FolkWorld #56 03/2015

CD & DVD Reviews

Short & Sweet

Sam Amidon "Lily-O" (CD, Nonsuch , 2014). Vermont-born singer/fiddler/guitarist presents on this album mostly traditional folk songs, with wailing zydeco/country style singing. Produced by Björk producer Valgeir Sigurdsson, and recorded in Iceland, with some interesting musical arrangements. Watch Sam @ YouTube!

Roseanna Ball "Geography" (CD, Own label, 2014). Under the name of 'Roholio' she has been working with many artists including Boo Hewerdine[56] and Phil Beer. Roseanna Ball is now performing solo under her full name and looking forward with a quietly engaging album of ten self-penned folk songs that will hopefully gain some recognition.

Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash "New Old Story" (CD/Download, Randm Records, 2015). For fans of Waylon Jennings,[17] Willie Nelson,[51] Merle Haggard,[46] and of course Johnny Cash![45] Mark Stuart's Bastard Sons from Austin, Texas, are playing at the forefront of the Alternative Country Scene: "The Bastard Sons never were, and never will be, a Johnny Cash tribute band. It's always been about honoring the musical ideals of our heroes, and paying respect to the originality, integrity, and independence that made those artists who they are." Download their 5th album "New Old Story" @ NoiseTrade!

Norman Blake "Wood, Wire & Words" (CD, Plectrafone Records, 2015). Norman Blake brought Johnny Cash’s early Americana to millions as Cash’s house guitarist;[45] he joined Bob Dylan’s exploration of country roots; he helped create newgrass via John Hartford;[43] he accompanied the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s homage to early country roots as part of the "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" sessions; he was a key part of the ground-breaking soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"; and he’s since appeared on the soundtrack of films like "Cold Mountain", "Walk the Line" and "Inside Llewyn Davis".[53] A living legend, his first album of all original songs in over 30 years is chronicling hard lives and bitter tales on a stripped-back acoustic album.

Bodh'aktan "Au diable les remords" (Go Musique, 2011), "Against Winds and Tides" (CD, FrostByte Media, 2013), "Tant qu'il restera du rhum..." (CD, FrostByte Media, 2013). Dressed in kilts, Bodh'aktan’s (their name is inspired by a Gaelic word for fisherman's boots) raucous party music fuses traditional Celtic, Breton and Québécois music with pop, rock and punk. Their song "La Sainte Nitouche" from their second french-album "Tant qu'il restera du rhum" became a crossover pop hit on the Quebec charts. "Against Winds and Tides" is targeting the English-language market, its tracks being mostly English-language translations of the debut album "Au diable les remords" plus a folk rock cover of Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name".
Guest appearances by Great Big Sea's Alan Doyle,[24] accordionist Yves Lambert,[53] and German folk rock band Fiddler's Green.[52]

Hattie Briggs "Old Eyes" (Single/Video, 2014). BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award 2014 Nominee Hattie Briggs dropped out of a Russian degree at Oxford University and returned to her Gloucestershire home to focus on songwriting. Here’s the first track, "Old Eyes", to come from her upcoming debut "Red And Gold" album @ YouTube!

The Burning Bush "Klezmer and Hassidic Music" (CD, ARC Music , 2014). Widely acclaimed Jewish ensemble from Britain, featuring the traditional instruments of clarinet, violin, viola, acordion, trumpet, hammer dulcimer and double bass. High quality engaging music.

Cabinet "Celebration" (CD, 2015). Americana outfit from Pennsylvania, Cabinet’s third studio release and seventh overall, was initially intended to be a straight bluegrass record. Instead, the album emerged as the band’s most diverse project yet, spanning the band’s eight-plus years of existence. Watch "Celebration" @ YouTube, download a sample @ NoiseTrade!

Jo Carley and The Old Dry Skulls "Rags and Bones" (EP, 2015). Jo and Tim Carley and Nathan Weanie play Old Time Gypsy Ska Punk: ‘Basically, we take the music that originated in the British Isles and Ireland that made its way to America to become Old Time and Bluegrass. Then we drag it back through the Swamps of the Southern USA and back to the the UK via Jamaican dance halls and 70's punk establishments, ...' Listen @ YouTube!

Na Casaidigh "Fead an Iolair" (CD re-release, Gael Linn , 1984 / 2014). Thirty years after its original release, Gael Linn has re-released this album of the Irish family group Na Casaidigh. Good to see that in this day and age of digital music classic albums are still being re-released in CD format.

Vincent Colbert "Stranger in My House" (EP/Download, 2015). "Stranger in My House" encapsulates a phase in Colbert's life after moving to Michigan where he felt uneasy and uncomfortable: "It was difficult for me to transition to this new environment with no friends or connection to the local community, and those first two years living in Michigan are what I like to refer to as the dark days." Watch "As You Are" @ YouTube, download the album @ NoiseTrade!

Bob & Ron Copper "Traditional Songs from Rottingdean" (CD, Fledg'ling Records, 1963/2014). To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Bob Copper's birth,[28] Fledg'ling Records are releasing a new CD edition of the influential 1963 "Traditional Songs from Rottingdean" album that influenced so many performers of the 'Folk Revival' in the UK, Ireland and the US. 2015 sees Fledg'ling celebrating 21 years of the label with monthly special offers.

Jan Ekedahl "Ansen" (CD, Sjelvar , 2014). This leading folk guitarist from Sweden presents on "Ansen" pure solo guitar music, beautifully performed. A gentle album of own compositions, Irish traditionals, O Carolan tunes plus a few traditional tunes from the Swedish island of Gotland.

Aireene Espiritu "Put back charlie" (CD, Own label, 2014). Americana singer/songwriter from Oakland, CA, playing mostly orginal songs in a style of folk, country and soal, with some latin/african rhythms.

The Foghorn Stringband "Devil in the Seat" (CD, Own label, 2015). For more than a decade Portland Oregon’s The Foghorn Stringband[32][37] have spread the old-time string band gospel all over the world. To this day Caleb Klauder (mandolin, fiddle), Reeb Willms (guitar), Nadine Landry (upright bass) and Stephen ‘Sammy’ Lind (fiddle, banjo) see no reason to polish their music or to deviate from the rough-and-tumble roots which once inspired them. Check out "Mining Camp Blues" filmed live at the Pickathon Festival @ YouTube!

Folkapotamus "Whispered words" (CD, Phat Cat Records , 2014). Americana folk duo Penni Hart (singer/songwriter/guitarist) and Tony Trites (acoustic bass). Most of the songs on this, their debut, album are written by Penni, with as diverse topics as Alzheimers, love, World War II or the struggles of two songwriters. The pace of the album is slow, and the music has warmth to it.

Sid Griffin "The trick is to breathe" (CD, Prima Records, 2014). American singer/songerwriter Sid Griffin's first solo album for a decade. Based in London, for this album Sid decided to record in Tennessee, with a bunch of guest musicians. An album of Americana, bluegrass and country music.

The Henry Girls "" (Video, 2015). The Irish sibling trio of Karen, Lorna and Joleen McLaughlin[47] did a session for the TV show "Roísín" on TG4. The performance can be enjoyed @ YouTube!

Humming House "Revelries" (CD, Rock Ridge Music, 2015). Folk, soul, bluegrass and more - quintet Humming House from East Nashville’s melting pot musical culture is fundamentally a live band with a insatiable desire to have a good time on stage and off.[55] "Revelries" is evidence that they are able to transfer the rousing energy into the studio. Watch Humming House @ YouTube!

Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons "Take Yo Time" (CD, Own label, 2014). Northwest roots music duo Ben Hunter (fiddle) and Joe Seamons (banjo), recently known as Dom Flemons' (ex-Carolina Chocolate Drops) backing band,[55] tap into the fevered period of musical exchange of the early 20th century: English ballads and Appalachian murder ballads, country blues and early jazz. Watch Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons live on KEXP @ YouTube!

Sarah Jarosz (Videos, 2014). Sarah Jarosz[52] is "journeying toward some sort of platonic ideal that combines elements of old-time folk music, bluegrass, pop and art rock into a distinctly American whole" (Paste Magazine's 25 Musicians Under 25). Watch Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O'Donovan's version of "Some Tyrant" during the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, her cover of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" live from the Bluegrass Situation stage at Bonnaroo 2014, her joining Mark Radcliffe, Allison Moorer and The McCrary Sisters @ Celtic Connections, ot listen to the BBC Radio Scotland broadcast!

Katey Laurel "Upstairs" (CD, Roaring Twenties Records, 2008); "From Here" (CD, Roaring Twenties Records, 2011); "Periscope" (CD, Roaring Twenties Records, 2014). Singer-songwriter Katey Laurel draws inspiration for her lyrical and catchy folk-pop from classic rock to disco, and last but not least the old-time records of her family’s early hippie years when traveling coast-to-coast in a Volkswagen bus. Watch "Hurricane," dealing with the struggles of relationships but presented with a radio-friendly hook, @ YouTube!

Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys "Ionia" (CD, Earthwork Music, 2015). Michigan roots band Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys[49] have long left traditional bluegrass music behind for a chunky Americana sound. Yet to record their latest album, they gathered in their home in Ionia in a circle, leaned in closer and closer blending vocals and instruments organically, took turns on each other’s instruments. Watch "House Together" @ The Bluegrass Situation!

Liz Madden "Legacy" (CD, Valley, 2015). The newest album from former Rua member Liz Madden mixes Gaelic chants and English vocals, traditional ballads as well as Joan Baez’s “Diamonds & Rust” and Emmylou Harris’ “Boulder to Birmingham”. "Legacy" has been recorded with Fionán de Barra (Runa),[55] and features guest performances from Joanie Madden (Cherish The Ladies)[46] and Eamonn de Barra (Slide).[52] You can hear “Will You Go Lassie Go” @ SoundCloud!

Mames Babegenush "Mames Babegenush" (CD, Math Records, 2015). Mames Babegenush,[51] Copenhagen's modern klezmer band, has released its 4th album in 10 years. Watch "Isortok Nights", "Moldavian Transpotting", "People From The Past" (Trentemøller remix)!

"Matuto at Mt. Rushmore" (Video, 2015). New York based pan-American roots music group Matuto[47] had a busy schedule in the Midwest, but did manage to make a stop at Mt. Rushmore for a quick forró session. The park security guards quickly started dancing. Watch it @ YouTube!

Rob McHale "Fields" (CD, Wooden Door Records, 2014). American singer/songwriter with a Americana / Celtic flair. I found that the singer sounds tired on this album, yet there is warmth in the recording. Some pleasant instrumentation, with fiddle, piano, guitar, bass etc.

Mélisande "Les Métamorphoses" (CD, La Prûche Libre, 2015). Traditional folk music doesn’t always share women’s stories in the best light. Because of this, Québécois chanteuse Mélisande decided to examine the plight of women in traditional Québécois music, resulting in an innovative project of putting together old French ballads and call-and-response songs with electronic beats and a feminist perspective. Check it out @ YouTube!

Brendan Monaghan "Lovers always win" (CD, Brambus , 2014). Irish singer songwriter with a retrospective collection featuring songs from his earlier works. The songs, primarily written by Brendan, are presented in a folk-pop style, sometimes leaning towards easy listening or country. Some good musical arrangements, featuring fiddle, accordion and piano, as well as guitar, bass, drums etc.

Monoswezi "Monoswezi Yanga" (CD, Riverboat, 2015). Monoswezi[43] – the name is an amalgam of the four nationalities represented in their line-up: Mozambique (Mo), Norway (No), Sweden (Swe), Zimbabwe (Zi) – weave traditional African songs and instruments (Zimbabwean mbira and Mozambican percussion) with cool Nordic saxophone jazz. Hope Masike assumes the role of storyteller and we are invited to sit at her feet soaking up the myths and legends of her childhood. Listen to "Matatya" @ YouTube!

Jess Morgan "Langa Langa" (CD, Amateur Boxer, 2014). English singer/songwriter from Norwich, blending British and Americana folk, with some country, blues and world. Jess Morgan defines her style as "indie folk". "Langa Langa" features 11 of her own songs. Watch Jess @ YouTube, download the "Animal" EP @ NoiseTrade!

Sam Morrow "Seahorse Sessions" (EP/Download, 2015). A threadbare soul, decades his elder, Sam Morrow recorded his first live EP. Watch "Barely Holding On" @ YouTube or ReverbNation, download the Seahorse Sessions Live EP @ NoiseTrade!

Ninebarrow "While the Blackthorn Burns" (CD, Own label, 2015). George Papavgeris[36] says: '“The Everly Brothers of British folk” doesn’t even get close to describing them, but it’s a start - you would need to add inventiveness, boldness, presence and tons of charisma.' Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere, aka Ninebarrow, deliver original songs that are rooted in the British Isles and rework traditional folk songs in their own distinctive way.

"The Guitarist Finn Olafsson - Interview Portrait" (Video, 2015). "Wafu Dedication" has been the last of the 12 live-in-the-studio videos of Finn Olafsson's[47] Video of the Month project. In the extension of the videos, a 26 minutes interview portrait was published @ YouTube, with Finn Olafsson talking composing music, his inspiration, the guitars he plays, etc. Expect a DVD/CD/sheet music release during 2015!

Aidan O'Rourke "Hotline" (CD, Reveal Records, 2013). In addition to his solo career, Scottish fiddler Aidan O'Rourke[37][39] has been a member of Blazin' Fiddles,[36] The Unusual Suspects,[31] Tabache,[8] LAU[50] and KAN.[48] O'Rourke was commissioned to write a suite of new music to link Argyll to the London 2012's Summer Olympics. It "draws inspiration from the fact that the first transatlantic telephone cable system was laid between Gallanach Bay, near Oban and Clarenville, Newfoundland between 1955 and 1956. The music is folk based, which is always my melodic cornerstone but ever present is my love of improvisation, polyrhythms and electronics. It leans further into the enclave of jazz than my music with Lau and Kan but I feel it’s a folk record at heart. Avant-folk. Post-folk. Cold-war inspired folk-jazz? Call it what you like." The session band had been Phil Bancroft on tenor sax, Paul Harrison on keyboards, Catriona McKay[53] on harp and Martin O’Neil[50] on percussion.

Paper Aeroplanes "Souvenirs" (Download, 2015). Music from Wales for fans of Civil Wars, Patty Griffin, etc. This is a collection of songs from various Paper Aeroplanes[50] EPs all on the subject of the "human connection, about the secret inner workings of our brains and relationships". Download 4 tracks @ NoiseTrade, watch Paper Aeroplanes @ YouTube!

David Philips "If I Had Wings" (CD, Black and Tan Records, 2015). “This is the album I always wanted to make but never dared to”, says David Philips,[46] who wrote and recorded his 4th album all by himself, blending folk finger picking, psychedelic guitar solos, electronica and found sounds (including a few kitchen utensils as percussion) to create a varied audio landscape.

Pyrates "Unchartered Lands" (CD, Own label, 2014). Well, imagine the Whisky Priests[50] going to sea! These musical buccaneers have set off from the shores of the Lowlands of Holland to rowdy ports across the world and requisitioned countless sea faring folk songs and tunes that’ll be sure ta have yez tappin’ yer foot and singing along in no time! Check out the Pyrates' YouTube channel!

Norah Rendell "Spinning Yarns" (CD, Two Tap Music, 2015). Norah Rendell's (The Outside Track)[50] interest in old songs led her throughout Canada searching out the roots of the many Irish, Scottish, and English communities that have kept songs from the Old World close to their hearts. On her new album she presents twelve songs from her research, many drawn from rare archival recordings. The stories of these singers is the story of Canadian immigration writ large. Check out Norah's exclusive track @ Tradconnect!

Pharis & Jason Romero "A Wanderer I'll Stay" (CD, Own label, 2015). They’re psychonauts exploring the lost landscapes of American thought and creating handmade acoustic roots music so original and intelligent that they’re almost mapping a new country. Way off Pete Seeger’s back catalogue, Canadian husband-and-wife duo Pharis and Jason Romero[52] is pushing deeper and deeper into the tradition. Here's the video for "A Wanderer I'll Stay" and "Ballad of Old Bill"!

David Rovics "Cover Songs" (Video, 2015). The US singer-songwriter David Rovics is preparing for his European tour.[54] He recorded his 15 favourite cover songs (Cutty Wren, Wayfaring Stranger, Which Side Are You On, Love Me I'm A Liberal, ...) as a playlist on his YouTube channel, put up an online songbook (sheet music with chords and lyrics to over 100 songs written since 2005): I’m a songwriter, rather than a folksinger. A song is only a folk song if other people sing it. So if any of these songs might be or might become folk songs, only you can do me that honor.

Serpentyne "Myths and Muses" (CD, Serpentyne Music, 2014). Medieval music blended with Folkrock. Instrumentally attractive, featuring hurdy gurdy, bouzouki, flute etc. Lead vocals of Maggie-Beth Sand can become a bit much, and the constant beat even behind calm chants won't be everybody's cup of tea. Watch Serpentyne @ YouTube!

The Show Ponies "Run For Your Life" (EP, Own label, 2014). On their new EP, L.A.'s The Show Ponies[52] channel their bluegrass roots into a new kind of indie Americana (ft. bluegrass banjo player Noam Pikelny[52] of the Punch Brothers[49] and Leftover Salmon).[24] Download two songs from each of their LP's and one song from the recent EP @ NoiseTrade, watch "Whiskey and Wine" @ YouTube!

Sweet Lowdown "Chasing the Sun" (CD, Own label, 2014). Appalachian old-time stringband music underpins their music, soaring harmonies uplift the songs of progressive acoustic roots music trio The Sweet Lowdown (fiddler Miriam Sonstenes, banjoist Shanti Bremer, guitarist Amanda Blied) from Vancouver Island on the West Coast of Canada. Check out "You Can Find The North" (about using astronomy to chart a path out of the confines of the modern city) @ YouTube!

Tahoma "Honest Mark" (EP/Download, 2015). Folksy songwriting and powerful vocals reminiscing Ryan Adams and The Civil Wars. Watch "Dark as Coal" live in Terlingua, Texas @ YouTube, download Tahoma's debut EP @ NoiseTrade!

La Talvera "Solelh Solelhaire" (CD, Cordae / La Talvera, 2014). Another album from what must be the busiest recording band from the Occitan folk scene,[53] singing in this ancient language found in Southern France. Good quality music, on bagpipes, whistles, oboe, clarinet/saxophone, violin etc., with singing which may feel a bit intense.

Sean Taylor "The White Birds" (Download, 2015). To celebrate the day of all things Irish, St Patrick's Day, Sean Taylor[53] is sending a version of the WB Yeats poem "The White Birds" from his forthcoming album "The Only Good Addiction Is Love". You can download the track for free @ SoundCloud! Watch another new song, "Bad Light", @ YouTube!

The Trí-Tones "The Trí-Tones" (CD, Own label, 2014). The Trí Tones - Conor Moriarty (button accordion), Tara Breen (fiddle) and Stephen Rooney (guitar, vocals), all have been All Ireland champions over the years - are Ireland's new thrilling trio with their flashy approach. Watch them at the CD launch of their self titled album at Ennis Trad 21 Festival @ YouTube!

Sean Watkins "All I Do Is Lie" (CD/Download, Roaring Girl Records, 2014). Sean Watkins co-founded Nickel Creek[54] when he was just 12 years old, kickstarting a career that's taken him to the top of the bluegrass charts. Now, after 25 years of being either a band member or sideman, he is throwing his full weight behind a new solo album. Download "All I Do Is Lie" @ NoiseTrade!

The Yanks "Haymaker" (CD, Own label, 2014). This New York City based Irish traditional band is comprised of Isaac Alderson (flute, uilleann pipes), Dylan Foley (fiddle),[55] Dan Gurney (button accordion), and Sean Earnest (guitar, bouzouki). For their second recording they went for a 2-disc set, containing 22 tracks and 84 minutes of raw and steamy traditional Irish music. It recalls how Solas once started out ...

Various Artists "World Music from Catalonia 2014" (CD, 2014). 17 track compilation CD from Institut Català de les Empreses Culturals (ICEC) introducing the multifaceted music cultures of Barcelona and its surroundings, featuring La Troba Kung-Fú, La Pegatina,[54] Zulu 9.30, Barcelona Ethnic Band,[55] Cobla Sant Jordi,[51] and many more.

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