Andy White announces new album

Andy White

Andy White is a Belfast singer-songwriter whose first EP Religious Persuasion, and 1986 debut album Rave On Andy White kick-started a career which includes twenty albums, two books of poetry and a novel. Writing with Peter Gabriel, forming ALT with Tim Finn and Liam O Maonlai, touring the world many times over with his acoustic guitar and winning Ireland’s top music awards, Andy has lived in Belfast, Dublin, Switzerland and, currently, Melbourne. Time Is A Buffalo In The Art Of War is his fourteenth studio album.

Andy’s new album takes over from where his previous release The Guilty & The Innocent left off. It zooms out to come to terms with the big picture we’re all faced with—socially, politically, personally. The album’s subtitle is, “It’s our world, and this is how I see it”. The Guilty & The Innocent named names. Ten short acoustic rock ‘n’ roll songs about Trump, the Manchester bombing, Grenfell and the Unheard, with the album featuring the glorious title track in which Andy stepped back from judgement, realising that this is part of the problem and that “the guilty and the innocent are the same as you and me”.

Time Is A Buffalo In The Art Of War takes that thought and puts it on the last train out of the UK along with a troupe of characters hurtling through the night. ‘The Shit Hits The Fan’ confronts the reality of the situation in a series of questions. ‘Running Round In Circles’ is the response. ‘One In A Million’ starts in a Belfast bus station, love and death on the narrator’s mind, and leads to ‘Friday Night’ and a contemporary connection with a spirit from 1989. ‘Fire Engines Blue Trains And Trucks’ builds from toy cars to smart bombs and leaves us on the dark side of the moon. ‘Fly If You Want To’ gives equal weight to taking it or leaving it—as long as good records are playing in the bar. ‘Armageddon #4’ is the big picture writ large, freedom marching for “a better future than today”. ‘Everyone’s Gone To France’ – perhaps the Last Train has made it across the Channel. Perhaps not.

The album features an orchestra, a brass section, Andy’s son Sebastian on drums and Rod McVey – multi-instrumentalist and co-producer of Andy’s early albums.

“I had finished throwing things at the telly and pointed my finger at the sky. I was listening to Imagine, feeling the power of truth being able to turn around an apparently hope-free situation. The strength of our aspirations towards freedom. I was listening to The War on Drugs, big sound, guitar solos, songs stretching out as far as they wanted to. If you have a lot to say take all the time you want to say it. That’s what we did.” ANDY WHITE

Artist’s website:

‘The Shit Hits The Fan’ – official video:

The 2019 Folking Awards

Welcome to the 2019 Folking Awards and thank you again to everyone who participated this year. The nominations, were in eight categories, and came from our ever-expanding team of writers and were collated into shape by the Folkmeister and the Editor over a pint or two, which also involved, a few arm-wrestles and a spot of beer-mat aerobics, in a convenient local watering hole.

There were five nominees in each category, all of whom have impressed our writers during 2018.

As we said last year, all are winners in our eyes, as are quite a few who didn’t make the short list. However, it’s not just about what we think, so once more, it was down to you, our ever-growing readership, to make the final call.

We will now compile the results and announce the winners of each category at some point next week.

*The Public Vote for each category closed at 9.00pm on Sunday 31st March (GMT+1).

Soloist Of The Year

Keith James
Reg Meuross
Rachel Newton
John Smith
Andy White

Best Duo

Gilmore & Roberts
Daria Kulesh and Jonny Dyer
Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar
Winter Wilson

Best Band

The Men They Couldn’t Hang
Merry Hell
Trials Of Cato
The Young’Uns

Best Live Act

The Men They Couldn’t Hang
Grace Petrie
The Salts
Martin Stephenson & The Daintees
Andy White

Best Album

A Problem Of Our Kind – Gilmore & Roberts
The Well Worn Path – Seth Lakeman
The Joy Of Living – Jackie Oates
Queer As Folk – Grace Petrie
Hide And Hair – Trials Of Cato

Best Musician

Martin Harley
Aidan O’Rourke
Marina Osman
John Smith
Richard Thompson

Rising Star

Burning Salt
Robert Lane
Kitty MacFarlane
Smith & Brewer
Vision Thing

Best International Artist(s)

Tyler Childers
Mary Gauthier
Larkin Poe

Andy White tours reissued Rave On

Rave On Andy White

“Andy White, Belfast born and Belfast bred, first picked up a guitar when he was thirteen. It was blocking up the hallway. He started strumming it in a beatnik basement belonging to a big bastard called Bobby.”

So started the 1986 press release for Andy’s debut album, reissued by Vinyl 180 on October 26th.

The eighties folk revival led by The Pogues, The Waterboys and Hothouse Flowers cut an authentic, soulful swathe through the music culture of the MTV generation. On Rave On, Andy’s voice and lyrics told the story of a boy growing up in the political and social chaos of Northern Ireland and making his way to Thatcher’s Britain with an acoustic guitar and a suitcase full of poetry books, Clash cassettes and Bob Dylan albums.

Originally recorded in a field in County Antrim, this year’s reissue is a limited edition in white 180g vinyl with a gatefold sleeve. It still sounds fresh, raw and urgent today and is complemented by latest album, The Guilty & The Innocent, Andy’s reaction to the current news cycle. Grenfell, Trump, Corbyn, (in)equality and justice are its themes. The six minute title track stunned audiences on his UK tour last year. You’ve got to hear it.

Along the line connecting these two albums, Andy has collaborated with the likes of Tim Finn and Liam O Maonlai (as ALT), written with Peter Gabriel, recorded with Sinead O’Connor and toured with Van Morrison. But Andy’s voice, trademark lyrical wit and the magic he can conjure up with musicians in a studio remains a constant. Along with a stellar career in music he’s always kept a firm grip on the “have guitar, will travel” folksinger ethos on display in the back of a Beetle, one West London afternoon in 1986.

Artist’s website:

‘This Is Not A Television Show’ – official video:

ANDY WHITE – Imaginary Lovers (ALT ALTCD16)

imaginary-loversFollowing the recent box set issue of the self-explanatory Studio Albums 1986-2016, the all-new Imaginary Lovers now gets a standalone release for fans who didn’t fancy forking out to buy albums they already had to get it. A sequential follow-up to his divorce album, How Things Are, this is the recovery collection, a less polished but more upbeat affair about putting your life back together and forging new relationships punctuated by the occasional look back at past events.

He’s been compared to Dylan in the past, but, while there’s inflections evident, opening indie rock strummer ‘Half-Time For You And I’ reminds more of Gerry Rafferty as, seasons changing through the song, he sings of the push-pull nature of a relationship that could go either way. It’s a mark of the altogether poppier and peppier nature of the album, a buoyancy carried over into the bouncy romance of ‘The Girl From The Twilight Hotel’ which might be best described as Al Stewart had he been in Brinsley Schwarz. ‘Rewriting The Rules of Beauty’ is quieter and slower, a softly tumbling acoustic song about realising you’re falling in love, a feeling that is also at the heart of the equally acoustic fingerpicked ‘Anywhere With You Babe’, while, on the softly shuffling, strings sprinkled, Every Time I Look Around he’s singing how “there was someone to get over” and “it was something had to go through oh baby to find you.”

If all this sounds like there’s a danger of drowning in a marshmallow sea, he does leaven the newfound bliss with the occasional note of caution, not looking to rush things (”take it easy baby, you don’t have to hurry, take it slow”) on the echoey slide guitar and keys backed ‘Sideways No Shadows’ or, as on the rather lovely ‘Nonchalant’, a reflective look back on how playing it cool might have dimmed the potential spark, wistful regret.

Which, perhaps inevitably, gives way to the album’s only song about loss, ‘The Only Thing Missing Here Is You’, a plaintive piano refrain backdropping a lyric which, repeating the title line at the end of almost every brief verse, details the rather chic flat (complete with “a fantastic shower”) in which the singer now lives alone, his lover having given him the keys and gone off.

If I’m being totally honest, the album does slightly peter out towards the end. ‘And I Want You’ is a throaty guitar rocker with Lou Reed inclinations ( not to mention a nod to the Eurythmics’ ‘Love Is A Stranger’ in the chorus) that probably works better live, dripping strings ‘You Mean Everything To Me’ is another number about leaping in heart first that doesn’t really add anything to what he’s already said and ‘Lonely International Guy’ (the travails of a long distance relationship) is, frankly, a bit of a plod. It does, however, end on a high note with ‘Everybody Wants Somebody’, even if it does borrow the opening line from Fred Neil’s ‘Everybody’s Talking’ and sounds remarkably like an Oasis ballad. Personally, I prefer White when he’s baring his teeth rather than his heart, but there’s some good stuff here it would be churlish to begrudge the man the warm glow of a rekindled flame.

Mike Davies

Artist’s website:

‘Half Time For You And I’ – official video: