SERIOUS CHILD – Empty Nest (TCR Music TCRM75099)

Empty NestThe core of Serious Child – or as the CD sleeve has it, SERIOUS CHiLD – consists of Alan Young on guitar and vocals, Carla March on vocals, and Steve Welch on bass. However, a fine selection of well-performed songs by Alan Young is further lifted on the CD Empty Nest by the support of an impressive number of highly-rated musicians. Among the names you may well recognize are Boo Hewerdine (who produced the album, and indeed persuaded Alan to record it in the first place) and Neill MacColl of The Bible, John McCusker, Gustaf Ljunggren, and three members of The Changing Room. The overall feel of the album is nearer to soft rock than folk, but none the worse for that: this is a quality performance.

  1. ‘Blue Is Only A Colour’ is an affecting ballad, particularly well sung. While Alan Young has a style all of his own, I could almost imagine the Walker Brothers singing this rather well.
  2. ‘Paul The Bag’ is a rock-flavoured and somewhat alarming song about an ageing gangster with something to prove: based on a real-life encounter.
  3. ‘Time Keeps Rolling’ is a reminiscent song about comfort through personal ritual and the passing of time, loosely tied to Paul Robeson’s recording of ‘Ol’ Man River’.
  4. ‘Kind Man’s Bluff’ features The Changing Room’s Tanya Brittain on vocals and accordion, on a moving song about a mother’s feelings as her child leaves home. “But no one dies of heartbreak, so let me help you pack…“. This one could be a keeper.
  5. Most of the way through, ‘I Don’t Remember Venice’ sounds like a pleasant piece of poppy nostalgia but features a sharp twist to the lyric towards the end. Clever.
  6. ‘Cinnabar’ seems to reflect a changed relationship filtered through Alan’s childhood obsession with crimson moths. Interesting.
  7. ‘The Last Chance’ is a little more conventional, but catchy, particularly in the chorus.
  8. While most of the tracks here are not particularly folky, ‘Three Hail Marys’ has an instrumental line-up that would fit in with many an Irish folk group, with prominent whistle, bodhran and banjo, and a lyric that wouldn’t disgrace the Pogues at their best.
  9. I guess we’ve all kept checking our phone for a message that someone somehow hasn’t left. ‘No Missed Calls’ seems to recall that hollow ambivalence, and has a nice guitar-dominated arrangement.
  10. ‘Open Skies’ has a slightly country-rock feel.
  11. ‘Speeding’ for some reason reminds me of John Miles. In a good way.
  12. ‘You Wear The Smile’ is a slow ballad that finishes the album in fine style.

Alan Young has long been known as a talented and versatile vocalist, but it turns out that he’s also rather a good, late-flowering songwriter – apparently he’d never written a song until he was 50. Hopefully, now that he’s discovered this extra string to his bow – um, guitar… – we’ll hear more of his songs in the future. Empty Nest is scheduled for release on the 22nd of June.

David Harley

Artist’s website: www.seriouschild.com

‘Time Keeps Rolling’ – live:

Findlay Napier – new album

Findlay Portrait Final_2VIP VERY INTERESTING PERSONS on Cheerygroove Records CHEERY002

There are many who find themselves described as stalwarts, some for the rugged determination to keep slogging away and others because they contribute so much to stay actively involved on a whole range of levels, keeping sharp artistically and selflessly championing others who deserve attention. Findlay Napier is one of the most highly-regarded performers and creative forces on the Scottish music scene – thoroughly active and a truly energised with a heart-warming zing. He made his name touring and recording with multi-award winning traditional Scottish folk band Back of the Moon. In his more recent projects Queen Anne’s Revenge and The Bar Room Mountaineers his song-writing took centre stage and was described by The Sunday Herald as “Genuine songcraft and wit following in the Difford & Tilbrook tradition”. Findlay is also well known for hosting Glasgow’s premier open mic night at Bar Bloc, as the host of Celtic Connections’ Late Night Sessions and for his Hazy Recollections concert series which showcases the very best in new roots music.

This new album contains ten songs about real life characters that have led very interesting lives. The album was co-written and produced by Boo Hewerdine and features performances from Admiral Fallow’s Louis Abbott, Gillian Frame, Roy Dodds, Hamish Napier and incredible Danish multi instrumentalist Gustaf Ljunggren. The VIP project came together when Findlay began Creative Scotland’s Advanced Mentoring project with Boo Hewerdine. The first song they wrote together is the oft covered ‘After the Last Bell Rings’. It quickly became obvious that the pair worked well together and they decided a themed album was the way forward. ‘Heddy Lamaar’, a song about the actress who invented Bluetooth and WiFi, was the second piece that came from the creative pairing – and inspired the tone that would follow to bring VIP about.

Other interesting individuals include Valentina the first woman in space; the master conman who sold the Brooklyn Bridge at least once a week for thirty years; the ghost of a pugilist; the stunt pilot who discovered Angel Falls, and the Japanese soldier who fought the Second World War well into the 1970s.

“Clever lyrical lines, interesting contemporary, semi-acoustic, rocking arrangements… courageous and creatively skilled.” ∗∗∗∗ Scotland on Sunday

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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Cathy Jordan – All The Way Home

Musician and vocalist Cathy Jordan, long time member of multi-award winning traditional Irish band Dervish, will launch her debut solo album on 2nd April 2012.  Cathy’s first ever performance as a solo artist took place on Friday 20th January at the Tron Theatre at the Celtic Connections Festival.  The gig featured guest appearances from album contributors including fellow Dervish star Liam Kelly, flute/whistle legend Michael McGoldrick and members of Swedish band Väsen.

The new album, All The Way Home, is the highly anticipated solo showcase of the musical and vocal talents of the Roscommon native. This seminal work, some twenty years in the making, features many of the most notable names in the folk world, both at home in Ireland and abroad.  All The Way Home, which was produced in Sweden by acclaimed producer, multi-instrumentalist and long time collaborator Roger Tallroth, intimately communicates the rich cultural tapestry resulting from Cathy’s unique musical and personal journey from early childhood through her professional success to date.

All The Way Home allows the listener a glimpse into a more personal side of Ms. Jordan’s life. Among the twelve tracks are traditional ballads Cathy would have heard sung in the family home from the earliest age. Performing these songs with family and friends was a fundamental part of family life and became embedded in Cathy’s musical psyche. They are songs that now represent the tradition of her childhood, a tradition that has experienced a renaissance of interest in recent times. For this reason Cathy wanted to reintroduce these songs to a new generation with a vibrant and contemporary energy, whilst retaining some of the traditional methods of how they were intended to be performed. To achieve this Cathy worked with acclaimed musicians such as Roger Tallroth (guitars), Gustaf Ljunggren (lap steel/banjo/piano) and Lars Andreas Haug (tuba) of Sweden, Ireland’s Andy Irvine and the distinctive sounds of singer song-writer Eddi Reader with whom she duets on Eileen McMahon.  Also featured are Michael McGoldrick on uileann pipes, Rick Epping on concertina and harmonica, Seamie O’Dowd on fiddle, Liam Kelly on flute among others

To write a fitting chapter to the story that is All The Way Home Cathy includes four of her own songs, which mirror an early chapter and somewhat of a conclusion to developments in Cathy’s own life.  The first of these The Road I Go, co-written with Brendan Graham, tells the story of the restlessness of youth, of a young person bored with the familiar surroundings and experiences of home and longing to see the world and what it has to offer, yet well prepared by a strong sense of place and family. The final song, and title track to the album, tells the opposite story, a story of a longing to return to the familiarity of home after seeing what the world actually has to offer and finally realizing that ‘home’ is where the heart belongs.

For Cathy there is special place in her heart for this album; “These singing sessions and songs provided the soundtrack to my life for many years.  Every social occasion had a singing session to mark it; births, deaths marriages’, christenings, house Stations, Easter, Christmas; you name it we sang our way through it.”

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).


Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist Web link: www.cathyjordan.com