GREGORY PAGE – A Wild Rose (own label)

A Wild RoseHis mother lead vocalist London’s first all-girl pop band The Beat-Chics and his uncle Tom Jones’s dummer on ‘What’s New Pussycat’, born in North London of Irish-Armenian heritage (but now based in Southern California), Page describes the music on A Wild Rose, his twenty-seventh album in as many years, as Americeltic, a tag underscored by the presence of Uilleann pipes, an influence assimilated from his grandfather, Dave Page, a traditional piper who once recorded for Parlophone.

Co-produced with Robbie Robertson, the album seeks to establish a musical and spiritual connection with a country which, despite his Irish blood, he’s never actually visited, the pipes being juxtaposed with the more American sounds of fiddle, banjo and, featuring Doug Pettibone, pedal steel.

Opening with the suitably lively banjo-led sounds of ‘I’m Alive’ and with numbers rarely exceeding three minutes, it’s a generally mid-tempo or upbeat musical collection, the only slow number coming at the close with the piano-accompanied instrumental ‘Goodnight Jack’.

Placed second in the running order, the title track opening introduces the album’s Irish colours, with Eric Rigler on the pipes, a song that celebrates the meeting and union of two hearts that can readily been also seen as a metaphor for the music itself. That Irish ambience returns for the intro to ‘Dreams To The Rescue’ before giving way to a banjo and fiddle jog.

Country colours provide the musical palette for the easy rolling rhythm of ‘Waiting For The Sun Again’ and, Pettibone to the fore, the playful retro-like break-up waltzer ‘Say Adios’ and the cascading chords of the swing balladry styled ‘The Trouble With Me Is You’, while the swayalong ‘Born With The Shakes Inside’ sounds a more folksy note.

Page’s lived-in voice has a touch of a less raspy, smoother Randy Newman about it that, like the songs, tends to pleasantly wash over you rather than demanding your attention, but this is undeniable well worth a bramble through.

Mike Davies

Artist’s website: www.gregorypage.com

‘Waiting For The Sun Again’ – official:

Seth Lakeman announces new album and tour

Seth Lakeman

Fresh from his whirlwind world tour with rock legend Robert Plant, charismatic singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Seth Lakeman releases his stunning, ninth solo album The Well-Worn Path on October 26th via Cooking Vinyl. The first single will be stand-out, upbeat track ‘Divided We Will Fall’.

The Well-Worn Path was recorded in Seth’s garden studio on Dartmoor in January 2018 on a short break from touring with Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters. It is a return to a no-nonsense, organic, classic folk-rock approach with hints of Fairport Convention, Neil Young, Nick Cave and Billy Bragg. Plus Lakeman’s trademark foot-stomping, fiddle bow-shredding and soaring vocals.

Seth brought in top producer Ben Hillier (Elbow, Blur, Depeche Mode, Doves) and his brilliant, new four-piece band consists of long-time collaborator Ben Nicholls (upright and electric bass), new boys Kit Hawes (electric and acoustic guitar) and Evan Jenkins (drums) and one of the finest female folk voices, Kathryn Roberts (Seth’s sister-in-law).
Constantly exploring and moving forward musically,

Seth says “This ninth CD is quite different from my previous album, with more of a prog-rock approach. My last record was a deliberately understated Americana set, but this one is more rocking.”

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: https://www.sethlakeman.co.uk/

‘Divided We Will Fall’:

Tour Dates

Wednesday 14 November       GLOUCESTER Guildhall 
Thursday 15 November         WOLVERHAMPTON Slade Rooms
Friday 16 November           LEEDS Brudenell Social Rooms
Saturday 17 November          HOLMFIRTH Picturedrome
Sunday 18 November         CARDIFF Tramshed
Monday 19 November       LONDON Islington Assembly Hall
Tuesday 20 November         PORTSMOUTH Wedgewood Rooms
Wednesday 21 November       CAMBRIDGE Junction
Thursday 22 November         FROME Cheese & Grain
Friday 23 November           LEAMINGTON SPA Assembly
Saturday 24 November          FALMOUTH Princess Pavilion

YVES LAMBERT TRIO – Tentation (La Prûche Libre PRU2 4818)

TentationYves Lambert’s is a well-known and well-respected name in Québécois traditional circles, as a founding member of La Bottine Souriante, as founder of the Bébert Orchestra, and, since 2010, the driving force behind the Yves Lambert Trio. The trio consists of Yves on accordions (I suspect that the word accordion is used in a more generic sense rather than referring strictly to piano accordion), Jews Harp, harmonica and lead vocals; Tommy Gauthier on violin, foot percussion and vocals; and Olivier Rondeau on guitars, bass and vocals. Their latest CD, Tentation, also features Mark Busic’s harmonium on one track.

The CD’s title is derived from Yves’ fascination with the story of the Temptation of Saint and Anthony, and the sleeve illustrations by Geneviève and Mélissa Chabot are based on an engraving by Martin Schongauer, though I get the impression that Yves is enjoying being tempted by demons far more than Saint Anthony was. Sadly, my 1960s vintage A-level French was of little help to me in understanding the lyrics, so the notes on individual tracks that follows are largely based on Yves’ own notes. However, not being able to follow much of the lyrics didn’t in the least mar my enjoyment of the CD.

  1. ‘La Poule à Jean-Paul’ is a reworking of the earlier hit ‘La Poule à Colin” (Colin’s Chicken)’ inspired by Jean-Paul Guimond.
  2. ‘Ignominie’ is a nineteenth century song that tells the story of a poor family burdened by a drunkard, though the melody is much older.
  3. ‘Suite du Cap Breton & La Deboulade’ features two reels from Cape Breton fiddler Andrea Beaton and a third composed by Tommy Gauthier in a similar style.
  4. ‘Les Diables’ – apparently this medieval song is based on the “Mistrine”, “a celebration where the common folk have fun setting traps for Beezelbub” and is here given a very modern treatment. The devil has the best arrangements as well as the best tunes.
  5. ‘Cousinage & Penchant Pour Ti-Jean’ is described as “A joyful call-and-response song about lawyers in true Québécois style”. Clearly I need to become better acquainted with that style, if not with the lawyers. This song is from the repertoire of the French-Canadian actor and singer Ovila Légaré.
  6. ‘La coquette à Poupa & Sa Suite’ features more Québécois reels. They didn’t quite get me “out of my chair” (not much does unless it’s the offer of a nice red wine), but they certainly got my feet tapping.
  7. ‘Le Lac Rond’ features the harmonium of Mark Busic, who also provided a cleverly understated arrangement building from a simple drone to something more complex.
  8. ‘Adultère & Le Reel du Cocu’ is, I guess from the title, somewhat saucy: in any case, it’s certainly toe-tapper.
  9. ‘Vent d’Irlande’ begins with some attractive, lilting ‘Celtic’ guitar, building into a more band-oriented instrumental. Lovely.
  10. ‘VIP Pour L’enfer’ Yves says: “The Devil comes to earth on the prowl for dishonest folks, in the style of a protest song.” If only the 60s “protest” boom had featured more lively music like this and less lugubrious songs about plastic people and everything being all wrong, man…

Yves notes that “For me, this theme is a nature study. A view of humanity through its strengths and weaknesses. From sacrifice and sin to pleasure and regret, with sacrifice integral to pleasure – plenty of paths to take.

It is in this spirit that I have developed the “happy” concept that will imbue this new album, featuring temptation in all its forms – carnal pleasure, drinking, abuse of power, etc.

Perhaps it’s not going to be a big hit in the Vatican, then. But this combination of muscular vocals, adventurous material, and fine musicianship is certainly going to keep my ears and toes happy for a while. Sadly, by the time you read this, the dates I have for a July 2018 UK tour will mostly or all have passed. So watch out for the next one: I’ll stick my neck out on the strength of this recording to say that their live concerts must be spectacular.

David Harley

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: yveslambert.com/en

‘La Poule À Jean-Paul’:

SHEILA K CAMERON – Those They Chose (Glalell SKC1708CD)

Those They ChoseOver the past couple of years, Sheila K Cameron has completed the reissue of her 7-CD back catalogue and recently released Those They Chose, an album whose artless title reflects the fact that the songs featured were selected for play on the Women Of Substance podcast. It’s typical of Cameron that the title manages to be both very direct and rather oblique at the same time. The songs, which all come from her previous releases, have been remastered for this release.

Beginning in Glasgow, ‘As You Wrapped The String’, opens the album, with gentle lushness, followed by the harmonica blues lope of ‘I Looked Alright This Morning’.

The few covers featured are generally delivered quite sparely and simply, like the short, sweet ‘Drink To Me Only’. ‘The Water Is Deep’ has a quiet determination, but it’s Ewan MacColl’s ‘The First Time Ever’ that really goes somewhere earthy and raw. MacColl famously loathed the various versions of his song, but Cameron invests it with such emotional truth that surely even he would have been persuaded.

Musical arrangements are kept subtle, never overpowering Cameron’s voice. ‘With You In My Life’ is a touching tribute to a partner or friend, backed with gently jazzy brass that brings a touch of the 1950s. A fuzzy Hammond organ sound lurks behind the resolute blues of ‘You Don’t Know My Mind’, while ‘Go On Then’ stretches country-wards.

Cameron’s singing is not pitch-perfect but it’s absolutely authentic, intimate and lived-in, a real voice of experience making a visceral connection. She can be warm, tender and sensual as in ‘My Love Is Velvet’. On ‘Goodbye Baby Blues’ she is darkly world-weary, the long-drawn out delivery of the word ‘choose’ in the line ‘you have left me with no option but to choose these goodbye baby blues’ says everything about the pain beneath the decision. Occasionally, she adopts a semi-spoken approach, well-suited to the poetic repetition in ‘All You Really Need Is The Sea’.

Finishing up in the British Columbian archipelago of Haida Gwaii, Cameron takes her leave (for now) with the reflective, ‘Where The Last Tide Runs’. A steadfast traveller on her own road, Cameron is rare, precious and utterly unique.

Su O’Brien

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 website: www.skcsongs.com

‘As You Wrapped The String Around Me’:

Dave Whetstone talks about returning to The Resolution

Dave Whetstone

“Why did I stop?” asks melodeon player Dave Whetstone, as he prepares to return to the stage for only the second time in twenty years. It’s a fair question.

Dave had been a key player in the 1970s folk/ dance scene, who’d been turned onto “the notion of a dance band” after his band, Hemlock, visited Towersey village’s vibrant folk club, on the Oxfordshire/ Buckinghamshire border. As a result, the band changed direction to become The Hemlock Cock And Bull Band, and then simply the Cock And Bull Band.

“When we first went [to Towersey’s folk club] Jean-Pierre [Rasle] was not playing the bagpipes and I didn’t have a melodeon. I didn’t know what a melodeon was! I sent off from one and got it in the post – that was around 1977/1978, and Jean-Pierre knew some chaps in France [with pipes], so we started playing tunes with Dennis [Manners] calling,” Dave recalls. “At that time there were the New Victory Band, The Old Swan Band, doing variations to the repertoire.”

Dave went on to The Albion Band/ The Albion Dance Band, formed the well-regarded Waz! with Maartin Allcock (Fairport) and Pete Zorn, and released a well-regarded solo album, The Resolution, in 1996, with Allcock, Zorn, Dave Lockwood and Simon Nicol.

Dave WhetstoneThe Resolution was surprisingly very well received,” reports Dave. “It got reviews in Q and various other magazines, it was very well received, and we did a few ceilidhs with that line-up, but not with Simon as he was so busy with Fairport Convention, so we got in another guitarist.”

But within a couple of years, despite mounting acclaim for Waz!, Dave simply felt it was time to move on.

“I can’t remember the exact sequence,” he says. “The Resolution came out and I did the trio thing (Waz!), which was a short lived thing, maybe a year or so getting work. I didn’t really enjoy it enough. I’d been doing music and tunes since the mid-70s with Jean-Pierre, music has always been with me, music courses through my veins, but I like to do other things – like riding a bike, family …

“There’s a difference between a musician and a performer and I considered myself a musician – with a small ‘m’; I don’t read music, I feel it – I’m not a performer, though some of the most enjoyment I’ve had from playing has been at ceilidhs.

“I haven’t done a great amount of music, but there’s been Cock And Bull and with Jean-Pierre with melodeon and bagpipes. I quite like the idea of singing, but that’s not me. I put a lot into it for a long time and it was all very interesting … but I didn’t want to pursue all that.

“Why did I hang up my melodeon? It felt like I’d lost interest in it, there was a feeling of being overly constrained by it.”

So he stopped.

“I make decisions like this. I’m not a hoarder – if things need to change, I’m not scared. I did the Albion Band for a time, and I knew that was not me and I stopped. I didn’t shirk from making the change. Either it fits or it doesn’t.”

He continued to play at home, in private – mandolin and guitar – but then in 2014, Towersey Festival, scene of many fondly remembered performances, invited the Cock And Bull Band to reunite as a one-off. The show was a huge success which Dave enjoyed, though didn’t feel the need to repeat. But the idea of performing The Resolution in full was something different. He pitched the possibility of a Resolution show to Towersey who were excited, so Dave called on Martin Brinsford (Brass Monkey, Old Swan Band) and Benji Kirkpartrick (Faustus, The Transports, Bellowhead) for assistance, who were also enthusiastic.

“I haven’t played out since Towersey 2014, and before that, not since 1998, since The Resolution. I play a lot more freely now … so I’m looking forward to playing now, in a more expansive way,” he says. “I like playing but playing is only part of it. I like it simple. With Martin and Benji, it’s something very specific, for a very specific thing, and that’s easy.”

As the trio to prepare to make their one and only performance at Towersey Festival on Friday 24 August 2018, Dave reports that things are “sounding good” and that the set-list, though focused on his solo album, will span his career.

After some thought, he picks a few of his personal highlights.

“The tune ‘The Resolution’, I s’pose it was intended to be, not square the circle, but something like that. It’s a waltz tune – I can go to it and it’s a very calming tune. I think they all do different things, but there is some kind of fulfilment with The Resolution.

“There are simple ones, ‘like Hotfoot 2’, which in on a row, no chords, it’s so simple you can go just on and one. It’s very deceptive … good for dancing.

“And there are more recent ones, like ‘Mind Your Manners’, which is a Morris jig I concocted for Towersey in 2014. It’s simple, efficient. I wrote it for Dennis [Manners]; it’s only ever been done once, so this will only be the second time.

“There are also some tunes that pre-date The Resolution, like from The Albion Dance Band’s Shuffle Off – ‘Frog Is For Jumping/ Beetle On The Wine’. They are tunes I concocted around 1983 and are the opening tunes on the album.

“I think they’re tunes that are played in sessions now. Brinsford said I had to play it, ‘… that’s one of your hits!’ They may have entered the repertoire now,” he says proudly.

As Dave prepares to take his leave, there’s just one question: why Towersey?

“Towersey is special … it always had a feel about it – there was something homely, safe about it,” he says. “Towersey always held a special place.”

Dave Freak

* Whetstone Brinsford Kirkpatrick play Towersey Festival, Oxfordshire, on Friday 24 August 2018. The festival runs from Friday 24 to Monday 27 August 2018 and also features appearances from Richard Thompson, The Proclaimers, The Shires, Big Country (Acoustic), Sharon Shannon, Fisherman’s Friends, Peter Knight and John Spiers, Roy Bailey, and The Pink Weasel Big Band (a one-off team-up of Tickled Pink and Whapwesel). For more information and tickets see: www.towerseyfestival.com

‘Donkey Riding/Buffalo Girls’ by the Hemlock Cock And Bull Band all those years ago:

Alt-country band Lucero announce new album and tour dates

Lucero

Celebrated rock / alt-­country quintet Lucero celebrate twenty years together with the announcement of the August 3rd release of their ninth studio album Among The Ghosts (Liberty and Lament / Thirty Tigers). Co-produced and engineered by Grammy Award winner Matt Ross­Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Drive­by Truckers), Among The Ghosts was recorded in the band’s hometown of Memphis, TN at the historic Sam Phillips Recording Service.

Among The Ghosts features ten new songs written by lead singer/co-founder Ben Nichols that are steeped in the southern gothic inspired vignettes that have become a Lucero trademark. This time around, the seminal band pulls back on the big arrangements and Memphis-styled horns of their recent work for the more straight up, rock band style of their earlier years. Nichols, and bandmates Brian Venable (guitar), Roy Berry (drums), John C. Stubblefield (bass) and Rick Steff (keyboards) maintain their footing in their blues, rock, country gospel and R&B foundation, while simultaneously pushing their sound forward.

Nichols’ penchant for writing songs that immediately create mental imagery is at the forefront of Among The Ghosts. The band sets the tone masterfully with the perfect balance of nuance and grit, where delicate moments can exist equally in the same space as anxious restraint, as heard in the opening title track. The narrator longs for the family that distance is keeping him from, before the snarling chorus blasts out with intensity. The moody ‘Back To The Night’ features a haunting spoken word interlude by actor Michael Shannon. ‘Loving’, originally recorded by Nichols and appearing in the film Loving (from his filmmaker brother Jeff Nichols), receives a fresh full band treatment on the new album. The heartfelt ‘Always Been You’ speaks tenderly of the trials and tribulations of love while the deeply moving ‘To My Dearest Wife’ was inspired by Civil War letters written by soldiers that can easily apply to our fighting men and women today.

For twenty years, amidst the highs and lows many bands experience, Lucero has remained grounded firmly in their blue­ collar ethos. They create music with a soul that provides a common ground for many. As a live band, they have consistently brought it night after night with exhilarating performances in a communal atmosphere. The droves of fans who jumped on board have remained for the journey through the years, and they continue to bring others along for the ride. With Among The Ghosts, it is clear that Lucero still has many miles left to travel.

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: http://luceromusic.com/

‘For The Lonely’ – official audio:

UK Tour Dates

December 5 Glasgow,​ Stereo
December 6 Manchester, The Deaf Institute
December 7 London, T​he Garage
​December 8​ Brighton, The Haunt
December 9 Bristol, Thekla