Bluesfest Review: Saturday Celebration


Vintage Trouble at Bluesfest. Photos by Stuart Bucknell Photography

It’s Saturday and celebration day! Yes, we’re marking a birthday so today includes a sleep in and much frivolity throughout the day.

After arriving via the southern car park and gate, you stroll straight to The Wilson Pickers’ 2pm set at Jambalaya to be greeted by a decadent, slow building guitar intro coupled with the howling harmonica and sublime close harmonies of “Man of Misery.” It’s a striking and beautiful balance between the full sound of 5 part harmonies and 5 stringed instruments all having their moment to shine and lead the way. Through you’re treated to their playful interaction with the audience and every opportunity to clap along. In particular, they give a real gift with a stunning, spine tingling rendition of Jolene!

After stopping to grab a doughnut (who needs birthday cake when you can have a hot, chocolate filled doughnut!?) you’re ready to kick back and take in the sparkling wit and cheek of Billy Bragg. It’s 4:30pm and the Crossroads stage is already overflowing for this sure fire favourite. Sitting outside, we’re bathed in afternoon sun with an enormous Bragg on screen in front of us. He’s jovial, tongue firmly in cheek, and you would hardly even notice he’s performing solo, his sheer personality and presence fills the stage. Irreverent and political as always, he’s not shy of poking fun at himself, especially when he gets his own songs wrong. His sarcastic wit is razor sharp as he quips “thank goodness it’s not one of those gigs with great big screens either side of stage that show the worried look on your face!” to which we all laugh heartily.

We all expect a Dylan cover, but Bragg’s signature mischief makes it current, changing lyrics to become “But the times, they are a changing BACK!” much to the glee of the audience. Bragg continues to make every piece of his set relevant to right now. One of the more pertinent moments is when he claims “Sexuality rules do not apply to me. There is a crisis in masculinity. This weekend, men all over will be pressurised in to doing things they don’t want to. For many, many years our sisters have rightly fought against the pressure to be a domestic goddess. Now it’s our turn to resist the pressure to be a DIY demon. Admit we’re never going to be as good at shit as our Dad’s were. To a man with a hammer in their hand, everything looks like a nail. That nail will never go in straight no matter how many times we bang it in. There are other ways to express your innate masculine creativity.” He has personality in spades and it’s the first time we’ve seen him live. It’s not his musicality hat commands attention, but his personality and attitude of inclusion and solidarity. He even gets a rarity at festivals, an encore, with the entire crowd singing along to “A New England”.

With our stomachs and cheeks hurting from laughing, we head back to the Crossroads stage at 6pm to catch Vintage Trouble’s guaranteed wowser of a show. They astounded us last year and this year is no different. Blasting on to the stage, they are full of energy and aim to please. A non-stop soul overload, with a cherry on top as Beth Hart joins the extravaganza on stage for “Run Baby, Run”.

We pop over to the neighbouring Jambalaya stage to catch the end of feisty Irish Mythen’s set, whom we lost our minds over last year. The atmosphere is thick with joy and the jovial feel only increases as we step inside, just in time for a stirring, completely a Capella rendition of Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz”, with every voice joining and all hands clapping. Mythen delivers a powerhouse, gut wrenching finale to  such a well known and loved song, complete with huge notes and a deserved enormous crowd response. In a delightful surprise finish, Mythen is joined on stage by an adorable toddler, Lois, the daughter of Cass Eager (who also joins them on stage). Mythen comments that “Four walls are very special to me. If the people around you are happy and healthy and you’ve got a roof over your head, you’re too goddamn rich” to introduce Eager giving a stunning a Capella performance of “None of that Matters” and to finish the set, Mythen tears the house down and fires up the crowd with her signature “Jesus Be Reasonable”.

We swing by the Crossroads stage to catch Beth Hart’s 7.30pm set and are met with a sassy, powerful, soulful performance with a delicate balance between the power and energy of the full band and the intimacy of her solo moments. The soul soaked blues wrap us all in familiarity while the funky piano riffs as Hart takes to the keyboard picks us all up in mood and energy for “Spirit of God”. The way Hart strikes a harmony between solemn piano interludes and the visceral, earthy backing from the band is mesmerising.

At 9pm we stop in at the Mojo stage and watch curiously as Sir Rosevelt’s video intro sets the scene, complete with moody tones and high production values. The crowd welcomes the band to the stage, the dapper gents and their instant impact of powerful, punctuated lyrics from lead singer Zac Brown energises the crowd and takes us in a direction we really didn’t anticipate! Some really divine slide guitar has their sound soaked in strings and attitude. Here we were thinking this was going to be an electrified pop-folk showcase, but then they bring on the dance! The instant reaction from us all is, “Woah!!” as a full scale dance track, complete with choreographed dancers smashes expectations and takes over the stage. We can hardly believe the combination of the funk laden dance with acoustic guitars! It’s a crazy, weird but funky meld of the two genres, pop-folk and dance, but we like it as we groove into the night.

To finish the night, we indulge in a quick stop to see Nahko and Medicine for the People at 9.30pm at the Jambalaya stage. We caught glimpses of them last year so make an effort to take in some of their set before departing for home. Filling the stage with energy and the vibe of fully intertwined workings of a 6-piece ensemble, the diversity is all encompassing with lots of influences and sounds melding together to create musical medicine for the people. They pack a punch with a very upbeat and full sound, enveloping us with their combination of rock and horns and strings. It feels like Power-folk!

After another huge day, we head for home and look forward to what is still to come over the next two days.

Missed Friday? Come for a walk with us through Bluesfest on Good Friday.
View our full Bluesfest photo gallery on our Facebook Page.

Highlights from Saturday at Bluesfest

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Thank Folk It’s Friday – 13th January

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Indie folk duo Husky released their new video “Late Night Store”. Details here

– Sydney summer concert series Courtyard Sessions announced their 2017 lineup including Imogen Clark, Leroy Lee, Jordie Lane, Taryn La Fauci, Skyscraper Stan, The Cruisin’ Deuces and more. Details here

– Sahara Beck released her new single “Crack Bang Bang”. Details here

– Ex-member of The Middle East Jordan Ireland announced his new album Jordan Ireland With Purple Orchestra and beautiful new single “East Coaster”. Details here

– Singer-songwriter Jack Carty announced a tour through February, March and April. Details here

William Crighton released his new video “Jesus Blues”. Details here

– Indie-folk duo The Campervan Dancers released their new video “St⭐️rlight (Pickin’ Pears)”. Details here

– Canadian folk and trad trio The East Pointers have announced a massive Australian tour kicking off in March. Details here

– We posted the latest video from bluegrass duo The Weeping Willows, “Fallen Ring”. Details here

– Australia’s queen of country Kasey Chambers announced her new double album Dragonfly. Details here

– Melbourne singer-songwriter Kathleen Mary Lee released her video “Hey, Very Good Friend”. Details here

– Australian tour dates were announced for Billy Bragg and Joe Henry. Details here

Blog

With the new year upon us it’s time to look ahead at some of the great folk, roots and acoustic music that will be coming our way in 2017. We had a stab at picking 10 artists we think you should be keeping an eye on in the coming months including All Our Exes Live in Texas, Davidson Brothers, Fleet Foxes, Husky, Jordan Ireland, Laura Marling, Punch Brothers, Rhiannon Giddens, The Morrisons and Timberwolf. Blog here

Releases This Week

Flo Morrissey
Gentlewoman, Ruby ManFlo Morrissey & Matthew E. White
iTunes

Laws of Gravity
Laws of GravityThe Infamous Stringdusters
iTunes

The McClymonts
EndlessThe McClymonts
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Illawarra Folk Festival

Illawarra FF

Our favourite mid size folk festival kicks off this weekend with an amazing lineup including Andy Irvine and Luke Plumb, FourWinds, Tattletale Saints, The Whitetop Mountaineers, Tim O’Brien, Wallis Bird, Daniel Champagne, Echo Deer, Handsome Young Strangers, Lime and Steel, Mandy Connell, Martin Pearson, Nigel Wearne, Shanty Club, The Squeezebox Trio, Tinpan Orange, Big Erle, Jane Aubourg, Joe Mungovan, Kay Proudlove, Shelley’s Murder Boys, The Lurkers and many many more.

Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Bulli, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Áine Tyrrell
Friday 13th January – Rosny Barn, TAS
Saturday 14th January – Waratah Hotel, Hobart, TAS
Friday 20th January – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Alanna and Alicia
Thursday 12th to Saturday 14th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

Alice Terry
Thursday 19 January – Village Stage, Meriton Festival Village, Sydney, NSW

Andy Irvine w/ Luke Plumb
Friday 13th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW
Thursday 19th January – Bathurst City Community Club, Bathurst, NSW
Friday 20th January – Fairlight Folk Acoustic Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Backsliders w/ Shelly’s Murder Boys
Saturday 14th January – Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW

Banjo Jackson
Thursday 19th January – Hither & Yon, Willunga, SA

Ben Salter
Thursday 19th January – The Golden Barley, Sydney, NSW

Blue King Brown
Friday 13th January – Mona Vale Hotel, Mona Vale, NSW

Bluegrass @ Yulli’s Bluegrass Picnic
Wenesday 18th January – Balls Head Reserve, Sydney, NSW

Broads
Sunday 15th January – The Golden Barley, Sydney, NSW

Cash Savage & The Last Drinks
Wednesday 18th January – Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, Sydney, NSW

Courtyard Sessions Presents Imogen Clark
Friday 13th January – Seymour Centre, Sydney, NSW

Courtyard Sessions Presents Leroy Lee
Friday 20th January – Seymour Centre, Sydney, NSW

Don McGlashan
Friday 13th January – Brookfields Shed, Margate, TAS
Saturday 20th January – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd January – Mofo, Mona Foma, Hobart, TAS

eüsh, Nic Cassey & Friends
Thursday 19th January – Marlborough Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Fairlight Folk feat. Andy Irvine & Luke Plumb, Seanchas
Friday 20th January – Fairlight Folk Acoustic Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Fanny Lumsden
Friday 20th January – Fanzone Performance, Tamworth, NSW

FolkSwagon feat. GG Music, Ben Camden, Julia Johnson
Wednesday 18th January – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Fourwinds
Wednesday 11th to Sunday 15th January – Illawara Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW
Tuesday 17th January – Wauchope Arts Hall, Wauchope, NSW
Wednesday 18th January – 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW
Friday 20th January – The Unorthodox Church of Groove, Newcastle, NSW

George & Noriko
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW

Gregory Page
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW

Handsome Young Strangers
Thursday 12th to Saturday 14th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW
Friday 20th January – Botany View Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Hat Fitz & Cara
Thursday 19th January – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd January – Thredbo Blues Festival, Thredbo, NSW

High and Lonesome feat. Katie Crane, Scott Collins, John Woolhouse
Saturday 14th January – The Bellingen Brewery & Co., Bellingen, NSW

