May 24, 2013 at 10:44 (Festival News, News)
Tags: bluegrass, dj dylabolical, folk music, green mohair suits, jambands australia, jamgrass, jamgrass music festival, mustered courage, oh willy dear, rattlehand, the steamgrass boys
Image Courtesy of JamGrass Music Festival
In one of the most exciting announcements all week Melbourne’s progressive bluegrass and jam band festival JamGrass has announced their first ever “On The Road” event to be held in Sydney this August. Partnering with the Sydney based Country Roads night curated by local pickers The Steamgrass Boys, JamGrass Sydney will be held at The Red Rattler in Marrickville on the 3rd August and will be the perfect warm up event for the three day JamGrass Music Festival in Melbourne on the 11th to 13h October.
The Sydney show will feature some JamGrass favourites along with some local legends including Mustered Courage, The Steamgrass Boys, Rattlehand, Green Mohair Suits and Oh Willy Dear. DJ Dylabolical will be spinning a Jerry Garcia tribute throughout the night (in honour of Jerry Week) and the organisers are promising a couple more exciting artists to be added to the bill in the coming weeks.
Tickets for the Sydney JamGrass show are $30 (plus booking fee) and are available here. For more information on the event and the JamGrass Music Festival later this year make sure you check out the official JamGrass site here.
May 24, 2013 at 10:23 (News, Video News)
Tags: folk music, the april maze
Image Courtesy of The April Maze
The latest album from folk duo The April Maze, Two, is a delightful journey through the band’s most loved covers – both high profile songs and those written by their friends. There are two Beatles covers on the record including The April Maze’s version of “Two of Us” that closes Two. The duo have put together a sweet, vintage style video for “Two of Us” which we think might just brighten your day – watch it below:
May 23, 2013 at 23:09 (Albums, Reviews)
Tags: folk music, milk carton kids, the ash & clay, the ash and clay, the milk carton kids
Image courtesy of Milk Carton Kids
The Ash & Clay is the third album from Californian duo the Milk Carton Kids, but the first to catch our attention here at Timber & Steel. The album has been somewhat of a breakthrough for Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan, whose close two-part vocal harmony and acoustic picking style has been met with comments and critiques ranging from”inspired and sublime” to “derivative and gimmicky”. Obvious comparisons are made of their careful, gentle contemporary folk sound with the likes of Simon and Garfunkel and The Everly Brothers. Such comparisons are useful and accurate in a descriptive sense, but also stifling and reductive to the level of recognition deserved of the band’s creativity, imaginativeness and craft.
Throughout most of the songs on The Ash & Clay, Pattengale and Ryan sing together and also accompany each other on guitars, picking over the top of each other with intricate licks. The affect of this is instrumentally decorative and driving. It also allows for much stylistic variation throughout, with songs on the album like “Honey, Honey” and “Heaven” being washed with traditional American country and bluegrass, old-timey ballads like ”Snake Eyes” (an album highlight for me), a range of sparse and moving nu-folk tunes and a number of tracks reflective of that nostalgic, New-York-in-autumn sound such as the opener “Hope of a Lifetime”, title track “Ash & Clay” and “The Jewell of June”.
I think the reason that this album hasn’t been met with unanimous acclaim is that it’s so easy to chalk timelessness down as imitativeness when it stands so close to something that’s also timeless. Personally, this album is very exciting to me because it’s quite rare to discover new music with the power to continually provide me with the cathartic, transcendent release that I jones for, and that’s how I define it as timeless- knowing that I’ll be able to pull the dusty record off the shelf when I’m wrinkled and retired and it will give me that same feeling.
The Milk Carton Kids have their two previous albums Prologue and Retrospect available for free download on their website and will be touring Australia this coming June 2013.
May 23, 2013 at 12:13 (Opinion)
Tags: alan lomax, anais mitchell, bellowhead, fight the big bull, folk music, jefferson hamer, jenny m thomas, jenny m thomas an the system, megafaun, sam amidon, sam lee, sounds of the south, the be good tanyas, trad, traditional, traditional music, vivid sydney
Image Courtesy of Vivid
On the first weekend of June some of North America’s most exciting musicians including members of indie folk band Megafaun, jazz collective Fight the Big Bull, former Be Good Tanyas lead singer Frazey Ford and Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon will be taking to the stage of the Sydney Opera House concert hall as part of the Vivid festival. But rather than performing their own tracks these musicians will be reaching back in time into the legendary songbook of folklorist and collector Alan Lomax for Sounds of the South.
That these musicians, many of whom have had the word “folk” used to describe their own original music, are tapping into traditional music and bringing it to their audiences feels as though the music is coming full circle and that the indie-folk of the modern singer-songwriter is being somewhat folded into the tradition.
While there have been artists interpreting and refining the traditional folk music canon since the first collectors ventured out in the late 19th century every now and then an artist will emerge who takes traditional music in a completely new and exciting direction – away from the simple guitar or harmonic singing (both of which are fairly recent additions to the folk tradition themselves). From bands like Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span infusing a rock beat and electric instrumentation into folk songs to The Pogues punk take on the celtic tradition, there have always been musicians who are willing to shake off expectations and push the boundaries of traditional music.
We thought it was time to explore the current crop of artists who are doing new and interesting things with traditional music, who are redefining folk music. If you like your traditional music with a generous dash of the contemporary read on:
Having apprenticed under the late Scottish Traveller and ballad singer Stanley Robertson as well as collecting and documenting music from the Romany Gypsy and Traveller communities of the British Isles and Ireland, UK singer Sam Lee seems to be the heir to the great folklorists of the late 19th and early 20th century. But there is something ultimately modern about the way Lee has distilled this traditional music on his debut album A Ground of Its Own which ultimately earned him a Mercury Prize nomination. His music is filled with unconventional instrumentation (or conventional instrumentation presented in an unconventional way) and sounds both timeless and fresh all at exactly the same time. Sam Lee is also involved in The Nest Collective folk club which promotes inovative folk music in London and even has its own show on Folk Radio UK.
Anaïs Mitchell’s latest album with folk singer Jefferson Hamer, Child Ballads, presents seven new versions of songs found in the collection of American folklorist Francis James Child. The album is beautiful and a must for fans of traditional music, but in itself doesn’t push too many boundaries when it comes to the presentation of these folk songs. What makes Mitchell special is her indie-folk pedigree and the audience that comes with that pedigree. Her 2010 “folk opera” album Hadestown, a retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, saw Anaïs Mitchell working with some of the brightest lights in the indie folk scene including Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Ani DiFranco, Ben Knox Miller (The Low Anthem) and Greg Brown. For many of those who discovered Anaïs Mitchell via Hadestown and her famous friends and subsequently followed her career from there, Child Ballads is their first introduction to this traditional music.
Sam Amidon doesn’t consider himself a conservationist when it comes to traditional music. The American-born, UK based singer is something of a folk alchemist – deconsructing traditional music to its bare bones and then rebuilding it into something completely new. Often he changes the melody of these songs, even more regularly he changes the words and in doing so the songs take on a new tone and in many cases a brand new meaning. While Amidon’s versions of familiar songs are so far from what traditionalists would be used to the process he uses to rebuild the songs is really what’s been happening in the folk tradition for hundreds of years.
Jenny M Thomas and The System
As a young country (at least as far as our European history is concerned) the Australian tradition is probably not as established as those of our UK and US cousins. But we do have our own canon of “bush” songs which have either been reinterpreted from old Irish and Scottish ballads, have come out of the shearing sheds and droving trails of the early pioneers or are taken from our rich history of bush poetry. Jenny M Thomas and The System have taken the existing Australian tradition and have spun it into something really dark, really contemporary and really unique on their album Bush Gothic. “here’s a stack of really fabulous and scary, horrific traditional songs of ours in Australia,” Jenny M Thomas told Timber and Steel’s Bill Quinn last year, “But usually when people play them … it’s very jolly”.
The influence that folk-big-band Bellowhead has had on contemporary audiences reconnecting with traditional music has been astounding. A favourite on not just the folk circuit in the UK but also at contemporary music festivals like Glastonbury, Bellowhead have taken traditional songs and given them an orchestral spin. The band is the brainchild of folk singing duo John Spiers and Jon Boden and boasts eleven members who all play an array of instruments, many of which would not be considered traditional “folk” instruments. There’s something quite soundtrack-like in the way Bellowhead arrange the traditional songs of their repertoire, as though they’ve been invited to turn folk songs into a rollicking Broadway musicial, and as such they’ve been embraced by a whole new generation of fans who may not have heard these songs otherwise.
For more information on Sounds of the South check out the official Vivid Festival site here.
May 23, 2013 at 10:53 (News, Video News)
Tags: boy outside, folk music
Image Courtesy of Boy Outside
I remember having a conversation with Aidan Cooney, AKA singer-songwriter Boy Outside, in the back of a dark venue last year about his plans to take a roadtrip out to Western NSW to shoot some video and get a taste for outback Australia. It seems he did just that and the result is the stunning video for Boy Outside’s new single “River Runs To The Sea” (available on iTunes here). And can I just say how refreshing it is to see an artist showcasing the Australian landscape in one of their videos – check it out below:
Boy Outside will be appearing at Folk Club at The Soda Factory in Sydney next Wednesday 29th May.
May 23, 2013 at 10:18 (News, Single News)
Tags: edward sharpe and the magnetic zeros, folk music
Image Courtesy of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
The first single off the upcoming self-titled album from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros is “Better Days”, a rambling, uplifting number that is bound to put a smile on your face. The band plan to release Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on the 29th July – take a listen to “Better Days” below:
May 23, 2013 at 09:02 (News, Tour News)
Tags: donavon frankenreiter, folk music, nahko and medicine for the people, xavier rudd
Image Courtesy of Xavier Rudd
This September and October three of the worlds most loved artists, Xavier Rudd, Donavon Frankenreiter and Nahko and Medicine for the People, will be touring throughout Australia. Billed as the “feel-good event of the year”, tickets for the tour are due to go on sale on the 30th May. Check out the full list of dates below:
Wednesday 25th September – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 28th September – Oceans Winery, Margaret River, WA
Sunday 29th September – Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle, WA
Thursday 3rd October – The Forum, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 4th October – Big Top, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 6th October – Caloundra Music Festival, Caloundra, QLD
Monday 7th October – YAC Ampitheatre, Byron Bay, NSW
Tuesday 8th October – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
May 22, 2013 at 13:27 (News, Regular Night News, Timber and Steel Events)
Tags: alt country, cherrywood, folk music, max savage and the false idols, papa pilko & the binrats, the workers club
Image Courtesy of Papa Pilko and the Binrats
This Sunday you better be prepared to get your swinging country-blues on because Sydney’s Pilko and the Binrats are set to take over the Workers Club in Melbourne for the Timber and Steel presented matinée show. Fast gaining a reputation as one of the most exciting bands on the live scene at the moment Pilko and the Binrats will definitely get you up and dancing.
Joining Pilko and the Binrats this Sunday in the support slot will be Max Savage & The False Idols and Cherrywood. Tickets are $10 on the door with the doors opening at 1:30pm. For more information check out the official Workers Club page here. The set times are below:
Max Savage & The False Idols – 2pm
Cherrywood – 3pm
Papa Pilko & The Binrats – 4pm
May 22, 2013 at 10:43 (News, Video News)
Tags: folk music, m ward, she & him, zooey deschanel
Image Courtesy of She & Him
Zooey Deschanel has just added Director to her impressive resume having just put together the clip for She & Him’s latest single “I Could’ve Been Your Girl”. The clip also stars Deschanel and her She & Him bandmate M Ward and is inspired by 60s musicals. Check it out below:
May 22, 2013 at 10:10 (News, Single News)
Tags: folk music, matt corby
Image Courtesy of Matt Corby
Finally! After what feels like an age we finally have a new Matt Corby song. We can rejoice! The track is called “Resolution” and hit the web this morning. Take a listen below:
Matt Corby kicks off his latest Australian tour this week. The full list of dates are below:
Thursday 23rd May – The Astor Theatre, Perth, WA
Sunday 26th May – HQ, Adelaide, SA
Friday 31st May – Palace Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 1st June – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 7th June – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW