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, Florance found them, many having the name Annie written on the sleeves. So, as any good singer-songwriter would do, with the help of lyricist Richard Pierce, she turned it into a song. The result, featuring violin with Kitty Perrin on backing vocals and Paul Bullen on piano, is ‘Annie C’ (self-released), a lovely reverie of heartache and hope as she sings “change the world Annie C, it can only get better/Take all the chances you get, don’t write that letter”.
BELLA GAFFNEY shares the credit for her new digital single, ‘Blood In The Earth’, with Leesa Gentz of Australian band Hussy Hicks who lost their home to flooding. From the very first notes it just feels Australian as it tells of the recent natural disasters that befell the country – first fires, then floods. Bella brings the sound of The Magpies to the song with banjo and powerful harmonies. Proceeds from the single will go to Bundjalung Community Flood Relief.
Their first release in three years, Norrie MacIver on lead vocals, Jarlath Henderson on Uilleann pipes and Archie McAllister on the fiddle, Scottish Celtic powerhouse SKIPINNISH come storming back with ‘Summer Call’ (Skipinnish Records), a rousing celebration of the Scottish landscape peppered with themes of optimism, gratitude and hope.
‘Roll And Go’, the new single by BLACKBEARD’S TEA PARTY, is not going to appeal to the purists but it will be meat and drink to the band’s fans. It starts with rousing drums and grungy guitar and you wouldn’t want to turn a capstan at this pace. The track is taken from their upcoming album, Kick The Curb.
A new addition to the odd names list, MOOKIE + THE BAB are an all-acoustic indie-folk group from Bradford comprising multi-instrumentalists Abi and Marc Otway and Conor Magi. A pandemic product, inspired by the shared experience of being confined to spend each day in the same place with the same person,, their debut studio single ‘Passing Through’ (Kycker), following on from a live EP, opens with just Marc and acoustic guitar before transforming into a jaunty mandolin and fiddle foot stomping duet that evidences their Lumineers and Mumford and Sons influences in engaging style.
MAN THE LIFEBOATS are the latest band to plough the punk-folk furrow and if their new single, ‘Born Drunk’, is any guide they’re damn good at it. It’s an uproarious crowd-pleaser that they describe as a stream of nonsense but that underrates it. If you want a lop-sided look at seventy years of history this is it. Nice one.
FRANKIE ARCHER is a new name on the British folk scene. She is from the North-east, as even a quick listen will demonstrate, and ‘Lucy Wan’ is her third single. As a murder ballad it is well known but Frankie gives it a twist by having Lucy’s vengeful spirit visit her brother, vowing to haunt him for eternity. This is too much for the murderer who takes his own life. The instrumentation is unusual beginning with plucked violin, or perhaps ukulele, with soaring strings giving strong support to a delicate performance. And so the folk process moves on again.
‘Lyric & Air’ is a rather lovely single by Cork singer-songwriter JOHN BLEK. It’s basically a simple idea for a love song but John takes it somewhere rather charming with the assistance of Cathy Davey and The Frames. The song is taken from John’s forthcoming album Until The Rivers Run Dry.
THE MAGPIES continue to plunder their forthcoming album by releasing another single, ‘Galileo’. Written by Bella Gaffney, it’s ostensibly about science and Galileo’s struggles in the face of opposition but deeper than that it’s about determination and looking forward not back.
‘Sunshine Parade’ is the new single by alt-country singer/songwriter ANNIE KEATING who is looking for escape from the New York heatwave and perhaps a little adventure on the way. It’s all here: pounding drums, searing guitar licks and is that a Hammond organ? There’s even a touch of phasing towards the end. Annie is on tour in the UK during the autumn.
KRAMIES’ new single ‘Owl And The Crow’ was written on his journeys through Ireland and originally recorded as an acoustic demo. Now it has been expanded into a full-blown production number which, sadly, overpowers the vocals sometimes.
Irish singer-songwriter BEN REEL prefaces his upcoming live album with a single, ‘This Is The Movie’. The song was originally the title track of Ben’s debut album and he hasn’t stopped singing it ever since. As an anthem to the power of music it takes some beating.
‘Waiting For The Fall’ is a rather pretty song about summer romance and its inevitable demise despite our best efforts to make it last forever by Canadian-singer songwriter MIKE PLUME. Mike is a new(ish) name over here despite his long experience at home. He’s a clever lyricist without being flashy and one line in which he ignores the obvious stands out.
Livin’ Underground will be the first album release by Nottingham based ABI MOORE in seven years and it is preceded by a single, ‘Apologies And Promises’. Abi has a lovely seductive voice which is supported here only by piano. Definitely a late night in the bar song.
‘Golden Sun’ is a new single by CHLOEY ROSE. Acoustic pop is probably the best description for it. Chloey is also an actor and model and she has big voice that shows her theatrical training off well and it feels as though she could knock a song like this off in an afternoon.