Hinterlandt
Thursday 19th January – Alpha House Artist Co, Sydney, NSW
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd January – Mofo, Mona Foma, Hobart, TAS

HONK! Oz
Thursday 19th to Saturday 21st January – Wollongong, NSW

Hootenanny feat. Mark Lucas and The Dead Setters
Sunday 15th January – Miss Peaches, Sydney, NSW

Illawarra Folk Festival
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Bulli, NSW

Jenny Biddle
Thursday 19th January – The Basement, Sydney, NSW

Joe & Harmony’s Trippy Hippy Band
Thursday 12th to Saturday 14th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

Josh Pyke & Bob Evans
Friday 13th January – Esk BeerFest, Launceston, TAS

Kenta Hayashi
Thursday 12th to Saturday 14th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW
Wednesday 18th January – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Friday 20th January – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW

King Arthur
Thursday 19th January – The Rooks Return, Melbourne, VIC

Kirsty Bromley
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW

Kyle Taylor
Friday 13th January – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 14th January – The Exeter, Adelaide, SA

Lake Street Dive
Friday 13th January – Sydney Festival, Sydney, NSW

Lime & Steel
Wednesday 11th to Sunday 15th January – Illawara Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

MANE
Sunday 15th January – Hither & Yon, Willunga, SA

Matt Henry
Thursday 19th January – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Matt J Ward & The Rising Sons w/ Alana Jagt, Sam Newton
Sunday 15th January – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA

Melody Moko, The Wayward Henrys & Andrew Swift
Thursday 19th January – The Stag & Hunter, Newcastle, NSW

Missy Higgins
Sunday 15th January – Australian Open Sessions, Melbourne, VIC

Mofo
Friday 20th to Sunday 21st January – Mona Foma, Hobart, TAS

Nigel Wearne
Thursday 12th to Saturday 14th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW
Friday 20th January – Mountain Mumma, Sheffield, TAS

Numeralla Folk Festival
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd January – Numberalla, NSW

Passenger
Friday 20th January – Riverstage Theatre, Brisbane, QLD

Pierce Brothers
Friday 13th January – The Grand, Morngington, VIC
Saturday 14th January – Westernport Hotel, San Remo, VIC
Thursday 19th January – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 20th January – The Foundry, Brisbane, QLD

Roesy
Saturday 14th January – Salt Contemporary Art Gallery, Queenscliff, VIC
Sunday 15th January – Long Play, Melbourne, VIC

Sahara Beck
Friday 13th January – The Rhythm Hut, Gosford, NSW

Sharon Shannon
Friday 13th January – Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh, VIC
Saturday 14th January – Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 15th January – Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Shelley’s Murder Boys
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW
Saturday 14th January – Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW
Thursday 19th January – Mr Falcon’s, Sydney, NSW

Tamar Valley Folk Festival
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd January – Georgetown, TAS

Tamworth Country Music Festival
Friday 20th to Sunday 29th January – Tamworth, NSW

Tattletale Saints
Friday 13th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW

The Outside Track
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW

The Porch Sessions On Tour feat. Stu Larsen, Luke Thompson, Tim Moore
Friday 13th January – Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 15th January – Bacchus Marsh, VIC
Wednesday 18th January – Wollongong, NSW
Friday 20th January – Sydney (Croydon Park), NSW

The Snakemen
Sunday 19th January – Wayward Brewing Company, Sydney, NSW

The Weeping Willows
Sunday 15th January – The Standard Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

The Whitetop Mountaineers
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW
Wednesday 18th January – Yinnar Community Hall, Yinnar, VIC
Thursday 19th January – Valencia Creek Hall, Brigalong, VIC
Friday 20th January – Harvester Moon Café, Bellarine, VIC

Thompson Springs w/ Maia Marsh
Friday 13th January – The Front, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 15th January – Retreat Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Monday 16th January – Cherry Bar, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 17th January – Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 20th January – Club 54, Launceston, TAS

Thredbo Blues Festival
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd January – Thredbo, NSW

Tim O’Brien
Friday 13th to Saturday 14th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW
Sunday 15th January – The Quarter Deck, Narooma, NSW
Thursday 19th January – The Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

TinPan Orange
Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

Vanishing Shapes
Sunday 15th January – The Milk Factory, Brisbane, QLD
Monday 16th January – Camp Davey, Lismore, NSW
Wednesday 18th January – Phoenix Rising Café, Nimbin, NSW
Thursday 19th January – Treehouse on Belongil, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 20th January – Miami Marketta, Gold Coast, QLD

Wallis Bird
Friday 13th and Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

We Lost the Sea w/ The Crooked Fiddle Band
Saturday 14th January – Northcote Social Club, Sydney, NSW

William Crighton
Saturday 14th January – Quarterdeck, Narooma, NSW

Winter Wilson
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW
Thursday 19th January – Braidwood Folk Club, Braidwood, NSW
Friday 20th January – Humph Hall, Sydney, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“The Bonny Ship, The Diamond” – Beoga

English superstar Ed Sheeran dropped details of his upcoming album ÷. The album will include collaborations with Irish trad band Beoga so we think it’s time you got acquainted.

Billy Bragg & Joe Henry Announce Australian Tour Dates

Billy Bragg
Image Courtesy of Billy Bragg and Joe Henry

Following the success of their amazing 2016 album Shine a Light: Field Recordings from the Great American Railroad folk music legends Billy Bragg and Joe Henry have announced plans to tour Australia this March.

The two singers will be in the country for Bluesfest followed by shows in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adleaide and Fremantle.

