FolkWorld Issue 40 11/2009

FolkWorld CD Reviews

Jillian Ladage "The Ancestry"
Label: Tarith Cote; 2008
Illinois born singer/songwriter Jillian Ladage released her debut album with nine self crafted tracks on her own label Tarith Cote. She sings and plays piano, keyboards and harp and was accompanied by a bunch of gifted musicians. The musical journey starts in the 13th century with “Procession”, a sad air inspired by the history of an ancient abbey in Scotland. Craig Heilman plays the uilleann pipes and Todd Hammes percussion, while Ladage sings her sad air to the sound of the keyboard. Ladage’s love to the historical world leads us through ancient times, places and customs like on “Midsummer’s Night”, a rhythmic song with brilliant arrangement. The angelic voice sings to an orchestral line-up with keyboards, guitar, cello, violin, bass, hurdy gurdy, drums and bodhràn. “The black Woods” is a melancholic anthem, sung by Ladage with the soft accompaniment of the harp and the romantic ballad “Bonny was the Lady” starts off with Chris Wagoner’s beautiful violin playing and takes about ten minutes. Ladage also wrote two instrumental tracks; “Manzikert” (a place in Turkey) is dedicated to a historical battle and stands out with oriental rhythms and fine harp and violin playing and “Keltoi” (the Greek name for the Celts) is a solo performance on harp with just some percussive accompaniment. Corey Clunk adds some clarinet playing to the rich line-up on “Vanished Secrets” while Matt Rodgers on bass, Hammes on percussion and Mark Wyse on drums create an intoxicating rhythm. Mary Gaines plays the cello and Ladage keyboards and harp when she sings the sad ballad “Endless Knot” and Heilman finishes the CD with another air on the pipes. Jillian Ladage has recorded a beautiful debut album that will certainly introduce her to the world of New Age music. Her singing is hauntingly beautiful and the musical arrangement perfectly performed. Her music is more traditional than Enya, less folksy than Moya Brennan and reminds a little bit of Loreena McKennit.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

The Why and Wherefores "Alright"
Label: Discovery Records; 2008
Nine years ago Emily Druce (vocals, guitar, fiddle, mandolin) started her career with her first solo album “The guilt trip” and today she’s looking back at two solo CDs, a co-production with guitar maker Steve Jones (vocals, guitar, harmonica) and the debut album of The Why & Wherefores. In addition to the two fore mentioned musicians the band features Martin Wydell (tuba, sousaphone), Marc Layton-Bennett (drums, percussion) and John Barker (lap steel). The eleven self-crafted songs and the cover version were recorded in Leeds together with Roy Whyke (drums) and Neil Innes (bass) as guest musicians.
Druce introduces her gorgeous voice with the jazzy title track, accompanied by great guitar playing, intoxicating rhythms and the unusual sound of the Sousaphone, which replaces the bass. Druce and Jones wrote the songs that reach from roots music and Blues to Jazz and Rockabilly. Barker’s lap steel dominates the rock song “Rev Gal”, sung by Druce and Jones as a duet, and “The one I left behind”, a jazzy Rockabilly track, stands out with cool guitar playing, Druce’s tender voice and hosts Innes on bass and Whyke on drums. But they also play a melancholic love song, “Rough Diamond”, the beautiful rumba “Illuminated”, featuring Druce on mandolin, and the Bob Marley Reggae “Lively up yourself”. My favourites are the jazzy “Wolf”, which is a perfect showcase for Druce’s brilliant violin playing and the two wonderful voices, the up-beat rock song ”Rollin’ and tumbling’” with an awesome solo on the sousaphone, and the cool Blues “Way out West”.
When I first listened to the CD I was completely thrilled by the energetic sound and the hauntingly beautiful singing. And each time I pressed the play button I got more enthusiastic. These guys make certainly some of the finest sound you can find in England. The CD is a must for people who like good music.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Barbara J. Hunt "Play my Heart"
Label: Loco de Amor; 2006
Barbara J. Hunt is a singer/songwriter from the southwest of the UK. Together with Will Angeloro she has produced her second album with 14 new self-crafted songs. Barbara sings and plays guitar and percussion and Will plays guitar, bass, drums and percussion. A bunch of excellent guest musicians supported them: Helen May Buckley (cello, violin, flute), Martin Faulkener (guitar, vocals), Mark Robson (keyboards), Ben Turner (drums), Paul Leonard (bass), Rory Pilgrim (harp) and David Williams (mandolin, guitar).
Hunt has a beautiful soprano voice and starts off with the rhythmic title song that sounds a bit like the young Joni Mitchell. Her brilliant guitar playing and Buckley’s violin dominate this perfect CD opener. Nevertheless most of her songs are rather lyrical like the following “Heal me” with the quiet sound of a heartbeat giving the rhythm. “King of my Heart” is a romantic song mystically enchanted by Hunt’s voice as well as violin, guitar and harp. Then again she accelerates the pace with the jazzy “Been mine”. Angeloro creates an intoxicating rhythm on bass and drums while Buckley and Hunt play a brilliant duo on guitar and flute to accompany the rhythmic singing; my favourite song. “Angels exist” is a romantic ballad with piano, harp and Hunt’s angelic voice. She also sings folk songs like “This is it”, which stands out with up-beat rhythm, awesome violin and mandolin playing as well as with Hunt’s passionate singing or ”Stay awake” with a simple but exceptional arrangement; flute, guitar and bass accompany her soulful singing.
Barbara J. Hunt has released a wonderful album full of hauntingly beautiful songs, brought forward with her warm and beautiful voice and supported by talented musicians. Certainly another singer not to be missed.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Ember "Open all the doors"
Label: Salt and Slate Records; 2007
Emily Williams (vocals, acoustic guitar, violin) from Wales and Rebecca Sullivan (vocals, acoustic guitar, clarinet, harmonica) from Utah met 2000 in a hostel in Barcelona and since then they tour the world as ember. Based in Wales where they recorded all of their four albums they are getting one of UK’s best folk acts. Their latest album “open all the doors” with eleven self-crafted songs, a Welsh traditional song and a cover version has been recorded together with world percussionist Job Verweijen and a bunch of talented guest musicians.
The CD starts off with the terrific “Murder Song” and the beautiful voice of Williams. Rhythmic guitar playing, intoxicating percussions, fine bass playing (Nathan Thomson) and the soft sound of the whistle (Dylan Fowler) accompany this Williams song. Towards the end Verweijen adds the strange sound of the Brazilian berimbau and thus makes it to my favourite. And the album continues with some of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard for a long time. Together they wrote some brilliant Blues songs like “Free Man” with Jamie Smith on accordion and Williams on violin, the real old time Blues “Mama don’t worry” with great singing, rhythm and bass playing or the tender “Bad Guy Lullaby” with Fowler on piano and Gillian Stevens on cello. The Blues is Sullivan’s domain as we can hear when they play her “Nickel and Dime”, an exceptional Blues with harmonica, violin, Smith on accordion, Thomson on double bass and Verweijen on percussion. Another beautiful old time Blues is her “Spade and the Hoe”. But she also wrote some fine ballads like “Look in your Eyes” or “Northern Wind”. These songs stand out with her beautiful soprano voice, fine guitar picking, beautiful violin playing and Verweijen’s soulful percussive work. Besides the “Murder Song” Williams wrote three hauntingly beautiful songs. “Storm” is a perfect showcase for Sullivan’s clarinet and Fowler’s whistle playing. The pace is accelerating with the percussions and her alto voice matches perfectly to the sound of the wind instruments. “Far from home” is a wonderful ballad with Williams’ warm and tender voice, accompanied by guitar, violin, bass, piano and percussion. Then Williams initiates a series of beautiful solos on her violin, followed by Matt Hooper on duduk, Verweijen on talking drums, Sullivan on clarinet, Stevens on cello and Fowler on piano. The melancholic Love song “Better than me” stands out with virtuoso singing together of the two ladies. Katy Bennett joins them as a third singer on “Blood and Gold”, a brilliant a Capella performance of the Irvine/Cassidy song, and Dylan Fowler adds his fine voice to the beautiful traditional Welsh ballad “A ei di’r ‘deryn du”.
This is certainly one of the finest folk albums I had the pleasure to review for a while. I didn’t know them before and with this album they really inspired me. I can’t wait to hear more of them.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Viarosa "Send for the Sea"
Label: Dandyland Records; 2008
Six years ago singer/songwriter Richard Neuberg founded Viarosa, a London based alternative Folk-rock band. Last year they released their second album “Send for the Sea” with eleven self-crafted new songs. Neuberg (vocals, guitar, mandolin), Emma Seal (vocals), Rob McHardy (guitars, lap steel, pedal steel, piano, Rhodes, mandolin), Josh Hillman (violin, viola), Mick Young (electric and double bass) and Nick Simms (drums) have been accompanied by some brilliant guest musicians and the result is a CD with the most amazing sound.
The opening track “Tourniquet” is a dramatic song with fine guitar playing, intoxicating rhythm and beautiful singing. Dave “Munch” Moore plays Hammond and Gillian Wood adds the sound of the cello to Hillman’s beautiful violin playing. “Righteous Path” is a hypnotic Rock ode with outstanding vocals and “Cruel Pull of the Stars” reminds me of Pink Floyd’s “Wish you were here”. Young’s bass playing on the classic rock song “Beggars and Thieves” as well as on the hauntingly beautiful “Ode to Sunlight” are awesome; the latter features Emma Neuberg on flute. The playing together of violin and flute is mesmerizing. Nigel Simpson on piano and David “Dzal” Martin on electric guitar give a guest performance on “The last Resolve”, another “Pink Floydish” song. The final track, “The Sea”, is a melancholic song with the alluring sound of McHardy on Rhodes, Young on double bass and Hillman on violin.
The new album of Viarosa is certainly bound to enlarge their fan community. Two wonderful singers and a bunch of first class musicians have recorded an excellent CD with songs in diversified styles; rock, folk as well as psychedelic.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Joanne Shenandoah & Michael Bucher "Bitter Tears Sacred Ground"
Label: Hondo Mesa Records; 2009
Joanne Shenandoah (vocals, guitar, flute, percussion) is a member of the Oneida Iroquois Confederacy and for the past 20 years she has been doing what her Indian name „Tekali wha kwah“ (she sings) suggests. Together with Michael Bucher (vocals, guitar), aka „Ko-la-nv“ (raven) – from the Cherokee Nation, and a bunch of talented guest musicians she has recorded an album honouring three unforgettable advocates for the Native American Movement.
„Bitter Tears – Sacred Ground“ features five cover versions of Johnny Cash’s in the US blacklisted album „Bitter Tears“, three from the departed New York Songwriter Peter Lafarge and two songs from Cash. They added Joanne’s version of the American national anthem, a cover version of the Dakota activist Floyd Westerman, two songs from Bucher as well as four from Shenandoah.
The reason for being blacklisted was Lafarge’s protest song „As long as the Sun will shine“, dealing with the breach of the agreement the American government had signed with the Native American people in 1794. Shenandoah sings it with much emotion while Bucher sings „Apache Tears“ and „Talking Leaves“, two typical Cash songs. „Drums“ and „The Ballad of Ira Hayes“, two other songs from Lafarge, match perfectly to the nearly clichéd Western Sound of the Cash album. As a counterpoint to these system-critical songs Shenandoah sings a hauntingly beautiful a Capella version of „Star spangled Banner“.
After these covered songs they bring forward their self-crafted tracks. „Sacred Ground“ is a perfect showcase for Bucher’s sonorous voice and his „Don’t forget about me“ stands out with its brilliant arrangement, the beautiful singing and the intoxicating rhythm. Shenandoah rather sticks to melancholic ballads like „Who imagined“ or sings an awe-inspiring ode to the Indian life, „Riding free“. Thud drum beats accompany Shenandoah’s lament when she sings Westerman’s „They didn’t listen“ and finally she brings forward a conciliable song for her homeland, „America“.
