SINGLES BAR 46 – A round-up of recent EPs and singles

Singles Bar 46Swiss-based BLACK SEA DAHU’s new EP, No Fire In The Sand, conjures the ghostly sound of Mediterranean waves that carry the swell of spooky folk-rock music.  BSD’s music has been described as “songs that Eurydice sadly sang in the aftermath of Orpheus’ forbidden glance”. These songs are ancient echoes still lingering in very modern memories. Magical music never ages.

‘Rhizone’ and ‘Thaw’ stretch with acoustic beauty, as a subdued guitar, keyboard, and percussion frame Janine Cathrein’s melancholic magnetic vocal. Comparisons can be made with The Dead Can Dance. This music sings with a haunted soul.

The title track dives even deeper in Stygian darkness. It’s a lonely soul of a song, yet the melody shimmers with brief moonlight. Again, the tune builds slow momentum with double-tracked voices, quelled percussion, keyboards, and a patient electric guitar that plucks silence into a strange lullaby.

The seven minute-plus ‘Demian’ begins with a simple guitar and Janine’s voice. The song gets electric and percussive. But it’s still a dreamy dance. By mid-song, the deep web of instruments simply bounces with dark mantric soul.

Finally, ‘How You Swallowed Your Anger’ has a slow acoustic and psychological pulse. An accordion is added to the mix. Words drip like Salvador Dali’s surreal time. And the melody quietly spins in a ghostly dance and then dissolves into a run-off groove filled with memories that come and go, like the ageless Mediterranean tide that flows through the music of Black Sea Dahu.
https://www.blackseadahu.com/

Singles Bar 46Originally one half of American folk-rock duo The Story alongside Jennifer Kimball, JONATHA BROOKE has been around for quite a while, working as both a solo artist and in tandem with names that range from Katy Perry to Patty Larkin, nothing up ten studio albums, including a collection of previously unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyrics. The Imposter (Bad Dog Records) is her first new material in three years, a five track EP opening with the swaggering title song, pizzicato violins, accordion and tuba giving a gypsy jazz feel, a lyrical spin on the emperor’s new clothes that harks to artists’ nagging doubts that what they do is a waste of time and that they’re a “Liar, Loser, Phony/No one ever says so, but I know it’s true/Poser, lightweight, cheapskate/The wanna be, the woe is me”.

That creative mind swing between confidence and uncertainty veins the EP, with the brass-brushed bluesy speak-sing slink of ‘Fire’ declaring “I’m in the ring, and I’m a knockout, so watch out” and “I’m not shutting up/Until you agree that I’m extraordinary” while’ on the woodwind and cello-coloured, relationship-based ‘Twilight’ she sings “I love you, not perfectly, not well/But I love you, and I’m leaving soon, so fare thee well”. Set to a shimmering show tune pop arrangement, ‘Revenge’ is basically about how things come back to bite you (“My best laid plans played a killer last hand on me/And you got the last laugh”) but then she again switches it around with “I’m nothing if not resourceful/I’m flexible in a pinch/I’ve got this, I can top this. It’s a cinch”.

It ends with the moody piano, flute and classical string quartet ballad ‘True To You’, a simple hymnal (“How much will it cost, Lord?/I will bear this cross, Lord/I will walk through the night/Through the valley I’ll fight/But must I be alone, Lord/To be true to you?”) that sounds like it should be a dimmed lights showstopper in some Broadway musical, a reminder, of course that she wrote her own musical theatre piece, My Mother Has 4 Noses, about caring for her mother in the last stages of dementia. Brooke has no need to question her artistic worth or integrity, she’s the real thing and when she sings “I’ll be parading high fives on the way outta here”, you can’t help but agree she fully deserves to.
https://jonathabrooke.com/

MARISA JACK & DAVY are Marisa Straccia, Jack Sharp and Davy Willis a somewhat diverse trio. They got together in Bedford a few years ago to play at the events they were promoting and have been honing their craft since then. They have been praised by Nicola Keary and Jinwoo and have been dubbed “earthy” and “weird” but in reality they are just approaching the songs in their own way.

Their debut EP is Bring Us In and consists of five traditional songs and one from the celebrated Kipling and Bellamy songwriting partnership. The set opens with ‘Bring Us In Good Ale’ taken at a stately pace with just enough reverb on the verses to suggest monks processing through their cloisters. They maintain that feel as their arrangement of ‘Bushes & Briars’ will put you in mind of a mediæval bard. ‘Nottamun Town’ is a bit weird, you know, and Marisa Jack & Davy emphasise the strangeness of the lyrical contradictions. This is the full version of the song pretty much as recorded by Jean Ritchie.

‘Oak & Ash & Thorn’ comes from Kipling’s mystical period and is also a bit weird and this reading does nothing to negate that. ‘The Sun Rises Bright In France’ is a song of longing and ‘Bows Of London’ is one of best version of the ‘Two Sisters’ story. Whatever happens, Marisa Jack & Davy should be huge before too long.
www.marisajackanddavy.com

Singles Bar 46An early Christmas arrival comes from THE MINING Co. with Three Kings (PinDrop), wherein Michael Gallagher offers up five festive treats in his quest to recapture his own memories of Christmases past and a more recent one spent in Spain. Recorded in Andalucia with producer Paco Loco who also contributes Spanish guitar on two tracks.

The first parcel under the tree is the banjo and strings accompanied ‘Long Way To Christmas’ which would seem to draw on Jona Lewie influences  and a Roy Wood kiddies chorus,  followed by the dreamy and smooth Johnny Mathis tones (and Glen Campbell colours) of  ‘Christmas No 1’ (with, yes, sleigh bells). Military snare (a la ‘Little Drummer Boy’) provides the tinsel on ‘Wild Gift’ (from where the album’s Biblical reference title comes), the final trimmings being the Latino samba sway of ‘Ghost Writer’, where his voice finds its deeper range, and the childhood nostalgia of ‘Holloway’, with its picked Spanish guitar and muted rumble of drums, when “every morning was Christmas Day”. One for your Santa wish list, I think.
https://www.facebook.com/theminingcoband/

Singles Bar 46GLORIOUS LEADER’s ‘Borderline’ is the first single from the up-coming EP My Kingdom, which is a wonderful collection of ethereal songs that walk in the acoustic footsteps of the human heart.  Kyle Woolard is the one-man talent here. He’s on leave from the very fine band The Anatomy of Frank, whose album South America was described as “a melodic folk-rock masterpiece.

This solo record travels into intense personal soil; yet as Walt Whitman wrote, “For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you”. So, these songs resonate as a totem for sensitive folks who enjoy a really nice melody. That first song, ‘Borderline’, sings, “I guess we’re all trying to make it work”. That sort of sums up modern life.

As reference points, imagine music filled with the intense quietude of Paul Simon’s ‘Duncan’, Magna Carta’s ‘Living In The Land Of Ulysses’, and the entirety of Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago.

The rest of the songs echo that gentle melodic pulse. ‘Onism’ has a passionate and irresistible chorus (with great handclaps!). ‘Sweet Louisa’ brings a ukulele, strings, and heavenly harmonies. ’Kyla’ is strummed and slow, and it dances with a few electronic sounds. ‘The Wide Sargasso Sea’ has David Crosby’s ‘Guinevere’ depth. This tune has “green eyes”.

The final song, ‘Half Alive’, is confessional stuff. And it has a hymn-like quality that plucks, with that darn ukulele, some sort of vague hope for a better tomorrow. And that’s a really decent song for any record to sing.
https://ohgloriousleader.bandcamp.com/releases

Singles Bar 46Birmingham songstress KATHERINE PRIDDY follows-up her well-received debut EP Wolf, which sold out three pressings,  with a limited edition single ‘Letters From A Travelling Man’ (Static Caravan),  an upbeat, frisky Americana-styled number that takes its inspiration from her experiences of living on the road and the struggles of trying to maintain relationships alongside an unsettled lifestyle.  Paired with  the softer  slower strummed ‘Come and Go’ , a yearning for a  place to call home but  acceptance that everything must inevitably pass, where she duets  with Northern folk singer-songwriter George Boomsma, it’s released digitally as well as a limited run of collectable coloured vinyl alongside a postcard urging the listener to rediscover the lost art of letter-writing.
https://www.facebook.com/KatherinePriddy/

Singles Bar 46NAVARO release the first single from their forthcoming album. ‘The Fall’, written by Pete White, is described as an “autumnal hymn” and is simply built around acoustic guitar and keyboards with the band’s signature harmonies.
http://navaromusic.co.uk/

Singles Bar 46THE MAGPIES were originally formed in York in 2017 as a duo of Bella Gaffney and mandolinist Polly Bolton, expanding to become a quartet in 2018 with the addition of cellist Sarah Smout and fiddler Holly Brandon. Drawing on shared and individual influences to create a fusion of Celtic and bluegrass folk, they have a debut album arriving shortly, preceded by the gently flowing download newgrass single ‘Run, River Run’, written by Ganney and originally featured on Bella and Polly’s own self-titled EP, here given extra colour with fiddle and cello.
https://www.themagpiesmusic.com/

Singles Bar 46With Brexit in mind, BEANS ON TOAST released his single, ‘England, I Love You’, on October 31st.  It’s full of his familiar biting wit paired with a jolly tune and “patriotic” brass. The song is taken from his forthcoming album, The Inevitable Train Wreck which you will buy if you know what’s good for you.
https://beansontoastmusic.com/

Singles Bar 46ANNIE DRESSNER has a new self-released album due early 2020, meanwhile she has a taster single in ‘Nyack’, a simply fingerpicked, brushed snares shuffle named for the Orangetown village in Rockland County, New York, a song about memories, her childhood, her brother and leavings.
http://www.anniedressner.com/

Siingles Bar 46DUSTY WRIGHT dedicates his acoustic version of ‘Bad Moon Rising’ to the world’s climate change warriors. It’s from his forthcoming album Can Anybody Hear Me? and despite its Dylanish harmonica it ‘s actually rather polite. You can hear all the words, though, possibly for the first time.
https://dustywright.com/

Singles Bar 46Israeli singer/songwriter MARBL has a new single, ‘The First Day Of The Rain’. It’s piano driven and drenched with strings and is rather lovely. We’re told that she’s into supporting abandoned animals but that’s not coming over here.
https://www.marblmusic.com/

Singles Bar 46‘Battle Ready’ is the single taster and title track from the new EP by Manchester’s JOHN TILLER. It’s a powerful song with solid drums and ringing guitar. Americana but with a British twist.
https://johntiller.bandcamp.com/music

Singles Bar 46

DARWIN’S DAUGHTER also gets into the festive spirit with ‘Snow Angels In The Rain’  (self-released), her first and last release of 2019, a gently lovely cello and fiddle-sprinkled ballad about transience that comes with a Christmas Edit which replaces the xylophone at the end with jingle bells. Ahh, bless.
https://www.facebook.com/darwinsdaughter/

Beans On Toast announces new album and tour dates

Beans On Toast

The cult songwriter Beans On Toast announces the title of his next studio album, plus an extensive run of UK dates for Winter 2019/20. A Climate Emergency?  Boris as PM?  Rail-melting heat waves?  A No-Deal Brexit? Beans’ new album could only ever be called one thing: The Inevitable Train Wreck.

For now he’s holding his cards quite close to his chest, but he’s promised “a rock’n’roll album about our dying planet”.

The new release from the Essex folk hero will find him searching for hope and change in what may be Earth’s darkest hour.

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On-track for a 25 date tour across the nation this Winter, catch Beans On Toast playing songs from The Inevitable Train Wreck and his huge back catalogue at the following UK venues from 4th December 2019 and into whatever 2020 brings:

Tour Dates

DECEMBER 2019

04 – READING Face Bar
05 – GLASTONBURY Boca Bar
06 – PLYMOUTH Junction
07 – SWANSEA Garage
08 – STROUD Prince Albert
10 – GUILDFORD Boileroom
11 – CAMBRIDGE Portland Arms
12 – DERBY Venue
13 – NORWICH Arts Centre
14 – BEDFORD Esquires
18 – SHEFFIELD Leadmill (steel stage)
19 – STOKE Sugarmill
20 – LIVERPOOL Phase One
21 – COLCHESTER Three Wise Monkeys

JANUARY 2020

31 – BRIGHTON The Haunt

FEBRUARY 2020

01 – BRISTOL Trinity Center
05 – SOUTHAMPTON The Loft
06 – CARDIFF The Globe
07 – LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
08 – BIRMINGHAM Castle & Falcon
09 – NOTTINGHAM Bodega
12 – NEWCASTLE Tyne Bank Brewery
13 – EDINBURGH Old Dr Bells Baths
14 – MANCHESTER Gorilla
15 – LONDON Dome

Artist’s website: https://beansontoastmusic.com/

Video Wall 11

Where to begin with the plethora of new videos that have arrived since last time?  With Paul Mosley & The Red Meat Orchestra and the single ‘Build Your Fire’ from his new album. We hope to be reviewing You’re Going To Die! very soon before it actually happens.

Skinny Lister release  ‘Second Amendment’ as a single from their album The Story Is… Do you think they have a point to make?

Belle Curves (great name, btw) are from new York City. Their new single, ‘Promise Of 95’ is about a road – to be precise, Interstate 95, which is now complete after more than 60 years. I guess you have to live in Pennsylvania or New Jersey to appreciate the significance.

The new album by Beans On Toast is called The Inevitable Train Wreck and will be available in early December. ‘World Gone Crazy’ is the first track to escape from the wreckage.

Radio 2 Folk Award nominees The Breath recorded ‘No You Keep it’ live. It’s really an advert for Stuart McCallum’s new guitar but what the heck?

Bruce Springsteen‘s movie Blinded By The Light is big news at the moment. Here’s a special lyric video for the song ‘I’ll Stand By You’.

Bluegrass veterans The Grascals release ‘Callin’ Your Name’ from their new album, Straighten The Curves.

Will Purdue is a  an alt-country singer/songwriter. This video for ‘Call My Name’, the title track from his recent EP was filmed around the wild west of Wimbledon and  Finsbury Park.

The Ghosts Of Helags are a new name to us. ‘The Santa Rosa Song’ is the Scandinavian duo’s new single.

Mipso are a quartet from Chapel Hill, North Carolina and mix together all the influences you’d expect.  ‘People Change’ is from their album, Edges Run, and the band start their UK/Europe tour tomorrow.

Towersey Festival announces top names

Towersey

Hothouse Flowers, Seth Lakeman, Steve Harley, and The Unthanks are among the acts headlining the 55th Towersey Festival.

The annual four-day folk and roots festival takes place from 23-26 August 2019, in Thame, Oxfordshire, and also boasts appearances from folk rock legends Oysterband, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Two-Tone heroes The Selecter, and shanty singers Fisherman’s Friends.

Former buskers, Hothouse Flowers hit the international stage when Dublin hosted the Eurovision Song Content in 1988. Since performing as an ‘interval act’, they’ve forged a reputation as a blistering live band, combining rock, soul and folk.

Steve Harley emerged from the London acoustic scene in the early 1970s and set the charts alight. A contemporary of Bowie and T.Rex, his hits include summer anthem ‘Here Comes The Sun’ and the enduring ‘Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)’.

Five years from his last appearance at the festival, Seth Lakeman arrives in the wake of an acclaimed globe-trotting stint as part of Robert Plant’s Sensational Space Shifters. Expect to hear tracks from across the West Country musician’s career, including ninth album The Well Worn Path.

Remarkably, The Unthanks first ever live gig was at Towersey in 2004. Fifteen years on, and the Mercury Prize-nominated band have established themselves as one of contemporary music’s most inspiring, surprising and enquiring acts.

Also returning are Fisherman’s Friends. A huge success with audiences at 2018’s festival, the story of their incredible rise from Port Issac’s quayside to the UK album charts has now been turned into a film starring James Purefoy and Daniel Mays (in cinemas from 15 March 2019).

Others joining the line-up include Welsh/ African duo Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita, winners of the fRoots Album of the Year 2018 Critics Poll; Show Of Hands’ guitarist Steve Knightley; BBC Scots Trad Music Award 2018’s Best Live Act, Elephant Sessions; and representing an exciting new generation of British singer-songwriters, troubadours Beans On Toast and Will Varley.

Towersey Festival Director Joe Heap said: “After an amazing 2018, we’ve really set out to capture what people love so much about the festival.

“As a result, 2019 is one of our most exciting and eclectic line-ups, with some of the biggest names in folk and roots music, from Seth and The Unthanks to shanty superstars Fisherman’s Friends, alongside major musicians from across the British Isles, Africa, and North America. There’s also the usual collection of names, such as Beans On Toast, who may be new to Towersey audiences, but who we know they’ll love.

