The Staves Announce New Collaborative Album The Way Is Read with yMusic

The Staves
Image Courtesy of The Staves

English indie-folk trio The Staves have just announced plans to release their brand new album The Way Is Read on the 24th November.

The album is a unique collaboration with New York City-based chamber ensemble yMusic. The collaboration was originally commisioned by Justin Vernon’s Eaux Claires Festival back in 2016 and goes beyond yMusic just providing classical backing to The Staves – instead the two groups approached the project a number of ways, using The Staves’ voices as extra instruments for yMusic’s existing work, chopping up and rearranging tracks from The Staves and taking traditional songs and making them abstract.

Check out the full track listing plus the video for the first single “Trouble On My Mind” below:

1. Hopeless
2. Take Me Home
3. Trouble on My Mind
4. Bladed Stance
5. All My Life
6. Silent Side
7. Year of the Dog
8. Courting Is A Pleasure
9. All The Times You Prayed
10. Appetite
11. Sprig of Thyme
12. The Way Is Read

The Staves have been announced for the new Sydney City Limits festival on the 24th February – we’re looking forward to seeing if they’re doing any more dates while they’re in the country.

Georgia Fields Announces Mini-Album Afloat, Adrift with The Andromeda String Quartet

Georgia Fields
Image Courtesy of Georgia Fields

Melbourne based alt-pop singer Georgia Fields has just announced a very special chamber-folk project and mini-album Afloat, Adrift.

Fields collabortaed with The Andromeda String Quartet – made up of Natasha Conrau (violin), Ruby Paskas (violin), Susanna Ling (viola) and Charlotte Jacke (cello) – to record Afloat, Adrift live at the Newmarket Studios in just five hours. The result is a stunning, sumptuous and emotional work.

“It was such a thrill to record live,” Georgia Fields explains. “There is that added pressure to get it right… but inversely there is a special kind of magic that materialises when you have a group of people assembled in the one place, listening and reacting and resonating together in real time, dancing ever so gently within the notes.”

To give you a taste of Afloat, Adrift Georgia Fields and The Andromeda String Quartet performed “From This Height” at Sofar Melbourne – watch the live video here:

Afloat, Adrift is due for release on the 10th November. Georgia Fields and The Andromeda String Quartet will be launching Afloat, Adrift at Kew Courthouse in Melbourne, High Tea in Sydney and then at the Theatre Royal in Castlemaine – the full list of dates are below:

Saturday 11th November – Kew Court House, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 16th November – High Tea, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 26th November – The Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC

Monique Clare Announces East Coast Tour

Monique Clare
Image Courtesy of Monique Clare

Brisbane chamber-folk singer-songwriter Monique Clare is heading out on an east coast tour to support her brand new crowd funded EP By The Stars

The tour will see Monique Clare perform around Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT including an appearance at Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival at the end of October – check out the full list of dates below:

Thursday 28th September – Fireside Sessions House Concert, Warrandyte, VIC
Saturday 14th October – Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne, VIC
Monday 16th October – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 19th October – The Black Malabar, Newcastle, NSW
Sunday 22nd October – Bellingen Brewery, Bellingen, NSW
Friday 27th to Sunday 29th October – Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival, Dorrigo, NSW
Tuesday 31st October – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 1st to Friday 3rd November – Australian Music Week, Sydney, NSW

Packwood Announces Release Date for Vertumnus

Packwood
Image Courtesy of Packwood

Melbourne based chamber-folk singer-songwriter Packwood has finally announced a release date for his sprawling concept album Vertumnus – 18th August.

Vertumnus is a culmination of four years work with Packwood releasing four EPs, each inspired by a different season. Collected in a single album, Vertumnus is a stunning piece of music that really is the pinnacle of everything Packwood has produced over his career.

Packwood is streaming three tracks on his Bandcamp (where you can pre-order the album) which we’ve embedded below:

Tulalah Announce New Album The Question

Tulalah
Image Courtesy of Tulalah

Melbourne based orchestral-folk eight-piece Tulalah have just announced plans to release their highly anticipated new album The Question on the 19th June.

The Question is the follow up to their 2015 long player The Flood and is set to capture their expansive, all encompassing sound.

To celebrate its release Tulalah will launching The Question with a very special show at The Gasometer in Melbourne on Thursday 22nd June – check out the official Facebook event for more details.

National Folk Festival Interview: Charm of Finches

Charm of Finches
Image Courtesy of Charm of Finches

Melbourne based dream-folk sister duo Charm of Finches have had a massive year so far, launching their album Staring at the Starry Ceiling and picking up some high profile support slots around the country. We sat down with one half of the band, Mabel Windred-Wornes, before they head to Canberra this weekend for The National Folk Festival.

Gareth Hugh Evans: You describe your music as “dream folk” – what can audiences at The National expect from your shows?

Mabel Windred-Wornes: Well, it’s dreamy sounding music I guess – it’s full of harmonies. My sister Ivy creates beautiful and sometimes surprising vocal harmonies. We’ve been told our voices together sound like one voice singing two notes, yet our voices individually are quite different. Also, our album has a lot of cello and violin, which we played ourselves, which gives it a bit of a chamber sound. We are bringing Alice Hurwood up to The National with us to play cello. She’s 14 and she’s an amazing cellist.

GHE: You’ve been playing a lot of shows lately – how do festival audiences differ from audiences at a regular gig ?

MW-W: We love festival audiences. Really, they are there for the music and respect musicians. They are there to listen, and they pay attention to the lyrics and love hearing the stories about the songs. Also, a festival audience is usually really relaxed – why wouldn’t they be. They are spending a whole weekend listening to music.

GHE: To those outside of the folk scene, folk music is not considered a “young persons” genre. What is it about this music that’s attracted you at such a young age?

MW-W: It’s common for people to wonder why we are attracted to folk music in the traditional sense, but we know heaps of young bands and singer songwriters you would classify as folk – like The Mae Trio, who we have always loved a lot, and Rowena Wise. They are writing songs about their lives, playing instruments usually associated with folk music like guitar, uke, banjo and fiddle. The definition of folk music as you would hear it at a folk festival today is very very broad. Our influences definitely include traditional folk music, old-time Appalachian songs, Old English and Celtic folk songs and Celtic fiddle music (we love going to Celtic fiddle camps) as well as classical music which we have been playing on our cello and violin since we were little. Our Dad filled our home with Bob Dylan from an early age, but we are also influenced by Americana artists like Gillian Welch and we love Sufjan Stevens so much, who is essentially a folk artist who uses unconventional instruments (even electronic sounds) on his albums.

GHE: You released your debut album Staring at the Starry Ceiling in the middle of last year. How was the reception when it first came out? And are you feeling about it six months on?

MW-W: We were thrilled people really loved our album when it was released last year. People were contacting us after hearing a song on Radio National. Words like “unique” and “beguiling harmonies” were used, which of course made us feel very pleased. We had an amazing experience working with producer Nick Huggins. It was quite a magical experience and being by the ocean in Point Lonsdale (Victoria) really influenced the album. We felt expansive, a bit spellbound and open to ideas. We couldn’t listen to it after we finished it for a while- we needed some distance after recording. Not long ago we were driving home from Port Fairy Folk Festival listening to the new albums we had gathered from the various artists we had seen. We got curious to listen to our own album, and we felt really proud and kind of amazing at what we had created. It felt really good.

GHE: What’s next for Charm of Finches after The National?

MW-W: Well, to be honest, I’m quite keen to take some time to get some homework done! I’m in Year 11 now and love the subjects I’ve chosen – theatre, music, art and sound production! Of course, we will be playing shows in and around Melbourne, as well as house concerts, which we love as much as playing festivals. We also have a whole bunch of half-finished songs that are begging to be finished. We love writing new songs so we’ll be making time for that! And then, I guess we’ll record a new album some time!

Charm of Finches are performing at The National Folk Festival this weekend. Check out their dates below:

Thursday 13th to Monday 17th April – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
– Friday 1:30pm – Central Park
– Saturday 12:40pm – Flute ‘n’ Fiddle
– Sunday 10:00am – Borderland
– Monday 12:40pm – Flute ‘n’ Fiddle

Watch OM Collective Cover Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble”

OM Collective
Image Courtesy of OM Collective

OM Collective is the new project from Sydney chamber-folk singer Tim Ferson. For his first outing he has released a stunning cover of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” which also features collaborations with Jacob Pearson and Maia Jelavic in the live video.

Check out OM Collective’s video for “I Knew You Were Trouble” below:

Timber and Steel’s Top Albums of 2015

Record Player

If anything has characterised 2015 for me in terms of new albums it’s that we finally saw debuts from some of our favourite artists. So many bands these days are serial EP releasers so it’s great to see the likes of Patrick James, Falls Marlon Williams and more knuckle down and get into the studio. It’s also great to see the return of firm favourites after time away and an explosion of traditional music that pushes boundaries and challenges our perception of what trad music can be.

Coming up with a top 25 list is always a challenge (let alone putting them in some kind of order) but I think what we’ve come up with is a wonderful cross section of all the genres of “folk” music we cover on Timber and Steel – from singer-songwriter to Americana to indie folk to traditional and beyond.

So without further ado here it is – our top 25 albums and EPs from 2015!

Kate and Ruth

1. Kate Burke & Ruth HazletonDeclaration

What a year 2015 has been for traditional music. Maybe it’s just me but it seems like a lot more trad is breaking through at the moment and the icing on the cake this year has been the incredible new album from Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton, Declaration.

This is the duo’s first album in about eight years and their return to the studio has been a welcome one. Once again teaming with producer Luke Plumb, Declaration is loosely themed around traditional music from the female perspective with a few contemporary tracks thrown in for good measure.

The tracks are rich, heartbreaking, emotional and beautiful. So many of the songs deal with pretty heavy themes such as domestic violence (“Bleezin’ Blind Drunk”), false accusations of adultery (“Waly Waly”) and the disintegration of a woman’s public reputation (“Katy Cruel”) and these are conveyed with resonance by Burke and Hazleton. Hearing these two singing together again reminds me of why I fell in love with their harmonies all those years ago.

The two originals on the album – “The Freeze” and “Hearts Of Sorrow” – are two of my favourites and they make me wish Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton were more prolific as songwriters. Maybe one day we’ll get a full album of self penned tracks?

I love how much Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton have matured as performers over the last 15 years. Gone is the rigid need to stick 100% to the tradition and instead we have a fluid take on the material that draws as much from contemporary music as it does from Anglo, Celtic and American music. A simply wonderful album

Sufjan

2. Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell

Touted as the return to Folk Music for Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell is in fact the next step in his musical evolution. Rather than shrugging off the electronic chaos of his recent albums, Stevens has merely toned it down and brought back his acoustic guitar to dive into the complex relationship with his mother following her passing. This album is so raw, so nuanced and deserved of every bit of praise that has been heaped upon it.

Fanny Lumsden

3. Fanny LumsdenSmall Town Big Shot

I’ve always predicted big things for Fanny Lumsden ever since I saw her perform at a rooftop bar in Sydney many moons ago. Small Town Big Shot is the album that is currently turning Lumsden from Sydney’s alt-country darling to a favourite of the Australian country scene. The album is full of Fanny Lumsden’s true-to-life accounts of growing up in rural Australia while never straying into the Americanised, dust kicking ideal of country life so often portrayed by Australian country artists. Not to be ignored, Lumsden’s band The Thrillseekers add a rich musical tapestry to her songs and really seem to have gelled as group. Only released in September there’s a lot of life in Small Town Big Shot so we’ll continue to see Fanny Lumsden riding high off it’s ever growing success in 2016.

Paper Kites

4. The Paper Kitestwelvefour

The Paper Kites have produced what has to be one of the most interesting concept albums of recent years. twelvefour was written exclusively between the hours of 12am and 4am as frontman Sam Bentley believed this is when people are at their most creative. The result is stunning – a patchwork of eighties electro influences and the band’s trademark indie-folk – and will no doubt go down as a high watermark in their career. twelvefour feels very deliberately structured moving from the straight up electro of “Electric Indigo” and “Relevator Eyes” to more folky numbers in the second half of the album (“A Silent Cause” is a standout for me). I’m interested to see where The Paper Kites take their sound next.

Packwood

5. PackwoodAutumnal

This year chamber-folk artist Packwood released four seasonally themed EPs as part of his Vertumnus album project. The first of these was Autumnal which has remained my firm favourite through all of the subsequent releases. Gone is Packwood’s trademark sparsely plucked banjo (don’t worry, it returns in later EPs) and instead we get delicately fingerpicked guitar accompanied by choir and chamber orchestra. The songs are delicate and sumptuous and Packwood has really come a long way as a songwriter since his debut. Put on Autumnal, close your eyes and let the world fall away.

Laura Marling

6. Laura MarlingShort Movie

We’re now five albums into Laura Marling’s career and her songwriting has never been stronger. On her latest release Short Movie Marling’s songwriting takes on a freeform, Dylan-esque mode only hinted at on previous albums and it takes her into some very ineteresting places. There’s a lot more electric guitar on Short Movie and at times she descends into beat-poet-like spoken word phrases (like on the amazing “Gurdjieff’s Daughter”) yet no one is crying that Marling’s turned her back on her folk roots (like Marling’s old band Mumford & Sons). Instead Short Movie is being praised as an evolution of her sound and while it is miles away from her 2008 debut Alas, I Cannot Swim, both musically and stylistically, this is 100% a Laura Marling album.

Pittsburgh

7. William FitzsimmonsPittsburgh

In his ode to his recently passed Grandmother and her home town of Pittsburgh, William Fitzsimmons has created a delicate, beautiful piece of magic. This is his first self-produced album since 2006’s Goodnight and it does feel markedly different from his recent releases – the production is not a slave to his voice and guitar, instead it sits more comfortably as part of each song. At only seven tracks long Pittsburgh leaves you warm and fuzzy and wanting more.

Outlier

8. Patrick JamesOutlier

It seems like 2015 saw a lot of long time favourite Timber and Steel artists finally got around to releasing their debut album – and one of the debuts we were most excited about was from Patrick James. Over the course of a bunch of EPs Patrick James has refined his James Taylor-esque folk songs and Outlier is the culmination of years of solid songwriting. The production on Outlier makes the most of James’ unique voice and elevates his solo singer-songwriter roots into a rich, luscious landscape.

Wilder Mind

9. Mumford & SonsWilder Mind

With all of the attention on Mumford & Sons “ditching the banjo” and turning their back on folk music when Wilder Mind came out very little attention was paid to the album itself. Which is a shame because it’s another solid outing for the boys. If you push through the electric guitars and drums you discover that Wilder Mind is unmistakably a Mumford record with big choruses, melodies dripping with four part harmonies and festival ready lyrical hooks. And anyone who has seen Mumford & Sons this year will know they have in no way ditched the banjo – Wilder Mind sits perfectly within their entire catalogue.

Omaha

10. FallsOmaha

It took Falls moving to LA 18 months ago (and dropping the “The”) to produce their gorgeous debut album Omaha. Falls have expanded their two-voices-and-a-guitar sound to an almost orchestral level, but at the forefront is still their lyrically driven melodies and beautiful harmonies. I’m actually really impressed that all of the tracks on Omaha having seen them perform almost exclusively from their Hollywood EP before their big move Stateside. Now we just need a national Australian tour off the back of the album!

Omaha

11. TolkaOne House

The stunning result of trad band Tolka’s trip to Belfast last year to write and record a new album – one of the tightest trad bands in the country.

Limit of Love

12. Boy & BearLimit of Love

Boy & Bear return with a 70s vibe and a bunch of new tracks that saw the band collaborating on the songwriting duties.

If I Was

11. The StavesIf I Was

The Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) production on The Staves’ debut elevates their sound from simple three part harmonies to full blown indie-folk goodness.

Secret Victory

12. The East PointersSecret Victory

The result of writing sessions on their summer tour of Australia, The East Pointers have written 10 original tracks that sound as if they’ve been ripped directly from the tradition.

Monterey

13. The Milk Carton KidsMonterey

Monterey is the closest The Milk Carton Kids have come to capturing their mesmerising live show on record – this is something special.

Freewheeler

14. Dougal Adams, Ado Barker & Ben StephensonThe Freewheeler

Instead of complaining that it’s been too long between albums for Trouble in the Kitchen get your trad fix with the debut album from Dougal Adams, Ado Barker & Ben Stephenson.

Solitude

15. Ruby BootsSolitude

The Perth songstress has nailed down an amazing band and has produced one of the best alt-country albums of the last few years.

Tomorrow Is My Turn

16. Rhiannon GiddensTomorrow Is My Turn

In her debut solo album Rhiannon Giddens has built on the trad and old time of her work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops and spun it into something new and very exciting.

Marlon Williams

17. Marlon WilliamsMarlon Williams

With a voice that has reduced grown men and women to tears, there’s a lot to love about Marlon Williams’ debut record – this man is taking country music back to its roots and winning fans every step of the way.

Inside Llewyn Davis

18. VariousAnother Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis

The folk and Americana industry’s best come together for a night of music inspired by the 60s folk scene and to a lesser extent the Cohen Brothers’ film Inside Llewyn Davis.

Dream's End

19. Matt BauerDream’s End

On his latest album Matt Bauer has upped the production stakes, forgoing his normally sparse folk songs and the result is wonderful.

Punch Brothers

20. Punch BrothersThe Phosphorescent Blues

I think it’s time to stop referring to Punch Brothers as “bluegrass” or “nu-grass” or anything at all – with The Phosphorescent Blues they have proven they are undefinable.

WHITE LIES

21. Mustered CourageWhite Lies and Melodies

Mustered Courage have always been the most polished bluegrass band in Australia but they’ve upped the ante with their new album adding a pop sheen to their sound.

Hell Breaks Loose

22. Shane NicholsonHell Breaks Loose

The godfather of the Australian Americana scene released one of the year’s best country albums – all heartbreak and whisky and everything that’s good about this kind of music.

The Decemberists

23. The DecemberistsWhat A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World

A welcome return to the studio from The Decemberists to follow up their amazing 2011 album The King Is Dead – a little less folk, a little more rock and all sorts of goodness.

Josh Pyke

24. Josh PykeBut For All These Shrinking Hearts

Australia’s premiere troubadour delivers yet another stunning album with his trademark wry lyrics and hooky melodies.

S

25. Emmy The GreatS

Emmy The Great slides into electro music while maintaining the folk-inspired melodies she’s become known for.

Timber and Steel Premiere: Packwood’s New Single “We Drink Light”

Packword
Image Courtesy of Packwood

Another day, another premiere! We’re so proud to bring you “We Drink Light”, the brand new single from Melbourne based chamber-folk artist Packwood. Before I go on you have to start listening to this right now:

“We Drink Light” is the first single taken from Packwood’s upcoming EP Vernal, the third in his four part seasonal epic album series Vertumnus. The track is the embodiment of the spring to come, bursting forth with orchestra and choir performances that have become Packwood’s trademark. You can pick it up already on iTunes here.

Vernal is scheduled for release on the 1st September and follows on from Packwood’s recent releases Autumnal and Hibernal. The full track listing is below:

1. We Drink Light
2. How Many Rivers
3. Hollow
4. Another Day Spent
5. My Fair Life

Ten Albums and EPs From the First Half of 2015 You Should Own

Bob Dylan

We’ve hit the halfway point of 2015 and already we’ve been treated to some very very fine music of the folk, acoustic and roots albums from some of our favourite artists. When I was sifting through the releases so far this year whittling it down to just ten records was almost impossible. But this is the challenge I’ve set myself and ten albums I have chosen – with honourable mentions to of course go to William Fitzsimmons, Passenger, Lucy Wise Trio, José González, Catgut, Punch Brothers, The Decemberists and many many more. So prepare to discover some amazing music, revisit some amazing music or hotly debate what’s missing from our list of the top ten albums and EPs from the first half of 2015.

DeclarationKate Burke & Ruth Hazleton

Declaration

The return of Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton to the studio with their fifth album was welcomed with open arms from everyone in the folk scene. I’ve said it many times before but Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton’s music in the early 2000’s is what solidified me as a life long fan of folk and traditional music and having them back in my earbuds with brand new music is simply wonderful. This album is everything you want from Kate & Ruth – beautiful harmonies, stunning renditions of traditional songs and some contemporary music added in for good measure.

Short MovieLaura Marling

Short Movie

Five albums in seven years is no mean feat, but what is truly amazing about Laura Marling is how much she has grown as an artist over that time. Not content to just present the same idea over and over again Laura Marling has become more than the sum of her influences, more than just a sweet folk singer from London, and has truly become one of the most exciting and important artists of her generation. Short Movie is the most lyrically and melodically raw album of Marling’s catalogue – all electric guitars and Dylan-esque spoken lyrics – yet it also manages to be her most seamlessly produced work to date, which is yet another achievement given the record was completely self produced.

Marlon WilliamsMarlon Williams

Marlon Williams

Where did you come from Marlon Williams? By this time last year I’d only heard rumours of this alt-country singer from New Zealand who was taking the folk scene by storm. Since then I’ve seen the man live more times than I can count, watched him literally reduce audience members to tears with his voice and have had his self titled album on repeat since its release. Williams has been described as harkening back to the country music stars of old, but I think there’s something thoroughly modern about his music – taking his cue the best of the golden tonsiled singers of the 50s and 60s and updating that sound to a new generation.

MontereyThe Milk Carton Kids

Monterey

When you listen to a new Milk Carton Kids album you pretty much know exactly what you’re going to get – two part harmonies over lead and rhythm guitar. But what makes Monterey stand out to me is the production. For the first time I feel like The Milk Carton Kids’ live sound has been captured on a record, although I can’t quite put my finger on why that’s so – on the surface the presentation is not that much different to The Ash & Clay. Maybe it’s just the “feeling” of the songs – but whatever it is this is definitely an album to have in your collection.

AutumnalPackwood

Autumnal

I’m kind of glad it’s taken three years for Packwood to release new music since his incredible debut self-titled album. In the intervening years Packwood has developed as a songwriter, adding a lyrical depth to his beautifully arranged chamber-folk music that was a little lacking on the first release. Autumnal is the first of two mini albums that Packwood has already released this year (with two more to come) but is by far my favourite with its choral arrangements, sweeping orchestras and nods to contemporaries like Sufjan Stevens and Sam Amidon. I’m going to revisit Packwood’s entire seasonal concept album Vertumnus as a whole once all four mini-albums are released, but for the moment I’m thoroughly enjoying Autumnal as a standalone release.

Tomorrow Is My TurnRhiannon Giddens

Tomorrow Is My Turn

2015 really been the the year of Rhiannon Giddens. Her successful collaboration with superstar producer T-Bone Burnett on the Inside Llewyn Davis concert Another Day, Another Time as well as the Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes has lead to the outstanding Tomorrow Is My Turn, Giddens’ debut solo album. The record takes traditional and contemporary music and reimagines it for Giddens folk-blues-jazz-old-time voice with amazing results, elevating her beyond her work with The Carolina Chocolate Drops. I feel like Tomorrow Is My Turn is destined to be an album that influences folk singers for years to come.

SolitudeRuby Boots

Solitude

When we picked Ruby Boots as an artist to watch in 2015 we suspected that come July we’d be talking up her new album Solitude. And that prediction has come true as Solitude is one of the alt-country albums of the past few years. Ruby Boots’s trademark big country voice is all over this record but what really makes it for me is just how tight she’s sounding with her full band – in fact I’d almost say that Solitude is the first time I’d describe Ruby Boots as a “band” rather than the solo project of frontwoman Bex Chilcott. When you add that dynamic to Ruby Boots’ masterful songwriting you’ve got an instant Australian country music classic.

Carrie & LowellSufjan Stevens

Carrie & Lowell

While I’ve enjoyed almost everything Sufjan Stevens has produced in the last five years his move away from his experimental electro music and back to his folk roots for Carrie & Lowell got me extremely excited, and the album itself has not disappointed. Here is a fragile, sumptuous, personal, raw piece of art that may well be Sufjan Stevens’ best album to date. I’m glad that Carrie & Lowell isn’t just Seven Swans revisited and that despite it being very much a folk album you can still here the echo of Stevens’ electro dalliance. This is Sufjan Stevens moving forward with his music and we’re all going on the journey with him.

If I WasThe Staves

If I Was

I feel like The Staves have always been destined for greatness since they burst onto the UK nu-folk scene almost six years ago. But it’s taken their Justin Vernon produced album If I Was to bring them to the attention of the wider folk community. In the past The Staves have leant on their three part harmonies to drive their music, and those harmonies are all over this album, but the inclusion of Vernon as producer has brought with it a full compliment of drums, guitars, horns and more. This adds a wonderful fullness to If I Was and only enhances The Staves’ stunning singing and songwriting.

One HouseTolka

One House

Tolka really are on the cutting edge of traditionally inspired music in Australia right now. Their latest album One House is almost entirely original music that draws so heavily on the tradition that you’d assume all of the tunes have existed for millennia. The production is pretty spot on and I love the use of samples dotted throughout – it adds an extra element to the music and makes One House stand out from its contemporaries. I can’t wait to see what Tolka have in store next.

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