Thank Folk It’s Friday – 2nd May

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Irish singer-songwriter Luka Bloom has announced details of his new album Head and Heart. Details here

– UK singer Sam Lee has announced plans for a new EP, More For To Rise, to be released next month. Details here

– The Northern Beaches Music Festival hits Sydney this weekend with a lineup that includes Laura & Susie, Luke Escombe, Dave Calandra, Charlie Gradon, Wheeze and Suck Band, Betty & Oswald, Direwolf, The April Maze, Alanna and Alicia, The Green Mohair Suits and many many more. Details here

– Melbourne singer-songwriter Al Parkinson will be releasing her new single soon as well as launching it at a show next week. Details here

– Canada’s Old Man Luedecke has extended his stay in Australia through May. Details here

– Melbourne based singer-songwriter Jackson McLaren has revealed the details of his debut album. Details here

Fraser A. Gorman released his new video for “Book of Love” complete with a Courtney Barnett cameo and a chicken. Details here

– Fiddle player George Jackson has a new EP, Observations, that you can stream online. Details here

– Everyone’s favourite folk big band Bellowhead are back with a new album this June. Details here

Kim Churchill released his visually stunning new video “Window to the Sky”. Details here

Interviews

“The EP is a journey. Some songs are hopeful, some are idealistic. Some bare honesty in there too and darkness. Asleep is a Friend of Mine is part of a lyric from the song “Chasing Ideas” referring to getting lost in your own thoughts, anxieties and searching for things you don’t need” – Tom Lee-Richards from Catch Release chats to Janine Estoesta. Interview here

“Kavisha Mazzella is an accomplished singer-songwriter from Melbourne with a substantial body of work behind her and a long career of touring solo and with bands of various composition (no pun intended). Were that the end of the story, it would be laudable enough, but it literally crests just the tip of the iceburg of this remarkable woman. Leader of community choirs in Australia and Italy, flexible and adaptive musician who lends her talents to a litany of projects including providing backing to a silent film from the 1920s — live!”Kavisha Mazzella chats to Bill Quinn. Interview here

“Australian blues man Owen Campbell has been busy promoting his latest album The Pilgrim and will be taking the show back to his old stomping ground of Canberra at The Abbey on Friday 2nd May 2014 to kick off his Remember to Breathe Tour”Owen Campbell chats to Bill Quinn. Details here

Reviews

Recordings

“The tracks Matthew showcases on Unlearned are deliberately eclectic. Iconic songwriters ranging from Whitney Houston to Neil Young are featured, and all rebroadcast in his signature rich, resounding tones” – Sheridan Morley reviews Scott Matthew’s album Unlearned. Review here

“Every single sound, every different timbre, contained within their unique soundscape is wholly essential, and no note played by any instrument featured on debut EP Asleep is a Friend of Mine is ever anything less than masterfully executed” – Sheridan Morley reviews Catch Release’s EP Asleep Is a Friend of Mine. Review here

Releases This Week

The Sleeper
The SleeperCaitlin Park
iTunes

We of Thieves
Web of ThievesDrawn From Bees
iTunes

Jackson McLaren
Songs To Greet The DawnJackson McLaren & The Triple Threat
iTunes

Lawless
LawlessThe Timbers
iTunes

Tiny Ruins
Brightly Painted OneTiny Ruins
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Man of Constant Sorrow: A Tribute to the Music of O Brother Where Art Thou?

o brother

Some of Sydney’s finest folk, bluegrass and Americana musicians, including The Morrisons, Ngaiire, Elana Stone, Brian Campeau, Lucky Luke, Marcus Holden and All Our Exes Live In Texas, will be paying tribute to the seminal film O Brother Where Art Thou? this week. Make sure you get in early because these shows will definitely sell out.