“There’ll be loads of other surprises too,” enthuses Joe, who adds that further announcements are to follow shortly, including details of Saturday night’s headliner and more information about the festival’s celebration of the life and work of musician, tutor, activist and Towersey Patron Roy Bailey, who sadly passed away in November.

Situated in easy reach of London and Birmingham, on the Oxfordshire/ Buckinghamshire border, and established in 1965, Towersey is one of the UK’s longest running independent music festivals. Boasting nine venues, alongside an extensive music programme the festival also features over 30 hours of ceilidh, daily workshops, well-stocked bars, street food, spoken word, film screenings, roaming performers, an acclaimed programme of activities for children and younger festival-goers, and more.

Tickets for Towersey Festival, which runs from Friday 23 to Monday 26 August 2019 at Thame Showground in Oxfordshire, are available now (Tier 2) from £129 (adult), £120 (conc), £90 (youth), £65 (child). For further information, and to book, see: www.towerseyfestival.com

BEANS ON TOAST – A Bird In The Hand (Beans On Toast Music BOT10CD)

A Bird In The HandEvery year on the same date, December 1st, Beans On Toast (or Jay as his mum calls him) releases a new album and has done so for the last decade. A Bird In The Hand is his latest.

Beans has a lot in common with Robb Johnson – and I mean that as a compliment. He writes and sings the way he speaks and can draw his inspiration from the most mundane observations so his records are almost like a diary or an annual report. The past year was an important one for him, seeing the birth of his first daughter, not without a scare on the way, as told in ‘Magic’ with the opener. ‘Another Year’, addressed to her and her mother.  The album was produced by Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons who I guess plays drums and who recruited bassist Ted Dwane alongside guitarist Christof ven der Ven, singer-songwriter Jess Morgan, Tommy Heap and Chris Mass.

I suspect that Jay spent quite some time with mother and newborn and from that time came ‘Here At Homerton Hospital which praises the staff and makes the point of noting their nationalities. If he’s exaggerated a bit, I don’t mind. The single, ‘Alexa’ is an amusing dig at Amazon and ‘Bamboo Toothbrush’ takes an enormous swing at our ridiculous use of plastic. In between these is ‘1980’s Sagittarius’ which seems puzzling at first but turns out to be a song in praise of Skinny Lister vocalist Lorna Thomas, just because they are friends.

Beans takes a day off in ‘Watching The World Go By’ but returns to the fray with ‘Please Give Generously’ which isn’t just about the homeless, and a sort of confessional by a travelling musician in ‘Miss You Lke Crazy’ which is also addressed to his daughter. The bands cited above will tell you a lot about the sound of ths album – a little folky, a little rocky, quite serious and a great deal of fun.

Dai Jeffries

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‘Magic’ – official video:

Beans On Toast celebrates a decade of recordings

Beans On Toast

Beans On Toast is back with a landmark 10th album (in 10 years): A Bird In The Hand, set for release, as ever, on 1st December.

Sticking firmly to his tradition of releasing a new album on the same date each year, 2018 was always going to be a big deal for Beans On Toast with album double-digits on the cards. Fittingly for this anniversary, Beans got back in touch with Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons, who had produced his first album a decade ago, and together they hatched a plan. Utilizing the hospitality of Lovett (whose band were spending much of their time at London’s legendary Church Studios making their next record), Beans found himself enjoying the same incredible facilities during off days and late nights, to lay down A Bird In The Hand, along with with the help of in-house engineer, Riley MacIntyre.

A lot has changed in the years since the debut album, in both the world and also in Beans’ personal life, this is reflected in both the sound and the subject matter of this new album. Most notably in the stand out track ‘Magic’, a song about the birth of his daughter earlier this year. An emotional and honest account of what can usually be a difficult subject to tackle, Beans achieves this without being crass or soppy, almost a trademark of his these days. Songs about his daughter are scattered through the album, she’s clearly been quite the inspiration.

A Bird In The Hand is a celebration of love, life, family and the world in which we live. It’s about appreciating what we have and in that, it is a triumph.

Please support us and order via our UK or US Storefront 


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
Physical link for the UK Store is: https://folking.com/folking-store/


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
Physical link to the US Storehttps://folking.com/folking-us-storefront/


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. Can’t find what you are looking for? Search Amazon Store below.

Artist’s website: https://beansontoastmusic.com/

‘Another Year’ – official video: