The Melbourne Folk Club Announces Summer Season

Melbourne Folk Club
Image Courtesy of The Melbourne Folk Club

The Melbourne Folk Club is one of the success stories of 2014 – bringing amazing folk music, both Australian and international, to a regular night right in the heart of Melbourne.

The night takes place at Bella Union in Melbourne’s inner-North, mostly on Wednesdays but sometimes throughout the week to accommodate touring artists. The Melbourne Folk Club this week announced its summer season and the lineup is looking as strong as ever.

Check out the full line up from January through to the end of March below:

Wednesday 7th January – John Smith (UK) + Caitlin Harnett
Thursday 8th January – Unplugged show w/ The East Pointers (Canada) + Tolka
Wednesday 14th January – David Francey (CAN) + James Kenyon + Lucy Wise
Wednesday 21st January – Oh Pep! + Open Swimmer
Wednesday 28th January – Darren Hanlon + Laura Jean + Single Twin
Wednesday 4th February – Jeff Lang + Emma Swift + Matt Langley
Wednesday 11th February – The Mae Trio + The Once (Canada)
Wednesday 18th February – Machine Translations + Broads
Wednesday 25th February – Shane Howard (Album Launch) + Skyscraper Stan
Wednesday 4th March – Ruth Moody & Band (Canada) + Scott Cook (Canada) + Nadia Reid (NZ)
Wednesday 11th March – Jordie Lane (In Conversation + Concert)
Wednesday 18th March – Breabach (Scotland) + Stray Hens
Wednesday 25th March – All Our Exes Live in Texas + Kim Richey (US)

The National Folk Festival Announce First Major Round of Artists for 2015

Chris While and Julie Matthews
Image Courtesy of Chris While & Julie Matthews

The National Folk Festival today announced their first official round of artists for 2015. The lineup is pretty impressive with the likes of Canadian folk singer David Francey, Anglo-Irish trad supergroup Heartstring Quartet, legendary UK duo Chris While & Julie Matthews (above), afro-celt fusion band of Baka Beyond, Mongolian traditionalists Equus, Brisbane klezmer ensemble Greshka, flamenco dance and music ensemble Bandaluzia, Australian folk royalty The Flying Emus, Timber and Steel favourites All Our Exes Live in Texas, the lovely Lucy Wise Trio and celebrated duo Alanna & Alicia.

The festival will also play host to the exciting new theatre show Dead Men Talking based on the life and times of Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson staring Max Cullen alongside Australian folk legend Warren Fahey.

All of these artists are joined by the likes of Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, Mark Moldre, Gordie MacKeeman and his Rhythm Boys, Fred Smith, Chloë and Jason Roweth, Dark Horses and Sparrow-Folk who all snuck onto the lineup prior to today’s announcement.

The National Folk Festival takes place over the Easter Long Weekend from the 2nd to the 6th April 2015. For more information check out the official site here.

A Wealth of Singer-Songwriters at The National Folk Festival

Paul Brady
Image Courtesy of Paul Brady

Dave O’Neill, former Artistic Director of the National Folk Festival and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire, used to muse that he could program an entire National Folk Festival just with women singer/songwriters.

His comment were not pejorative, simply a reflection on the number, and indeed the quality, of women musicians and songwriters on the Australian and, indeed, international folk/roots circuit.

It’s not that there is an absence of them at this year’s national – which includes the wonderful Judy Small, Briege Murphy from Ireland (songs covered by Frances Black and Niamh Parsons), Canberra’s Simone Dawson, Women in Docs, and Lizzy Rutten from the exciting “newish” band Son of Rut.

But what makes The National so different this year is the number and quality of the male members of the genre who will gather in Canberra, and no doubt share some of their wisdom and chops in the famous “Session Bar” over Easter.

For any budding local songsmiths, wouldn’t it be wonderful to sit around with Ireland’s Paul Brady (above), Andy Irvine and Finbar Furey, Kieran Kane and David Olney from the US and Canadians David Francey and James Keelaghan.

Here’s just a small collection of the people who have covered their songs: Linda Ronstadt, Emmy Lou Harris, Steve Earle, Carole King, John Prine, Cliff Richard, Ronan Keating, Bonnie Raitt, Brooks and Dunn, Phil Collins, Art Garfunkel, Joe Cocker, Tina Turner, Santana, and Tammy Wynette.

Paul Brady, from the border town of Strabane, is perhaps the most intriguing and successful of this richly talented group. His website – www.paulbrady.com – lists upwards of 70 world class performers who have covered his songs, either on recordings or live.

Brady’s songs are notable for their thoughtful and powerful lyrics and engaging musical structures.

Essentially, Brady’s songs can’t be classified, such is the range and depth of his work, reflected in the people who cover them – from our own Margaret Roadknight to Cliff Richard!

Here are two of my favourites: the first, “The Island”, is one of the most powerful anti-war, anti-violence songs ever written.

And another that brings back special memories of a cold winter’s day in Beijing in the early 1990s.

And, you’ll all have noted that Andy Irvine, Brady’s collaborator on the seminal 1976 self titled album will also be in Canberra over Easter. Here’s a taste of what might be.

Finally, there’s not enough space here to do justice to all the other outstanding performers and writers listed above. I’ve had a sneak preview of Go Jane Go, the new CD from Kieran Kane, David Francey and Lucas Kane, which will be released on their upcoming tour, which takes in three days at The National.

Not to be missed; buy a ticket here – www.folkfestival.org.au

Peter Logue is a Canberra based journalist and musican, who is also on the Board of the National Folk Festival.

The National Folk Festival Adds More Artists to its 2013 Lineup

Old Man Luedecke
Image Courtesy of Old Man Luedecke

Another festival that’s added more artists to its 2013 lineup today is the National Folk Festival. Held in Canberra over the Easter long weekend, the National Folk Festival already had a pretty impressive lineup on it’s hand – with today’s additions it just gets better and better.

Added to the roster this morning were North American roots and folk legends Kieran Kane, David Francey and Lucas Kane appearing as Go Jane Go, brand new Australian trio The Miss Chiefs, master Canadian banjo playing singer-songwriter Old Man Luedecke (above), blues/folk favourites Hat Fitz and Cara Robinson, Brisbane based Irish trad quartet Sásta, and Irish born, Australian based singer Freddie White.

Early bird tickets to the festival are still available from the official web site. The National Folk Festival is promising its full lineup at the start of December – stay tuned!

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