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.

Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars (Columbia)

Tucson Train Bruce Springsteen
Photo credit: Rob Demartin

Released today, Western Stars is Bruce Springsteen’s 19th studio album. A beautiful sweeping soundscape, which for me musically, conjures up the image of a rancher looking out over a large expanse of a Western dusty land. Stallions gently whicker to the sound of a transistor radio, playing sweeping Southern California pop records from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.

Its beautifully laid back, with themes of distance, travel, dusty highways, reflection and wanderlust. The opening track ‘Hitch Hikin’ gets under the skin of that ‘rolling stone’ spirit that Springsteen does so well, the characters that pick him up, the observations that are made along the way. Like the photos and mementos from a loved one on the dashboard or hanging from the rear-view mirror. The stories that are told on the ride, by the different faces of the drivers and the appreciation shared for the vehicle which bonds the strangers in some connected way.

‘The Wayfarer’ follows with itchy feet and a strings section to put distance between this town and the next, a tale of night travel when most are at rest, the ‘wheels hissing up the highway spinning round and round’ and dreams of moving on ‘When I go to sleep, I can’t count sheep for the white lines in my head’. There is a sense of longing and looking for that ‘one that got away’ as brass heralds the call for what is longingly missing as organ fades out.

Things then pick up a pace as the clicking percussion wheels on the tracks lead in to ‘Tucson Train’ with horn section announcing its arrival. Its probably the most ‘what you would expect a Springsteen track to sound like’ one on the album but then again, Western Stars is not your typical Springsteen album which makes it special. It’s a song of regret and ‘fighting hard over nothing’ and perhaps reconciliation is in the narrative as the words ‘my baby is coming in on the Tucson Trainsuggest.

Somewhere North of Nashville’ with its stripped back feel could have fitted well on The Ghost of Old Tom Joad album as it tries to recall that misplaced melody, somewhere down that lost highway, tallying up all the things that could have been done differently or better. As I said earlier, Springsteen digs lyrically deep on this record and perhaps there is no better example than ‘Stones’. Family and relationship, emotionally delivered ‘I woke up this morning with stones in my mouth – you said those were only the lies you told me’, just fantastic, interlaced with pining Orchestral strings.

“This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements,” says Springsteen. “It’s a jewel box of a record.”

The 13 tracks of Western Stars were recorded chiefly at Springsteen’s home studio in New Jersey, with additional recording in California and New York. Ron Aniello produced Western Stars with Springsteen and the album was mixed by Tom Elmhirst with contributions from more than 20 other players.

A many faceted, sublime body of work from the ‘Boss’, evoking a Nashville tinged sadness of nostalgia, mystery love, distance, the road and endless highways and cinematic open desert spaces. Its sweeping range of American themes are musically set to orchestral arrangements of strings, horns and pedal steel and grounded in themes of seclusion, community, home, hard work, family and hope. Its a real treasure to be treasured.

Darren Beech

‘Western Stars’ track listing…

  1. Hitch Hikin’
  2. The Wayfarer
  3. Tucson Train
  4. Western Stars
  5. Sleepy Joe’s Café
  6. Drive Fast (The Stuntman)
  7. Chasin’ Wild Horses
  8. Sundown
  9. Somewhere North of Nashville
  10. Stones
  11. There Goes My Miracle
  12. Hello Sunshine
  13. Moonlight Motel

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Tucson Train – The New Video from Bruce Springsteen

Tucson Train Bruce Springsteen
Photo credit: Rob Demartin

Bruce Springsteen has released the song ‘Tucson Train‘ globally, along with a performance video by Grammy and Emmy Award-winning director Thom Zimny. The black-and-white video features many of the musicians who appear on his new album ‘Western Stars’.

Zimny is a longtime chronicler of Springsteen’s career whose recent film credits include the “Springsteen on Broadway” Netflix special and “The Ties That Bind” documentary on the making of “The River” album.

‘Tucson Train‘ is the third track released in advance of ‘Western Stars’, following ‘Hello Sunshine‘ — called “Gorgeous…bold…vivid” by Pitchfork and the “lush…emotional ode” (Billboard) ‘There Goes My Miracle‘.

Columbia Records will release ‘Western Stars‘, Springsteen’s 19th studio album, on 14th June. The first new studio album from Springsteen in five years, ‘Western Stars‘ draws inspiration in part from the Southern California pop records of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.

The 13 tracks of Western Stars were recorded primarily at Springsteen’s home studio in New Jersey, with additional recording in California and New York, and encompass a sweeping range of American themes, of highways and desert spaces, of isolation and community and the permanence of home and hope. Ron Aniello produced Western Stars with Springsteen, and the album’s musical arrangements include strings, horns, pedal steel and contributions from more than 20 other players. The album was mixed by Tom Elmhirst.

“This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements,” says Springsteen. “It’s a jewel box of a record.”

‘Western Stars’ track listing…

  1. Hitch Hikin’
  2. The Wayfarer
  3. Tucson Train
  4. Western Stars
  5. Sleepy Joe’s Café
  6. Drive Fast (The Stuntman)
  7. Chasin’ Wild Horses
  8. Sundown
  9. Somewhere North of Nashville
  10. Stones
  11. There Goes My Miracle
  12. Hello Sunshine
  13. Moonlight Motel

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Bruce Springsteen comes to Britain

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band have confirmed UK shows in May and June. The River Tour, which is currently working its way across North American, will reach the UK on 25th May with a show at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium. The tour coincides with the recent release of The Ties That Bind: The River Collection, a comprehensive look at the era of the 1980 The River album.

The original The River Tour began 3rd October 1980, two weeks before the release of Springsteen’s fifth album, and continued through to 14th September 1981. With sets that regularly approached the four-hour range, the 140-date international tour firmly established a reputation for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band as marathon performers.

The Ties That Bind: The River Collection includes 52 tracks on four CDs with a wealth of unreleased material and four hours of never-before-seen video on three DVDs. It contains the original The River double album; the first official release of The River: Single Album; a CD of 1979/80 studio outtakes; a brand-new documentary about The River and a coffee-table book of 200 rare or previously unseen photos and memorabilia, with a new essay by Mikal Gilmore. The set also includes a two-DVD film of never-released, newly edited multi-camera footage from a November 1980 show in Tempe, AZ.

The E Street Band’s members are: Roy Bittan – piano, synthesizer; Nils Lofgren – guitar, vocals; Patti Scialfa – guitar, vocals; Garry Tallent – bass guitar; Stevie Van Zandt – guitar, vocals; and Max Weinberg – drums; with Soozie Tyrell – violin, guitar, vocals; Jake Clemons – saxophone; and Charlie Giordano – keyboards.

If you would like to order a copy of the collection, download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. 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.

‘The River’ back in 1980:

Thea Gilmore announces new single, ‘Love Came Looking For Me’

Thea Gilmore Regardless

Critically acclaimed songwriter Thea Gilmore has now released her new studio album Regardless, to celebrate its release folking is giving you a chance to take a listen to the single ‘Love Came Looking For Me’.

If the name’s familiar, it may be thanks to the many plaudits the press have directed Gilmore’s way, or the endorsement of fans including Bruce Springsteen and Joan Baez, or perhaps even her posthumous Sandy Denny collaborative track ‘London’, which dominated last year’s BBC London Olympics coverage, climbing into the upper reaches of the iTunes singles chart.

Gilmore is nothing if not prolific – Regardless is her 14th album in as many years – but this latest album grew out of an enforced hiatus.  In 2011 she gave birth to her second son, and had to take several months out from music– a potentially frustrating state of affairs for a musician with a fierce work ethic. The break, however, allowed her a distance to look at her own work with fresh eyes.

 ‘When you write as much as I do, it would be easy to get stuck in a rut and end up putting out the same album. This helped me relearn what I do.’ Thea continues ” I once had a conversation with a friend about a female artist who had had kids… he thought the album she released subsequently sounded as if she thought she was the only woman ever to go through the birth experience.  I never wanted Regardless to come across like that. For me, these are songs about being the custodian of somebody, but also about the process of letting go’.

The expression of unconditional love is something Gilmore pulls off on Regardless by shooting her lyrics through with a sense of human fallibility, and an eye ever mindful of the dark side. At times it’s as if her own emotions unnerve her (“this path is so well trodden but it still feels so unreal”) and elsewhere she muses movingly on the changing cycles of the human heart (“I find it best to be prepared for tricks of the light, and the shadows things throw if you hold them too tight. Time is a train and it’s lost to the bend.”)

Gilmore and long standing musical partner/producer Nigel Stonier have journeyed into new territories this time around, with Regardless featuring more lush string sections than scruffy acoustic guitars and harmonicas. 9 months were spent in 5 different studios, hooking up with collaborators Seadna Mac Phail (Elbow)  Danish producers The Suppliers (Ron Sexsmith, Martha Wainwright) and string arranger Pete Whitfield (Plan B). There is a widescreen finish present, and the painstaking process has clearly been worthwhile, resulting in an album that feels like an evolution of Gilmore’s songwriting talents – bigger and glossier, but with the wit and honesty that sets her work apart.

“Don’t look now, the view just changed…” Thea asserts on lead single “Love Came Looking For Me”. For Gilmore and her growing body of fans, the view has surely never been better.

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Live Review – Martyn Joseph supported by Luke Jackson, Rugby Roots 3rd November 2012…

A captivating night all round at Martyns 10th visit to Rugby Roots at the Lawrence Sheriff School on his tour to promote his new album Songs For the Coming Home .

This was 3 hours of first class acoustic music from two gifted performers, one sorcerer at the peak of his game (wearing a suit for the occasion, I should add) and one rapidly rising apprentice, and quite honestly, you could scarcely see the join, both were magnificent!

There is always a lovely atmosphere at any Rugby Roots  gig , thanks in no small part to the promoters  Richard and Anna Barnes, who are totally passionate about getting good quality music heard and determined  that everyone has a good night.

The apprentice ;  What can I say about Luke Jackson live? simply, he is a total revelation. I have listened to him on CD and watched videos for 3 years , and knew there was a real talent emerging, but this was the first time I had seen him play live and I have to declare I am struggling to be objective, quite simply he blew me away , I can’t remember the last time that happened. I am sure there were a few sitting there with the opinion that this would be a pleasant half hour which they would listen to politely until Martyn came on, such are the unenviable joys of a support act. However, within a verse of Run and Hide, Lukes opener, he had everyone completely spellbound. His command of the stage and his rapport with the audience belie his age. The belief and confidence in his songs and consummate guitar playing and the thoughtful delivery with sometimes  piercing pure vocals was nothing short of dazzling, and his short set went by way too fast.

Artist’s website: http://www.lukepauljackson.co.uk/

Then came the maestro:

There are few things certain in life, there are the usual ones, death and taxes . However there is one other, and that is a Joseph concert is always an outstanding couple of hours, He has never given any less than 100% passion , honesty, compassion and insight and jaw dropping musicianship and  this night was no exception. Martyn has played at Rugby 9 times before and this, his 10th, was up there with the best of them. There was an air that we were going to be treated to something special , a feeling that has been filtering through from previous dates on this tour.

There were many highlights, new songs and familiar ones from his back catalogue . The new album has been  made three dimensional  on this tour, stripped of the production but  loaded with impact, from the spine tingling Crossing the Line with our added voices  humming away underneath Martyns stark words to the stomping and rocking No time for God . Older favorites not heard for a while have been given an airing , Like the mesmerising All This Time, always a joy to hear and I Will Follow. There were some surprises,  one special one was a breath-taking raw version of Springsteens classic The River upholding Martyns often used tag as Bruces Welsh counterpart, quite rightly so  too.

The biggest highlight for me, and one that many seeing this tour will say in the future “I was there when ..”  and  which , for me was loaded with so much significance, was when Martyn asked Luke back on to duet with him on one of Luke’s own songs Bakers Woods. Forget the age and experience gap ,this was just two exceptional musicians totally in tune with each other. There was a tangible sense of a baton being handed over and there were moments that I really wanted to bottle, it was quite beautiful . In 30 plus years I have been involved in music and witnessing some meaningful events and gigs, this was one of those times that are on that rare list of truly momentous.

If nothing else came from Rugby one glaring thing was apparent and that is acoustic music doesn’t get much finer than this.

All I have left to say is to urge folk to get to one of the dates that are left on this tour…

Trish Roberts

“There are moments on this record that I will always treasure; small nuances of memory and recall that are both painful and joyous. The highlight for me is the song ‘Archive’. On long car journeys touring across Canada last year with poet, guru and friend Stewart Henderson we talked, and talked and went deeper and deeper. He started writing, and at some point on a prairie plain in Alberta he handed me some words on the back of an envelope. Months later in the early hours of the morning I took them to a microphone with no melodic agenda and just played and sang. The result was the first and only take that ended up on the album. Its me with my soul howling. Its what I like to do.” Martyn Joseph

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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.