New Andrew Bird Video, “Eyeoneye”

Andrew Bird
Image Courtesy of Andrew Bird

Don’t you love it when things you love come together? We’re big fans of handmade marketplace Etsy and today they have had the pleasure of debuting the brand new video for Andrew Bird, someone else we have a lot of affection for. The video is for “Eyeoneye”, the first single from Bird’s latest album Break It Yourself and was directed by Yu “Ewan” Morita.

If you watch the video below you’ll see why it debuted on Etsy – there’s a real handmade quality to the animation. There’s more information on the “Eyeoneye” video here and you can watch it below:

Saving The Majestic at The National Folk Festival

The Majestic
Image Courtesy of The National Folk Festival

For the past three years something very special has been happening at The National Folk Festival in Canberra. There’s been a buzz in the air, an extra special ingredient in the mix, something electric about the atmosphere of the whole weekend. And more than anything there’s been a whole new generation of folk fans descending on EPIC each Easter.

The National Folk Festival has always attracted a younger crowd (including us – we’re pretty sure our editor attended his first National when he was still in the womb) but we always got the feeling they were just there to dress in hippy clothes and hang out with their mates, not really there for the music (but still enjoying it all the same). However since 2010 the younger crowd have been coming for the music more and more and that has been down to one factor – The Majestic.

If Timber and Steel were to program a stage at a festival then it would turn out exactly like The Majestic. Our remit has always been to cover the music that falls through the cracks, that’s not folky enough for a folk festival but too folky for an indie festival – and it seems The Majestic is the same. While the majority of The National Folk Festival focuses on music rooted firmly in the tradition The Majestic is the home of fusion, of the singer-songwriter, of the experimental, of folk music for a new generation.

The Majestic started life as the Fringe Festival aspect of the Canberra Multicultural Festival, run by the ACT Government Multicultural Affairs and was handed to The National Folk Festival with three years of funding between 2010 and 2012. And now that funding has dried up and this really special part of The National is likely to disappear unless more money is found.

The National Folk Festival is calling upon its supporters to donate towards keeping The Majestic alive. if you’ve been to The National in the last three years you know how unique this venue is and how important it is in bringing a new generation of fans to the folk side of the musical spectrum.

If you’re keen to help you can make a tax deductible donation via cheque, credit card or direct deposit. Full details of how to do that can be found via this link.

Here’s hoping The Majestic is back in 2013 and for many years to come. Now we just need to work on getting The National to let us program it for them. Even a just one of The Majestic’s concerts would be fun – we’re not fussy…

New Emmy The Great Video, “God of Loneliness”

Emmy The Great
Image Courtesy of Emmy The Great

The brand new single from Emmy The Great is “God of Loneliness”, taken from her recent album Virtue, and has just landed with this quirky new video. The music actually takes a background presence in the video, directed by Chris Boyle, which follows the hapless heroine on what appears to be a first date to a very dark and very funny place. There’s something decidedly British about the clip – you’ll see what we mean when you watch it below:

Review: Colin Lillie, Colin Lillie

Colin Lillie
Image Courtesy of Colin Lillie

Scottish born singer songwriter Colin Lillie recently launched his new self titled EP at Monte’s Lounge in the Central Australian town of ALice Springs. The journey from his working class Scottish roots to his spiritual home in Australia’s outback has been an interesting one for Lillie, and it is this journey that has shaped his music and ultimately his latest solo release.

Produced by fellow Alice Springs based musician Amira Pylioti (Tecoma) and featuring an amazing array of session musicians, Colin Lille is at its heart about Lillie’s voice, both in the literal and metaphorical sense. Combining his rich, accented singing style with a wealth of personal experience Lillie takes the listener on his journey, his biographical lyrics only really scratching at the surface of the true meaning behind his words. And as there are only four tracks we thought we’d give you our thoughts on each

“New Land”

Much of Colin Lillie’s music draws from the move he’s made from his native Scotland to the deserts of Central Australia and the self discovery he’s made as a result. “New Land” epitomises this theme, chronicling his transition to his new home. With the simple lines “My blood may have never bled on this land/but my blood now belongs to this land/I’ll ne’er return to greener fields of afar/The dream has brought this soul to its heart” Lillie manages to capture his attachment to his adopted homeland perfectly.

I love the interplay of the mandolin and fiddle on “New Land” (with the thrumming guitar keeping the track grounded). The tracks epilogue replaces the mandolin with a percussive bass and Lillie wailing his advice – “Be brave, be bold, let the wind carry you” – to others who are searching for that place called home.

“Man’s Broken Heart”

I feel as though Colin Lillie has a number of demons in his past he has either run from or is attempting to deal with through his music. “Man’s Broken Heart”, while generally sung from an outsiders perspective, reveals Lillie as a man tortured by the loss of a great love. Not afraid to bear his heart and soul the protagonist of “Man’s Broken Heart” seems to be pleading with his lover not to break his heart offering up the stars themselves as reward – yet I get the feeling the offers, the pleading, are somewhat futile and made by a man who has already lost everything.

I love the backing vocals from Amira Pylioti on this track – she has such an expressive and distinctive voice yet she manages not to overpower Lillie. Once again the fiddle solo ties the song together.

“2 Hearts”

As the antidote to the all-is-lost themes from “Man’s Broken Heart”,”2 Hearts” is by far the catchiest track on the EP. Driven by a jazzy piano part that could easily underpin a Michael Buble song (in a good way!) “2 Hearts” is the upbeat and positive affirmation of a man in the throws of new (and true?) love.

Yet Lillie is still wary of love having obviously been burnt before. He still pleads with his new love in the chorus – “Uh-oh-oh/Don’t let go” – and you can tell he’s wary of just how good things are. Musically I think Colin Lillie’s voice is really well suited to this kind of jazz-infused-folk and once again the dulcet tones of Amira Pylioti’s backing vocals complete gorgeous mix.

“Dirty Water”

And now we’re firmly back with Lillie’s demons (not that we ever truly left). It’s nice to see him in almost-solo mode in this track with just his voice and guitar along with some very understated bass – it helps expose Colin Lillie as a truly talented songwriter. The idea of “dirty water” running through his veins as a metaphor for the misdeeds of his past along with his pleading for more time on earth to make amends – “When the angels come won’t they please take their time” – seem to surmise the themes running through the entire EP – that Lillie is a changed man that needs to make up for his old life.

The production on the EP is absolutely superb and is exemplified by “Dirty Water”, a song just as much about the space between the notes as it is about the lyrics and melody. If this is the example that Colin Lillie has chosen showcase his music to the world then he should be very proud. I can’t wait to hear more.

To listen to and purchase Colin Lillie’s self titled EP head over to his reverbnation page here. The track “Dirty Water” in embedded below.

Mumford and Sons Announce a Release Date For Second Album

Mumford and Sons
Image Courtesy of Mumford and Sons

Finally we can all breathe a little easier. Mumford and Sons yesterday confirmed the release date for their second album – the 24th September this year. The band announced the date in an interview with radio station 3FM after months of hinting and speculation.

So that gives us just under four months of anticipation until we get our grubby little hands on the follow up to Sigh No More. We’re sure there’ll be plenty of Mumford and Sons related news to keep us sated until the big day (like cover art, track listings, singles, etc) and we’ll be sure to bring you all the news as soon as we hear anything.

Listen to Neil Young’s Version of “God Save The Queen”

Neil Young
Image Courtesy of Neil Young

“God Save The Queen” was probably the last song anyone expected Neil Young and Crazy Horse to record for their upcoming album Americana. The album has been touted as Young’s take on traditional American folk standards like “Oh Susannah”, “Clementine” and “he’ll Be Comin ’Round The Mountain” which is surely a world away the British national anthem.

“Written in the 18th century with possible melodic roots in the 17th century, this anthem has been sung throughout the British Commonwealth and may have been sung in North America before the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence in 1776, which rejected British sovereignty”, Neil Young explained to Q Magazine. And given that it’s most likely the basis for the patriotically American song “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” (a snippet of which appears on Neil Young’s recording), “God Save The Queen” more than warrants inclusion.

Americana is due for release on 5th June. Listen to Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s version of “God Save The Queen” below:

MoFo Artists for June

Liam Gale and the Ponytails
Photo of Liam Gale & the Ponytails By David Hewitson

After not one but two successful shows in May Sydney folk night MoFo is back in June with yet another tantalising show supported by the NSW Folk Federation.

On the 8th June MoFo will land upstairs at the Gaelic Club in Surry Hills with two folktastic acts:
the insanely danceable folk of Liam Gale & the Ponytails (above) and the “devilish jazz” of Ibis Nixon & The Cowboy Zealots.

Tickets are $20 with all proceeds going to the musicians. For more information check out the official MoFo Facebook event here.

This Year’s Top Half Folk Festival Program

Danny Spooner
Image Courtesy of Danny Spooner

We’ve been to a lot of different folk, blues, roots, bluegrass, world, indie and country festivals over the years and while each and every one is special in its own way it’s the small regional events we love the most. And the festival which steals our heart every year is the Top Half Folk Festival.

ALternately held near Alice Springs (Glen Helen) and Darwin (Mary River) – it’s Darwin’s turn this year – the Top Half is everything you want in a small folk festival: a single stage, intimate performances, community atmosphere and a real sense of family.

The Top Half Folk Festival this year takes place over the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend – the 8th to the 11th June – in Mary River, 150km east of Darwin and is the perfect excuse to escape the Southern winter. The lineup is a mixture of locals (and by locals we mean Territorians), regulars and legends including Danny Spooner, David Alleway and Diane Gaylard, Paul Stewart (presenting his 100th anniversary to Woodie Guthrie), Kevin McCarthy, Dave Evans and Scotty Balfour, Jim Smith, Ian Kitney, a couple of Shiny Bum Singers and many many more.

Tickets are a mere $85 for the entire weekend and there is a children’s program as well. For more information contact the Top End Folk Club.

Artists For Sydney’s Folk Club This Wednesday 30th May

Evan & the Brave
Image Courtesy of Evan & the Brave

If you’ve managed to make it down Sydney’s Folk Club in the last couple of weeks you’ll know that they’ve well and truly settled into their new home at the Oxford Art Factory. Last Wednesday’s show was literally jam packed and looking at the lineup for this week we sure hope that trend continues.

This week Folk Club regulars and organisers The Falls will be joined by the insanely good Faith Lee and their recent tour buddies Evan & the Brave (above). Evan & the Brave are the “headliners” for the night so will have the honour of being interviewed by Emma Swift and filmed by Artheory for their Vimeo channel (check out previous Folk Club videos here).

As usual Folk Club is free (although monetary tips for the artists are welcome) with the show kicking off at 7:30pm. Check out the Facebook event for more details.

New Julia Stone Video, “By The Horns”, and National Tour

Julia Stone
Image Courtesy of Julia Stone

Friday the 25th May was a big day for Julia Stone. Not only did her latest solo album By The Horns hit the stands but she also unleashed the video for the title track and announced a national solo tour.

First up let’s get to the video. Directed by Jessie Hill, the “By The Horns” clip is absolutely stunning – check it out below:

Pretty special right? Well you can get all the Julia Stone goodness your heart desires with a raft of dates all across the country this September. Get your diary out – tickets go on sale on the 15th June. Check out the full list of shows below:

6th September – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine VIC
7th September – Forum Theatre, Melbourne VIC
8th September – Meeniyan Town Hall, Meeniyan VIC
12th September – The Abbey, Canberra ACT
13th September – Lizotte’s, Newcastle NSW
15th September – The Metro, Sydney NSW
19th September – The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent, Brisbane Festival, QLD
20th September – The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent, Brisbane Festival, QLD
21st September – Community Centre, Byron Bay NSW
22nd September – Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns QLD
28th September – Astor Theatre, Perth WA
30th September – Bird In Hand Winery, Adelaide SA

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