Thank Folk It’s Friday – 1st May


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Adelaide indie-folker Timberwolf announced the release of his new EP (due out today). Details here

– Sydney duo Peasant Moon have announced a launch show for their new EP Fading In The Light. Details here

Calexico released their new video “Falling From The Sky”. Details here

– Justin Vernon from Bon Iver has released a cover of Spoon’s “Inside Out”. Details here

– Melbourne singer-songwriter Fraser A. Gorman announced his debut album and national tour. Details here

Communion and Sideshow Alley have announced the Australian premiere of their documentary Austin to Boston featuring Ben Howard, The Staves, Nathaniel Rateliff and Bear’s Den. Details here

Releases This Week

Brian Campeau
Don’t overthink it, overthink, overthinkingBrian Campeau

Wilder Mind
Wilder MindMumford & Sons

Paul Brady
Paul Brady: The Vicar Street Sessions Volume 1Paul Brady


Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Dan Parsons and Steve Grady

Dan Parsons

Dan Parsons and Steve Grady take their joint tour down the east coast this week, playing in Brisbane tomorrow an then gigging their way down to Sydney next Friday.

Saturday 2nd May – The Milk Factory, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 3rd May – The Pacific Hotel, Yamba, NSW
Wednesday 6th May – The Rails, Byron Bay, NSW
Thursday 7th May – The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW
Friday 8th May – Live N Lounging, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Australian Celtic Festival
Thursday 30th April to Sunday 3rd May – Glen Innes, NSW

Brad Butcher
Thursday 7th May – The Grace Darling, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 8th May – Babushka Bar, Ballarat, VIC

Buffalo Nickel
Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd May – Karuah Bluegrass Music Festival, Karuah, NSW
Friday 8th May – Cardigan Bar, Sandgate, QLD

Dan Parsons and Steve Grady
Saturday 2nd May – The Milk Factory, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 3rd May – The Pacific Hotel, Yamba, NSW
Wednesday 6th May – The Rails, Byron Bay, NSW
Thursday 7th May – The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW
Friday 8th May – Live N Lounging, Sydney, NSW

Elwood Myre
Thursday 7th May – Midnight Special, Sydney, NSW

Karuah Bluegrass Festival
Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd May – Karuah, NSW

Kaurna Cronin
Saturday 2nd May – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 8th May – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Laura Jean
Sunday 3rd May – Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD

Liam Gale & the Ponytails
Saturday 2nd May – Lass O’Gowrie, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 8th May – Gearin Hotel, Katoomba, NSW

Man Of Constant Sorrow: A Tribute to the Music of O Brother Where Art Thou? feat. The Morrisons, Brian Campeau, Lucky Luke, Georgia Mooney, Hannah Crofts, Katie Wighton, Luke Escombe
Wednesday 6th May – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 7th May – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW
Friday 8th May – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

Steve Smyth
Friday 1st May – Kidgeeridge Music Festival, Lake Conjola, NSW
Saturday 2nd May – Stratton Room, Wollongong Uni, Wollongong, NSW
Friday 8th May – The Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane, QLD

The Pigs
Friday 1st May – Lithgow Workies, Lithgow, NSW
Saturday 2nd May – Rooty Hill RSL, Rooty Hill, NSW

The String Contingent
Friday 1st May – Mechanics Institute Hall, Moruya, NSW
Saturday 2nd May – Cadgee House Concert, Cadgee, NSW

Friday 8th May – Great Northern, Byron Bay, NSW

Wintermoon Festival
Thursday 30th April to Sunday 3rd May – Cameron’s Pocket, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“Where Are You Now” – Emmylou Harris and Mumford and Sons feat. Jerry Douglas

The new Mumford & Sons album is out today and so much of the press surrounding it is focusing on the “rejection” of folk and country music. I feel like a lot of that is just headline bating and marketing spin – because you listen to a collaboration like this one with Emmylou Harris and you know they are passionate about this kind of music. The new album is a change in direction for Mumford & Sons, and one I’m still very interested in, but for fans of their back catalogue (and the doors it’s opened for other artists) there’s still a wealth of acoustic material out there to discover.

Sideshow Alley and Communion Announce Premiere of Music Documentary Austin to Boston

Austin to Boston
Image Courtesy of Sideshow Alley

In 2012 four of Timber and Steel’s favourite artists – Ben Howard, The Staves, Nathaniel Rateliff and Bear’s Den – jumped into five old VW camper vans and travelled over three thousand miles across the USA from Austin’s SXSW to a final stop in Boston, and the whole thing was captured on film.

The result is the Sideshow Alley and Communion produced documentary Austin to Boston which spent most of 2014 touring the film festival circuit. As well as the four bands the documentary also features Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett and is narrated by Gill Landry.

The Australian premiere of Austin to Boston has been announced on Friday 8th May at the Australian Centre for The Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne. The premiere will also feature a Q&A with producer Ty Johnson (Sideshow Alley) and a special performance from some of Melbourne’s finest musicians. To get your hands on tickets jump over to the ACMI site here.

And while you’re deliberating on whether to go or not check out the trailer for Austin to Boston below:

Communion Announce Replacement for The Staves

Communion Melbourne
Image Courtesy of Communion Melbourne

If you haven’t heard yet UK trio The Staves have had to cancel their Australian tour this month due to illness, including appearances at the Sydney Festival and Communion Melbourne. The band has said “we are working on rescheduling our visit as soon as we possibly can” – so keep a look out for dates in the future.

This morning Communion Melbourne announced their replacements and they’ve outdone themselves – scoring Ainslie Wills along with a DJ set from Tigertown. They join an already impressive lineup that includes The Hello Morning, Jimmy Tait, The Phoncurves and Little Dreamer.

Communion Melbourne takes place at the Toff in Town on the 19th January. For more information check out the official Facebook event here.

Communion Melbourne Announces Massive January Lineup

Communion Melbourne
Image Courtesy of Communion Melbourne

Communion Melbourne have definitely scored a coupe for their first night of 2014. UK trio The Staves have announced Communion Melbourne in January as their first ever Australian show.

If you haven’t come across The Staves before (which is unlikely if you’re a constant reader of Timber and Steel) we think you’ll fall in love with their breathtaking, harmonic folk music and that Australia will too.

Joining them at Communion Melbourne in January will be Melbourne six-piece The Hello Morning, five-piece Jimmy Tait, indie-pop duo The Phoncurves and singer-songwriter Colourwheel.

Communion Melbourne takes place at The Toff in Town on Sunday 19th January. Tickets are $18 and are available here. For more information check out the official Communion Melbourne facebook page here.

Communion Melbourne Announces November Lineup

Communion Melbourne
Image Courtesy of Communion Melbourne

Having successfully returned last month Communion Melbourne are keeping the momentum going with a massive lineup for November. Taking place at The Toff in Town on the 24th November, Communion Melbourne will this month feature the likes of Thomas Calder (The Trouble With Templeton), Castlecomer, Martha Marlow and Dominic Youdan.

The night kicks off at 6pm with tickets just $18. For more information on the night check out the official web site here.

Mikhael Paskalev Announces Australian Release of New EP I Spy

Michael Paskalev
Image Courtesy of Mikhael Paskalev

Scandinavian singer-songwriter Mikhael Paskalev is the current darling of Communion Records and with good reason – his brand of quirky folk pop is different to just about anything that’s out there at the moment.

Local label Dew Process has announced plans to release his new EP I Spy in Australia on the 15th November – for a taster check out the video for the title track below:

Interview: Bear’s Den, Without/Within

Bear's Den
Image Courtesy of Bear’s Den

Our love of UK nu-folk trio Bear’s Den is older than the band itself. Cherbourg, a band which featured two of Bear’s Den’s members (Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones), was one of the first artists we covered on Timber and Steel and we’ve been following the work of its members ever since they parted ways in in 2010.

Bear’s Den are currently in Australia supporting Matt Corby on his national tour as well as a couple of headline shows. We caught up with multi-instrumentalist Kev Jones from the band after their Sydney shows to discuss the tour, the new EP Without/Within and Jones’ role as founder of record label and music community Communion.

Gareth Hugh Evans: Welcome to Australia! How are you finding it so far?

Kev Jones: We’re having a lovely time. We played the Horden Pavilion three nights ago and then we had one show two nights ago but then we’ve actually had some time off in Sydney which is quite unusual. We’ve been exploring a little bit, seeing the sites, getting some rest. It’s really nice to be here.

GHE: Is this your first trip to Australia? As Bear’s Den?

KJ: For all of us it’s our first time to Australia as a band and as individuals.

GHE: I’ve big fans of you guys right from the very beginning. When I first started Timber and Steel it was just as your and Andrew Davie’s previous band Cherbourg had finished. I started following Davie’s solo stuff and then when Bear’s Den came out of that I continued to make sure I was on top of everything you guys were doing. It feels like it’s been its been a fairly slow burn for Bear’s Den – it feels like you’ve taken to the slow and steady approach.

KJ: I think we’ve been quite careful. It’s very easy get over excited about the music you’re making and trying to push it too hard, too quickly. I was the bass player in Cherbourg so Davie and I have been working together for six or seven years now. It was always for us the question of “are we getting it right” before we really start running with it. Releasing little EPs has allowed ourselves to grow organically – that’s quite important to us.

GHE: Can I ask what the decision behind creating Bear’s Den as a new band rather than continuing with Cherbourg given both you and Davie are in both bands and the sound has its similarities? What makes Bear’s Den distinctive?

KJ: I just don’t think we worked out what we were trying to do with Cherbourg. I think we learnt a lot of lessons from it. It was quite a set formula with Cherbourg and I think we’re all multi-instrumentalists in Bear’s Den and it allows us to be a lot more fluid with the sort of sounds we can make and what we choose to do with them. The dynamics make more sense to us. It was really fun being in Cherbourg and we’re still close with the other guys – in fact Chris Maas who was the drummer in Cherbourg is now Matt Corby’s drummer so we’re actually hanging out at the moment. I think the way everything slots in with Bear’s Den makes more sense to us.

GHE: It feels like with Bear’s Den as well that you’re not tied to that indie-folk sound. The latest single, “Writing On The Wall”, is probably the least folky I’ve heard you guys. Was that a conscious decision – that’s Bear’s Den isn’t going to be pigeonholed as indie-folk?

KJ: To a point that’s true but I don’t think it’s conscious as such. It’s more just evolved from the fundamental philosophy that we’ve adopted to make sure we’re servicing a song correctly. Having a lot of multi-instrumentalists in the band means that we can decide to put some synth bass in it or drums or we can do little tiny instruments and the banjo thing. It’s not like a statement intent – it’s more “what does the song need?”.

GHE: You mentioned that you’re out here touring with Matt Corby. You’ve played with him in the UK as well yeah?

KJ: We have yeah. We toured with him last year.

GHE: Matt’s part of the same community as you guys with Communion and having similar friends through bands like Mumford and Sons. How’s it been touring with your mates?

KJ: It makes such a difference. For us as a band we’ve been on the road for eight weeks now so to arrive in a new country and deal with a whole new set of instruments and gear you have to get used to and getting in front of so many people can be quite intimidating. To be able to walk into a room and immediately be with your best mates really takes the edge off from a touring perspective. You’re able to slot in and everything runs much more fluidly. It’s really nice. And we’re working so hard at the moment the only way we get to see our friends is to tour with them. It’s the best thing every – it’s so nice to do that.

GHE: In Australia Matt Corby comes with a very very loyal fan base – and it’s a fan base that really embraces the other bands that Matt Corby tours and plays with. Have found that his fans have adopted you?

KJ: Yeah I think they have. It is quite early to say for sure. On the UK tour I certainly felt that we had a very warm welcome. His fans are all lovely.

GHE: You’re also playing Communion Melbourne while you’re out here which is part of the global Communion record label and community that you’re one of the founders of. It’s taken a while for Communion to kick off properly in Australia – there was Communion Sydney for a couple of months and then Communion Melbourne kicked off last year. Why do you think it’s take so long to establish in Australia?

KJ: I think it’s the same as anything that the label does – it’s all about finding the right people. Same philosophy that we have with Bear’s Den to be honest – you have to find the right combination of people. Melbourne Communion are just the greatest guys so as soon as we found them we were like “that makes sense” and off we go.

GHE: What I love about Communion as well is that it’s a global community. Obviously you guys are in the country this month so you’re able to play Communion Melbourne. And then when an Australian band who’s part of the Communion family here tours overseas they are invited to play at Communion in other cities.

KJ: Absolutely. What we’re trying to do is extend that family vibe wherever we go. That support network is crucial. It’s hard work being in a band – obviously it’s lots of fun as well – but there’s a lot of difficult times and when you’re able to refer to someone else who’s experienced the same thing as you or has advice, the stronger that network of people is the more everyone benefits from it and gets the support they need.

GHE: I’m chuffed that you guys chose to play a couple of headline shows while you’re out here, on top of the Matt Corby supports, in these smaller spaces.

KJ: The dream is to come back all the time and build relationships with our potential fans over here.

GHE: At the end of this month your new EP Without/Within comes out which follows on from Agape. Is the plan continue releasing EPs or is an album in the works?

KJ: We’re definitely working on an album in our heads. I don’t want to say for sure but I think when we get off this tour we’ll start looking at how we might approach making that. So yeah, we”re getting to a point where we’re ready to start I think.

GHE: I’m really liking what I’ve heard of Without/Within so far. When you’re putting together these EPs are they just a collection of your latest songs or are you putting tracks that “go together” on them?

KJ: It’s a very painstaking process actually. We like to tie things together lyrically and are very much always trying to create a body of work that exists. For us it’s important that we create something that’s hopefully bigger than just a bunch of songs. In terms of sonically and lyrically it’s quite a meticulous process for us.

GHE: Kev, thanks so much for taking to time to chat to me on one of your days off.

KJ: It’s lovely to speak to you.

Without/Within is due for release on the 1st November. The remaining dates of Bear’s Den’s tour with Matt Corby are below:

Wednesday 23rd October – GPAC Playhouse, Geelong, VIC
Thursday 24th October – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Sunday 27th October – Arts centre, Fremantle, WA

Bear’s Den Announce Two More Headline Shows

Bear's Den
Image Courtesy of Bear’s Den

After being announced as the headline act for Communion Melbourne this October when they’re in the country to support Matt Corby’s national tour we thought we we done for Bear’s Den news for you this week. But apparently not, with the band announcing two more headline shows, one in Sydney and one in Brisbane.

Bear’s Den will be releasing their new EP Without/Within in Australia on the 1st November. The full list of dates, both headline and Matt Corby supports, are below:

Saturday 12th October – The Soda Factory, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 16th October – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 20th October – Communion, The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

Matt Corby Supports:
Wednesday 9th October – Wollongong University, Wollongong, NSW
Thursday 10th October – ANU Bar, Canberra, ACT
Friday 11th October – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 15th October – Convention Centre, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 17th October – City Hall, Hobart, TAS
Friday 18th October – Festival Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 23rd October – GPAC Playhouse, Geelong, VIC
Thursday 24th October – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Sunday 27th October – Arts centre, Fremantle, WA

Communion Melbourne is Back With October Lineup

Communion Melbourne
Image Courtesy of Communion Melbourne

After taking a break for a few months the folks from Communion Melbourne are returning this October with one hell of a lineup in tow.

On Sunday the 20th October Communion Melbourne will once again make its home at The Toff in Town in the centre of the city. The lineup includes none other than Communion co-founder Kevin Jones’ band Bear’s Den who are in the country to support Matt Corby on his upcoming tour, Timber and Steel favourites The Tiger and Me, local indie-folk singer-songwriter Grizzly Jim Lawrie and the very buzz worthy Kate Martin.

Tickets for the night are just $18 and can be picked up at the newly minted Communion Australia web site here (which also has a bunch of details on the gig). If you’re in Melbourne on the weekend of the 20th October we can’t recommend this gig enough!

Review: Bushstock 2013, Shepherds Bush, London UK

Bushstock titleReview and photos by KT Bell

When you live in London and you like Folk music, Communion is the Mecca of your music world. The fact that Communion is going strong in Australia and had a huge influence on the very beginnings of Timber and Steel, well, it just makes any Communion experience all that much more special.

The Communion brains trust built Bushstock, a multi-venue local folk extravaganza complete with outdoor beer gardens, sets in Churches and pubs crammed full with music lovers and musicians. In typical London fashion, I’d managed to double book myself and could only hit up the festival for a few hours in the afternoon missing all the big name attractions, which might have been a blessing in disguise as it meant I could focus on checking out the newer, upcoming acts on the UK scene.

The average music festival in Australia is an outdoor affair taking full advantage of our glorious weather and usually a bit of a trek to a venue that can hold the volume of people likely to attend. Bushstock is exactly the opposite, a selection of venues within short walk of each other in London’s increasingly trendy Shepherd’s Bush. Of the four venues for the festival, only two were operating early in the day so I found myself shifting regularly between a church and a pub, opposite ends of the venue spectrum mentally.

Bushstock 1I arrived at the church in time to catch the last song by George Ezra. A young and relaxed performer, his distinct voice of mellow, treacle like tones was more than fitting for a church setting. Humble in his stage presence, George would be an interesting act to catch again and soon.

Then was the first Hike to the Defectors Weld, the pub venue a 5min walk away.

DSC_0651The pub had a tiny stage set between a door and the main seating area and the bar itself. happily, being so early in the day, the room was open enough to find a comfortable spot to watch Sam Fender. He was young and full of soul expressed through an acoustic guitar and the agony of being a teenager with his set littered with songs from puberty. He has raw talent and the passion and intensity of Kim Churchill at times, complete with intelligent lyrics for someone so young. Sam is quite clearly in the it’s of the Communion chaps so keep an eye out for his rise on the scene.

Bushstock 3Then it was time to hot tail it back to the Church to catch Annie Eve. She was not quite what I had expected, but then I didn’t know what to expect from any of the acts. She was much more reserved and introspected than the previous act and in a completely different, serene setting. Her voice reminds me of a cross between Lisa Mitchell and Julia Stone with a very distinct sound and style to her singing, melancholic and lamentably solemn. While it didn’t get my juices flowing, she had great orchestration and flowing musicality to her entire set. It will be interesting to see where her music goes and how it further develops.

Bushstock 4And if course, it was the time to return to the Defectors’ Weld for Young War. A deceptive name, this act was a solo guy layering guitar and voice over each other in loops to create his own backing. He strikes me as the guy who mucks around with music in his room honing the technical only to surprise us on stage with actual talent and strong technical backing. I could only tell he was nervous by his shaking hand programming his guitar tuner. He was more like acoustic soul tending to r&b but not this shit pop r&b hip hop meld bullshit, the real rhythm and blues in acoustic guSivuitar and real ingenuity. He has great potential once he explores more songwriting outlets and finds more of his voice.

Bushstock 5I hustled back to church for Sivu (pronounced see-voo) Which was one of the main acts I was aware of before the festival. Sivu was a complete band with string section and reminiscent of skipping girl vinegar but with less of the happy band vibe and a more indie grunge with orchestration feel. Their only song I was familiar has an awesome film clip filmed in MRI and happily their performance was just as good live as in the video clip. Tending more toward the indie spectrum, they have a good cross section of fans to see them have a steady interest and gigs.

Bushstock 6My last trek before heading off to my double booking, saw me back at the Defectors Weld to catch a guy going by the name The Lake Poets. another act that was a single guy and an acoustic guitar, young and simplistic but in a positive way that was not overly fussy or ostentatious, just plain and to the point. His set was calm and measured framing his pleasant voice and affable charm through a smooth collection of heartfelt tracks.

In all, it was a great festival but certainly one you’d be likely to pick one venue to stay at for an extended time rather than back and forwards like I did. Each venue had food and drinks available, it felt a little sacrilegious to be drinking alcohol in a church but no other Londoners seemed put off, must be a Shepherd’s Bush thing. I would have liked to stay and see the other two venues and their headline acts, but at the same time, it was great to see new emerging acts being attended by what became huge crowds. After the first set at the Defector’s Weld, it became more and more difficult to find a spot to see the acts short of standing right at the front of the small stage crammed in with every other punter. And the Church, well, it probably hasn’t seen such overflowing pews and aisles filled with worshippers before, but it brought it’s own energy and vibe to the event which no doubt fed in to the mood and ambience of each act in such a glorious setting.

In short, if you are ever in London while Bushstock in on, make sure you get there and experience this unique festival. The only thing even close to like it that I’ve been too would the the Snowy Mountains of Music simply because it’s held at the snow and must be inside, but otherwise it has a completely different style and feel in spite of hosting similar style acts. But then anything by Communion is a not to be missed experience, so here’s to many more years of Bushstock!

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