New Video From The Pigs, “The Colour Of The Light Coming Down”

The Pigs
Image Courtesy of The Pigs

Australian bluegrass troublemakers The Pigs have just released the latest single from their album The Great Bluegrass Swindle complete with a brand new video. The track is “The Colour Of The Light Coming Down” and is infused with more banjo than you can throw a banjo at. Check it out below:

Stream The New Breaking Hart Benton EP Goodbye To Titanic

Breaking Hart Benton
Image Courtesy of Breaking Hart Benton

Brisbane “new time old time” duo Breaking Hart Benton have just released their brand new EP Goodbye To Titanic and in the true folk tradition they’re passing down their songs in the form of a free stream online.

Featuring the duo’s trademark banjo and guitar instrumentation and modern take on traditional forms of folk music Goodbye To Titanic also sees Breaking Hart Benton experimenting with varying levels of production and recording in a multitude of directions. Take a listen to the four tracks below:

Breaking Hart Benton will be touring Goodbye To Titanic in Queensland and Victoria in August – the full list of dates are here:

Sunday 4th August – 100 Songs Project CD Launch, Queen Street Mall, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 8th August – Sol Bar, Maroochydore, QLD
Saturday 17th to Sunday 18th August – Kelly Country Pick Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival, Beechworth, VIC
Monday 19 August – Unpaved Songwriter Sessions, Old Bar, Melbourne, VIC

Interview: The Paper Kites, “St Clarity”

The Paper Kites
Image Courtesy of The Paper Kites

The Paper Kites have a brand new album due on 30th August and a national tour to go along with it. We caught up with the band’s guitarist and lap-steel player Dave Powys to chat about the new single “St Clarity”, the upcoming tour and working with video director Natasha Pincus.

Gareth Hugh Evans: Loving the new single “St Clarity”. The production on the track is awesome – really clean and really deliberate (if that makes sense). Are you happy with how the track’s turned out?

Dave Powys: Yeah, we were deliberate in how we arranged the song to build and demand patience. I’m happy with the production of it and the way it sounds as a piece of music, even without vocals – it’s a cool song.

GHE: What was it like working with Natasha Pincus for the “St Clarity” video? She does some pretty special work

DP: She’s awesome! We were so grateful to get her on board, and she was really quick to catch the creative vision and the concept for the video. She has a good eye and a gift for translating musical feeling to film.

GHE: The new album States is due in August. Is “St Clarity” a good indication of what we can expect from the album?

DP: I guess so, although there are so many different moods through the album which makes it hard to pin down stylistically. A lot of people remember an album for one or two songs, so I’m interested to hear which song becomes the flagship for people.

GHE: You’ve also got a massive tour planned for August with dates all around the country in some pretty decent sized venues. Is there any room you’re excited to play in? Or any crowd you’re keen to get in front of?

DP: The Forum. I’ve always wanted to play at The Forum Theatre in Melbourne. I’ve seen some of my favourite concerts there and it’s such an iconic Celbourne venue. I’ll be peaking off my tree to get on that stage.

GHE: Once the album’s out and the tour has wrapped what’s next on the cards for The Paper Kites?

Well.. apart from Eurovision, we’ll play some shows over the new year, and then more touring in 2014!

The new Paper Kites album States is due on the 30th August. Check out the full list of dates for the upcoming tour below:

Friday 30th August – The Small Ballroom, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 31st August – Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 5th September – The Soundlounge, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday 6th September – The Hi-Fi, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 7th September – The Northern, Byron Bay, NSW
Sunday 15th September – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 20th September – Jive, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 21st September – Fly By Night, Fremantle, WA
Friday 27th September – The Waratah Hotel, Hobart, TAS
Saturday 28th September – The Forum, Melbourne, VIC

New Single from The Civil Wars, “From This Valley”

Civil Wars
Image Courtesy of The Civil Wars

The latest single from The Civil Wars upcoming self-titled album, due on the 6th August, is “From This Valley”. The track is an upbeat, folky number that showcases the duo’s amazing harmonies. If The Civil Wars is going to be The Civil Wars’ last album, as the rumours would suggest, they’re going out with a bang.

