FolkWorld #55 11/2014

CD & DVD Reviews

Short & Sweet

Afenginn "ElectroLUX" (Digital EP, 2014). Afenginn's[40] fifth album "LUX"[51] is their most ambient and mellow – and in fact least dancable - album, and they decided to give the music to some DJs to see what they could get out of it. The result is four tracks with remixes and deconstructions of Afenginn music. Get "elektroLUX" @ Bandcamp! or iTunes!

Annie Lou "Tried and True" (CD, Own label, 2014). Songwriter Anne Louie Genest has spent years chronicling the rural life in British Columbia. She carries the spirit of an old storyteller, creating songs steeped in old-time, country and bluegrass music. Annie Lou is joined by some of the best young roots musicians in Canada, such as fiddler Trent Freeman (The Fretless).[55]

The Alt "The Alt" (CD, Own label, 2014). The mountain Knocknarea in Ireland’s Co. Sligo is said to be the final resting place of the warrior queen Maeve. The Alt is a storied glen on the side of Knocknarea, and it was here that John Doyle (guitar),[46] Nuala Kennedy (flute)[49] and Eamon O’Leary (bouzouki), each one a leading light of today’s Irish music scene, first gathered to rehearse. Irish power trad - at once delicate, deliberate and always in deference to the traditional song at its core.

Tarun Balani "Sacred World" (CD, Eigenverlag, 2014). New Delhi percussionist Tarun Balani concentrates on ballad-like tempos and the use of drums as atmospheric devices on his debut album of flowing, meditative jazz with a distinctive Indian flavor.

Basco & DR Big Band "Live at DR Byen" (EP, GO' Danish Folk Music, 2014). It's Basco's[46] first ever live album and first ever collaboration with the Danish Radio Big Band, a fusion of folk and big band swing and more full scale than Big Basco had been.[47] Featuring four tunes from fiddler Hal Parfitt-Murray and the traditional "Jacky Tar".

Robbie Basho "Art of the Acoustic Steel String Guitar 6 & 12" (CD, Grass-Tops Recording, 1979/2014). For the first time since its original release, Robbie Basho's remastered "Art of the Acoustic Steel String Guitar 6 & 12" brings one of certainly few attempts to adapt classical pieces from nylon to steel string. Promo video for live preview release @ YouTube!

Roxanne de Bastion "Seeing You" (EP, Hidden Trail Records, 2014). Roxanne de Bastion was born in Berlin and grew up both in England and Germany. The DIY musician's compositions are rooted in the music of the 1960's, with haunting lyrics. Watch the video @ YouTube!

Bellowhead "Let Her Run" (Single/Video, 2014). "Let Her Run / I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight", a reworked adaptation from the hauling shanty "Let The Bulgine Run" and a a cover of the Richard & Linda Thompson classic, respectively, is the new double A side single from Britain’s most successful ever traditional folk act, Bellowhead.[49] Watch the video @ YouTube!

Sammy Brue "The Ghost of Woody Guthrie" (EP/Download, 2014). This young singer-songwriter from Portland, Oregon has a depth of musical history in his songwriting that defies his 13 years. Download Sammy Brue’s folksy debut EP @ NoiseTrade, watch it @ YouTube!

Jason Tyler Burton "Headwaters" (CD/Download, Own label, 2014). In 2007, singer/songwriter Jason Tyler Burton and his wife ventured west from Kentucky to the Utah wilderness, living out of their van and working with the National Park Service. The songs on "Headwaters" were born out of the stories he encountered while living this nomadic life. Download an introduction to his work @ NoiseTrade, watch him live @ YouTube!

Butchers Blind "Thursday Girl / Mystery" (EP, Paradiddle Records, 2014). Following on 2013’s "Destination Blues",[53] New York City’s Butchers Blind return with a new single, "Thursday Girl," a sunny power-pop ode. B-Side is The Wipers' (a Seattle grunge band) "Mystery," slowed down to an acoustic and pedal steel decorated ballad.

Martin & Eliza Carthy "The Moral of the Elephant" (CD, Topic Records, 2014). It’s nearly 50 years since Martin Carthy[45] recorded his iconic, eponymous first album and more than 20 years since his daughter Eliza Carthy's recording debut.[52] Throughout their respective careers both have toured and recorded with many others, but finally this trail-blazing father and daughter have made their first ever duo album. A short film of Martin and Eliza talking about the album can be found @ YouTube!

Corde Oblique "My Pure Amethyst" (Video, 2014). Corde Oblique's[53] third official videoclip was mostly shot in the small town of Senerchia. It was abandoned after the earthquake that hit Campania in 1980, and people built a new town a few hundreds meters further down the road. Check out "My Pure Amethyst" @ YouTube!

Cruachan "Blood For The Blood God" (CD, Trollzorn, 2014). Cruachan's[32] most aggressive album to date sees the band returning to their black metal roots for inspiration, while still infused with traditional folk elements: "There’s more to folk metal than drinking songs and pop choruses. These are epic songs, sometimes dark and sinister, sometimes symphonic and bombastic, all the while underscored by our own celtic-folk influences."

Peter Doran "A Day Well Spent With Peter Doran" (Video, 2014). Watch lovely songs from Peter Doran, wonderfully captured by Irish Film-Maker Myles O'Reilly and featuring a 86 years old grandmother fussing over her grandson @! Have a look also at the first official music video from the new album, "The World is Wide" @ YouTube!

Kris Drever & Éamonn Coyne "Mareel EP" (EP, Reveal Records, 2014). The Shetland Islands are a good place to pick up a scratch band; musicianship is almost a religion, an indispensable part of the social fabric. So that’s what Kris Drever & Éamonn Coyne[33] have done. The music here is a collection of things they didn’t record on the last album, ft. the Mareel version of Kris' own "Wintermoon, Ewan MacColl's "Moving On" and a selection of tunes from the eminent Shetland Fiddler Maurice Henderson.

Adrian Duffy & The Mayo Brothers "Someone Like You" (EP/Download, 2014). London Irish based trio Adrian Duffy (guitar), Chris Duffy (bass & drums) and Melvin Duffy (pedal steel & slide guitars) has been brought up on a diet of Buddy Holly and Johnny Cash, forging their own country and americana folk-rock style. Download samples @ NoiseTrade, watch them @ YouTube!

Farrago "All Beginnings Are Illusions" (EP, Uncle Onion Records, 2014). This London four-piece started life as the solo project of singer-songwriter Ian Bennett. His poetic songs have evolved into psychedelic folk soundscapes, characterised by their powerful acoustic guitar sound and soulful vocals. Live video @ YouTube!

Dom Flemons "Til' the Seas Run Dry" (Download, 2014). Founding member of GRAMMY-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops,[35] Dom Flemons' new record "Prospect Hill" has been praised as "interracial hoedown music, irresistibly delivered with a wink and a strut" (Wondering Sound). Download some tracks for free @ NoiseTrade, watch "But They Got It Fixed Right On" @ YouTube!

Forlorn Strangers "American Magic Tricks" (Download, 2014). The EP reflects the varied influences permeating the young band’s recent development from its roots in the Appalachian bluegrass tradition to its pursuit of broadening lyrical and musical expression. Download the "American Magic Tricks" EP @ NoiseTrade, watch them live @ YouTube!

Eamon Friel "Phone Tapping" (EP, Thran Records, 2014). Lovers used to the spend the evenings whispering sweet nothings, now they sit in silence tapping little buttons... Eamon Friel's[49] new single is a satirical piece with a serious social point to make: What are the consequences for society of mobile phone addiction? The single precedes the release of the Irishman's new album scheduled for spring 2015.

Griff Trio "Yoraré" (CD, Home Records, 2014). The new album by the Griff Trio[46] is the result of 10 years of playing together. Until now, their music was a melting pot of different European traditions. Slowly, the idea started to grow to work with their own traditional Belgian music. They put their nose into old Walloon and Flemish manuscripts, songbooks and field recordings. However, no nostalgia in this record, but the breath of 21st century troubadours. Watch "Hansken" @ YouTube!

Haas Kowert Tice "You Got This" (CD, Mason Jar Music, 2014). Made up of three of the most exciting instrumentalists on the folk scene today, this trio of fiddler Brittany Haas (Alasdair Fraser,[53] Crooked Still), bassist Paul Kowert (The Punch Brothers,[49] Dave Rawlings Machine),[41] and guitarist Jordan Tice (Tony Trischka,[38] Noam Pikelny)[52] have come together on their debut album to use their string band roots to engage in close dialogue on nine original instrumental tracks. For example, "Grandpa’s Cheesebarn" by Jordan Tice brings together alternate banjo tunings, Norwegian dance tunes, hard-rocking folk rhythms, and Debussy-like string arrangements. Watch it @ YouTube!

Emily Hackett "The Raw" (EP/Download, 2014). The Nashville singer-songwriter Emily Hackett takes the opportunity to deliver her songs in an intimately vulnerable setting, intentionally stripped and bare. Download a compilation of truth-telling songs as both the heartbroken and the heartbreaker @ NoiseTrade! Listen to Emily Hackett & Adam James @ YouTube,

Drew Holcomb "​Ten Years, Ten Songs, Solo Acoustic" (CD/Download, 2014). 2014 marks ten years of Drew Holcomb pursuing and doing music for a living. To celebrate, he has recorded a retrospective of sorts, with songs from each album. Purchase it @ iTunes or Amazon!

Ellie Holcomb "Collection" (Download, 2014). Inspired by God's Word, Drew Holcomb' wife Ellie recorded and released two EPs and a full-length album full of songs based on the Psalms and other scriptures. Download samples @ NoiseTrade!

Humming House "Humming House Party!" (Download, 2014). The energetic indie-folk band from Nashville, TN has released a raucous live performance with their new album "Humming House Party!" Drawing inspiration from the classic 1965 Beach Boys' Party album, this recording captures an intimate but rockin' hometown house party at EastSide Manor Studios. Listen to "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye" @ YouTube!

I Draw Slow "White Wave Chapel" (CD, Pinecastle Records, 2014). Dublin roots band I Draw Slow have been described as “American top league equivalents” destined “to blow the opposition away”, having created a new sound, rooted in the old time style of the Appalachian Mountains, drawing on Irish traditional music and modern Americana. "White Wave Chapel" is poised to continue where their last album, "Redhills," left off.[46] Watch the videos to "Valentine"! and "Souvenirs"!

Kieslowski "Mezi lopatky" (CD, Indies Scope, 2014). Marie Kieslowski and David Pomahač release their third album of urban folk with songs about love, age and death. Breathtaking dynamics and delicate beats, wit and strong lyrics show a duo which is in harmony. Listen to the single track "Obraz" @ SoundCloud!

Lac La Belle "A Friend Too Long" (CD, Double Lot Records, 2014). Detroit indie roots duo Lac La Belle, Jennie Knaggs & Nick Schillace, finds a heart of warmth in the midst of a cold city. Lac La Belle have taken American roots music and old-fashioned storytelling, and set it in a contemporary context.

Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge "Close to Picture" (EP/Download, 2014), "Avalon" (CD, Modern Lore Records, 2014). The guitar duo of Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge (Punch Brothers),[49] with Lage’s background in modern jazz and Eldridge’s deep relationship with bluegrass, is a collaborative effort exploring the worlds of improvisation and composition. Download an EP of original music (and a fiddle tune) @ NoiseTrade!
Their first full-length album "Avalon" is a document of the pair’s live set, incorporating bluegrass, country, gospel, old-time music and jazz.

Didier Laloy & Kathy Adam "Belem" (CD, Home Records, 2014). Didier Laloy and Kathy Adam form an atypical duo featuring diatonic accordion and cello, respectively. For over 15 years they have travelled throughout Europe with the group Panta Rhei, now experimenting with chamber music - subtle, expressive and daring.

"Laurie & Kathy Sing The Songs of Vern & Ray" (CD, Spruce and Maple Music, 2014). Two icons of modern bluegrass, Laurie Lewis[53] and Kathy Kallick,[54] return to the roots that first inspired them. They offer fresh interpretations of songs learned from Vern Williams and Ray Park. Both grew up in the Ozarks of Arkansas. Their memorable live performances and recordings in the ‘60s/‘70s largely formed the basis for the bluegrass repertoire in California, and they became powerful influences on many aspiring bluegrass musicians.

The Logues "Bless the Land" (Single, 2014). Pogues not dead!, just changed its name! The folk rock band from Castlederg in the Irish County Tyrone has recorded their debut single, "Bless The Land". Chief songwriter Logan McCool describes it as "an ode to a fictional barmaid with some ranting about the state of the world wedged in there as well for the craic. Oh, and there's lilting..."

Cassie & Maggie MacDonald "Sterling Road" (CD, Own label, 2014). Raised in the little seaside village of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, sisters Cassie and Maggie MacDonald are heirs to the traditions of Maritime Canada. They play fiery reels of Cape Breton as well as old Irish and Scottish songs on fiddle and piano/guitar, respectively. Watch them live @ YouTube!

John McCutcheon "22 Days" (CD, Own label, 2013). American folk music icon John McCutcheon sat down to write on May 28th, 2012 in honor of the 20th anniversary of his friend, Vedran Smailovic, the "Cellist of Sarajevo," and his 22 day vigil playing music at a bombing site that killed 22 people waiting in a bread line. Songs about courage, love, aging, history, ...

Sarah McQuaid "The Silver Lining" (Single, Waterbug Records, 2014). "The Silver Lining" is the first single from "Walking Into White," the fourth solo CD by Sarah McQuaid,[48] featuring a cover of Ewan MacColl’s "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", an original guitar instrumental and an upbeat original song, "The Silver Lining". Watch it @ YouTube!

Melike "Inn of Love" (CD, Home Records, 2014). The album originated when Melike Tarhan, a Belgian singer with Turkish roots, attended a stage performance of John Snauwaert with his band, playing Turkish traditionals, arranged in a fresh way. Melike was intrigued and it didn't take long for a new musical project to arise. Watch "Söylememek Harcisi" (Inn of Love) @ YouTube!

Native Sibling "Letters Kept To Ourselves" (CD, Own label, 2014). Seattle’s brother-sister duo Ryan and Kaylee Williams have just released their debut album. Minimal in its acoustic instrumentation, the focus is turned to lush harmonies and emotive lyrics. The Native Sibling offers their full album for download @ NoiseTrade! Watch the official video of "Here With Me" @ YouTube!

FolkWorld Xmas

Jeffrey Philip Nelson "Christmas Please!" (CD/Download, 2014). This record is made for people who need to get away from all the big band instruments and bells that normally follow suit with Christmas songs. "Christmas Please!" is an album that was inspired by the music of Harry Belafonte, including solid rhythms that give a new sound to Christmas. Download for free @ NoiseTrade!

Omnia "Earth Warrior" (Video, 2014). The new Omnia "Earth Warrior" video just as the musical eco-activists' "Earth Warrior" album[54] is quite a success. The popular video was made by Omnia together with help from their fans from all around the world as well as support from eco-warrior organisations. Check it out @ YouTube!

Duo Pilartz Gielen "Un" (CD, Home Records, 2014). Luc Pilartz (fiddle, bagpipe) and Simon Gielen (diatonic accordion) - a duo to get to know! Waltzes, mazurkas, gigues, andros, bourrées and other rondos - their repertoire is a mixture of original compositions, those of Belgian, French and English friends, and some traditional dance tunes. Though their execution has been conceived for both dancers and a seated concert audience.

Quinteto Astor "en Bruselas" (CD, Home Records, 2014). Quinteto Astor consists of five Belgian musicians united by their fascination and love for Argentine Tango. Inspired by the vibrant scene in Buenos Aires, the members of Quinteto Astor undertook a quest for a similar passion in their own country. This resulted in a new album which pays "a warm tribute to the passionate Belgians".

R.A.M. Kindertheater "Cherry Tree Days" (Video, 2014). A year ago, FolkWorld reviewed the "Kirschbaumtage / Cherry TreeDays" CD.[52] Now the R.A.M. theatre produced a video for the title song: YouTube!

FolkWorld Xmas

John Reischmann & The Jaybirds "On A Winter's Night" (EP, Corvus, 2014). To celebrate the coming of the holiday season, all-West Coast bluegrass ensemble John Reischman & The Jaybirds[29] are releasing a lovely romp through the snowy backwoods of American roots music, inspired in part by the classic American Folk Songs for Christmas by composer Ruth Crawford Seeger (stepmother to Pete Seeger).

Shireen "Unmarked" (EP, Own label, 2014). Dutch vocalist Annicke Shireen is costume designer with an affinity for folklore and fairytales, as well as the singer of the medieval group Cesair.[55] Another project, introduced with a 3 track EP, is the progressive folk-rock band Shireen, ft. the unsual combination of cello and bass, guitar and drums.[55]

Moira Smiley & VOCO "Laughter Out Of Tears" (CD, Whim Records, 2014). Since 2006 Moira Smiley and VOCO have explored American and European folk music with ground-breaking improvisation and vocal harmony. A true musical polyglot, she moves between Appalachian roots music, Balkan polyphony, choral compositions, multi-voice original songwriting, and Scandinavian harmonies. Listen to Robert Johnson's "They're Red Hot" @ YouTube!

Söndörgő "Tamburocket Hungarian Fireworks" (CD, Riverboat, 2014). Söndörgő's second international release features tunes from the rich Hungarian archives and song collections. However, fast and furious, the band brilliantly combines respect for tradition with a desire to innovate. Their signature instrument is the tambura, a mandolin-like instrument, probably of Turkish origin, used by the South Slav (Serbian and Croatian) communities in Hungary.

Billy Strings & Don Julin "Fiddle Tune X" (CD, Own label, 2014). Bluegrass music started off with a howl to be heard, and this same spirit is alive in American roots duo Billy Strings (guitar) and Don Julin (mandolin), called the unholy child of Pantera and Tony Rice (The Bluegrass Situation). Earliest bluegrass, back when the music was a rough-and-tumble art form pouring out of the Appalachian mountains. Watch "Little Maggie" @ YouTube!

Tali Toké "Tali Toké" (CD, Home Records, 2014). Between contemporary jazz and world music, Belgian quintet Tali Toké offers original and powerful music. This interesting line-up (saxophone, violin, diatonic accordion, guitar, drums) undertakes a cool and crazy journey. Sample it @ YouTube!

Tara Fuki "Winna" (CD, Indies Scope, 2014). Four years after their latest studio album, Czech musicians Andrea Konstankiewicz and Dorota Barová got together and merged their cellos and voices on nine original tracks. On previous recordings Tara Fuki have been using electronics,[33][44] "Winna" is pretty much electronics free, but except one Czech text all lyrics are in Polish as always.

Tom Theuns & Paul Russell "In Between Trees" (CD, Home Records, 2014). Belgian guitarist Tom Theuns (Aurelia,[44] Ambrozijn)[32] enters into dialogue with American troubadour Paul Russell from Boulder, Colorado. They worked out a bunch of songs based on their mutual passion for ragtime, country blues and European folk music. See fragments from the album @ YouTube!

Brady Toops "Brady Toops" (CD, Own label, 2013). Brady Toops has earned acclaim as a deeply soulful singer/songwriter within the Christian & Gospel category. If you enjoy lyrically rich hymns and modern folk songs wrapped in a warm vintage sound, you are sure to find a new home. RELEVANT Magazine recently featured Toops on their highly popular RELEVANT Studio Sessions, watch Brady perform "O For Grace" @ YouTube!

Will and the Won'ts "Wake Up Clean" (Video, 2014). L.A. blues/rock trio Will and the Won'ts, who combine "a bit of baby-boomer era rock ‘n roll, folk and country with the deep roots of Americana", has released their acoustic video for their first single "Wake Up Clean." Watch it @ YouTubee!

9Bach "Pa Le?" (Video, 2014). 9Bach have filmed a couple of songs in their family's Greek Taverna in Bangor, a beautiful iconic little Greek Island in the highlands of Bangor. Watch "Pa Le?" recorded live for Ochor Un on S4C television @ YouTube!

Various Artists "Gaelic Scotland" (CD, ARC Music, 2014). Gaelic ballads, mouth music, waulking songs and even instrumental music. 16 tracks beautifully delivered by Ishbel MacAskill,[45] Cliar,[23] Mave MacKinnon,[49] Blair Douglas,[49] etc.

Various Artists "Voice + Vision" (CD, Topic Records, 2014). Reconnecting with its roots in the Workers' movement, Topic Records has collaborated with the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) in a double-CD set of songs of resistance, democracy and peace. This collection gathers together legendary Topic artists such as Dick Gaughan,[36] Chumbawamba,[50] Roy Bailey,[53] Ewan MacColl,[35] Bob Davenport,[48] Leon Rosselson,[54] Pete Seeger,[53] Martin Carthy,[45] Martin Simpson,[51] Norma Waterson,[43] Peggy Seeger,[35] alongside newer voices.

Various Artists "World Music for War Child" (Digital CD, ARC Music, 2015). "World Music for War Child" features 17 songs and instrumentals about peace, children and a better future, containing 90 minutes of world music chosen from ARC Music’s catalogue: Kurdish singer Sakinâ Teyna,[55] Canadian singer of Czech-Jewish descent Lenka Lichtenberg,[51] UK’s leading tango group Tango Siempre,[38] ... All profits go to War Child UK in aid of children in war-torn regions around the world.

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