„Bitter Tears – Sacred Ground“ is an album full of the most beautiful singing and musical highlights introducing us to two of the finest songwriters of the Native American Community. Shenandoah and Bucher both have amazing voices, the band is first class and last but not least the socially committed lyrics give us a good insight into the problems of the Native American people; a must for fans of Native American Americana.,
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Bearfoot "Doors and Windows"
Compass Records; 2009
The Alaska based five-piece Band Bearfoot has just released their fourth album “Doors and Windows” with six original tracks, four cover versions and a traditional song. The newest member Odessa Jorgensen, fiddle and guitar, has taken the role of the lead vocalist (and she does it wonderfully) while bass player Kate Hamre, fiddler Angela Oudean, mandolin player Jason Norris and guitar player Mike Mickelson still join in with their beautiful voices. Another debut is the participation of some brilliant guest musicians like Larry Atamanuik (drums, percussion), Jazz banjo player Alison Brown, Andy Hall (resophonic guitar), Todd Phillips (bass) and Andrea Zonn (strings).
The CD starts off with Odessa’s hauntingly beautiful voice and a cover version of Megan McCormick’s rhythmic “Oh my Love”. Hall’s resophonic guitar and the fiddles play together perfectly and guitar, mandolin and bass accompany them in a brilliant pace, no need for a drummer. Atamaniuk joins in when they play the traditional up-beat Bluegrass “Single Girl”, the only song with Kate on lead vocals. Jorgensen sings three self-crafted songs, two beautiful love songs and the bluesy title track. The latter stands out with fine guitar and rhythmic bass playing, romantic mandolin sound and the sensitive strings of Zonn embedding the exquisite singing. Norris on mandolin and Brown on banjo set a remarkable pace on “Before I go” by John Hiatt. My favourite song is ex-member Annalisa Tornfelt’s old time Bluegrass “Caroline” which combines an intoxicating rhythm with brilliant musicianship and outstanding choral singing. Then we can hear Bearfoot’s fantastic version of the Beatles hit “Don’t let me down” as well as the superb Bluegrass “Time is no Medicine” by Oudean, Jorgensen, McCormick and producer Garry West. Another highlight is the final five voices a capella song “Good in the Kitchen” composed by the former Bearfoot Line-up with Tornfelt. The gospel song is only accompanied by Atamaniuk on drums and Phillips on bass.
Alaska, grand nature and keen people come to my mind when I listen to this breathtaking Americana album, have a listen and enjoy!
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer "Gleowien"
Wild Goose; 2009
Gleowien is a Middle English word meaning to make music and merry. I don’t know if the two British musicians are actually married, but they definitely make great music together. Vicki Swan is a second generation piper following her father’s footsteps and plays wooden flute and nyckelharpa while composer and award winning guitar player Jonny Dyer also adds the accordion and the Swedish cittra to the line-up. Together with guest musicians Mark Southgate (bass), Pete Flood (percussion) and Roy Jones (bodhràn) the duo recorded ten self-penned songs and tunes as well as two traditional tracks.
They start off with the title track, an instrumental set by Dyer, and the playing together of accordion and pipes. A fine romantic air is followed by two dance tunes rhythmically supported by bass and percussion. Both musicians have beautiful voices and the five songs are perfect showcases to prove it. Dyer wrote “William” inspired by an old child ballad. His lead vocals as well as Swan’s harmony vocals are hauntingly beautiful and the accompaniment by guitar, bass and nyckelharpa match perfectly to the old time style song. Swan who speaks Swedish fluently composed the melancholic tune “Asavägen” in the typical Swedish style and they bring it forward with nyckelharpa, accordion and cittra. She also brought to music a poem by her great great grandfather Robert M. Swan, “The ‘dood’ Night Kiss”, and the result is a wonderful lullaby with Swan’s superb singing. A majority of the songs and tunes are rather melodic, but then they also play intoxicating dance sets and catchy rhythms. Dyer’s “Time out” is a remarkable set with modern grooves played on bass, guitar and percussion and Swan’s terrific piping makes it to my favourite track. A waltz in Swedish style by Swan and Dyer, “Fikavalsen”, and a Swedish traditional song, “The Roses three”, follow behind and bring the listener back into a melancholic mood before Swan gets back to her Scottish Small pipes to play another self-crafted set with a beautiful slow air and a great ceilidh tune. To close up the album Swan plays three traditional pipe tunes rhythmically driven by Dyer’s terrific guitar playing.
With their forth album Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer install themselves on top of the British folk scene. They are brilliant musicians, gifted singers and exquisite composers and their mix of Swedish and English style music distinguishes them from the mass of traditional musicians.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Rick Shea "Shelter Valley Blues"
Tres pescadores; TPCD-8; 2009
Dave Riley & Bob Corritore "Lucky to be living"
Label: Bluewitch records; BWR106; 2009
Lightning Red "The Groovemaster"
Label: Own label; 2008
Front Porch Picking "Front Porch Picking"
Label: Own label; 2009
Ben Winship & David Thompson "Fishing Music"
Label: Snake river; 123; 2009
The Fabulous Horndogs "Dog Tracks"
Label: World records; 1083; 2009
Hans Theessink "Birthday Bash"
Label: Blue groove; 1820; 2009
A few blues (more or less) albums bundled in one review. First Rick Shea and his album Shelter valley blues. Shea is a guitarist (dobro / steel), singer and songwriter from the USA. On this album eleven original (except for one) songs. Shea is a singer who likes a relaxed, bit laid back sound. In Back home to the blues he shows his skills on the slide guitar. The song is nice, but somehow a bit to relaxed. No good time for leavin is a nice Americana style song with nice female harmony vocals, one of my favourite songs on this album. The title song is friendly blues rock with a Richard Thompson inspired guitar sound. Somehow the ‘dry’ drum beating doesn’t always match the more frivol play of the other instruments. The album ends (although there is a small reprise, actually one f the best songs on the album) in Hawaii with a great instrumental piece called The Haleiwa shuffle. In classical style, a strong end of the album. Rick Shea, talented musician but to my personal taste his music stays a bit too much on the safe side. Some nice compositions, nice musicians but somehow it needs a bit more fine tuning now and then. Second is the latest album by the duo Dave Riley & Bob Corritore called Lucky to be living. It’s a nice album with some pure and honest blues music. Riley on guitar and vocals and Corritore shows his talent on the harmonica. The duo is backed by several guest musicians, but they keep the good old acoustic sound alive. This album is a must for any lover of the old fashioned blues. Listen to Ride with your daddy tonight with great piano and rocking harmonica or the raspy vocals in The things you do. It shows the professionalism of the musicians and this album. The third album is a private released CD by Lightning Red. This (almost legendary) Texan guitarist and singer recorded a new album together with four fellow musicians on drums, keyboards, vocals and harp. Twelve new compositions, all from the master himself. Although you will feel the vibes of the blues, Lightning red is closer to the rock music combined with sometimes jazzy, and sometimes even some funky sounds. The great Keyboards in Do the revolution is one of those moments that this album really rocks. But mostly its good old rock that is brought with fire, but somehow is a bit old fashioned as well. The album has a nice underground recording sound, which might be interesting for those who like such kind of recordings. Nothing wrong with this album, but somehow I get the feeling I’ve heard it before. Front Porch Picking is a sextet from Germany that mixes great acoustic finger picking with Americana, blues, country, rag time and so much more. An album that brings me in a good mood with fabulous string works, interesting traditional and original composition and good recording quality. Great start with Front porch picking that will put a smile on everybody’s face. Followed by the Hawaiian style composition Radio hula which isn’t a traditional but has all the elements of the famous Hawaiian music. Black mountain rag is a traditional piece and played at the highest level. I’m sure that hearing this album many people will think it’s a well known American band, but no…this comes with greeting from Germany and will give a lot of joy to all those string-lovers. Ben Winship & David Thompson is an acoustic blues/folk duo on mandolin/guitar, bass and vocals. Backed by many guest musicians they recorded sixteen easy going songs. Many original ones, but also traditionals such as Wade in the water and Fishing in the dark. It’s their second Fishing music album and a nice mixture of songs, all related to the art of fishing in some way, deeply rooted in the folk and blues music. Nice is Mayfly, a dreamy song with nice female harmony vocals and strong guitar and mandolin. A bit ‘late night fishing jazz’ is Gone fishin in which Tim & Mollie O’Brien do the vocals and start arguing about the fact that HE went out fishing again. Nice is also the gospel style of Wade in the water and Chris Coole’s banjo in Lost river. This Fishing music is a friendly album with honest acoustic music, both suitable for folk and blues lovers. The Fabulous Horndogs is a sextet with a totally different sound than the Wishep and Thompson album. This isn’t fishing music, this is ‘sunny-beach’ music! Blues with brass and ‘shoebie do’ intermezzo’s, happy piano and shaking sax-solo’s. Fabulous in a song like Funky kid and Must’ve been the devil. Sparkling music that is uncomplicated and without any big pretentions. These guys have fun and know how to entertain. Hans Theessink celebrated his 60th birthday last year and that was celebrated with a great concert in his hometown Vienna. The Dutch Theessink recorded his first recordings almost forty years ago and always showed a great interest in American blues and folk music. The rest is history, by now his name is legendary and many musicians have worked with him or respect him for his music. This 2 cd set is a must for all Theessink fans. 34 songs with guests such as Donovan, Allan Taylor, Jack Clement, the Dubliners and so many more. This album show the many sides of his musical taste, from blues, folk, acoustic rock to the Irish traditional Whiskey in the jar (with the Dubliners of course) strong recordings of a master at work, must have!,,,,,
Eelco Schilder

Barry Charles "Self Induced Cause"
Label: Own label; 2005
Barry Charles "Something Goin On Out There"
Label: Own label; 2008
Some blues in this review from Australian singer-songwriter Barry Charles. He send his two last albums, first Self induced case from 2005. To be honest, the looks of the booklet confused me a bit as on this picture he looks exactly like a popular Dutch radio DJ who only plays popular mainstream music. Thankfully Barry Charles has a much better taste in music. He sings a combination of original material and covers from artists such as Curtis Mayfield, Rolling stones and Jim Crawford. Charles surprises me with a deep and rich voice, (yes, yes a bit like Tom Waits, my god what a cliché, I apologize for that) Some great material from Charles himself like Sunday paranoid blues. Good saxophone in this one, not that any of the musicians backing his guitar play and singing is bad, definitely the right chemistry between them. Than three years further in time, it’s 2008 and he records his latest album Something goin’ on. From the first second the biggest difference is the full and rich sound of the album. Sparkling music, on the opening track Shirley sassy and again he is backed by the right musicians (this time violin, harmonica, Wurlitzer etc.) From this fresh start to the more serious stuff in Cruisin. Love the pureness of this song, great interaction between harmonica and guitar. In High technology blues he combines his good sense of humour with his good taste of music. The only song in which he uses some electronic programming to proof that all those modern things frustrate him a lot. Barry Charles is an unexpected surprise who is at his best in his self written songs, although the covers he does, aren’t bad either. Two great albums!
Eelco Schilder

Loco Zydeco "Time to turn the key"
Flaming cheese; 2008-0701; 2008
Loco Zydeco is a sextet from Canada that plays (as you might have guessed) some groovy Zydeco music. With elements of rock, jazz, blues, tradition etc. The band creates an energetic style of music. They sound uncomplicated and a bit raw, nice small creative twists make this album worth a listen. I love Hair of the dog I can’t sit still when I listen to this one. In Boom boom the band sounds a bit like a funky seventies band and that is what I like. They don’t just play Zydeco music, they try to add some extra flavours and do this with pure enthusiasm. A very nice album and a band I would love to book in my backyard at my next party. Unfortunately I can’t afford six tickets from Canada to Holland so I’m afraid that will be a dream forever.
Eelco Schilder

Jeremy Udden "Plainville"
Fresh sound records; fsnt 330; 2009
Karl Seglem ""
Label: Ozella; 025CD; 2009
Sophie Bancroft "Handwritten"
Label: Lisaleo records; 0501; 2008
Mimi Jones "A New Day"
Label: Hote tone music; htm 101; 2009
Here is a collection of jazz related albums reviewed for all those who are into the jazzzzy kind of music. I start the Plainville album by the saxophonist Jeremy Udden, because this is the most folk influenced one. Udden Has a strong reputation in not only jazz and folk music, but also in (more or less) rock, pop and world music styles. This new album is his most folky output until today. Nine friendly, peaceful compositions like Plainville and Modest show the quality of the band. Good combination of banjo and sax in Red coat lane amongst others. A soft electric guitar, pump organ and fender Rhodes give the music occasionally a bit heavier sound without loosing the inner peace this album has. A very nice album indeed! That can also be said about the album Norsk by the Norwegian saxophonist Karl Seglem. Although I’m not a jazz specialist at all, I know for a fact that it’s often the Nordic jazz that I like the most. Seglem plays in the best Nordic tradition and has a long history in (Norwegian) music. He has recorded over twenty albums and worked as a producer for the Swedish band Groupa, amongst others. In his compositions he shows his love for the traditional music of Norway, but takes influences he likes from wherever he finds them. His way of playing is crystal clear which gives his music this ice cold vibe, but has a warm sound at the same time. I love året hallar which starts with a melancholic bass part. But all other six compositions are at least as good. It’s jazz in the decades old Norwegian jazz tradition, serene and clearing the head and mind. A master at work! Ten years after her debut, the Scottish singer Sophie Bancroft releases her forth album. Bancroft grew up in a family where many were busy with jazz and folk music. Her music blends both, but jazz is clearly her main ingredient. Although a song like Streets of summer shows she knows her way around the folky style as well. This album contains eleven original songs, all a poetic reflection f her memories and thoughts. Bancroft has a nice, warm voice and backed by bass, violin and accordion she creates a intimate musical world. Nice how a jazz singer uses folk influences to create her own, unique style. I know it’s her forth release already, but the first one that I heard and I love it. A whole other jazz-style has singer and bassist Mimi Jones. No folk at all on her ‘late night jazz’ album. Some blues, bit of rock but mostly easy going instrumental jazz. On those rare occasion that she uses her vocals, the music starts moving, something’s happening. Not just standard way of singing, but she uses her voice like an instrument. Sometimes rhythmic, sometimes melodic. A bit of a stranger in this folk magazine, but a nice album.,,,
Eelco Schilder

Miss Leslie "Between the whiskey and the wine"
Label: Zero label; 0103; 2008
Sara Grey "Sandy Boys"
Fellside; FECD225; 2009
Two country albums for review, two ladies and two very different ways of interpreting the music. First country for the millions by Miss Leslie and her Between the whiskey and the wine album. Miss Leslie is Leslie Ann Sloan who is a classical trained musician but simultaneously dived into the bluegrass music. She is both a singer and a violinist and on this album she is backed by a band including drums, (electric) guitar, pedal steel and bass. Miss Leslie has a frivol way of playing, its feel good country music, brought with a lot of pleasure. It’s happy country , light-footed and not far from the cliché picture most people from Europe will have by hearing the word country music. This album has it all, including the roaring violin and the pedal steel. I can imagine this album will be appreciated by many lovers of the genre. I personally find Sara Grey much more interesting. This American musician has a deep passion for old time banjo music and that can be heard on this album. Together with five fine musicians, she impresses with some great country/blues or sort like music. Great start with Sandy Boys in which she shows her fabulous banjo techniques. Nice is also the ballad that follows Goodnight loving trail in which her instrument is more subtle. Great harmony vocals in songs like East Virginia blues which has a seldom heard pureness. That she is a great storyteller shows the ballad The cruel lowland maid. This shows her love for British traditional music as well. With Sandy Boys, Grey recorded a beautiful album rooted deeply in old traditions, but without any doubt suitable for this new century.,
Eelco Schilder

Tim Grimm "Holding Up the World"
Corazong; 255107; 2008
Danny Santos "Say you love me too"
Label: Brambus records; 200949-2; 2009
Will Merriman "The Light of Which I Speak"
Label: Crayon records; 005; 2009
Phil Smith "Goldmine"
Label: Own label; 2008
Eamon Friel "Smarter"
Label: Thran records; 1006; 2009
James Keelaghan "House of Cards"
Label: Borealis; 198; 2009
As always a cluster of recent singer-songwriter releases from all over the world. First Tim Grimm with his latest album Holding up the world. Grimm has been awarded several times for previous works and played with the legendary Ramblin Jack Elliot amongst others. This new album contains eleven new tracks and besides Grimm on vocals and guitar, you can hear a bunch of fine musicians including Krista Detor or vocals. Grimm recorded a nice folky album with nice lyrics and strong musical arrangements. Sometimes he stays on the sober side like in Holding up the world, So it goes and Squaw. But as easy he adds a light rock flavour in songs like The girl and The hole. This album is solid as a rock and shows a musician with a good feeling for music that will be liked by a wide audience. Next is Texas born Danny Santos with his new album Say you love me too. Santos actually plays the same style like Grimm, but interpret ate it in a different way. His music is more sober and besides influences from folk, bluegrass, blues and related styles, he adds some Latin atmosphere without it being Latin music. (hope you can still follow me on this one). I like his open minded way of singing, he is not just a singer that wants to reach a biggest as possible audience, he sings because he wants to express a part of himself and that personal touch can be heard. Visit his homepage to hear some of his music to get an idea of his personal style, it’s worth the trouble. From the US to Ireland, singer song writer Will Merriman who is a member of the Irish band The harvest ministers. This solo album is a cooperation between the musician and painter Padraig McCaul who paints West-Irish landscapes. Inspired by those beautiful paintings Merriman composed nine intimate songs in the best singer-songwriter tradition. I have to admit that the opening track Philippe Martin made me a bit sceptic. Somehow Merriman and his guest musicians weren’t in the right balance, it sounds a bit messy. But he takes revenge with the rest of the album. Enfance and Moore’s hill are wonderful. His voice really sound good with only the guitar backing, the same for Next winter’s bride on which the piano accompanied the vocals. Here the music is so intense, so pure that it makes me forget the first track immediately. I like the small intermezzo Broken sleep part 1 with solo piano and his voice far away in the distance. This composition also ends the album (part 2) in a nice, calm way. Merriman recorded a beautiful album and I hope he forgives me my critics on the first song. Somehow it doesn’t match with the other ones to my personal opinion. From Ireland to Australia with Phil Smith. Born in Sydney, almost forty years ago, he started to play the guitar at the age of fifteen. Besides himself singing and on guitar, he is backed by a band on drums, violin, female backing and much more. His music is inspired by Americana,, rock etc. He changes from sunny sounding songs like Annie to the more introvert sounding ballad Blackbird with nice female backings. Smith recorded an uncomplicated album with a few small pearls like the country song Where does it go and the earlier mentioned Annie. Eamon Friel is a singer-songwriter from Northern Ireland and Smarter is his fifth solo album. Eleven new songs showing Friel at his best. Backed by several friends, he takes us on a tour through his world. Songs like the opening track Hope you sing are easy going and are recorded to comfort the listener. I prefer his more personal songs like Across in which he is backed by guitar and accordion and Time and again. In these more introvert songs his voice is at its best. Friel shows with this album to be one of the nicest musicians from Northern Ireland. His personal approach and warm vocals make this a recommended album. James Keelaghan is a highly respected, awarded, singer-songwriter from Canada. His new album House of cards won’t surprise his fans, the album stays far within their comfort zone and will confirm what they already knew, Keelaghan is a highly professional folk singer-songwriter who understands the art of composing and recording. House of cards shows his professionalism, but it also show that a great artist sometimes choose the safest way to success. All ten songs are, without any doubt, of high quality. But I personally think they don’t add much to his discography, it’s more of the same, but it sure has quality.,,,,,
Eelco Schilder

More CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6
German Reviews: Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5

Overview CD Reviews

Back to FolkWorld Content

© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 11/2009

All material published in FolkWorld is © The Author via FolkWorld. Storage for private use is allowed and welcome. Reviews and extracts of up to 200 words may be freely quoted and reproduced, if source and author are acknowledged. For any other reproduction please ask the Editors for permission. Although any external links from FolkWorld are chosen with greatest care, FolkWorld and its editors do not take any responsibility for the content of the linked external websites.

FolkWorld - Home of European Music
FolkWorld Home
Layout & Idea of FolkWorld © The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld