Thank Folk It’s Friday – 21st August


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

Boy & Bear announced details of their new album Limit of Love. Details here

– Adelaide singer-songwriter Tom West released his new single “Big Balloon” and added September tour dates. Details here

– Swedish nu-folk band Of Monsters and Men released their new video “Empire”. Details here

– Adelaide four piece The Timbers will be launching their new single at a show in September. Details here

– Anti-folk hero Joanna Newsom released her new video “Sapokanikan” from her upcoming album Divers. Details here

– Sydney singer-songwriter Katie Wighton released her quirky new video “Little Dove”. Details here

– The next edition of the Heartbreaker Sessions in Sydney is this Sunday featuring Andy Golledge and Kris Morris. Details here

– Canadian folk rockers Great Lake Swimmers released their new video “I Must Have Someone Else’s Blues”. Details here

MountainGrass dropped their 2015 lineup headlined by Laurie Lewis and featuring Chris Henry & The Hardcore Grass, Orpheus Supertones, Bluegrass Parkway, Paul Wookey, Pete Denahy, Davidson Brothers, Karen Lynne, The Weeping Willows, The Kissin’ Cousins, The Pipi Pickers, John Flanagan, Old South, Buffalo Nickel, Coolgrass, The Strzelecki Stringbusters and many more. Details here

Lucinda Williams has announced Australian headline shows and appearances at A Day On The Green this November and December. Details here

– Perth based singer-songwriter Bernardine released her new video “I Don’t Mind”. Details here

Ash Grunwald released his new single “Second Guess” and announced a national tour. Details here

– Sydney venue The Petersham Bowling Club is holding an OXJAM concert at the end of the month featuring Cruisin’ Deuces, Mark Lucas, Katie Brianna, Bree De Rome and Brian Manning. Details here

Releases This Week

Nathaniel Rateliff
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night SweatsNathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

Oh Pep!
LivingOh Pep!

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Macquarie Arms’ 200th Birthday Party feat. Imogen Clark & The Lonely Hearts

The historic Macquarie Arms Hotel at the base of the Blue Mountains in Windsor, west of Sydney, will this weekend celebrate its 200th Birthday. Hometown girl and Timber and Steel favourite Imogen Clark will be singing up a storm with her band The Lonely Hearts to celebrate – this gig is going to be a cracker!

Saturday 22nd August – Macquarie Arms Hotel, Windsor NSW

Gigs Next Week

Saturday 22nd August – Sappho’s, Sydney, NSW

Day Ravies, Wireheads, Thigh Master, Weak Boys
Friday 21st August – Proper Music Social, Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Echo Deer, Yhan Leal
Sunday 23rd August – Proper Music Social, Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Eddie Boyd & The Phatapillars
Thursday 27th August – Rad Bar, Wollongong, NSW

El Grande
Friday 21st August – The Pacific Hotel, Yamba, NSW
Saturday 22nd August – Brunswick Hotel, Brunswick Heads, NSW
Saturday 23rd August – House Concert, Holgate, NSW
Wednesday 26th August – RAD, Wollongong, NSW
Thursday 27th August – Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS

Fitzroyalty feat. Ben Mitchell, Toby Robinson
Tuesday 25th August – Little & Oliver, Melbourne, VIC

FolkSwagon feat. The Tawny Owl String Band, The Campervan Dancers, Colin Jones
Wednesday 26th August – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Good Counsel, The High Ceilings, Prints
Saturday 22nd August – Proper Music Social, Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Gympie Muster
Thursday 27th to Sunday 30th August – Gympie, QLD

Heartbreaker Sessions feat. Andy Gollege, Kris Morris
Sunday 23rd August – Freda’s, Sydney, NSW

Hucker Brown
Thursday 27th August – Proper Music Social, Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Immigrant Union
Thursday 27th August – Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 28th August – The Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay, NSW

Imogen Clark
Saturday 22nd August – Macquarie Arms Hotel, Windsor NSW

Jack Carty and Jordan Millar
Friday 21st August – Grace Darling Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 22nd August – The Grand Poobah, Hobart, TAS

James Teague
Sunday 23rd August – Mill Hall, Rous Mill, NSW
Thursday 27th August – The Music Hunter Experience, Katoomba, NSW
Friday 28th August – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Jane Cameron
Friday 21st August – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Jed Rowe
Friday 21st August – Ararat Live, Ararat VIC
Saturday 22nd August – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide SA
Sunday 23rd August – Red Poles, McLaren Vale SA

Josh Rennie-Hynes & Caitlin Harnett
Saturday 22nd August – Woodford Open Space, Woodford, QLD

Katie Wighton
Friday 28th August – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW

Kelly Country Pick
Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd August – Beechworth, VIC

Not Good With Horses, Fanny Lumsden
Thursday 27th August – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Mary Chapin Carpenter w/ Tift Merritt
Thursday 27th August – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 28th August – Gympie Muster, QLD

Riley Pearce
Friday 21st August – Prince of Wales Hotel, Bunbury, WA
Saturday 22nd August – White Star Hotel, Albany, WA
Sunday 23rd August – Caves House Hotel, Yallingup, WA
Friday 28th August – Indi Bar, Scarborough, WA

Ruby Boots
Sunday 23rd August – Darwin Festival “Big Country”, Darwin, NT
Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th August – Dowerin Field Day Festival, The Wheatbelt WA

Sian Evans
Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd August – Townsville Culture Fest, Townsville, QLD

The AU Sessions feat. Elwood Myre, Max Marvell
Tuesday 25th August – Hive Bar, Sydney, NSW

The Brouhaha
Friday 28th August – The Exeter Hotel, Adelaide, SA

The Scrimshaw Four w/ Uncle Bobby​, Senivoda​​
Monday 24th August – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

Tim Wheatley
Friday 21st August – Illawarra Brewery, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 22nd August – Howlin’ Wolf, Wollongong, NSW
Sunday 23rd August – The Soda Factory, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 27th and Friday 28th August – Gympie Muster, Gympie, QLD

Friday 21st August – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 22nd August – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 28th August – UniBar, Adelaide, SA

Xavier Rudd & The United Nations
Friday 21st August – Coffs Ex Services, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Sunday 23rd August – Miami Marketta, Gold Coast, QLD
Thursday 27th August – Club Forsters, Forster, NSW
Friday 28th August – Civic Theatre, Newcastle, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Shove The Pig’s Foot (A Little Closer to the Fire)” – Bruce Molsky with Tim O’Brien, Aly Bain, John McCustker, Jerry Douglas, Dirk Powell, Mike McGoldrick, Phil Cunningham, Donald Shaw, Russ Barenberg, John Doyle, Todd Parks, Pat McInerney and James McIntosh

I’ve been playing tune at a few jams recently (with the intention of eventually learning it properly) and it’s so catchy! Just had to share the Transatlantic Sessions version just because of all of the amazing musos on this track.

Listen to the New Ash Grunwald Single “Second Guess”

Ash Grunwald
Image Courtesy of Ash Grunwald

Ash Grunwald has returned from a massive tour of Canada with a brand new single in tow, the wonderfully bluesy “Second Guess”. The track is taken from his upcoming album NOW which is due for release on the 25th September.

Take a listen to “Second Guess” here:

Ash Grunwald has also announced 28 date national tour to celebrate the release of NOW. Check out the full list of dates below:

Thursday 10th September – The Rosemount Hotel, Nth Perth, WA
Friday 11th September – Divers Tavern, Broome, WA
Saturday 12th September – The Indi Bar, Scarborough, WA
Sunday 13th September – Mojos Bar, Nth Fremantle, WA
Thursday 24th September – The Grand, Mornington, VIC
Friday 25th September – The Corner, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 26th September – Torquay Hotel, Torquay, VIC
Thursday 1st October – Wickham, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 2nd October – Yours and Owls Festival, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 3rd October – Caloundra Music Festival, Caloundra, QLD
Thursday 8th October – Rolling Stone Live Lodge, Newtown Social, Sydney, NSW
Friday 9th October – Entrance Leagues, Bateau Bay, NSW
Saturday 10th October – Gearins Hotel, Katoomba, NSW
Friday 16th October – Triffid, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 17th October – Hotel Metropole, Ipswich, QLD
Sunday 18th October – Miami Marketta, Gold Coast QLD
Wednesday 21st October – Sugarland Tavern, Bunderberg, QLD
Thursday 22nd October – Flamingos on Quay, Rockhampton, QLD
Friday 23rd October – Magnums Hotel, Airlie Beach, QLD
Saturday 24th October – Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville, QLD
Sunday 25th October – The Jack, Cairns, QLD
Saturday 31st October – Wangaratta Jazz Festival, Wangaratta, VIC
Wednesday 4th November – Fresh On Charles, Launceston, TAS
Thursday 5th November – Tapas Bar, Devonport, TAS
Friday 6th November – Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS
Saturday 7th November – The Gov, Adelaide, SA
Friday 13th November – Blues At Bridgetown Festival, Bridgetown WA
Saturday 14th November – The Boston Brewery, Denmark WA

The Bello Winter Music Festival Announces Inaugural Lineup

Milk Carton Kids
Image Courtesy of The Milk Carton Kids

This week a brand new festival slipped onto the scene with a lineup that is bound to make any readers of Timber and Steel squeal with excitement.

The Bello Winter Music Festival is a brand new weekend festival held in Bellingen, NSW from the 2nd to 5th July this year. Bello is the sister festival to the magnificent Mullum Music Festival so you know it’s going to be pretty special.

This year’s lineup is headed up by US folk duo The Milk Carton Kids (who are yet to announce any other Australian dates) and also features Timber and Steel favourites like Ash Grunwald, TinPan Orange, Marlon Williams, The Wilson Pickers, Lucie Thorne & Hamish Stuart, Perch Creek, Jack Carty, Karl S Williams, The Mid North, The Button Collective, Starboard Cannons, Sara Tindley, Oh Pep! and many many more.

“Bellingen has a similar counter-culture to Mullumbimby; it’s just back from the coastal tourist destinations and it’s a naturally beautiful area.” Glenn Wright, director of Bello Winter Music Festival and Mullum Music Festival explained. “Just like Mullumbimby, Bellingen has a diverse community, a long history of environmentalism and a vibrant local music scene. A third of the Bello line-up is made up of local musicians from Bellingen and the Coffs Coast area. Both festivals are dedicated to programming new and emerging artists – local, national and international – I’m sure Bello Winter Music, like Mullum Music Festival, will become ‘one to watch’ for exciting new acts. Creating a partner winter festival in Bellingen rather than expanding Mullum Music Festival means another community can reap the benefits of a small scale, community run festival. The Bellingen community is deeply involved in every aspect of the festival. It has been inspiring working with them to create a unique, authentic celebration of their town.”

For more information about the Bello Winter Music Festival check out the official web site here. The full lineup is below:

The Milk Carton Kids (US), Ash Grunwald, Emma Donovan & The Putbacks, Tinpan Orange, Dubmarine, Marlon Williams & The Yarra Benders, Ainslie Wills, Bullhorn, Arte Kanela Flamenco, Rasa Duende, Fourplay String Quartet, The Wilson Pickers, Lucie Thorne & Hamish Stuart, Perch Creek, Jack Carty, Sketch The Rhyme, Jones Jnr, The Seven Ups, Captain Dreamboat, Gabriel & Cecilia, Karl S Williams, Yeshe, Greg Sheehan, Kym Pitman with Chris Judd, The Mid North, The Button Collective, Starboard Cannons, Sara Tindley, Oh Pep!, The Ninth Chapter, Ebb n Flo, Golden Zephyr, Bunya, Jealous Wolfe, Mr Pip, Horns On Helium, DidJital, Tim Stokes, Honey & Knives, Shanteya & Jo, Tegan Wiseman, Yhan Leal, Fish on Fire, The Bollywood Sisters, The Cassettes, Sohum Women’s Choir, Voices From The Vacant Lot, Roundabout Theatre, talks, workshops, Bellingen LeaF (Learning Festival), THE MAGIC BUS and much more to be announced

More Artists Added to the Bluesfest Fifth Lineup Announcement

Image Courtesy of Bluesfest

Artist announcement number five for Bluesfest was announced yesterday with more exciting names added to an already bursting lineup.

Timber and Steel is most excited about the inclusions of Justin Townes Earle, Steve Smyth, Donavon Frankenreiter, Ash Grunwald and Karl S. Williams with the announcement also featuring Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Augie March, Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Declan Kelly presents Diesel n’ Dub ft. Emma Donovan, Alex Lloyd, Pat Powell, Radical Son & Tony Hughes, Blue King Brown and The Beautiful Girls.

Bluesfest is set to take place north of Byron Bay from the 2nd to the 6th of April. Tickets for the festival are already on sale – check out the details on the official site here.

Australasian Worldwide Music Expo Announces First Round of Artists for 2014

The Pierce Brothers
Image Courtesy of Pierce Brothers

The Australasian Worldwide Music Expo (AWME) last week announced the first round of artists for 2014. The AWME will showcase the finest in Australian and international roots music across four days in Melbourne from the 13th to 16th November.

Local artists announced so far include Hiatus Kaiyote, Ash Grunwald, Bart Willoughby, Jimblah, Pierce Brothers (above), Ms Murphy and Bullhorn with the international contingent made up of Nahko and Medicine for the People (USA), Digging Roots (Canada), Estere (NZ) and Myele Manzanza (NZ).

Early bird tickets for the festival are already on sale – for more information check out the offical AWME site here.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 21st February


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

Michael Franti and Spearhead have announced a single Bluesfest sideshow in Brisbane with Nahko and Medicine For The People in support. Details here

– Melbourne duo The Little Stevies released their ode to unattached – the video for their single “I Hold My Breath”. Details here

– A brand new Laura Marling track – “Born to Love” – made its way onto the internet thanks to NPR’s eTown show. Details here

– Canadian born, Melbourne based singer-songwriter Tracy McNeil has a video out “Wilcats”. Details here

Sally Seltmann will be taking her album Hey Daydreamer out on tour this April. Details here

Georgia Fair have released the video to their new single “Are We Not Alive”. Details here

– If you’re into folk music and helping sick animals (and who isn’t?) get along to the Lomand Hotel in Melbourne this Saturday for the Wombat Orphanage Bushfire Benefit. The live music lineup includes Lucy Wise, Stray Hens, Rob Zielinski, Staffan & Rowie and more to be announced. Details here

– Tasmania’s Christopher Coleman Collective have released their new video “Go Home” along with details of their new album and a bunch of tour dates in March. Details here

– Sydney prog-folk artist Wyatt Moss-Wellington is set to release his new album Sanitary Apocalypse in March with guests that include a who’s who of the local scene. Details here

– Sydney singer-songwriter Huckleberry Hastings released his debut single “Huckleberry Blues”. Details here

Nickel Creek revealed all the juicy details of their upcoming album A Dotted Line including cover art, track listing, release date and a stream of the song “Love of Mine”. Details here

– The Snowy Mountains of Music has changed its name to Peak Festival and has announced the first artists for its 2014 lineup. Details here

– Tonight up-and-coming singer-songwriter Martha Marlow will be launching her new EP These Days in Sydney. Details here

– Another new Simone Felice track, “Running Through My Head”, has surfaced online. Details here

The Paper Kites have announced a massive tour this May and June. Details here

– Blues and roots legend Ash Grunwald is heading out on a solo tour. Details here

– The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards were held this week and we collected all the winners and videos of the perfomances in one place. Details here

– If you’re looking for something a little heavier this St Patrick’s day Sydney folk-punk outfit The Bottlers have a series of gigs over the weekend. Details here



“While Laneway is an indie festival at heart it always brings me back for the smattering of folky, acoustic goodness that features on the lineup each and every year”Gareth Hugh Evans reviews the Sydney leg of St Jeromes Laneway Festival. Review here

Releases This Week

Oh Hunter
Oh HunterHayden Calnin

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Wombat Orphanage Bushfire Benefit feat. Lucy Wise, Stray Hens, Rob Zielinski, Staffan & Rowie

Lucy Wise

Listen to folk music and help raise money for sick and injured animals? Sounds like a productive night out! We recommend heading down to the Lomond Hotel in Melbourne on Saturday to watch Lucy Wise (above) and co. helping the world one folk song at a time. Love it!

Saturday 22nd February – Lomond Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Gigs Next Week

Adelaide Fringe Festival
Friday 14th February to Sunday 16th March – Adelaide, SA

Apollo Bay Music Festival
Friday 28th February to Sunday 2nd March – Apollo Bay, VIC

Andy Irvine
Friday 21st February – House Concert, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 22nd Febraury – House Concert, Harcourt North, VIC

Ann Vriend
Saturday 22nd February — Tree House, Byron Bay, NSW
Sunday 23rd February — Black Bear Lodge, Fortitude Valley, QLD

Cobargo Folk Festival
Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd February – Cobargo, NSW

Eddie Vedder
Saturday 22nd February – QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 23rd February 2014 – QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Frances Folk Gathering
Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd February – Frances, SA

James Teague
Wednesday 26th February – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

Josh Pyke
Friday 21st February – Paradiso Spiegeltent @ The Garden Of Unearthly Delights, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 22nd February – The Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 28th February – Twilight Series @ Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne, VIC

Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes
Friday 28th February – Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Leah Flanagan w/ Tom Hespie
Thursday 27th February – Vic on the Park, Enmore, NSW

Friday 21st February – Southern Peninsula Arts Centre, Rosebud, VIC
Thursday 27th February – The Playhourse Theatre, Hobart, TAS
Friday 28th February – Devonport Tas Entertainment Centre, TAS

Little Features feat. Mimi Gilbert, The Maple Trail, Packwood, Charlie Gradon
Saturday 22nd February – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Martha Marlow w/ Jess Pollard
Friday 21st February – 505, Sydney, NSW

Nannup Music Festival
Friday 28th February to Monday 3rd March – Nannup, WA

Neko Case
Thursday 27th February – Fly By Night, Perth, WA

Okkervil River
Friday 21st February – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 22nd February – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

One Up Two Down and Oh Pep!
Friday 21st February – No.5, Bellingen, NSW
Saturday 22nd February, Carrington Bowling Club, Newcastle, NSW
Sunday 23rd February – House Concert, Karuah, NSW

Sam Buckingham
Friday 21st February – Fringe Festival, Adelaide, SA
Wednesday 26th February – The Rhythm Hut, Gosford, NSW

The Beez
Saturday 22nd February – George Kerford Hotel, Beechworth, Vic
Sunday 23rd February – Gerogary, VIC
Friday 28th February – The Piping Hot Chicken Shop, Ocean Grove, Vic

The Little Stevies
Saturday 22nd February – Summersault Festival, Melbourne, VIC

Wombat Orphanage Bushfire Benefit feat. Lucy Wise, Stray Hens, Rob Zielinski, Staffan & Rowie
Saturday 22nd February – Lomond Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“Slipjigs and Reels” – Steve Tilston

It’s the Fairport Convention version of this song I’m most familiar with but I just had to reach back to the song’s writer, Steve Tilston, for today’s FFF. Such a good song!

Ash Grunwald Announces Autumn Tour

Ash Grunwald
Image Courtesy of Ash Grunwald

Australian blues and roots legend Ash Grunwald is returning to his roots this March with plans for a solo, one man tour throughout the country. Grunwald has been touring recently with the Living End’s rhythm section in support of his new album Gargantua so he’s taking the opportunity with his next tour to return to some of his favourite haunts as the lone troubadour he’s best known as.

Check out the full list of dates for the tour below:

Thursday 6th March – The Unibar, Wollongong, NSW
Friday 7th March – Great Northern, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th March – Port Fairy Festival, VIC
Thursday 13th March – Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, NSW
Friday 14th March – The Abbey, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th March – Blue Mountains Music Festival, NSW
Thursday 20th March – Ramsgate Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 22nd March – Bleach Festival, Gold Coast, QLD
Wednesday 26th March – Harvey Rd Tavern, Gladstone, QLD
Thursday 27th March – Magnums, Airlie Beach, QLD
Friday 28th March – Tanks Art Centre, Cairns, QLD
Saturday 29th March – Base Backpackers, Magnetic Island, QLD
Thursday 24th April – The Espy, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 25th April – Barwon Heads Hotel, Barwon Heads, VIC
Saturday 26th April – Westernport Hotel, San Remo, VIC

Review: The Falls Festival, Marion Bay, Tasmania

Ponchos are the latest fashionPhotos by Stu B.

So now to the fun bit, the music!

Day 2, Monday 30th December, rolled around and as we planned our day, we were a bit excited about some unknowns and some stalwart festival acts, it was going to be a great day.

First up, on the Field Stage, at a very reasonable lunch hour was local Foster a Band competition winner Lulu an The Paige Turners. Knowing little but what I gleaned from the Falls Festival App description, I was hopeful for something interesting, lo and behold, the Paige-Turners turned out to be a bigger than expected group of young men, resplendent in white dress shirts, black suspenders and bowties complete with drums, cello, banjo, acoustic guitar, keyboard and who knows what else! Lulu herself stepped on to stage looking like she stepped out of an old timey movie in a frilled lavender dress that would either float beautifully or become her own personal parachute in the windy conditions. Obviously a lot of friends were in the crowd, or at least local and loyal fans, as many shouts of encouragement met them before they even played a note.

Lulu and The Paige Turners Opening with ‘Begin-agains’ from their EP Bookends and Begin-again delivered a strong, strummy guitar intro, quivering vocals, subtle backing harmonies and touches of a soul pitch to her vocals. It’s a very indie pop style but very easy to lose yourself in. To follow up their opening, the slower track, ‘The Mean Reds’ also from the EP mellowed out the audience, becoming solemn at times. With a strong banjo melody and sweet, hushed tones of the harmonies, it was more like the lullaby style we’ve seen from a number of singer/songwriters but with a surprise build with drum and electric bass almost reminiscent of a Mumford and Sons hoedown.

The rest of her set was equally diverse with bluesy bass lines, cool vibes, raspy, rolling, gravely gutsy verses, sentiments stripped down to a Capella accompanied by clicks and whistling, and of course, many a banjo solo from probably the happiest Banjo player I’ve seen of late.

It’s a wonderful mix on stage, of piano intros, rhythm on a snare drum played by Lulu, tales of a broken heart, dischordant harmonies to really set the tone, not to be out done by angsty, angry, passionate vocals. Lulu is a multi-instrumentalist playing percussion, guitar and violin, but also delivering vocals reminiscent of Kate Miller Heidke or Tori Amos. All of this she achieves while also performing with a cold that would likely render her voiceless after her set.

Well in with the audience, they brought out a brand new song, ‘Bright Eyes’, a song she was not sure what it was actually about but “sometimes the universe gives you a song for a reason”. Beautiful lightly treated, stripped back sound with just the simplest of accompaniment graced the enraptured field. Their musicianship was all about the lyric weaving it’s way across the melody, and the 3 piece harmonies by the Paige-Turners with room for an instrumental break and some epic violin by Lulu, like she and it had a private dance to complete. ‘A Little Secret’ changed the mood, with a very country feel to the full instrumental sound and beat yet cleverly walked the fine line mixing between full sound and stripped back line “little secret”. Amusingly, keyboard and the banjo had almost a russian dance off mid song.

Their final song was full of thanks and appreciation for the crowds support, and delivered their first single release, a definite favourite, ‘The Music Box’. A stuccato piano intro, great harmony based vocals  and full band sound behind string and catchy melody had us all nodding to the beat. There was even an instrumental break showcasing the cello and of course a huge violin presence Lulu in breaks. I found it really catchy and could easily hum it all day with it’s killer vocals, Lulu’s passionate stage presence, it all makes for a warning: keep an eye out, Lulu and the Paige-Turners should take stages by storm.

Big Scary at Falls Festival Marion BayWe popped over to the Valley stage to check out Big Scary with their big piano and drum sound and 2 part harmonies. They’re certainly genre-defying and on the Falls stage, combining their slow piano stylings with heavy base and drums, created an ethereal quality to their set and sound. A really pleasant poppy, chill out band for the setting and time.

Paper Kites at the Falls Festival Marion BayWe headed back to the Field stage to catch The Paper Kites and watching their band tune a banjo, it struck me that I wanted to renaming this stage the Banjo Stage! It’s always promising when a banjo is sound checked, almost guaranteed a good hoedown. The five piece, opened with a strong drum beat/line and mellow guitar over the top and calm vocals wafting on the breeze. The crowd grew quickly, attracted to their ethereal indie quality. Their set saw great cohesion of vocal and instruments, working as one, blending when needed, separating when wanted.

They played “Young”, a more synth based track with finger plucking strings over the top. There was a steady crowd dancing up the front, from within, someone releases glitter across the top of the crowd and it floated over them much like the lyrics and vocals. A very mellow set with a solid under current of instrumental indie cool.

At times their set is airy, with floaty piano intros and breathy yet strong vocals. Other times, like when playing “Bloom”, an older song that the crowd can sing along too, a more plucky vibe sets the the crowd screaming and intensifies the atmosphere while still delivering beautiful harmonies that even a crowd can carry. Then they effortlessly add drums and banjo to truly catchy effect. I love the whistling break, crowd tried to whistle along and ended up sounding like drunk birds.

Their new song, “Cold Kind Hand”, is a more indie rock vibe with the femanine vocals playing beautifully off the big earthy drums beats. Staying true to their sound, their new stuff is as equally welcome as their old stuff. Take that Regurgitator.

James Vincent McMorrow at Falls Festival Marion BayI’m a complete novice when it comes to  James Vincent McMorrow, so when we headed to the Valley stage to catch his set, I was delighted to see a crowd had already formed, eagerly anticipating his set. Walking on stage to a rousing welcome from the audience, McMorrow opened with his breathtaking falsetto, reminiscent of early Matt Corby ethereal vocals, over simple piano chords, building to a faster speed with clapping, percussion and backing vocals. I saw in an instant the appeal and why so many are clamouring for his music. The crowd continued to stream in to the field as overall sound, now filled with bass to round out the effect, rolled up the ampitheatre. His voice delivers tones of Bon Iver but devled deeper within himself, ultimately creating an earthy, grounded effect.

His set celivered variety, with synth beat under harmonised vocals, the simplicity and stripped back nature of which was mezmerising. He is skilled at gently bringing new instruments in to the tracks, I didn’t even notice the piano build in to one song, and yet it ended solely on a tight vocal/piano harmony. He claimed nervousness as it had been a year and a half since his last big performance. He merely hoped his nerves were endearing, but to everyone present, not a nervous moment had been witnessed. Launching back in to his moody and soft, almost tentative vocals and delicious piano, echoing drum beats herald crowd favourites and everyone is lost in the performance.

London Grammar at Falls Festival Marion BayI’m one of those people who has heard of London Grammar, and has probably even heard their hits, but having been a bit of a musical hermit of late, I was keen to catch them in full swing on the Valley stage. The haunting intro and her voice flowing off the stage accompanied by keyboard and little else told me I was in for a wonderful show. “Hey Now” had a hypnotic effect on every member of the audience, ending in the kind of silence where you can hear a pin drop. And then there was the rapturous applause.

I can see why Hannah has been compared to Florence Welsh and Kate Bush, her voice dominates over the bass, electric guitar and djembe. But, not just a beautiful voice, she can take on the keys, build a melody that emerges alone only to wend through her soulful, lilting lyrics. She is a statuesque leading lady, yet manages stillness, poise, focus and delivers pitch perfect, stunning vocals that had the audience entranced. Whether they need to engage the audience with more in the way of stage presence is debatable, what they don’t have in presence, they make up for with atmosphere and sheer soundscape.

Hannah was experiencing the worst hayfever she has ever had because there is a unique type of grass in Tasmania and nowhere else in the world. With that revelation, it was amazing her vocals weren’t affected. Their wildly popular cover of Kavinsky’s “Nightcall” was to be expected, a popular choice with the crowd with it’s keys opening making way for the whining, stripped back electric guitar, reminiscent of The xx’s sparse production style.

With the crowd thoroughly in the mood, a staffer comes on stage with a giant birthday cake to celebrate Hannah’s birthday, for which the crowd sang happy birthday and she was incredibly excited as the cake was gluten free meaning she could actually enjoy eating it after their set. Fittingly, they celebrated the moment with a song the crowd could all sing along to, “Caught in the Middle”. To wrap up, they delighted the audience with “Metal and Dust” with it’s midway upbeat synth beats and keys which created a wall of sound crawling up the hill from the valley stage.

Violent Femmes at Falls Festival Marion BayI am of the age to have just been alive when their first, and arguably most famous, album was released, but I sure as hell knew about them and have danced in to many a late night with Blister In The Sun blaring. So needless to say, I was at the Valley stage for the Violent Femmes set. Just walking on stage they received a huge welcome from the crowd. And with out any ado at all, they cracked straight in to it with “Blister in the Sun”. They played like their album release was last year, like they do it all the time, and most of the crowd was up and dancing without a second thought. Naturally, with their time in the industry and their experience, they could play each track with a kind of laid back delivery, but full of cheer and that cool swagger attitude. Effortless in fact. They dubbed themselves the Grandfathers of folk-punk and to be blunt, they’re dead right on that call. And of course, they are one of those acts that can play their album from start to finish and hold every person in the palm of their hands for every single track, in spite of us all knowing what would come next. “Kiss Off” went off, the big slappy bass tones of “Please Do Not Go” had the crowd going crazy,  “Add It Up” had everyone singing every word at the top of their voice, and I was having a bit of a Reality Bites flashback. It was a glorious set, they sounded almost exactly like they did the day it was released and they were such a joy to watch, clearly having a great time on stage.

The Cat Empire at Falls Festival Marion BayOur final folky act of the night was our name sake and one of our favourite acts, The Cat Empire. I wanted to make notes and recall all they played, highlight the nuances of their set, but in true Cat Empire style, they just nailed it. They have this ability to cheer a crowd as soon as they walk on stage, talk to us all like we’re personal friends just jamming at their place, and have us all singing, dancing, grooving and jumping along to every track. They played a great selection of their back catalogue interspersed with tracks from Steal The Light and they generally got the party really pumping. We, as a crowd moved and grooved as one, loving every second. They, as always, nailed it. I read a Faster Louder review of the Marion Bay Falls  that put the Cat Empire down to a “pale imitation of The Roots” due to their scheduling, but clearly the reviewer was at an alternate universe version of the same gig, because we saw nothing of that. In fact, The Roots were a disappointment to us, nothing like we expected, so much so, that we left half way through their set and headed to bed. We must have missed the good bit.

Finally the penultimate day rolled around. Day 3, Tuesday 31st December – New Years Eve and the reason we were all there.

Gossling at Falls Festival Marion BayAfter a lazy lie-in, we headed to the Field stage to see one of our favourites, Gossling who we enjoyed seeing back in 2011. What a difference 2 years makes, from opening spot on the main stage at Lorne to a modest crowd, to a mid afternoon Marion Bay Field Stage spot absolutely packed with punters. Having not yet caught the latest offering from Gossling, I wasn’t quite that sure what to expect but bouyed by her unassuming start and complete skipping of any kind of chattering intro, Helen and band kicked straight in to the set with glee and abandon. Her set was heartfelt yet forthright, pulling tracks predominantly from the new album Harvest of Gold. The intimate setting allowed Helen to tell the stories behind the songs; the  love song about a couple who had been together a long time, whose spark was there in the beginning but is no longer there and the resulting mutual break up; her early experiences with social media as an artist and that anyone can say anything they want online and she just has to stop being a little pussy; and the day to day observations and experiences of life. Particular highlights included “Songs of Summer” (co-written with Steve Parkin) and that lamentable opening line “On a  Friday night, a thousand weeks ago” replete with male vocals (by Alexander Burnett of Sparkadia on the record) as well as the sheer frustration meets pop sensibilities of “Challenge” and it’s social media mayhem. All in all, another delightful afternoon spent with Gossling.

The John Steel Singers at Falls Festival Marion BayHustling from one stage to the next meant we could get a glimpse of The John Steel Singers on the Valley stage and their dedicated fans clamouring to tyhe front of the stage. Their set was upbeat and at times delivered a psychedelic vibe to the over all indie sound. I’ve heard a bit about the group, especially because TnS contributor Haz is a bit of a fan boy, but I was truly delighted by their tight harmonies and elegant guitar work. An oldie but a goodie, “Strawberry Wine” was a particular favourite with the crowd and as we made our way to our next stop, the set was in full swing, crowd singing and dancing along and glimpses of harmonised spleandour taunted us.

Later in the day we found ourselves back at the Field stage to catch complete unknowns, Bombino. Within an instant, our reaction was “They’re so cool!” Rocking traditional garb albeit of shiny material, and sporting electric guitars, this was an outfit set to impress. Opening rocky riffs drew an instant crowd to dance along. Singing in their native language, inspite of having no clue what was being said, their music translated with a sense of storytelling that spoke directly to the soul each member of the audience.

Bombino at Falls Festival Marion BayThe easiest way to describe their sound is a kind of a meeting of world music and indie stylings. Band members hail from West Africa, Niger, so it’s desert music that they play with touches of a Reggae feel to their beat. Bombino delivered a consistent energy and tempo throughout their set, holding the crowd in their groove through to the end, with a huge cheer from the audience to thank them for the performance. This is the kind of group I think Ash Grunwald would love to jam with!

Emma Louise at Falls Festival Marion BayRecovering from Bombino, we were set put to catch Emma Louise at the Field stage. Having missed a lot locally for the last 18months, I was curious to see just how far from folk Emma Louise had moved. With a heady mix of synth keyboard, acoustic guitar and stripped back drum kit, it was hard to predict just what would arrive. She walked out on stage looking super slick, breathy backing vocals began and she strapped on her acoustic guitar, much to the appreciation of the volminous audience. Stunning, breathy harmonised vocals wafted over the crowd creating a haunting and still opening. She has really matured and grasped the ethereal indie sound that Matt Corby toyed with a few years ago but delivers it with strength, confidence and delicate handling of the style.

“Toys”  gave a clever meld of synth, guitar and those evocative vocals, smooth as butter and just as addictive. Her stage presence has come leaps and bounds since I last saw her at Falls in Lorne, a true professional graces the stage now and captures the audience, holding them with every lick of a lyric.

The crowd, as one, responded to each synth-laden ethereal moment creating a sense of anticipation. “Tessalate” erupted from a mournful synth opening, trilling guitar and tantalising snare that broke in to a solid bass drum rhythm. Emma Louise’s Florence-esque vocals wound their way through the soundscape, met with harmonised backing, building to a beautiful crescendo before a delicate ending.

The set was peppered with new and old tracks including the strong keyboard, drum rhythms and intertwined angelic vocals of “Atlasize” and the rolling intimacy of “Keep Me Warm” allowed her great vocal range to tip in to and out of melancholic, interlocking harmonies to create an incredible, dreamlike atmosphere. And naturally, she ended with that favourite and original hit, “Jungle” which had the already large crowd heaving with enthusiasm and joy.

Crystal Fighters at Falls Festival Marion BayWhen we headed to the Valley stage for the Crystal Fighters, we had no real idea what to expect except that their bio included the word folktronica, so of course, I was there. The crowd were very excited for them and as they entered the stage they made an amazing visual impact as they were all dressed for the occassion. It seems this is what happens when a strange mix of percussion, glittery costumes and acoustic meets electric cohesion. No matter their cross-genre mix, the crowd were instantly dancing.

It all got a bit folkalicious when their txalaparta came into it’s fore (for those playing along, it’s like a giant xylophone played by two people at once), it was almost tribal in nature, matched with a thumping drum rhythm in an altogether stripped backing style to the vocals before the synth and full ensemble sound built in to a massive presence with crowd jumping and dancing feverishly. Did I mention they manage to include a ukelele in their dance music ensemble?

Love is all I’ve got for this act. Infectiously fun and impossible not to enjoy! I mean, you’ve got to love a bit of electric, hyper ukelele. They managed the crowd beautifully, taking us musically down to the beach (the real beach we could see from our vantage point), down through a
mellow, strummy intro in to the calyspo feel backing and harmonised vocals of “Plage”, where the synth builds before a big electric guitar line joins the party. I also adored the epic cow bell that features in “I Love London”. I think this is one of my favourite, highlight acts from the whole festival, a must see and a must to track down some of their back catalogue!

Grizzly Bear at Falls Festival Marion BayComing down from such a high energy set, we stayed at the Valley stage to catch Grizzly Bear
It was their second New Year’s Eve in Tassie and they seemed quite happy with their lot. Their opening number, “Speak in Rounds” brought with it the haunting quality of their vocals and the woozy atmospherics their sets are renowned for. They moved from one set to the next with such grace and ease that at times you’d forgotten that one song ended and another begun. The inextricably mellow and chilled resonance segued effortlessly in to echoey lament only to give way occasionally to a bluesy rock beat or to a revel in synthesizer gait.

Their performance is one of those truly enrapturing experiences, where their dreamy set can transport you to another reality, parrallel to the often frenetic energy of Marion Bay on a special occasion.

Neil Finn at Falls Festival Marion BayThe final folkishly influenced act on the Valley stage that night was the irrepressible, Neil Finn. We saw Finn take the stage back in Lorne and while that was a fun set, there was something more this time around. Whether the vibe of the Marion Bay festival or the hubbub of New Year’s Eve, either way, in that inimitable personality and presence, the audience was putty in Finn’s hands.

He crafted together a set filled with nostalgia, of hits and favourites as well as braw new works from recent album Dizzy Heights. Of the old songs, there was once voice as the crowd sang in unison, word for word, proving just how timeless Crowded House and Split Enz are. Of the new works, my favourite was the transidental temporary insantiy of “Pony Ride”, or that could just have been Finn’s explanation for the song and somehow we were all suddenly riding rainbows on unicorns with him, likely in hysterics. Title track “Dizzy Heights” and “Flying in the Face of Love” also were received well, but it was moments like Kirin J Callinan jumping in for a guitar solo on the Crowded House track “Locked Out” that made the set memorable. The spine tingling closer, one man on his knees and one guitar with no amped sound while crew changed over behind him for the next set, the thousands strong crowd with just the utterance of it’s opening  had us off singing “Better Be Home Soon” and claimed the defining moment of the night.

I don’t recall much of the actual New Year, with MGMT running over time, a quick countdown before kissing and hugging your nearest and dearest, or the random crowd members beside you, and then finally The Wombats hitting us with an onslaught of hits and subsequent dancing frenzy, it all just blurs together to be an energy filled night of frivolity with a matching hangover the next morning.

But, if you’re going to wake up with a hangover anywhere in the world, Falls Festival Marion Bay just moved up my list of acceptable places to do so.

Blue Mountains Music Festival Announces First Lineup

Xavier Rudd
Image Courtesy of Xavier Rudd

The Blue Mountains Music Festival, which will be held from the 14th to the 16th March next year, is one of our favourite events throughout the year. Close enough to Sydney that it’s accessible (we’ve been known to watch the last act on a Sunday and then catch the last train back) yet far enough away that you feel like you’re getting away from it all, the Blue Mountains Music Festival has the best of both worlds.

The first lineup for the 2014 festival was announced this week and as usual it’s the perfect combination of folk, roots, indie and world music from Australia and around the world. Heading up the festival will be Xavier Rudd (above), Ash Grunwald and Lior, who will be joined by the likes of Rory McLeod, Eleanor McEvoy, Hanggai, Blair Dunlop, Peter Rowan Band with Richard Greene, Rose Cousins, Eric Bogle, Jeff Lang, Slava & Leonard Grigoryan, Flap!, Sunas, The Woohoo Revue, The Pigs, The BordererS, The Tiger And Me, Jack Carty, Mustered Courage, George & Noriko, Hat Fitz & Cara, Dan Parsons, The Mae Trio and many many more.

Tickets for the festival are on sale now. For more information check out the official web site here. The full lineup so far is below:

Xavier Rudd, Ash Grunwald, Lior, The Good Lovelies, Rory McLeod, Eleanor McEvoy, Hanggai, Chipolatas, Blair Dunlop, Swamp Thing, Peter Rowan Band with Richard Greene, Rose Cousins, Eric Bogle, Jeff Lang, Slava & Leonard Grigoryan, Flap!, Roesy, Jesse Valach & Blues Mountain, Grace Barbe, Sunas, The Woohoo Revue, The Pigs, The BordererS, The Tiger And Me, Benny Walker, Jack Carty, Mustered Courage, George & Noriko, Hat Fitz & Cara, Dan Parsons, Equus, Circus Solarus, Allan Caswell, Rachael Brady, Snez, Andrea Soler, The Mae Trio, Cole And Van Dijk, Belle Jar, Wagana Dancers, Gregg Borschmann’s Heartland Conversations, Poets’ Breakfasts

Port Fairy Unveils First Artists for 2014

Port Fairy
Image Courtesy of Port Fairy Folk Festival

It looks like the festival announcements are set to continue this week with the Port Fairy Folk Festival the latest event to release its lineup. Port Fairy have been “leaking” the lineup over the last couple of weeks but today the first round of artists was officially released.

On the international side of things we have the likes of Altan (Ireland), Blair Dunlop (UK), Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen (USA), Madeline Peyroux (USA), Rory McLeod (UK), Rose Cousins (Canada) and many many more.

And while that’s pretty impressive, the list of local artists on the lineup is just as impressive including Archie Roach, Ash Grunwald, Bobby Alu, Daniel Champagne, The Mae Trio, The Pigs, The Tealeaves, The Tiger & Me, Things of Stone and Wood and many more.

The Port Fairy Folk Festival takes place in Port Fairy from the 7th to 10th March. For more information check out the official site here. The full lineup so far are below:

Alaska String Band, Altan, Antonio Serrano, Archie Roach, Ash Grunwald, Ben Salter, Blair Dunlop, Bobby Alu, Chris Wilson’s Crown of Thorns, Daniel Champagne, David Bridie & The Pills, Dog Trumpet, Gleny Rae Virus & her Playboys, Grace Barbé, Jaaleekay, Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Lunasa, Madeline Peyroux, Margret RoadKnight, Marisa Quigley, Mic Conway’s National Junk Band, Pokey La Farge, Rory McLeod, Rose Cousins, The Band Who Knew Too Much, The JVG Guitar Method, The Mae Trio, The Pigs, The Tealeaves, The Tiger & Me, The Topp Twins, Things of Stone and Wood

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