Wednesday 7th May – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 8th May – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Boy & Bear
Friday 2nd May – Discovery, Darwin, NT
Thursday 8th May – Black Swan Hotel, Bendigo, VIC
Friday 9th May – Regent Cinema, Ballarat, VIC

Cairns Blues Festival
Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th May – Cairns, QLD

Daniel Champagne
Sunday 4th May – Brisbane Jazz Club, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 8th May – Fresh Café, Launceston, TAS
Friday 9th May – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Dustin Tebbutt
Thursday 8th May – Pirie Social Club, Adelaide, SA

Ella Hooper
Thursday 8th May – Art Gallery of WA, Art Bar, Perth, WA
Friday 9th May – Jive, Adelaide, SA

Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers w/ Andy Golledge
Thursday 8th May – Vic on the Park, Sydney, NSW

Hayden Calnin w/ Eliza Hull
Saturday 3rd May – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 9th May – Goodgod Small Club, Sydney, NSW

Justin Bernasconi
Friday 2nd May – Basement Discs, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 3rd to Sunday 4th May – Karuah Bluegrass Music Festival, NSW

Karuah Bluegrass Festival
Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th May – Karuah, NSW

Kaurna Cronin and Ben Whiting
Friday 2nd May – Bo’s House, Jan Juc, VIC
Sunday 4th May – Graceland, Melbourne, VIC

Kavisha Mazzella
Sunday 4th May – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW

Kim Churchill
Wednesday 7th May – Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland, NSW

Little Wise and Megan Bernard
Friday 2nd May – Royal Oak Hotel, Launceston, TAS
Saturday 3rd May – The Homestead, Hobart, TAS

Man of Constant Sorrow: A Tribute to the Music of O Brother Where Art Thou?
Wednesday 7th May – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 8th May – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

Mark Wilkinson
Friday 2nd May – Roth’s Wine Bar, Mudgee, NSW
Saturday 3rd May – Lizotte’s, Dee Why, NSW
Friday 9th May – Glebe Cafe Church, Sydney, NSW

Melbourne Folk Club w/ The Mae Trio, James Kenyon, Liz Stringer
Wednesday 7th May – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC

Northern Beaches Music Festival
Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th May – Berry Reserve, Narrabeen, NSW

Old Man Luedecke
Friday 2nd May – The Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale, SA
Saturday 3rd May – The Royal Yacht Club, Hobart, TAS
Sunday 4th May – The Flying Saucer Club, Elsternwick, VIC
Tuesday 6th May – Burrinja Café, Upwey, VIC

Owen Campbell
Saturday 3rd May — Camelot Lounge, Marrickville, NSW
Sunday 4th May — Lizotte’s, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 9th May — Mudgee Brewing Company, Mudgee, NSW

Paul Greene and the Other Colours
Friday 9th May – Venue 505, Sydney, NSW

Sam Brittain
Friday 9th May – Revolver, Melbourne, VIC

Tanya Batt
Friday 2nd May – The Beresford, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 3rd May – Tattersals Hotel, Penrith, NSW

The Beards
Thursday 8th May – Studio 6, Sutherland, NSW
Friday 9th May – Tattersalls Hotel, Penrith, NSW

The Perch Creek Family Jugband
Friday 2nd May – Fly By Night Musicians Club, Fremantle, WA
Saturday 3rd May – Indi Bar, Scarborough, WA
Wednesday 7th May – Lizottes, Central Coast, NSW
Thursday 8th May – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 9th May – Yours and Owls, Wollongong, NSW

The Timbers
Thursday 8th May – Pheonix Bar, Canberra, ACT
Friday 9th May – Albion Hotel, Albury, NSW

Vance Joy
Tuesday 6th May – The Hi Fi, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 8th May – The Bakery, Perth, WA

Wintermoon Festival
Friday 2nd to Monday 5th May – Camerons Pocket, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“Rocky Road to Dublin” – Damien Dempsey

Today’s FFF goes out to Timber and Steel writer Macka Jay who missed out on seeing Damien Dempsey absolutely make this track his own at the National Folk Festival this year. Hope he enjoys it!

Review: Catch Release, Asleep Is a Friend of Mine

Asleep is a Friend of Mine
Image Courtesy of Catch Release

Review by Sheridan Morley

If there’s one major parallel I can draw between nu-folk and doom metal, it’s this: it’s so tempting, and unfortunately common, for bands in both styles to jam five superfluous players onto a stage. Personally, I’ve never quite understood the reasoning behind it – each of these extra players usually only serves to diminish the already-threadbare live pay packet of the core group by a significant percentage, restrict the other players’ movement on those tiny stages even further (both genres, unfortunately, usually deal with performance spaces smaller than your average pub corner), and usually, usually, add no particular value to the overall sound or vision. The hierarchy of excessive live members across both disparate styles usually descends thus: keyboardist, violinist/cellist, third guitarist, miscellaneous horn player, flautist.

Before you lick the virtual envelope on that hate email, I will tell you that I have personally been classified as two of five of those modern-day instrumental expendables many a time, and I, along with anyone else who has ever picked up one of the above instruments, will attest to the despair caused by gig after gig of playing dull, needless, carelessly-thrown together peripheral lines to sate the ego of a songwriter with little knowledge of instrumental range, capability, or, well, composition. It’s enough to make you completely rule out ever listening to either genre ever again.
Catch Release have completely changed my mind.

Catch Release, a five-piece collective multitude of instrumental ability, describe their style as a “Soul-Folk Soundscape”, which couldn’t be more apt. Every single sound, every different timbre, contained within their unique soundscape is wholly essential, and no note played by any instrument featured on debut EP Asleep is a Friend of Mine is ever anything less than masterfully executed. Guitar, bass, French horn, violin, percussion, and the occasional virtuosic display of beat-boxing (by frontman Tom Lee-Richards) are gently tipped into a melting pot and whisked through expert production values to emerge as a unique, delicious six-track creation which you will have no trouble devouring in full.

The stand-outs are neighbours at tracks three and four – “Freedom Is a Squeeze” and “Chasing Ideas”. Both are very different tracks, both in feel and in instrumentation, but together provide an exquisite overview of what this band is capable of. The former is the first real upbeat occurrence of the EP, and could quite easily have been broken up to create four different songs, were the sections not so cleverly tied together through vocal motifs and a brilliant dynamic structure. It’s truly amazing how one single horn note between verses is able to create the same impact as many of us would have heard whole orchestral arrangements achieve on higher-budget records. Cheeky little deviations in tempo between sections really shift the momentum and keep us guessing, as we would in a musical theatre number or an iconic rock opera – top that off with a catchy, catchy chorus and Catch Release are on to a winner. “Chasing Ideas”, the musical vehicle driving EP title line Asleep is a Friend of Mine, opens with a harmonious melding of an expert beatbox rhythm (seriously, how is he doing that?!) with a sparkling ride cymbal, leading into an urgent yet sensual interplay between guitar and horn. A winding, deliberately confused pilgrimage through a range of sounds and volumes will bring you out at a vocal-only bridge that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Tom’s vocals are emotional and full of intent, but with just enough laid-back to keep it a cool few steps back from territory. Navin Gulavita’s violin provides the punchy hook to this track, and acts as the perfect response to its resounding vocal calls.

Opening track “Motion Sickness” perfectly nails the imperfect – that rare recording quality that manages to communicate a band’s sound as though they were playing live. It starts small and grows gradually, through a skilful use of dynamic on muted guitar, percussion and brass, causing you to just about fall of your chair in delight when the whole band comes in at the chorus, as the tiniest bit of rock influence on the vocals starts to shine. Verses are percussion-free, but the rhythmic interplay of guitar and syncopated horn really nails a 4-over-6 groove like a puzzle that fits together perfectly once the drums enter at the chorus. The band’s rhythmic fetish deepens in “Out of Sight”, where simplistic guitar intertwines with congas, which compete against the bass, which dances with the violin; and we find the downbeat cemented in between. Sliding fingers echo impeccably on Tom’s guitar, and we get a real sense of being immersed in a live performance at an intimate venue – a canny production technique that well and truly suits the style.

Asleep is a Friend of Mine is truly a stellar debut effort, showcasing equal measures of the breathtaking and the contemplative. Catch Release are a well of talent and crossover value, and for those reasons alone they are sure to enjoy great success if they choose to continue along the same stylistic vein for a full-length release – I certainly hope they do.

Catch Release will be supporting Scott Matthew’s upcoming Timber and Steel presented tour. The full list of dates are below:

Sunday 11th May – Brew, Brisbane, QLD
Monday 12th May – Mandala Organic Arts Cafe, Gold Coast, QLD
Tuesday 13th May – Pure Pop Records, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 14th May – The Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 18th May – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

Interview: Tom Lee-Richards (Catch Release)

Tom Lee-Richards
Image Courtesy of Catch Release

With the Timber and Steel presented Scott Matthew tour kicking off next month we thought it was time to chat with the support, Tom Lee-Richards, about his Catch Release project.

Janine Estoesta: So, Catch Release has to really stand out to me mainly for your beat-boxing – how did that even begin?

Tom Lee-Richards: Hi there! Thanks. Beat boxing or Catch Release? I’ll start with beat boxing. I can’t remember. I know I was experimenting, making weird and kinda gross noises when I was six years old-entertaining myself I guess and I didn’t stop. Fast forward to being 13 and I’m humming the Rocky theme song whilst doing drum roles with a back beat with other parts of my mouth. Don’t know how I got there. Now I’m experimenting, making weird and kinda gross noises. Feels right as another texture in the band.

Catch Release started a few years ago. At first it was about exploring a lot of sounds that influenced all of the players probably with more of a lean towards a world music kinda space vibe. Then it changed.

JE: How did you come to have a violin and french horn in Catch Release’s sound?

TL-R: As songs started to develop a cohesive style we recorded a few songs. French horn and violin felt right for one of the more nostalgic, hopeful songs along with clarinet and cello. We put on a big gig (if we’re talking the amount of players in the band) and realised how grand the sound could be. The most essential instruments seemed to be the odd pairing of Violin and French horn and we got in contact with Tim Hannah (french horn) and Navin Gulavita (bass). Never looked

JE: What is the story behind Asleep Is A Friend Of Mine? Any standout muses?

TL-R: The EP is a journey. Some songs are hopeful, some are idealistic. Some bare honesty in there too and darkness. Asleep is a Friend of Mine is part of a lyric from the song “Chasing Ideas” referring to getting lost in your own thoughts, anxieties and searching for things you don’t need. Is that giving too much away? Muses, hmm now that would be telling. Yes. Short answer no. Ha!

JE: What is cooking for Catch Release as a collective and you as a solo this year?

TL-R: Catch Release will definitely be getting back in the studio later this year. I’m really happy with how the whole sound comes together and the guys are some lovely dudes.

As for me, I’m currently in the studio with the guitar and rhythm base laid down for my favourite new track. It’s for a solo project. I’m very excited to be launching a number of singles and actually creating a place you can find me on the interwebs this year. I’m going to be busy. And then there’s this Scott Matthew tour! What a unique artist. Humbled to be part of the tour and looking forward to meeting him.

JE: Any collaborations in the horizon?

TL-R: That’s one of the things I’m most excited about this year. I’m collaborating with Countbounce, a phenomenal producer right now. He has a really fresh sound and has worked with some of my favourite Australian acts. Having fun throwing ideas up!

Also just had a taste of collaboration, singing duets with Philemon. She has a beautiful sound. I’m always singing with Monique Shelford. Watch out for her too. We have a lot of fun together on stage acting like dicks.

JE: Is your solo project more of a stripped version of Catch Release or are you wanting to head in a different direction with it?

TL-R: The solo songs I have written lately are different. Simpler, with more of a vocal focus perhaps but influenced by Catch Release for sure. The instrumentation involved is wide open right now though. That’s the coolest part. I am just looking to match the mood of the songs and add what seems like it’s got to be there. I’ll let you know Janine!

JE: Can we expect an Australian tour from Catch Release soon?

TL-R: Soon, I dunno but when I’m up in Sydney and Brisbane to support Scott Matthew I will be booking some more gigs. That could be the start of touring one way or the other.

JE: What is your take on chocolate milkshakes?

TL-R: Shit. Not shit. Really good. Can I pretend I’m Vegan and say some soy shakes are also amazing. I could live on an Island with only juice-Banana and Mango. For a bit.

Tom Lee-Richards’ Catch Release project will be supporting Scott Matthew’s upcoming Timber and Steel presented tour. The full list of dates are below:

Sunday 11th May – Brew, Brisbane, QLD
Monday 12th May – Mandala Organic Arts Cafe, Gold Coast, QLD
Tuesday 13th May – Pure Pop Records, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 14th May – The Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 18th May – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

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