925, to a farm near Lilliesleaf, between Selkirk and Melrose, they joined Adam Irvine’s band. At one time, with the steward on the farm where they worked near Morebattle, Jim Kerse and another local musician, Tom and his father formed a band that consisted of three fiddles and piano but the standard line up in those days was two or three fiddles and tambourine.

After Tom married he moved to Chatto and formed his own band, the Kalewater Band, and later, while working as farm steward at Ruletownhead after the war, he led the Rulewater Band. Tom continued to play locally through the 1950s and 1960s and when folk festivals such as Newcastleton began to spring up in the early 1970s he could be found in sessions, sharing tunes with fellow fiddlers.

When the folklorist, song collector and founding member of the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland, Pete Shepheard heard Tom playing tunes such as ‘Kelso Hiring Fair’, which Tom picked up from an old street fiddler in Kelso in 1928, and a Scottish Borders version of ‘The Morepeth Rant’ at Newcastleton in 1978, he immediately decided to capture the by now seventy years old Tom’s playing for posterity.

An LP, Tom Hughes And His Border Fiddle, was released on Shepheard’s Springthyme label, giving an insight into a traditional, fiddle style stretching back deep into the 1800s. A tune book subsequently added to Tom’s legacy and after Tom died in 1986 his music was carried on by his grandson, Jimmy Nagle. In 2015 the annual Scots Fiddle Festival in Edinburgh honoured Tom with an illustrated talk on Tom’s music and through the players who have progressed through the Borders Young Fiddlers group, Tom’s music is being passed on to succeeding generations.

Springthyme is celebrating the award by making the complete book of Tom Hughes Music available as a FREE DOWNLOAD PDF from

There is also a link on the Springthyme page to Sound Cloud files of his music.

‘Braes O Mar’ and more:

Glen Hansard – new album and European tour dates

Glen Hansard
Photograph by Stephan Vanfleteren

Those who have followed Glen Hansard’s career since his Academy Award winning turn in the film Once will have witnessed one artistic arc: the journey of a Dublin busker who cut his teeth on the greats – Dylan, Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen – and followed the path of the troubadour to great effect. But there is another thread running through Hansard’s musicianship; in his decades as lead singer of Irish stalwarts The Frames, rock and folk ambitions coexisted with moments of strangeness, intimacy, and stillness.

Today, Hansard announces This Wild Willing, his fourth full-length album and a collection of songs that follows this second path, where he marries the sonic inventiveness of the best of his work in The Frames with the discipline he’s found as a songwriter and lyricist in his solo career.

Lead track ‘I’ll Be You, Be Me’ finds Hansard weighing the risks of such vulnerability, his restrained vocal masking the fury of the underlying instrumental’s building storm, and to which Hansard advises “on first listen, please turn it up loud in your head phones!”

“I’ll be you, be me and I’ll be you/I’ll take your truth, your lies, your secrets,” he sings, negotiating the consuming potential of desire. There is danger here, but it is without rancor or ill-will – the danger of a hare with its belly exposed. There is also a duality in the invitation: the audience is drawn in just as surely as the song’s object to the immersive world conjured by the album.

This Wild Willing was conceived in Paris and recorded at the French Black Box studios with producer David Odlum and a core group of musicians that includes classically-trained Iranian musicians the Khoshravesh brothers, long-time Hansard associates Joe Doyle (bass) and ROMY (piano, vocals, string arrangements), and Dublin electronic musicians Deasy and Dunk Murphy (Sunken Foal). The album is grounded in a spirit of openness to invention and experimentation.

“This collection of songs is mainly made up of those that came through while improvising and following the melodic lines and threads. Sometimes when you take a small musical fragment and you care for it, follow it and build it up slowly, it can become a thing of wonder.” – Glen Hansard, 2019

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).

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Artist’s website:

‘I’ll Be You, Be Me’:

Tour Dates

7th March – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Koninklijk Theater Carré SOLD OUT
8th March – Hamburg, Germany – Elbphilharmonie Hamburg SOLD OUT
9th April – Dublin, Ireland – Vicar Street
10th April – Dublin, Ireland – Vicar Street
12th April – Derry, United Kingdom – St. Columb’s Hall
13th April – Derry, United Kingdom – St. Columb’s Hall SOLD OUT
15th April – London, United Kingdom – Barbican Centre
16th April – London, United Kingdom – Barbican Centre
27th April – Paris, France – Casino de Paris
29th April – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Koninklijk Theater Carré
30th April – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Koninklijk Theater Carré
2nd May – Copenhagen, Denmark – Amager Bio / BETA
4th May – Stockholm, Sweden – Skandiascenen
6th May – Brussels, Belgium – Cirque Royal
8th May – Cologne, Germany – Kőlner Philharmonie
9th May – Frankfurt Am Main, Germany – Alte Oper
11th May – Brno-žabovřesky, Czech Republic – 5th Anniversary of SONO Centrum
13th May – Warszawa, Poland – Palladium
14th May – Warszawa, Poland – Palladium
16th May – Berlin, Germany – Admiralspalast
17th May – Berlin, Germany – Admiralspalast
19th May – Berlin, Germany – Admiralspalast

Levellers announce Metway competition

Metway Studios
Continuing their 30th Anniversary celebrations, and following their recent tour which saw them play a very special show at London’s iconic 100 Club alongside major venues throughout the UK, Levellers have announced a competition to win a five day recording session at Metway Studios in Brighton.

Owned by Levellers, the studio has been used by artists including Nick Cave, Royal Blood, Shirley Collins, The Mission, Yonaka, Orbital, Sleeper, and of course Levellers, who have recorded eight albums there over its 20 year history.

To celebrate its role as a studio owned and run by musicians, the band are now launching a competition for bands and solo artists to win a five day recording session in the studio.

The band are inviting artists to submit their material via email to and via CD to Metway Studios, 55 Canning Street, Brighton, BN2 0EF. The band will judge the competition at the end of April, and the winner will have until the end of August to use their five-day session.  For more information, head to the newly re-launched Metway Studios website here –

Following the release of their Top 20 album We The Collective last year, the band are currently releasing a series of limited edition vinyl reissues remastered from the original 1/2” analogue tapes by the band’s Jon Sevink.

Some of the albums have never been released on vinyl and each of the band’s original studio albums from the 90s contain a previously unreleased live album recorded on tour at the time of release.

To kick off the campaign, their two most recent studio albums, Letters From The Underground and Static On The Airwaves were released on pink and purple vinyl respectively and are now sold-out, and were followed by the Top 5 albums Levellers (#2, 1993) and Zeitgeist (#1, 1995) as 2LP orange / yellow vinyl sets in November.

March sees the band’s next three albums released on vinyl for the first time ever. Recorded at the peak of their career, the double live album, Headlights, White Lines, Black Tar Rivers (#13, 1996), along with Mouth To Mouth (#5, 1997) and Hello Pig (#28, 2000) also get the coloured vinyl treatment.

Also in March, the band will headline and curate A Beautiful Night Out at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Teenage Cancer Trust’s week-long residency at the venue.

Finally, in June 2019, for the first time ever, Levellers’ stunning headline set from Glastonbury ‘94 will be released on 2LP gold vinyl, completing the band’s year of ‘indies only’ albums.

All albums only available from your local independent record store or at: &

One of folkmaster’s all time favourites – ‘Men An Tol’ from Reading Hexagon 2006.

Sound Of The Sirens release new single and announce tour dates

Sound Of The Sirens
Photograph courtesy of Rust Magazine

West Country folk-rock duo, Sound Of The Sirens, have shared ‘The Yellow Road’, the latest track to be taken from their upcoming album This Time, out January 25th via DMF Records.

Showcasing the duo’s virtuosic capability for rousing songwriting and mesmerising harmonies, ‘The Yellow Road’ is a touching and heartfelt track, flowing from beautifully subtle verses to choruses that swell in both intensity and emotion. The track follows the release of ‘Troubles’ at the end of 2018, the first single to be taken from the album.

This Time – the follow-up to their debut album, For All Our Sins, which was released in 2017 to widespread praise – continues to showcase an evident gift for crafting unique, vivid and enduring melodies over 15 heartfelt tracks.

This Time is a collection of moments, emotions, challenges and stories,” say the duo. “We’ve collected lyrics, melodies and ideas from the past couple of years for this project. We created this album last winter in an isolated barn in Wales with only guitars, a piano, wine and the dogs for company. The themes of time, love, loss, perseverance, hope and clarity are intertwined in these songs.”

Throughout the album, Sound Of The Sirens – duo Abbe Martin and Hannah Wood – blend intoxicating vocal harmonies with beautifully crafted instrumentals to create a seamless collection of captivating tracks.

The album will be available digitally, on CD and black heavyweight vinyl, with signed copies available to pre-order now from Sound Of The Sirens’ online store ‘Troubles’ is available as an instant grat with all album pre-orders.

Sound Of The Sirens will embark on a 20-date UK tour this month, including dates in Exeter, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow and Manchester, and a date at London’s St Pancras Church.

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 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:

‘The Yellow Road’:


25/01 – Paignton, Palace Theatre
26/01 – Exeter, Phoenix
27/01 – Winchester, Railway Inn
28/01 – London, St Pancras Church
29/01 – Hull, Adelphi
31/01 – Milton Keynes, Stable Room 2

14/02 – Bath, Komedia Café
15/02 – Leeds, Mill Hill Chapel
16/02 – Southport, The Atkinson
17/02 – Oxford, Bullingdon

14/03 – Barnstaple, Plough @ St Anne’s
15/03 – South Molton, Plough @ The George
16/03 – Great Torrington, The Plough
21/03 – Colchester, 3 Wise Monkeys
22/03 – Newcastle, Cluny 2
23/03 – Glasgow, Hug & Pint
28/03 – Manchester, Band On The Wall
30/03 – Chester, Storyhouse

05/04 – Hastings, White Rock Theatre
06/04 – Bedford, Esquires

Mavis Staples announces live album


Mavis Staples

“It’s kind of unbelievable to me that I’m still recording,” said the 79 year old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Kennedy Center Honoree Mavis Staples. “I never thought I would still be singing at my age, and people seem to really want to hear me, they know me, they give me love—I’m just overwhelmed, really. I thank God every night before I go to bed and then again every morning for waking up.”

Today Staples is announcing Live in London, a new live album recorded over two nights at London’s Union Chapel (which she calls “the best place in the world to sing”) and produced by Staples herself. Live in London reveals that the singer retains astonishing power after seventy years as a performer and that while her repertoire continues to expand her philosophy is unchanged since her days in the groundbreaking family group, the Staple Singers.

‘No Time For Cryin’’ is a song whose message “We’ve got work to do” is more than relevant to tomorrow’s important United States mid-term elections. Ironically her last live record—2008’s Hope At The Hideout—was cut against the background of her fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama’s historic election, while the new album inevitably addresses the horrors of the Donald Trump era. ‘No Time for Cryin’’ not only connects the timeless gospel image of “motherless children” to the modern-day refugee crisis, it also calls for action, just as Pops Staples and his children did during the Civil Rights movement.

With the recent passing of her sister Yvonne and her dear friend Aretha Franklin, Mavis Staples is one of our few remaining links to an extraordinary time when the gospel tradition and the fight for social justice were deeply and movingly entwined. The focus of this collection is material she has recorded since signing with ANTI- Records in 2007. In recent years, Staples has had songs written for her by iconoclastic artists like Nick Cave, Neko Case, and Merrill Garbus (Tune-Yards); collaborated with modern rock powerhouses Arcade Fire, Gorillaz, and Hozier; and recorded multiple albums working with Jeff Tweedy from Wilco.

“I’ve stretched out—I’m singing songs that rock stars have written for me,” says Staples, “but they know me and the kind of songs I want to sing.” She points to the opening song on Live in London, ‘Love and Trust’, which was composed by Ben Harper. “I love that song, it’s a beauty,” she says. “I’ve been sending a message of love and trust since the Sixties, and I’m still searching for that.”

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 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:

‘No Time For Cryin” – live:

Lleuwen announces a tour of Welsh chapels


Following the release of her latest album in November last year the singer/songwriter from Rhiwlas, now living in Brittany, is pleased to announce that she’ll be performing a series of acoustic gigs in chapels across Wales. Lleuwen will perform solo and invite a different guest for performance or talk every night.

Twisting ancient hymns to her own compositions, Gwn Glân Beibl Budr (Clean Gun Dirty Bible) takes the Welsh hymn book and throws it into the Age of Misinformation.  Live, raw and often improvised, Lleuwen brought an extremely varied mix of musicians together to create her most rooted and experimental album to date.   Musically and lyrically, Gwn Glân Beibl Budr explores polar opposites: addiction and spirituality; violent guitar strumming with angelic vocals; disconnection in the era of connectivity; historical amnesia.  Crashing drums play the role of a beast of prey with the harp playing the role of a young seedling.  Songs about urbanism and shrinking rural areas; road traffic, phone traffic, mind traffic.

Gwn Glân Beibl Budr is Lleuwen’s fourth studio album, it follows on from Tân, Penmon and Duw A Wyr/God only knows.

To coincide with the tour announcement Lleuwen will also release a video of the opening track of her latest album – ‘Myn Mair’(By Mary) – it’s a song of prayer that dates before the 16th century protestant reformation.  Collected by Robin Gwyndaf who heard it by Myra Evans of Ceinewydd. She was born in 1883 and had learned the song by her great-grandfather.

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 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:

‘Myn Mair’:

Tour dates

14/02  Capel Goffa Williams Pantycelyn, LLANYMDDYFRI with Eddie Ladd

16/02 Capel Salem Canton CARDIFF with Carol Hardy

17/02 Capel y Morfa ABERYSTWYTH with Hywel Griffiths

18/02 Capel y Groes PENYGROES with Karen Owen

To order tickets for the tour please visit : 
or purchase tickets on the door at each venue.

Gwn Glân Beibl Budr is released on Sain Records and available now on CD and all digital download/streaming platforms.