Normafest 2018: Eliza Carthy gives us the lowdown

Ahead of Normafest 2018, I chatted with Eliza Carthy about the festival’s history, the lineup for the coming event, the where to goes and what to knows. Along the way she chatted openly about her mother’s illness, the importance of the Bright Phoebus album, the contraband on sale in pubs around Robin Hood’s Bay, the new Gift Band album, a forthcoming and very exciting tour, and why Norma Waterson was once seen carrying a platypus on a board. Just a typical conversation with Eliza Carthy, then.  

Laura Smyth & Ted Kemp: The Poacher’s Fate – a review

The Poacher’s Fate by Laura Smyth & Ted Kemp It’s unlike me to come straight to the point, but what the heck: I love this album. Laura Smyth and Ted Kemp’s The Poacher’s Fate plonked through my door about a month ago and I promptly went out and bought a CD player so that I could listen to it. (It’s only since I began writing this blog that CDs became a part of my life again – the old ways die hard in the folk tradition, it would seem). Clearly, the album hasn’t disappointed. (Did I tell you how much I love […]

5 to try: British folk songs chosen by British folk singers – pt 2

The first in our 5-to-Try series seemed to do pretty well indeed, so here we are again with another batch of British folk songs. We’ve lined up a second motley crew of folk-performing luminaries and layabouts, each one eager to tell you which British folk song really makes the hairs on their neck stand up and why they think you ought to add it to your playlist. 

Ian A Anderson: the Interview

There are, as most of you will know, at least two Ian Andersons connected with music from the late 60s onwards. The one we are concerned with for the purposes of today’s interview is not known for his legs (as far as I’m aware), but has been known to give the occasional leg up (my sincere apologies – I’ll stop now) to upcoming musicians on the folk scene.

Songs from the Attic – the album – now available on all digital platforms

“His love for folk music manifests itself throughout this lovely album.” – Folk Radio UK “Songs From the Attic is a genuine, carefully considered album which is made with a lot of heart. It deserves to be noticed.” – Bright Young Folk Songs from the Attic, the album, is the result of the last nine months spent researching and writing traditional folk songs here on this blog. Each song at some point began to get under my skin and, following a lengthy process of fairly obsessive study and performance, I found I’d fallen in love with them – just as many, […]

Nobody Writes Protest Songs Anymore | Now available from all good digital stores

Another week, another song – only this one isn’t traditional, and it isn’t on the new album, Songs from the Attic. It would be tempting to call it an outtake, but it’s more than that. It’s a song I wrote the morning after Trump’s victory, when I awoke in a shepherd’s cabin in Norfolk (where I happened to be staying – the shepherd had long gone) and pondered what the new world looked like. It took me all of 15 minutes to write, and there’s even a video of it on Youtube, recorded seconds after it was completed, that shows it in […]

The Greenland Whale Fishery | Folk from the Attic

Fresh from my Steve Roud interview, having learnt that the folk singer is an entirely modern construct, today I found myself itching to get my guitar out and dive into an old sea shanty. Let’s be clear, though: while this is some kind of performance of ‘The Greenland Whale Fishery’, it doesn’t in any way bear any resemblance to the original ‘Greenland Whale Fishery’ [Roud 347]. Nor can I claim to be a folk singer. In fact, it’s probably best that you – the reader – limit yourself to thinking that this isn’t really a performance at all. More a […]

What is folk music, exactly? An interview with Steve Roud

Over the eight months I’ve been running this blog, I have – because it genuinely interests me – repeatedly asked interviewees for their folk music definition. It hasn’t been terribly easy, to be honest with you. Some react well, clearly delighted to be asked the very question they’ve been secretly pondering for years themselves, while others insist it’s a pointless task and seem rather put out to have been bothered by something so apparently trivial.