Martin Simpson announces new album

Martin Simpson

Singer, songwriter and guitar virtuoso Martin Simpson releases brand new studio album Rooted on August 30 on Topic Records. Produced by Andy Bell and recorded in Sheffield and Oxfordshire, Rooted will be available on CD, LP and digital with the deluxe 2CD and deluxe digital versions including a bonus disc of instrumentals, Seeded.

Summing up the themes of his new album, Martin says:

“The music and songs embrace nature and travel, mental health, real life stories, loss, politics and history… and the threads that bind all this together can be followed back a long way, to 1965 when I got my first guitar and started to soak up material and ideas at a very rapid rate.”

Rooted features an array of stellar guest musicians, including Nancy Kerr (fiddle and viola), Andy Cutting (melodeon and diatonic accordion), Liz Hanks (cello), John Smith (electric guitar and vocals), Ben Nicholls (string bass and electric bass guitar), Julie Matthews (vocals), Alan Barnes (clarinet), Max Simpson (vocals), Amy Smith (vocals), Chris While (vocals) and Tom A Wright (drums and percussion). Richard Hawley and Dom Flemons contribute backing vocals and bones respectively to first single ‘Neo’ (out 21st June).  As well as vocals, Martin himself plays banjola, 5-string banjo, 6-string fretless banjo, electric bass guitar and electric and resonator guitars!

Hand in hand with his long and storied solo career, Martin has been central to seminal collaborations like The Full English, The Elizabethan Sessions and Simpson Cutting Kerr. He has worked with a dazzling range of artists from across the musical spectrum: Jackson Browne, Martin Taylor, June Tabor, Richard Hawley, Bonnie Raitt, Danny Thompson, David Hidalgo, Danú, Richard Thompson and Dom Flemons, to mention a few. He is consistently named as one of the very finest acoustic, fingerstyle and slide guitar players in the world and is the most nominated musician in the history of the BBC Folk Awards, with a remarkable thirty-one nods. A true master of his art.

Artist’s website: http://www.martinsimpson.com

There is nothing from the new album out there yet (apart from a 41 second teaser) so here’s an old film of guitar mastery:

Plus, as an additional treat, here is a second video (this time, from the folking archive) – Louisiana 1927 from Gosport and Fareham Easter Festival in 2010.

Much-loved Canadian folk roots combo Po’ Girl

The beauty and mystery of Po’ Girl’s music – a sound that has beguiled fans the world over – springs from the mesmerizing bond shared by its two lead singers and writers – Allison Russell and Awna Teixeira.

Hailing from Montreal and Toronto respectively, both women left untenable home situations at fourteen, found music instead of bad ends, and lived to sing the tales. The interplay between these two stunning performers is truly something to behold. You’ll hear echoes of speakeasy jazz, the western lament, the accordion-strapped ghosts of European folk accompanied by the wail of the clarinet in the music of Po’ Girl, but it’s delivered with a soulful clarity and depth that makes it all their own.

It seems almost silly – and not very interesting – to trot out a long, endlessly hyphenated list of the many influences coursing through Po Girl’s music. Suffice to say it’s 21st Century roots music – North Americana if you will – never derivative, not faithfully aping a beloved tradition. Teixeira and Russell don’t re-hash the old forms, they reshape and reinvigorate them for new ears.

Since Po’ Girl’s birth in Vancouver, BC in 2003, Russell and Teixeira (and an ever revolving cast of stellar musical friends), have averaged over 250 days a year on the road, bringing their inimitable roots revelry to 13 countries and 4 continents and winning over new fans and friends everywhere they go. With 5 internationally critically acclaimed studio albums, a live album, a b-sides album, and a DVD to their credit with Po’ Girl, Alli and Awna have firmly established themselves as two dynamic, compelling songwriter/singer/multi-instrumentalists with true staying power.

2012 sees them both exploring more facets of their artistry with some exciting new projects. Awna is getting ready to record her first solo album for release later this year. She’s also working on a companion volume to her first book – A Brief History and Introduction to the Gutbucket Bass and a new series of Children’s Books, for more information visit www.hazytales.me

Alli has teamed up with Chicago songsmith JT Nero (of JT and the Clouds) and is currently working on their debut duo record Birds of Chicago to be released in this summer/fall for more information visit http://birdsofchicago.com/

She’s also involved in a recording project called Sankofa whose album The Uptown Strut (Kingswood Records) which also features John Sebastian (The Lovin’ Spoonful), Dom Flemons (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Ndidi Onukwulu, Sule Greg Wilson, and Professor Louie (The Band) is released in the US on March 27th.

Po’ Girl will be doing one tour and one tour only in 2012 , March 21st through April 14th in the Netherlands and the UK, joined by Mikey ‘Lightning’ August on drums and Chris Merrill on bass. These are the only scheduled Po’ Girl shows this year, in order for Alli and Awna to have time to record, release, and tour their new albums. They’ll be working on the songs for the next Po’ Girl record and making guest appearances on each other’s new projects too – you can expect a new Po’ Girl album down the line in early 2014.

Genuine gypsies, these two wander and play. They move and move and play and sing. It’s quite simple. Always restless, more often than not bone-tired, they write their flashes of sadness, their loss, their good love, their hope, their dreams of home into songs that matter deeply to them. Like any good art, they are little acts of self-rescue. So you should listen. You aren’t much different from them, and who couldn’t use a little rescuing these days?