The Folking.com 2018 Merry Hell Interview from Cropredy Fringe

Merry Hell

Paul Johnson and Darren Beech create Merry Hell as they attempt to break the world record for ‘how many folk-rock musicians you can fit round a table in a pub in Cropredy. Yes you guessed it, the interview took place in the Brasenose, as part of the Cropredy fringe on the first day of the festival.

In the interview, Merry Hell talk about their delight in winning Best Live Act and Best Group in this year’s folking awards and discuss the process behind their song writing and how the material is selected for each album.

Other subjects covered include; the new acoustic album, Dai Jeffries trip to Wigan to review the acoustic band gig and being piled with ‘Uncle Joe’s’ mint balls (read it here if you missed it).

Upcoming tour and festival dates are also covered, from the excellent Southdowns Folk Festival in Bognor Regis on the south coast to Mike Harding’s fab festival in Settle ‘Up North’. Note the additional Kentish f  that was specially added for Virginia free of charge!

Click on the play button below to have a listen.

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Artists’ website: www.merryhell.co.uk

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PHILLIP HENRY and HANNAH MARTIN RELEASE NEW ALBUM MYND

PHILLIP HENRY & HANNAH MARTINFast-rising Devon musicians and singer songwriters Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin (who recently clinched the Best Duo title in the recent 2013 Spiral Awards) are now out on tour. The Exeter pair also recently won the Best Folk Act title in the South West Music Awards.

They were originally “discovered” by Show of Hands front-man Steve Knightley who first encountered the duo busking on the seafront during Devon’s Sidmouth Folk Week. He describes their sound as “textured, hypnotic and utterly captivating”.

Henry, studied in Calcutta with India’s premier slide guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya which no doubt has helped his growing reparation as an accomplished slide guitarist. Henry is also a fine singer (as demonstrated in the  video below of The Boy That Wouldn’t Hoe Corn) and plays beat-box harmonica like a man possessed.  Coupled with Hannah light touched fiddle/ banjo playing skills and haunting vocals the pair have knack for tapping traditional music veins to create contemporary songs that are interwoven into the pair’s subtle chemistry. Certainly, a sound different from the run of the mill duo experience which is drawn from a wellspring of English folk music, Indian classical melodies, gospel and American blues.

The duo have supported the likes of fellow West Country folk roots luminaries Seth Lakeman, Show of Hands, Cara Dillon and Steve Knightley (solo UK tour) and played key festivals from Glastonbury to Sidmouth. Their debut album Singing the Bones, released in 2011, was praised by Radio 2’s Mike Harding and Radio 3’s Fiona Talkington (Late Junction).

In September the duo will release their second studio album, entitled Mynd, which will focus on music deeply rooted in the landscapes and history of England, particularly their native south-west. We are told that it will also include a haunting Hannah Martin penned song called Last Broadcast which is about the late American-born Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin, who lost her life in Syria last year.

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

THE ALBION BAND – Vice Of The People (Powered Flight Music POWFCD02)

The stark acapella ‘calling-on song’ “A Quarter Hour Of Fame” takes a knowing pop at the industry known as ‘pop’ for, if Simon Cowell were to take even the slightest interest in a ‘folk’ band I’m sure he wouldn’t know what to do with them. So, in a track that lasts a mere 44 seconds it would appear the new line-up of The Albion Band mean business much like their predecessor. Forthright views conveyed with a passion were always part of the original band’s make-up thanks due in no small part to the lyrics of John Tams and I’m pleased to say Katriona Gilmore (fiddle) and Gavin Davenport (guitar/concertina) continue in that spirit. Of course, an Albion Band wouldn’t be The Albion Band without the inclusion of at least a couple of trad arr: songs/tunes and in this regard they don’t disappoint with re-workings of “Adieu To Old England” and the downright shanty-rock anthem treatment of “One More Day” where the trademark Stratocaster sound (once provided by Sir Simon Nicol) will leave any festival-going audience with a smile a mile wide. The rest of the band; Blair Dunlop (guitars), Benjamin Trott (lead guitar), Tom Wright (drums) and Tim Yates (bass/melodeon) really are a great ‘engine room’ providing rock solid rhythms and I’d say in conclusion that the band’s name and music is in safe hands. In the words of the great David (we are not worthy) Essex ”Rock On”!

PETE FYFE

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KYLE CAREY – Monongah (Self-Released)

A bit like President Obama I feel that Ms Carey is a ‘nice’ person. It’s not that I know her personally of course but judging her on the merits of this album I feel that all is right with the world. This could also have something to do with the fact that Lunasa’s Donogh Hennessy is sitting in the producer’s chair and in company with a guest list of musicians including Trevor Hutchinson (Bass), Aoife Clancy (harmony vocals), Neil Fitzgibbon (string driven things) and the crisply tuneful glissando mandolin of John Kirk this album really is something of a gem. If I said that the recording should be played relentlessly on BBC Radio 2 then I hope that there are enough producers out there to take note to steer the album in the direction of Mike Harding and Aled Jones etc. A much seasoned traveller Kyle’s Appalachian/Scots influenced songs have an organic ‘feel’ that is delivered in a laid-back way that would do justice to any recent recording by Dolly Parton…minus the ‘howdee’ drawl if you’ll excuse me being so presumptuous. Intriguing subject matter often inspired by poems from the pens of authors such as Louise McNeill (RIP) who unknowingly contributed to the title track and “Devil At Your Back” would I’m sure be proud to be represented in such a way. The final track “Reprise” proved a little unsettling for me (in a good way) in that it opens with a stark fiddle ‘Civil War’ type slow air (think Clint Eastwood in the film “Beguiled” or a soundtrack not dissimilar to the movie “Ravenous”) and, after a monumental pause of 57 seconds (and yes, I did time it!) before the final song (a reprise of “Adenine”) is more than worth while waiting for. Like discovered treasure you’ll find this a rewarding experience.

PETE FYFE

We have set up a new UK & U.S Storefront for brand new CD/Vinyl/Download releases recently featured together with a search facility for older stuff. The link for the folking store is: https://folking.com/folking-store/

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Artist Web link: www.kyleannecarey.com

DAVID GIBB and ELLY LUCAS – Old Chairs To Mend (Hairpin Records 002)

David Gibb and Elly Lucas are an exciting young duo who play a mixture of original and re‐worked traditional folk material. They hail from Derbyshire in the Midlands and have previously toured the UK extensively as part of David Gibb & The Pony Club.

David plays the guitars, melodeon and sings; Elly plays fiddle, viola and also sings. From these minimal resources, the twosome produce distinctive vocal leads, haunting harmonies and a quite dense instrumental sound. Their singing is simple and unadorned ‐ check out Elly’s wistful vocal on ‘Blacksmith’ from their début album ‘Old Chairs To Mend’ below:

The pair were chosen as finalists in the prestigious BBC Young Folk Awards 2011 and, on the road, have supported such acts as Cara Dillon, Chris Wood,Coope, Boyes and Simpson, Jez Lowe, and Megson.

In early 2011, they released their first EP, entitled ‘Three Children Sliding On The Ice’, garnering praise and national airplay from the likes of the Mike Harding Show (BBC Radio 2) : Mike Harding says ‘I was very impressed’.

‘Old Chairs To Mend’ is the brand new spanking new album from David Gibb and Elly Lucas and although we have not heard the album in full, we loved the snippets from the Amazon web link below – folking.com

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BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2012 Winners Announced

Lifetime Achievement Awards for Don McLean and The Dubliners

Four Awards for June Tabor & Oysterband

Good Tradition Awards for Ian Campbell and Bill Leader

Broadcast from The Lowry in Salford for the first time

The influential careers of singer-songwriter Don McLean and Irish folk legends The Dubliners were celebrated last night(Wednesday 8th February) at the 13th BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.  Presented by Radio 2 Folk Show host Mike Harding and singer Julie Fowlis, this was the first year the awards were held outside London. The event was broadcast live on BBC Radio 2, online and on BBC Red Button from the Lowry in Salford.

Bob Shennan, Controller, Radio 2 and 6 Music said:

“Folk music is enjoying a fantastic resurgence in popularity in the UK with a vibrant and varied scene. Tonight’s event proves once again how important it is for Radio 2 to schedule our annual Folk Awards as well as our weekly folk show, and I’d like to congratulate all of the winners.”

Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Don McLean who commented:

“I thank the BBC for thinking of me and honouring me with this award. The UK audience has been among the most loyal for over 40 years and without them certainly I wouldn’t be considered for this honour, so I thank the BBC and I thank the British public”.

The Dubliners, who celebrate their 50th year of being together this year, had their achievements recognised when they received their Lifetime Achievement accolade from singer-songwriter Ralph McTell.

The night in part belonged to June Tabor and Oysterband who picked up four awards for each of the categories they were nominated in. Folk singer June was reunited with roots rebels Oysterband after 21 years and their much acclaimed reunion led them to receiving the prestigious Best Album Award for Ragged Kingdom, Best Traditional Track for Bonny Bunch of Roses and Best Group, while June was crowned Folk Singer of the Year.

The evening was also a successful one for Tim Edey who picked up two awards – Musician of the Year and with Brendan Power the gong for Best Duo.

For the first time the Best Original Song prize was given to two winners, with Bella Hardy’s The Herring Girl and Steve Tilston’s The Reckoning sharing the honours. 21 year-old Lucy Ward was a Young Folk Award Finalist in 2009 and now found herself picking up the Horizon Award, which recognises the achievements of newcomers, for her blend of modern and traditional folk.

The Home Service, whose Live 1986 album was released in 2011 following the discovery of a 25-year old tape, were named as Best Live Act. Special recognition went to Ian Campbell and Bill Leader who were honoured with the Good Tradition Award which pays tribute to those who keep traditional folk music alive. Malcolm Taylor OBE, Director of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at the English Folk Dance and Song Society was recognised for his 30 years of service as the recipient of the Roots Award.

Ioscaid (pronounced iss-kidge), a six piece band from Northern Ireland picked up the accolade for Young Folk Award. The group, who are aged between 18 and 20, are made up of Dermot and Fintan Mulholland from Derry, Declan Magee and Niall McCrickard from Down, Niall Murphy from Armagh and Ciaran Hanna from Tyrone.

Celebrities who were on presenting duty on the night included singer-songwriter Ralph McTell, Billy Elliot playwright Lee Hall, Coronation Street’s Kate Ford (Tracy Barlow), comedians Ed Byrne and Jeremy Hardy and BBC broadcasters Stuart Maconie and Paul Gambaccini. Highlights of the Radio 2 Folk Awards will be available on the BBC Red Button for seven days after the award ceremony.

BBC RADIO 2 FOLK AWARDS 2012 – WINNERS

FOLK SINGER OF THE YEAR

June Tabor

 

BEST DUO

Tim Edey & Brendan Power

 

BEST GROUP

June Tabor & Oysterband

 

BEST ALBUM

Ragged Kingdom – June Tabor & Oysterband

 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG (JOINT WINNERS)

The Herring Girl – Bella Hardy

The Reckoning – Steve Tilston

 

BEST TRADITIONAL TRACK

Bonny Bunch of Roses – June Tabor & Oysterband

 

HORIZON AWARD

Lucy Ward

 

MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR

Tim Edey

 

BEST LIVE ACT

The Home Service

 

BBC RADIO 2 YOUNG FOLK AWARD

Ioscaid

 

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

The Dubliners

 

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Don McLean

 

GOOD TRADITION AWARD

Ian Campbell

 

GOOD TRADITION AWARD

Bill Leader

 

ROOTS AWARD

Malcolm Taylor

 
We have set up a new UK & U.S Storefront for brand new CD/Vinyl/Download releases recently featured together with a search facility for older stuff. The link for the folking store is: https://folking.com/folking-store/

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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.