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The folking review team is a small, dedicated group of people with a passion and a commitment for the folk, acoustic and Americana music scene. They review the latest releases, each in their own inimitable style…

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RANAGRI – Tradition II (own label)

Ranagri are an Anglo-Irish folk band who stretch the boundaries of what folk music is, so it may be surprising that Tradition II is the follow-up to previous album Tradition.  This ten track album takes traditional songs, some more well known than others, but puts the Ranagri stamp onto every ...
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GEOFF MULDAUR – His Last Letter: The Amsterdam Project (Moon River Music)

While his ex-wife Maria may be better known, primarily on account of her 1973 hit ‘Midnight At The Oasis’, and more prolific in terms of albums, Geoff Muldaur has arguably had the more successful if low profile career, as songwriter and composer, ranging through folk, blues and jazz (he recorded ...
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KEEPING IT LIVE – Banterfest 2022 – Mike Wistow reports

Banterfest 2022 – or ‘The First Annual Banterfest’ as it may well come to be known – was held in Welbourn, Lincolnshire, from September 16th – 18th. It’s reckoned that about 40 people saw the Sex Pistols in Manchester Free Trade Hall in June 1976 ….. but thousands of punks ...
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JAKE BLOUNT  -The New Faith (Smithsonian Folkways)

A scholar of Black American music, for his new label debut Blount follows 2020’s highly acclaimed Spider Tales with The New Faith, an album of dystopian Afrofuturism that, conceived, written, and recorded during lockdowns, and likely inspired by Octavia Butler’s 1993 novel Parable Of The Sower, offers radical arrangements of ...
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SYKESMARTIN – Unquenching Fire (Dragonfly Roots DRCD009)

SykesMartin sounds like one of those industrial processes that we had to learn about in chemistry lessons and that’s not a bad analogy. Miranda Sykes and Hannah Martin, with a little help from Phillip Henry, create a remarkable musical chemistry on their debut project as a duo. Unquenching Fire is ...
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SONS OF THE EAST – Palomar Parade (own label)

Australia’s Sons of the East’s Palomar Parade confronts the fact that (Thank you, Carl Sagan!) “There are more stars in the universe than all the sand grains on Earth”. To that, my friend, Kilda Defnut, replied, “There’s a whole lot of indie folk bands, too, but The Sons Of The ...
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BONFIRE RADICALS – The Space Between (own label BR-02)

Bonfire Radicals describe themselves as Birmingham’s (un)traditional folk band. An interesting claim and their second album, The Space Between, supplies plenty of evidence to back it up. They draw musical inspiration from various traditions, then blend them with modern rock and jazz styles. Sometimes riotous, sometimes more gentle, often playful ...
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SIOBHAN MILLER – Bloom (Songprint SPR005CD)

I loved Siobhan’s early work, fell out with her over Mercury but we kept faith with each other and now we have her fifth solo album, Bloom. It’s a familiar mixture of traditional songs, covers and covers that sound like traditional songs. Siobhan is still pushing the envelope but not ...
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FARA – Energy Islands (FARA003)

The (predominantly) Orcadian band Fara have recently released their third album, Energy Islands. The band came together at the Orkney Folk Festival in 2014 and have since won music awards in multiple countries. Three of the founding band members are on the new album – Jeanna Leslie, Catriona Price and ...
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KRAMIES – Kramies (Hidden Shoal Records)

Kramies self-titled album drips with an impressionistic paintbrush. And then it slow dances and sings (without an umbrella!) in dramatic and very cinematic rain. It will certainly appeal to the gothic dimensional sound of (the great) Mercury Rev. But it also creeps with a psych underground flickered footstep of Pink ...
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HOLLIE ROGERS – Criminal Heart (own label)

Hollie Rogers releases Criminal Heart on September 9th. I don’t look at the either singles or album charts much nowadays but if I say this album has both individual songs and a ‘whole album’ feel that mean it wouldn’t be out of place in either, it lets you know several ...
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DAVID BENJAMIN BLOWER – Innocence And Experience (own label)

There’s been a spate of releases over the past couple of years with artists setting to music the works of poets such as Dickinson and Yeats. Now, the Birmingham musician and theologian adds to the list with his interpretation of eight selections from Blake’s Songs Of Innocence And Experience, (note: ...
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LUKE SITAL-SINGH – Dressing Like A Stranger (Nettwerk Records)

Luke Sital-Singh’s fourth album Dressing Like A Stranger is the soundtrack to my recent food order at my local Festival Foods’ kiosk that sold burgers and bratwursts for the benefit of a local fundraising cause. It’s a common summer Midwest Wisconsin thing. A young woman, who had given her Saturday ...
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CHRIS FOX – In Plain Sight (own label)

Chris Fox’s previous album, the excellent From The Shadows, was released in 2019. Then his career went onto the back burner as the country shut down and he slipped under people’s radar again, mine included I’m afraid. I sincerely hope that the same fate does not await his new CD, ...
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Cropredy Capers 2022 – Campie tells all

A return to Fairport’s Cropredy Convention was eagerly awaited by thousands of people who would be lining the field in Cropredy, Oxfordshire in the hottest August for a long time, mostly armed with sun cream, copious bottles of water and beer, sunhats, battery operated fans and cooling water sprays to ...
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PHIL LANGRAN – Falling Light (Longshore Drift LOD002)

Produced by and featuring Chris Pepper (percussion) and Boo Hewerdine (guitar, keys), normally to be found fronting The Phil Langran Band, here the Oxford singer-songwriter steps out in solo frame with Aaron Catlow on fiddle, cellist Pete Harvey and Gustaf Ljunggren on acoustic slide. It’s a mellow, laid back affair, ...
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JOHN McCUTCHEON – Leap! (own label)

You could never accuse Wisconsin-born McCutcheon of resting on his laurels. Over the course of a 50-year career he’s released 43 albums and during the pandemic outbreak he wrote some 54 songs, 18 of which appear on Leap!, his third release since 2020, co-produced by Bob Dawson with contributions including ...
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STARRY SKIES – Small Wonders (Foxstar Records)

Starry Skies’ new album, Small Wonders, is a pop-folk (and sometimes) rock record that proves, even after all the years, this band from Glasgow cares about “Terry and Julie” as they “cross over the river.” And yes, there’s still “a heaven” to be “found in a wild flower”. Thank you ...
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KATIE GRACE HARRIS – The Toledo Sessions (Triumph Recordings TR1001)

Named for her father’s blue Triumph Toledo she travelled round in as a child, collecting mum for her nursing shifts, singing the songs of James Taylor, Ralph McTell and The Spinners, fresh for a start turn at the Purbeck Valley Folk Festival The Toledo Sessions is the Southampton born and ...
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BARNEY KENNY – The Seaton Tapes (own label)

Folking.com reviewed Barney Kenny’s EP The Minstrel Boy back in 2020, and very good it is too, with Barney supporting his own very able vocals on a variety of instruments, with additional support from Catherine Ashcroft on Uilleann pipes and whistle. His new album The Seaton Tapes (released on August ...
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NIGEL PARRY – Tales Of Common Folk, Salt & Sweet Kisses (own label)

A CD arriving from New Zealand is not an everyday occurrence but, nevertheless, a welcome one. We first came upon singer-songwriter Nigel Parry via a single ‘The Day The Bank Closed Its Doors’, the penultimate track on his new album, Tales Of Common Folk, Salt & Sweet Kisses. It’s a ...
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JOHN NAPIER – The Man In Me (own label)

A Birmingham-based singer-songwriter and half of the alt-folk Waler, Napier is steeped in a love of Paul McCartney whose influence glows throughout this terrific mini-album (though he himself cites Cohen, Adam Green, The Kinks and, er, early Kenny Rogers). He’s not the only touchstone though, conscious or otherwise. The opening ...
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CROSBY TYLER – Don’t Call The Law On Me (own label)

“I’m more of a hook-loving and personality-driven singer than anything else” says Crosby Tyler. His new album Don’t Call the Law On Me is released on August 31st and lives up to the description. The influences through and through are classy country music - the likes of Kristofferson, Cash, Silverstein, ...
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TAYLOR ALEXANDER – Hymns For A Hollow Earth (own label)

The album artwork inspired by 17th century Vanitas paintings, still life portraits that attempt to portray the ephemeral nature of life by placing representations of worldly vanity  amongst representations of death, variously arranged for piano, pedal steel, Baldwin Funmachine, tubular bells and Wurlitzer as well as the usual guitars, bass ...
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JACKIE OATES – Gracious Wings (Needle Pin Records NP2)

Whatever Jackie Oates turns her hand to the result is always enchanting, captivating – if that doesn’t sound patronising, which is not my intention – and always with a surprise somewhere. Gracious Wings fits that description perfectly. It’s Jackie’s eighth solo album, which makes me feel old and her guests ...
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RUSTY SHACKLE – Under A Bloodshot Moon (own label)

Like many during the pandemic, the Welsh folk rock outfit, Rusty Shackle, found music a way of deepening their connections and of the joy and release when they were able to come together again person. As such, Under A Bloodshot Moon their fifth album, bristles with hope and optimism, while, ...
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SINGLES BAR 81 – A round-up of recent singles

As a teenager MARINA FLORANCE had an aunt who indulged her musical interests. One day she bought home bag of singles from the college where she worked, chucked out by a teacher who had been dumped because they reminded her of her lost love. Years later, going through the loft, ...
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ROBB JOHNSON & THE IRREGULARS – Stay Cool, Keep Left, Shine Bright (Irregular Records IRR120)

In the beginning were The Irregulars’ first post-Covid sessions. From them emerged The Mystery Gets Your Number & The Poetry Makes The Call, the band’s vinyl only release of which I have already written, and now we have Stay Cool, Keep Left, Shine Bright an expanded version of the sessions ...
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SHEILA K CAMERON – With You In My Life (SKC1710CD)

Writing reviews (in words) of albums (music and song) can be a bit like hearing colours -   scarlet - loud and confident, maybe towards being aggressive; lilac - gentle and thoughtful, a peacemaker perhaps? You get the gist. Sometimes, something comes along which is outside of easy linguistic translations from one ...
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ANDREW COMBS – Sundays (Loose Music)

Andrew Combs’ Sundays, written and recorded under the confines of Covid and in the aftermath of a “mental breakdown”, finds its mono melodic redemption, in a record that is (in his own words) “about slowing down and finding grace and importance in the chaos of the world right now”. Now, ...
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FRITILLARIES – Fritillaries (Pear O’Legs Records)

Bristol based Fritillaries are Hannah Pawson – lead vocals, guitar, banjo and harmonium - and Gabriel Wynne – guitar and mandolin – and this is their debut album. They are supported by Kit Massey, whose violins and piano make a major contribution to their sound, Andy Hamill on bass, producer ...
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UNCLE BARD & THE DIRTY BASTARDS – The Story So Far (Angel Air SJPCD650)

I have to confess, I’d never heard of this lot let alone that they’d released enough albums to warrant a compilation. For the similarly uninformed, they’re a Celtic-punk six piece who, featuring Uilleann pipes, tenor banjo, mandolin, and Irish flute, trade in the same Irish gene pool stock as The ...
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Iúr Cinn Fleadh bounces back!

Tide of folk music and family fun will flow through Newry this Bank Holiday A fun-filled family festival for all ages – that’s Iúr Cinn Fleadh – Newry’s annual traditional Irish music and community extravaganza. Having pulled through the pandemic, this Newry 2020 event bounces back on August Bank Holiday ...
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ROBB JOHNSON & THE IRREGULARS – The Mystery Gets Your Number & The Poetry Makes The Call (Irregular Records IRR119V)

It’s a good job we don’t impose a word limit on our reviews or The Mystery Gets Your Number & The Poetry Makes The Call wouldn’t get a look-in. It’s one of two new albums by Robb Johnson & The Irregulars and is available only on vinyl. Initially it’s a ...
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TARREN – Revel (own label)

The story of Tarren’s debut album, Revel, begins in lockdown, when three established members of the Bristol folk scene began to share compositions online. From those dark days, has come a truly joyful musical experience. Appropriately, for a project that began in a time of isolation, Revel was conceived as ...
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ASHLEY HUTCHINGS – More Songs From The Shows (Talking Elephant TECD477)

The original Songs From The Shows were a pair of Albion Band albums in the early 1990s. It was probably Corunna with Steeleye Span that was Ashley’s introduction to folk music in the theatre or adding theatre to folk music but it was Lark Rise To Candleford that sealed his ...
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TRACY CURTIS – Live (Irregular Records IRR121)

Tracey Curtis used to be in a punk band called Shelley’s Children, she plays guitar, sings and writes songs and that’s about all I can tell you about her, which is probably all you need to know. Live was recorded at the Railway Inn, Portslade and, as any release by ...
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TYLER EDWARDS – A Falling Sky (Mighty Kind Records)

“Morning light used to mean something beautiful, now it seems cruel”, reads the opening lyric to ‘Heroes’, the second single from Tyler Edwards’ upcoming release, A Falling Sky. The rumination - brief and succinct, almost detached in its delivery - serves as an effective stage setter for its parent album, ...
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LUKE JAMES WILLIAMS – Our Blood Is Red (own label)

Based in Cambridgeshire, Williams is a fairly new arrival on the scene, releasing his debut EP back in 2018, gaining fulsome support from Tom Robinson, Our Blood Is Red being his first full-length collection. He’s been likened to Bon Iver, but to these ears he’s much more akin to Luke ...
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ANTOINE & OWENA – Clockwork Lens (own label 003-2022)

Antoine Architeuthis (not his real name) and Owena Archer write original songs that sound traditional and give traditional songs a contemporary sound. Clockwork Lens is their third studio album. Owena plays violin and guitar and Antoine is a multi-instrumentalist and both sing and they are supported by producer Olly Owen ...
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CANYONS & HIGHLANDS – Canyons & Highlands (BDR 2201)

"Astral Folk". What a simultaneously vague, uncertain – and absolutely brilliant description for this album. Canyons & Highlands (the album) is an instantly accessible delight. Mid-Atlantic? Transatlantic? Like "astral folk", both are descriptions, equally vague and equally clear to give a sense of the genre for this album and the ...
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KATIE DOHERTY & THE NAVIGATORS – Flow (Nookton Records NOOKCD01)

The result of exploring the concept of creative flow through work on formative versions of the songs with four community groups in the North East, the trio’s new album is a response to the current state of the world with its portraits of a wide spectrum of people and potentials ...
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DIK CADBURY – Winds Of Change (own label)

Dik Cadbury is a veteran musician, singer and actor. He initially came to prominence as a member of Decameron and has worked as a session player with Peter Bellamy, Brenda Wooton, June Tabor and Steve Ashley among many others. He’s currently a member of the Julie July Band. Winds Of ...
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MICKEY JUPP – Up Snakes, Down Ladders (Conquest Music)

Back in the 70s, it seemed that Jupp was set to become a household name alongside fellow pub rock stalwarts such as Nick Lowe and Dr Feelgood. Sadly, despite major label releases via Bell, A&M, Chrysalis and Stiff, it was not to be and, disillusioned with the business and with ...
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JOE PUG – Nation Of Heat (Loose Music)

Joe Pug “revisits” his rough diamond (and very popular!) Nation Of Heat record and proves, with Bob Dylan, John Prine, and rough and winding Highway 61 uncertainty, that those “vandals” just “took the handles” once again. The first song, ‘Hymn #101’, plays its four aces Dylan-dream stream of consciousness word ...
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SINGLES BAR 80 – A round-up of recent EPs and singles

Hailing from Edmonton and currently living on the indigenous communities of Treaty Six Territory & Unceded Kanien'kehà:ka Territory, Mallory Chipman and Frédrique “Freddi” MacDougall are the marvellously named THE GODDAMSELS making their debut with the Wayward Daughter EP (Royalty Records).  Musically, they’re rooted in old time country, as evidenced by ...
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MONICA TAYLOR – Trains, Rivers & Trails (Horton Records)

An Oklahoman of Scottish and Cherokee heritage, dubbed The Cimarron Songbird by Jimmy LaFave and Bob Childers, Taylor is a sterling exponent of red dirt music, the title of her ninth album, Trains, Rivers & Trails, nodding to her much-travelled life as well as the subject matter of the material ...
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MARK MULHOLLAND – Revolutions Go In Circles (Ports of Call Music PCOM2201)

Recorded variously in Bamako, Berlin, New York and France, where he’s now based, over the course of the past few years, Revolutions Go In Circles is, quite literally, world music, both in terms of the geographical locations and also the different influences the Glasgow-born singer-songwriter has embraced on his third ...
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DAN WHITEHOUSE – The Glass Age (own label WTK001)

Finding himself stuck in Japan during lockdown, communicating with friends, family and fans back home via digital media sparked in Dan the realisation that we are, as the album title says, now living in a glass age, one in which screens have come to play a major role in the ...
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WINDBORNE – Of Hard Times & Harmony (Wand’ring Feet Records WFR 005)

Of Hard Times & Harmony is a lavishly packaged album, presented in a 78-page book of lyrics, artwork and notes. I’m sometimes suspicious of such excess but the first verse of the first song, ‘Lady Of The Harbor’ had me hooked. Windborne are Lauren Breunig, Jeremy Carter-Gordon, Lynn Rowan and ...
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YVONNE LYON, GARETH DAVIES-JONES, DAVID LYON – Trace The Line (PM610)

Sometimes collaborations just work: fish and chips, Lillee and Thompson, Dolce and Gabbana, Simon and Garfunkel – the list is long and varied. Add Yvonne Lyon, Gareth Davies-Jones and David Lyon to the list. On July 1st, they released Trace The Line as a second collaborative album following 2016’s The ...
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THE GABBARD BROTHERS – The Gabbard Brothers (Colemine/Karma Chief)

Formerly part of Ohio rock outfit Buffalo Killers and sometimes tour members with The Black Keys, siblings Zachary and Andrew, The Gabbard Brothers, have re-emerged  with a new name, a new label and an album that waves the flag for 60s psychedelic tinged pop rock with influences that range from ...
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AMY GODDARD – Rise (own label)

I’ve been listening to Amy Goddard almost since she appeared on the music scene. I admire the narrative skill of her songwriting and her love of the late John Stewart both of which are apparent here. I was almost surprised to realise that Rise is her fifth album but I ...
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MATT NORMAN – Mr Onion’s Serenade (own label MNOR01CD)

Mr Onion’s Serenade is the sort of project that Simon Mayor would have made his own had Matt Norman not thought of it first. Matt is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and big in the world of community choirs. The album is subtitled Mandolin Music Of The Edwardian Era and we are ...
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BELLA HARDY – Love Songs (Noe NOE13)

For her tenth album Bella Hardy has returned to her beginnings. Love Songs is a mix of traditional songs and her own compositions beginning with ‘Summer Daylight Winter Darkness’ – her rather plaintive fiddle over Tom Gibbs piano. ‘Hares On The Mountain’ introduces her other musical collaborator, producer Mike Vass ...
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BUSH GOTHIC – Beyond The Pale (Fydle Records Fyd005)

Bush Gothic are a new name to me, but I was instantly attracted to their third album Beyond The Pale by their choice of songs and settings by the like of Henry Lawson and Judith Wright. When the album first hit my hi-fi, though, I was a little taken aback ...
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ANNA TAM – Live at The Green Note, Camden Hatching Hares Album Launch 4th July 2022

Anna Tam is a perfect example of “folk” music being a living, breathing tradition.  As Martin Carthy recently said "These songs are always being tweaked. If you try and freeze 'em you'll kill 'em."  Anna does more than tweak; she makes them her own by bringing in her background to ...
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IAN SIEGAL – Stone By Stone (GVIS101)

Multi-award-winning blues musician Ian Siegal recently released Stone By Stone, his fourteenth album in a long, distinguished and feted career: British Blues Awards, Mojo Magazine Blues Album of the Year winner, European Blues Music Awards and US Blues Awards nominations. It took a while for the album to come over ...
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RUTH KEGGIN & RACHEL HAIR – Lossan (March Hair Records)

Ruth Keggin & Rachel Hair’s Lossan, with Manx Gaelic voice and Celtic harp, is music that justifies Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge changed perception (after the visit of Jacob Marley and those three Christmas ghosts!), as was said, “That of all the blithe sounds he had ever heard, these were the ...
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WORDS OF A FIDDLER’S DAUGHTER – Ironstone Tales (Under The Eaves UTE 005)

Words Of A Fiddler’s Daughter are The Ciderhouse Rebellion – Adam Summerhayes and Murray Grainger – and Jessie Summerhayes, she who provides and speaks the words. This is not a conventional band and Ironstone Tales is not a conventional record. It is part of a bigger project encompassing short films, ...
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