The Mike Harding Folk Show Podcast Launches

Mike Harding

Mike Harding has for the last 15 years been the voice of folk music in the UK as the presenter of the folk show on BBC Radio 2. But that all came to screeching halt in October when Harding was unceremoniously axed and replaced – a move Mike Harding has said several times was not “of my own volition”. His final show was broadcast on Boxing Day.

And while the news has been devastating for many British folk fans – Mike Harding is something on an institution – the world of folk music may have just become a little richer as a result. You see the BBC Radio 2 folk show was only available to residents within the UK, even online (unless you’re handy with VPN) whereas Mike Harding has announced plans to release a globally available podcast titled The Mike Harding Folk Show.

The podcast will be a free weekly hour long show featuring the best in folk, roots and acoustic music with the first episode already live on – follow this link to listen.

And in Mike Harding’s own words:

“Folk music isn’t something that people have on in the background like musical wallpaper. It isn’t something that needs a load of flash production or a “showbiz” platform. It is the music of the people and for the people – people see it as their music and they are incredibly devoted to it. I see it as my job to carry on doing what I’ve been doing all my life in folk clubs and pubs and, for the last 15 years on the BBC, and that is to share this wonderful music with the people it belongs to – the listeners”

Ben Sollee Postpones Australian Tour

Ben Sollee
Image Courtesy of Ben Sollee

Due to unforeseen family circumstances cellist Ben Sollee has had to postpone his planned Australian tour through January until further. This includes his appearance at the Woodford Folk Festival.

If you have tickets to any of Ben Sollee’s shows refunds are available from the venues. The list of cancelled dates are below – we’ll let you know as soon as we hear about a new tour later in the year:

30th December to 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD
Thursday 3rd January – Community Theatre, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 4th January – Memorial Hall, Bellingen, NSW
Saturday 5th January – Lizotte’s, Kincumber, NSW
Sunday 6th January – The Clarendon, Katoomba, NSW
Wednesday 9th January – Notes, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 10th January – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 11th January – Meeniyan Town Hall, South Gippsland, VIC
Saturday 12th January – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC
Wednesday 16th January – Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide, SA

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 28th December



“Christmas music is folk music. You can’t deny it. So as a result we love Christmas music here at Timber and Steel – both the traditional carols and songs and the wealth of brand new material that is released by our favourite artists every year” – we list our favourite folky Christmas songs of 2012 here

“It was originally going to be a list of 10 songs. But I couldn’t settle on just 10. So the list grew. And grew and grew. But after my hacking and slashing (and limiting myself to one song per artist) I managed to settle on a top 25 and I think I’ve got a pretty nice mix here – lots of local music, some notable international artists, a few surprises and a number one song that may not have been mentioned on Timber and Steel at all” – check out Gareth Hugh Evans’ top 25 tracks of 2012 here

Gigs Next Week

Emily Barker
Saturday 29th December – The Daily Planet, Perth, WA
Sunday 30th December – St. Paul’s Church, Bridgetown, WA
Friday 4th January – Transmission Lounge, CWA Hall, Denmark, WA

Falls Music and Arts Festival
Friday 28th December to Tuesday 1st January – Lorne, VIC
Saturday 29th December to Tuesday 1st January – Marion Bay, TAS

First Aid Kit
Wednesday 2nd January – The Forum Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 3rd January – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

Folk Uke
Thursday 3rd January – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Friday 4th January – The Basement, Sydney, NSW

Gulgong Folk Festival
Thursday 3rd to Saturday 5th January – Gulgong, NSW

Lachlan Bryan
Wednesday 2nd January – The Retreat Hotel, Melbounre, VIC

Peats Ridge Festival
Saturday 29th December to Tuesday 1st January – Glenworth Valley, NSW

Rodrigo y Gabriela
Wednesday 2nd January – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

Sharon Shannon
Wednesday 2nd January – The Rails, Byron Bay, NSW
Thursday 3rd January – The Rails, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 4th January – The Irish Club, Brisbane, QLD

The Trouble with Templeton
Friday 28th December – Worker’s Club, Melbourne, VIC

Woodford Folk Festival
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodfordia, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“Lachlan Tigers” – The Bushwackers

We figured that you needed some traditional Australian folk music to get you over the hump between Christmas and New Year. And when you want Australian folk music then you have to go to The Bushwackers. Enjoy!

Gareth Hugh Evans’ Top 25 Tracks of 2012


I thought as editor in chief and founder of this fine blog I would take the opportunity to give you one more list before the year is through. We’ve had the top five albums of the year from all of our contributors, we’ve had the top albums from some of our favourite artists, and now I want to give you my favourite songs of 2012.

It was originally going to be a list of 10 songs. But I couldn’t settle on just 10. So the list grew. And grew and grew. But after my hacking and slashing (and limiting myself to one song per artist) I managed to settle on a top 25 and I think I’ve got a pretty nice mix here – lots of local music, some notable international artists, a few surprises and a number one song that may not have been mentioned on Timber and Steel at all.

I hope you enjoy my choices – here’s to a lot more amazing music in 2012!

1. Anaïs Mitchell – “Shepherd”
It may seem odd that my top track of 2012 is a song we haven’t really covered on Timber and Steel but the truth is I hadn’t been exposed to Anaïs Mitchell’s Young Man in America until months after it had been released. I have to thank Mitchell’s interview on NPR Music’s World Cafe for turning me onto the album and the beautiful track “Shepherd”. Based on a short story by Anaïs Mitchell’s, “Shepherd” feels like a traditional folk song and breaks my heart every single time I hear it.

2. Old Crow Medicine Show – “Carry Me Back To Virginia”
When Old Crow Medicine Show guitarist and lead vocalist Willie Watson left the band in 2011 a lot of people were telling me that their next release (if they ever released anything again) would never be the same. So when Carry Me Back hit stands in July I was taken aback by how cohesive it was, and how reminiscent of the rest of the band’s catalogue it was. The epitome of Carry Me Back, the track that really sums up the album, is the also the album’s opener “Carry Me Back To Virginia” – a wonderful piece of string band music announcing Old Crow Medicine Show’s return to the world stage.

3. The Chieftains & The Low Anthem – “School Days Over”
If I was to give away a producer of the year award in 2012 it would have to go to T Bone Burnett for his work on the Hunger Games Soundtrack and The Chieftains’ 50th anniversary album Voice of Ages, among others. Both albums saw Burnett’s dedication to the new wave of indie-folk artists with the latter seeing the likes of Punch Brothers, The Civil Wars, The Decemberists, Carolina Chocolate Drops and many more joining the Irish music legends. The Chieftains’ collaboration with with The Low Anthem on the classic “School Days Over” is a highlight amongst highlights and was made even more special by the two bands appearing together top perform the track on The Late Show with David Letterman.

4. Jack Carty – “She’s Got A Boyfriend”
I asked Jack Carty earlier this year why his 2012 album Break Your Own Heart was so much more introspective than his debut One Thousand Origami Birds. His answer? He finally had something personal to say. As the album title would suggest Break Your Own Heart is a break up album, a heart break album, an album about a man whose world has come crashing down and is attempting to build it back up again. “She’s Got A Boyfriend” is the catchiest, most upbeat track on Break Your Own Heart and is ironically also one of the saddest if only because of the desperation in Carty’s lyrics. And you can’t really go past the Jefferton James directed super-hero themed video.

5. Passenger – “Let Her Go”
It was during his sold out, 1000-capacity show at Sydney’s Hi-Fi this year that I suddenly realised that Passenger was bigger than I ever thought he could be. And maybe that’s down to his fantastic 2012 album All The Little Lights or maybe it’s just that Mike Rosenberg has been building his audience from the ground up for years now and it’s finally starting to pay off. “Let Her Go” is possibly the best track on All The Little Lights (although it’s so hard to choose) and definitely a favourite live the last couple of times I’ve seen Passenger.

6. The Falls – “Girl That I Love”
Sydney duo The Falls have had a huge 2012 with the release of their EP Hollywood, triple j airplay, a string of high profile support slots and the runaway success of their regular folk night Folk Club. “Home” was the only official single from Hollywood this year but it’s the Lennon-esque “Girl That I Love” that really captured my attention and is the one you’ll find me singing along to every time I see The Falls live.

7. Taylor Swift feat. The Civil Wars – “Safe & Sound”
It feels a little weird including Taylor Swift, arguably the biggest pop-country artist in the world, on a blog that celebrates artists who “fall through the cracks”. But if you consider Swift’s album Red is her poppiest (and most popular) so far, her two tracks on the T Bone Burnett produced Hunger Games Soundtrack, “Eyes Open” and “Safe & Sound”, both definitely on the country end of the spectrum, have been somewhat overlooked. The latter, a collaboration with the now-on-hiatus Civil Wars is just stunning, mainly down to the harmonies, and was enough to convert me to exploring the rest of Taylor Swift’s catalogue – who would have known?

8. The Lumineers – “Ho Hey”
Some good friends of mine gave my wife and I The Lumineers’ self titled album as a wedding present in March, long before it was officially released in this country. While the entire album is amazing it was “Ho Hey” that caught my attention on first listen and I wasn’t surprised when it was released as a single. I was surprised, however, with just how popular The Lumineers have become – but good on them, they deserve it!

9. Sam Lee – “The Ballad of George Collins”
Sam Lee first came to my attention via the Podcast – a show that piqued my interest so much I just had to find out more. Having spent the last six years collecting traditional music from all over the British Isles Sam Lee has since released the Mercury Prize nominated Ground Of Its Own which brings this music into the twenty-first century. “The Ballad of George Collins” is a well known traditional song but Lee’s version is like no other version – both reverent and thoroughly modern. Listen to this song and then seek out Ground Of Its Own, you’re in for a treat.

10. Jerry Douglas feat. Mumford & Sons and Paul Simon – “The Boxer”
When you listen to this version of “The Boxer” you think it was written for the dobro. That’s the power of Jerry Douglas. First relased on Douglas’ collaborative album Traveler and then later on the special edition of Mumford & Sons’ Babel, “The Boxer” is not only the best cover of the year but the perfect example of the power of collaboration – Jerry Douglas reinventing the song for his instrument, Marcus Mumford adding his distinctive voice (along with the full input of Mumford & Sons) and Paul Simon’s gentle addition as the song’s original writer, sprinkling his magic without ever being overbearing. Perfect.

11. Faith Lee – “Golden Girl”
I fell in love with Faith Lee this year. Actually that’s a lie – I’ve always been in love with Faith Lee. But this year Lee released Damascus and my love of her music was solidified. “Life Long Friend” is my favourite track on Damascus but the truth is that it was released as a single in 2011. But it’s testament to just how good this EP is that the 2012 single “Golden Girl” still makes this list – I just love how playful this track is. And what a voice!

12. Arbori feat. The Falls and ILUKA – “In the Places You Fold”
I’ve been following Arbori’s career pretty much from the moment I started Timber and Steel but I have to admit that “In the Places You Fold” took my by surprise. The day this song arrived in my inbox was the day Arbori rose in my estimation from nice-little-indie-band to amazing songwriters and performers. Just take a moment to listen to this song – something about it penetrates you, something just fills you up. I know how rare it is that the band can get together, in whatever form they take, but I do hope Arbori produce a lot more music like “In the Places You Fold”.

13. Dan Mangan – “About As Helpful As You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All”
I think it’s the video for “About As Helpful…” that sold me on the song. The way that it seems to spin almost out of control, the way Mangan seems to control the camera – I love it. And once the video had firmly implanted itself in my head the song took on a life of its own. If you’ve recieved a mix tape from me this year “About As Helpful…” is almost definitely on it.

14. Patrick James – “All About To Change”
Why Patrick James hasn’t got a higher profile I’ll never understand. His music is just as good, if not better, than a lot of the indie folk played on national radio and his songwriting is second to none. James released two singles this year from an EP that’s due at some point in 2013 and “All About to Change” is easily my favourite so far. Can’t wait to hear what 2013 has in store for Patrick James – big things I hope.

15. Mumford & Sons – “I Will Wait”
If you’ve been a constant reader of Timber and Steel this year you’ll have picked up that Mumford & Sons’ sophomore album Babel was pretty much our most anticipated of 2012. And with good reason – the fortunes of Mumford & Sons are so intertwined with the beginnings of this blog. The first single from Babel, the rollicking “I Will Wait”, announced the album in the perfect way – reassuring fans that what we were in store for was more of what made Sigh No More so great. Mumford & Sons didn’t break any new boundaries this year and one might argue that they didn’t grow or evolve (although it’s my opinion that they’ve really sharpened themselves in terms of their songwriting and composition) but they did deliver us with 12 tracks that are Mumford & Sons through and through.

16. The Tallest Man On Earth – “1904”
With There’s No Leaving Now Kristian Matsson (AKA The Tallest Man On Earth) has finally shaken off the Boy Dylan comparisons and proven himself a singer-songwriter in his own right. I’m constantly astounded that Matsson can write such powerful songs in what is essentially his second language. “1904” may harken back to a lot of The Tallest Man On Earth’s back catalogue but it’s still my favourite song on the album and the first song I turn to when introducing his music to someone new.

17. The Maple Trail – “The Dinosaur Hunters”
2012’s Cable Mount Warning may be the last time we hear from Aidan Roberts’ The Maple Trail project with the Sydney/Blue Mountains based singer-songwriter already dedicated to a number of other endeavors in 2013. But what a record to leave us with! “The Dinosaur Hunters”, the album’s third track, just sounds so timeless – part traditional Australian folk, part Mark Knopfler, part American country music. I’ve managed to catch The Maple Trail live a couple of times this year and have been taken aback at each and every performance. Aidan Roberts is a true Australian talent.

18. Packwood – “Bats”
Packwood seemed to explode out of no where in late 2011 with a sound unlike anything I had ever heard – simple banjo licks over a full orchestra all pulled together with Bayden Hine’s distintive old-timey voice. In March 2012 Packwood released his self titled EP and quickly became one of the must-see acts on the Sydney folk scene. My favourite track from Packwood has always been “Bats”, not because of the lyrics (“Bats are better than birds” is not going to win any songwriting awards) but for the way the banjo and the orchestral arrangement weave together to create this wonderful folk landscape.

19. Missy Higgins – “Everyone’s Waiting”
The return of Missy Higgins this year, after a self-imposed hiatus, was a blessing. She is arguably one of the best songwriters in the country and to hear her distinctive voice again has been very special. “Everyone’s Waiting” is Missy Higgins at her finest – raw, emotional, brutal and honest – and the perfect example of what The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle holds in store for listeners. The Natasha Pincus clip is the icing on the cake for this track. I’m so glad you’re back Missy!

20. Husky – “Tidal Wave”
I don’t need to tell you Husky have had a big 2012 – the fact that the Melbourne four-piece are everywhere are testament to just how popular they have become. “Tidal Wave” from the band’s Forever So album was released as a single this and perfectly showcases Husky Gawenda’s songwriting and voice. The perfect song to lose yourself in.

21. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – “Man On Fire”
I was lucky enough to catch Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros for the first time this year when they toured with Mumford & Sons and I have to say they were amazing live. So much energy! 2012’s Here feels a lot more cohesive than the group’s debut album Up from Below, it really takes Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros’ country music and 60s influences and runs with it. I love the way “Man On Fire” builds from a single guitar and voice into a full-blown spiritual. And live it’s bags and bags of fun.

22. TinPan Orange – “Flowers”
TinPan Orange are another band that have come a long way in 2012. The release of their album Over the Sun saw the band released from the folky shackles of their earlier work to become fully realised as proponents of intelligent pop music. “Flowers” has been in the band’s repertoire for a while now and I’ve loved watching it evolve live. Alex Burkoy’s orchestral closing of the song is really what makes this for me.

23. Tigertown – “Morning Has Finally Come”
I’ve been predicting Tigertown’s rise for so long now and I think with “Morning Has Finally Come” (and the entire Before the Morning EP) they’re finally realising their potential. “Morning Has Finally Come” is three and a half minutes of perfect folk-soaked indie music jammed with the kind of harmonies only Tigertown. I’ve been hearing this track all over the radio and it’s so nice to see these guys get national exposure. 2013’s going to be an even bigger year for Tigertown, I can tell!

24. Tim Hart – “Architects”
Tim Hart may not have the greatest voice in the indie-folk scene but his songwriting and expert guitar playing more than make up for it. “Architects” feels like it should be showcased in a 1960s New York coffee house somewhere. There’s a Paul Simon element to the lyrics and you can definitely feel Paul Kelly coming through as well. No, Tim Hart may not have the greatest voice in the indie-folk scene, but I could listen to his music all day.

25. Sarah Humphreys – “Like A House Needs A Door”
Sometimes you just want to put a song on that puts a smile on your face. “Like A House Needs A Door”, the nursery rhyme-esque folk-pop gem from Sarah Humphreys does just that – and with one of the cutest clips of the year you can’t help but feel happy whenever this song comes on. And what I love most about “Like A House Needs A Door” is just how much it captures Sarah Humphreys’ personality – playful, cheeky and ever so fun.

The Best Folky Christmas Songs of 2012

Santa Banjo

Christmas music is folk music. You can’t deny it. So as a result we love Christmas music here at Timber and Steel – both the traditional carols and songs and the wealth of brand new material that is released by our favourite artists every year. 2012 has been somewhat of a bumper year from Christmas songs so rather than bore you with this introduction let’s get right into it shall we?

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sufjan Stevens – “Christmas Unicorn”
Sufjan Stevens took his obsession with all things Christmas to a new level this year realeasing the second part of his Christmas boxset Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Volumes 6-10. “Christmas Unicorn” was the first new track to emerge from the boxset and we kind of like it – despite being strange in only the way a Sufjan Stevens Christmas song can be.

Rufus Wainwright feat. Sharon Van Etten – “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
The Starbuck’s owned label Hear Music this year released the Holiday’s Rule Christmas compilation featuring a number of our favourite artists (The Civil Wars, Calexico, Punch Brothers, The Head & the Heart, Andrew Bird and more) and was produced by The Decemberists’ Chris Funk. Check out this duet between Rufus Wainwright and Sharon Van Etten from the album.

Punch Brothers – “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”
And with a lineup like that we just have to include another track from Holiday’s Rule. Checkout this take on “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” from the Punch Brothers.

Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler – “Zombie Christmas”
Last year Emmy the Great and her real life/musical partner Tim Wheeler (Ash) produced the wonderful This is Christmas album of original indie-Christmas songs. This year they’ve re-released the album on vinyl and have a brand new video for the festive and violent “Zombie Christmas”.

She & Him – “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
Another indie-folk duo milking last year’s Christmas album (in this case A Very She & Him Christmas), She & Him have this season released a brand new animated video for their track “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. I wonder how many more Christmases they can get out of a single album? Maybe She & Him and Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler could team up to create the ultimate indie-folk Christmas album?

Dawn McCarthy and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – “Christmas Eve Can Kill You”
Longtime collaborators Dawn McCarthy and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy released a split single featuring two Everly Brothers’ tracks “Christmas Eve Can Kill You” and “Lovey Kravezit”. The former has this lovely video directed by Lara Miranda.

Roland K Smith & The Sinners – “This Could Be The End (Merry Christmas)”
While this track and video were released last year we’re including it in this year’s list because it appeared on Roland K Smith & The Sinners’ 2012 album Breaking Hearts and Saving Souls. That and you can’t ignore a Christmas song with a bracketed title.

Tom Rosenthal – Christmas Quiet
I have to thank Lachy over at And Pluck Your Strings for bringing this sweet indie-folk Christmas song to my attention (also, you need to be reading his blog – seriously). I don’t know much about Tom Rosenthal but I would have to say this is pretty close to my favourite Christmas song of the year.

Gibson Bull and Carmen – “The Holly and the Ivy”
For the last few years I’ve really enjoyed the annual Christmas compilation album from UK blog For Folk’s Sake. Gibson Bull is an artist that For Folk’s Sake have been pushing fairly heavily this year – and when you hear his version of “The Holly and the Ivy” with Carmen from the compilation you’ll see why.

Dropkick Murphys – “The Season’s Upon Us”
For many the Christmas season is just as much about dysfunction as it is about family and coming together. And who better to capture that in song than folk-punks Dropkick Murphys.

Huey and the New Yorkers – “Christmas By The Side Of The Road”
Huey and the New Yorkers may be the new project from Fun Lovin’ Criminals frontman Huey Morgan but don’t be fooled – this isn’t “Scoobie Snacks”. “Christmas By The Side Of The Road” is a wonderful piece of country Christmas goodness and it’s raising money for veterans charity Help For Heroes. To purchase the single head to the officiel Huey and the New Yorkers web site.

Packwood, Jack Carty, Achoo! Bless You, Fanny Lumsden and Rosie Catalano – “Heading Home (It’s Christmas Time)”
Another charity single, this one a little more local, “Heading Home (It’s Christmas Time)” was put together by some of Timber and Steel’s favourite musicians and raises money for Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy. To pick up the track head to the bandcamp page here.

Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo – “Christmas Time Is Here”
Our favourite ex-pat Aussie musician living in the UK, Emily Barker recorded her own version of “Christmas Time Is Here”, originally the 1965 Christmas episode of Charlie Brown. Backing vocals for the track are care of Rumer, Ren Harvieu and Kristina Train.

Friend of all the World – “The Huron Carol”
Canadian’s Friend of all the World have this year released their second Christmas themed EP, cleverly titled Christmas Time – Volume 2. “The Huron Carol” has a real solemn feel to it but I really like it – I would file this along side the likes of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” or “Dives and Lazarus”.

Leftover Cuties – “Winter Wonderland”
Taken from their EP Christmas Time Is Here, Leftover Cuties have infused a heavy dose of New Orleans into their up tempo version of “Winter Wonderland”. If this doesn’t get you up and dancing on Christmas day nothing will!

Terry Emm – “Gently”
There’s something really sweet about UK singer-songwriter Terry Emm. He reminds me a a little of The Staves or The Leisure Society and his Christmas track, “Gently”, is just beautiful.

Karine Polwart – “Merry Xmas Everybody”
Scottish folk singer Karine Polwart may not have featured too heavily on Timber and Steel this year but 2012 has been absolutely blinding year, following the release of her album Traces, that’s culminated in nominations in the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for Album of the Year, Folk Singer of the Year and Best Original Song. To celebrate the year Polwart has released a folky version of Slade’s infamous tune “Merry Xmas Everybody”.

Grant Arthur – “Santa Went Down To Georgia”
Choosing just one track from Grant Arthur’s folky Christmas album A Very Grant Arthur Christmas proved tricky but we went with “Santa Went Down To Georgia” due to its obvious connection to the classic “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”. Enjoy!

Feldspar – “In the Bleak Midwinter”
We had to finish up with one more track from For Folk’s Sake It’s Christmas 2012, this time from London five-piece Feldspar and their track “In the Bleak Midwinter”.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 21st December


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– NSW festival the Gum Ball announced their first round of artists for 2013 including Turin Brakes, Mia Dyson, The Beards, Jordie Lane, Little Bastard and more. Details here

– Irish singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey has announced a handful of headline shows when he’s in the country for Bluesfest next year. Details here

– A new album is on the way from Canadian nu-folk artist Woodpigeon. The album, titled Thumbtacks and Glue, is due for release on the 25th February. Details here

– Our adopted son Passenger has announced plans to return to Australia next year with a national tour. Details here

– US based singer-songwriter Josh Ritter has announced plans to release a brand new album in March next year. Details here

– UK five-piece Feldspar have just released the video for their beautiful a capella track “The Flat and Paper Sky”. Details here

TinPan Orange have released a video covering “Dumb Ways To Die” by Tangerine Kitty (which features TinPan’s Emily Lubitz). Details here

Bellyache Ben and the Streamgrass Boys’ banjo player Grant Arthur is launching his Christmas album A Very Grant Arthur Christmas at The Vanguard in Sydney this Saturday help from The Pretty Big Band, The Cope Street Parade, Geoff Bull And The Finer Cuts, Bellyache Ben and The Daley Brothers. Details here

– Banjo player Packwood has delivered an early Christmas present with the release of his brand new video “Bats”. Details here


“Yeah, it’s very different from when we both made our first solo records, which were I think for both of us more side projects to Angus and me as a duo. This time around we definitely wanted to go and tour as solo artists and we wanted to play the songs that we had worked on. We felt really inspired to do that at the same time which was really a simple decision to make – it was just a conversion Angus and I had at the end of touring the last record Down the Way. We toured that for long I think it was pretty natural to want to explore the other stuff that we had been working on, even while we were on tour together”Julia Stone chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here


“As always rather than give you a definitive “Best of 2012″ list we asked each of our contributors to give us their own top five albums that fall into the genres we love here at Timber and Steel – folk, acoustic, alt-country, bluegrass, Americana, trad, singer-songwriter and everything else in between. And as always our contributors have each given us a unique insight into the music they’ve loved in 2012” – See our Best Albums of 2012 here

“Not satisfied with just providing you with our own opinions around the best albums of 2012 we have once again put the call out to some of our favourite artists to find out what they’ve been listening to this year. And the response to this call has been simply astounding – over 90 artists sent us their number one album of 2012, along with a couple of sentences as to why it’s their number one, almost tripling the amount of submissions from last year and demonstrating once again just how personal and diverse everyone’s relationship to music can be” – see what our favourite artists picked as their Favourite Albums of 2012 here

Releases This Week

Ruckus Juice
Ruckus JuiceThe Seals
Official Site

Gigs Next Week

Darren Hanlon
Friday 21st December – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 22nd December – St Stephens Anglican Church, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 23rd December – The Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD

Emily Barker
Thursday 27th December – MOJO’s, Fremantle, WA

Grant Arthur’s Big Swingin’ Christmas Extravaganza feat. The Pretty Big Band, Grant Arthur and The Baubles, The Cope Street Parade, Geoff Bull And The Finer Cuts, Bellyache Ben, The Daley Brothers
Saturday 22nd December – The Vanguard, Sydney NSW

Jack Carty
Sunday 23rd December – The Retreat Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Perch Creek Family Jugband
Friday 21st December – Woombye Pub, Woombye, QLD
Saturday 22nd December – Cooran Hall, Cooran, QLD
Sunday 23rd December – Uki Hall, Uki, NSW [Hillbilly Christmas]
Thursday 27 December – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Phia with Mez Medallion and Brightly
Sunday 23rd December – The Grace Darling, Melbourne, VIC

The April Maze
Sunday 23rd December – Coal Cliff Surf Club, Wollongong, NSW

The Stillsons (duo)
Saturday 22nd December – The Wheatsheaf, Thebarton, SA
Sunday 23rd December – La Mar’s Sundays, Glenelg Surf Club, Glenelg, SA

The Trouble With Templeton
Friday 21st December – Lizotte’s, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 22nd December – Lizotte’s, Kincumber, NSW
Sunday 23rd December – Lizotte’s, Dee Why, NSW
Friday 28th December – Worker’s Club, Melbourne, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth” – The Priests feat. Shane MacGowan

Being the last Friday before Christmas I just had to share the most surreal Christmas song collaboration in recent years. No words are needed – just watch and enjoy.

Interview: Julia Stone

Julia Stone
Image Courtesy of Julia Stone

To round out the year our editor in chief Gareth Hugh Evans managed to find some time to chat to Julia Stone, arguably one of the biggest names in indie-folk music in Australia. Julia Stone has spend 2012 focusing on her second solo album By The Horns, taking a break from Angus and Julia Stone, and will be touring the country next year for Heavenly Sounds.

Gareth chatted to Julia about the differences in being a solo artists than being in a duo, playing in churches and what’s in store for her in 2013.

Gareth Hugh Evans: You released your new solo album, By The Horns, this year. How do you feel it’s been recieved?

Julia Stone: I feel like this year around the record, going around and playing the shows, doing the promo for By The Horns, all of the experiences that have come out of that have been important for me I think. Important because it was such a big thing to step away from Angus and me as a duo. I guess the question you’re asking me is how its been received – it’s such a hard to measure how something has been received other than the shows and the shows were all really fun and nice. Me being on stage was such a growing experience. I found a lot of confidence through doing this record on my own and being on stage on my own. It’s definitely taught me a lot doing this record and it’s been really amazing everywhere that we’ve travelled with the band.

GHE: It feels like this year you’ve had a real focus on being a a solo artist. Obviously this is your second solo album but the first time around it felt like you had the security of Angus and Julia Stone as the recognisable “brand” whereas this time around you’ve really had to commit to being the solo artist Julia Stone. Is that a fair assumption?

JS: Yeah, it’s very different from when we both made our first solo records, which were I think for both of us more side projects to Angus and me as a duo. This time around we definitely wanted to go and tour as solo artists and we wanted to play the songs that we had worked on. We felt really inspired to do that at the same time which was really a simple decision to make – it was just a conversion Angus and I had at the end of touring the last record Down the Way. We toured that for long I think it was pretty natural to want to explore the other stuff that we had been working on, even while we were on tour together.

GHE: Yeah, last time around it felt like more of a side project.

JS: Absolutely. It was definitely more of a focus for both of us this year. We didn’t really know how long we were going to do this for, how long we will do this for, it was just a new chapter which means going out as solo artists and playing music in that regard.

GHE: When you’re approaching writing a Julia Stone song as opposed to an Angus and Julia Stone song is there any difference? Or are you just writing whatever songs come through you at the time?

JS: I just write the songs. A few of these songs that went on By The Horns I used to play live with Angus. And I know that some of the tracks on Angus’ record we were playing as well as Angus and Julia songs. I think we both write in exactly the same way but then the production sort of changes. The way we work in the studio separately is different because there’s no need to take into account that it’s a duo and the other person’s voice needs to be in there and how would that work.

GHE: Does it feel a bit weird to not only take into account that that second voice isn’t there but also not having another person giving you a contribution to a song that you’ve written? Does it feel weird being the only person who has input on the song?

JS: If I was the only person then it might feel weird but it’s never the way, at least in my experience, of making music. There’s so many other people. I’m always collaborating with other people from writing the songs to playing them to people. I always feel like when I’ve finished a song that I like to play it for a friend or whoever’s around – that’s the first collaboration, the moment of sharing the song, and certainly when Angus and I were on tour together and we were both writing on the road he would quite often be that first person I would share a new song with. And a lot of the songs on By The Horns he probably was the first person to hear them. Then getting into the studio there’s a producer and there’s musicians and all those people who are there, have ideas and have personalities and unique ways of hearing things and they’re all contributing. And then collaborating with a live band on stage. There definitely is a difference when it’s a duo show because it’s Angus’ song, it’s my song, it’s Angus’ song, it’s my song. But just in terms of the songs themselves and having that extra voice there – there’s so many guys on stage with me and they’re all singing and they’re all contributing. I have never felt once that I was alone or that I didn’t have the kind of support I have with Angus. I love being on stage with Angus, he’s a phenomenal person to perform with, but I’ve played this year with lots of great guys

GHE: We should also chat about the Heavenly Sounds tour which sounds like it’s going to be absolutely beautiful. Did you approach Heavenly Sounds with the prospect of doing a tour of churches or did they approach you?

JS: Y’know when it gets to me it just comes from my manager so I’m not sure how it all happened. My manager said “there’s this idea for a tour to play in churches” and he thought it would be really beautiful and he knows that I like playing in churches. Playing in Europe we quite often get to play in churches because there’s a lot of them there and a lot of them have been converted into music venues. I don’t think we’ve ever played one tour where there isn’t a date in a church and that’s including with Angus and these last solo tours. It’s just a really special way to make music, particularly for the style of music that I’ve been creating. I didn’t want to do another big Australian tour with all the regular venues – it was a good way to do another tour of Australia but do it a bit differently.

GHE: It’s a bit different to just playing pubs and clubs or even theatres. It’s great that you’re going to be playing in these venues that are pretty much custom built for their acoustics.

JS: Yeah! Every stone’s been laid with the thought of the choir and the voices of the preacher man being able to reach God. It’s pretty phenomenal the way they build those places. I know it’s a total nightmare for the sound guys. I don’t know what it’s like for other musicians, I certainly know what it’s been like for me and Angus, both of us individually on stage going “can we get more reverb?”. For our voices, we really love hearing them with reverb on them and I always ask if I can get reverb in the monitors because if you’re playing in a dry club it’s very vibeless if you’re just there and there’s just dry sound. That’s fine if you’re playing acoustically, like I love singing acoustic dry, I don’t have a problem with that sitting around a campfire or sitting in a lounge room singing a song but when it goes through a PA you want it to travel. And that’s the beauty of playing in a church – you don’t need to touch the sound effects, the room creates the exact sound you want. It’s why people like singing in the shower because the tiles in the bathroom, in the shower create such beautiful acoustics for people’s voices. Everybody sounds great in the shower – it’s because they’ve got reverb! And the church is the ultimate of that.

GHE: After the tour is over what’s the next plan for 2013?

JS: After it finishes I’m going to spend a little bit more time in Sydney with my family. And then I have a plan, which may change because it always does, but I’m moving in with a friend. I haven’t rented a home for a long time and I sort of decided that next year I wanted to have a home. I’m going to try and sort that out come March or April. I think that will be my focus, to gather my bits and pieces from the storage units around the place and set up a house somewhere.

GHE: Lovely. Thank you so much for chatting with me today, I really appreciate it.

JS: No worries Gareth, it’s nice talking to you.

By The Horns is available now. The full list of dates for the Heavenly Sounds tour are below:

Thursday 14th February – St Stephen’s Uniting Church, Sydney, NSW
Friday 15th February – St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane, QLD
Tuesday 19th February – St David’s Cathedral, Hobart, TAS
Wednesday 20th February – St Michael’s Church, Melbourne VIC
Thursday 21st February – Flinders Street Baptist Church, Adelaide, SA
Friday 22nd February – St Joseph’s Church, Perth, WA

Watch Packwood’s New Video, “Bats”

Image Courtesy of Packwood

Sydney singer-songwriter and banjo player Packwood yesterday delivered an early Christmas present in the form of his new video “Bats”. Easily my favourite track from Packwood’s amazing self titled EP from earlier this year, the video for “Bats” has been lovingly animated by the folks at Gabbott Productions. Check out the video below:

Grant Arthur (Bellyache Ben and the Steamgrass Boys) to Launch Chirstmas Album

Grant Arthur
Image Courtesy of Grant Arthur

It’s well known that we’re fans of Christmas songs, especially folky Christmas songs, so when a full said songs hits the internet we stand up and take notice. Sydney musician Grant Arthur, probably best known to Timber and Steel readers as the overall wearing banjo player with Bellyache Ben and the Steamgrass Boys, is set to release his very own Christmas album with a massive Christmas show at The Vanguard, Newtown this Saturday 22nd December.

Titled A Very Grant Arthur Christmas the album features 13 original tracks with appearances from the likes of Bellyache Ben, Elana Stone, Geoff Bull, The Cope Street Parade and more. The album is available to download digitally via Grant Arthur’s Bandcamp here.

The show to launch the album this Saturday at The Vanguard, titled Grant Arthur’s Big Swingin’ Christmas Extravaganza, brings together The Pretty Big Band, Grant Arthur and The Baubles, The Cope Street Parade, Geoff Bull And The Finer Cuts, Bellyache Ben and The Daley Brothers and there promises to be “singing, dancing and a whole lot of mirth”. Tickets for the show are $23.80 and can be picked up at the official Vaguard Web Site.

Stream A Very Grant Arthur Christmas below:

TinPan Orange Cover “Dumb Ways To Die”

TinPan Orange
Image Courtesy of TinPan Orange

As we revealed recently the viral video sensation that was the Metro Trains Melbourne train safety video “Dumb Ways To Die” was the musical work of Tangerine Kitty, AKA Ollie McGill (The Cat Empire) and Emily Lubitz (TinPan Orange).

Not to be outdone by Emily Lubitz’s “side project” TinPan Orange yesterday released a live version of “Dumb Ways To Die” showing off the band’s considerable talent, once again. If you haven’t seen it yet check it out below:

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