Elliott Morris announces his second album

Elliott Morris

The Way Is Clear is the new album from singer/songwriter and guitarist Elliott Morris. It showcases Elliott’s expert percussive acoustic guitar playing, swooping and soulful electric solos, heartfelt lyrics and strong, honest vocals.

And he’s put together an all-star ensemble. Playing alongside are Paul Carrack (Ace, Squeeze, Mike + The Mechanics, Eric Clapton) on Hammond organ, Paul’s son Jack Carrack on drums, Innes Watson (Treacherous Orchestra) and Mike Vass (PRS Scots Trad Composer of the Year, SAY Award Nominee) on fiddles/strings, Laura-Beth Salter (The Shee) on mandolin and vocals, Rosie Hood (Dovetail Trio) on vocals, Stu Hanna (Megson) on mandolin and guitar, David Milligan (Larry Carlton, Mark Knopfler, Karine Polwart) on piano, Simon Bates (Jamie Cullam, Elvis Costello) on tenor saxophone, Alan Thomson (The John Martyn Band) on fretless bass and Elliott’s brother Bevan Morris (Dallahan, Pons Aelius) on double and electric bass. The album also features two other members of Pons Aelius, Jordan Aikin on Great Highland bagpipes, whistle and Alasdair Paul on bouzouki.

Music blog WriteWyattUK proclaimed that Elliott Morris “redefines folk…with a little John Martyn influence delivered in Seth Lakeman style” and BBC 6Music’s Tom Robinson described him as “absurdly talented”.

With hundreds of gigs behind him – and a coveted Danny Kyle Award from Celtic Connections – Elliott Morris has a formidable reputation as one of the hardest-working and most sought-after artists on the acoustic scene.

The singer-songwriter, featured in Acoustic magazine as “The Next Big Thing”, has a unique guitar style. Favouring open tunings, his extended techniques include percussive hits, string tapping, and occasionally slide.

Half English, half Scottish and raised in Wales and Lincolnshire, Elliott has continued this journey by honing his craft on the road. He has played all across the British Isles, from Orkney to Plymouth, Boston to Llangrannog, Belfast to Clonakilty. And further afield, he’s headlined shows in Germany, Holland, Ireland, Canada. Other key dates have included Upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London, as well as major events such as Cambridge Folk Festival, The Great British Folk Festival, Hop Farm, Towersey Festival, The London Acoustic Guitar Show and the Ullapool Guitar Festival.

He scooped a prestigious Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections in Glasgow, BBC Alba broadcast a duo performance with Dougie Maclean at Perthshire Amber and in 2019 Elliott is a Drake Yolanda Award grant recipient.

Elliott Morris twice toured the UK opening for Paul Carrack taking in over fifty major venues including a show at The London Palladium.

He has supported a seemingly endless list of other respected acts, among them Frank Turner, Andy McKee, Seth Lakeman, Lau, Big Country, The Levellers, Ed Sheeran, Cara Dillon and Eddi Reader.

But now Elliott moves centre stage, the spotlight focused on him. June 2019 sees him release his second album The Way Is Clear, with a launch show at Cecil Sharp House.

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Artist’s website: http://www.elliottmorris.co.uk/

‘One More Day’ – official video:

INNES WATSON’S GUITAR COLLOQUIUM – Guitar Colloquium (ISLE Music Scotland ISLE06)

Guitar ColloquiumI’m a little late with this one, for various reasons: Innes Watson’s CD Innes Watson’s Guitar Colloquium was due to be released on the 13th January 2019. However, now I’ve finally caught up with it, it’s too good not to review. Innes Watson is a multi-instrumentalist from Glasgow. It tells us on his website that he’s “A composer of fiddle tunes, string arrangements, guitar music, songs and much more“, and those talents are well displayed on this CD. He’s supported on this set of instrumentals by a variety of other guitarists playing acoustic, electric, tenor, electric tenor and bass guitars, as well as two drummers, two fiddle players, and a cello player, all well-known on the Scottish contemporary music scene.

Here’s the track list – all titles are credited to Innes Watson except as specified below.

  1. ‘Prelude For Sandy’ arranges the heck out of a simple chord sequence.
  2. ‘Doo Da’ is based around a sprightly tune with a structural resemblance to ‘The Little Beggarman’: coincidental, no doubt, since the explanation for the title in the notes makes no reference to Auld Johnny Doo. Nice instrumental harmonies and a tasty acoustic guitar break.
  3. ‘Feds’ (traditional arranged by Jack Evans and Innes Watson) is a variation on a tune often called ‘Waiting For The Federals’ (among many other names, including ‘Seneca Square Dance’). It’s not very danceable in this form, but it is very listenable, moving from a repetitive first section to a more literal but relaxed reading of a tune, to a slower, jazzy electric guitar noodle, and back down the list. Very nice.
  4. ‘Mando Endo’ is described in the notes as “a slow air subjected to the mandolin“, though I don’t hear anything recognizable as a mandolin here. I do hear some very nice Celtic-ish guitar, however, which seques abruptly into the next track.
  5. ‘Udon Noodle’ is altogether funkier. A noodle it may be, but it’s suitably nourishing to the ears.
  6. ‘Stubbs’ apparently takes its name from Stubbington in the South of England, but combines some funky riffing with a tune that would be quite at home in a ceilidh. It even got close to getting me dancing, even though I realized long ago that I perform better in the band than on the dance floor.
  7. ‘Waste Not’ starts with a jazzy chord sequence and then evolves into a guitar-dominated minor theme that segues into the next track.
  8. ‘Waste’ is, by contrast, a brisk piece that nevertheless echoes the previous track in places.
  9. ‘Misty The Cat’ (Paul Jennings, arranged by Innes Watson) starts with Celtic-ish guitar but picks up other instruments as it goes. Fun.
  10. ‘For Queen Nell’ is an intriguing tune: I particularly like the way the counterpoint bass and the distorted electric guitar on the playout.
  11. ‘Wee Dafty’ is described in the sleeve notes as “my attempt at writing a filthy chic hornpipe…” I have to say that the explanations of how the titles came about on this record are almost as entertaining as the tunes themselves. It takes a while to get to the hornpipe section, but it’s worth waiting for. Perhaps it’s as well that no words made it to this cut, though.
  12. ‘Roger’ is an attractive, deceptively simple piece apparently named for Roger Bucknall of Fylde Guitars.
  13. Fiddles and cello add depth to the guitars in the gently flowing ‘Cowboy & The Pussycat’.
  14. ‘Glasgow Guitar Colloquium’ (Innes Watson, arranged by Andrea Gobbi, Barry Reid, Innes Watson) features pretty much the whole band making whoopee over a repetitive riff, building up to some hysterical fiddlework. I have to admit that I had almost as much fun listening as they seemed to have recording it.

This is a hard album to classify. It has elements of folk and even folk-rock; some pieces are decidedly jazzy and even have elements of jazz-funk, though most of it seems closely and carefully arranged rather than improvisational. But who says it needs to be classified anyway? There is a great deal of flawlessly played and beautifully orchestrated guitar that transcends musical barriers, with solid support from a group of very sound musicians, and I think it will appeal to many people as much as it does me. And I like it very much.

David Harley

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Artist’s website: inneswatson.co.uk/

Promo video:

Rab Noakes announces new album

Welcome to Anniversaryville released on Friday 13th July 2018

Rab Noakes
Photograph by Brian Aris

In February of 2017 Rab Noakes performed a well-attended, highly-acclaimed concert, with his ‘70/50 in 2017’ band of musicians at Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket, as part of that year’s Celtic Connections festival. That concert, its songs and its players form the backbone of this record. The songs are mostly by Rab and span nearly 50 years of songwriting from ‘Together Forever’ [1969] to ‘It All Joins Up (In The End)’ [2017]. They form a sequence which contains interpretations of songs from a diverse range of sources from Scots traditional to Scots Gaelic to Al Jolson to Doris Troy to Pee Wee King to Marijohn Wilkins.

The band members are a rich mixture of people, some of whom Rab has worked with before and some he hadn’t. Some of them had played together before and some hadn’t. They are Stuart Brown – drums; Christine Hanson – cello; Jill Jackson – guitar, singing; Kathleen MacInness – singing; Una McGlone – double-bass; Lisbee Stainton – 8-string guitar, banjo, singing; Innes Watson – fiddle, guitar, singing. A broad range of songs was chosen, and rehearsed, for the concert. It was an easy decision to reach to arrange to visit the recording studio on the weekend immediately following it. Over those three days, the backbone of this record was laid. Some of the songs were performed live in the studio.

