Shrewsbury Folk Festival – tickets are now on sale

Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Kate Rusby

Tickets have gone on sale for the 2019 Shrewsbury Folk Festival as organisers have shared the first names to be added to the bill.

Weekend tickets to the four-day event, that will take place at the West Mid Showground from August 23 to 26, are expected to be in high demand. Last year the first tier of tickets were snapped up in less than 30 minutes and weekend tickets sold out a month before the August Bank Holiday event.

Two of the UK’s top solo stars Kate Rusby and Martyn Joseph will be topping the bill along with the legendary Oysterband and female supergroup Daphne’s Flight, who are returning after a triumphant performance in 2017. Scottish folk rockers Skerryvore have also been invited back after wowing crowds earlier this year.

Grace Petrie – photograph by David Wilson Clarke

Gary Stewart’s Graceland – a reworking of the Paul Simon classic – has also been signed up along with solo shows from Show of Hands frontman Steve Knightley, singer songwriter and activist Grace Petrie and appearances from The Phil Beer Band and Merry Hell.

Exclusive to the festival will be a special day of programming on its Pengwern stage by duo Chris While and Julie Matthews to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their musical partnership. The While and Matthews Takeover will see the pair curate performances on August 25th that will culminate in a big band show to close the night.

Granny’s Attic

Other acts will include Chris Elliott and Caitlin Jones, Edgelarks, Geoff Lakeman, Granny’s Attic, Mankala, Paul Downes, Rapsquillion, Reg Meuross, Track Dogs, the Urban Folk Quartet, and Winter Wilson. Festivalgoers will also be able to watch folk opera Here At The Fair by Mick Ryan.

Festival Director Sandra Surtees said many more artists are yet to be revealed.

“As ever the Shrewsbury line-up will feature some of the biggest names in folk, some popular performers that have been requested by our audience and a number of world and Americana acts.

“But the festival is about so much more than just the music – there’s so much to do during the weekend for all ages. The festival has its own magical atmosphere and we have many visitors who wouldn’t class themselves as ‘folkies’ but they just come to enjoy the relaxed and friendly atmosphere with friends and family and listen to great music.

“The festival continues to go from strength to strength with a devoted audience who return year after year, demonstrated by the fact that we regularly sell out in advance.”

The festival has four main music stages, a dance tent featuring ceilidhs, workshops and dance shows, children and youth festivals, workshops, crafts, food village, real ale, cocktail and gin bars and on-site camping and glamping.

There are also fringe events at local pubs with dance displays held in the town centre and a parade through the streets on the Saturday afternoon. Weekend and day tickets can be booked at  www.shrewsburyfolkfestival.co.uk/booktickets/.

SKERRYVORE – Evo (Tyree09CD)

EvoSkerryvore release Evo, their sixth studio album, on June 11th. You get an album to review and it’s a bit like sitting in the marquee at a festival – you’re sitting around or stretching your legs and waiting for the next band to come on stage, wondering what will turn up, even when you expect to know the music. The gentle muttering of conversation dies as the lights go down, the musician/band starts and you get slowly into the set. Sometimes, though, the stage lights blaze in white lights and the music hits you like the first punch in a fight. Evo is a bit like that. It opens with ‘The Exorcists’, which spends a minute slowly introducing the musical themes and then explodes into life, rousing you out of whatever you’d been thinking about before you played the CD. Nor does it let up, the themes repeated on different instruments at an increasing tempo. If this were a festival, people would be dancing at the front before this opening instrumental had finished.

The second track, ‘At The End of the Line’, is one of several written by Alec Dalglish that will simply have you singing – the long vowels of a lyric that could be both a great one for an audience to join in and also for a 2:00 a.m. drunken chorus on the walk home. By the end of the third track ‘Live Forever’, with its mix of pop-rock and a great hook, anyone in earshot will feel like dancing.

The CD moves on next to the fiddle of Craig Espie’s ‘Mile High’ and this lively album continues with pipes and fiddle bounding you along. ‘Hold On’ gives you chance to rest but is another cracking chorus song to join in with – the kind of song that you sing along with when you hear it for the first time and don’t know the lyrics. The cover of Gordon Duncan’s ‘Trip to Modera’ keeps the album close to Skerryvore’s roots, intricate pipe playing on a tune that keeps the tempo going. The video link below is to ‘Take My Hand’, another of Dalglish’s songs to join in with. Have a listen for yourself. ‘Borderline’ is a cover, more rock than Scottish traditional, blending perfectly both with the track before and the country-tinged ‘Waiting For The Sun’ which follows.

‘Soraidh Slan’ is the only slow track on the album, written by the band’s Martin Gillespie, “in memory of loved ones lost in 2017”. The album closes with another Gillespie track, ‘The Rise’, traditional Scottish playing fused with a modern rock sensibility.

And there you have the album – a fusion of Scottish traditional music with rock/pop sounds; an album that in places draws on the heritage of, say, The Killers as much it does The Isle of Tiree and the Highlands which are the home of Skerryvore’s musicians.

The eight piece band have twice won ‘Live Act of the Year’ in Scotland’s Traditional Music Awards. While Evo still feels like a studio album, you can hear why Skerryvore got the awards. On an entirely personal note, I’m having to drive round the ring road in Coventry for work for a few weeks – Evo has sufficient energy that it’s kept me cheerful (I dislike city driving) and had me playing steering wheel percussion in full accompaniment……my apologies to the drivers who saw me in their rear view mirror.

I saw Skerryvore at a festival a few years ago; if you’ve also seen and enjoyed any of their gigs, this album won’t disappoint.

Mike Wistow

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: http://skerryvore.com

‘Take My Hand’ – official video:

Skerryvore – new single featuring Sharon Shannon

Photograph by Kris Kesiak
Photograph by Kris Kesiak

‘Happy To Be Home’ is the new single from Scottish folk-fusion band Skerryvore featuring legendary Irish musician Sharon Shannon.

The song is the first preview track from the bands new album Decade – a special 10th Anniversary release featuring never heard before live tracks from festivals including Celtic Connections as well as a special live session at Castlesound Studios, Pentcaitland.

‘Happy to Be Home’ is available to download now with the new album Decade set for release on the Monday 1st June immediately following the band’s special anniversary concert on the 30th May when they will perform to over 5000 people at Mossfield Stadium, Oban.

Listen to ‘Happy To Be Home’:

Artists’ website: www.skerryvore.com

SKERRYVORE: new album, single and tour

SkerryvoreInspired by sun-filled summers spent on Tiree that were the springboard for the band forming, Chasing The Sun is the fifth and arguably most mature sounding album yet from multi award winning Skerryvore.

From the assured determination of ‘Can You Hear Us?’ and steadfast self-belief of ‘Here I Am’, to the life-is-short urgency of ‘We Can Run’ and wistful reflection of ‘You Were My Friend’, this is an album with all the hallmarks of a band that has lived, learned and played music together for close to 10 years now.

For the band’s loyal followers meanwhile, the rousing ‘You Don’t Know’, ‘Walk With Me’ and instrumentals ‘The Rut’ and ‘Moonraker’ are unmistakably Skerryvore in their ability to get heads nodding and toes tapping.

Written between Roddy Hart’s studio at Film City Glasgow and The Cottage in Loch Fyne, Chasing The Sun was recorded at Castlesound Studios in Edinburgh (Mark Knopfler, REM and The Proclaimers). There, Alec Dalglish (songwriter, vocals, guitars and mandolin), Martin Gillespie (bagpipes and whistles), Daniel Gillespie (accordion), Fraser West (drums and percussion), Craig Espie (fiddle) and new band member Jodie Bremaneson (bass) reunited with producer Alan Scobie (keyboards) to create the next chapter in the Skerryvore success story.

Also featured on Chasing The Sun is the band’s first international collaboration with platinum award winning producer Chris Kess (The Dave Matthews Band) on ‘Blown Away’ and ‘By Your Side’.

UPCOMING

To celebrate the release of Chasing The Sun, Skerryvore will be embarking on an international tour spanning four continents and 14 countries, including their biggest US tour to date and a debut performance in Mumbai, India.

The band will also be performing alongside Steve Earle, Runrig and Julie Fowlis at the 40th Anniversary Tonder Festival, which will be broadcast throughout Scandinavia.

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.

Artists’ website: http://skerryvore.com/

Preview the new album:

 

SKERRYVORE – World Of Chances (Tyree Records tYREE03CD)

I was really looking forward to this, Skerryvore’s fourth album. Unfortunately their major selling-point of upfront Highland bagpipes that played a major part of the overall sound on their previous recording has been usurped by the more rustic charms of Daniel Gillespie’s accordion and Craig Espie’s fiddle. OK, so the fiddle and accordion were always part of the make-up but I’m not sure about them playing such a pivotal role. Cast your mind back to a time when The Bluebells and Proclaimers were king of the swingers, Skerryvore would have fit as snugly as a rawlplug round a screw right alongside them. With Barry Caulfield (bass), Fraser West (drums) and Alec Dalglish on vocals, guitars and mandolin and guest producer Alan Scobie on keyboards and percussion in general the sound is pleasant but for me at least rarely reaches the peaks of the band’s previous outing. If, however you’re looking for a ‘festival’ band then songs such as the opening track “Put Your Hands Up”, the Big Country sounding “Magic Numbers” or the goodtime Zydeco styled “The Last Time” could have you swaying hypnotically along with your mates in a sweaty marquee. I’m sorry I couldn’t have given this recording a more positive review but then again, perhaps next time?

PETE FYFE

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 web link: www.skerryvore.com

SKERRYVORE – Skerryvore (Tyree Records TYREE01CD)

No messing here as Skerryvore kick off with the riff based “Path To Home” featuring a mixture of Jimmy Shand meets the Tannahill Weavers. I’m pleased to say that this is folk-rock that proudly nails its Celtic banner to the mast and leaves the listener with an adrenalin rush that’s hard to shake off. Unlike say the Red Hot Chilli Pipers who go for a full blown stadium sound, Alec Dalglish (vocals/guitars/mandolin), Barry Caulfield (bass), Martin Gillespie (bagpipes/accordion), Daniel Gillespie (accordion), Craig Espie (fiddle) and Fraser West (drums/percussion) paired down approach (much like the early recordings of Runrig) still provide plenty of balls where it counts. If this album is anything to go by then everyone is in for a treat with thrusting, foot-stomping arrangements that will raise the spirits and hopefully any aging folk enthusiasts that like to be ‘entertained’ will find little to carp about. As well as the standard fare of Trad Arr, each member of the band has a hand in crafting the songs/tunes and a great fist of it they make as well. The final ‘live’ track “Home To Donegal” with its rousing anthem style chorus should ensure arm waving aplenty and broad grins all round.

PETE FYFE

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 website: www.skerryvore.com