FolkWorld #70 11/2019

CD & DVD Reviews

Short & Sweet

Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers "No Good Deed" (CD, Pretty Good For A Girl Records, 2019). Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers' third studio album features both resolute stadium anthems (“No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”, “Movin’ On”) and haunting blues numbers (“Who’s Gonna Save My Soul”, “Bad News”): “What you hear drips of me and the Boneshakers but also unveils variations of where the band can go,” Mindy says. Check out Mindy's YouTube Channel!

Alright Alright "Too Much" (Video, 2019). Denver based Americana band Alright Alright is back in the studio to make their second full-length album. Since album creation and release is a long and strenuous process, Alright Alright want to give something that you can enjoy immediately, Here it is: the live video of "Too Much"!

Article: Seit 1995 im Dienst des Blues

Altered Five Blues Band "Ten Thousand Watts" (CD, Blind Pig Records, 2019). The Altered Five Blues Band, going strong since 2002, regards itself as the Bad Boys from Milwaukee, throwing a mighty party in every club and on every festival they come across. The band's fifth album is aptly titled "Ten Thousand Watts." Check out YouTube Channel, Promo Video & "Too Mad to Make Up" (Official Video)!

American Aquarium "The Luckier You Get" (Video, 2019). North Carolina's Alt.Country group American Aquarium will be heading back into the studio this fall to record their eighth studio album, "Lamentations," in the birthplace of rock'n'roll, Memphis, Tennessee. Check out an exclusive first listen to new music, 'The Luckier You Get' (Acoustic Demo)!

German CD Review

"Documentary Amsterdam Klezmer Band and Söndörgő" (Video, 2018). Mingle Yiddish klezmer music with Balkan brass and Gypsy swing, spice it up with jazz and ska, there you are: the Amsterdam Klezmer Band![38] Recently the Dutch became the perfect fit to Hungarian fusion group Söndörgő,[46] inducing the spark (Hungarian: szikra) for a creative display of fireworks. Watch the documentary about Amsterdam Klezmer Band & Söndörgő! The new album, "Fortuna," will be released in spring 2020, reportedly exploring new horizons of klezmer and balkan music while keeping the party spirit high.

Anna Einarsson Ensemble "Life In Pieces" (CD, Own label, 2019). The Portuguese have saudade, the Swedes have vemod: contemplation entwined in compositions spanning jazz and Nordic folk music. Swedish vocalist Anna Einarsson is joined by Belgian accordionist Anne Niepold, pianist Stefan Wingefors and double bass player Svante Söderqvist.

Antico Lunario "Epitaffio" (EP, Own label, 2019). Currently a duo comprised of singer-guitarist Francesco Ronchi and multi-instrumentalist Iven Cagnolati (harp, lyre, mandolin, idiophones), Antico Lunario's debut EP released with just 50 copies offers original music somewhere between medieval, Celtic and progressive rock music, plus a cover of Caitlín Matthews' "We Will Go Home" from the 2004 "King Arthur" film (inspired by a Hebridean lullaby) and an embedded motif taken from an ancient Greek funerary relief. Check out Antico Lunario's BandCamp page & YouTube channel!

Arroyo Rogers "Single Wide" (EP, 1344623 Records DK, 2019). The Americana band Arroyo Rogers from Joshua Tree, California, founded by Kip and Lisa Mednick Powell (one-time support to Alejandro Escovedo, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Radney Foster and others in the Austin music scene),[68] is deeply rooted in the country & western sound of the 1960's/70's and performs both classic honky-tonk drinking and cheating songs and original Americana inspired by that. Check it out @ BandCamp!

Artús "L'Ors Dominique" (Video, 2018). Rooted in tradition but unswervingly moving forward with a funky and groovy approach, Artús puts the southwestern French province of Gascony on the muscial map. Watch L'Ors Dominique (Live)!

Assynt "Road to the North" (CD, Garthland Records, 2018). Former BBC Radio Scotland Young Musician of the Year finalists, Graham Mackenzie (fiddle) and David Shedden (pipes/whistles), have teamed up with BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winner Innes White (guitar/mandolin) to wion Up and Coming Artist of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2018. Check out Assynt @ BandCamp; watch their Videos!

Auburn "Game of Faith" (CD, Scarlet Records, 2019). When not managing artists such as Eliza Carthy or Shane MacGowan and running music groups for young people living under challenging circumstances, Lincolnshire vocalist Liz Lenten is fronting the peculiar blues and roots music ensemble Auburn.[62] Once again, the album has been recorded in Nashville by award-winning producer Thomm Jutz.[70] Check out the title track "Game of Faith" (with pictures from a recent UK tour)!

Aulaga Folk "Como siempre lo hemos hecho" (CD, Rock CD Records, 2019). On the occasion of their 20th anniversary, Spanish Aulaga Folk[45] present their new album "Como siempre lo hemos hecho" (As we have always done). The title says it all, it's business as usual with their trademark grooving and progressive ethnic music. Watch "Pimentoneras (La Vera)"!

Jordi Baizan "Free and Fine" (CD, Berkalin Records, 2019). Born in Houston/Texas to Spanish and Cuban parents, Jordi Baizan felt his inimitable folk and americana songs were important enough to present. He took his music on the road, currently touring the US and Europe. Watch "Pictures on the Wall" [Official Video]!

Dale Bandy "blue" (CD, Elastic Penguin Records, 2018). Blues Done Right! 40 years of traditional blues to modern blues to blues rock distilled into an exciting 30 minutes whirlwind tour. Check out the Dale Bandy Promo Video!

German CD Review

Gerry Beckley "Five Mile Road" (CD, Blue Elan Records, 2019). Best known for his 50-year career as co-founder of the legendary band America, Gerry Beckley's eighth solo album "Five Mile Road" chronicles his musical journey with a melancholic mind. Watch "Calling" [Official Lyric Video]!

Kristin Scott Benson "Shenandoah Breakdown" (Video, 2019). Banjo player Kristin Scott Benson (of Grammy-nominated bluegrass band Grascals fame, see below) has won her 5th Banjo Player Of The Year award at the International Bluegrass Music Association awards in Raleigh, North Carolina. This IBMA award comes a year after Benson had won the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, which seeks to bring recognition to outstanding accomplishment in this field. Watch "Shenandoah Breakdown" (Fly in Festival 2019, Huntington, West Virginia)!


Bird in the Belly "Neighbours and Sisters" (CD, GF*M Records, 2019). Once again Brighton-based folk collective Bird in the Belly, consisting of Laura Ward and Adam Ronchetti (Hickory Signals),[61] singer-songwriter Ben Webb and multi-instrumentalist Tom Pryor, have browsed through the Roud Folk Song Index for lesser known and forgotten lyrics and songs from the Georgian and Victorian underbelly to bring them back to life. Watch the tale of heartbreak and betrayal, "Robin & Starling"!

Blind Lemon Jazz "After Hours" (CD, Ofeh , 2019). James Byfield, aka Blind Lemon Pledge, is the tour guide through the pre-war jazz music styles. Though all songs are Blind Lemon originals, it feels like an after hours jazz & swing club with a couple of musician friends sharing their favorite tunes. Watch & listen to the tearjerking "Bobby's Blues" about love gone wrong!

Michael Bloom and the Blues Prophecy "Whisper In The Wind" (CD, Own label, 2019). "Blues is life and life is the blues. Start living the blues. That's the message I want to bring to the world." Michael Bloom is a Chicago-born, classically-trained guitarist and singer-songwriter of traditional and contemporary blues. Contrary to the album's title, Michael's slide guitar is backed up by a screaming band.

Blues Meets Girl "Blues Meets Girl" (CD, Bad Inglish Records, 2018). Blues Meets Girl is the prolific collaboration of British slide guitarist Mr. Downchild (Steev Inglish) and Texas born singer-songwriter Kasimira Vogel weaving together their particular influences and experiences on the trail of Sonny Boy Williams, Muddy Waters and Big Mama Thorton. Check out Blues Meets Girl live!

Bob Bradshaw "Queen of the West" (CD, Fluke Records, 2019). Boston-based Irish singer-songwriter Bob Bradshaw is mining parallels between the west of his native Ireland and the frontiers of the American west, The ‘Queen of The West’ herself is both a gun-toting femme fatale and an anguished mother pleading with the saints. Watch ‘The Wearing of The Black’ (about the infamous church-run ‘Mother and Baby Homes’ of many Irish towns in the first half of the 20th century) and ‘Every Little Thing’!

Breabach "Birds of Passage" (Video, 2018). An impossible act to follow ... The first single Breabach's[48] album "Frenzy of the Meeting" is based on the fragile dreams of migration. The idea was that through the simple imagery of birds in flight (created by BAFTA winning animator Cat Bruce), one could evoke the hardships and dangers, triumphs and beauty of this topic. Watch "Birds of Passage"!

Brophy's Law "True Stories" (CD, Own label, 2019). The debut single "Nice To Know" from Celtic folk rockers Brophy's Law (formerly Copenhagen-based Neil Brophy Band) reflects their homecoming after many years of travelling abroad and having the feeling that at small-town level "some things stay the same." The timing with Brexit is pure coincidence, but despite having no voice in the referendum, they could be having their lives turned upside down, while much greater challenges such as Climate Change are on the agenda. Watch True Stories Live Promo & "Nice to Know" (Live)!

The Brother Brothers "some people i know" (CD, Compass Records, 2018). Indie folk duo The Brother Brothers' (currently on tour in Europe) debut album "some people i know" has drawn critical comparison to the "close harmonies and gentle melodies of Simon & Garfunkel" (Brooklyn Vegan), though identical twins Adam and David Moss also embrace country and klezmer music. Watch "Colorado" featuring Sarah Jarosz!

Randy Lewis Brown "Red Crow" (CD, Berkalin Records, 2019). “I love good stories, stories that make me think, that stick with me, and sometimes haunt me.....” Having grown up in Louisiana and Texas, award-winning singer-songwriter Randy Lewis Brown's tales are those of hard resignation with the occasional dappled sunlight of wounded optimism shining through. Check out Randy's video section!

"Calexico & Iron & Wine on KXCI" (Video, 2019). The "Years to Burn" tour of desert rockers Calexico with Iron & Wine continues into next year.[69] Lately, Joey Burns (Calexico) and Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) hopped over to KXCI Community Radio to do an intimate acoustic set. Watch Calexico & Iron & Wine on KXCI (Full Performance)!

Mark Cameron "On A Roll" (CD, Cop Records, 2019). The Mark Cameron Band recently represented the state of Minnesota at the International Blues Challenge. Mark Cameron,[60] who fronts this outfit on guitar and vocals, continues his mission as a blues storyteller on a roll. Check out Mark's YouTube channel & "Dicey" (Live)!

Sheila K Cameron "River to Sea - from Tlell to Tiree" (CD, Wild Biscuit, 2019). New songs written by the Canadian singer/songwriter Sheila K Cameron now living in Glasgow. These are chilled and reflective Jazz/Blues songs. The album brings together an EP from 2016 of songs associated with the river Tlell in North West Canada, and a new collection of songs loosely related to the Scottish Isle of Tiree. Sheila’s rich voice is perfectly suited to the style of songs.

Mairi Campbell "The Lea Rig" (Video, 2019). According to the Edinburgh Guide, Mairi Campbell[46] "transcends the role of performer and encompasses music itself; it just pours out of her like a love letter to the mysticism of traditional music." Check out "The Lea Rig," the classic Burns song with new melody live at the Queens Hall, Edinburgh, February 2019!

The Campfire Flies "Sparks like little stars" (CD, Own label, 2019). The Campfire Flies' recording debut brings together four acclaimed indie songwriters from New Jersey, each with a long-lasting muscial career and a distinctive collection of songs that didn't fit into their previous work. Check out "John's Song", "If Your Eyes Are Closed", "Go Back to Your Heart", "Waiting to Shine", "Way Way Back", "I'm Not Changing My Mind"!

Henrik Cederblom "Zobop" (CD, Kakafon Records, 2019). Gothenburg's Henrik Cederblom has played guitar behind artists such as Sofia Karlsson, now he has written a collection of electric folk songs. “I have always loved how fiddlers play together in Swedish and Norwegian folk traditions, and I also really enjoy playing for a dancing crowd”, he says, “so I wanted to focus on rhythm, melody and interplay.” The quartet is completed by Tapha Ndiongue (drums), Viktor Turegård (bass) and Sten Källman (saxophone).

The Celtic Social Club "Remember Joe Strummer" (Video, 2019). The Celtic Social Club is to support The Joe Strummer Foundation by donating 50% of the royalties of the track “Remember Joe Strummer” from their latest album “From Babylon to Avalon.” Set up by friends and family a year after The Clash frontman's untimely passing,[25] the Joe Strummer Foundation provides opportunities to musicians and support to projects around the world that create empowerment through music. Please watch "Remember Joe Strummer"!

Grady Champion "Steppin’ In: A Tribute to ZZ Hill" (CD, Malaco Records, 2019). “I think blues has a bright future… You just gotta be able to hang in the game.” Grady Champion's[49] 11th album is a tribute to the late great ZZ Hill, who is best known for his recordings in the 1970s/1980s that pioneered the fusion of traditional Mississippi blues and modern soul, including Hill's 1982 album “Down Home” which stayed on the Billboard soul album chart for nearly two years. Check out Grady's YouTube Channel!

Che Apalache "The Dreamer" (Video, 2019). Latingrass band Che Apalache have released the official music video for their lead single, "The Dreamer," off their new album "Rearrange My Heart."[69] Both song and video were inspired by the life story of Moisés Serrano, a Mexican-born activist from North Carolina: "The song is for the over one million undocumented youth and DACA recipients who have had to grow up learning how to live and love in a country that is actively trying to deport them. The music video is for the millions of undocumented and immigrant families affected by our racist immigration laws." Watch "The Dreamer"!

The Cleverlys "Milkshake", "Wait a Minute" (Video, 2019). The Cleverly trio is a family bluegrass band from remote Stone County in Arkansas. After a busy season of touring, the Cleverlys have released two new live videos: one shows their trademark parody-comedy and pop-to-bluegrass-cover-treatment, the other shows a more serious performance and their sincere love of classic bluegrass. Check out "Milkshake" & "Wait a Minute" (Live at Pucketts, Nashville, Tennessee)!

Bruce Cockburn "Crowing Ignites" (CD, True North, 2019). As his producer-friend Colin Linden says: "Like the great blues players he admires, Bruce just gets better with age." Bruce Cockburn[57] showcases his guitar technique on 11 all-original compositions, backed by a stellar cast of sympathetic musicians. Watch "April In Memphis"!

Collectif Medz Bazar "Lion & Bear" (Video, 2019). Collectif Medz Bazar is an urban diaspora sextet, formed in Paris in 2012, playing traditional and original music from the Balkans to the Caucasus with touches of Latin, jazz, bluegrass and hip-hop music. Watch "Lion & Bear"!

FolkWorld Xmas

Judy Collins and Jonas Fjeld with Chatham County Line "Winter Stories" (CD, Wildflower/Cleopatra Records, 2019). Bluegrass group Chatham County Line[61] has teamed up with folk music icon Judy Collins[69] and Norwegian four-time Spellmannprisen-winner Jonas Fjeld. Together they crafted a collection of songs that captures the sounds and feelings of winter through Judy's classic and new original songs and some covers (Jimmy Webb, Stan Rogers). Listen to "Frozen North"!

Aodán Coyne "Gaps between stars" (CD, Own label, 2019). This first solo album by the singer of Irish folk band „Socks in the frying pan“[70] shows Aodan Coyne in a somewhat different light: this is songwriting which is much closer to pop than to folk, focussed on vocals and guitar, but also featuring percussion, synths, and in the background a little bit of fiddle and accordion.  Watch "Chance & Gamble"!

Rodney Crowell "Texas" (CD, RC1 Records, 2019). Country music songwriter Rodney Crowell has enlisted the help of many friends (Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill, Steve Earle, Ringo Starr and many more) for his Lone Star-centric album. Watch the TEXAS Album Teaser, "Flatland Hillbillies" (featuring Randy Rogers and Lee Ann Womack), and "56 Fury" (featuring Billy F Gibbons)! Rodney has just presented with the ACM Poet's Award in Nashville for outstanding and longstanding musical and lyrical contributions throughout his career.

Dagadana & Pznan Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra "U poli bereza" (Video, 2019). Dagadana[65] are travelling the world over to give an understanding of the rich cultures of Poland and Ukraine, utilizing roots, jazz and electronic music. "U poli bereza" is the story of a mother awaiting her son's return from the war; he is alive, unfortunately the bliss is spoilt by a surprise in the form of ... a daughter-in-law. Watch "U poli bereza"!

FolkWorld Xmas

Lacy J. Dalton "Carl The Christmas Dog" (Video, 2019). First hitting the country charts in 1979, Lacy J. Dalton was one of the most successful female vocalists during the 1980s. She toured with Willie Nelson and was the only female on his "Half Nelson" album, for which she received a gold record. In 2019, Strictly Country Magazine honored Dalton with the Spirit Of Christmas award for "Carl The Christmas Dog". Watch it @ YouTube: “I sure hope it brings some joy to everyone this Christmas season!”

FolkWorld Xmas

Michele D'Amour and the Love Dealers "Christmas In Blue" (CD, Blueskitty Records, 2019). Some of the best-selling Christmas music came from Pacific Northwest natives. Growing up hearing Bing Crosby's ‘White Christmas’ and other iconic music, Seattle's blues storyteller Michele D'Amour longed to add her voice to that lexicon. The album includes eight original songs along with two often covered classics (‘Silent Night’, ‘The Little Drummer Boy’) on which the Love Dealers puts their own spin. Listen to the title track, "Christmas In Blue"!

Kurt Deemer Band "Antenna Like A Lightning Rod" (CD, Own label, 2018). The Kurt Deemer Band[64] is the mutual bonding between indie rock and power pop musicians from the Baltimore club scene where the chemistry is right: real songs played with real instruments by real people! Watch "A Dream In The Dark"!

FolkWorld Xmas

The Demon Barbers XL "Rise Up" (CD, Own label, 2019). English folk rock band The Demon Barbers[50] mark their 20th anniversary with the release of their next album ‘Rise Up’. The inspiration for the album’s title track comes from Kett’s Rebellion of 1549 drawing parallels between this illegal enclosure of common land and the dismantling and privatisation of publicly owned utilities today. Check out the ‘Rise Up’ trailer!
The Demon Barbers are very excited about their biggest Christmas Tour yet, ‘The Lock In Christmas Carol’. Join them for a fusion of folk and hip hop dance, games and comedy, all set to a seasonal score. Watch the title track ‘He's Behind You’!

Ani DiFranco "Ani DiFranco" (CD, Righteous Babe Records, 1990/2019). While her autobiography No Walls and the Recurring Dream[69] has become a New York Times bestseller, Ani DiFranco[63] has reissued her self-titled debut album of 1990. This remastered version de-cheeses the 80s-style reverb treatment of the original and enhances voice and guitar.

Joost Dijkema "Time Thief" (CD, Twin Dimenion, 2019). Dutch singer-songwriter Joost Dijkema explores the concept of time in relation to love & loss, strength & anxiety, in both his smart songwriting and dexterous fingerstyle guitar instrumentals covering the whole spectrum between folk balladry and folk rock. Listen to Joost's sophomore album "Time Thief" (BandCamp)!

Dirty Caps’ "Dirty Caps’" (CD, AEPEM, 2019). The English name of this French trio is misleading, as these three young man play very traditional music of the French regions of Quercy and Gascogne - hence the publication of the album in AEPEM’s series “Roulez Jeunesse” – a series aimed to discover young talent of traditional folk music of the French regions. The trio plays violin, accordion and clarinet, and sings as well.  Watch Dirty Caps' @ Festival de Bouche à Oreille 2018!

Steve Earle & The Dukes "Harlan Man" (Video, 2019). Taped within the subterranean amphitheater of The Caverns in Tennessee's Cumberland Mountains, Bluegrass Underground is showcasing a broad spectrum of Americana music. Season IX's featured artists include the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Keb' Mo', Josh Ritter, Glen Hansard, The Devil Makes Three, and others. Watch Steve Earle's[56] "Harlan Man" live from Bluegrass Underground!

Elixir "A Liquid Poem" (Video, 2019). ELIXIR are Aurélie Dorzée, Michel Massot and Tom Theuns.[69] This summer they shot a movie, which wanders between a surrealist poem and a road movie and will be projected during their concerts. Watch the ELIXIR teaser! The artists have set up a crowdfunding on their website to finish this project.

E.L.S. Band "Dark Blues Sky" (CD, Sound Station Records, 2019). The E.L.S. Band was founded in 2015 in Värmland in western Sweden. Their debut album, "Dark Blues Sky," still features selected covers spanning a wide range of soul and blues rock. Plans are to release an album entirely of original material. Check out E.L.S Band live @ Motala Jazz & Bluesklubb 2019!

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats "Contemporary" (Video, 2019). Californian blues harpist Rick Estrin announces his decidedly unpredictable new album. Watch the title track, "Contemporary", a hilarious and mind-blowing Zappa-esque mashup of Chicago blues, uptown funk, balls-out rocking and tongue-in-cheek rapping!

Jesse Ferguson "Folk Favourites" (CD, Own label, 2017). One of Jesse's previous albums, "The Parting Glass," had been reviewed on the FolkWorld site,[49] the recent and fourth recording of The Bard of Cornwall (that is Cornwall, Ontario) offers another dozen traditionals from "All For Me Grog" to "Wind That Shakes the Barley." Check out the Bard of Cornwall YouTube Channel!

Guy Forsyth & Jeska Bailey "Conspirators" (CD, Small & Nimble Records, 2019). Austin singer-guitarist Guy Forsyth has conspired with the cunning vocalist Jeska Bailey to start an emotional journey from mournful country blues to bittersweet country waltzes. Check out Guy & Jeska visiting the Third Coast Music Network to talk about their album and play a few songs!

Dori Freeman "Every Single Star" (CD, Blue Hens Music, 2019). Appalachian folk-pop vocalist Dori Freeman first made her name with bitter songs of love gone wrong. Her latest album, "Every Single Star," is a bit more positive thanks to a newfound love. Watch "All I Ever Wanted"!

The Gina Furtado Project "I Hope You Have A Good Life" (CD, Mountain Home Music Company, 2019). On her second album "I Hope You Have A Good Life," Virginian banjo player Gina Furtado, best known for her work with Chris Jones & The Night Drivers since 2016, shares philosophical insights such as “There cannot be new life without the loss of old” with solitary banjo-and-vocal as well as uncompromising ensemble bluegrass. Check out The Gina Furtado Project live @ IBMA World of Bluegrass!

Chris Gantry "Nashlantis" (CD, Drag City, 2019). Chris Gantry is a singer-songwriter known for his involvement in the Outlaw Country genre. 50+ years since he wrote his first hit, he is still alive and kicking. As the album's opener has it, a "Life Well Lived." Check out "Nashlantis" BandCamp!

Steve Garrett and Peter Lowitt with James Edge "In Arden" (EP, Own label, 2019). With four hands, ten strings, and two bits of wood and a string quartet, Steve Garrett[69] had been inspired by Nick Drake's, Danny Thompson's and Robert Kirby's arrangements.

Lluís Gómez "El Cant dela ocells" (Video, 2019). Banjo player Lluís Gómez[68] relishes that summer was great, plenty of gigs and travels, and hopes to see you in 2020! He went to Bela Fleck's Blue Ridge Banjo Camp; watch him playing a traditional Catalan song with Mark Schatz and Yosihiro Arita! Here are some more new videos with the Arkpik Duet, the Dotze Contes Trio and Joan Pau Cumellas!

The Grascals "Callin' Your Name" (Single/Video, 2019). Though a veteran bluegrass band, The Grascals (ft. banjoist Kristin Scott Benson, see above) are situated on the very edge to a modern and innovative interpretation of the lonesome sound. Watch the lovelorn lament "Callin' Your Name" [Official Video] from their latest album "Straighten The Curves"!

Tim Grimm "Heart Land Again" (CD, Vault Records, 2019). Twenty years ago, Tim Grimm[64] moved to the hills of Indiana and released his debut album album Heart Land, painting a graphic picture of America upcountry (long out of print). Now his grown up sons Connor and Jackson[69] infuse the old songs with youthful energy. Check out Tim & Jackson live @ Studio JP, Badgastenkerkje, Wijk aan Zee, 2018!

Dave Gunning "Up Against the Sky" (CD, Wee House of Music, 2019). Nova Scotian folk singer-songwriter Dave Gunning[60] has released his 12th album (in 23 years) featuring astute co-writes with folks such as Paul McKenna[60] and support from the likes of fiddler JP Cormier.[26] Check out "Up Against the Sky" @ BandCamp!

The Hackles "A Dobritch Did As A Dobritch Should" (CD, Jealous Butcher Records, 2019). Oregon's Kati Claborn and Luke Ydstie employ tuneful indie folk music and peculiar stories to, lets say, make sense of the present by looking to the past (the album's title is referring to Bulgarian-born circus impresario Al Dobritch). Check out "A Dobritch Did As A Dobritch Should" @ BandCamp! Watch The Hackles perform "Dont Let Me Go By" (Barn Session, Olney, OR)!

Griff Hamlin and the Single Barrel Blues Band "I’ll Drink To That" (CD, Own label, 2019). Having been away from regular touring and recording for several years, Griff has nonetheless been building a loyal following via his Blues Guitar Unleashed instructional website. Griff's debut album, "I’ll Drink To That," from his new group features 10 original songs navigating through traditional slow blues and fiery blues rock. Check out the Single Barrel Blues Band's YouTube channel!

Bella Hardy, Findlay Napier, Greg Russell "War & Peace" (Digital, 2019). In the centenary year of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, the community heritage project Doncaster 1914-18 collected stories and memories of this South Yorkshire borough and its people. Singer-songwriters Bella Hardy,[57] Findlay Napier and Greg Russell[66] have put together an evening of story and song; download the music for free @ BandCamp!

German CD Review

Martin Harley "Roll With The Punches" (CD, Del Mundo Records, 2019). Welsh slide-guitarist Martin Harley embraces all Americana from classic blues rock over country and gospel music to grunge. Watch the bluesy title track "Roll With The Punches"!

Zac Harmon "Mississippi BarBQ" (CD, Catfood Records, 2019). Born and raised in Jackson/Mississippi, Zac Harmon is the personification of the fabled music from the city's Farish Street district. After composing for commercials, television shows and major films, he started a performing career in 2003 which eventually led to these ten original songs, embracing blues, soul and rock, and the striking cover of Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door." Check out Zac's YouTube Channel & the title track "Mississippi Bar B Q"!

Rachel Harrington "Hush the Wild Horses" (CD, Skinny Dennis Records, 2018). Following a UK tour in the summer, Oregon-based folk-Americana singer-songwriter Rachel Harrington is touring the Netherlands before returning to the UK for a short second run of dates. "Hush the Wild Horses" is her first album in over seven years while music took a backseat to health, family life - and horses: “Being with horses again felt good and grounding. There’s nothing better for my soul than nature and animals. I started playing a lot of guitar around that time and I knew horses would be all over my next album.” Watch Rachel Harrington perform "Hush The Wild Horses" (ft. JD Hobson on dobro)!

Paula Harris "Speakeasy" (CD, Blu Gruv Music, 2019). Now based in the San Francisco Bay area, Paula Harris digs deep into her spiritual bond with vintage jazz and blues legends. “Speakeasy” is a blend of traditional jazz and blues with some funk and soul thrown in for good measure, featuring a trio of piano, bass and drums, and no guitar at all! Watch "Nothing Good Happens After Midnight"!

Hazelius Hedin "Nowa Tradycja 2019" (Video, 2019). Esbjörn Hazelius and Johan Hedin are an extraordinary mandolin-nyckelharpa duo from Southern Sweden, the home of the (släng)polska. As suggested by the name, the roots of this 3/4-time partner dance can be traced back to the influence of the Polish kingdom throughout the northern countries. So it's nice to watch Hazelius & Hedin live @ 22nd Polish Radio Folk Festival Nowa Tradycja (May 2019)!

Martha L. Healy "Keep The Flame Alight" (CD, FrogEye Records, 2018). Raised on a staple diet of Dolly Parton andBruce Springsteen, Martha L Healy had once again left her native Glasgow for the musical shores of Nashville to write and record her second album, "Keep The Flame Alight": Americana out of Britain - expressing the need to get away from the grey skies but having a nostalgic sentiment for its sights and sites. Watch "Keep The Flame Alight" & "No Place Like Home"! Check her out @ BandCamp!

Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra "Eta Carinae" (EP, Tea Pad Recordings, 2019). Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra[55] have constantly added new flavours to their old-time jazz roots, eventually arriving with their four-track EP "Eta Carinae" in the middle of the Beatles, Buffalo Springfield and the Bakersfield Sound. Watch "Eta Carinae" (Official Video)!

John Dee Holeman "Last Pair of Shoes" (CD, Pinnacle Productions/Music Maker Recordings, 2019). At the ripe old age of 90, Piedmont Blues legend, National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellow and Music Maker[69] partner artist John Dee Holeman teamed up with an incredible backing group to record a new album, "Last Pair of Shoes," a testament to a hard life in the rural South. Check out "Step it Up and Go" (outtake from the movie Harlem Street Singer - The Rev Gary Davis Story)![57]

Alice Howe "Visions" (CD, Know Howe Music, 2019). Boston-based Alice Howe calls her debut album a modern love letter to 60s and 70s folk and timeless blues, supported by a full backing band in a recording studio in Bakersfield, California. "Visions" features both originals and iconic songs from her family's vast record collection. Watch "Twilight" (Official Video)!

Gráinne Hunt "This Secret" (CD, Own label, 2019). County Monaghan native Gráinne Hunt has gained a reputation as a vocalist touring with singer-songwriter Mark Geary and trad fusion band Kíla. She joined guitarist Brendan Walsh for a selection of traditional Irish songs, and eventually recorded 11 lovely folk/pop songs for her debut LP in a whirlwind session in a Nashville studio. Watch "This Secret" (live @ Rathfarnham Castle, South Dublin & "Breathe" (shot on location @ Firmont House, Kildare)!

Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley featuring Taj Mahal "World Full of Blues" (Video, 2019). Grammy-nominated Americana duo Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley will release their new studio album, World Full of Blues, via Compass Records. Preview the video for the record’s title track, which captures the dobro and guitar work of Ickes and Hensley plus percussion and a full horn section and offers a classic blues: “We spend a lot of our time on the road talking about some of the bizarre and terrifying things that have been happening throughout the world in recent times. It’s a world full of Blues for sure … but we hope you like the track anyhow!” Watch Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley featuring Taj Mahal "World Full of Blues" (Official Video)!

Iļģi "Tur kur mīti" (CD, Own label, 2016), "Spēlēju Dancoju Dejoju" (CD, Own label, 2017). Iļģi is a folk rock and world music ensemble from Riga, Latvia, being in existence since 1981.[34] At the beginning Iļģi was performing pure traditional music, but was soon embracing new means of expression. Their 35th anniversary had been marked by two albums, "Tur kur mīti" (2016) and "Spēlēju Dancoju Dejoju" (2017). Listen @ iTunes!

Incendio "Summoning the Muse" (CD, Own label, 2019). For twenty years, the world-fusion group Incendio is ploughing the fields of Latin-based instrumental smooth jazz. Besides their trademark flamenco guitar solos, though, Jim Stubblefield, Liza Carbe and JP Durand also employ strings, funky horns and Cajun-inspired accordion & fiddle. Watch "Monte Carlo" (live @ The Eclectic Music Festival, Pasadena)!

I See Hawks In L.A. & The Good Intentions "Hawks With Good Intentions" (CD, Western Seeds Record Company, 2019). Los Angeles meets Liverpool! English Americana duo The Good Intentions[39] teamed up with Californian desert rockers I See Hawks In L.A.[67] Different from anything both groups have recorded before, this is an Anglo-American fusion with both feet knee-deep in 1970's country rock. Check out the Hawks' YouTube channel!

Cheyenne James "Burn It Up" (CD, Own label, 2018). Houston vocalist Cheyenne James is locally known as “Lil’ Miss Blue-Eyed Soul” for her passionate R&B performances. "Burn It Up" is now showcasing both her songwriting skills and her smart interpretations of Willie Dixon and Van Morrison songs. Watch the fire-eating Cheyenne James on "Burn It Up"!

FolkWorld Xmas

Hilary James "Winter" (Video, 2016). Hilary James'[59] 2011 album "English Sketches"[46] has been a celebration of the English countryside featuring both traditional songs and musical settings of poems from the Tudor to the Edwardian era. "English Sketches" also includes William Shakespeare's "Winter" from his early comedy "Love's Labour's Lost" (Act V, Scene II), arranged by Simon Mayor (see review below). Watch "Winter"!

Jersey Swamp Cats "Go Cat Go!" (CD, Own label, 2019). For the Jersey Swamp Cats from Orange, New Jersey, there are no dividing lines between blues, R&B, rock'n'roll and rockabilly. They all signify a huge amount of pleasure and fun. Check out the swampy vintage sounds @ the quartet's YouTube Channel!

Jo Carley and The Old Dry Skulls "Get Down Low" (Video, 2019). Jo Carley and The Old Dry Skulls[69] invite all ghouls and girls to check out their Voodoo Vaudeville Blues on their European tour in November 2019. Watch the spooktacular music video for "Get Down Low" from their 2019 album "Shake Them Rattlin' Bones"!

Andrea von Kampen "Twilight & Evening Bell" (EP, Own label, 2019). Andrea von Kampen is a singer-songwriter from Nebraska, whose "Twilight & Evening Bell" EP builds upon folk music of the Midwestern prairie. Listen to "Twilight & Evening Bell"! Watch Andrea von Kampen live at Paste Studio, Manhattan!

Pat Kearns "Down in the Wash" (CD, Own label, 2019). Says Pat, "I thought I would spend the rest of my life in Portland, Oregon. You can count on life to throw you some curve balls. Gentrification, with it's skyrocketing rents and cycles of demolition and construction, gave Susan and I a solid push to pick up our things and create a new reality way out in the Mojave Desert near the town of Joshua Tree, California. We moved into a tiny homestead cabin in the desert. We use solar panels and batteries to run our electricity. When it rains in the desert, the water runs. The channels it follows are called washes. Most of the time, washes are dry. Coyotes, hares, roadrunners, bobcats, tortoises, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, kangaroo rats, iguanas, out here in the desert, the washes are a thoroughfare. It's the street. It's where the actions is." Watch Pat & Susan Kearns perform "Ragtime Bob" (Solar Cabin Sessions)!

Annie Keating "Can't Stand Still" (EP, 8th Street Studios, 2019). Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Annie Keating[61] teams up with Dan Mills and his band, plugs in and turns up the volume on her six-track mini-album, "Can't Stand Still." No more gentle and intimate acoustic songs she's known for, but powerful and energetic roots rock. Check out Annie's YouTube channel!

German CD Review

Kefaya + Elaha Soroor "Songs Of Our Mothers" (Download, Bella Union/[PIAS], 2019). Singer Elaha Soroor and producer duo Kefaya (Al MacSween and Giuliano Modarelli ) have joined forces for a mesmerising album; a fresh take on Afghan folk music filtered through myriad forms, from Indian classical music to jazz and dub. The album is a collection of songs traditionally performed by Afghan women, drawing on Elaha's own experience of fleeing Afghanistan and the struggle faced by many other female artists. Watch "Introducing... Kefaya + Elaha Soroor"!

Kelly's Lot "Can't Take My Soul" (CD, Own label, 2019). The Los-Angeles based blues/roots band around folk vocalist Kelly Zirbes and Southern Rock guitarist Perry Robertson has released their 14th album in 25 years featuring another dozen of original songs. "Can't Take My Soul" is kicking off namechecking all their heroes: Muddy, Koko, Buddy, Etta ("All I Ever Want Is The Blues"). Check out Kelly's YouTube channel!

Seth Kibel "When You're Smiling" (CD, Own label, 2018). Wowing audiences on saxophone and clarinet, Seth Kibel's[64] latest release is an all-instrumental affair, consisting of favoured jazz, swing and klezmer classics. Watch Seth Kibel & Joe Holt "When You're Smiling" live!

"Korrontzi - Much more than folk music, tradition and innovation of the Basque Country" (Video, 2019). Basque group Korrontzi,[56] formed by accordionist Agus Barandiaran 15 years ago, offers a modern sound based on the trikitixa (early 19th century diatonic accordion). Watch "Much more than folk music, tradition and innovation of the Basque Country"!

Kronos Quartet & Marjan Vahdat "Kurdish Song" (Single, Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2019). "Kurdish Song" is a bonus track recorded during the sessions of the "Placeless" album with American Kronos string quartet[66] and Iranian singers Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat in November 2018. Kirkelig Kulturverksted (KKV) releases the track in order to express solidarity with the Kurdish people; any proceeds will be donated to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders. Check out "Kurdish Song"!

Jim Lauderdale "When Carolina Comes Home Again" (Single/Video, 2019). Jim Lauderdale[63] has released a single (co-written with John Oates of Hall & Oates) dedicated to his home state of North Carolina in celebration of 2019 as the Year of Music. "I grew up in the Carolinas - it’s where I wrote my first songs, made my first music, where my whole journey began, and to some part of me it still feels like home,” the Nashville-based singer-songwriter said. Watch Jim performing "When Carolina Comes Home Again" (Official Come Hear North Carolina Video)!

Mélissa Laveaux "Nan Pwen Lavi Ankò" (Video, 2019. On the trail of last year's album "Radyo Siwèl" (2018), Canadian singer-songwriter Mélissa Laveaux[40] continues to explore her parents Haitian heritage and release some voodoo magic. Watch the title track of the forthcoming 2019 album, "Nan Pwen Lavi Ankò"!

Leaf Rapids "Citizen Alien" (CD, Coax Records, 2019). Husband and wife duo Devin and Keri Latimer, a.k.a Leaf Rapids, immersed themselves deeply in the family history of Keri's Japanese ancestors and came up with incredible stories that needed to be told. For example, the Japanese internment camps in Canada during World War II (fellow Winnipeg songwriter James Keelaghan[70] wrote a well-known song about the issue, "Kiri’s Piano"); if the same thing would happen today, Keri and Devin would be split up and their children taken away. Watch "Dear Sister"!

Korby Lenker "Chengdu" (Video, 2019). One thing I’ve learned traveling around the world playing 60 minute sets of original songs: people sure do like to listen to what they already know. Watching a singer-songwriter perform a set of his own material is, even in the best of times, like sitting at a formal meal in an expensive restaurant. Maybe tasty but damn do you have keep making an effort. Not so with a cover. A good cover song is the pizza-and-sweatpants part of the music meal. A good way to wrap up a show. Send em home in something comfortable.
Idaho-born singer-songwriter Korby Lenker spent a few weeks this summer playing music in China and worked on memorizing a popular Chinese folk song, "Chengdu," the American Pie of the Sichuan Province. This is the result, Korby Lenker's "Chengdu"! See also "Hard Times Come Again No More" & "Crow Country"!

FolkWorld Xmas

Matt Litzinger "Joy To The World" (Download, 2019). Each and every year New Hampshire-based singer-songwriter Matt Litzinger, who is influenced by American folk and sacred music as well as contemporary pop and rock music, releases a new Christmas song.[67] Stream and download this year's selection, "Joy To The World," for free @ Noisetrade/Paste!

B.R. Lively "Into the Blue" (CD, Own label, 2017). In 2016, Dallas-born nu-folk singer-songwriter B.R. Lively quit his bourgeois life and hit the road once and for all. Along the American highways and byways he completed the ballads and anthems for his debut solo album, "Into The Blue," which turned his experiences into a sonic journey of spirit. Watch "Coyote" (Official Music Video)!

Alex Lopez "Yours Truly, Me" (CD, Maremil Music and Records, 2019). Cleveland/Ohio-born and Tampa/Florida-based singer-songwriter Alex Lopez started out as a keyboard player before getting hooked on the British blues invasion. He didn't look back adn played the guitar ever since, embracing anything from blues and soul to jazzy pop. Check out Alex's YouTube channel & the easy-going acoustic blues "Take Me Back Home"!

The Lost Brothers "Fugitive Moon" (Video, 2019). Irish duo The Lost Brothers (Oisin Leech & Mark McCausland) are thrilled to announce that their new studio album “After The Fire After The Rain” (ft. Howe Gelb[51] & Steve Wickham)[64] will be released in February 2020 and they will be hitting the road in March. They have already released a song from the album, "Fugitive Moon", featuring M. Ward[27] on electric guitar.

Catherine MacLellan "Coyote" (CD, Own label, 2019). During the past four years, Catherine MacLellan set aside her own songwriting to celebrate the legacy of her late legendary father Gene MacLellan.[64] Now she's back with a collection of 14 reflective original songs. Contrary to her latest solo album "The Raven's Sun,"[56] she added a full band and traditional instrumentation such as accordion and fiddle. Watch "Out of Time" & "Roll with the Wind"!

The Maes "The Maes" (CD, MAE Music, 2019). Their third album altogether was conceived and recorded on a tour of Europe and North America in 2018, shortly after they changed their name from The Mae Trio to The Maes with just Australian siblings Maggie (banjo, guitar) and Elsie Rigby (fiddle, mandolin) left. It follows their previews albums "Housewarming" (Folk Alliance Australia Youth Award & NFSA Folk Recording of the Year) and "Take Care Take Cover" (Best Folk Roots Album 2017 by The Age Music Victoria Award). Watch "Sunrise" (Official Video) & "Head Over Heels" (live at Bighouse Arts, Brunswick)!

Mandolin Orange "Tiny Desk Concert" (Video, 2019). Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz, a.k.a. Mandolin Orange,[61] make everything seem so easy, pulling a few acoustic instruments out of their car and, in no time, huddling around a single microphone. Watch "Golden Embers", "The Wolves" and "Wildfire"!

Jono Manson, Eliza Gilkyson, Terry Allen "The Christian Thing" (Single, Kitchen Sink, 2019). "It's a folk gospel tune for complicated times," says New Yorker singer/songwriter Jono Manson, "What matters in the end is how you actually live your life and treat others, regardless of what beliefs, or lack thereof, you profess." He enlisted the help of outlaw/alternative country artist Terry Allen and folk singer-songwriter Eliza Gilkyson,[67] the latter says: "I love this song. It expresses exactly how I feel, reclaiming an ethical and compassionate stance at a time when basic moral tenets of faith have been usurped by haters." Check out Jono Manson featuring Eliza Gilkyson and Terry Allen "The Christian Thing" (Audio and Lyrics)!

David Massey "Late Winter Light" (CD, Poetic Debris Records, 2018). You might call David Massey a veteran singer-songwriter.[59] After four albums the Washington DC artist still hasn't make his breakthrough, though sub rosa each one has been critically acclaimed. So please check out David Massey's YouTube channel!

FolkWorld Xmas

Simon Mayor "Winter With Mandolins" (CD, Acoustics Records, 1992). Originally released in 1992, Simon Mayor's[67] "Winter with Mandolins" proves always popular at this time of the year. With support from Alan Whetton (saxophone), Brendan Power (harmonica) and Hilary James(bass), it features English as well as Basque and Provencal carols, music from Handel's "Royal Fireworks" as well as Simon's own seasonal instrumentals. Listen to the Celtic inspired arrangement of "I Saw Three Ships" (animation by Hilary James)!

Delbert McClinton and Self-Made Men + Dana "Tall, Dark, & Handsome" (CD, Hot Shot Records, 2019). Texas singer-songwriter Delbert McClinton, called the “Godfather of Americana Music” by the Rolling Stone magazine, has returned with a lively album, fathoming more than ever before the links between blues, jazz and anything that's salvaged under the Americana umbrella. Check out Delbert's YouTube channel!

FolkWorld Xmas

Duncan McCrone "Resurrection Road (The Clydeside Carol)" (Single, Greentrax Recordings, 2019). This song is taken from Duncan McCrone's 2018 CD album ‘Land of Gold’,[67] re-released as a Christmas single: "Every year, Christmas comes around again, and decent, kind people notice the homeless a bit more, giving their time, their thoughts and often a bit more of their money to hide who have had a much worse ride through life than themselves. Then January arrives, and the festive season is over. The weather becomes colder still, the nights are darker, and for various domestic and economic reasons, the ranks of the homeless have swollen yet again. Sadly though, Christmas has cost everyone a fortune, and there isn’t the spare cash to hand out, and folk just want to batten down the hatches and face down another uncertain year. There was always unemployment and hardship, but often hope that things would improve. It was nothing like the feeling of hopelessness there is today, though." Listen to "Resurrection Road"! A portion of the revenue from the download sales will go to the SHELTER charity!

Rory McLeod "The Quickest Way To Feel Rich", "No Use For A Gun" (Video, 2019). Watch 'The Quickest Way To Feel Rich' & 'No Use For A Gun' from Rory McLeod's latest album, 'Gusto'! Also download The Rory McLeod Digital Song Book: "I was not paid to write these songs. They were in me and had to come out. The reason I made songs and didn’t write books is because I wanted them to be heard by people, danced to, played live to people, sung along with. So use these any way you want. Get your dirty fingerprints, charcoal and tea stains all over them. Use them as a beer-mat, pillow, notebook – or piled up to level a rocking table or chair. Though I don’t know how you can do that with a ‘digital’ E book."

Tony McLoughlin "True Native" (CD, Fuego, 2019). Roots rocker Tony McLoughlin[61] has been back to his native Ireland to lay down the tracks for his seventh album "True Native," sonically though he is still crisscrossing the fertile lands between Texas and Tennessee. So, true native of what?

German CD Review

Tony McManus & Julia Toaspern "Live in Concert" (CD, Greentrax Recordings, 2019). Celtic guitarist Tony MacManus[52] is known as a soloist, though his collaborations with diverse musicians have always been a significant part of his work.[58] Recorded during a German tour in early 2019, he is joined by multi-talented Berlin musician Julia Toaspern who plays violin and guitar, sings her original songs, and makes an appropriate fit to Tony's picking with her broad background in jazz, baroque and folk music. Watch "The Road to Drumleman / Sourgrass and Granite / Pierre's Right Arm"!

The McNaMarr Project "Holla And Moan" (CD, Own label, 2019). John McNamara (vocals, guitar) and Andrea Marr (vocals) would love to convince you that Chess and Stax Records never closed, but just moved to Australia. "Holla and Moan" is an all-original set of soul, blues, gospel and funk music. Watch "Holla And Moan" (live @ the Ballarat Blues Festival 2019)!

Mean Mary "Cold" (CD, Woodrock Records, 2019). Best known for her swift banjo, fiddle and guitar, Mary James a.k.a. Mean Mary [62] has released a Gothic album for the dark time of the soul. Mary's mother, novelist Jean James, is the co-writer on several tracks. Watch "Dark Woods" & "Cold"

German CD Review

Paul Messinger "The Reckoning" (CD, Own label, 2019). In December 2019, Americana singer-songwriter Paul Messinger comes with a new album and accompanied by his longtime friend Jeremy Haire on a longer European tour. Paul's third album, "The Reckoning", aims to provoke and settle scores with the political landscape of his homeland USA -- from the currently acting president to the neverending discussion about gun control. Check out Paul's YouTube channel!

The Mile Roses "blue skies" (CD, Tantobie Records, 2019). The Mile Roses are singer-songwriters Kate Bramley, Simon Haworth and Kari Macleod, whose Anglicana-Americana-Celtic-Country-fusion is increasingly causing a sensation beyond the northern English roots music scene. Imagine a cheerful sound, close three-part harmonies and fancy original songs (one co-write with Jez Lowe with whom Kate and Simon toured). Check out The Mile Roses live footage 2019 (ft. "Rockabilly Girls", "For All The Boys" & "The Whisky Song")!

Drew Miller "Into The Darkness" (Video, 2019). Singer-songwriter Drew Miller is guided by St. Augustine's insight that to sing is to pray twice. "Into the Darkness" is the opening track from his upcoming debut EP, "Desolation." Watch "Into The Darkness"! Check out its backstory!

Gary Miller "DLI EP" (EP, Whippet Records, 2019). The four-track "DLI EP" is Gary Miller's[65] (of Whisky Priests fame) precursor to his forthcoming "From Coalfield to Battlefield" album, commissioned for the 'When The Bugle Calls' Exhibition celebrating the Durham Light Infantry and chronicling its 200-year history through a series of songs. The title track featuring the Ferryhill Town Brass Band has been already released on Miller's "The Durham Light Infantry" single. Watch 'The Durham Light Infantry' (official promotional video) & 'Euphonium and Cornet' (Bishop Auckland Town Hall, 05.12.17!

FolkWorld Xmas

Siobhan Miller "At This Time of Year" (EP, Own label, 2019). While her album "Mercury" has been nominated for Best Album at this years' Scots Trad Awards and she is heading to Boston to sing in 'A Christmas Celtic Sojourn' (cast includes Seamus Egan, Maeve Gilchrist, Liz Carroll, Matthew Byrne, Olov Johansson, Natalie Haas, ...), Siobhan Miller[57] is happy to announce a collection of six seasonal folk songs. The title track is a new Christmas song written by jazz bassist Euan Burton, which will be released as a digital single. The full EP will only be available from her website.

Becky Mills "Tall tales and home truths" (CD, Talking Elephant Records, 2019). The songs written by English singer/songwriter Becky Mills are very much in the English folk song tradition - these are songs that tell stories of people of today’s and yesteryear’s times, and they sound as if they were traditional. The North Yorkshire singer gathered for this album some great musical guests, including the amazing concertina player Cohen Braithewaite-Kilcoyne and violinist and Pump Harmonium Player Ruth Angell.

Minyeshu "Live @ Jazz in Duketown 2019", "Daa Dee" (Video, 2019). The 46th edition of Jazz in Duketown took place in the city centre of 's-Hertogenbosch in June 2019. Watch singer and dancer Minyeshu Kifle Tedla's Saturday night set on the marketplace. ‘Daa Dee’ is the first groove an Ethiopian baby learns as it takes its first steps, and it is the title of her mix of hypnotic Ethiopian grooves with Western instruments and styles. See also the title track of Minyeshu's album of the same name, Daa Dee (ዳዴ)!

Ralph Molina "Love & Inspiration" (CD, Vapor Records, 2018). Crazy Horse drummer Ralph Molina (that is Neil Young's favourite backing group) has released his debut solo album, revealing an excellent vocalist and songwriter in his own right. Watch "Follow That Star"!

Article: Andrea Parodi Award

Monsieur Doumani "Έ άδρωπε (Hey You)" (Video, 2019). The production of Cypriotic trio Monsieur Doumani's[64] "Έ άδρωπε" (Hey You) video was the prize of the Critics Award at the 2018 Andrea Parodi Music Awards. For the band's full coverage, see their 2 hours concert @ De Pletterij , Haarlem/a>!

Moonshine Society "Sweet Thing" (CD, Own label, 2019). Washington DC's Moonshine Society serves a tasty cocktail of blues, soul and R&B to party all night long. Part vamp and part glamour girl, frontwoman Black Betty commands the stage with vocal witchcraft. Check out Black Betty's YouTube channel & Album Release Party (The Soundry, 7-25-19)!

Cary Morin "When I Rise" (CD, Continental Song City, 2019). Acoustic blues guitar picker Cary Morin,[65] a member of the Crow nation, acknowledges his indigenous heritage through his critically acclaimed music and has become sort of an ambassador with an unimitable blend of folk, blues and gospel music. Morin's sixth release follows close on the heels of an international tour that reached as far as Italy, France and Germany. Watch the title track "When I Rise"!

Mrs. Henry "The Last Waltz" (2xCD/3xVinyl, Blind Owl Records, 2019). “The Band holds a special place in my heart,” explains vocalist/guitarist Dan Cervantes. “If it wasn’t for The Band, you wouldn’t have Mrs. Henry. They were the epitome of a rock n roll band. Brothers who cut their teeth together in bar halls and roadhouses, slugging the uphill battle together with whiskey, songs and broken strings. They were a group that had learned the ropes night after night playing the catalog of rock n roll, country and R&B music. Backing the legends and each member having a voice of their own. This is what I wanted for myself.”
More than forty years after the initial event, rock group Mrs. Henry took the stage at The Belly Up in San Diego to pay respect to "The Last Waltz," The Band's legendary 1976 swansong. Mrs. Henry's performance was a full celebration; much how the Last Waltz featured an array of noteworthy guests, Mrs. Henry called on the help of friends to do the same. Watch PROMO Mrs. Henry presents THE LAST WALTZ!

John Campbell Munro "The Kelly Collection" (CD, Greentrax Recordings, 2019). Glasgow-born singer-songwriter John Munro (1947–2018) [33] had been a leading figure in Australian folk music and was best known as ‘sidekick’ of fellow countryman Eric Bogle.[61] All these songs about the legendary Australian bushranger Ned Kelly[31] were written by John and recorded only a few months before his death after a long battle with cancer.

Dan Navarro "Shed My Skin" (CD, Red Hen Records, 2018). Californian singer-songwriter Dan Navarro played more than twenty years and recorded about a dozen albums with his musical partner Eric Lowen (who sadly passed away in 2012). He wrote some classic songs for Dionne Warwick, Jackson Browne, Keb' Mo' and the Temptations, notably the Pat Benatar hit "We Belong". Eventually, "Shed My Skin" is his debut solo album. Watch "Shed My Skin" @ Eddie Owen Presents!

Eliza Neals "Sweet or Mean" (EP, E-H Records, 2019). Eliza Neals' new 6 track EP is pure blues rock tieing her authorative vocals with Popa Chubby's[68] meaty electric guitar. Watch "Bitten By The Blues" (Official Music Video!

Nefesh Mountain "A Mighty Roar" (Video, 2019). Nefesh Mountain's latest track describes the natural world as both a powerful and peaceful entity. Husband and wife team Eric Lindberg and Doni Zasloff sing first in English and then launch into their signature blend of bluegrass backing and Hebrew lyrics: "We find ourselves living in challenging times today with rising anti-Semitism, hatred, and intolerance throughout the world, but despite all of it, we can still find immense beauty and hope out there.” Watch “A Mighty Roar” shot live on location in Marin County, California!

Danni Nicholls "Lemonade" (Video, 2019). English Americana singer-songwriter Danni Nicholls is pleased to share a spontaneous video for one of her favourite tracks from her latest album "The Melted Morning." "Lemonade" is about staying strong, holding on to hope and trust in the face of adversity.

Teija Niku "Hetkessä" (CD, Ääniä Records, 2019). In the Finnish language, hetkessä has two somewhat contrasting meanings: ‘to be in the moment’ and ‘happening in seconds’. These meanings characterize both the artistic persona and the working methods of accordionist Teija Niku.[69] Watch "Peshekee", a tango commissioned for the Beethoven and Banjos festival, Michigan.

Faris Nourallah "Minus One" (CD, RuthRecords/Paraply, 2019). Texas-based Faris Nourallah is recording his songs just for the moment and is never performing the songs live (here 14 previously unreleased and rediscovered songs from 2004/2005): "I started writing songs late in life at 29 years of age. Before then, I was in a band and had performed across stages and barroom dance floors. From the moment I opened my mouth and sang, I was alone. I've never played music with anyone since then. So my records! Spontaneous, joyous, filled with imperfections and mistakes. Played once and never played again. Perfect little moments captured instantly with sound as the canvas. One microphone, me, and a room with a 16 track recorder. These are my records. This is what I leave behind. Thank you for listening and allowing me to be a part of your journey. Now let’s go somewhere fun, shall we?!"

German CD Review

O Gajo "Lisbon Express" (CD, European Phonographic, 2019). O Gajo is a project of the Portuguese rock musician João Morais that is dedicated to the double-course, ten-stringed viola campaniça (i.e. viola from the countryside) which originally accompanied the traditional singing in the South Portuguese Alentejo. Watch "Cacilheiro" & Festival Eurosonic 2019!

Belinda O'Hooley "Inversions" (CD, No Masters, 2019). "The Bonny Boy" was the song that Yorkshire singer-songwriter-pianist Belinda O'Hooley played at her father's funeral and that started the "Inversions" project. It showcases her abilities as a composer and pianist with many of piano pieces inspired by the music her father inherited from a long line of musicians in the Ox Mountains in the West of Ireland. Check out Making Of!

Polly O Keary & The Rhythm Method "As Live As It Gets" (CD, Own label, 2019). After four studio albums, Seattle-based bassist and vocalist Polly O’Keary and the Rhythm Method (guitarist David Miller, drummer Tommy Cook) have eventually realized their long-held goal of creating a live album that captures the chemistry energy and fun of their live performances. "As Live As It Gets" includes updated original songs and some of the trio's few covers. Check out Polly's YouTube channel!

Old Man Flanagan’s Ghost "Far from shore" (CD, Own label, 2018). Canadian Celtic Band from Toronto, playing their own material, in an acoustic Celtic folk rock style. The band features two fiddles, guitar, bodhran/percussion and double bass/tin whistle/kantele.  Watch "Hart of Ten" (Official Lyric Video)!

Old Salt "Commons" (CD, Trad Records, 2019). Old Salt is based in Ghent, Belgium, performing original and traditional American music.[60] By naming this album "Commons" they attempt to boil down what is most important to them as friends from different cultures; these commons being the natural and cultural resources that all members of a society can draw from, for and by all people. Watch Old Salt performing Derrol Adams' arrangement of the traditional song "Rake and Ramblin' Boy" for his best friend Ramblin Jack Elliot's wedding (Live in Brugge Stadsschouwburg).

Old Salt Union "Where the Dogs Don't Bite" (CD, Compass Records, 2019). Old Salt Union is a Newgrass/Americana string band from Belleville, Illinois, who are unhesitatingly fitting their extensive and extraordinary interests into their musical output. Watch "Big Dreams, Small Talk" and the classic bluegrassy "Tell Me So" (featuring singer-mandolinist Bobby Osborne)!

Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Thomas Bartlett "Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Thomas Bartlett" (CD, Real World Records, 2019). Best known as members of The Gloaming,[54] New York pianist Thomas Bartlett (a.k.a. Doveman) and Dublin fiddler Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh (also a member of This Is How They Fly)[57] sat together in the studio to improvise music that is smooth and calm: “Do you know the feeling you have when you experience a film that affects you, and you leave the cinema and you don’t want to talk to anyone? When you don’t want to go home, and you just walk around the streets until that feeling has been given the space it needed? That’s something I really value, and I think we succeeded in on this album. To give a feeling – and then to leave the space for you to digest it.”

Orchestra Bailam e Canteri Genovesi "Trallalero levantin" (CD, Felmay, 2019). Orchestra Bailam[52] for a long time has investigated the Middle Eastern music traditions found in the old trading port of Genoa, and respectively the Italian/Genoa influenced Eastern music in Levantine ports such as Istanbul and Thessaloniki. On this album, the focus is on the Levantine Middle Eastern interpretation of the Trallalero traditions, and provides a wonderful example where cultures have met and been enriched by their co-existence. The Canteri Genovesi is a trio of Alto, Tenor and Baritone singers, joined by the Orchestra on guitars, derbouka, violin, accordion, double bass and clarinet. Watch "Mæ roscignêu"!

Osborne Jones "Twang!" (Download, Continental Record Services, 2019). Englishmen David Osborne and David-Gwyn Jones have worked together on and off for many years; these days they are part of the New Traditional Country scene of Los Angeles (see I See Hawks In LA above, for example). "Twang!" is a digital only compilation of 10 songs from their two albums "Only Now" and "Ever Closer", featuring the twangy guitar players Albert Lee, Pete Anderson, Rick Shea, Kenny Vaughn, Will McFarlane and Jerry Donahue. Download "Twang!" @ BandCamp!

Amy Papiransky "Read Me Write" (CD, Mik-Ellen Music, 2019). A classically trained pianist and violinist from Scotland's North East, music teacher by trade and BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2018 finalist, Amy Papiransky has been gathering this collection of lively folk-pop songs and heartbreaking ballads over the last decade. Featuring Charlie Stewart, Innes Watson, Phil Cunningham, Ross Ainslie, amongst others. Watch "DOUBTS" (Live)!

Parno Graszt "Már nem szédülök" (Video, 2019). Just like the Danube on which it floats, the A38 Ship doesn't care about borders or (language) barriers. So it was one of the selected venues to host WOMEX 2015 in Budapest. In 2019, A38 World recorded the live concert footage of the title track, "Már nem szédülök", of the latest album of Hungarian Roma ensemble Parno Graszt. Watch the full concert!

Angela Perley "4:30" (CD, Own label, 2019). Ohio native Angela Perley is writing painful love songs against a backdrop of psychedelic folk-country-rock. Watch "Let Go" (Official Animated Video) & "4:30" (live with The Howlin Moons @ Thirty One West in Newark OH)!

Betsy Phillips "Like We're Talking" (EP, Own label, 2019). Betsy Phillips went from Omaha to Nashville to pursue her dream of writing songs and going to be good at. Feeling finally ready to record, guitarist Anthony da Costa (Sarah Jarosz) and bassist Ethan Jodziewicz (Milk Carton Kids) compliment her smooth and steady voice on five soulful and unhurried tracks (six on vinyl). Watch "Someone Like You" co-written with Robby Hecht!

Steve Pledger "Alone in the Dark" (CD, Noisy Dog Records, 2019). "The truth is there's no such thing as a live album. Live is what happens in a a space... in a moment. Any subsequent representation of such an event is an approximation; an echo of something essentially irretrievable." Anyway, this here is the Cambridge-born, Durham-based singer-songwriter's attempt and a "fair record of what I do live" featuring performances of songs from his three studio albums.[63] Check out Steve's YouTube channel!

Mehmet Polat & Embracing Colours "Aftermath", "Playing the Time Away", "Conveyed Emotions" (Video, 2019). At the latest Embracing Colours concert in Bimhuis, Amsterdam, Mehmet Polat[69] presented his "Quantum Leap" album. Watch "Aftermath", "Playing the Time Away" @ "Conveyed Emotions"!

Professor Louie & The Crowmatix "Miles of Blues" (CD, Woodstock Records, 2019). Keyboardist Aaron L. Hurwitz, aka Professor Louie, and his Crowmatix began as studio support for The Band.[67][70] For almost 20 years now, this quintet from Woodstock/New York carries on with a variety of Americana including rock'n'roll, blues and gospel music, embodied in a new album subtitled From L-50 to Steampunk and Miles of Blues in between. Check out Prof's YouTube Channel & the call-and-response "Funky Steampunk Blues"!

Joel Rafael "Rose Avenue" (CD, Inside Recordings, 2019). US folk musician Joel Rafael's[58] 10th album presents 9 new topical songs, after kicking off with the 1968 Dion hit about the assassinated Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. and Robert F. Kennedy, "Abraham, Martin and John," featuring Eliza Gilkyson.[67] Check out Joel's YouTube channel!

The Rapparees "recharged" (CD, Own label, 2018). On their latest album, the Irish five-piece band has moved more towards what you would call on the continent “fun folk” - jolly folk rock interpretations of largely well-known and over-played songs, such as “Ye Jacobites”, “Four Green Fields” or “The Newry Highwayman”.  I have to admit that I liked their previous album "Re:session"[59] much more. Watch "Ireland and Australia"!

Adrian Raso "Gypsybilly King" (CD, Asphalt Tango Records, 2019). Having released several solo albums before, Toronto guitarist Adrian Raso's chart-topping collaboration with Romanian brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia in 2014 gave him an international reputation.[53] He has returned with his 10th studio album "Gypsybilly King," juggling with Django Reinhardt's gypsy jazz and Brian Setzer's rockabilly as well as referencing American country and blues, Romanian hora and Italian tarantella. Adrian Raso is planning an European tour for early 2020. Check out Adrian's YouTube channel!

J.P. Reali "A Highway Cruise" (EP, Own label, 2019). Washinton D.C. veteran J.P. Reali headed up to New England to record a musical road trip across traditional blues, country and rock'n'roll for a five-song EP with fellow guitarist Duke Levine. Reali takes up the mantle from Woody Guthrie on the Southern rock title track, declaring “Give us all your tired and poor, hungry folks from distant shores. With so much land there’s room for more, and we don’t need another Berlin Wall.” Check out J.P.'s YouTube Channel & "Whiskey For Blood" (Live)!

Hayley Reardon "A World Away" (Video, 2019). Boston's folk/pop singer-songwriter Hayley Reardon felt stuck, burnt out and uninspired ... Then a pair of European tours brought her back on the path - personally, creatively, spiritually. Just as she was dreaming of ways to keep the European magic alive, she was offered a part in a six-months artist residency program in Germany beginning in April 2020. This video is the first of a series documenting Hayley's European tour in early 2019: "A World Away"!

Ben Reel "Some Mercy" (Single/Video, 2019). "Some Mercy" from South Armagh singer-songwriter Ben Reel's[36] latest album "Land Of Escape" carries the message that people are the same the world over and are all looking for the same things in life. Watch "Some Mercy" (Remix July 2019)!

The Revelers "At the End of the River (Au bout de la rivière)" (CD, Own label, 2019). Louisiana-based The Revelers'[57] "Au bout de la rivière" (At the End of the River) blends English and French language songs with a tasty gumbo made up of Cajun and Honky-tonk sounds once again. For example, watch The Revelers Live on KEXP 2013 & Blackpot Festival Finale 2016! TheirBlackpot Festival, held every October in Lafayette , brings together the holy trinity of Cajun culture: hot music, all-night dancing and great food!

Josh Ritter with Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell "Tiny Desk Concert" (Video, 2019). Josh Ritter[44] came to the Tiny Desk with Amanda Shires on fiddle and Jason Isbell on acoustic guitar: "I spent a lot of time trying to decide what songs to sing. In the end, I decided that I wanted my three songs to be ones that looked at the humanity and inhumanity on display all around us in the United States at this moment in time. I feel like the big thing that we all have to fight against is this notion that we're not all human beings." As the applause fades Josh thanks the crowd, saying "America, we love you, but you've gotta change!" Watch Josh Ritter's Tiny Desk Performance!

River Drivers "Big Oak Road" (CD, Own label, 2019). Philadelphia-based Celtic and Americana quartet River Drivers[58] are hard on the heels of Dubliners, Wolfe Tones & Pogues regarding catchy tunes and passionate choruses, as well as MacColl, Moore & Bragg when addressing Irish-American history and blue-collar issues Check out YouTube & BandCamp!

Alasdair Roberts "The Fiery Margin" (CD, Drag City, 2019). Scotsman Alasdair Roberts? is on a mission pushing the traditional songs from Scotland, England and Ireland into the 21st century. "The Fiery Margin" is a collection of originals, though some of which drawing on the words and songs of the last 1000+ years. Alasdair is moving effortlessly between acoustic and electric guitars while adding touches of Irish viola player Ailbhe nic Oireachtaigh.

Mark Rogers "Laying It Down" (CD, Own label, 2019). Once playing in a country rock group in Los Angeles, Mark Rogers had returned to his native Washington DC to raise a family and hone his songwriting skills. Last year's EP increased awareness both at home and abroad for his contemplative and lyrical songs. Watch @ "I Know It So Well"!

FolkWorld Xmas

Stan Rogers "First Christmas" (Audio, 2008). »Every Christmas Day in the Dai Woosnam household, we have 2 rituals to follow. First to avoid Fairytale of New York at all costs (if there was a programme called Desert Island Discards, it would be my one "nap" choice to confine to the surf) ...and... always start Christmas Morning off with this Stan Rogers masterpiece...« (Dai Woosnam) Listen to "First Christmas" (Live)!

Rosemary & Garlic "A Step Outside" (Download, 2019). Dutch folk duo Rosemary & Garlic (Anne van den Hoogan & Dolf Smolenaers) has released a collection of songs recorded live at the Paradiso Amsterdam and at the St Pauli Kirche Hamburg during the Reeperbahn Festival 2018. Stream and/or Download "A Step Outside"!

Rosier "Vie Pénible" (Video, 2019). Quebecoise trad quintet Rosier (formerly known as Les Poules á Colin)[68] have released a swansong on the bygone summer season and a sneak preview on their upcoming EP under the new moniker. Watch "Vie Pénible" (The Punishing Life)!

FolkWorld Xmas

Josh Rouse "Mediterranean X-Mas" (Video, 2019). Folk-pop singer-songwriter Josh Rouse[57] has announced his first-ever Christmas album, "The Holiday Sounds of Josh Rouse," featuring a funky and groovy opening track which is complemented by the accompanying video's tropical Christmas scenes. Watch "Mediterranean X-Mas" (Official Video)!

German CD Review

David Rovics "Songs For Today" (Download, 2019). "David Rovics says exactly what needs to be said." (Ian McMillan, BBC) David[32] has just released a solo acoustic studio album, all original songs, written during the latter half of 2018 and early 2019. Check it out @ BandCamp!

Pádraig Rynne "Conscious" (CD, Liosbeg Records, 2019). Currently touring with the groups Notify[53] and the Atlantic Arc Orchestra (featuring Dónal Lunny), Pádraig Rynne is recognised as a first-rate concertina player in the field of traditional Irish music. His third solo album is another conscious step in exploring and crossing genre borders with a series of original compositions and arrangements. Check out Pádraig's YouTube channel!

Rachael Sage "Bravery's On Fire" (Single, MPress Records, 2019). Singer-songwriter Rachael Sage[69] has released a new single, "Bravery’s On Fire," with 100% of the proceeds to benefit Women's Cancer Research. Diagnosed with endometrial uterine cancer and now in complete remission, Sage wrote "Bravery's On Fire" while undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. “Having cancer has reminded me to take absolutely nothing for granted. It is an indescribable privilege to wake up every morning, stretch my legs and decide what to do with my day. I hope to continue to create work that uplifts and empowers others in any way I possibly can.” Watch "Bravery's On Fire" recorded live @ Red Clay Music Foundry!

Alejandro Santoyo "Dreams - For A Better Tomorrow" (CD, Banade Records, 2019). Through his music drawing on classical composers, film scores and jazz artists, pianist and idealist Alejandro Santoyo has the noble intention to instill hope in a positive future for all of us. First of all, by imagining a better tomorrow (and creating feelings of well-being) before turning it into reality. Check out Alejandro's YouTube channel!

Savoy Brown "City Night" (CD, Quarto Valley Records, 2019). Rockin' the blues for 55 years! Kim Simmonds, the godfather of British blues-rock, is continually delivering new music and there is no end in sight: “Am I getting lazy in my old age? No, I’m not ever retiring! I’m on this train ‘till the end…” Watch "Walking on Hot Stones", the scorching opener on the band's 40th album, played live in Edinburgh!

Screaming Orphans "Life in a carnival" (CD, Own label, 2019). Irish Band that dresses up pop music with folk textures. The cover version of The Turtles’ oldies song “Happy Together” gives a clear indication of the music of this band: Pop songs with some violin or accordion interludes. The majority of the album are however originals. If you like pop music as much as folk, you’ll enjoy this slightly folk-ed up style of pop. Watch Screaming Orphans live @ the Kennedy Center!

Show of Hands "Battlefield Dance Floor" (CD, Proper Records, 2019). Show of Hands' Steve Knightley and Phil Beer[61] are currently on 22-date autumn-winter tour of England and Wales, supported by Miranda Sykes (double bass and vocals) and Cormac Byrne (percussion)[31] (“With the heartbeat and harmonies that Cormac and Miranda add, we are at last creating a sound we’ve dreamed of making for twenty five years!”). Their 18th studio album brings new folk roots songs from the pen of Knightley plus four reinterpretations of songs from Leonard Cohen, Kirsty Merryn, Richard Shindell and Adrian Mannering. Surprisingly, the title track of eve-of-battle drunkenness (“Tomorrow it’s a battlefield, tonight it is a dance floor”) is a genre-hopping Bhangra meets Morris, inspired by Show of Hands’ recent encounters with Johnny Kalsi’s Dhol Foundation. Check out Show Of Hands live footage!

Sideline "Thunder Dan", "Return To Windy Mountain" (Video, 2018). Being the embodiment of the North Carolina Bluegrass sound for over two decades, the Sideline sextet received their first International Bluegrass Music Association award when the chart-topping "Thunder Dan" with its tight picking, catchy chorus and a grim story was named Song Of The Year at the IBMA Awards in Raleigh. Sideline has continued to release new music, with their most recent single being "Return To Windy Mountain", an affectionate tribute to bluegrass pioneer Melvin Goins (Lonesome Pine Fiddlers).

FolkWorld Xmas

Sarah Siskind "New Traditions" (CD, 2019). The last two years has brought some major life shifts which has left American folk singer and songwriter Sarah Siskind reinventing her Christmas traditions. Writing holiday songs gave her an outlet to process feelings of change, vulnerability, forgiveness and healing, while also tapping into childhood memories. When you pre-order the forthcoming "Modern Appalachia" (to be released in spring 2020) by December 31, you will get a free download of "New Traditions"!

The Small Glories "Oh My Love" (Video, 2019). Canadian duo The Small Glories have announced UK dates for late 2019; watch "Oh My Love" (Official Video)! Filmed at an animal sanctuary outside the band's hometown of Winnipeg, the song follows an abandoned dog. "It's a pretty sad song," says The Small Glories' Cara Luft, an original member of the Wailin’ Jennys,[30] "but because the song is written in a bit of an upbeat fashion, we thought why not do a video that has a little bit of hope, a little bit of light and love in it. It reminds us about the beauty and power of feeling -- and knowing that there is always hope."

The Smoking Flowers "Let's Die Together" (CD, Bandaloop Music, 2018). The Smoking Flowers duo cites influences that range from Led Zeppelin to Gillian Welch and The Ramones to Neil Young. An intense touring across America and Canada under their belt, Kim and Scott's newest album "Let's Die Together" taps even deeper into their raw rock, punk and folk roots while their lyrics paint a picture of a couple that writes together, plays together and simply loves life together. Watch "Street Fight" (Live 615 Sessions)!

Snowflake Trio "Sun dogs" (CD, Own label, 2019). The trio with this lovely name sees Irish flautist and singer Nuala Kennedy[60] join forces with Norwegian musicians Vegas Vårdal (violin and hardanger fiddle) and Frode Haltli (accordion). The trio blends the traditional and newly composed music of the two countries, adding a fair dose of improvisation and spontaneity - so much so that there is at times a distinctive jazzy flair to the tunes. In between the tunes, Nuala also sings a few songs in English and Gaelic language.  Watch "What Will We Do" / "Fjellvåk" (Mountain Bird)!

Sokratis Sinopoulos Quartet "Metamodal" (CD, ECM Records, 2019). Greek lyra performer Sokratis Sinopoulos once advised his band members: If you find yourselves playing anything that could be simply characterised as jazz, folk or classical music, try to get around! In this regard "Metamodal" is taking turns between traditional scales and collective improvisations. Watch "Transition" (Live @ Antart Studios Athens)!

Rick Sparks "Hushabye: Sail Away to Dreamland" (CD, Own label, 2019). Said to be like jumping into a feather bed with a cumulus cloud as a pillow. Sure, new age music fans will love Rick's[67] peaceful lullabies featuring piano, strings, the occasional flute, and angelic choirs doing wordless vocalizations.

Tori Sparks feat. Calamento + El Rubio "Wait No More: The Live Album" (Double CD, Grass Mountain Records, 2019). Originally from Nashville, Tori Sparks[46] had found a new home in Barcelona, though she is rather permanently on the road. See this great bilingual collaboration (Tori sings in both English and Spanish) with flamenco trio Calamento and guitarist Jason McGuire (a.k.a. El Rubio). Check out "Wait No More", "Mama" & "La Flor de Estambul"!

John Cee Stannard "Moving On" (CD, Castiron Recordings, 2019); John Cee Stannard "The Doob Doo Album" (CD, Own label, 2013). Besides playing in a folk band, Tudor Lodge, which is quite popular in his native Reading in the South of England since 1968, John Stannard is fond of the Blues. His debut solo album "The Doob Doo Album" (check out "Doob Doo Be Doo Wah") started the sharp learning curve that eventually led to 2019's "Moving On," his live performance trio, John Cee Stannard & Blues Horizon, pimped up with more than two dozen musicians to a proper big band sound. Watch "Do Right To Me"!

Steep Canyon Rangers & Asheville Symphony with Boyz II Men "Be Still Moses" (Video, 2019). “Be Still Moses” marks the beginning of a busy year-end for Asheville based bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers,[41] who are about to embark on an international tour with their frequent collaborator, comedian and banjoist Steve Martin. “Be Still Moses” contrasts the bluegrass-flavored baritone of Steep Canyon Rangers’ Woody Platt with the timeless vocal arrangements of R&B and hip hop vocal group Boyz II Men. Watch Steep Canyon Rangers & Asheville Symphony with Boyz II Men "Be Still Moses" (Official Music Video)!

Don Stiffe "Longing for the Day" (CD, Own label, 2019). The reputation of this Irish singer becomes obvious when looking at the impressive list of guest musicians on this album - including Frankie Gavin, Joannie Madden, Dermot Byrne, Frank Kilkenny to name but a few. Singing a mix of his own and other contemporary songs, Don Stiffe moves from Folk to Country and Easy Listening, with for my liking too big a dose of schmaltz in it. Watch "Supermarket Wine" & "Save me a Place in Your Heart"!

The String Revolution "Rocket Man" (Video, 2019). Guitar players Janet Robin, Daniel Schwarz, Art Zavala Jr. and Markus Illko create distinctive sounds with their guitars: mimicking percussion, special effects, melodic grooves, bass lines, and more. So please watch their "Rocket Man" cover!

Billy Strings "Home" (CD, Rounder Records, 2019). Michigan-born, Nashville-based flat-picking guitarist Billy Strings has been hailed as the future of bluegrass music with his dexterous flat-picking and acute songwriting. His sophomore studio album, featuring fellow pickers Jerry Douglas and fiddler Molly Tuttle, is fully embracing psychedelia and punk. Watch "Must Be Seven" (Animated Video)!

Sultans of String feat Ifrah Mansour "I Am A Refugee" (Single/Video, 2019); Sultans of String feat Duke Redbird and Twin Flames "The Power of the Land" (Single/Video, 2019). Canadian world music collective Sultans of String[47] have welcomed Somali poet and multimedia artist Ifrah Mansour for their new single and video "I Am A Refugee". This collaboration is part of their ambitious album scheduled for spring 2020: “This is a project that is centred around the positive contributions of refugees and new immigrants,” says violinist Chris McKhool, whose own grandfather left the Lebanon a century ago. “We wish to celebrate the successes of those who make the journey here, and bring their extraordinary talents with them. We hope the kinds of conversations we can have as musicians can provide a model for peace that our politicians and citizens find inspiration from.” See also single #2, "The Power of the Land", and "Heart Of Gold" (Live) celebrating Neil Young's Birthday.

Sväng "Liljankukka", "Hedwig", "Love Can Not Live" (Video, 2019). The Finnish harmonica quartet and nominee for the 2019 Nordic Council Music Prize, Sväng[63] played Tango recently, Finland's national music according to Aki Kaurismäki ("Liljankukka", "Hedwig Theme"), though also found time to collaborate with Austrian accordionist Otto Lechner ("Love Can Not Live").

Dudley Taft "Simple Life" (CD, Own label, 2019). On his seventh album, "Simple Life," Cincinnati based guitar slinger Dudley Taft offers a selection of eleven original rock'n'roll anthems and blues ballads and reveals a broad range of influences from the Mississippi Delta all up to Seattle. Check out "Give Me a Song" & Live at the Satyr Blues Festival, Tarnobrzeg, Poland!

FolkWorld Xmas

Sofia Talvik "Paws of a Bear" (CD, Makaki Music, 2019); "Christmas Train" (Single, Makaki Music, 2019). Swedish Americana singer-songwriter Sofia Talvik has made it a tradition to release a Christmas single every year, particularly focussing on the darker side of the Holiday season. "Christmas Train" is a modern take on the Krampus story (Santa's evil counterpart), but in the form of a train that is robbing everyone of dreams and futures.
"Christmas Train" is is not featured on Sofia's recent album, "Paws of a Bear," that is once again digging Americana sounds and refurbishing it by way of her Scandinavian upbringing. Watch the lead single, “Take Me Home”!

Vaneese Thomas "Down Yonder" (CD, Segue Records, 2019). Born in Memphis/Tennessee, Vaneese is the daughter of the legendary entertainer Rufus Thomas, whose career already began in Vaudeville and spanned more than half a century in R&B recording. Vaneese carries forward this rich musical legacy on her latest album "Down Yonder," embracing the full spectrum of soul and R&B music. Listen to the musical biography of an Afro-American sharecropper, "Ebony Man"!

Article: 10 Essential Folk Albums from 2019 (So Far)

Anna Tivel "The Question" (CD, Fluff & Gravy Records, 2019). American singer-songwriter Anna Tivel from Portland/Oregon admits that she doesn't trust happy songs. Her album "The Question" was listed though by Paste as one of the "10 Essential Folk Albums from 2019". Check it out @ BandCamp; watch "Minneapolis" (live at Ear Trumpet Labs)!

Triggers & Slips "The Stranger" (CD, Own label, 2019). Formed a decade ago, Salt Lake City band Triggers & Slips feels comfortable not fitting into any one genre. Melding classic honky tonk with gritty rock music, singer-songwriter-guitarist Morgan Snow describes it as rock n’ roll with a country soul: “Being from a hometown that isn’t considered a musical city has helped me to find my own unique voice and helped me to write songs that are authentic, raw and real.” With their sophomore album, "The Stranger," Triggers & Slips is ready to step out of the shadows; watch "Natchez Trace"!

Molly Tuttle "Light Came In (Power Went Out)" (Video, 2019). Fresh off her being part of the all-star, all-woman jam featuring Dolly Parton and Brandi Carlile at this year's Newport Folk Festival, Californian singer-songwriter Molly Tuttle made her television debut performing three songs off her debut album, "When You're Ready". Watch the CBS News Saturday Sessions ("Light Came In (Power Went Out)", "Messed With My Mind", "Take the Journey") and the "Light Came In (Power Went Out)" Official Music Video!

Twelfth Day "Keep Me" (Video, 2019). Genre-bending duo Twelfth Day[64] (violinist Catriona Price and pedal harpist Esther Swift) have been announced their forthcoming new album Face To Face, along with a UK headline tour through November 2019. Twelfth Day already shared the video for the album's first single, Keep Me, a song from the point of view of Mother Nature as she expresses her relief that we've finally realised serious action needs to be taken to save the planet. Watch the "Keep Me" video! See also "Superwoman" and the album trailer!

Brad Vickers and his Vestapolitans "Twice as Nice" (CD, Man Hat Tone, 2019). The Vestapolitans' [60] recording session for their sixth album was "Twice as Nice" because they were able to call on some talented friends, just to mention V.D. King on a variety of instruments from banjolele to bari. On the title track, bassist Margey Peters pays homage to the early risqué female blues singers. Check out their mixture of blues, jump and great American roots'n'roll @ the Vestapolitans' YouTube channel!

Rhonda Vincent "Like I Could" (Video, 2019). Rhonda Vincent & The Rage are said to be the Most Award Winning Band in Bluegrass Music History including a GRAMMY Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 2017. (Though at the 2019 International Bluegrass Music Awards, Rhonda succumbed to Brooke Aldridge and Joe Mullins/Del McCoury, and her band members Hunter Berry and Josh Williams to Michael Cleveland and Billy Strings.) Watch the Queen of Bluegrass' new song and video, "Like I Could", which recently reached #1 on the Bluegrass Today Airplay chart!

Jarred Walker "Becoming Tomorrow" (CD, Own label, 2019). Five years in the works, Ohio pianist Jarred Walker has eventually released his debut album, drawing on pop, jazz, ragtime and orchestral film music to find a spiritual home in the new age market. To be honest, "Becoming Tomorrow" is a musical mingle-mangle, we best like Noah Rashid's artwork.

Seth Walker "Underdog" (Video, 2019). Every Underdog gets its day! Americana/Blues/Jazz singer-songwriter Seth Walker performs a song from his latest album, "Are You Open?," live on acoustic guitar in a studio in Nashville, Tennessee. Watch "Underdog"!

Wentus Blues Band with Duke Robillard "Too Much Mustard!" (CD, Ramasound, 2019). The collaboration between Finland's Wentus Blues Band and American blues and rock guitarist Duke Robillard already began in 1987, when the young band got the opportunity to open for the Duke Robillard Band. They developed a lasting friendship with Robillard guesting at Wentus' 30th anniversary celebration and also doing a tour through Sweden. Watch the Leonard Cohen cover "First We Take Manhattan"!

Brooksie Wells "In My Pocket" (CD, Down Home Diva Records, 2019). This album is supposed to feel like a summer afternoon on the porch with folk music's great players all picking along and sipping lemonade. Watch Maybe Not (Official Video)! Maybe as successful as Brooksie's previous album "North East Rising Sun," maybe not ... [58]

West My Friend "In Constellation" (CD, Grammar Fight Records, 2019). On their fourth album in ten years, this Western Canadian folk trio (accordion, mandolin, guitar)[55] creates stirring and multi-layered music backed by a full symphony orchestra. In their own words, bringing forth a new sound you've never known you've wanted and new meaning to the things you've never known you needed. Watch "Salt Water"! West My Friend will be playing European dates in spring 2020!

White Owl Red "Existential Frontiers" (CD, Hush Mouse, 2019). Josef McManus says, “I had always considered myself a writer and a poet, but it wasn't until I was deeply inspired by Kurt Cobain’s songs and all the musicical energy of the grunge era that I felt the urgent need to buy an electric guitar and an old tube amp and start writing my own songs. At the time I was very interested in the concept of finding the beauty in imperfection and flaws in life and expressing that in my art, in contrast to the dominant culture cult of perfection.” Under the moniker White Owl Red he eventually releases passionate and thought-provoking American roots music though. Watch "Existential Frontiers", "Union Fight Song" & "I'm A Saint"!

Steven Wilkins "Waiting" (CD, Own label, 2018). Our personal highlight is Steven's take on the iconic “Ain’t No Sunshine,” apart from that he takes us on a easy-to-listen-to road trip from the Sunshine Coast of Australia to Nashville, Tennessee, telling must-hear stories of purpose and meaning.

Billie Williams "Hell to Pay" (CD, Own label, 2019). On the heels of Billie Williams' self-titled debut album, "Hell to Pay" goes berserk with another collection of blues, soul and roots music. The title track expresses her anger about the increasing socioeconomic divide, and the feminist anthem "Ten Million Sisters" speaks to the #MeToo movement. Check out Billie's YouTube channel!

Chelsea Williams "These Days" (Video, 2019). L.A. singer-songwriter Chelsea Williams is pretty sure she owned a Jackson Browne record before she even had a device to play them on. "For Everyman" was one of the very first vinyl records she listened to and "These Days" immediately stood out to her. Years later, she heard Nico's version and fell in love all over again: "It's the kind of song you can keep discovering; I find new meaning in it every time I sing it." Earlier this year, she was lucky to trade harmonies with Jackson Browne on Van Morrison's "Crazy Love." So enjoy Chelsea's Jackson Browne cover "These Days"!

Nicholas Edward Williams "As I Go Ramblin' Around" (CD, EarthTone Records, 2019). Under the moniker "Whetherman" Nicholas Edward Williams released 8 albums from 2007 to 2018 while continuously touring. He reinvented himself by learning fingerpicking techniques (Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt) adding to his lyrical and satirical observations. Watch "Eve of Fog" (Live @ Sofar Sounds Nashville)!

Ben Winship "Toolshed / Acorns" (CD, Snake River Records , 2019). Ben Winship has grown his backyard in Idaho into a renowned recording studio. It's also the space where he's been working on an ambitious double release: "Toolshed" showcases a full-band sound forming country-rock, honky-tonk and gypsy-jazz soundscapes, whereas "Acorns" is old-timey stringband music from casual late-night jams. Featuring Joe Newberry, Brittany Haas, Eli West, Pharis Romero, Rayna Gellert, Mike Dowling, and many more. Check out Ben's music @ YouTube!

The Wood Brothers "Live at the Fillmore" (CD, Honey Jar Records/Thirty Tigers, 2019). Americana trio Oliver Wood (lead vocals and guitar), Chris Wood (bass) and Jano Rix (percussion and keyboards)[53] are occasionally hailed being one of the most exciting bands to experience live. Thus they have released another live album, recorded at the legendary Fillmore Theatre in San Francisco, California. Check out "Keep Me Around" (Live at the Fillmore)!

Rusty Young "Waitin' For The Sun" (CD, Blue Elan Records, 2017). Californian singer-songwriter-guitarist Norman Russell "Rusty" Young is best known as the frontmen of country rock band Poco. Formed following the demise of Buffalo Springfield in 1968, Poco had been one of the pioneering West Coast groups in the 1970s. In 2013 Young had announced his retirement, yet he had to release a solo album, his first! "Waitin' For The Sun" showcases his masterly steel guitar playing once again, and the unique sounds he gets out of the instrument. Watch My Friend [Official Video]!

9Bach "C’Weiriwch fy Ngwely", "Pontypridd" (Video, 2019). Watch Lisa Jên and Martin Hoyland perform "C’Weiriwch fy Ngwely" and "Pontypridd" live at Real World Studios! This is also the 10th anniversary and rerelease of Welsh alt.folk group 9Bach's debut album.

Various Artists

Various Artists "Battle of the Blues: Chicago Vs Oakland" (CD, Delta Roots Records, 2019). Veteran drummer, songwriter and producer Twist Turner started producing an album for the unknown and under-appreciated blues men and women of the Bay Area where he was living. After moving to Chicago, he decided to issue some demos from Chicago as well. Thus "Battle of the Blues" was born: Chicago versus Oakland! Freddie Roulette, Emery Williams Jr, James Newman, Del Brown, Gerald McClendon versus Aldwin London, Mz. Sumac, Nat Bolden, Country Pete McGill. Check out Promo Sampler!

"Classic Blues Artwork From The 1920's" (Calendar/CD, Alligator Records, 2019). The 2020 Classic Blues Artwork From The 1920's calendar with CD will appeal to anyone interested in blues history. It contains original blues advertising artwork from the earliest recording days as well as pre- and post-war photographs of blues singers. The CD has a total of 22 tracks, including tracks from B.B. King, Lonnie Johnson, The Mississippi Sheiks, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and others. Purchase it @!

FolkWorld Xmas

Various Artists "Medicine Show Records - Christmas Times A’ Coming" (Digital CD, 2019). Rob Ellen's Medicine Show broadcasts every Sunday on Sheppey FM 92.2. He travels this side and Stateside recording sessions in support of independent artists, venues, festivals and house Concerts. Every year some of Medicine Show's favourite artists offer their take on the festive period. Download @ BandCamp, ft. Jane Gilman, Spike Flynn, David Starr, Tom Mason, Cigar Box Don & Stewpendous, Pat Kearns, John Lilly, Dumb Instrument, Charlie Roth, Stephanie Urbina Jones, Phil Lee, Jane Gillman.

"Öngtupqa (Grand Canyon): Sacred Music of the Hopi Tribe" (CD, ARC Music, 2019). This is said to be the only album in existence that documents the music of the Hopi tribe. At the Desert View Watchtower, a 21 m-high stone building located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Hopi musician Clark Tenakhongva sang original compositions in his native language, renowned flute player Gary Stroutsos[66] improvised on his Native American flute, while ethnomusicologist Matthew Nelson kept rhythm on clay pot drums. Watch the Öngtupqa project trailer!

FolkWorld Xmas

Various Artists "Paste Holiday Sampler 2019" (Download, 2019). Happy holidays from Paste magazine![70] Once again, Paste is celebrating the holiday season with a compilation of some of their favorite new holiday songs. This year, in addition to tracks off some new holiday album releases (Josh Rouse , Keb' Mo'), they are including several tracks recorded recently in the Paste Studio (Blind Boys Of Alabama, Reverend Horton Heat). Download @!

FolkWorld Xmas

Various Artists "True North Christmas" (Download, 2019). Canadian independent label True North Records suggests to set the mood for the most wonderful time of the year with the help from their artists or albums from their partner labels Stony Plain Records and Linus Entertainment (including Natalie MacMaster,[61] Bruce Cockburn, Jimmy Rankin, Loreena McKennit,[38] The Chieftains, Joni Mitchell, The Once, Gordon Lightfoot, Ashley MacIsaac, ...). You can check out the True North Christmas playlist @ Spotify or Apple!

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