The Illawarra Folk Festival Announces 2018 Lineup

Illawarra Folk Festival
Image Courtesy of Illawarra Folk Festival

Our favourite mid-sized folk festival, the Illawarra Folk Festival dropped its massive 2018 lineup this week and as usual we’re very very impressed

The Illawarra Folk Festival always manages to pull out the big guns and the best up and comers and 2018 is no different. The lineup this time around includes the likes of Eric Bogle, Cass Eager, The Go Set, Breaking Trad, Maggie Carty and Mairtin Staunton, Claire Anne Taylor, Devil on the Rooftop, Golden Whistler, Handsome Young Strangers, Lizzie Flynn, Paddy McHugh, Shelley’s Murder Boys, The Button Collective, The Northern Folk, The Raglins, The Royal High Jinx, The Scrims, Big Erle, Jane Aubourg, Kay Proudlove and many many more.

The Illawarra Folk Festival takes place in Bulli, NSW from the 18th to the 21st January. To get more information including how to get your hands on tickets check out the official site here.

The full lineup of Illawarra Folk Festival artists is below:

International Artists:
Breaking Trad (Ireland), Dan Walsh (UK), Edgelarks (UK), Eleanor McEvoy (Ireland), Faith i Branko (Eastern Europe), George Mann (USA), Himmerland with Mairi Campbell (Denmark/Scotland), Jonathan Bob Lynn (Canada), Josefina Paulson & Jonas Akerlund (Sweden), Ken Field’s Hoot Band (USA), Kevin Welch (USA), Maggie Carty and Mairtin Staunton (Ireland), Oi Dipnoi (Italy), Scott Cook & The Second Chances (Canada), Steve Turner (UK), The Beez (Germany), The Small Glories (Canada)

National Artists:
Eric Bogle, Mikelangelo (The Balkan Elvis), Cass Eager, Darren Coggan, Taikoz, The Go Set, Albion Fair Morris, Baz Cooper, Emma Nixon & Iain McKenzie, Black Joak Morris, Brian Bell, Bush Music Club Inc, Christopher Shaw, Claire Anne Taylor, Combined Union Choirs, Den Hanrahan and the Rum Runners, Devil on the Rooftop, Dom Ferry, Ella Belfanti, Franke, Glover & Sorrensen, Golden Whistler, Good Tunes, Greshka, Handsome Young Strangers, Honey & Knives, Jane Germain & Ian Simpson, John Broomhall, Karen Law & Family, Lagoon Hill Zydeco, Lisa Lazuli Music, Little Foot, Lizzie Flynn, Margaret Walters, Maurie Mulheron and Pat Craigie, The Merry Widows Unplugged, Michael-John Azzopardi, Nick Charles, Nick Rheinberger, Noel Gardner, Paddy McHugh, Peter Mace, Peter Willey, Robyn Sykes, Romisounds, Rusty & The Saint, Santa Taranta, Shelley’s Murder Boys, Snez Musica, Sydney English Country Dance, The Button Collective, The Grenadiers, The Honey Drippin’ Mudskippers, The Northern Folk, The Protesters, The Raglins, The Royal High Jinx, The Scrims, The Simon Kerr Perspective, The Ten Quid Poms, Tililili, Wally Byrne

Local Artists:
Alex Sreckovic – Smokehouse, Atif & Sako, AZ-I-AM, Beatmeisters, Big Erle, Carefree Road Band, Chord-eaux, Cinnamon Twist School of Belly Dance, Circus WOW, Cranky Franky, Curious Rendition Orchestra, Egypsy, Light Being Yoga-Erika Steller & Fiona Davis, Gobsmacked!, Heart to Heart Storytelling, Irish Famine, Jackie Dee, Jane Aubourg, Jimmy and Shay, John Nichols & Wolfgang Kloger, Josh C. Music, Kala Ilango, Kay Proudlove, Kenny Bartley, Kevin Sullivan, King & Queen of Green, LANEY and Friends, Lizzie Bennet, Love In The Jungle, Meridian, Murmur, No Such Thing, Roger Gordon Fyfe, Silver Lotus Tribal Bellydance, SingGongGo, Southern Gentlemen, Swing Booty, The Calamities, The Capricornia Project, The Con Artists, TheGroove, The Humphreys, The Scratchies, Steampunk Vagabonds, Swingaleles Wollongong, The Water Runners, Tia Juana, Vic Janko Orkestar, Wolf Gordon Music, Zlatkos Balkan Cabaret

Youth Artists:
Claire Doherty, Fergus Bailey, Folkaphonic Youth Orchestra, James & Jackson, Little Glory, Paddy & The Wonderband, Shalani Music, The Bowhemians, Tim Lukey, Whisper Out Loud, Zingara

Blue Mountains Music Festival Announces First Artist Lineup

Image Courtesy of Beoga

The Blue Mountains Music Festival was by far one of our favourite events on this year’s music calendar (despite the torrential rain – check out our review here) so we got pretty excited this morning when the first round of artists for next years event landed in our inbox. The Blue Mountains Music Festival celebrates music from a variety of genres but it definitely always has a strong folk, roots, blues and bluegrass contingent on its roster and next year is no different.

Rather than try and single out our favourites from the first announcement we though we’d just give it to you in one hit and let you see just how good it is. Ready? Here we go:

Judy Collins (USA), Abigail Washburn (USA), Harry Manx (UK/Canada), Pierre Bensusan (French Algeria), Staffan Astner (Sweden), Krystle Warren (USA), Ben Sollee (USA), Blue King Brown, The Shane Howard Band, Fred Smith, Eddi Reader (Scotland), April Verch (Canada), Noriana Kennedy (Ireland), Truckstop Honeymoon (USA) While and Matthews (UK), My Friend the Chocolate Cake, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band (USA), The Beez (Germany), Frigg (Finland), Beoga (above – Ireland), ahab (UK), Afro Mandinko, The Buddy Knox Blues Band, Alwan, The Quarry Mountain Dead Rats, Chris Wilson, Fiona Boyes, Rescue Ships, Claude Hay, George Kamikawa and Noriko Tadano, Cass Eager, Phil Davidson, Daniel Champagne, Tonks Green, The Simpson 3 and more.

Pretty impressive eh? The Blue Mountains Music Festival is held in Katoomba, NSW from the 16th to the 18th March. Earlybird tickets are available from now until the 31st December. Check out the official site for more information.

Spotlight On: Cass Eager

Image courtesy of Cass Eager

Another artist I have enjoyed and yet neglected to share on the Timber and Steel stage! I was first introduced to Cass Eager back in 2009 and had her perform at a folk, blues and roots festival I used to run. Battling against the inclement weather, as the clouds parted and the sun finally shone, Cass’ sweet, soulful voice echoed across the broad green field rejoicing in the title track from her 2007 debut album and a crowd favourite ‘Beautiful Day’. It is a moment I that will stay with me for years to come. I was delighted to discover recently that she has a new band, The Velvet Rope, backing her and a brand new five-track EP Down on my Knees for us all to discover.

I was trying to find a way to describe Cass’ sound, and it is best summed up in a quote from website: “Her voice and music are sometimes funky, at other times soaked with an alt-country twang, and sometimes she rocks it out down and dirty. But when you get down to it, the woman is a sworn soul sister through and through.” In no way new to the scene, Cass Eager has toured extensively both and at home and overseas, has appeared at some of Timber and Steel’s favourite festivals including Peats Ridge, Bluesfest and US showcase SXSW, and performed more faves John Butler Trio, The Cat Empire, Ash Grunwald, Lior and Jeff Lang to name just a few.

Most interesting is her close ties to bluesy rock trio, Chase the Sun. My initial introduction to Cass was with only accompaniment by the trio’s blues guitarist Jan Rynsaardt who was a part of her original band for her debut album. She has played a number of times with them in the past and is currently touring with the Trio and her new band, The Velvet Rope, includes Chase the Sun‘s Bassist Ryan Van Gennip! But there must be some magic to the combinations, because not only has Cass Eager been nominated for Best Group and Best Female Vocalist for the 2011 Australia Blues ‘Chain’ Awards, but Chase the Sun are also nominated for Best Group and Best Album – should make for some interesting times on their Family Vacation Tour together.

But back to the woman in question, not only is she a fabulous musician who can transition smoothly between genres, from reggae to roots detouring through folk, blues and soul, she also chooses a wonderful variety of instruments for each track to transcend any one style. From using beautiful native Australian bird calls to open her debut album and employing slide guitar, ukelele, harmonica and stompbox to colour each track, to a cheeky Christmas release, Santa’s Got Soul, full of re-worked classics that have none of that chintzy jingle bell sound, and arriving at a new destination in her musical and physical travels to deliver a “a darker, sweatier, more layered sound” complete with slide ukelele and castanets.

And if all of that doesn’t sound like enough from just one artist, she’s played for Prince Harry on his recent Australian visit and was asked to give him guitar lessons, she takes much of her inspiration from her humanitarian efforts in East Timor playing numerous benefits for Timor and other causes and has toured the Middle East and Solomon Islands entertaining our Armed Forces. Goodness knows when she finds time to write.

No matter what backing band she is with, Cass Eager, while moving away from just straight folk and roots, is well worth seeing wherever you can and I’m looking forward to exploring her latest EP.

Country of Origin: Australia (Sydney)
Sounds Like: Janis Joplin and Ben Harper’s love child
File Under: Roots, alt-country, soul, blues


Ice Blue Festival – 10 July

Shape of Snow Flakes image

I heard on the grape vine earlier this week, but today I have in my hot little hand, the official promotions for the first ever Burwood Ice Blue Festival incorporating the BBQ Blues and Brews concert. Ice Blue features 4 days of activities to create the Burwood Winter Experience and is presented by Burwood Council in Sydney.

The exciting thing about the BBQ Blues and Brews concert is that the Artistic Director is none other than Lilyfield local Jim Conway who I have had the honour to work with in producing  the now defunct Acoustica Music Festival, previously held in Balmain. Jim has played at so many of the nations best folk and blues music festivals and has an extensive network of musicians as friends to draw upon for inspiration in choosing a music festival line up, and his choices are usually right on the money.

The 7 hour BBQ Blues and Brews concert will be held Burwood Park Oval on Saturday 10th July from 12pm – 7pm and will feature some great names including Cass Eager and the Sirens, Ray Beadle, Jim Conway’s Big Wheel, and Timber and Steel favourite, Andrew Winton. Tickets are $22 each an includes a steak sandwich and a bevvy (beer, wine or soft drink) and are available now from Ticketek.

The rest of the Ice Blue Festival includes a grand opening on the 8th July, Ice Skating daily and the Burwood Food & Wine Festival finale closing the festival on Sunday 11th July. I’m sure the concert and the festival as a whole will be quite enjoyable and the line up will be great.

I’ve seen all the performers on the bill and know the audience are in for a real treat. I’ve been meaning to Spotlight each of the acts here on Timber and Steel anyway, so perhaps I’d better hurry up and do that so you can all get a feel for how exciting this concert will be.

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