Elephant Sessions – new album

Elephant Sessions

Elephant Sessions transcend boundaries and shake the very foundations of expectation.

Hailing from the Highlands of Scotland, Elephant Sessions are set to release their new album What Makes You on May 10th 2019.

Exploding onto the indie folk scene to unparalleled effect with their last album All We Have Is Now, the band have since appeared at some of the world’s most notable venues and festivals with audiences crowd surfing their way through the summer and marquee floors breaking under the weight of bouncing fans.

The Mercury nominated Alt-J, along with BBC Radio 6, found themselves converted to the band’s unique brand of indie folk. Reviews from Rolling Stone Magazine sat alongside folk magazine coverage. Radio features accompanied documentaries and highlights shows on television stations.

Charting in the French download charts and selling bucket loads across Europe, All We Have Is Now firmly established this band as completely unique.

What Makes You promises to build on this success and sees the front line of mandolin and fiddle pushing their limits further, matching the percussive rhythm of drums, bass and guitar, whilst fusing with electronic dance beats. This is traditional music turned on its head, a re-invention of expectation, a brand new sound. It’s exciting.

What Makes You is a musical progression of the journey the band have been on since the last album” said mandolin player Alasdair Taylor. “We feel like our sound has matured and we’re playing and writing the music that we really want to be playing. Writing and performing the music from this new album has been so much fun so far and we can’t wait to release it for everyone to hear.”

2018 saw awards in abundance. Opening the year as winners of Album of the Year at the BBC Scotland Trad Awards, they went on to be finalists as Best Group at the BBC Radio 2 awards. In May, Belhaven Brewery got together with the band to award the first ever Belhaven Bursary for innovation in music. The bursary amount matches the Mercury Music prize and was awarded in recognition of their unique and outstanding sound. It was accompanied by the bands own beer ‘Elephant Sessions Ale’, which was launched in May 2018.

In August, the band also found themselves shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year – an award covering every genre of music from indie, blues and rock to pop, folk and the individual sound that is Elephant Sessions.

Closing 2018 by picking up the coveted Live Band of the Year award (BBC Scots Trad Awards) the band, who met on the Newcastle University Folk Degree, are set to do no less with What Makes You. They have transformed traditional music and opened 2019 with performances across Europe. In April they head over to the US to play at the Belhaven Brew celebrations at Tartan Week in New York, before appearing at Bluesfest in Australia as part of the 30th anniversary line up. Making a debut at Merlefest in the US on the way back to the UK the band begin their album tour in May.

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Artists’ website: www.elephantsessions.com

‘What Makes You’ – official video:

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

ELEPHANT SESSIONS – All We Have Is Now (Elephant Sessions CDTES02)

All We Have Is NowThis CD, All We Have Is Now, recently released by Elephant Sessions has nine exceptional tracks. Each one is a masterpiece of arrangements and instrumental skills. Many of the tracks are over five minutes long and should be described as ‘productions’. However, I find it difficult to place their music. I don’t know if you need to, but I am afraid music does fall into categories. I am aware that Elephant Sessions play at folk festivals but the heavy drum accompaniment and jazz like arrangements do not fit into the folk world I love. Some of the tracks could be described as ‘drummer’ with musical accompaniment.

When I first listened to All We Have Is Now, I had lost interest by the time I had reached the fourth track. I then listened to the CD many times but only a few tracks at a time. The production of each track varies considerably from any others on the CD and as I said earlier, is brilliant. I love each track but I will never listen to the full CD in one hit.

I am struggling to fairly assess the album because it is obviously very good but it is a bit overpowering. The cover is, in my opinion, very poor. It gives us absolutely no information about the reasoning or the origins of each track. It is in black and white with a collage of photographs of very little interest to anybody.

Elephant Sessions fans will love this. The heavy drumming will delight young festival goers but out and out folkies will struggle with it. Still, it is a top-quality production and will, I am sure, do very well.

Fraser Bruce

Artists’ website: http://elephantsessions.com/

‘Wet Field Day’ – official video:

New album from Elephant Sessions out next month

Elephant Sessions

All We Have Is Now is the eagerly anticipated second album from award winning Highland neo-trad quintet, Elephant Sessions.

Their debut album, The Elusive Highland Beauty, received widespread critical acclaim propelling the band from their roots in a highland shed to winners of the MG Alba Scots Trad ‘Up and Coming Act of the Year’ 2014, nominees of the ‘Live Act of the Year’ 2016 and a multitude of UK and international festival appearances.

Their music draws upon influences from their highland traditional roots as well as electronic, rock and funk to create a sound that is truly unique.

All We Have Is Now pushes this sound further, giving the music an infinitely more dark and brooding maturity, whilst still maintaining the raw excitement of the visceral live shows the band have become both loved and renowned for.

This record is a statement of what traditional music can be and where it is going, pushing the boundaries of instrumental music through their intricate self penned tunes and a groove dominated backline.

Elephant Sessions will be touring the UK and Europe during the summer months and Australia, Canada and the USA in 2018.

Artists’ website: www.elephantsessions.com

Teaser trailer for the new album: