UK debut album by AlascA

AlascA liveOn their debut UK release ACTORS & LIARS, AlascA play eleven tales and songs that have the tendency of lodging themselves in the old grey matter. AlascA’s music has a novel and poetic quality, which to me anyway, will leave a lasting impression.

The tales grow on you and the melodies that guide the lyrics to their end have a place in the past, the present and the future. Their lingering melodies will appeal to the listeners of current indie-folk, but will likewise inspire those who loved the folk sounds, close harmonies and lyrical subtleties of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s.

folkmaster@folking.com

ACTORS & LIARS by AlascAACTORS & LIARS was produced by Grammy-award winning engineer and producer Alan Branch (U2, Jeff Beck, Yusuf Islam, Blur, Nine Inch Nails). When released in the Netherlands in 2012 it peaked at No 9 in the Dutch charts in the week after its release (and stayed in the top 50 the subsequent six weeks) and received much critical acclaim in the Netherlands and Belgium. AlascA’s live performances are characterized by their shifts from intimate singer-songwriter tales to bombastic folk-rock explosions. AlascA are based near Amsterdam and consist of Frank Bond (vocals, guitars, bass), William Bond (harmonies, keys), Ferdinand Jonk (harmonies, banjo, 12-string guitar) and Louis van Sinderen (drums, percussion).

AlascA Photo: www.marcobakker.comThe band are inspired by a diverse collection of bands including the Beatles, Love, the Zombies, Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, CSNY, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Tim Buckley, Gene Clark, the Doors, Fleetwood Mac, Pentangle, David Bowie, Big Star, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, The Dears, The Shins, Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens, Midlake, Yeasayer and Iron & Wine. AlascA have played on De Wereld Draait Door, the Dutch leading prime time television programme and have played at most of the major radio stations in the Netherlands such as Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3FM and Omrop Fryslan.

All the songs on the album apart from Déjà Vu, written by Ferdinand Jonk, were written by Frank Bond. Frank studied English Literature and Literary Sciences at the University of Amsterdam and obtained his Master of Arts Degree in 2009. Frank’s Ma Thesis is on Bob Dylan and provided a critical look into the most prominent academic approaches to Bob Dylan’s lyrics. The thesis was praised for its line of argument and the fact that it proposes a more productive and adequate analysis which also attempts to incorporate the musical elements of Dylan’s song lyrics. After graduation, the thesis was published. Frank, however, is and was not satisfied with the scope of the thesis and is currently working on a revision of his methods of analysis. He is also working on several essays on the various aspects of the current day music industry. In line with his background, Frank’s songwriting and lyrics are inspired by literature and philosophy, in particular Shakespeare, Keats, Coleridge, Yeats, Hemingway, Rimbaud, Pound, Joyce, Lucebert, Sartre, Foucault, Fowles, Kafka, Twain and Lawrence.

Please support us and order via our UK or US Storefront 


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
Physical link for the UK Store is: https://folking.com/folking-store/


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
Physical link to the US Storehttps://folking.com/folking-us-storefront/


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.

For more information and the latest tour dates visit http://www.alascamusic.com/

Colin Bailey reviews THE 1971 PROJECT gig at Riverhouse Barn, Walton-on-Thames 28.9.2012

Fittingly billed by the venue as The American Songbook 1971, this was an evening of new interpretations of songs from four classic singer-songwriter albums produced that year – James Taylor’s Mud Slide Slim And The Blue Horizon, Neil Young’s Harvest, Joni Mitchell’s Blue and Carole King’s Tapestry.

A less than cheery introduction informed us that this was the year Charles Manson was sentenced for his part in the Tate-LaBianca murders, and a hundred people died in the Troubles in Northern Ireland. After that, however, the mood lightened as the accomplished five-piece band reminded us of the superlative writing of Laurel Canyon’s famous residents. A year in gestation, the project brilliantly showcased the jazz credentials of the players thanks to the imaginative arrangements of guitarist Chris Winslet (distant cousin of Kate, if you’re wondering).

The opener, a subtle ‘Heart Of Gold’ featuring wooden flute and melodica, was followed by ‘Mud Slide Slim’ with a characteristically delicate vibes solo from percussionist Martin Pyne (Busnoys, HarmonieBand) and the first of a number of blistering sax solos from reeds virtuoso Tony Woods. Vocalist Rebecca Thorn moved to piano to deliver a duly laid back ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’. Her delivery never an imitation, she consistently gave sympathetic and sophisticated performances, worthy of these great songs.

The most striking rendition of the evening was ‘Blue’ with Rebecca’s vocals accompanied only by the double bass of her father Mike Thorn (Just Misbehavin’, David Essex). A creditable enterprise, to be repeated occasionally – catch it when you can. Colin Bailey

Tags: James Taylor, Mud Slide Slim, The Blue Horizon, Neil Young, Harvest, Joni Mitchell, Blue, Carole King, Tapestry, The American Songbook 1971, Chris Winslet, Kate Winslet, Martin Pyne, Tony Woods, Rebecca Thorn, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Blue, Heart Of Gold, Laurel Canyon, the 1971 project, Colin Bailey

Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Americana

I’ll just admit that when I read the track listing for “Americana,” the first CD by Neil Young and Crazy Horse in 9 years, I sighed.

Yes, I wanted to hear new music from Young but gees, do we really need another cover of American folk classics such as “Oh Susanna,” and “This Land is Your Land?” A few bars into the first track on the album, I would have answered with a heartfelt affirmative that only deepened as I heard more of these beautifully re-crafted songs.

Leave it to Neil Young to create such — let’s say elegant — rock versions of the folk classics many of us learned during elementary school sing a-longs — “This Land is Your Land,” “Tom Dula” and “Clementine.”

If a listener doesn’t tune into the words on some of the songs, it’d be easy to mistake them for  modern-day rock anthems. That’s especially true on the album’s opening track “Oh Susanna,” which is awash in electric guitars and throbbing drums plus Young’s unmistakeable voices, which still have the strength and nuances they held a few decades ago.

That’s not to say that Young fires up every song he covers. “This Land is Your Land,” is a fairly straightforward cover of the much-loved Woody Guthrie tune. Same for “Travel On.” Swap out the electric for acoustic guitar on that tune, which starts with Young singing a-capella, and you could picture families playing and singing this around a campfire.

Young’s 11-song album ends with a cover of the de facto British National Anthem “God Save the Queen,” which has sparked a fair amount of outrage in the British press. The gripes seem to center around the song’s inclusion on an album titled “Americana” and the tweaks Young made to the lyrics and melody.

Young’s notes about each song on the album include his reminder that “God Save The Queen” may well have been sung in North America before the American Revolution. The tweaks, he writes, were made in part to recognize America’s subsequent independence.

I’m certainly not advocating offending a country by changing its National Anthem but Young, a Canadian by the way, certainly seems to have put a lot of thought into the song before he made the not-really-offensive-in-my-view changes. Add to that the notion that many of the songs Young covers are thought of as stuffy and old-fashioned at best by younger generations, and it leaves you questioning if such remakes are truly outrage worthy.

My view is that anyone who can make songs such as “She’ll be Coming ‘Round the Mountain” cool again and introduce classic songs to a new generation is a genius, in my view.

As a sidenote, Young and his band are now recording another album presumably of original material, according to his reps. Watch for it, hopefully later this year.

By Nancy Dunham

Please support us and order via our UK or US Storefront 


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
Physical link for the UK Store is: https://folking.com/folking-store/


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
Physical link to the US Storehttps://folking.com/folking-us-storefront/


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 Web link: Young’s website

Cowboy Junkies – The Wilderness

You remember the Cowboy Junkies, right? Well, they are just about to release The Wilderness, Volume 4 of The Nomad Series on March 26, 2012, marking the conclusion of an ambitious schedule of four releases over an 18-month period. Before we get into that though, have a look at this gem of a video clip recording (one of our favorite folking Neil Young songs) which was recorded a few years back when the band played in Dingle, in Ireland.

The group’s Michael Timmins says of the new CD, “The title, The Wilderness, in some odd way seemed to define what these songs were actually “about”: fragility, emptiness, loneliness, beauty, chance, loss, desperation – the delicate balancing act that makes up a life. They are about being lost in the wilderness of age, the wilderness of parenthood, in the wilderness of just trying to find meaning and substance, happiness and truth in one’s day to day life. They are about standing alone in middle of it all, breathing in the cold, still air and wondering.”

The preceding album, Sing In My Meadow, a collection of songs recorded over a four day period that evokes the psychedelic, blues-inspired forays the band is fond of exploring on stage was hailed by R2 Magazine as:“Stunning”, while Q Magazine wrote: “..their creative instincts remain sharp…even familiar listeners will be intrigued.”

The first volume of the series Renmin Park, released in 2010, was inspired by Michael Timmins’ two-month stay in China with his family in ’08 and was called: “Their best album since those Trinity Sessions” by the Independent on Sunday. Demons (2011), the second in the series, is a collection of songs by the late Vic Chesnutt which the Daily Mirror called: “The finest tribute Vic could have”.

“The whole Nomad series is excellent, each album different and each outstanding in its own way”. Dai Jeffries Folking.com

Cowboy Junkies were formed in Toronto in 1985 after guitarist and songwriter Michael Timmins and long-time friend and musical partner, bassist Alan Anton, recruited Michael’s sister, singer Margo Timmins and brother, drummer Peter Timmins to join them.

The band recorded its blues-inspired debut album Whites Off Earth Now!! (1986) and released it on their own Latent label. Touring the US in support of the album, they traveled extensively through the South and Southwest, soaking up the music of Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers and others, which provided the inspiration for the band’s second effort, The Trinity Session. The Trinity Session, the band’s seminal album, is a melancholic mixture of blues, country, folk, and rock featuring a collection of originals, covers and traditional songs.

For more than 20 years, Cowboy Junkies have remained true to their unique artistic vision and to the introspective, quiet intensity that is their musical signature, creating a critically acclaimed body of original work that has endeared them to an audience unwavering in its loyalty. Albums like The Caution Horses (1990), Black Eyed Man (1992), Pale Sun, Crescent Moon (1993),Lay It Down (1996) and more recently, Open(2001), One Soul Now (2004), Early 21st Century Blues (2005) and At the End of Paths Taken (2007) chronicle a creative journey reflecting the independent road the band has elected to travel.

Cowboy Junkies returned to Toronto’s Church of the Holy Trinity for a day in November 2006, joined by Ryan Adams, Natalie Merchant and Vic Chesnutt to revisit the repertoire of The Trinity Session in celebration of its 20thanniversary. The resulting film, Trinity Session Revisited, released as a DVD/CD in January 2008.

Please support us and order via our UK or US Storefront 


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
Physical link for the UK Store is: https://folking.com/folking-store/


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
Physical link to the US Storehttps://folking.com/folking-us-storefront/


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 Web link: http://latentrecordings.com/cowboyjunkies/

The new debut album from Dan Raza

Dan has already established a considerable reputation on the UK singer songwriter and folk roots scene. His distinctive approach has won him many fans and led to his supporting Joan Armatrading on a recent European tour, as well as opening for artists such as Mary Gauthier, Badly Drawn Boy, Cara Dillon, Chris Farlowe and Slaid Cleaves at concerts throughout the UK and USA. He also had a song, Every Little Dog endorsed by Neil Young when Shakey chose it for his ‘Living with War’ website.

His live performances are noted for their strong emotional impact and his songs are informed by literary influences such as Ben Okri and also the influence of painters like Marc Chagall. Indeed, Dan’s songs receive colourful treatment on this his first album. From the enigmatic longing of 40 Miles to the vibrant energy of Cool Dark Night and No-One Shed A Tear, the intense originality of his writing is balanced by strong and varied musical texture.

Dan is of mixed Indian and British origin. Many of his songs draw on images from his turbulent childhood and reflect on a search for belonging that remains elusive. There is a wistfulness and yearning at the heart of his writing which reveals itself strongly in songs like Home, Again. The lyrics of this track look back on his journey since moving away from his native Bedfordshire as a teenager and see him trying to make peace with his roots. In a similar vein is Rivertown which follows one man’s restless spirit as he travels through the rubble of the past trying to make sense of where he’s been so he can see where he’s going. The song has an almost supernatural quality and lyrics that fuse otherworldly images with an undertone of loss: ‘help me sweep the ashes from the floor/help me see the way I did before.’ The record concludes with the beautiful closing track, Can’t Go Back, which features the West African Griot musician, Mosi Conde, on kora. Written in Texas while on tour, it was inspired by the themes of displacement he heard in so many country songs while there and the personal experience of leaving behind all he knew, to follow someone, only to see it come apart.

A chance meeting at a gig in South London led Dan to record his debut album with Charlie Hart, who has worked previously with Ronnie Lane, Ian Dury, Eric Clapton and Mose Allison. It features a stellar array of guest appearances from Geraint Watkins (Van Morrison, Paul McCartney), BJ Cole (Dolly Parton, Martin Simpson) Steve Simpson (Eric Bibb, Ronnie Lane), Frank Mead (Albert King, Eric Clapton) and Mosi Conde (Mory Kante, Salif Keita).

Dan Raza has waited a long time to make his first full album after earning plaudits from some of the most notable songwriters on both sides of the Atlantic. There is no doubt he has a lot of promise. This is the first clue to what he might do with it.

 “One of the best support acts I’ve seen in two or three years…an artist that makes you take note and listen to the songs.” Slaid Cleaves

Please support us and order via our UK or US Storefront 


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
Physical link for the UK Store is: https://folking.com/folking-store/


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
Physical link to the US Storehttps://folking.com/folking-us-storefront/


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 Web link: www.danraza.com

Bert Jansch…R.I.P

I was very sad to learn today that Bert Jansch  has died of lung cancer. I was lucky enough to catch the man back-stage at the London Fleadh in 2000 which I will always remember as we shared a banana in his caravan prior to the interview.

Bert was a virtuoso guitarist, hailed by the likes of Jimmy Page,  Neil Young and Johnny Marr of the Smiths as a force to be reckoned with -and learned from, and was  recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the top 100 guitarists of all time. He was also a prolific songwriter. The man was at the very center of the British folk revival of the late 1960s and early 1970s . He was a founder member of Pentangle, who were unique, with their slightly different, visionary mix of folk and jazz music that found a huge audience for its complex arrangements and stunning musicianship.

His solo career was bookended by the outstanding “Bert Jansch” album in 1965 – recorded on borrowed guitars – and the critically acclaimed “Black Swan” CD released in 2006.

Neil Young, who earlier this year invited Jansch to open for him on a concert tour, said that Jansch created a new approach to the acoustic guitar much as Jimi Hendrix changed the sound of the electric guitar.

John Barrow, Bert’s U.K. concert booking agent said: “I’ve been his agent for just over 10 years and when I met him he was at a low ebb and not really getting the recognition he deserved,” Barrow said. “But it is a measure of the man that he had at that point continued playing in a pub in Carnaby Street in London. Even at that time Liam and Noel Gallagher from Oasis were turning up at that pub to listen to him.”

Bert was born in Scotland, & was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music in 2007 by Edinburgh Napier University.

Pentangle was hailed by critics and fans for providing modern renditions of classic folk songs, helping to keep traditional music alive and vibrant, and also for innovative, jazz-inflected new material. They attracted a substantial following in an era when Bob Dylan, Donovan, Fairport Convention and others were looking to traditional acoustic sounds for inspiration.

Bert’s final performance was at with  Pentangle at London’s Royal Festival Hall on Aug. 1. Bert died at the Marie Curie Hospice in north London. He  had recently been forced to cancel several planned solo concerts because of his failing health.

Folk singer Eddi Reader called Jansch “a gentle, gentle gentleman.” In a message on Twitter she said: “God speed, darlin’ Bert – get us on the guest list.”

Bert  is survived by his wife, Loren, and son, Adam.