Seth Lakeman announces new album and UK tour

Seth Lakeman
Photograph by Caroline Rees

Multi award-winning folk singer Seth Lakeman will release his new album A Pilgrim’s Tale on February 7th 2020, in a year that marks four centuries since The Mayflower ship departed the UK. The album will be released amidst a selection of UK concerts where Seth will visit locations significant to the Mayflower tale, including dates in London, Plymouth, Immingham and Harwich. This stirring and beautiful record is narrated by the actor Paul McGann (Dr Who/Withnail and I/Hornblower/Luther), and features a host of guest performers including Cara Dillon, Benji Kirkpatrick, Ben Nicholls and Seth’s father Geoff Lakeman.

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower ship setting off to the Americas. The ship carried British and Dutch passengers with hopes of fresh settlement, and who were famously met by the Wampanoag first nation tribe upon their arrival. Bottling the spirit of the 17th century pilgrimage, Seth has written and performed a selection songs that shape a fictional narrative of the journey, informed by extensive research from text such as the journals of William Bradford, conversations with modern day ancestors of the Wampanoag people at the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, and information sourced at the national heritage sites that still exists in the UK.

Chronicling the voyage and early settlement in these songs, Seth has created a drama that celebrates the history, but doesn’t lose sight of the journey’s tribulations. It stays sensitive to important facets of the story; the religious liberation that passengers were trying to achieve, the nefarious deeds enacted upon the Wampanoag, and the deaths that followed on both sides.

It’s a story Seth feels he is intrinsically linked to. “I didn’t have far to go for inspiration. The Mayflower Steps, on Plymouth’s cobbled Barbican streets are 20 minutes away from me. I fished from this quay as a boy, sang songs on tall ships tied up here and played music in just about every old sailors’ pub in this Elizabethan quarter.”

Furthermore, as one of the most celebrated members of British folk music, Seth is wholly qualified to replicate the trappings of traditional 17th century musical styles; whether it be through his vocals, stringed instrument arrangements, fiddle playing, or percussion.

The stories in the songs are told from a variety of perspectives, from personal accounts such as the opening number ‘Watch Out’ detailing deadly premonitions of a Wampanoag girl, to tales of the collective travellers in songs such as ‘Pilgrim Brother’ and ‘Sailing Time’, which march at a hopeful cadence reflecting their early optimism.

Close your eyes, and with each track you feel possessed by one of those 17th century characters; a crewman wrestling to control the ship, a pilgrim celebrating in rapturous faith, or the solemn Wampanoag tribesmen forlornly surrendering to the new way of life thrust upon them. Seth has married mood to pulsing rhythms in an immersive tale of struggle that, 400 years later, still holds an emotional impact.

Inspiration for the project came when Seth was on tour with Robert Plant, and paid a visit to the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts to talk to the Wampanoag that still reside in the area. It didn’t take long for the songs to form upon his return to England,

“After I travelled home from the “New World” to Plymouth, Devon everything happened in a quite mystical way. The songs came together so speedily and with exactly the vibe I wanted, and we recorded in a very short time in my studio at home on Dartmoor.”

To supplement the recordings, a between-song narration was written by associate director of Plymouth’s Theatre Royal, Nick Stimson, and read by Paul McGann. Seth was elated to have the prestigious actor on board.

“As we finished the album another quite magical thing happened, when Paul agreed to voice the narration between the tracks on the record. He pitched it perfectly.”

On top of Seth’s own vocal and instrumental performances (Violin, Viola, E tenor Guitar, Bouzouki, Drums, Harmonium) on the record, additional instrumentation is provided by some of the UK’s finest talents, including Irish vocalist (and sister in law to Seth) Cara Dillon (additional vocals & co-lead on ‘Saints And Strangers’), English multi-instrumentalist Benji Kirkpatrick (Vocals, Bouzouki, Guitar, Side Drum), long-time collaborator Ben Nicholls (upright Bass, Jew’s Harp), and Seth’s father Geoff Lakeman (additional vocals). The album was recorded at Seth’s Crossways Studio in Devon, and mixed by Richard Evans (New Order, Peter Gabriel, The Pogues).

To coincide with the album’s release, Seth will play live dates specially routed in a trail of towns and cities that, for various reasons, hold significance to the Mayflower journey. Locations such as Immingham – where Separatists made a dangerous escape from England to Holland in their search for religious freedom – and Dartmouth – where the ship was anchored for repairs – will be visited in this expansive tour.

February 2020 UK Tour

Wednesday 5th February – Doncaster, Cast
Thursday 6th February – Immingham, St Andrews Church
Friday 7th February – Droitwich, Norbury Theatre
Saturday 8th February – Gainsborough, Trinity Arts Centre
Sunday 9th February – Boston, BlackFridayars Theatre and Arts Centre
Tuesday 11th February – Harwich, St Nicholas Church
Wednesday 12th February – London Southwark, Cathedral
Thursday 13th February – Southampton, Central Hall
Friday 14th February – Dartmouth, Flavel Arts Centre
Saturday 15th February – Plymouth, St Andrews Church

Beans On Toast announces new album and tour dates

Beans On Toast

The cult songwriter Beans On Toast announces the title of his next studio album, plus an extensive run of UK dates for Winter 2019/20. A Climate Emergency?  Boris as PM?  Rail-melting heat waves?  A No-Deal Brexit? Beans’ new album could only ever be called one thing: The Inevitable Train Wreck.

For now he’s holding his cards quite close to his chest, but he’s promised “a rock’n’roll album about our dying planet”.

The new release from the Essex folk hero will find him searching for hope and change in what may be Earth’s darkest hour.

On-track for a 25 date tour across the nation this Winter, catch Beans On Toast playing songs from The Inevitable Train Wreck and his huge back catalogue at the following UK venues from 4th December 2019 and into whatever 2020 brings:

Tour Dates


31 – BRIGHTON The Haunt


01 – BRISTOL Trinity Center
06 – CARDIFF The Globe
07 – LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
08 – BIRMINGHAM Castle & Falcon
09 – NOTTINGHAM Bodega
12 – NEWCASTLE Tyne Bank Brewery
13 – EDINBURGH Old Dr Bells Baths
14 – MANCHESTER Gorilla
15 – LONDON Dome

Artist’s website:

Smoke Fairies announce new album and 2020 tour

Smoke Fairies

Smoke Fairies have announced the release their first album for four years. Darkness Brings The Wonders Home will be released on January 31st coupled with new tour dates for the band. The first single to be taken from the album, Disconnect’, is available now on all online platforms.

Jessica and Katherine travelled to Seattle to record Darkness Brings The Wonders Home with producer Phil Ek (The Black Angels, Fleet Foxes, The Shins) and over the course of a rigorous month-long session in Seattle, adopted a purposely intimate approach to achieving a singular sonic tone.

In the making of Darkness Brings The Wonders Home, Smoke Fairies drew inspiration from mysteries both real and imagined: sea monsters, flocks of crows taking flight in extravagant formation, strange creatures dwelling in the mud near their new South London abode.

“Times of darkness are when people are often the most imaginative,” says Jessica Davies in reflecting on the album’s title. “It helps you to see all the wonders of the world you hadn’t noticed before – the things you’ve been blind to because you’ve been on autopilot for so long.”

To celebrate the album’s release Smoke Fairies have also announced a tour starting in Manchester on February 1st 2020. The band dropped new track “Out Of The Woods” in August and follow it with first single “Disconnect” which is available on streaming and download platforms.

The new album Darkness Brings The Wonders Home is available to pre-order now from the band’s website and tickets for the band’s tour dates are on general now from all usual outlets.

