DERVISH – The Great Irish Songbook (Rounder Records)

The Great Irish SongbookDervish release The Great Irish Songbook on April 12th. I don’t really need to say very much more to persuade anyone to give this a listen. But, since that would be a rather short review, I will do.

The Band – Dervish have been playing Irish traditional music for nearly thirty years – in festivals as large as Rock In Rio (to an estimated quarter of a million people) or sessions as small as those in Sligo pubs where they still enjoy playing. They have a line-up which includes some of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians, fronted by one of the country’s best-known singers in Cathy Jordan. They’re renowned for live performances, dazzling sets of tunes and stunning interpretations of traditional songs.

The Music – Where would you start in choosing thirteen songs for an album called The Great Irish Songbook? How about ‘The Rambling Irishman’, ‘There’s Whiskey In The Jar’ and ‘Molly Malone’? These are the first three tracks on the album – all of them, I suspect, not only familiar to fans of Irish music but to anyone who has even a passing interest in listening to any kind music. Nor does the selection go downhill thereafter. Given the nature of this album, it’s probably worth listing the other tracks: ‘The Galway Shawl’, ‘She Moved Through the Fair’, ‘The Rocky Road To Dublin’, ‘Down By The Sally Gardens’, ‘On Raglan Road’, ‘Donal Og’, ‘The Fields Of Athenry’, ‘The May Morning Dew’, ‘The West Coast Of Clare’, finishing with (really, despite the Scottish claims to the song, what else would you chose?) ‘The Parting Glass’.

The Guests – The publicity for the album says “In assembling their line-up of featured guests, Dervish reached out to the many artists with whom they’ve bonded over a shared passion for Irish folk, then called on each musician to select their most cherished song within the genre. Recorded mainly at The Magic Room in Sligo, the finished product finds each collaborator imbuing the album with their own distinct sensibilities while lovingly upholding the time-honored character of the songs.” The guests on this album are a fine set of singers and players in their own right. They include: Steve Earle, Rhiannon Giddens, Vince Gill, Brendan Gleeson, Imelda May, Andrea Corr, Jamey Johnson, Kate Rusby, The Steeldrivers, Abigail Washburn, David Gray. They build on Dervish’s sound and, as Shakespeare might have it, their “friendship makes us fresh”.

I’ve enjoyed listening to this album, initially superficially but then much more closely. Firstly I’ve listened to the musicianship and the fresh approach to songs I’ve known for a while and, secondly, I realised I didn’t really know the history to many of these songs and have spent time researching them with the album playing at the same time. Some are newer than I’d realised, some much older. All give an insight into the history of Ireland, its music and, in some cases, its poetry.

If you’re well versed in the Irish tradition, this is a great album for hearing some different takes on songs – the video link below, for example, takes you to ‘The West Coast Of Clare’ and features David Gray. If you want to introduce yourself or someone else to The Great Irish Songbook, it’s a pretty good starting point.

Mike Wistow

Please support us and order via our UK or US Storefront 


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD

Physical link for the UK Store is: https://folking.com/folking-store/


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD

Physical link to the US Storehttps://folking.com/folking-us-storefront/


Artists’ website: https://www.dervish.ie

‘The West Coast Of Clare’:

Dervish announce The Great Irish Songbook

Dervish

As one of the world’s most renowned and imaginative interpreters of Irish folk music, Dervish have devoted the last three decades to gently reinventing the traditional songs of their homeland. On their debut release for Rounder Records, the Sligo-based band join up with over a dozen luminaries across an eclectic range of genres.

Featuring guests Steve Earle, Rhiannon Giddens, Vince Gill, Brendan Gleeson, Jamey Johnson, Kate Rusby, The SteelDrivers, Abigail Washburn and others, The Great Irish Songbook both preserves the spirit of each song and brings a new vitality to iconic traditional songs of their homeland.

Throughout The Great Irish Songbook, Dervish build off the dynamic they’ve brought to their thirteen previous albums and dazzling live performance: a kinetic union of technical brilliance and undeniable soul, endlessly fortified by their immense creativity. With the help of their guest artists, Dervish’s intricately sculpted sound expands and widens and takes on new textures, revealing the limitless possibilities within a single song. The result is an album that instantly transports you to a more charmed state of mind and-like all the most illuminating journeys-imparts a deeper understanding of what’s most essential in life.

Produced by Graham Henderson (a musician known for his work with artists like Sinéad O’Connor), The Great Irish Songbook delivers some of the best-loved songs in the Irish tradition. In assembling their lineup of featured guests, Dervish reached out to the many artists with whom they’ve bonded over a shared passion for Irish folk, then called on each musician to select their most cherished song within the genre. Recorded mainly at The Magic Room in Sligo, the finished product finds each collaborator imbuing the album with their own distinct sensibilities while lovingly upholding the time-honored character of the songs.

 The Great Irish Songbook encompasses everything from lovelorn ballads to traditional dance music to songs customarily sung at funerals, its moods continually shifting from longing to joy to delicately rendered heartache.

Within its first few tracks alone, The Great Irish Songbook shows the extraordinary scope of the album and the musicianship behind it. On “There’s Whisky in the Jar,” Nashville-based bluegrass band The SteelDrivers channel their freewheeling energy into one of the most widely performed traditional Irish tunes of all time (recorded by everyone from Thin Lizzy to Metallica to Jerry Garcia).

Poetry also infuses much of The Great Irish Songbook, such as on the Kate Rusby-sung rendition of “The Sally Gardens” (a W.B. Yeats-penned serenade) and the D.K. Gavan-authored “Rocky Road To Dublin,” a 19th-century story-song delivered with unabashed brio by famed Irish actor and part-time fiddle player Brendan Gleeson. Meanwhile, “On Raglan Road” transforms Patrick Kavanagh’s lovesick verse into a moment of sublime melancholy, thanks in no small part to the tender tenor of country star Vince Gill.

One of the two newly written pieces on The Great Irish Songbook has Steve Earle accompanying Dervish for a wistful yet rousing version of “The Galway Shawl,” closing out the track with a full-hearted sing-along.

Through the years, Dervish have toured the globe and shared stages with the likes of James Brown, Neil Young, and Sting, becoming the first Irish band ever to play Rock in Rio (the world’s most massive music festival), and steadily making their name as one of the foremost purveyors of Irish folk music.

As they approach their 30th anniversary, Dervish again prove the enduring significance of even the most timeworn songs. And in a way not unlike the folk revival of the 1960s, much of The Great Irish Songbook celebrates a spirit of togetherness, with a conviction that’s gracefully understated but powerfully felt. For Dervish, that sense of community and connection is both an ideal takeaway for the album and the driving force of its creation.

Accordionist Shane Mitchell, a founding member of the band, noted, “With this record we brought in people from genres sometimes totally unrelated to what we do, but still found a way to create some beautiful music together.” He reflects, “I think that’s an incredibly important thing to consider in life as well, especially now: everyone can find a way to collaborate, even if you’re coming from what feels like completely different places.”

In the coming weeks, Dervish will announce full details of The Great Irish Songbook Live, a show that will begin touring internationally in late 2019 and will feature guests from the album.

Artists’ website: https://www.dervish.ie/

‘As I Roved Out’ – live with Kate Rusby and Kevin Burke:

Ward Thomas share the official video for ‘Push For The Stride’

With the sounds of Country music permeating in the UK after the success of the hit television series Nashville, people both within and outside the music business have been asking – where are Britain’s home-grown country stars? Ward Thomas may well be providing some of the answers. They are on the threshold of becoming one of the first genuine major British Country acts.

Ward Thomas are 20-year old twin sisters Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas from Hampshire. Whilst in sixth form, a rough demo of the Ward Thomas track “Footnotes” found its way into the hands of Nashville’s most respected session musicians, leading to the recording of a debut album ‘From Where We Stand’ (out 21st July) that could spearhead a UK Country sound.

Hampshire and Country music may not be obvious bed fellows but these girls, brought up on a rural live stock farm from a family line that included artists and authors, have had Country music in their blood ever since they were introduced to the music of Carrie Underwood, Johnny Cash, Dixie Chicks and Alison Krauss by a cousin in their early teens. “We fell hard for Country”, as Catherine puts it. One listen to the vocal cadences and close harmonies on their debut album ‘From Where We Stand’ and Nashville and Hampshire suddenly don’t seem all that far apart.

Written in its entirety in the UK, without the help of A-list song writers, yet recorded in Nashville with some of Country Music’s finest including Bobby Blazier, Dan Dugmore and Chris Rodriquez, ‘From Where We Stand’ retains a certain Englishness which combined with the ‘Nashville’ sound gives us Ward Thomas’ own individual UK take on Country music. Their authentic Country sound with British influences and stories has been embraced in Nashville and the debut album can boast guest appearances from Grammy Award winner Michael Omartian (who appears on the track “Take That Train”) and Country Music superstar Vince Gill, winner of 18 CMA awards and 20 Grammys.

Lead single ‘Push For The Stride’, (follow up to their Radio 2 playlisted Footnotes EP), opens with strident guitars, melodic piano and vibrant harmonies. It’s an uplifting, up-tempo country-pop tune with a serious message about going after your dreams. The album contains a range of moods and textures – from heartfelt and exquisitely sung ballads like ‘Try’ and ‘From Where I Stand’ which was written about their parents’ divorce to barnstormers like ‘Way Back When’, ‘Town Called Ugley’ and ‘Push For the Stride’. Dan Dugmore’s swirling pedal steel supports the lilting melody of ‘Footnotes’, and Chris Rodriguez’s playful, chiming guitar and Blazier’s propulsive drumming balance the twins’ ardent vocals on another highlight, ‘Guest List’, which features one of many catchy choruses that will keep the listener hooked.

In the spring of 2014, Ward Thomas released their ‘Footnotes EP’ with lead single ‘The Good And The Right’ making it onto the BBC Radio 2 Playlist. Terry Wogan interviewed the twins on his popular Radio 2 show and they were also featured in a special Radio 2 documentary on country music broadcast in March. That same month they appeared at the Country2Country Festival at London’s O2 Arena where they were interviewed by BBC London News. More recently they have been featured in the Sunday Times Culture and recently performed at Maverick Festival in early July.

Debut Album ‘From Where We Stand’ released 21st July
Single ‘Push For The Stride’ also released 21st July

Please support us and order via our UK or US Storefront 


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
Physical link for the UK Store is: https://folking.com/folking-store/


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
Physical link to the US Storehttps://folking.com/folking-us-storefront/


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. Can’t find what you are looking for? Search Amazon Store below.

Country is being re-born…(Ward-Thomas are)…fresh artists with country influences and the dexterity to create a credible home grown version of the music – Sunday Times Culture

“Young, country-pop duo with terrific original songs, and the delivery to make them unforgettable” – Alan Cackett, Maverick Magazine

Ben Glover’s New Album – Do We Burn The Boats is now out…

Recorded in the heart of Nashville, the album was produced by Neilson Hubbard (Kim Richey, Glen Phillips, Garrison Starr) and features a track (Rampart Street) co written by seasoned folk songstress Mary Gauthier (who we featured very recently on folking.com).

“I intended to record just five songs for an EP, but after three days in the studio we all felt that there was a momentum happening that we couldn’t ignore. So we decided to go full steam ahead and cut ten songs and make an album,” says Glover. “It all happened very quickly and organically, but I’ve learned that sometimes the creative process takes on a life of its own and when it does it’s best to follow it’s direction.”

Glover has garnered rave album and concert reviews from across the globe and has toured extensively both as an opening act as well as a headliner. In the past calendar year his touring schedule included dates in Belfast, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh,Dublin, New York, Brussels as well as dates at the famed Hotel Café in Los Angeles and sold out shows in the Nashville’s legendary Bluebird Café.

He hails from Glenarm, Co Antrim, a small coastal village 30 miles from Belfast, N. Ireland and splits him time between there and Nashville, Tennessee. This singer/songwriter traded in a degree in law to peruse music and from all accounts it was a move that has paid off.

‘I was always drawn to and continue to be attracted to artists of a poetic nature, or great storytellers—obvious names like Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, and Paul Simon. And I’ve always had a great affection for country music, the Americana imagery always fascinated me. So people like Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson are important sources to me, as well. I suppose I am drawn to artists who had a very strong identity—maybe not the best singers in the world—but said important and meaningful things in their songs. Essentially, music has to come out of life, and if there’s no life there is no music.’

Glover has toured and/or performed with Vince Gill, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Mary Gauthier, Jason Mraz and Tift Merritt. His songs have been used in feature films such as “Finding Joy,” hit webisode series “Adults Only,” and as the theme song for BBC N.Ireland sports programme “The Championship.”

Please support us and order via our UK or US Storefront 


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
Physical link for the UK Store is: https://folking.com/folking-store/


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD
Physical link to the US Storehttps://folking.com/folking-us-storefront/


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. Can’t find what you are looking for? Search Amazon Store below.

Artist’s website: www.benglover.co.uk