sat 31/01/2015

folk music

First Aid Kit, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

All-seater, up-market concert halls can be a bit intimidating to bands when they are used to more intimate venues. Silences can feel awkward and stage talk can dry up or be reduced to perfunctory “thank you”s. So it almost proved this evening when...

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Album of the Year: Jane Weaver – The Silver Globe

2014 has seen a fair few late lunges for the line in the race to be my best album of the year (a contest fought more for prestige and honour than hard cash in all honesty). I’m a mild-mannered sort, and hate disappointing the recording artists...

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Album of the year - Band of Brothers by Willie Nelson

You’d have to go back almost 20 years, and to 1996's Spirit, to name a Willie Nelson album with more than one or two original new songs. The nine for Band of Brothers was a real cause for celebration. He may be 81, he may not fly over to perform in...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Native North America

 Various Artists: Native North America (Vol. 1) – Aboriginal Folk, Rock and Country 1966–1985America’s music could be jazz, gospel, blues or rock ’n’ roll. Or all of them. Each has black roots. Then there’s the white-rooted country, which also...

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Bellowhead, Shepherd's Bush Empire

It’s been ten years since Bellowhead forged their riotous, rigorous pogo-folk, tooled up and fuelled up for closing festivals and getting the crowd to its feet, and they’ve won as many ‘best live act’ gongs as they’ve released records. Now signed to...

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The Cunning Peasant, Guildhall School

Dvořák’s rustic operetta sits, swinging its legs rather diffidently, historically somewhere between the neverland Bohemia of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride and the lacerating reality of village life in Janáček'’s Jenůfa. The Cunning Peasant’s charms...

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Grupo Corpo, Sadler's Wells

Grupo Corpo means Body Group, and if that sounds like the name of a global exercise consortium, it’s because it should be. If I were an entrepreneur media mogul type, I would have shot out of my seat at Sadler’s Wells last night and straight round...

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Carthy Hardy Farrell Young + Newton, Cecil Sharp House

Each of them is a solo, duo or group artist of high renown, but together, something special happens. On record it’s called Laylam; on stage, Eliza Carthy, Bella Hardy, Lucy Farrell and Kate Young are the best girl group in Britain.Occasional group...

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Joan Baez, Royal Festival Hall

The next revolution of civil disobedience is unlikely to be a ticketed event, with a sedentary congregation of grey-haired, nostalgic former hippies. And the Royal Festival Hall (even at full capacity) is a mere campfire compared to Joan Baez's...

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theartsdesk in Helsinki: Niubi Festival

Tulegur Gangzi describes his music as “Mongolian grunge” and “nomad rock.” Thrashing at an acoustic guitar, the Inner-Mongolian troubadour is singing in the khomei style, the throat-singing which sounds part-gargle, drone and chant – or all...

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Sam Sweeney, Royal College of Music

Sam Sweeney’s Fiddle: Made In The Great War is the first solo project from one of the vibrant British folk scene’s most exciting players. Sam Sweeney made his name in Bellowhead, as a duo with Hannah James, in The Full English, in Jon Boden’s...

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CD: J Mascis - Tied to a Star

When you listen to J Mascis’ solo work – 2011’s Several Shades of Why in particular, and now this follow-up – it’s hard to imagine him doing anything else. Which is ridiculous, of course: as frontman of still-active slacker-rockers Dinosaur Jr....

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