Paul Johnson and Darren Beech catch up with Midnight Skyracer backstage at this years Fairport’s Cropredy Convention. The interview took place on the Friday afternoon after their fantastic set earlier in the day.
The girls have been nominated for an IBMA award by the International Bluegrass Music Association which is not surprising, as they are all monster players. Congratulations from all of us at folking.com. We are all keeping everything crossed for you!
We would just like to point out (before you think we have gone completely folking mad in the interview) that potatoes and the bands love of them, did feature a fair bit during the bands banter between their songs in the set.
Click on the play button below to have a listen.
For those of you not in the know, Midnight Skyracer are a new, all-female Anglo-Irish bluegrass 5-piece band playing hard-driving traditional and original songs. Singer/mandolin player Leanne Thorose and virtuoso banjo player Tabitha Agnew are joined by sisters Charlotte (guitar) and Laura (fiddle/dobro) Carrivick (of TheCarrivick Sisters fame) and bassist Eleanor Wilkie. Formed in early 2017, they were playing their first shows in May and June of that year, before landing a slot at the 2017 Cambridge Folk Festival and stealing the show with a storming, full-to-capacity set. The Midnight Skyracer machine has led everyone a merry ‘Maris Pied Piper‘ dance since, right through ‘UK festival heartland‘. It gathers more and more followers with every new performance as it steamrollers over festivals, which so far have included; Priddy, Abbotsbury, Folk by the Oak, Underneath the Stars, Cropredy and Shrewsbury to name just a few.
Their latest album ‘Fire‘ contains 7 originals including songs by all 5 band members, plus some carefully chosen nods to some of their favourite influences. The album was mixed and mastered by Josh Clark of Kate Rusby’s ‘Life in a Paper Boat’ fame which gives it that ‘top draw’ production seal of approval.
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AN EVENING WITH MARTIN CARTHY AND DAVE SWARBRICK, JAMES YORKSTON AND THE CARRIVICK SISTERS AT THE CECIL SHARPE HOUSE REGENT’S PARK LONDON ON 18th DECEMBER 2012
At the outset let it be known that folk gatherings have never been top of my list in Winter, however, I was very pleased to have had the good sense to attend this superb concert at the ‘Mecca’ of British Folk and to patronise such a worthy cause. This concert was sponsored by the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund, was most ably hosted by the one and only “Whisperin’ Bob Harris” OBE, and portrayed the musical talent of Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick, John Yorkston and The Carrivick Sisters.
Bob opened the concert and, in his usual warm and relaxed professional manner, he extolled the virtues of The Musicians’ Benevolent Fund and stressed its significance to musicians. In essence, the fund was set up to “provide help and support to musicians and their dependants, and those in related occupations, when illness, accident or old age bring stress or financial burdens to bear.” During the evening the mellifluous Bob declared that tonight’s audience was the largest ever held in this venue and I sincerely hoped that The Musicians’ Benevolent Fund would benefit admirably from their generosity
This concert was, in my opinion, a concert of contrasts: contrasts of music types from Bluegrass to Baroque, rhythms and time signatures, styles and origin. Contrasts in instruments (albeit all of the stringed variety) ranging from the banjo to the fiddle. And contrasts in artists ranging from the young twenty somethings to the young seventy somethings! There was, however, one issue in common with each of the headline artists…. they had, at some time in their career, sought and received the help of the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund.
First on were …. The Carrivick Sisters …… twins Laura and Charlotte seemed totally at home on such an occasion and they performed a series of their original songs and instrumentals using a variety of stringed instruments, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, Dobro, and banjo along with a several carefully chosen “covers”. I particularly enjoyed listening to Laura’s compositions involving the Dobro which reminded me so much of Iris DeMent and marvelled at Charlotte’s nimble finger picking. In my opinion their overall stage presence, interaction with the audience and musical prowess belied their tender age (compared to Bob anyway!!). During their set they made reference to financial support proffered by The Musicians’ Benevolent Fund to fund their latest album release.
Next we listened to James Yorkston who hails from Fife…..James started out as bassist for a punk band and then, as some would put it, “saw the light” to become one of Scotland’s most renowned singer- songwriters. James opened his set by conveying to the audience his sadness for Douglas Paul who, as his bass player, had been with him since 2001 and had recently passed away. James related also his past memories of this magnificent concert hall. To me (and others) it seemed that most of his hour’s performance was a lament for “Doogie”. Nevertheless despite the poignant occasion, James’ emotional music and lyrics were fascinating to listen to, more so when embellished by his two guest singers Belfast-born, Chicago-raised Jill O’Sullivan from the group Sparrow and the Workshop and Mayo man singer-songwriter Seamus Fogarty. James’s expounded and commended the vital work of The Musicians’ Benevolent Fund and how it had helped him financially when one of his children became seriously ill…..
And finally after more stirring and passionate words in support of The Musicians’ Benevolent Fund by Bob, the highlight of many peoples’ evening…..the high priests of British folk music and top of the bill, Martin Cathay and Dave Swarbrick both looking so relaxed and at home on stage in front of a very eager audience. “I played here 54 years ago” quipped Dave……I noted that the majority of the audience weren’t even thought of then!
And then it began…..over an hour of remarkable and awe-inspiring music played by the Grand Masters. It was incredible to listen to and a total contrast to anything before. Their choice was significantly of the Baroque era but not in that style as we know it. There were songs and instrumentals encompassing various compound time signatures and no hint of bar counting!! It was wonderful to watch and hear the stirring fiddle playing by Dave neatly intertwined with Martin’s guitar and his well-celebrated vocals….Dave’s “I left my Heart in New South Wales” was my favourite of the evening…..
Seemingly, in next to no time the concert came to a close despite the audience clamouring for more encores from Messrs. Martin and Dave. Finally, to each and every musician gracing that stage and beguiling a very enthusiastic audience we thank you for such a memorable evening.
Peter Burch – 25th December 2012
Speaking about his involvement, Bob Harris OBE said “I am delighted to be part of this wonderful event and hope that it raises the profile for the Musicians Benevolent Fund which is a vital lifeline for so many musicians, without which they would face a very uncertain future.”
The Carrivick Sisters are twins Laura and Charlotte Carrivick from South Devon. Both are skilled multi-instrumentalists and between them they play a variety of bluegrass-associated instruments – guitar, mandolin, banjo, dobro and fiddle. Though just 21 years old, Laura and Charlotte are already accomplished songwriters, fine individual singers, and they harmonise hauntingly, as often only siblings can, their beguiling voices blending together irresistibly. Although their principle influence is bluegrass, their music also has a strong folk influence, with many of their original songs inspired by their local landscape and stories.
The Carrivick Sisters are experienced performers, having played all over the UK, in Europe, and in Canada. They have released three previous CDs – My Own Two Feet (2006), Better Than 6 Cakes (2007) and Jupiter’s Corner (2009) and have just completed their fourth album, From The Fields.
Produced and recorded by Joe Rusby (brother of Kate) at Pure Records Studio, From the Fields comprises eleven originals; ten songs and one instrumental, and one traditional song ‘Early, Early In The Spring’ and features contributions from guest musicians: John Breese (Banjo), BJ Cole (Pedal Steel), Eleanor Cross (Double Bass), Matt Crum (Melodeon) and David Kosky (Guitar),
The Carrivick Sisters first started performing as a duo in 2006, originally as buskers before starting to play more and more proper gigs, turning professional when they left school in 2007. As well as performing as ‘The Carrivick Sisters’, Laura and Charlotte have also played with a number of other bands – Blue South, Miles Apart, Banjo Accelerator; Kick Up the Grass and currently ‘Andsome and Some.
In 2007 they won the South West Busker’s and Street Entertainer’s Competition, gaining themselves their first spot at Glastonbury Festival. In 2008 Laura achieved 2nd place at the RockyGrass Fiddle Contest in America. More recently, The Carrivick Sisters were finalists in the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards 2010.
“I am very impressed by The Carrivick Sisters, one of the best young duos I’ve heard. The girls sing and play as one and their work is characterised by great musicality. They are not only very talented instrumentalists and singers but they write really good songs as well.” Ralph McTell
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