tue 07/04/2020

folk music

Album: Sam Lee, Old Wow - a hymn to Mother Nature

Folk music has always thrived in times of adversity and danger and in times when (to coin a phrase) “nothing is real”. All the above apply now and folk music, its roots in the dirt of our septic isle, speaks to us eloquently as balm, warning, and...

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Album: Squirrel Flower - I Was Born Swimming

The first album from the Boston-bred songwriter Squirrel Flower opens and closes with autobiographical songs. “I-80” opens with the artist - real name Ella O’Connor Williams - giving up on lyrics, poetry and, later, giving up on love, its rootless...

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Album: Aoife Nessa Frances - Land of No Junction

What a lovely surprise. A debut album with its own sensibility that’s come out of the blue. Aoife Nessa Frances is from Dublin and the terrific Land of No Junction – the title comes from a mistaken hearing of Llandudno Junction – signals the arrival...

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Judy Collins, Grand Central Hall, Liverpool review - how sweet the sound, even at 80

It’s a good few years since Judy Collins last toured Britain and Ireland, though in the US she’s rarely off the road. Over the last couple of years she has notched up more than 100 concerts (and an album) with Stephen Stills, who famously celebrated...

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Albums of the Year 2019: Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow

2019 has been quite the year. Amongst other difficulties being a grown-up hurls at you on the reg, I lost my guiding light (may her adventures on the other side of this universe be everything and more). And the testing times that ensued sees me now...

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Albums of the Year 2019: Claire Martin - Believin’ It

A trio of standout US vocal jazz releases included one of the year’s most hotly anticipated albums, Jazzmeia Horn’s Love and Liberation, which showcased the Dallas-born vocalist’s ever-deepening artistry and songwriter’s ear for detail. Horn’s eight...

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Albums of the Year 2019: Josienne Clarke – In All Weather

As one half of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award-winning duo with Ben Walker, Josienne Clarke released four superb albums, including 2014’s Nothing Can Bring Back The Hour and their finale, 2018’s Seedlings All. There’s an absolute clarity to her voice, as...

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Steeleye Span, Barbican review - party like it's 1969

The Barbican, a week before Christmas, and it’s British folk-rock legends Steeleye Span’s last gig of the year, a year in which its vigorous seven-strong line-up – featuring a new recruit in the shape of former Bellowheader Benji Kirkpatrick –...

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The Amber Light review - tales, songs and drams

A documentary about celebration, fellowship, and the comforting afterglow of cherished memories. What better way to spend a cold late-Autumn evening? Such is the effect of this charming, low-key investigation into the story of Scotch. Rich with...

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The Lumineers, SSE Hydro, Glasgow review - a stomping but exhausting night

There was something fitting about the Lumineers entrance in Glasgow. As “Gimme Shelter” blared around the SSE Hydro, lights pulsating over the crowd, it was drummer Jeremiah Fraites who took the stage and started the opening beat of “Sleep On The...

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Mrs Peachum's Guide to Love and Marriage, Mid Wales Opera review - scaled down seediness, with a swing

The Beggar’s Opera: does any piece of music theatre promise more fun and deliver more tedium? Yes, it was the satirical smash of 1728; yes, it inspired Brecht and Weill; yes, with its combination of popular melodies and a topical script it was...

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Poster, Cabeza, Aurora Orchestra, Collon, Kings Place review – shock of the new

Mozart’s piano concertos often overflow with good humour, but you seldom expect to hear a hearty chuckle from the audience in the middle of a performance of one. Yet something close to a guffaw burst out around King’s Place when soloist Tom Poster,...

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