“I’ve just heard this song,” I tell my husband. “You have to listen to it.” He looks at the track listing. “I saw them do this live at Normafest.” He shakes his head, exhales slowly and makes the kind of face that tells of someone who’s still coming to terms with a deeply profound experience. “Wow”. He trails off and leaves the room.
Damn it, Nick Hart. Here’s me thinking I’ve heard the best albums of the year already, and then you sneak into my inbox and threaten to blow the competition away. Give us fair warning next time, would you? Spread your name far and wide – people will listen! – and approach your musical career with less humility. You have been told.
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 […]
The life of a folk musician in 2017 is something of a nomadic ritual. In search of audiences, you spend huge amounts of time traversing A-roads, B-roads, deserted night motorways lit in murky orange and country lanes lit by nothing at all. It’s time spent thinking, working things out, meandering down half forgotten memory lanes, wondering how many times you’ve known this road before or whether it’s a new one that just looks like all the rest of them. Many musicians find inspiration in the journey – others are driven round and round the bend.
Every folk fingerpicking guitarist longs to make a raw, naked, warts-and-all album at some point in their career – an album of single takes with zero overdubs that showcases their extraordinary talents, while at the same time worming their way into their listeners’ affections enough to entice them back again and again for the songs as much as the wizardry. It’s a tall order; very few manage it, and yet here comes young Jack Rutter with his debut solo collection, Hills, ticking nearly all of the boxes at the first attempt. In fact, the only box he seems to have missed […]
Most fans assumed it couldn’t happen, but this morning Marry Waterson announced the re-release of a true classic: Bright Phoebus – Songs by Lal and Mike Waterson will see the light of day once again on August 4th (and can be pre-ordered in a variety of packages here).
This is how folk music should be heard.
There’s a sense among reviewers of Big Machine, Eliza Carthy’s new album on Topic Records, that this collection marks the artist’s coming of age moment. I’m not sure how she must feel about that herself. I imagine she’s lost count of the number of times people have said that of her latest albums over the years. From Anglicana through Dreams of Breathing Underwater and ever-onward, Eliza Carthy must’ve come of age more times than her years naturally allow.
Normafest 2017 took place at Whitby Pavilion, January 6-8, 2017. Sadly, Norma Waterson was too ill to attend, as was guest star, Richard Hawley. However, those that did make it were in rude health, the excesses of New Year already a distant memory.