Artists’ website:

‘Out Of The Woods’ – official video:

UK Dates:

1st Feb Manchester, Soup Kitchen
2nd Feb Leeds, Oporto
3rd Feb Norwich, Arts Centre
5th Feb Oxford, Bullingdon
6th Feb London, Hoxton Hall
7th Feb Birmingham, Sunflower Lounge
8th Feb Bristol, Rough Trade
9th Feb Portsmouth, Square Tower

Rachel Taylor-Beales to tour theatrical adaptation of Stone’s Throw, Lament Of The Selkie

Rachel Taylor-Beales

Singer-songwriter Rachel Taylor-Beales is touring a gig-theatre adaptation of her highly acclaimed Stone’s Throw, Lament Of The Selkie album.

Singer songwriter and multi instrumentalist, Rachel Taylor-Beales has teamed up with award winning actor-musician Lucy Rivers and Director Louise Osborn, to create and perform a gig-theatre adaptation of Rachel’s most recent album Stone’s Throw, Lament Of The Selkie. Using song, music, storytelling and large-scale visual projections, Rachel’s personal experiences of injury and trauma after a dramatic accident, are merged alongside contemporary re-imaginings of selkie folklore myth. Having been awarded Arts Council Wales funding, the tour will open on 10th October in Carmarthenshire’s seaside town of Llanelli, before continuing on to arts centres and theatre venues across South Wales.

Describing the show Rachel Taylor-Beales states: “At 24 weeks pregnant, I was sporting a huge bump and on tour in rural Italy… Life was good! And then almost everything in my world came literally crashing to a halt, as the result of a serious accident. And it was during this time when I was housebound due to my injuries, (but fortunately still pregnant), that I began to delve into selkie folklore, and this became the inspiration for my fourth studio album. I was thrilled to receive funding from Arts Council Wales to develop the concepts behind my album into a full length touring show. It is such a privilege to be able to work with my creative team. Louise Osborn our director is innovative and insightful. Her sensitivity to the difficult subject matter that I’m exploring through the traumatic experiences of my own life and daughter’s birth, has enabled me to tackle them with unapologetic confidence. Inviting Lucy Rivers into my collaborative process has been transformative. Lucy plays the character of Selkie, an enigmatic creature and mother with a tortured past and between us we have created a world somewhere on the line where the ocean meets the land, for our stories to merge, entwine, unravel and rebuild”

Director Louise Osborn states: “I love that Rachel is merging elements of her own story with the contemporary version of Selkie mythology. She has managed to create a poetic landscape that is at once funny, mythical, epic and hopeful… I think this honest, raw work, underscored by beautiful songs and music, will have strong resonance for audiences and raise important questions that will linger beyond the evening in the theatre.’

Stone’s Throw, Lament Of The Selkie, tours theatres in Wales throughout October 2019 with additional dates now being added for 2020.

Artist’s website:

Trailer video:

Tour Dates

February 5th 2020, The Welfare, Ystradgynlais

3 Daft Monkeys Interview and Tour Dates

3 Daft Monkeys

Its been a while since we chatted to those 3 Daft Monkeys, so thought it was high time we caught up with them at the New Forest Folk Festival.

One of my lasting beer aerobic memories was standing with Tim and Athene at a festival watching a band years ago, I dropped my pint in a moment of madness and somehow it landed right side up on the grass, without spilling a drop. That is the effect those Monkeys have you, its never a dull moment with them around.

So, with beer secured, Paul Johnson and I arranged to meet Tim Ashton (with surprise guest Arlo) in the Artists Garden to have our chat. We talk about Glastonbury, what they have been up to recently, the Giant Pink Castle, what’s been happening since Lukas Drinkwater left the band and the new line up featuring Rich Mulryne (percussion/vocals) and Jamie Graham (bass).

We also talk about the most recent album ‘Year of the Clown’, the idea behind it and also plans for a new album. Tim talks about the Busking festivals in Italy and Switzerland and Arlo’s hula-hoop show. Finally, we speak about the rest of the tour this year and where you can go to see them jump around the stage all night.

Darren Beech

The interview should start playing automatically, if not click on the play button below to listen.

All live dates via Artist’s website: