THE GRAND SLAMBOVIANS – The Brasenose, Cropredy (6th May 2014)

Slam 1

They seem to have settled on The Grand Slambovians now so no more Gandalf Murphy, no more Slambovian Circus Of Dreams for now at least. A few things have changed but their gigs remain poised tantalisingly on the brink of chaos with set-lists attending in an advisory capacity and requests and changes of mind and mood creating almost terminal indecision. They busked bits of The Beatles and Pink Floyd just because they felt like it. There’s always big fun at a Slambovian night out.

JoziahSo what is new? Well, Joziah Longo sported a rather splendid straw top hat; ‘Very Happy Now’ is now in a medley with The Ramones’ ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ (there was supposed to be some Donovan in there but it passed me by) and Tink played theramin on ‘Flapjacks From The Sky’ – which is very difficult to do while wearing an accordion ready for the next bit of the song. The band were promoting a compilation album, A Box Of Everything, which is “all the greatest hits that most people have never heard” so the backbone of the show was Sharkey that selection starting with ‘The Grand Slambovians’ with Sharkey playing the traditional Slambovian bottle-neck mandolin followed by ‘Sunday In The Rain’ and ‘A Very Unusual Head’.

I say “promoting” but they subverted themselves by making greater efforts to sell the unofficial CD, Folk!, credited to The Slambovian Folk Society. Joziah was into an ongoing theme of how they made a lot of money in the States by posing as a folk band and how the only person to figure them out was Pete Seeger. Joziah’s stories start out as unlikely and move towards improbable but it would be ungracious to doubt any part of his long tale of a meeting with Peter Seeger which lead to them playing at Seeger’s memorial – held at the Town Crier folk club – as his introduction to ‘Suzanne’.

The Brasenose isn’t a large venue, Joziah described it as “like a hug” and compared it to playing in his dad’s basement as a teenager, in fact the basement was probably larger. Half the audience were die-hard fans, the rest curious walk-ups many of whom went home clutching CDs and probably swearing undying fealty. The Slambovians wrapped up with ‘Talking To The Buddah’ and ‘The Trans-Slambovian Bi-Polar Express’ and encored with ‘Invisible’ and ‘Alligators’. They played for over two hours to a fairly small audience but in their inimitable way they made a lot of new friends.

Dai Jeffries

‘A BOX OF EVERYTHING’ is The Slambovian Circus of Dreams’ first new release with the Sony RED distributed Red River Entertainment. 

Released April 1st, this is a compilation of ‘the greatest Slambovian hits you’ve never heard’ newly remastered, with three new studio cuts – the upbeat title track ‘A Box of EveryThing’, Syd Barrett-inspired ‘A Very Unusual Head’ and the anthemic ‘Alligators’ that justifies the Pink Floyd-esque descriptions of the band.

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

Roving Crows Win ‘Band of the Year’ Award

The Roving CrowsCongratulations to the  ‘Roving Crows’ that won the ‘Band of the Year’ FATEA music award. Other nominees included Bellowhead and duo Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin.

The Herefordshire based folk-fusion five piece can proudly add this highly sort-after prize to the awards they collected in 2012 – Top Celtic Rock Band and Top Fiddle Player at The Irish Music Awards; Top Folk Act, Exposure Music Awards.

The band are currently on tour with their 2nd album ‘Deliberate Distractions’ which has received 4* reviews in the Financial Times and R2 music magazine. Other reviews have been equally positive with comments such as, ”It’s easy to picture the Roving Crows’ music gathering speed with each successive album tour. Clearly, the Roving Crows are the next folk super group in waiting,” wrote  critic Nancy Dunham for Folking.

The bands’ busy tour schedule has grown even fuller as they graced various stages all over the country supporting acts such as Jamie Cullum at the Colston Hall, the Levellers at Lakefest and Kate Rusby at Trowbridge Village Pump Festival amongst many more.

For a full listing of upcoming events, go to www.rovingcrows.com

Check out the sampler for Deliberate Distractions below:

The Cousins Project – Beautiful Blood

Steve Mayone and Kristina Stykos are second cousins, but they didn’t know that until a few years ago. They lived parallel lives: songwriters, producers, independent artists. In 2006 they met by chance when Steve was playing a gig in Vermont (where Kristina lives). Upon hearing Steve’s last name announced from the stage, Kristina introduced herself and they discovered their grandparents were siblings.

Making up for lost time, Steve and Kristina began playing music together, resulting in their new album Beautiful Blood. Recorded in their home studios (Kristina’s Pepperbox Studio and Steve’s Proofbox Studio), Beautiful Blood combines their different styles into one voice: Americana, folk/rock, ballads, blues, all woven into a single tapestry. With years of writing, performing and production experience under their belts, the making of Beautiful Blood was a joyful culmination of professional compatibility and family time.

 Steve Mayone

Hailing from Brooklyn, N.Y., Steve Mayone is a songwriter and performer. As a writer, he’s had his songs and instrumentals placed in independent films and TV shows. Steve’s four solo CDs, Bedroom Rockstar, Unfortunate Son, Understories and Long Play Record have garnered excellent reviews. As a performer, Steve plays up and down the Northeast as a solo performer and accompanist, and has shared the stage with Levon Helm, Donald Fagan and Kate Taylor.

 Kristina Stykos

Kristina Stykos is a songwriter, musician, producer and recording engineer. She runs Pepperbox Studios, specializing in acoustic music, located at the end of a dirt road in Chelsea, Vermont. Kristina has released three solo albums; In The Earth’s Fading Light, Raven and the recently released Wyoming Territory. As a producer, she has created albums for fellow Vermont artists Bow Thayer, Robert Resnick, Wagtail and Erin McDermott, to name a few.

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UK debut album by AlascA

AlascA liveOn their debut UK release ACTORS & LIARS, AlascA play eleven tales and songs that have the tendency of lodging themselves in the old grey matter. AlascA’s music has a novel and poetic quality, which to me anyway, will leave a lasting impression.

The tales grow on you and the melodies that guide the lyrics to their end have a place in the past, the present and the future. Their lingering melodies will appeal to the listeners of current indie-folk, but will likewise inspire those who loved the folk sounds, close harmonies and lyrical subtleties of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s.

folkmaster@folking.com

ACTORS & LIARS by AlascAACTORS & LIARS was produced by Grammy-award winning engineer and producer Alan Branch (U2, Jeff Beck, Yusuf Islam, Blur, Nine Inch Nails). When released in the Netherlands in 2012 it peaked at No 9 in the Dutch charts in the week after its release (and stayed in the top 50 the subsequent six weeks) and received much critical acclaim in the Netherlands and Belgium. AlascA’s live performances are characterized by their shifts from intimate singer-songwriter tales to bombastic folk-rock explosions. AlascA are based near Amsterdam and consist of Frank Bond (vocals, guitars, bass), William Bond (harmonies, keys), Ferdinand Jonk (harmonies, banjo, 12-string guitar) and Louis van Sinderen (drums, percussion).

AlascA Photo: www.marcobakker.comThe band are inspired by a diverse collection of bands including the Beatles, Love, the Zombies, Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, CSNY, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Tim Buckley, Gene Clark, the Doors, Fleetwood Mac, Pentangle, David Bowie, Big Star, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, The Dears, The Shins, Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens, Midlake, Yeasayer and Iron & Wine. AlascA have played on De Wereld Draait Door, the Dutch leading prime time television programme and have played at most of the major radio stations in the Netherlands such as Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3FM and Omrop Fryslan.

All the songs on the album apart from Déjà Vu, written by Ferdinand Jonk, were written by Frank Bond. Frank studied English Literature and Literary Sciences at the University of Amsterdam and obtained his Master of Arts Degree in 2009. Frank’s Ma Thesis is on Bob Dylan and provided a critical look into the most prominent academic approaches to Bob Dylan’s lyrics. The thesis was praised for its line of argument and the fact that it proposes a more productive and adequate analysis which also attempts to incorporate the musical elements of Dylan’s song lyrics. After graduation, the thesis was published. Frank, however, is and was not satisfied with the scope of the thesis and is currently working on a revision of his methods of analysis. He is also working on several essays on the various aspects of the current day music industry. In line with his background, Frank’s songwriting and lyrics are inspired by literature and philosophy, in particular Shakespeare, Keats, Coleridge, Yeats, Hemingway, Rimbaud, Pound, Joyce, Lucebert, Sartre, Foucault, Fowles, Kafka, Twain and Lawrence.

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For more information and the latest tour dates visit http://www.alascamusic.com/

Bellowhead reveal video for new single ‘Roll The Woodpile Down’

Bellowhead Broadside Fresh from their victory as winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Album, 11-piece folk super-group Bellowhead reveal their new video for their already incredibly successful single, Roll The Woodpile Down. It’s no secret that Bellowhead are one of the best live bands around (as their 5 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for Best Live Band will attest) and this brand new video showcases the band in their element – live at a sell-out show in Glasgow.

Roll The Woodpile Down is the second single to be taken from the band’s new, Top 20, album Broadside. Vocalist, and arranger, Jon Boden explains a little more about the track:

This is a song I’ve known for ages – I think I first heard it sung in the pub in Durham where I used to hang out. I came up with the basic idea backstage in Birkenhead on the tour before last – I was a bit bored so started doing a bit of fiddle singing in the dressing room. It’s often just a little thing that’s gives you a door into an arrangement – with Woodpile it was adding an extra beat to the ‘Georgia Line’ so that you can get more vocal impact out of it. From there it was just a case of finding a second melody line to set against the song tune (this ended up being a simple oboe riff) and then putting it all together with the band. It’s been working really well live, particular since all the airplay on Radio 2 – people really know the chorus now!


Paul Johnson interviewed Jon Boden at the Broadside Album Launch back in October. If you missed it, you can click on the player below and have a listen…

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Paul Johnson interviews Jon Boden from Bellowhead at the Broadside Album Launch…

On the 17th of October, Paul Johnson caught up with Jon Boden (from Bellowhead) at the Broadside album launch party in the aptly named “Water Rats” hostelry in old London town. The interview took place just outside the toilet… We can a-shore you that its all “above board” if you get our drift.  Unfortunately however, like the transcript of the interview, our old sea-dog, Paul “Johno” Johnson appears to be sinking at the very end leaving poor old Jon Bowden desperate to bail and the folkmaster with a long weight for the interview hence the posting delay (due to a lame excuse on Johno’s part). Anyway, brace yourself ship-mates and be prepared to have your bumpkin and boomkin hosted by our very own folking frigate’s petard  One last point, Johno suggests purchasing the CD or downloading it from every vendor under the sun but fails to mention that you can simply get from the folking store via the amazon link below…

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