There’ll be an excellent, eclectic and truly international line-up at this summer’s 14th Gate To Southwell music festival (June 4th-7th). English roots stars Show Of Hands, the Galician piper-powered Anxo Lorenzo Band, Breton/Scots The Celtic Social Club and 2019 BBC folk award winners The Breath (featuring Rioghnach Connolly) are among the headline acts alongside three exceptional Scottish bands Imar, The Jellyman’s Daughter and Talisk, two Canadian duos in Madison Violet and Pierre Schryer & Adam Dobres, and last summer’s Californian bluegrass stars AJ Lee & Blue Summit.
Now regarded as one of the UK’s best family festivals, set in beautiful rural surroundings near Southwell Racecourse, Nottinghamshire, Gate To Southwell all kicks off on Thursday June 4th with a classic Blues Night starring Dutch-based singer/guitarist Ian Siegal. Over four days of great music will also feature “the renaissance man of English folk”, Chris Wood, the increasingly-influential and charismatic BBC Horizon award-winner Blair Dunlop, master storyteller and emotional songwriter Reg Meuross, plus Texan-born troubadour and guitar virtuoso Rodney Branigan.
If all this wasn’t enough to whet appetites for this action-packed festival – which features music workshops, ceilidhs, dance displays, great children’s entertainment, a craft fair and fine food and drink stalls – GTSF 2020 also brings you the folk-meets-gypsy swing of Beaubowbelles, the French reggae of Simawe from Angiers, great Irish folk and harmonies from Donegal’s The Henry Girls, Italian country blues-meets-ragtime double act Veronica Sbergia & Max De Bernardi and the highly-acclaimed, sweet-voiced multi-national Americana band Track Dogs.
A gentle beginning with cello, voice and mandolin and then the strings flow into the musicscape. ‘Quiet Movie’ is a fine opener to the new album Dead Reckoning by that marvellous duo The Jellyman’s Daughter.
This new outing is chock-full of bitter sweet ballads, laments, lullabies and dancing tunes such as the second track ‘I Hope’, a foot-tapper with a deceptively quiet start and catchy chorus.
The chugging cello riffs that punctuated their previous album are less frequent here, but still make a welcome appearance now and then. The banjo is used judiciously and joyfully on a number of the songs and, indeed, takes centre stage on the instrumental ‘The Shoogly Peg’, giving it a southern swamp-music flavour.
Emily Kelly has a super voice and Graham Coe’s vocal ably compliments hers giving cohesion to the whole.
There is more of a flow to this collection than the previous album which probably stems from the familiarity of two artists at one with each other. This album is a real pleasure to listen to and seems to offer more to the listener with each subsequent visit. I recommend you avail yourself of a copy and settle down to some fine music by an accomplished duo.
The Jellyman’s Daughter is a duo comprised of Emily Kelly on guitar and vocals and Graham Coe on cello and vocals. Jenny Hill (double bass), Gerry Kelly (banjo) and Natalie Brown (fiddle) occasionally provide additional accompaniment on the tracks presented on this album.
Coe’s versatile cello playing provides the percussive elements of the songs; as well as the driving rhythms. Both Kelly and Coe have voices that combine excellently together. Kelly’s voice, in particular is suited to this style of music. The opener ‘Blue Lullaby’ is a strong opener with a catchy chorus. This is followed by a train-chugging rhythm for ‘The One You’re Leaving’. The addition of banjo gives a bluegrass feel to the song. The steam train beat, albeit with greater urgency, is employed again in ‘Carolina’, my favourite track on the album.
The songs vary from upbeat to mournful and all moods in between. There is even a unique take on The Beatles song, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love.’ A staccato rendition, offset with the soft singing of Emily Kelly.
The album is smooth and the track selection and order is well thought out. All in all, a very enjoyable listen. If I have any reservation, it is the lack of real percussion. Graham Coe does an admirable job filling in the sound with the cello, but there are one or two tracks where I believe the addition of drums would have raised them to the next level.
That personal gripe aside, I heartily recommend you give this talented duo a try.