RUSTY SHACKLE – The Raven, The Thief & The Hangman (Get Folked Records)

The Raven, The Thief & The HangmanRusty Shackle are a vibrant and energetic five piece folk-rock band from South Wales who I had the pleasure to see perform on the main stage at BunkFest, Wallingford in 2018. They have previously released three studio albums and one live album. The Raven, The Thief & The Hangman is the result of two years researching folk music and stories then writing their brand of music to provide an exciting setting for the olde worlde words.

The first track ‘Hanging Johnny’ sets the tone of the album, it’s a bit of a foot stomping tub thumping experience. ‘Sam Hall’ follows in the same manner and ‘Newport Rising’ is an anthem song. ‘Long John’ is a bit slower, but still has a bit of oomph. ‘The Holy Ground’ is more gentile with mainly an acoustic guitar accompaniment that gives you a bit of a breather.

If there is a song that feels a bit out of place it is ‘Coorie Doon’ with its piano that sounds like it’s come out of a Western and Pogue-esque growly voice, I was half expecting Kirsty MacColl to come in over the top with some jolly vocals, but she doesn’t.

‘The Raven’s Song’ takes us to a much more boppy place with hand claps and pipes and clever overlapping vocals. ‘St James Infirmary’ brings us back on track and if Kasabian had a banjo in their line up this is what they’d sound like! The final track ‘Time Of Death’ also sounds Kasabian-ish and is another track with a great beat and is a great way to close the album.

I’m looking forward to seeing them live again in a few weeks in Witney.

Duncan Chappell

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‘Sam Hall’ – official video of the first single:

New album from Welsh indie-roots band Rusty Shackle

Rusty Shackle

Welsh indie-roots band Rusty Shackle have been tearing up stages around the world since 2010. Brandishing their distinct folk-roots sound and armed with an electrifying mix of rampant fiddle, scorching electric guitars, pounding drums, searing trumpet and banjo, the band have built up a devoted fan base with their captivating live shows. Constantly evolving their sound, the band have released three albums over the last few years, each reaching the top 3 in the iTunes ‘Alternative Folk/Singer Songwriter’ charts. The songs are steeped in honest emotion and storytelling and are born from the fires of Bruce Springsteen, Seth Lakeman, infused with the raw energy of Jack White and creativity of Tom Waits and mix it with everything in between.

2016 sees the release of Rusty Shackle’s third album Dusk. The album title symbolises the sonic imagery conjured up in the songs: A crackling mixture of dark and light tunes, bound up with lyrics based in storytelling. This album marks an evolution in sound for the band, introducing a roots-rock edginess to their trademark melodies and hooks. A fresh and gritty take on folk/roots is born. The first single When The Morning Comes reached number 3 in the “Alternative Folk/Singer Songwriter” iTunes chart and number 80 in the overall iTunes chart upon its release.

The album will be released on 25th March and the band are touring the UK in support of it, before heading off for a summer full of festivals in the UK and Europe.

Rusty Shackle have toured extensively around the UK, Europe and USA and are mainstays on the festival circuit. They deliver excitement every time they step onstage and give everything they have to steal your heart with their music.

‘When The Morning Comes’ – official video:

Rusty Shackle release THE BONES

Rusty Shackle THE BONESTHE BONES is the new studio release from Rusty Shackle. The album symbolises their outlook towards song-writing and recording as a band. They have consciously stripped back the music to the ‘bare bones’ and gone for a far more rootsy sound on the new album. The songs were written on the instruments they play, for the instruments.

All ten songs are written by Liam Collins apart from Glorious May and All At Sea which are co-writes with James McKeon. They wrote the songs just sat in a room jamming and throwing ideas about. This seemed like a very natural approach and this simplicity seemed to carry on through to the recording process. All tracks were recorded live together and to tape at the Monnow Valley Studios in Monmouth.

Rusty Shackle are a five piece band from South Wales, UK.  Formed in early 2010 Rusty Shackle can be described as an Alternative Folk band, throwing together Guitars, Fiddle, Banjo, Mandola, Bass, Drums and Percussion to give their unique take on Contemporary folk music.

See what you think…

Folking at Cambridge Folk Festival 2013 – Day 1

CamFF_FoxyA folking brilliant start to a truly stellar line-up at this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival.

Now in its 49th Year, it remains a cornerstone event in the folk diary.

After finally getting the tent up, losing half my body weight in liquid from my newly erected sauna, I headed from Coldham’s Common campsite and caught the well organised and frequent bus to the main festival site.

The picture on the left really sums up the atmosphere of the place, a gathering of people of all ages who share a love of life, music and community.

I was really looking forward to seeing Jamie Smith’s Mabon opening the main event on the stage 2 and you will see from the video below that it was the perfect way to set the standard for the weekend.

Kat&SeanHusband-and-wife team, Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman followed with performances from their superbly crafted album Hidden People. Kathryn’s sublime voice and effortless delivery and Sean’s masterly guitar arrangements wooed the Cambridge crowd as the sun beat down on folk town. The Ballard of Andy Jacobs was a particular highlight, made memorable by the solitary figure of Kathryn sitting on stage at her piano.

Rusty ShackleI then headed over to the club tent to catch Rusty Shackle. We’d featured them on folking last year so I was keen to see them in action.

Formed back in 2010 and with an infectious pulse and style, they are difficult to pigeon hole. That said, elements of folk, rock, bluegrass, Celtic rhythms and Delta blues are clearly present.

They are the sort of band that have even more fun than the audience and their rough and ready style grows on you, as you are left pondering, how a band can have the balls to bring two genuine Welsh lamps with them on stage.

Larkin Poe then brought the Thursday night club tent to a rocking climax. I was very much looking forward to seeing The Lovell Sisters in action as we had featured their album Thick as Thieves back in 2012 and this was the first chance I’d had to catch them since. A great end to a brilliant day.

The folkmaster


Rusty Shackle WASH AWAY THESE NIGHTSRusty Shackle formed in early 2010 and their infectious pulse, style and musical genre, whilst potently contemporary, is difficult to pigeon hole and has been described by Plugged In magazine as the “Bombay Badboy of Folk” a reference to the hottest Pot Noodle on the market (folkmaster – What’s your favourite Pot Noddle? was actually one of our interview questions back in 2000!)  .  This said, elements of folk, rock, bluegrass, Celtic rhythms and Delta blues are clearly discernible. Either way, feet tap to whatever the specific nuance.

Stunning, high-energy live performances and boundless enthusiasm make sure you’ll leave exhausted, with their tunes swimming around your head for days after. They are well on the way to ensuring they are everywhere this coming summer.

“…the perfectly named, violin-toting Welsh quintet Rusty Shackle created a proper hootenanny hoedown” The Independent

Rusty Shackle’s debut album WASH AWAY THESE NIGHTS has now hit the streets and has already reached number 22 in the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart, the singles reaching as high as number 2 after its digital release. As Neil King from Fatea Showcases said, “Genre prostitution is a major feature of “Wash Away These Nights”, rock, pop, gospel, blues, rockabilly, skiffle, are all thrown into the melting pot to produce an album that celebrates the art of having a good time.”

The album thrives on musical diversity, whilst maintaining a cohesive sound to keep it all together. Inspired by artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Seth Lakeman, Johnny Cash and traditional Celtic and bluegrass music the twelve original tracks on WASH AWAY THESE NIGHT are a joy to listen to, or indeed dance to. From the album opener 3AM, described as an ode to insomnia, to the final track Sunrise the listener will hear that all tracks are killer cuts, no fillers here.

Other standout tracks on the album include Cold Hearted Town, one of the first tracks the band ever composed, deals with being stuck in a sleepy town with nothing to do and nowhere to go, an anthem for the 21st century.  Factory is about working in a soul destroying workplace but on the other side of the coin Beating Heart of a Kingdom is a positive song about the choices we make in our lives and how it’s never too late to change. When it comes to the songwriting most of the lyrics were composed by multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Liam Collins and guitarist James McKeon, the music was composed by the band as a whole who comprise Scott McKeon (fiddle, banjo and vocals), Baz Barwick (bass, mandola, vocals),Owen Emmanuel (drums and percussion) along with the above mentioned Liam and James.

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