Check out the full list of dates below:

Thursday 13th to Monday 17th April – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW
Wednesday 19th April – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 20th April – The Playhouse, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 22nd April – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 23rd April – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Monday 24th April – Fowler’s Live, Adelaide, SA
Friday 28th April – Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle, WA

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 23rd December

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– We picked our top 25 albums and EPs of 2016 including releases from Applewood Road, Mumford & Sons with Baaba Maal, The Very Best & Beatenberg, Billy Bragg and Joe Henry, Bon Iver22, A Million, Burrows, Eagle & The Wolf, Foy Vance, Gregory Alan Isakov, Imogen Clark, Jack Carty, James Kenyon, Melody Pool, Michael Kiwanuka, Oh Pep!, One Up, Two Down, Passenger, Paul Kelly, Radical Face, Rowena Wise, Seth Lakeman feat. Wildwood Kin, The Company, The Staves, The Weeping Willows and William Fitzsimmons. Details here

– We reached out to the Timber and Steel community to get them to pick their top albums of the year. The results are wonderful with well over 100 artists contributing. Details here

– Our Editor In Chief Gareth Hugh Evans picked his top 25 tracks of 2016 including songs from Ariela Jacobs, Bon Iver, Burrows, Eagle & The Wolf, Emmy The Great, Fanny Lumsden, Foy Vance, Gretta Ray, Imogen Clark, James Kenyon, Laura Marling, Matthew And The Atlas, Melody Pool, Michael Kiwanuka, Mumford and Sons with Baaba Maal, The Very Best & Beatenberg, One Up, Two Down, Passenger with All Our Exes Live in Texas & Luke Thompson, Paul Kelly with Alice Keath, Rowena Wise, Sam Newton, Seth Lakeman with Wildwood Kin, Sian Evans, The Campervan Dancers, The Weeping Willows and William Fitzsimmons. Details here

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Woodford Folk Festival

Woodford

Tuesday 27th December to Sunday 1st January – Woodford, QLD

Gigs Next Week

Áine Tyrrell
Tuesday 27th December to Sunday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Amerrycana Christmas feat. Catherine Britt, Gregory Page, Katie Brianna, Adam Young, Brielle Davis, Arna Georgia
Friday 23rd December – Marrickville Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Get Folked 2016 New Years Eve Eve feat. Peter ‘Blackie’ Black, Dan Kemp(UK), Jim Mongrel, Whiskey Jeff Larson, James Seymour, Sooze, Jim Lynch
Friday 30th December – Lazybones Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Eddie Boyd
Friday 23rd December – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW

James Thomson & The Strange Pilgrims w/ Magpie Diaries
Friday 23rd December – Stag and Hunter Hotel, Newcastle, NSW

Justin Bernasconi
Saturday 24th December – City Sounds, Brisbane, QLD
Tuesday 27th December to Sunday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

PJ Michael & The Banditas
Thursday 29th December – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA

Steve Poltz
Friday 23rd December – The Govenor Hindmarsh, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 24th December – Flying Saucer Club, Elsternwick, VIC

The Whitetop Mountaineers
Tuesday 27th December to Sunday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

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

Friday Folk Flashback

“The Wexford Carol” – Yo-Yo Ma & Alison Krauss

Timber and Steel’s Top Albums of 2016

Vintage Recording

For me 2016 was the year where the singer-songwriter reigned supreme and where the more experimental edges of the folk genres got my attention. I’m actually surprised there’s not a lot more bluegrass and Americana music on this list given that’s been my focus over the last few years, but I think this is a pretty nice collection of what’s been on high rotation in the Timber and Steel bullpen throughout 2016.

As always it’s hard to pick just 25 albums and no doubt your favourite hasn’t made this list. But as always there’s a few more “best of” lists to come this week so stay tunes.

So without further ado here are Timber and Steel’s top albums of 2016.

Foy Vance
1. Foy VanceThe Wild Swan
From the opening blues of “Noam Chomsky Is A Soft Revolution” through the rootsy folk of “She Burns” to the sixties folk of “Fire It Up (The Silver Spear)” The Wild Swan is a simply cracking album from Northern Irish troubadour Foy Vance.

Never one to be confined by expectation The Wild Swan takes you on a journey through blues, soul, Americana, folk and more, with Vance deftly weaving everything together in a single coherent piece of joy. I love how individual each and every song is while still having enough of a through line that the album is utterly listenable from start to finish.

I’ve been across Foy Vance for some time now but the lead single from this album, “She Burns”, was my way into his music. The Wild Swan was the perfect soundtrack for a driving holiday I took in New Zealand earlier in the year, rolling with the landscape and sinking deep into my bones.

Almost every track is a standout but “She Burns” and “Bangor Town” are the tracks I keep coming back to. The Wild Swan has turned me into a life-long Foy Vance fan – I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Burrows
2. BurrowsBurrows
I didn’t realise this when I first heard it but I’ve been waiting for Burrows’ self titled album for about three years. I saw Sam King perform at the 2013 National Folk Festival and fell in love with his delicate folk music. Little did I know that that appearance would be the beginning of the Burrows project and that their debut album would become a firm favourite this year. King’s voice, the beautiful harmonies from the rest of the band, the understated instrumentation all come together to build an amazing piece of art. Standout track is without a doubt “Falling Apart”.

The Company
3. The CompanySix & Five
Six & Five is a thoroughly modern bluegrass album from a local band at the top of their game. This is bluegrass without the play-as-fast-as-you-can gimmickry so many modern bluegrassers rely on. Instead this is solid songwriting backed by some of the best musicians in the country. “Another Season”, “Six and Five” and “Androids” are all standout tracks but to be honest my list of favourites changes on every listen. And can I just say that I think Michael Patrick has my favourite bluegrass voice in Australia.

Bon Iver
4. Bon Iver22, A Million
Part of me expected the new Bon Iver album would be an extension of the cinematic indie-folk of 2011’s self-titled opus. So when 22, A Million landed I was more than a little blindsided – but in a wonderful way. All glitches, samples, electronics and overdubs, the album is completely immersive and a giant leap forward for Justin Vernon. At the heart of it all is Vernon’s unique voice and some pretty amazing songwriting which stands up regardless of the beeps and bops.

Melody Pool
5. Melody PoolDeep Dark Savage Heart
Melody Pool delivers an amazingly red raw new album dealing with her own experiences of depression and mental illness. The songwriting is mature and complex and requires the listener to engage, not passively sit by as the music washes over you. I’ve picked Pool as an artist to watch for many years now and I feel with Deep Dark Savage Heart she’s delivering completely on her potential. Just listen to “Black Dog” or “Love, She Loves Me” and try not to fall for Melody Pool.

William Fitz
6. William FitzsimmonsCharleroi: Pittsburgh, Volume 2
Pittsburgh was easily one of my favourite albums of 2015 so when William Fitzsimmonsfollowed it up with a mini-album featuring a bunch of unreleased tracks from the same recording session earlier this year I was a very happy man. Fitzsimmons’ beautiful, melancholic songs draw you in and keep you captivated. I love his hushed vocal style – this is definitely lean in music.

One Up Two Down
7. One Up, Two DownA Day On The Quay
Two of Australia’s most talented folk musicians – George Jackson and Daniel Watkins – join forces with American bassist Andrew Small for this wonderful mini album from the beginning of this year. Stuffed full of amazing instrumentals like “Kansas City Railroad Blues” and “The Ways Of The World”, it’s actually the traditional song “Bury Me Not On The Lone Praire” that keeps me returning to A Day On The Quay again and again.

Radical Face
8. Radical FaceThe Family Tree: The Leaves
The final chapter of Radical Face’s The Family Tree series is a triumphant bookend to an amazing project. The album is full to the brim with Radical Face’s trademark layered vocals, finger-picked guitars and soundscapes making this a unique indie-folk experience. The rumour is that Radical Face will be changing stylistic direction now that The Family Tree is done so I can recommend immersing yourself in this album before getting ready for his next adventure.

Paul Kelly
9. Paul KellySeven Sonnets & A Song
Pairing Paul Kelly with The Bard is absolutely inspired. For the most part Seven Sonnets & A Song sees Kelly flex is folk muscles when adapting the sonnets into songs and the results are lovely. The two singles – “Sonnet 18” and “Sonnet 73” – are by far my favourite tracks on the album with the latter featuring beautiful backing vocals from Sweet Jean’s Alice Keath. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this album is pure magic.

Seth Lakeman
10. Seth Lakeman feat. Wildwood KinBallads Of The Broken Few
Teaming with up-and-coming trio Wildwood Kin was a stroke of genius for Seth Lakeman’s new album Ballads Of The Broken Few. Their three-part harmonies elevate Lakeman’s classic folk sound to something more. I’ve been a fan of Seth Lakeman since I saw him on his last Australian tour and I can honestly say this is my favourite album of his to date – and that is one 100% down to the collaboration with Wildwood Kin. As always Lakeman is able to draw on the tradition to inspire his music while still creating something that is wonderfully modern.

Eagle and the Wolf
11. Eagle & The WolfEagle & The Wolf
The crunchy blues of Kris Morris and the indie-folk of Sarah Humphreys come together for a project that is greater than the sum of its parts

Mumford
12. Mumford & Sons with Baaba Maal, The Very Best & BeatenbergJohannesburg
The combination of Mumford & Sons’ big nu-folk sound with afro-beats and electronic music makes this one of the most joyful releases of the year.

GAI
13. Gregory Alan IsakovGregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony
While the songs may not be new, the arrangements with the Colorado Symphony give Gregory Alan Isakov’s beautiful music a wonderful depth.

Oh Pep
14. Oh Pep!Stadium Cake
Oh Pep! shake off the shackles of straight up indie-folk and embrace all out pop on their debut album.

Billy Bragg
15. Billy Bragg and Joe HenryShine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad
Billy Bragg and Joe Henry dive into the American songbook for their Railway themed album – I especially love their version of “Midnight Special”.

Passenger
16. PassengerYoung As The Morning Old As The Sea
Passenger once again demonstrates why he’s one of the best folk singer-songwriters in the world with the release of Young As The Morning Old As The Sea.

Michael Kiwanuka
17. Michael KiwanukaLove & Hate
Michael Kiwanuka’s melting pot of influences – folk, blues, jazz, soul and R&B – come together on an album that is instantly timeless.

Rowena Wise
18. Rowena WiseRowena Wise
The new queen of quirky indie-folk Rowena Wise delights with her stunning debut.

Matt Corby
19. Matt CorbyTelluric
The long-awaited debut from Matt Corby sees him refusing to be boxed in by genre or convention and creating some stunning music in the process.

Imogen Clark
20. Imogen ClarkLove & Lovely Lies
One of the hardest working singer-songwriters in Sydney releases a debut to be proud of, paving the way for bigger things to come.

Home State
21. Jack CartyHome State
Another solid, positive outing from Jack Carty following a big year of touring (and marrying!) for the singer-songwriter.

Applewood Road
22. Applewood RoadApplewood Road
Singer-songwriters Emily Barker, Amber Rubarth and Amy Speace come together to celebrate their love of classic country music in this wonderful side project.

Weeping Willows
23. The Weeping WillowsBefore Darkness Comes A-Callin’
The Melbourne based duo deliver a heady mix of folk, bluegrass and classic country in their best release yet – no wonder they’ve been nominated for four Golden Guitars

James Kenyon
24. James KenyonImagine You Are Driving
Australia’s most under-rated singer-songwriter delivers a stunning new album that is making the local industry sit up and take notice.

The Staves
25. The StavesSleeping In A Car
The Staves follow up their 2015 debut with a three track EP that continues to prove they are one of the most exciting voices coming out of the UK indie-folk scene.

Bluesfest Announces First Round of Artists for 2017

Bluesfest
Image Courtesy of The Lumineers

It may only be August but that doesn’t mean it isn’t time to start thinking about the 2017 festival season. This morning Bluesfest launched their first round of artists for next years festival and it’s huge.

This morning’s announcement includes Zac Brown Band, Patti Smith, The Lumineers (above), Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Mavis Staples, Billy Bragg, Jethro Tull, Trombone Shorty, Gregory Porter, Snarky Puppy, St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Beth Hart, Laura Mvula, Roy Ayers, Booker T Jones Presents The Stax Records Revue, Andrew Bird, Rickie Lee Jones, Joan Osborne, Turin Brakes, The Strumbellas, Jake Shimabukuro, Dumpstaphunk, Nikki Hill and Irish Mythen with more to be announced.

Bluesfest takes place over the Easter long weekend for the 13th to 17th April. For more information including how to get your hands on tickets check out the official site here.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 12th August

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Singer-songwriter Taasha Coates released her new video “This House Is Gonna Burn”. Details here

Fanny Lumsden announced the dates for her 2016 Country Halls tour. Details here

Billy Bragg and Joe Henry released their version of “The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore”. Details here

– English folk singer Seth Lakeman announced details of his eighth studio album Ballads Of The Broken Few. Details here

– The second round of artists were announced for Dashville Skyline including Henry Wagons & The Only Children, Jordie Lane, William Crighton, Spookyland, Charles Jenkins, The Eastern, James Thomson & The Strange Pilgrims, Tracy McNeil & the GoodLife, Leah Flanagan, Frank Sultana & the Sinister Kids, Jason Walker, Magpie Diaries, Lyle Dennis Express, William John Jr, The Bluegrass Breakfast and Dashville Progress Society. Details here

Tracy McNeil & The Goodlife released their new video “Paradise”. Details here

Releases This Week

Trojan
TrojanLazy Colts
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Katie Brianna

Katie Brianna

I’ve had a chance to listen to Katie Brianna’s upcoming album Victim Or The Heroine and I can tell you its something special. Brianna will be launching the album in her home town of Sydney this Thursday at a show that’s bound to be one of the live highlights of 2016.

Thursday 18th August – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

1916 Show
Sunday 14th August – Club Rose Bay, Sydney, NSW

Adelaide Guitar Festival
Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th August – Adelaide, SA

Áine Tyrrell
Friday 12th August – NightQuarter, Gold Coast, QLD
Saturday 13th – Queen Street Mall, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 14th August – Solbar, Maroochydore, QLD

Bad!Slam!No!Biscuit!: Heat 1 Canberra National Poetry Slam! feat. Pocket Fox
Wednesday 17th August – The Phoenix, Canberra, ACT

BANFF x Caitlin Park
Friday 12th August – Oxford Circus, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 13th August – The Grace Darling, Melbourne, VIC

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn
Friday 12th August – Adelaide Guitar Festival, Adelaide, SA
Monday 15th August – City Recital Hall, Sydney, NSW

Ben Ransom, Sabrina Soares, Mark Lucas, Bill Hunt
Sunday 14th August – The Duck Inn, Sydney, NSW

Bluegrass at Yulli’s feat. Southern Gentlemen
Wednesday 17th August – Yulli’s, Sydney, NSW

Bluestone Junction
Friday 12th August – The Lomond, Melbourne, VIC

Bob Evans w/ Melody Pool
Friday 12th August – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 13th August – Howler, Melbourne, VIC

Charm of Finches
Friday 12th August – The Acoustic Picnic, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 13th August – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW

Corey Harris w/ Kris Morris
Friday 19th August – Caravan Music Club, Melbourne, VIC

Dan Brodie and James Thomson with The Strange Pilgrims
Friday 12th August – Marrickville Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 13th August – The Stag & Hunter Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Sunday 14th August – The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW

Dustin Tebbutt w/ Robbie Miller, Woodes
Friday 12th August – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 13th August – Workers Club, Geelong, VIC
Friday 19th August – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

Fairlight Folk feat. The Faraway Eyes, RAPT, Gallie
Saturday 13th August – Fairlight Folk, Sydney, NSW

FolkSwagon feat. Dominic Youdan, Mimi Gilbert, The Delta Revue
Wednesday 17th August – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Gallie with Rebecca Bastoli
Sunday 14th August – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Hootenanny feat. Callum Wylie
Sunday 14th August – Miss Peaches, Sydney, NSW

Imogen Clark
Wednesday 17th August – The Red Room, Ararat, VIC

Jack Carty, Emily Barker & Jordan Millar
Friday 19th August – Street Theatre, Canberra, ACT

James Kenyon
Friday 12th August – The Hinton Hotel, Hinton, NSW
Saturday 13th August – House Concert, Maitland, NSW
Sunday 14th August – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT

John Flanagan Trio
Friday 12th August – Our Little Caravan, Notting Hill, VIC

Josh Pyke w/ Jack Carty
Friday 12th August – Baroque Bar, Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, NSW
Saturday 13th August – Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW

Katie Brianna
Thursday 18th August – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW

Kelly Country Pick
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st August – Beechworth, VIC

Lazy Colts
Saturday 13th August – Sancho’s Dirty Laundry, Canberra, ACT

Lime and Steel
Friday 19th August – Hornsby Folk Club, Hornsby, NSW

Little Big Wolf
Friday 12th August – Old Dave’s Soul, Sydney, NSW

Live n Lounging feat. Danielle Deckard, The Hollands, Renetta Joy
Sunday 14th August – House Concert, Sydney, NSW

Mark Lucas & The Dead Setters
Friday 12th August – The Merton Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Mimi Gilbert, Lissa
Thursday 18th August – House Concert, Sydney, NSW

Mythra Ensemble
Thursday 18th August – 505, Sydney, NSW

Punch Brothers
Friday 12th August – City Recital Hall, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 13th August – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC

Shearer’s Dream Bush Band
Sunday 14th August – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Taasha Coates
Saturday 13th August – Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 14th August – The Jade, Adelaide, SA

The Dead Maggies
Friday 12th August – The Grand Hotel, Gayndah, QLD
Saturday 13th August – Sonnys, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 14th August – Pub Paradise, Macleay Island, QLD
Tuesday 16th August – Ponyland, Nimbin, NSW
Wednesday 17th August – New Tattersalls, Lismore, NSW
Thursday 18th August – The Federal Hotel, Bellingen, NSW
Friday 19th August – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

The Green Mohair Suits w/ Charm of Finches
Friday 12th August – The Acoustic Picnic, Sydney, NSW

Tom Stephens
Friday 12th August – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW
Friday 19th August – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW

Tracy McNeil & The GoodLife
Friday 12th August – The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA

Winter Jazz: Sanctuary w/ Gary & James Daley
Saturday 13th August – Seymour Centre, Sydney, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“1952 Vincent Black Lightning” – Josh Turner & Carson McKee

Turning this Richard Thompson classic into a bluegrass tune is inspired.

Watch the New Billy Bragg & Joe Henry Video “The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore”

Billy Bragg
Image Courtesy of Billy Bragg

The latest video from Billy Bragg and Joe Henry’s upcoming album of American classics is a cover of Jean Ritchie’s “The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore”. This is the second taste we’ve had from Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad (due on the 23rd Sepetmebr) and it’s pretty special.

Check out the video below:

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 1st July

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Alt-country singer-songwriters Megan Cooper and Brooke Russell have teamed up for a Victorian tour this week. Details here

– Sydney nu-folk stompers Citizen of the World released their new video “Embers”. Details here

The Weeping Willows are currently on tour through ACT, New South Wales and Queensland. Details here

Aidan D. Cooney released his new single “When the Shadows Are Long and There’s a Blood Red Sky”. Details here

Mumford & Sons released their video “Wona” featuring collaborations with Baaba Maal, The Very Best and Beatenberg

– Irish born singer-songwriter Áine Tyrrell is currently heading up the east coast on a bunch of tour dates. Details here

– Alt-country singer-songwriter Tori Forsyth released her amazing new single “Black Bird”. Details here

Taasha Coates from The Audreys is heading out on a solo tour this month. Details here

Billy Bragg and Joe Henry announced their album Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad. Details here

Leah Flanagan released her new single “Chills” and announced a national tour. Details here

– Sydney alt-country singer-songwriter Katie Brianna released her new video “Birmingham”. Details here

Gregory Alan Isakov released his new single “Master And A Hound” with the Colorado Symphony. Details here

Caitlin Park and BANFF released their collaborative video for “My Love, My Lover”. Details here

Reviews

Gigs

“James “Morri” Morrison is an affable front man whose easygoing stage presence kept the audience enthralled throughout. I love the way he personalised Paul Kelly’s songs with his introductions, espousing his personal connections to the material. Morri was joined by a band of fine musicians – Anna McInerey on fiddle, Jimmy Daley on mandolin, Dr Zane Banks on banjo (and even a little bit of guitar!), Iain Tallis on bass and Miles Fraser on lead guitar – who in turn reproduced the musical accompaniment of Paul Kelly’s bluegrass albums and also made the songs their own. For a brief moment I wondered how close the players were getting to the solos and melodies of the original albums and then I realised it didn’t matter – each song was pitch perfect”Gareth Hugh Evans reviews The Morrisons’ show Smoke on a Foggy Highway: The Bluegrass Albums of Paul Kelly. Review here

Releases This Week

Liz Stringer
All The BridgesLiz Stringer
iTunes

Oh Pep
Stadium CakeOh Pep!
iTunes

Todd Sibbin
The Bottled Ship Got FreedomTodd Sibbin
Bandcamp

Tracy McNeil
ThievesTracy McNeil & The GoodLife
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Aidan D. Cooney

Aidan D Cooney

Aidan D. Cooney brings us some brand new music with the official launch of his new single “When the Shadows Are Long and There’s a Blood Red Sky” in Sydney.

Saturday 2nd July – Golden Stage, Golden Age Cinema, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Aidan D. Cooney
Saturday 2nd July – Golden Stage, Golden Age Cinema, Sydney, NSW

Áine Tyrrell
Saturday 2nd July – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 3rd July – The Metropole Guesthouse, Katoomba, NSW
Wednesday 6th July – FogHorn Brewhouse, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July – Bello Winter Music Festival, Bellingen, NSW

BBQ & Blues feat. The Plough
Wednesday 6th July – Surly’s American BBQ, Burgers & Beer, Sydney, NSW

Bello Winter Music Festival
Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th July – Bellingen, NSW

Brooke Russell and Megan Cooper
Friday 1st July – The Skylark Room, Upwey, VIC
Saturday 2nd July – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC
Sunday 3rd July – The Post Office Hotel, Coburg, VIC

Citizen of the World
Friday 1st July – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW

Colin Jones w/ Lazy Colts, Grand Oyster Parade
Thursday 7th July – Slyfox, Sydney, NSW

Colin Lillie
Friday 1st July – Night Quarter, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday 8th July – Darwin Railway Club, Darwin, NT

Coopers After Dark feat. Ash Grunwald
Thursday 7th July – The Gov, Adelaide, SA

Finders Keepers Markets Brisbane
Saturday 2nd July – The Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD

FolkSwagon feat. Joseph Van Der Hurk, Olly Friend, The Cafe Loungers
Wednesday 6th July – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Hootenanny feat. The New Savages
Sunday 3rd July – Miss Peaches, Sydney, NSW

Imogen Clark
Friday 8th July – Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane, QLD

Joe Mungovan
Sunday 3rd July – Little Village, Margaret River, WA

Lloyd Spiegel
Friday 1st July – The Piping Hot Chicken Shop, Ocean Grove, VIC
Saturday 2nd July – Baby Black, Bacchus Marsh, VIC
Friday 8th July – Hickinbotham Winery, Mornington, VIC

Music Makers Club feat. Citizen Of The World, Love Drunk Hearts, The Talentless, Youngsmith
Friday 1st July – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW

Shifting Sands, Jep and Dep
Sunday 3rd July – The Lord Gladstone, Sydney, NSW

Strayaway Child
Saturday 2nd July – Winterfest, Parramatta, NSW

Sweet Jean
Friday 1st July – Music on The Hill, Red Hill, VIC
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July – Bello Winter Music Festival, Bellingen, NSW

Sydney Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Get-Together
Saturday 2nd July – Annandale Neighbourhood Centre, Sydney, NSW

The Beards
Friday 1st July – The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 2nd July – The Metro, Sydney, NSW

The Paper Kites
Friday 1st July – Astor Theatre, Perth, WA
Saturday 2nd July – Norwood Town Hall, Adelaide, SA

The Weeping Willows
Friday 1st July – Flow Bar, Old Bar, NSW
Saturday 2nd July – 5 Church St, Bellingen, NSW
Sunday 3rd July – The Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Wednesday 6th July – The Bison Bar, Nambour, QLD
Thursday 7th July – Bangalow Hotel, Bangalow, NSW
Friday 8th July – Two Goats Cafe and Baa, Armidale, NSW

Todd Sibbin
Saturday 2nd July – The Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA

Tracy McNeil & The GoodLife
Friday 1st July – The Stag & Hunter Hotel, Mayfield, NSW
Saturday 2nd July – Grand Junction, The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW
Sunday 3rd July – The Marrickville Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 8th July – Baha’s, Rye, VIC

Vanishing Shapes w/ The Squeezebox Trio, Ess-Em
Friday 1st July – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Vincent Cross
Friday 1st July – Illawara Folk Club, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 2nd July – The Shack, Narrabeen, NSW
Sunday 3rd July – Hotel Blue, Katoomba, NSW
Wednesday 6th July – House Concert, Nabiac, NSW

Winterbourne
Friday 1st July – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“O Death” – Ralph Stanley

Billy Bragg and Joe Henry Announce New Album Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad

Billy Bragg
Image Courtesy of Billy Bragg

This new project from English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg and his American contemporary Joe Henry sounds really cool.

The folk singers recorded songs originally made famous by the likes of Hank Williams, Lead Belly, The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Glen Campbell, Gordon Lightfoot and more all while riding a train across America. The result is the album Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad.

“Railroad songs provided the bedrock of American popular music, from Jimmie Rodgers, the Singing Brakeman, to Lead Belly, whose repertoire provided several of the songs for this project,” Bragg explained. “Growing up in the UK, I’d always been aware of this tradition but when I travelled to the US, I was surprised to find how few people look to the railroad as a means of transport. With this project, we wanted to explore the transformative power that the coming of the railroad had on the lives of ordinary people by taking these songs back to the places that inspired their creation.”

Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad is due for release on the 23rd September. Check out the full track list below and a great live video of the classic track “The Midnight Special” below:

1. Rock Island Line – Traditional (Recorded by Lead Belly, Lonnie Donegan)
2. The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore – Jean Ritchie
3. The Midnight Special – Traditional (Lead Belly)
4. Railroad Bill – Traditional (Riley Puckett)
5. Lonesome Whistle – Hank Williams
6. KC Moan – Traditional (The Memphis Jug Band)
7. Waiting For A Train – Jimmie Rodgers
8. In The Pines – Traditional (Lead Belly, The Louvin Brothers)
9. Gentle On My Mind – John Hartford (Glenn Campbell, Aretha Franklin)
10. Hobo’s Lullaby – Goebel Reeves (Woody Guthrie)
11. Railroading On The Great Divide – Sara Carter (The Carter Family)
12. John Henry – Traditional (Doc Watson)
13. Early Morning Rain – Gordon Lightfoot

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