Some were laid as backing tracks. New tunes, awaiting lyrics, were laid and Welcome To Anniversaryville  was well underway. In no hurry, so not using up a large amount of days, John Cavanagh, Stephy Pordage and I were in John’s upstairs room, in Muirend, with musicians coming to complete this work. Sometimes they were alone, at other times there were two, even three, of them at a time. Guest musicians appeared such as Davie Craig – fiddle, singing; Alex Gascoine – violin; Sue McKenzie – baritone plus soprano sax and Emily Tse – bass trombone. In time the seventeen tracks were worked on to a satisfactory conclusion.

Rab says, “It’s all too easy for artists to believe their latest is their best work. It’s seldom true and, in any case, it takes time for that to be proved. In this case though, for me, it may well be true. The quality of the contributions from all involved, the attitude and sound achieved alongside the subject matters of the songs and their provenance does seem to add up to something. I always strive to make a record only I can make. I leave it to you to put that to the test”.

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Artist’s website: http://rabnoakes.com/

‘Jackson Greyhound’ – live with Jill Jackson:

Elliott Morris announces debut album

Elliott Morris

Lost And Found is the debut album from singer/songwriter and guitarist Elliott Morris. Recorded at Caribou Studios, Scotland and produced by Mattie Foulds, the album is a melting pot of folk, rock, blues and country. Blending progressive, contemporary ingredients with still vibrant British folk and roots traditions, this is folk music for the 21st century.

The album showcases Elliott’s expert percussive acoustic guitar playing, swooping and soulful electric solos, heartfelt lyrics and strong, honest vocals.

And he’s put together an all-star ensemble. Playing alongside are Paul Carrack (Ace, Squeeze, Mike + The Mechanics, Eric Clapton) on Hammond organ, Paul’s son Jack Carrack on drums, Innes Watson (Treacherous Orchestra) and Mike Vass (PRS Scots Trad Composer of the Year, SAY Award Nominee) on fiddles/strings, Laura-Beth Salter (The Shee) on mandolin and vocals, Lisbee Stainton (Seth Lakeman Band) on guitar and vocals, Jim Molyneux (4Square) on piano and Fender Rhodes, Alan Thomson (The John Martyn Band) on fretless bass and Elliott’s brother Bevan Morris (Dallahan, Pons Aelius) on double and electric bass.

Music blog WriteWyattUK proclaimed that Elliott Morris “redefines folk…with a little John Martyn influence delivered in Seth Lakeman style” and BBC 6Music’s Tom Robinson described him as “absurdly talented”.

Lost And Found is released both on CD and on iTunes worldwide on 16th June 2017. Elliott plays a special launch gig at Cecil Sharp House in London on 21st June, and at Café Portico in Lincoln on 30th June.

With hundreds of gigs behind him – and a coveted Danny Kyle Award from Celtic Connections 2013 – Elliott Morris has a formidable reputation as one of the hardest-working and most sought-after young artists on the acoustic scene.

The singer-songwriter, featured in Acoustic magazine as “The Next Big Thing”, taps the strings and beats the guitar’s body to create an intricate spectacle, together with an original and unique sound integral to his songs.

Half English, half Scottish and raised in Wales and Lincolnshire, Elliott is continuing this journey by means of his almost constant touring schedule. He plays across the British Isles, from Orkney to Plymouth, Boston to Llangrannog, Belfast to Clonakilty.

Elliott’s original compositions marry intricate guitar lines with heartfelt, honest vocals and clever wordplay, combining elements of folk, roots, jazz and country, all the time embracing the traditional and the contemporary.

Elliott has honed his craft on the road, regularly clocking up 120+ gigs a year. He has headlined in Germany, Holland, Ireland and Upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London, as well as performing at major festivals such as Cambridge Folk Festival, Hop Farm, Towersey Festival, The London Acoustic Guitar Show and the Ullapool Guitar Festival. He scooped a prestigious Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections in Glasgow, and last year BBC Alba broadcast a duo performance with Dougie Maclean at Perthshire Amber.

Elliott Morris twice toured the UK opening for Paul Carrack (Squeeze, Mike + The Mechanics, Ace, Eric Clapton), taking in over fifty major venues including a show at The London Palladium.

He has also supported a seemingly endless list of other respected acts, among them Frank Turner, Andy McKee, Seth Lakeman, Lau, Big Country, The Levellers, Ed Sheeran, Cara Dillon and Eddi Reader. But now Elliott moves centre stage, the spotlight focused on him.

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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. Can’t find what you are looking for? Search Amazon Store below.

Artist’s website: www.elliottmorris.co.uk

‘Sirens’ and Elliott’s tour video:

Fraser Shaw – posthumous tune book and CD

Fraser Shaw
The Islay Sessioners

Fraser Shaw was a wonderful piper, whistle player and composer from Glasgow who resided on the Isle of Islay. After his passing in May 2015, a group of friends and family started a Trust in his honour. The foremost aim of the Fraser Shaw Trust is to raise money for the relief of multiple sclerosis, particularly in Argyll, Scotland, through a series of projects and events celebrating Fraser and his music.

A few years before Fraser’s passing, he had it in mind to release a book of his own compositions, the proceeds of which would go towards the MS Care Centre in Lochilphead, Scotland. Unfortunately, due to his illness, this never came to fruition.

Over the last year and a half, the Trust have been working hard to bring this idea to life and release this much anticipated book, along with an album comprised of Fraser’s tunes. In November 2015 a group of musicians gathered on Islay, to play a special memorial concert at Fraser’s festival, The Islay Sessions, thus laying the groundwork for this album. In January 2016 at Celtic Connections this same group of musicians, “The Islay Sessioners”, as they called themselves, performed this music as part of Islay Night, a concert that both celebrated the music and culture of Islay, and the music of Fraser Shaw.

In September 2016, recording began for the album in Castlesound and Carrier Waves Studios. Many of the arrangements heard at Islay Night have been recorded, along with a few additional tracks. Playing on the album are; Adam Sutherland, Eilidh Shaw, Gráinne Brady, Lori Watson, Innes Watson, Angus MacKenzie, Calum MacCrimmon, Kevin O’Neill, John Somerville, Laura-Beth Salter, Jenn Butterworth, Ross Martin, Tina Jordan Rees, Duncan Lyall, with very special guests; Kathleen Graham, Mhairi Hall and Ross Couper.

The Fraser Shaw Trust is delighted to announce the release of the book and CD on Tuesday June 27th 2017, with a big launch on the Isle of Islay to mark the occasion. The event will take plce in Bruichladdich Hall, with a concert featuring the musicians on the album. A second launch in Glasgow is set for Monday August 7th in St Luke’s Church as part of Piping Live!

Hard copies of Fraser’s CD will be available exclusively at the pre-launch party which will take place in The Sparkle Horse, Glasgow on Tuesday May 16th. Tickets for launch concerts and pre-orders will be for sale online from May 16th through the website – www.FraserShawTrust.com.

Proceeds of the tunebook will go directly towards the MS Care Centre in Lochilphead. Proceeds of the album and further donations will be used for the advancement of education, arts and culture and for the relief of those living with multiple sclerosis in Scotland, particularly on the Isle of Islay.

ROSS AINSLIE – WIDE OPEN

Ross AinslieReleased on Great White Records GWR001CD

Distribution by Proper Music Distribution

Release date: 10th March, 2014

Nominated as “Musician of the Year” at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, 2013 and nominated, with Jarlath Henderson, in the “Best Duo” category for this year’s Folk Awards.

Ross is one half of the stellar duo, Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Henderson, as well as one of the most sought after musicians in the Scottish music scene today.

Performing with Salsa Celtica, Dougie Maclean and the Treacherous Orchestra, Ross has also appeared and collaborated with Zakir Hussain, Trilok Gurtu, Capercaillie, Mike McGoldrick, Flook and many more.

Wide Open is a snap shot of Ross’s influences and is a diverse collection of musical styles that have inspired him over the years.

The nine tracks feature his talents as master piper and whistle player as well as his skills on cittern and mandolin. Ross is joined by a wonderful line up of musicians: Ali Hutton on guitar, Duncan Lyall on bass, James Mackintosh on drums, Innes Watson on fiddle, John Somerville on accordion, Angus Lyon on keys and Gyan Singh on tabla.

From the Breton influenced ‘Clans’  to the energetic playing on  ‘Problem’ , the album illustrates a fusion of styles that have inspired Ross throughout his musical career. ‘Wood Suite’ is an expression of his musical journeys and fuses the instruments of cittern, whistles, accordion, bass, drums and tabla in an evocative and creative arrangement that takes creative input from his collaborations, in India, to his life in Scotland.

Dedicated to his teacher and mentor the late Gordon Duncan, Wide Open is a musical gathering of his experiences in a refreshing collection of tunes that debuts his creativity as a solo artist.

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Artist’s website: http://www.rossainslie.com/