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

Check out the sampler for Deliberate Distractions below:

Darryl Purpose – Next Time Around

darrylPurposeArtDarryl Purpose is clearly the second coming of James Taylor and Tom Rush.

As someone who cut her musical teeth on those and other masters of American folk, I don’t make such statements lightly.

Take a listen to Purpose’s just-released “Next Time Around” and get ready to be bowled over by the beauty of this music. It’s not just the acoustic melodies that move seamlessly from aching to heartfelt or the nearly gritty vocals that set him apart. Like Taylor and Rush, Purpose writes songs filled with the honest ruminations of a life well examined, looking at the positive slant in times of adversity. The instrumentation he chooses – a fiddle here, a mandolin there, sprinkled over flawlessly played acoustic guitar – are as pure as the poetry of his lyrics.

It’s not an overstatement to note that “Next Time Around,” Purpose’s latest release, will touch the heart of old-school folk lovers that yearn for the format’s once pristine charm.

Listen to the first track — “Dreams of Life” – which has just the right amount of percussion to set off the story of wistful loneliness – and you’ll be transported right back to Boston when Taylor and Rush were just breaking out. Yeah, the sound and vivid lyrical imagery– “sun shining like Cuervo Gold” – is that magnificent.

The throbbing percussions and cymbals on “Race the Wind,” another meditative jewel about absorbing positive spirits to strengthen you own, is the perfect feel good tonic.

A true stand out track, which Americana will clearly want to claim as its own, is “The Ghost of Crazy Horse.” Soaring fiddles, Native American drumbeats, western-styled guitar picking – yeah, this is destined for heavy rotation on plenty of playlists.

“Next Time Around” is the gold standard of modern American folk.

Find out more about Purpose and his music on his official website. Written by: Nancy Dunham

THE UKULELES – The Ukuleles (DMGTV047)

Logan Wilson & Martha Paton are The Ukuleles. Perhaps something in the title will give you a hint (and it isn’t the word ‘The’) as to what instrument they utilise to convey they’re good-time summer of love styled music. It’s nice to see artists who aren’t snobbish when it comes to thinking about the pounds in their pockets and by playing to the consumer in us all in my opinion they’ve judged their set pretty well. Even if like me you only know ‘that song from the radio’ and TV (referring to “Girl On The Platform”) in the annoying advert at least the duo are ‘current’ in their choice of material. Other contenders from their “I’ve heard that before but don’t know where” repertoire include covers of Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You” (and it certainly wasn’t called that originally…google it!) and Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”. Turned into a kind of Native American number this track has (like Adele’s version) real soul with Paton certainly proving a fair old ‘chanter’ as my Northern mates might say. Light and breezy with the obligatory cover of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s interpretation of “Over The Rainbow” the duo will, along with the Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain and (dare I mention the name) George Formby bring gravitas to the malnourished member of the guitar ‘family’.


Ray Cooper aka Chopper is leaving Oysterband…

We have just had word that Ray Cooper, also known as Chopper, is leaving Oysterband to pursue a career as a solo singer-songwriter.

Ray says; ” After 24 years of constant touring and recording, it is not easy to give up the friends, the fans and the life I have known. We shared a lot of ups and downs and have grown together to be more like a family than a band. However, since the release of my solo album ‘Tales of Love War and Death by Hanging’ a couple of years ago, I knew that a door had been opened for me and another, more challenging path lay waiting. I have to sing”.

His last show with OB will be February 23rd in Treorchy, Wales, which is also the last date of the highly successful Ragged Kingdom tour featuring Oysterband with June Tabor.

Artist’s website:

Paul Johnsons folking interview with Ioscaid from Cropredy 2012

Ioscaid is group of young lads from counties Down, Armagh, and Derry who came together in late 2009 as a band to enter the Siansa Gael Linn competition.

Brothers Dermot and Fintan Mulholland entered Siansa the previous year in a group with Niall McCrickard and Declan Magee called Coimriú who came third that year. The following year, the 4 lads joined with Niall Murphy & Ciaran Hanna and entered Siansa under the name of ‘Ioscaid’. After the various rounds of the competition, the group were selected as one of the 8 finalists to compete in the National Concert Hall in the Grand Final of the competition. In April 2010 they made history by winning the competition and bring the trophy to Ulster!

In October 2011 they hit the UK scene after entering and winning the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards which earned them a slot at Fairport’s Cropredy Convention 2012 which is where our folking “Ow R U” stalwart interviewer,  Paul Johnson caught up with em backstage for a chat…


But they needed a lesson on the Matty Groves story first…

As well as having the best Cropredy weather for years, in 2012 and winning countless medals at the Olympics – as we basked in the glorious sunshine smiling with a pint Wadworth’s Horizon beer in a sunny Cropredy contented way –  I had the pleasure of catching up with BBC young folk award winners Ioscaid  (pronounced ‘Iss – Kidge’) for a chat about their success so far, but not before noticing several posters around the Cropredy site displaying Fairports Olympics results as follows

Lord Darnold  – Fencing – Gold

Servant – Swimming – Gold

Maty Groves – Fencing – Did not finish!

Hiring Fair Maid – Breast Stroke Gold

So seeing that the three members of Ioscaid I was about to interview reading these posters looking totally puzzled they asked me what these were all about!!!

The interview could not start until I had recited all lyrics of Matty Groves with full explanations to these lovely young lads bless em !!!! Now they know, and I can take credit for a tiny piece of these lads musical education!! Paul Johnson

Click on the player below to listen to the interview….

Artist’s website:

JEZ LOWE – Croydon Folk Club, Croydon, Surrey (09.07.12)

Expectations are high…they always are for a gig at Croydon Folk Club particularly when this week’s guest is the truly stellar (at least in ‘folk’ terms) Northern star Jez Lowe. Even before you enter the club room there is excited talk of what might form the basis of his set-list tonight. With a bit of luck there’ll be a mixture of old and new songs…whatever, we’re all agreed it’s bound to be a ‘good’ night. Starting proceedings, host Les Elvin engages the audience with Bob Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings” and chorally warms them up in preparation for the main ‘act’. Opening with an engaging new song “Will Of The People” his off the cuff reference to outlaws including Billy The Kid, Robin Hood and…Boris Johnson are met with a knowing, cynical derision and then it’s straight into “A Small Coal Song” dedicated amusingly to all those mines that Meryl Streep closed down. For those of us that have attended performances by Lowe before it’s this gentle banter and wish to ‘connect’ with everyone that makes us surrender easily to his North-East charms and the torrent (quite appropriate for the start of the great British Summer) of new material including “The Ex-Pitman’s Potholing Pub Quiz Team” and “Simian Son” (which I’d advise against trying in Hartlepool!) are met with a stamp of approval from an ever eager public.

I’m all too aware that with such a prodigious turn-around of songs you’d expect at least one ‘duff’ number to slip through the net but trust me, if there was an award for ‘unblemished’ song-writing ability Jez would receive it. Engaging your audience with wisdom and wit has always been his raison detre and I can assure you that none of it was lost on tonight’s crowd who unashamedly joined in at every possible opportunity. If you are a regular ‘folk club’ attendee or just starting out on a (sorry about the cliché) journey of discovery I couldn’t suggest a better introduction to the scene and surely his OBE won’t be long in coming? For those that need any persuading check out the above You Tube video and see what you’re missing. By the way a special mention must go to New Zealand based singer-songwriter and performance poet Martin Curtis who provided a brief but very enjoyable set and will hopefully be offered a return booking in the future.


Artist’s website: