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Tag: folk

Emm Gryner does the math

Saturday, 31 May, 2014 0 Comments

Torrential is the title of the fourth album from Canadian singer-songwriter Emm Gryner and, like the preceding three, it’s good. By the way, the prolific Gryner is also a member of the folk trio Trent Severn. She excels at the catchy pop ballad and “Math Wiz” is one of her best.


Timber Timbre

Saturday, 3 May, 2014 0 Comments

There’s a dark thread of sleaze running through the songs of Timber Timbre on their latest album, Creep On Creepin’ On. The Canadians have sifted their way through the lode of blues, rock and folk and emerged with nuggets like “Hot Dreams”, “This Low Commotion” and “The New Tomorrow”. Vocalist Taylor Kirk sounds very like Nick Cave here.


Ho Hey say The Lumineers

Saturday, 24 August, 2013 0 Comments

Based in Denver, Colorado, The Lumineers could be seen as a kind of belated Rocky Mountains response to the hugely successful folk rock of Mumford & Sons, but while the British band was formed in 2007, the two founding members of the Lumineers, Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites, were already performing together in New Jersey in 2005. In 2010, Neyla Pekarek joined The Lumineers and she was followed into the lineup by Stelth Ulvang and Ben Wahamaki in 2012. “Ho Hey” is not to be confused with “Hey! Ho! Let’s go!” made famous by The Ramones.

Language note: The expression “hey-ho” first appeared in print in 1471, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which says it has nautical origins, meant to mark the rhythm of movement in heaving or hauling. Over time, it merged meanings with the similarly spelled “heigh-ho,” which was first recorded in 1553 and is defined as an expression of “yawning, sighing, languor, weariness, disappointment.” In 2006, hey-ho made it into Urban Dictionary, where it’s defined it as “a word used when something has not gone according to plan, to dispel one’s feeling of disappointment.” Example: “Oh, we’ve just missed the bus. Hey-ho.”


Willie Nelson at 80

Tuesday, 30 April, 2013 0 Comments

“A man of eighty,” said Lord Byron, “has outlived probably three new schools of painting, two of architecture and poetry and a hundred in dress.” And then, of course, there’s music. Willie Nelson, who celebrates his 80th birthday today, has met the scholars of jazz, blues, folk, rock and roll, disco, punk rock, hip hop, New Age and World music going the road of popular entertainment and out of these encounters he fashioned a school all of his own called “outlaw country”. Born during the Great Depression, and raised by his grandparents, Willie Nelson is “a poet and a one-man band.”


Somebody That I Used To Know

Saturday, 13 April, 2013 0 Comments

Before turning to the music of the phenomenal young English guitarist, Mike Dawes, we should mention one of his role models, Pierre Bensusan, a French guitarist from a family of Sephardic Jews that migrated from Spain to Morocco to Algeria. Much of the aesthetic that Dawes has incorporated in his playing can be found in Bensusan’s interpretation of “The Return From Fingal“, a march he learned from the piping of Séamus Ennis. Apart from Bensusan, the other finger-style players who have influenced Mike Dawes are Jon Gomm and Michael Hedges.


New fangled folk by Local Natives

Saturday, 23 February, 2013 0 Comments

In attempting to come up with a fitting definition for the sound created by the Los Angeles-based Local Natives, the independent media group, Clash Music, described their style as “psych folk” and “new fangled folk.” Writing about the band’s new album, Pitchfork, had this to say: “With Hummingbird, Local Natives have made a thoughtful, lovely album with small gestures that provide great rewards.” The mother of lead vocalist Kelcey Ayer died last summer and he addresses her movingly in the album’s penultimate song, Colombia: “If you never felt all of my love/ I pray now you do.”


Topic Records launching ‘The Great Big Digital Archive Project’

Thursday, 3 January, 2013 0 Comments

Dominic Behan, Davy Graham, Ewan MacColl, Willie Clancy, Rambling Jack Elliott, Sarah Makem… all folk music greats and all soon to be available in digital format from the treasure chest of Topic Records, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary in April next year. Europe’s oldest independent label is undertaking one of the biggest digitization projects by a niche music marque ever seen and later this month Topic will launch “The Great Big Digital Archive Project”, with 84 albums available to download complete with booklets, artwork, documentation and sleeve-notes.

In 2003, Booker Prize-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro said this of Topic:

“There is this kind of treasure chest you have sitting in front of you, and if you were American or perhaps Irish you might have opened it by now, but because you live here it probably hasn’t occurred to you to do so yet. Well, I would urge you to open that thing up and delve inside it, because I believe you’ll find there a sublime vision of the British Isles as it has been lived over the last few centuries; and it’s the kind of vision that you can’t readily get from the works of say, Dickens or Shakespeare or Elgar or Sir Christopher Wren. If you don’t open that treasure box I think you are going to miss a certain dimension, a whole dimension of cultural life in this country so I urge you to do it.”


Shake those hips with Joan Osborne

Saturday, 22 September, 2012

She was born in Anchorage, but not the Anchorage of Alaska. There’s an Anchorage in Kentucky, too, and that’s where Joan Osborne comes from. She moved to New York City in the late 1980s and formed her own record label, Womanly Hips. Here she blends rock, country, blues and folk in an infectiously danceable cocktail. […]

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Last Night with Lucy Spraggan

Saturday, 15 September, 2012

A-FLOP is a mixture of acoustic, folk and hip-hop. Well, that’s what Lucy Spraggan says and that’s what the native of Canterbury in Kent performs. Spraggan’s irreverent, ironic style is catchy and bigger things are in her stars. To start with, she will support Joan Armatrading at Indigo2 at The O2 in London in November.

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As I roved out in Austin, Texas

Saturday, 19 May, 2012

Born in Brattleboro, Vermont, Sam Amidon is a singer who’s not afraid to give the classics of the folk tradition a spin around the musical block. As I Roved Out was was collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1904 from a Mr. Broomfield, in the village of East Hornden, in Essex. Williams wrote, “the tune […]

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