Take a listen to “From This Valley” below

Matt Corby announces Resolution National Tour with Bear’s Den

Matt Corby
Image Courtesy of Matt Corby

Matt Corby announced a national tour to support his new “bundle” Resolution this afternoon and the blogs went wild. This tour, taking place throughout October, will see Corby play some of the biggest headline venues of his career including Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion and Melbourne’s Festival Hall as well as his first headline shows ever in Canberra and Tasmania.

But that’s not why we’re excited. Like the folk nerds we are we’re super psyched because Matt Corby has announced London’s Bear’s Den as the support act. As constant readers would know we’ve been fans of Bear’s Den since their first incarnation as Cherbourg (which shared at least half of the current Bear’s Den members), through Andrew Davie’s brief solo career and into their current success with the EP Agape. These guys are going places, not least of all because of their connections with Mumford and Sons (they’ve just been touring as supports for the band in the UK) and Communion (bass player Kev Jones is one of the label’s founders), but also because their music is just damn good.

The full list of Matt Corby’s tour dates with Bear’s Den are below. The shows go on sale on Thursday 8th August:

Wednesday 9th October – Wollongong University, Wollongong, NSW
Thursday 10th October – ANU Bar, Canberra, ACT
Friday 11th October – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 15th October – Convention Centre, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 17th October – City Hall, Hobart, TAS
Friday 18th October – Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 23rd October – GPAC Playhouse, Geelong, VIC
Thursday 24th October – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Sunday 27th October – Arts centre, Fremantle, WA

The Mae Trio To Launch Their Debut Album

The Mae Trio
Image Courtesy of The Mae Trio

The Mae Trio are three very talented ladies from Melbourne and they have announced plans to launch their debut album Housewarming this Friday 2nd August. Made up of sisters Maggie and Elsie Rigby (The Rainmakers) along with cellist Anita Hillman (Evelyn’s Secret), The Mae Trio are considered amongst the best young talent on the Australian folk scene at the moment.

Housewarming was produced by Luke Plumb (Shooglenifty) and features some pretty special contemporary folk music. The album will be launched at The Thornbury Theatre in Melbourne on Friday, a night that will also feature supports from John Flanagan and the Begin Agains and The Stray Hens. Tickets for the night are just $15 – check out the official Facebook event here for more information.

You can also listen to a handful of tracks from Housewarming below – and we highly recommend you do as they’re something special:

Interview: Jason Taylor, JamGrass Music Festival


This weekend will see the first ever JamGrass “On The Road” event take place in Sydney, with the main festival taking over the Thornbury Theatre in Melbourne for three days in October. We thought it was about time to sit down with Jason Taylor from JamGrass to see how both events are shaping up.

Gareth Hugh Evans: Now in it’s third year, this is the first time JamGrass has gone “on the road” with a show in Sydney on the first weekend in August. What was behind the decision to hit the road?

Jason Taylor: We couldn’t be more excited about JamGrass “On the Road”! A few Sydney folk have made it down to the first two years of JamGrass Music Festival and we kept on getting people asking us to do something similar in Sydney. It’s a big step to take JamGrass interstate but we’re very lucky to have teamed up with the Country Roads crew who have been running their monthly event in 2013 and promoting the local bluegrass and alt-country scene in Sydney. It’s great to see that there’s an interstate audience for what we are trying to put together and the music is not only alive in Melbourne but Sydney as well!

GHE: As well as some JamGrass regulars you’ve got a few local bands at the Sydney event including The Steamgrass Boys, The Morrisons, The Green Mohair Suits and The Rusty Spring Syncopators. How does the Sydney bluegrass/jam scene compare to what’s happening in Melbourne?

JT: There seems to be a lot of similarities. Since we’re Melbourne based, it’s unfortunate that we don’t get to check out the Sydney scene more often. But we definitely pay attention to what’s going on and check out the bands when they’re in Melbourne or at various festivals around the country. We’re hoping that JamGrass can be somewhat of a link to integrating these scenes more, not only for the bands but for the audience as well. Of course JamGrass won’t be the only driver, but if we can help connect likeminded bands and music lovers then we think that’s awesome.

GHE: You also have DJ Dylabolical spinning a Jerry Garcia tribute throughout the night. Having a DJ is a little bit of a different direction for you guys (albeit a DJ spinning jamband music) – how do you think the crowd will react?

JT: This is going to be tonnes of fun! I could talk forever about the history of jamband music and how it is related to bluegrass but that’s probably for another day. There is a big connection between The Grateful Dead and traditional music. Jerry Garcia introduced a lot of people to old traditional tunes through bluegrass and The Grateful Dead’s concerts. Jerry was born on 1st August, 1942 and passed away on 9th August, 1995. Since then, the days between have been known as Jerry Week. Just so happens that JamGrass “On The Road” falls on these dates and with people all over the world holding special events, it seemed obvious that we do something for this. DJ Dylabolical will be spinning a range of Jerry-related tunes, of course there will be some Grateful Dead and some of his bluegrass band Old and In The Way but the catalogue of related Jerry Garcia music is so vast that I am sure we’ll be hearing everything from some country tunes to some funky, bootie shakin’ party tunes. Check out Yonder Mountain String Band jamming out on this Grateful Dead classic “They Love Each Other”:

GHE: If the Sydney leg is successful do you think we’ll see more from the JamGrass team here?

JT: We certainly hope so! We’d love to make it an annual event, but as you can imagine it’s a tonne of work to pull it all together so we really need to see a strong turnout in Sydney. So far, everything is looking very positive.

GHE: Obviously this all leads up to the newly expanded three day JamGrass Music Festival in Melbourne in October – how are preparations going for the main event?

JT: Fantastic! The festival is definitely growing and getting a reputation for all the right reasons. We’re working on lots of things from stage designs to lighting and decor that will carry on the character of JamGrass 2012 but elevate the whole experience to a new level for JamGrass 2013. It’s going to get a bit wild. The line-up is already looking incredible with lots of artists Timber and Steel readers would be familiar with and a few they might not be. In fact, there might be a few names on the line-up that most people won’t know … but if previous years are anything to go by, those might just be the artists not to miss!

JamGrass “On The Road” Sydney takes place on Saturday the 3rd August at the Red Rattler Theatre in Marrickville. The JamGrass Music Festival will be at The Thornbury Theatre in Melbourne from the 11th to 13th October. Tickets for both events are available via the official website here

Johnny Flynn Announces New Album

Johnny Flynn
Image Courtesy of Johnny Flynn

English singer-songwriter Johnny Flynn has always held a special place in my heart – he’s one of those artists I discovered right before I started Timber and Steel and his two albums, A Larum and Been Listening, are constant companions of mine.

So I’m pretty excited to share the news that Johnny Flynn will release his third album Country Mile on the 30th September. The album is a collaboration with Adam Beach (of Flynn’s band The Sussex Wit) and was self produced, recorded in a number of different studios in New York and London over the last couple of years.

The cover art and track listing for Country Mile is below:

Country Mile

1. Country Mile
2. After Eliot
3. The Lady Is Risen
4. Murmuration
5. Gypsy Hymn
6. Fol-de-rol
7. Einstein’s Idea
8. Tinker’s Trail
9. Bottom of the Sea Blues
10. Time Unremembered

The first single from Country Mile is “The Lady Is Risen” which has a pretty interesting lyric video to go along with it – check it out here:

Review: Splendour In The Grass, A Folkie’s Perspective

Splendour in the Grass
All Images Courtesy of Splendour in the Grass

As a veteran of dozens, if not hundreds of music festivals it probably comes as somewhat of a surprise that I’ve never been to Splendour in the Grass prior to 2013. With some of the world’s best indie-folk acts gracing the Splendour stage over the last few years it’s definitely been on my wish list for a while and given this year featured the likes of Mumford and Sons, Of Monsters and Men, Laura Marling and more I couldn’t really find a reasons not to go.

Flying into the north coast on Friday night I manged to completely avoid all of the bus and queue issues that had plagued the festival on the first full day (and have been amply documented by the media elswhere). I managed to walk straight in, fix myself up with some food and my first of many mid-strength beers and walk over to the Supertop to catch some music. Arriving late did however have its pitfalls in that I missed sets from Daughter, Boy & Bear and Matt Corby.

Mumford and Sons

The band I had most come to see, in their only Australian show this time around, was of course Mumford and Sons and I was not disappointed. The Supertop was filled to overflowing and I found the best view was actually outside of the tent, ankle-deep in sticky mud and doing my best to dance without moving my feet. The folk-infused four-piece were in fine form and complimented throughout the set by a cast of horn and string players, backing vocalists and some amazing lighting. The massive crowd sang along to “Little Lion Man”, “I Will Wait” and “Roll Away Your Stone” as expected and Mumford and Sons genuinely appeared to be having a ball.

Saturday was packed with folk and singer-songwriter inspired music and I was spoilt for choice as I ran between the GW McLennan stage and the Supertop. I made sure I got to the festival nice and early – there was no way I was missing anything this time.

Art of Sleeping kicked off the day with a half hour set at the GW McLennan stage. These guys have a big sound that’s perfect for a festival (although their 12:30 time-slot probably didn’t do them any favours) and I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see them popping up on more and more lineups. With a sound in the Boy & Bear flavour of indie – albeit with a lot less folk and west coast influence – I really enjoyed the set, with “Empty Hands” the obvious highlight.

The crowd that Vance Joy drew was impressive although I couldn’t help but feel they were all just there to see “Riptide” and nothing else. No one around me seemed that engaged with Joy until he brought out the ukelele and then there was almost an audible sigh when he launched into “Snaggletooth” instead of “Riptide”. Which is a shame as the set was really good and Vance Joy is a clear talent. I’ll definitely be seeking him out live again.

Irish band Villagers have been popping up on folk blogs for a while now but I’ve never really paid them much attention. Their sound is laced with acoustic instruments but I’d struggle to call them “folk” even with Timber and Steel’s broad definition of the genre. That said their set was amazing and definitely a highlight of the festival for me. “Nothing Arrived” was the standout track (probably because I know it from the radio).

One of the biggest “hype” names on the Splendour line up was 19 year old singer-songwriter Jake Bugg so there was no way I was going to miss his set at The Supertop stage. A lot of people have been asking me since whether I think he lives up to the hype and to be honest I’m not sure. His music was good – a lot of alt-country and Americana influences and plenty of decent songwriting – but I’m just not sure that it’s any better than music that’s been produced by thousands of other similar artists. Good on him for breaking through, amassing a decent following and signing to Mercury so early on in his career – I’m just keen to see if he does something extraordinary.

Whitley’s return to the music scene, which was first revealed via his inclusion on the Splendour lineup, had also been hyped by the media (including us). To be honest I was a little surprised that Whitley had drawn a relatively small crowd at Splendour (maybe a symptom of going up against Chet Faker in the program?) but those that were there were treated to some fine music. Camped out behind his organ and with a full band in tow Whitley pulled generously from his new album Even The Stars Are A Mess as well as peppering a few tracks from his back catalogue for good measure.

After endulging in some 90s nostalgia with a cracking set from Something For Kate (they played “Captain (Million Miles An Hour)”!) and enjoying some indie goodness from Cold War Kids it was back to the GW McLennan stage for the gorgeous Sarah Blasko. Blasko is one of the classiest artists in the country and her set was just stunning, despite a few technical difficulties at the very beginning of the show. The lighting for Blasko’s set was pretty astounding and the crowd really got into the songs, singing and clapping along at every opportunity – lots of fun.

Polyphonic Spree

I have to admit that I’ve never seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show and my only point of reference point is dancing to “The Time Warp” in dodgy retro night clubs. So the prospect of The Polyphonic Spree peforming the musical from start to finish probably didn’t excite me as much as it did a lot of the crowd – but when they started I was hooked, shouting “Dammit Janet” and pelvic thrusting with the best of them. I’m really chuffed that The Polyphonic Spree decided to end their set with a bunch of their original numbers including “Hold Me Now” and “Two Thousand Places” – this was just icing on an already rich musical cake.

For his new album, Departures, Bernard Fanning has re-embraced his rock roots and all but shaken off the folkiness of his debut Tea and Sympathy. So going into his Splendour set to round out Saturday night I was intrigued to see whether we’d see both sides of the Australian icon. And while the majority of his show centred around Departures I was chuffed when a couple of Tea and Sympathy tracks cropped up. “Thrill is Gone” was a definite highlight and had the crowd (or maybe just me) singing in full voice – beautiful.

As the sun came up on Sunday I was sad I had to miss the last day of Splendour in the Grass due to an early flight and work the next day. Laura Marling, Of Monsters and Men and Gurrumul would have been on must-see-folk list for the day but sadly I’d have to catch them elsewhere.

Overall my impression of Splendour in the Grass was positive. A lot of the issues that plagued the festival on the first day – the bus and queue debacle and the cancellation of Frank Ocean – didn’t affect me much due to the type of festival I chose to have (getting there late on Friday, focusing on folk acts). The mud was unavoidable with all the recent rain but definitely impacted on my festival experience – it’s hard to dance it out to Mumford and Sons or run between venues when you’re ankle deep in sticky black mud. I’m also not sure about the “exclusive bar” setup where different tickets allowing you to get into different venues – it seemed to create a class system and definitely contributed to the amount of booze being smuggled into the event (only the exclusive bars sold full strength drinks).

Overall I have to commend the organisers – the lineup was pretty spot on allowing this fokie to revel in my favourite genre all festival long, the venue itself was laid out in a way that prevented any sound bleed or insane bottlenecks and the issues at the beginning of the event were dealt with quickly and decisively. While I’m still partial to smaller, folkier festivals as a giant rock festival goes Splendour in the Grass was pretty amazing.

Will I go next year? Well I guess that all depends on how many folk-type artists they have on the bill. And whether I can get my gumboots clean in time…

Review: Mark Wilkinson, High Tea, Sydney

Mark Wilkinson

Mark Wilkinson with Iluka at High Tea
Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW
18th July, 2013

Review by Kat Kinnie

Mark Wilkinson’s voice could melt butter. And everyone who attended a secret pre-album release gig that he did just a week or so ago, got to experience it up close and personal.

From the outside, Surry Hills’ 342 Elizabeth Street is nothing special. In fact, as we navigated the narrow corridors and stairwells, and passed graffiti covered wall after graffiti covered wall, one could have momentarily been mistaken the journey for perhaps choosing a wild goose chase, rather than a night of live music.

However, after following the metaphysical white rabbit, we were rewarded with a wonderland-like venue, offered to us from the lovely people at High Tea. Complete with a tea party, minus the Mad Hatter.

After freshly arriving from a tour of the UK and Germany, Mark entertained us with songs from his upcoming new album Let the River Run. He kicked things off with the captivating “For the First Time in Years”. He also treated us to a very special cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”. He joked that someone once suggested he cover the song, because he sounds like her. And not knowing whether to take it as a compliment or not, promptly learnt the song, which has fast become a fan favourite.

He was also joined by the beautiful voice of local songstress, Iluka, and they performed two songs together, one by each artist, including Iluka’s “In the Heat”.

It was an enchanting night and a treat to be able to enjoy Mark’s music in such an intimate and magical setting. Surrounded by lanterns hanging from the ceilings and fairy lights draped over furniture. We sat on cushions upon rugs laid over wooden floors, amongst very good company. A group of people with pure love and appreciation for the music that was entertaining them.

Mark closed with “All I Ever Wanted” a song about a desire to be someone, say something, and search for more in life, to know that you feel alive. Mark is definitely living, breathing proof that it is definitely possible to life a life of purpose and fulfillment, doing something that you love. And the Sydney-based singer-songwriter is destined to continue to spread his music far and wide.

Mark Wilkinson’s new studio album Let the River Run will be released on 9th August and will be available to download on iTunes. He will be embarking upon a nationwide tour of Australia for Timber and Steel from Thursday 15th August. To book tickets, go to – the full list of dates are below:

Thursday 15th August – Beav’s Bar, Geelong, VIC
Friday 16th August – The Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 22nd August – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Friday 23rd August – The Abbey, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 24th August – Mars Hill Cafe, Parramatta, NSW
Friday 30th August – The Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW
Saturday 31st August – The Basement, Sydney, NSW
Friday 6th September – The Promethean, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 7th September – The Ellington, Perth, WA
Sunday 8th September – The Ellington, Perth, WA
Wednesday 11th September – The Rails, Byron Bay, NSW
Thursday 12th September – Cafe Le Monde, Noosa, QLD
Friday 13th September – Mandala Organic Arts Cafe, Gold Coast, QLD
Saturday 14th September – Bon Amici Cafe, Toowoomba, QLD
Sunday 15th September – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 19th September – Lizotte’s, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 20th September – Lizotte’s, Central Coast, NSW
Saturday 21st September – The Clarendon Guesthouse, Katoomba, NSW

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