Folk By The Oak were thrilled to announce the addition of acoustic blues legend Eric Bibb to our line-up last week, and can now confirm that instrumental folk supergroup Leveret will open the Main Stage.
There’s more news for the Acorn stage too, including a welcome return for the incredibly talented Sam Kelly, this time with The Lost Boys, plus Patch & The Giant and Fara joining the bill.
Now… while we have your attention… there’s just a few days left to get your tickets for the best price! Early bird tickets have been selling like hotcakes, but we are keeping prices at £33 per adult and £94 for the family ticket until midnight 31 January.
The great thing about receiving the latest Transatlantic Sessions CD is that you know all is right with world. In company with twenty-six of the best vocalists/musicians in the field of ‘folk’ music you don’t even need to get the accompanying DVD (although of course you could) to soak up the electric atmosphere of being locked away in an old hunting lodge in the Perthshire Highlands…for emanating within the stone walls comes forth possibly the most joyous sound you are ever likely to hear. The empathy created by everyone being so closely involved in the project must be the dream of any producer and capturing the whole experience is recording, mix and mastering maestro Iain Hutchinson. If I credited everyone it would take until the next session to list them but just to whet your appetite the line-up includes the staggering dobro performances of Jerry Douglas, Aly Bain on fiddle, Donald Shaw (accordion), Danny Thompson (double bass), Eddi Reader, Sarah Jarosz and Alison Krauss vocals. The feeling of bonhomie that is in evidence throughout the whole recording would provide scientists with enough energy to power the Large Hadron Collider and even Edgar Allen Poe’s gothic poem “Annabel Lee” set to an Appalachian sounding minor key melody by Jarosz can do nothing to mute the immeasurably good time everybody had in each others company. On a final note, what a pleasure it is to hear Eric Bibb’s interpretation of “Goin’ Down The Road Feelin’ Bad” as, for me (and I’m sure many others) it brings back many happy memories of Scotland’s JSD Band in full flight and just goes to show you can’t put a good song down!
Dan has already established a considerable reputation on the UK singer songwriter and folk roots scene. His distinctive approach has won him many fans and led to his supporting Joan Armatrading on a recent European tour, as well as opening for artists such as Mary Gauthier, Badly Drawn Boy, Cara Dillon, Chris Farlowe and Slaid Cleaves at concerts throughout the UK and USA. He also had a song, Every Little Dog endorsed by Neil Young when Shakey chose it for his ‘Living with War’ website.
His live performances are noted for their strong emotional impact and his songs are informed by literary influences such as Ben Okri and also the influence of painters like Marc Chagall. Indeed, Dan’s songs receive colourful treatment on this his first album. From the enigmatic longing of 40 Miles to the vibrant energy of Cool Dark Night and No-One Shed A Tear, the intense originality of his writing is balanced by strong and varied musical texture.
Dan is of mixed Indian and British origin. Many of his songs draw on images from his turbulent childhood and reflect on a search for belonging that remains elusive. There is a wistfulness and yearning at the heart of his writing which reveals itself strongly in songs like Home, Again. The lyrics of this track look back on his journey since moving away from his native Bedfordshire as a teenager and see him trying to make peace with his roots. In a similar vein is Rivertown which follows one man’s restless spirit as he travels through the rubble of the past trying to make sense of where he’s been so he can see where he’s going. The song has an almost supernatural quality and lyrics that fuse otherworldly images with an undertone of loss: ‘help me sweep the ashes from the floor/help me see the way I did before.’ The record concludes with the beautiful closing track, Can’t Go Back, which features the West African Griot musician, Mosi Conde, on kora. Written in Texas while on tour, it was inspired by the themes of displacement he heard in so many country songs while there and the personal experience of leaving behind all he knew, to follow someone, only to see it come apart.
A chance meeting at a gig in South London led Dan to record his debut album with Charlie Hart, who has worked previously with Ronnie Lane, Ian Dury, Eric Clapton and Mose Allison. It features a stellar array of guest appearances from Geraint Watkins (Van Morrison, Paul McCartney), BJ Cole (Dolly Parton, Martin Simpson) Steve Simpson (Eric Bibb, Ronnie Lane), Frank Mead (Albert King, Eric Clapton) and Mosi Conde (Mory Kante, Salif Keita).
Dan Raza has waited a long time to make his first full album after earning plaudits from some of the most notable songwriters on both sides of the Atlantic. There is no doubt he has a lot of promise. This is the first clue to what he might do with it.
“One of the best support acts I’ve seen in two or three years…an artist that makes you take note and listen to the songs.” Slaid Cleaves