It’s beginning to look a lot like… Woodford!

While the silly season is in full swing, the folkier of us are looking beyond the tinsel and jolly man in a red suit, and are planning the trek to this year’s Woodford Folk Festival. If you haven’t yet made your New Years plans, it’s not too late to get in on the folk action and plan a post-Christmas trip to Woodfordia.

For those still on the fence, let’s take a quick look at why this year’s festival is going to be a great time for all.

The line up is a heavy blend of traditional and discovery, with a delight around every corner for all discerning music lovers. With heavy weights (and our namesakes) The Cat Empire topping the bill, the scene is set for a party. Timber and Steel favourites like Dan Sultan, Julia Jacklin, Irish Mythen, Hat Fitz & Cara, Emily Wurramara, The Waifs, Alex the Astronaut, Stella Donnelly, and Stiff Gins will join more than 2000 artists, musicians and presenters in over 400 acts, over 25 venues throughout the festival.

We’re excited to see some favourites diversify as The Little Stevies become the Teeny Tiny Stevies for their appearances at the Children’s Festival spaces, making the festival, as always, a very family friendly affair. The array of workshops on offer, once again delivers the ultimate in experiences for any festival goer, from yoga to craft, there will be a workshop to suit anyone.

With major infrastructure improvements for this year’s festival, multiple accommodation options to suit every budget and accommodation style, the Woodford Folk Festival is a completely immersive experience where you can choose your own adventure. Whether you participate in The Game, in The Fire Event, or just take in some amazing Australian and international music, it’s the most exciting way to spend your post-Christmas haze.

Whether you visit for a day, or stay for the whole week, there is a journey made just for you. Head over to the website and explore the different journeys you could take at this year’s festival.

When: 27 December 2018 – 1 Jan 2019

Where: Woodfordia, QLD

Tickets: from $25 for kids, from $165 for adults. Book online

Bluesfest Adds More Roots Artists to 2018 Lineup

All Our Exes
Image Courtesy of All Our Exes Live In Texas

The latest artist announcement from Bluesfest is full of heaps of rootsy goodness including a bunch of Timber and Steel favourites

Joining the Bluesfest lineup this time will be Dan Sultan, All Our Exes Live In Texas (above), Chain, Con Brio, Mia Dyson, Shaun Kirk, Caiti Baker, Steve Smyth, Dog Trumpet and Hanlon Brothers.

Bluesfest is held just outside of Byron Bay from the 29th March to 2nd April. For more information including how to get your hands on tickets check out the official site here.

The full lineup announced so far is below:

Lionel Richie, Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters, Ms. Lauryn Hill, John Butler Trio, Tash Sultana, The New Power Generation, CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers, José González, First Aid Kit, Morcheeba, Gov’t Mule, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, The California Honeydrops, Eric Gales, Bobby Rush, Dumpstaphunk, Joe Louis Walker, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Youssou N’Dour, Seal, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Jackson Brown, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Gomez, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, The Original Blues Brothers Band, Jimmy Cliff, The Wailers, Benjamin Booker, Hurray for Riff Raff, Canned Heat, Walter Trout, André Cymone, The Teskey Brothers, Kesha, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Ethridge, Afro Celt Sound System, William Crighton, Elephant Sessions, Newton Faulkner, Harry Manx, Juanes, Seu Jorge, Ziggy Alberts, Ásgeir, Harts, Holy Holy, Dan Sultan, All Our Exes Live In Texas (above), Chain, Con Brio, Mia Dyson, Shaun Kirk, Caiti Baker, Steve Smyth, Dog Trumpet, Hanlon Brothers

WOMADelaide Announces First Lineup for 2018

Image Courtesy of WOMADelaide

Australian world music festival WOMADelaide returns in 2018 and has just dropped a huge first lineup announcment.

The first artists added to the 2018 WOMADelaide festival include Candian Québécois favourites Le Vent du Nord, Mexican flamenco rockers Rodrigo y Gabriela, sitar legend Anoushka Shankar, Australian rocker Dan Sultan, indigenous singer-songwriter Yirrmal & the Miliyawutj Band and many more.

WOMADelaide takes place at the Adelaide botanic park from the 9th to the 12th March. For more information including how to get your hands on tickets check out the official site here.

The full lineup announced so far is below:

Adrian Sherwood (UK), Anoushka Shankar (UK / India), The Avalanches (Aust), Bixiga 70 (Brazil), Chico Trujillo (Chile), Dan Sultan (Aust), Daymé Arocena (Cuba), Havana Meets Kingston (Cuba / Jamaica), Kamasi Washington (USA), Le Vent du Nord (Canada), Noura Mint Seymali (Mauritania), Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area band (Ghana), Rahim Alhaj Trio (Iraq), Rodrigo y Gabriela (Mexico), Tinariwen (Mali), Violons Barbares (France / Mongolia / Bulgaria), Yirrmal & the Miliyawutj Band (Aust).

Falls Festival Review: Unmissable Acts

general_20160101-2Festival: Falls Music and Arts Festival
Location: Byron Bay – North Byron Parklands
Date(s): Thursday 31st Dec 2015 – Saturday 2nd Jan 2016
Featured Artists: Weird ‘Al’ Yankovic, Meg Mac, Paul Kelly presents the Merri Soul Sessions
Photos by Stuart Bucknell

At every multi-genre festival, there is a variety of acts that are both very folky and others that may only just touch on the concept of what Timber and Steel covers. But at Falls Festival, I had three acts I could not miss, and I wasn’t disappointed.

weirdal_20160101-4I was a huge fan of Weird ‘Al’ Yankovic in my teen years, and I was delighted to see him included on the Falls line up after his string of hit parodies over the last 18 months. Never one to follow the norms, Yankovic started his much anticipated set from a disabled portaloo somewhere out the back of the stage and sang and danced his way to the stage with his hit Tacky – complete with cheerleader dancers. Weird ‘Al’s set was full of colour, energy, costume changes and read much like his early albums with segues and videos of historical footage and mock interviews conveying his quirky sense of humour and making time for his quick costume changes. I think these interludes were lost on a predominantly younger crowd who wouldn’t know how his albums include these kinds of quirks when played start to finish, however his recent hits Foil, Fat and Smells Like Nirvana still whipped up the crowds. I particularly enjoyed his high voltage performance of Now That’s What I Call Polka, a mashup parody of some of 2015s biggest hits from Miley to Psy, Gotye, Mackelmore and much more, really brought the crowd together. He brought both old and new to the stage, Amish Paradise and Word Crimes both got a spot and in all, his set was action packed and full of laughs from start to finish.

megmac_20160101-1Meg Mac is a name I’ve been hearing regularly on the radio and among friends, I’d been looking forward to catching her live and getting a real sense of her style. Performing on New Year’s Day at the Forest Stage, you know you’re on to a winner when crowds scramble to the front at the end of the previous act to wait the 20min turn over before her performance. The crowds were relentless and energised, this would be a great set, no matter what. As Mac took to the stage, resplendent in all black and large sun hat, her smooth, sumptuous tones washed over the crowd and the spell was cast. She commands both the stage and the crowd, sauntering from one side to the other, engaging with her fans effortlessly. Her rendition of Before Trouble only proved her status as a consummate performer, even though she only won Triple J’s Unearthed as recently as 2014.

Black was the uniform and it was a tight performance from all, from her backup singers to each band member. She sipped on honey to sooth her voice throughout  – she says she struggled while performing at Marion Bay, but you couldn’t tell from the superb vibrato and stunning vocals she delivered.

From an absolutely jam packed set, highlights included Never Be, Turning, Every Lie, and of course Known Better received rapturous applause, and every person singing along, only to be outdone by a superb a Capella opening and beautiful performance of Grandma’s Hands.

There is a certain pleasure in hearing an act at a festival sound just like they do on record, but being able to add to the chorus in voice, body and rhythm from the audience takes the whole experience higher. Meg Mac is a star on the rise.


I feel like I have waited my entire adult life to see a collaboration like Paul Kelly presents The Merri Soul Sessions. On the first day of the new year, I lined myself up in the perfect spot to soak up their entire Valley Stage show. From the get go, it was clear this is a slick set of friends who can bounce off each other and share the stage equally. A cool, soulful beat introduced the ladies and gents to the stage, Vika and Linda Bull, Clairy Browne, Kira Puru and Dan Sultan! The Bull sisters took the reigns with their contributions What You Want and Smells Like Rain that held the crowd captivated. I’ve never seen Dan Sultan as a backup singer but he took to the role well and provided his beautiful timbre to the depths of the harmonies.

Kira Puru’s Righteous Woman, achieved a tone of a more Australian soul than the traditional expectation and engaged the whole line up beautifully. Claire Browne, rocking a white full length jacket and matching two piece, gave a lamentful rendition of Where Were You When I Needed You. We are so used to seeing her as a brazen soul sister with her Bangin’ Rackettes, that it’s a wonderful contrast to see her collaborating on the Merri Soul Sessions and delivering something delicate and with a whole new aspect to her repertoire. Dan Sultan brought a more upbeat tempo with Don’t Let A Good Thing Go and had the audience begging for more.

The set suffered a major power outage, cutting everything except some basic stage lighting. A testament to their experience and years of performance, the entire troupe continued on playing, jamming, clapping, singing and engaging the audience in the front who all joined in while the issue was resolved. It took a few minutes to fix and as soon as the lighting and sound came back on, they rounded out their jam and swung straight back to pick up the song right from where they were cut off. It was a spectacular site and a seamless cover for the inconvenience.

The Merri Soul Sessions are a captivating collection of masterful musicians, working together to create mesmerizing, transcendent tunes that make any soul happy. Between them, they each have their specialty, Clairy Browne commands the stage and captivates the crowds with stoic stillness, Kira Puru brings her signature style melded with a gospel soul sound, Dan Sultan’s rock tinged melodies soar over the Bull sisters’ famous close harmonies, all creating planes of sound and story to explore.

In spite of the technical hitch, they played their entire album plus some surprises for the eager audience. The highlight towards the end was always going to be Dumb Things given the full Merri Souls treatment which was met with rapturous applause and every voice joining in from the crowd. But the most beautiful shared moment would have to be the very last, all 6 of them crowded around one microphone to sing, a Capella, a stirring Meet Me In The Middle Of The Air. Words cannot describe the hush of the crowd, the weaving of harmonies, or the electricity in the air. Simply magical.

Check out our Overview of the entire Falls Festival Byron Bay

Read of our Falls Festival reviews

Timber and Steel Highlights at Falls

Falls Festival Finds

Blue Mountains Music Festival Announces First Artists for 2015

John Butler
Image Courtesy of John Butler

It feels as though we’ve been bombarded with festival announcements over the last few weeks and that’s set to continue with the Blue Mountains Music Festival confirming the first round of artists for 2015. Held in Katoomba from the 13th to 15th March, next year will mark the 20th aniversary of the Blue Mountains Music Festival.

The lineup announced so far is pretty impressive and includes John Butler (above), Buffy Sainte-Marie, Dan Sultan, Daniel Champagne, Castlecomer, The Bearded Gypsy Band, Wagons, The Company, Leah Flanagan, All Our Exes Live in Texas, We Two Thieves, Jordie Lane, Perch Creek and many many more.

Tickets for the festival go on sale this month – for more information check out the official site here. The full list of artists so far are below:

John Butler, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Dan Sultan, Nick Charles, David Bridie, Dominic Turner & Phil Wiggins, Daniel Champagne, Chris While and Julie Matthews, Frank Yamma, Castlecomer, Fraser & Haas (UK & USA), Nuala Kenedy Band, Edwina Hayes, The Bearded Gypsy Band, Wagons, The Company, Himmerland (Denmark), Steve Poltz (USA), Heartstring Quartet (UK), Whitetop Mountaineers (USA), The Mighty Reapers, Leah Flanagan, Fiona Boyes, All Our Exes Live in Texas, The Baker Suite, Arabesk, Maru Tarang (India & Australia), Dewayne Everettsmith, Gordie Mackeeman & his Rhythm Boys (Canada), We Two Thieves, Yeshe & Calvin Welch, Tom Dockray, The Jordie Lane Duo, Perch Creek

Sydney Festival Announces 2012 Program

Beth Orton
Image Courtesy of Beth Orton

The Sydney Festival, held from the 7th to the 29th January, has always been friendly to fans of folk, roots, acoustic and singer songwriter based music. And it looks like the 2012 program, announced last night, is keeping up the tradition with a bunch of very exciting musical acts.

We’re not going to go through them all here but highlights for our readers should include PJ Harvey, Beth Orton (above), Taraf de Haïdouks & Koçani Orkestar: Band of Gypsies, Kurt Wagner, Sam Amidon, Fatoumata Diawara, J Mascis, Julianna Barwick, Asa, Fefe, AA Bondy, Dan Sultan, Busby Marou, Frank Yamma, Holly Throsby and many many more.

The famous Festival First Night is sadly lacking in folk this year but will feature performances from Mike Patton’s Mondo Cane, The Jolly Boys, Torcadero Dance Palace and aerial artist Nigel Jamison.

For the full 2012 program and ticket details check out the official Sydney Festival web site.

Mass Exodus of Australian Bands for Canadian Music Fest

Image courtesy of Jack Carty

If it gets to mid march and you’re flipping through your gig-guide and wondering where on earth all of your favourite bands have gotten to, then it’s likely that they’re on the bill for Canadian Music Fest 2011. It’s a 5 day festival in Toronto that boasts over 800 artists in 55 venues. You can see as many or as few as you want with the purchase of one wristband costing $75. Yes. That’s not a typo. It’s seriously only $75 Canadian Dollars. Among the migrating Australian artists are Timber & Steel favourites Wagons, Matt Corby, Kim Churchill, Jack Carty, Dan Sultan, Blue King Brown as well as a host of other Aussie acts including The Jezabels, British India, Little Red, The Chemist,The Vasco Era,  Aplonea, Alanna Cherote, Adrian Wilson, The Resignators, Hungry Kids of Hungary, Drawn From Bees, The On Fires, Stone Parade, Ruby Tigers, Rocket Surgery, Toby & Mayfield.

With last year’s line up donning the likes of Great Lake Swimmers, The Trews, Born Ruffians, Bedouin Soundclash, Jason Collett, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Children Collide, Plants and Animals, Jeff Martin, Dan Mangan and Timber Timbre- this year’s can be expected to deliver in much the same way. From a cursory glance I can already see the names Yukon BlondeThe Wilderness of ManitobaMiddle Brother, The Sadies and Cuff The Duke jumping out at me, but I’m sure I’ll find even more as I slowly comb my way through the line-up over the next few weeks.

Timber & Steel would like to congratulate all the Aussie bands that got their names on this bill. We’re sure everyone will enjoy the experience.

The Verses’ “Running Away” Video feat. Dan Sultan

Dan Sultan and The Verses
Image Courtesy of The Verses

OK folks, it’s time to get your country on. Brother-sister duo The Verses have teamed with the ARIA Award winner Dan Sultan on their latest single “Running Away”. The video (below) features Sultan and Verses singer Ella Hooper dueting in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a car, a caravan a of course a couple of guitars. Let us know what you think.

Folk Duo Nab Top Two ARIAs

Angus and Julia Stone
Image Courtesy of

If like many you couldn’t sit through the awkwardness that was last night’s ARIA Awards you missed what ended up being a big night for folk music. Brother and sister due Angus and Julia Stone (above) took out the top two ARIAs (Single of the Year, Album of the Year) last night on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. Angus and Julia Stone were not the only Timber and Steel favourites to make the winners list with Dan Sultan winning Best Male Artist and Mumford and Sons snatching the audience voted Most Popular International Artist award.

For the full list of awards check out the official ARIA site.

Dan Sultan Takes out Blues and Roots ARIA

Dan Sultan
Image Courtesy of Dan Sultan

This year in an effort to shake up the format of the ARIA Awards organisers have chosen to announce many of the “genre” category winners in a series of concerts leading up to the main event. Last night saw Dan Sultan took out the award for Best Blues and Roots Album beating the likes of Ash Grunwald, Jeff Lang, The John Butler Trio and The Wilson Pickers. The award was announced during a concert that featured Washington and Boy & Bear described by one Timber and Steel fan as “amazing” (thanks Lee!).

The next folk-type ARIAs to keep an eye on are the categories for Best Country Album and Best Adult Contemporary Album, both announced this Thursday the 4th November.

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