In March 2012, folk-inspired, multiaward winning singer-songwriter Seth Lakeman played with the renowned BBC Concert Orchestra at Plymouth Pavilions in Devon. Seth will release a five track LIVE EP on 03 December featuring recordings from that night mixed by Richard Evans.

The live EP features versions of some of Seth’s best known songs, arranged by Anne Dudley and conducted by Matthew Coorey. It features Blacksmith’s Prayer (streamed below)  from his current album Tales from the Barrel House, Kitty Jay the title track from his 2005 Mercury nominated album, Lady of the Sea and King & Country from his gold-selling album Freedom Fields and Changes from Hearts & Minds.

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Live Review – Martyn Joseph supported by Luke Jackson, Rugby Roots 3rd November 2012…

A captivating night all round at Martyns 10th visit to Rugby Roots at the Lawrence Sheriff School on his tour to promote his new album Songs For the Coming Home .

This was 3 hours of first class acoustic music from two gifted performers, one sorcerer at the peak of his game (wearing a suit for the occasion, I should add) and one rapidly rising apprentice, and quite honestly, you could scarcely see the join, both were magnificent!

There is always a lovely atmosphere at any Rugby Roots  gig , thanks in no small part to the promoters  Richard and Anna Barnes, who are totally passionate about getting good quality music heard and determined  that everyone has a good night.

The apprentice ;  What can I say about Luke Jackson live? simply, he is a total revelation. I have listened to him on CD and watched videos for 3 years , and knew there was a real talent emerging, but this was the first time I had seen him play live and I have to declare I am struggling to be objective, quite simply he blew me away , I can’t remember the last time that happened. I am sure there were a few sitting there with the opinion that this would be a pleasant half hour which they would listen to politely until Martyn came on, such are the unenviable joys of a support act. However, within a verse of Run and Hide, Lukes opener, he had everyone completely spellbound. His command of the stage and his rapport with the audience belie his age. The belief and confidence in his songs and consummate guitar playing and the thoughtful delivery with sometimes  piercing pure vocals was nothing short of dazzling, and his short set went by way too fast.

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Then came the maestro:

There are few things certain in life, there are the usual ones, death and taxes . However there is one other, and that is a Joseph concert is always an outstanding couple of hours, He has never given any less than 100% passion , honesty, compassion and insight and jaw dropping musicianship and  this night was no exception. Martyn has played at Rugby 9 times before and this, his 10th, was up there with the best of them. There was an air that we were going to be treated to something special , a feeling that has been filtering through from previous dates on this tour.

There were many highlights, new songs and familiar ones from his back catalogue . The new album has been  made three dimensional  on this tour, stripped of the production but  loaded with impact, from the spine tingling Crossing the Line with our added voices  humming away underneath Martyns stark words to the stomping and rocking No time for God . Older favorites not heard for a while have been given an airing , Like the mesmerising All This Time, always a joy to hear and I Will Follow. There were some surprises,  one special one was a breath-taking raw version of Springsteens classic The River upholding Martyns often used tag as Bruces Welsh counterpart, quite rightly so  too.

The biggest highlight for me, and one that many seeing this tour will say in the future “I was there when ..”  and  which , for me was loaded with so much significance, was when Martyn asked Luke back on to duet with him on one of Luke’s own songs Bakers Woods. Forget the age and experience gap ,this was just two exceptional musicians totally in tune with each other. There was a tangible sense of a baton being handed over and there were moments that I really wanted to bottle, it was quite beautiful . In 30 plus years I have been involved in music and witnessing some meaningful events and gigs, this was one of those times that are on that rare list of truly momentous.

If nothing else came from Rugby one glaring thing was apparent and that is acoustic music doesn’t get much finer than this.

All I have left to say is to urge folk to get to one of the dates that are left on this tour…

Trish Roberts

“There are moments on this record that I will always treasure; small nuances of memory and recall that are both painful and joyous. The highlight for me is the song ‘Archive’. On long car journeys touring across Canada last year with poet, guru and friend Stewart Henderson we talked, and talked and went deeper and deeper. He started writing, and at some point on a prairie plain in Alberta he handed me some words on the back of an envelope. Months later in the early hours of the morning I took them to a microphone with no melodic agenda and just played and sang. The result was the first and only take that ended up on the album. Its me with my soul howling. Its what I like to do.” Martyn Joseph

Seth Lakeman Band live review plus new EP: live with the BBC Concert Orchestra

Seth Lakeman Band Ipswich Corn Exchange Sunday 21st October 2012. A top-class night at the very nicely refurbished Ipswich Corn Exchange.

After watching Seth grow as a musician on and off since his late teens with his brothers and Equation, through his emergence as a solo performer and post Mercury Prize nomination take off, this was Seth, and band, at one with the stage more than it has seemed in a while and firing on all cylinders, it was great to witness.

Two elements have lifted the live performances lately, one is the return of the much missed Cormac Byrne, the beating heart of a band on Bodrhan and anything else he can hit, including an anvil this time! Now the perfect band line up is complete with the addition of Lisbee Stainton an inspired decision alongside the four guys , and I hope they don’t let her go. Having a female voice on stage has now opened up Seths back catalogue more and taken his shows into a new phase. A live Lakeman show has always had an edge,drive and theatre but now the edges have been softened a bit which is very refreshing. Apart from vocals, Lisbee is a pretty handy musician too, the toys on stage have been added to with a harmonium and she plays a mean Banjo.

We were treated to songs covering the last 10 years and 6 albums. It was great to hear songs rarely given an airing from John Lomas from Kitty Jay to up to date songs like The Sender From Tales From The Barrel House.

It was a fast paced evening and the opening two song weld of More Than Money and the brilliant Blacksmiths Prayer set the tone of the night and it didn’t let up until the end of Race To be King that had everyone up and dancing .

Highlights at Ipswich were Seth and Cormac thrashing out Bold Knight and the band driving a full on Zeppelin like Blood Red Sky (I could always hear their influence in this ) and then as contrast the lovely Changes and White Hare with Lisbee.

I could not write a review without highlighting Seths signature song, the bow shredding Kitty Jay with added eerie back lighting for extra drama, I have never yet seen him play this and the room not been worked into a frenzy and exploded when the last note fades, it’s still thrilling after all these years .

Seths albums from kitty Jay on-wards have always had a sense of the dramatic, now he and his band have the tools and the graft behind them to bring that onto a stage fully, it’s taken a while, but I think they really have a show that they have been trying to perfect for a few years, and now should be proud of.

Seth really has come a long way down the road from the rough and ready gigs with the sudden endings,dare I say he is turning into a showman.

Go see him next time he hits the road.

Trish Roberts

Artist’s website:

Martyn Joseph – Songs For The Coming Home – reviewed by Trish Roberts

After 30 plus years of making music you would be forgiven for thinking an artist would plateau at some point, happy to remain within familiar boundaries of the singer/songwriter, the man, voice and guitar. However , that is most assuredly not the case here !. Whatever preconceptions there are of what to expect ignore them, they will be way off the mark; I know mine were.

This is Martyn as people know him, never shy of confronting subjects as only he knows how to. On this creation we have suicide, redemption, grace, soul searching, love, sacrifice, confession and moral ire, all tackled and delivered in such a way that is completely engrossing. This is also Martyn as we have never heard him, dare I say some of this is as personal as any album has been. It is not an album that a 20 year old could have written, this has only been arrived at by a life lived with eyes, heart and soul wide open.

The production by Mason Neely is vast and has well and truly shredded any blueprints, if ever there were any, but with the core of the Martyn Joseph people know still firmly there. It’s vital, exhilarating and subtle, dynamic and serene. If Under Lemonade Skies, the last album, was a look into the box of possibilities of where his music could go, with Songs For The Coming Home that box has been fully delved into. On many tracks he has created amazing sound backdrops with the inclusion of strings, steel guitar, brass, cello and drums while not overwhelming the man and guitar.

Every track is worth its weight right from the opener ‘Crossing the Line’, with the discordant music that weaves the song and matches the confusion and grief behind a suicide and the fall out that results. The song is always on the edge of shuddering into chaos but the slow beautiful guitar and Martyns tender/ tough vocals hold it together, it’s a song that each listen takes you deeper and dares you to ask questions.

The album flows effortlessly along with songs like the uplifting Still a Lot of Love’ ,  with the familiar man, guitar and gorgeous community singing .

My personal highlight is the life affirming  ‘Let Yourself’ an empowering and poignant song, with a cello carrying along Martyns vocals. This carries one of my favourite lines of the album, ‘And you can bring it on world, throw everything, cos in the end love wins big, and there are some of us who will not be lying down“.

Another highlight is the  stark confessional ‘Falling from Grace’ with sublime guitar that harks back to ‘Turn Me Tender’ from the 2004 album Deep Blue. It tells of the pitfalls we all stumble into through life now and again, some fall deeper than others but with the end telling us there is hope  .

The upbeat feel of ‘Feels Like This’ is a Bruce Cockburn like song which screams to be on every radio playlist, don’t be fooled by the bouncy singable rhythm though .

The re-worked Whoever it was … carries a different weight from the version from the 2003 album of the same name and at first glance at the track list I wondered if it had its place on this new album , simple answer is , absolutely. The voice maybe wearier and more measured  and the guitar slower, but the impact is deeper .

The guitar/ drum laden provocative ‘No time For God’  demands to be played loud! , the  rousing chorus will probably have the hackles rising on some followers .This appeals to my anarchic/ punk sensibilities and is a belter, you cannot help yourself sing along , it’s a proper  Saturday night festival rant, and there is  a great Wilco Johnson like harmonica solo screaming in the middle .

The key song that defines the album is the profound ‘Clara’ a classic Joseph storyteller song , you are drawn into this amazing panoramic image that unveils the primal power of music that transcends comprehension …but I will leave that there , it is to be discovered…..’Hope we all have a Clara’

Finally ,the  turbulence returns with the hard hitting, contradictory and courageous  ‘Archive’  Probably one of the finest and piercingly personal songs  he has produced.

I have only scratched the surface , but there are 10 tracks on this album that have to be revealed to each listener without too many preconceptions , it’s a case of headphones on, or a long drive or whatever, and immerse yourself in this track by track.

Buckle up for one heck of a ride.

In short, this is a colossal creation.

Trish Roberts – 5* Review

“There are moments on this record that I will always treasure; small nuances of memory and recall that are both painful and joyous. The highlight for me is the song ‘Archive’. On long car journeys touring across Canada last year with poet, guru and friend Stewart Henderson we talked, and talked and went deeper and deeper. He started writing, and at some point on a prairie plain in Alberta he handed me some words on the back of an envelope. Months later in the early hours of the morning I took them to a microphone with no melodic agenda and just played and sang. The result was the first and only take that ended up on the album. Its me with my soul howling. Its what I like to do.” Martyn Joseph

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Luke Jackson – More Than Boys is reviewed by Trish Roberts…

The first word that came to me when I listened to this initially was ‘Classy’  .

It is difficult to talk about the exceptional song writing and musicianship on this album without reminding myself this guy is still a teenager, only 18. This young musician has been grafting for a few years already and soaking up influences from masters of the song writing craft, the likes of Steve Knightley, Boo Hewerdine and Martin Simpson , the essences of those are there entwined with his own unique style and voice .

All the songs have a warmth, perceptiveness and empathy running through them, all delivered with this powerful voice . There is a thread of coming of age and rites of passage running through many of the tracks. He shows the ability to pull you into a story a quality key to all good storytelling songwriters, and I found myself eager to hear the songs again and again and shaking my head with wonder. In particular the overwhelmingly poignant ‘ Last Train’ , I would defy even the hardest heart not to be moved by the imagery of the young soldier heading home to deliver a heartbreaking message to a comrades loved one.

Lukes musicianship and guitar playing is astonishingly skilful, intricate and self-assured as with ‘Winning Goal’ which has sparks of the bright bell like style of Martin Simpson.

The album has been deftly and sensitively produced by the giant of British song writing, Martyn Joseph , letting Luke show off his voice and guitar playing without too many extra colours to distract from Lukes raw energy . Only adding touches of backing vocals and lovely double tracking of Lukes vocals, and delicate whispers of a Tenor guitar here and there.

This debut album has well and truly carved a new benchmark for the next generation of Songwriters and will have Luke snapping at the heels of the likes of Ed Sheeran and Frank Turner in no time at all. It is a highly accomplished creation in every way, and showcases this young singer/ songwriters talents magnificently!

Heck after all said ….Just buy it! …Then go see him live on tour in the UK with Martyn Joseph this Autumn.

Trish Roberts

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