JACKIE OATES – The Joy Of Living (ECC Records ECC018)

The Joy Of LivingJackie Oates’ new album, her seventh, is an intensely personal one with songs spanning four generations of her family from her grandfather to her daughter Rosie. The latter can be heard on several tracks notably her “theme tune”, ‘Rosy Apple’. The Joy Of Living reflects on new life and death – Jackie’s father died unexpectedly five days after Rosie was born, and I really can’t imagine the tumult of emotions she must have felt.

So a makeshift studio was set up in her kitchen and producer Simon Richmond would travel to hers and they would get as much work done as possible in the time available – hence young Rosie’s contributions to some of the tracks. The album opens with Hamish Henderson’s ‘Freedom Come-All-Ye’. Jackie’s father fought in the 51st Highland Division, Henderson’s regiment, and she sings the beautiful tune sensitively but without excessive emotion. From there we turn to the new life with ‘Spring Is Coming Soon’, a song that Jackie made up when Rosie was very small and it paves the way for several other children’s songs scattered through the album.

John Lennon’s painful ‘Mother’ comes as something as a shock and I’m still not sure how to interpret it. Is Jackie lifting the lid on something better left concealed? If so she quickly slams it shut again with a reprise of ‘Spring Is Coming Soon’ with its repeated “we’ll be happy very soon”. It’s certainly a stunning performance and one that Jackie is not afraid to tackle on stage. The traditional ‘Virginny’ is a song that Jackie learned from her father and is faithful to his version and now we have encompassed all four generations.

‘The Joy Of Living’ had quite an impact on the young listeners at the launch event but, being an old codger, I can’t help but contrast it with ‘The Manchester Rambler’, written when MacColl was a young man. The love of the mountains is present in two songs written roughly fifty years apart in very different contexts. But I digress. ‘Unicorns’ is another song that Jackie grew up with and I suppose that ‘Catch Me If You Can’, ‘The Bird’ and ‘Sweet Farewell’ fall into that category. The last two songs return to Jackie’s father. ‘The Last Trip Home’ was one of his favourites and ‘Rolling Home’ is actually a fragment of a recording of him in a session – Jackie picks up the song as the clip fades out.

Musically, there is great variety but nothing is overbearing – how many musicians can you actually record in a kitchen at one time? The piano was already there but John Parker had to bring his double bass, Barney Morse Brown his cello and Matt Allwright his pedal steel. Jack Rutter is Jackie’s regular sidesman now, John Spiers dropped in and Megan Henwood was around a lot to provide the backing vocals. The Joy Of Living was recorded over a long period and not necessarily under ideal circumstances but it comes over as fresh and spontaneous and, indeed, a joy to listen to.

Dai Jeffries

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’s website: www.jackieoates.co.uk

‘Nay Ivy Nay’ – live:

JACKIE OATES – Lush Studio Soho

Jackie Oates
Photograph by Dai Jeffries

I have reported on CD launch events from a number of venues; the BBC Club, The Convent, even Wigan but none as lush as …well, Lush. On the hottest day of the year in London the air-conditioned Lush Studio Soho was an oasis. It’s a rabbit warren of a building and definitely bigger on the inside than the outside. I don’t know what part of the firm’s business is conducted there but the place was full of shiny happy people who obviously love their jobs. Jackie Oates has a commercial connection with Lush so where better to stage this event.

The performance space is called The Nest and was decorated with roses and flooded with red light. This was after terribly sticky cupcakes featuring roses and apple and hand made cocktails featuring the same ingredients – although a bigger shot of gin wouldn’t have gone amiss – and the roses and apple scent of one of their fragrances.

The album being previewed is called The Joy Of Living. Its title track is the Ewan MacColl song and the number that Jackie closed with. The younger and less embittered members of the audience admitted to tearing up a little at the end. It’s an appropriate title for an album that spans four generations from Jackie’s grandfather who fought with the 51st Highland Division to her daughter, Rosie and her sibling on the way, and encompasses life and death.

Jackie opted to open with ‘Caroline And Her Young Sailor Bold’ which isn’t on the album but its theme of love conquering all is totally relevant. ‘The Last Trip Home’, which came next, was one of Jackie’s father’s favourites and is redolent of the sadness surrounding his death. Then Jackie looked forward with three children’s songs: ‘My Shoes Are Made Of Spanish’, ‘Spring Is Coming Soon’ and ‘Rosy Apple’ – hence the decorative theme. Before we got too misty-eyed she switched to John Lennon’s extraordinary ‘Mother’, perhaps making the point that parenthood isn’t always a bed of roses. Hamish Henderson’s ‘Freedom Come-All-Ye’ for Jackie’s grandfather and ‘Virginny’ learned from her father brought us almost home before ‘The Joy Of Living’.

Jackie stuck to her five-string viola and was accompanied by Jack Rutter on guitar, Indian harmonium (great for drones) and a remarkable looking but wonderful sounding fan fret cittern – hand built, of course. It was a delightful evening which promised a lovely album to come.

Dai Jeffries

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’s website: www.jackieoates.co.uk

‘The Joy Of Living’ – live at Cecil Sharp House:

Jackie Oates: new album and tour dates

Jackie Oates
Photograph courtesy of The Oxford Times

We are proud to announce the release of the seventh studio album, The Joy Of Living, by Jackie Oates. It’s a record that covers an intensely personal period of her life, in which she celebrated the birth of her daughter Rosie and bid an emotional and loving farewell to her beloved father.

The Joy Of Living features songs made famous by folk greats including Ewan McColl, Lal Waterson and Davey Steele, as well as carefully picked songs from contemporary artists such as John Lennon and Darwin Deez – all interpreted in Jackie’s inimitable style.

Recorded at home in Jackie’s kitchen (with baby Rosie in attendance) she collaborated with fellow Imagined Village alumni and producer Simon Richmond to create this intimate, touching and uplifting collection. The album also features performances by friends from the world of folk including Mike Cosgrave, Barney Morse Brown, John Parker and Jack Rutter.

Born and raised on folk music, Jackie Oates started her career as a finalist in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards in 2003. Since then she has been nominated for twelve BBC Folk awards; at the 2009 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards she scooped Best Newcomer and Best Traditional Track on the same night.

Jackie will be performing at festivals throughout the summer and is on tour in November 2018 and February 2019.

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.

‘The Joy Of Living’ – live:

2018 Tour Dates

25th August 2018: Oxford Storytelling Festival

15th November 2018: Kitchen Garden Cafe, Birmingham

16th November 2018: Pound Arts Centre, Fordham

17th November 2018: Tuppenny Barn, Emsworth

21st November 2018: The Greystones, Sheffield

24th November 2018: Shelley Theatre, Bournemouth

Wanton Seed Singing Weekend

Wanton SeedFind harmony in Sheffield this summer

Do you want to sing your heart out in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside? Do you yearn to delve into some classic folk repertoire? Do you want to hone (or even find!) your vocal skills with the likes of Jackie Oates, Paul Sartin and the Askew Sisters?

Soundpost’s Wanton Seed Singing Weekend, which takes place in the Sheffield village of Dungworth (8-10 June 2018) is aimed at anyone from complete beginners to experienced singers. Says director (and singer/fiddle player) Bryony Griffith, “If you’ve never sung out before, it’s the perfect place to come and do it in a safe environment. If you’ve sung a lot, it’s a great way to learn new arrangements or new ways of singing or accompanying yourself. Our tutors all have a slightly different skill set and we have a good mixture of academic and performance skills, as well as different instruments.” There are even bursaries available if you’re between 18 and 30.

The weekend, which celebrates the songs brought together by the reissue of the classic folk song books Marrowbones and The Wanton Seed and the brand new omnibus edition, Southern Harvest, is a mix of workshops, talks and performances as well as one-to-ones with the artists and the workshops have enticing titles such as “The wanton women –exploring songs of women who did”, “Recycling song” and “weird and wonderful harmonies”.

In fact, says Griffith, “You could even come and not sing a note but still enjoy learning about the repertoire. We aim to make it really inclusive and everyone who comes to these weekends goes home having made friends – some have even formed singing groups.”

Event website: http://soundpost.org.uk/events/wanton-seed-weekend

The 2018 Folking Awards

Welcome to the 2018 Folking Awards and thank you again to everyone who participated last year. The nominations, in eight categories, come from our ever-expanding team of writers and were wrangled into shape with considered argument and arm-wrestling by the Folkmeister and the Editor.

There are five nominees in each category, all of whom have impressed our writers during 2017.

As with the format last year, all are winners in our eyes, as are quite a few who didn’t make the short list. However, it’s not just down to what we think, so again, there will be a public vote to decide the overall winner of each category.

*The Public Vote for each category will close at 9.00pm on Sunday 1st April (GMT+1).


Soloist Of The Year

 Jon Boden
Ange Hardy
Daria Kulesh
Richard Thompson
Chris Wood


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Best Duo

Kate & Raphael
O’Hooley & Tidow
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman
Laura Smyth & Ted Kemp
Winter Wilson


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Best Band

Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys
Merry Hell
Peter Knight’s Gigspanner
Police Dog Hogan
The Unthanks


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Best Live Act

CC Smugglers
Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band
Fairport Convention
Lau
Merry Hell


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Best Album

Bring Back Home – Ange Hardy
Pretty Peggy – Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys
Long Lost Home – Daria Kulesh
A Pocket Of Wind Resistance – Karine Polwart/Pippa Murphy
Strangers – The Young ‘Uns


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Best Musician

Kevin Crawford
Seth Lakeman
Richard Thompson
Karen Tweed
Ryan Young


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


Rising Star

Sam Brothers
Siobhan Miller
Jack Rutter
Sound Of The Sirens
The Trials Of Cato


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!!

 


Best International Artist

Rodney Crowell
Anna Coogan
Michael McDermott
Le Vent Du Nord
The Wailin’ Jennys


Public Vote

*And the winner is: Open envelope!

 


If you would like to consider ordering a copy of an album for any of our award winners (in CD or Vinyl), download an album or track or just listen to snippets of selected songs (track previews are usually on the download page) then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Use the left and right arrows to scroll.

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.

Folkies 2018

JACK RUTTER – Hills (own label RUTTCD024)

HillsLook, I’m sorry. I know that this record won’t be released for a while yet and you can’t get your hands on it but I’ve been sitting on it for several weeks with barely concealed impatience and now is the time. The first thing I want to say is that if anyone tells you that traditional music is dying or just for us oldies, point them to Jack Rutter and his debut album, Hills. As Martin Carthy says, the worst thing you can do to a traditional song is not sing it. These songs need to be sung and refreshed by each successive generation and that’s exactly what Jack does.

The majority of the songs come from Jack’s native county and his soft Yorkshire accent adds just the right measure of distinctiveness. These are all solo performances with no overdubs and Jack plays guitar, bouzouki and Maccann Duet concertina. He starts with ‘Hey John Barleycorn’, a composite version like many now, and avoids the temptation of a big chorus and next comes the first bit of real cleverness. ‘The Bilberry Moors’ is a poem written in the nineteenth century by a Mr. John Swain and the tune that Jack wrote for it sounds so nineteenth century; uplifting and a bit bucolic. The fact that the moors in question are close to Jack’s home makes the words and melody a perfect match.

‘The Deserter’ is one of two songs originally from Wiggy Smith and is more or less the version that Martin Carthy sings. The second is ‘I’ll Take My Dog And My Airgun Too’, presumably Smith’s title but not one I’ve encountered before, and as before Jack has assembled verses from here and there to his satisfaction. In fact, there are only three songs that he sings as he first heard them; two from the Watersons and one from Frank Hinchcliffe, but I’ll bet he’s added a few tweaks to them.

I have to be critical of one track. Jack sings the standard Anglicised version of ‘The Dalesman’s Litany’ as most singers do which isn’t exactly what Frederic W Moorman wrote. Whither “Hunslet, Holbeck, Wibsey Slack” I wonder. What he does do well is to use his guitar to express the singer’s anger at the world as he finds it in an instrumental break before the final verse in which contentment is found. That is clever and adds his signature to a song that is so well-known.

I’m not going to leave on a negative note, though. ‘Hatton Woods’, ‘Stormy Winds’ and ‘The Banks Of Sweet Dundee’ are enough to make up for any perceived shortcomings in one track and this is set to be one of my albums of the year.

Dai Jeffries

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’s website: www.jackruttermusic.com

‘Hey John Barleycorn’ – live: