Thank Folk It’s Friday – 28th November


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Sydney singer-songwriter Caitlin Harnett will be launching her new album in a hometown show this week. Details here

– Next February Angus and Julia Stone will be heading out on tour with Cloud Control, Jarryd James and Little May. Details here

– For his new video, “I Forget Where We Were”, Ben Howard stepped behind the camera for his directorial debut. Details here

– Carolina Chocolate Drops founding member Rhiannon Giddens will be releasing her debut solo album next February. Details here

– UK duo Slow Club have announced Australian tour dates in January. Details here

– Scottish singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini has announced Bluesfest sideshows next year. Details here

Little Bastard announced a 2015 tour and released their new video “Desert Roller”. Details here

– The latest Hunger Games film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, features the track “The Hanging Tree” which was co-written by The Lumineers. Details here

– Country and Inner Western becomes Christmas and Inner Western in December featuring The Morrisons, Tim Chaisson, Catherine Britt, A Man Called Stu, Jenny Queen and Fanny Lumsden and The Thrillseekers. Details here

Bear’s Den released their new single “Think of England”. Details here

Emmy The Great released the slightly creepy video for her new track “Swimming Pool”. Details here

Aldous Harding released her new video “No Peace”. Details here

Stu Larsen released his new video “King Street”. Details here

CW Stoneking has announced plans for a east coast regional tour this coming February. Details here

Releases This Week

Pepa Knight
Hypnotized Vol.1Pepa Knight

Local Football
Local FootballSleepy Dreamers

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

The Kruger Brothers w/ The Company

Kruger Brothers

Renowned American bluegrass trio The Kruger Brothers will be making their Australian debut this week and they’re taking The Company along for the ride. The award winning trio have announced only a handful of shows and all of them are in Queensland so if you’re in town make the most of this opportunity

Friday 28th November – The Princess Theatre, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 29th November – The Princess Theatre, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 30th November – Samford Hall, Samford, QLD
Friday 5th December – Maleny Community Hall, Maleny QLD

Gigs Next Week

Bearded Gypsy Band
Thursday 4th December – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 5th December – Bennett’s Lane, Melbourne, VIC

Betty & Oswald
Friday 28th November – Spirit Bar, Traralgon, VIC
Sunday 30th November – Front Gallery, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 4th December – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 5th December – The Lass O’Gowrie, Newcastle, NSW

Brad Butcher
Thursday 4th December – Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Busby Marou
Friday 28th November – Prince of Wales, Bunbury, WA
Saturday 29th November – Gorgeous Festival, Adelaide, SA

Caitlin Harnett w/ Lacey Cole & The Lazy Colts
Wednesday 3rd December – Easy Tiger, Sydney, NSW

Daniel Lee Kendall
Saturday 29th November – Loo Loo’s Warehouse, Central Coast, NSW
Friday 5th December – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW

Davidson Brothers
Sunday 30th November – The B-East, Melbourne, VIC

Eddie Boyd and The Phatapillars
Saturday 29th November – Station Bar, Katoomba, NSW

Fred Smith
Friday 28th November – Fremantle Town Hall, Fremantle, WA

Gorgeous Festival
Friday 28th and Saturday 29th November – McLaren Vale, SA

Hat Fitz and Cara
Saturday 29th November – The Basement @ Gold Coast Arts Centre, Gold Coast, QLD

Friday 28th November – Adelaide Uni Bar, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 29th November – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 30th November – Queenscliff Music Fest, VIC
Thursday 4th December – Dunsborough Hotel, Dunsborough, WA
Friday 5th December – The Bakery, Perth, WA

Jack Carty
Friday 28th November – Captains at Mariners, Batemans Bay, NSW
Saturday 29th November – Front Gallery, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 30th November – Birdhouse Bar, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Thursday 4th December – Howler, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 5th December – Kay St Saloon Bar, Traralgon, VIC

Jep and Dep
Sunday 30th November – The Midnight Special, Sydney, NSW

Josh Pyke
Friday 28th November – The Astor Hotel, Goulburn, NSW
Saturday 29th November – Anita’s Theatre, Thirroul, NSW
Sunday 30th November – Lizotte’s, Kincumber, NSW

Little Features feat. The Starry Field, Alex Gibson, Yetis, Daniel Tomalaris, Jesse Brand, Sarah Rowan Dahl
Saturday 29th November – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Little May
Friday 28th November – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 29th November – Gorgeous Music Festival, McLaren Vale, SA
Friday 5th December – Solbar, Sunshine Coast, QLD

Liz Stringer
Friday 28th November – Manly Fig, Manly, NSW

Mark Moldre
Saturday 29th November – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Pepa Knight
Friday 28th November – Baker St, Gosford, NSW
Saturday 29th November – Milk Factory, Brisbane, QLD

Sarah Humphreys
Saturday 29th November – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW

Steve Smyth
Friday 28th November – Red Hot Music, Devonport, TAS
Saturday 29th November – Queenscliff Music Festival, Queenscliff, QLD
Sunday 30th November – Queenscliff Music Festival, Queenscliff, QLD
Thursday 4th December – Anita’s Theatre, Thirroul, NSW
Friday 5th December – Fitzroy Hotel, Windsor, VIC

The Kruger Brothers w/ The Company
Friday 28th November – The Princess Theatre, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 29th November – The Princess Theatre, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 30th November – Samford Hall, Samford, QLD
Friday 5th December – Maleny Community Hall, Maleny QLD

The Pierce Brothers
Friday 28th November – Spirit Bar, Traralgon, VIC
Saturday 29th November – Gorgeous Festival, SA
Thursday 4th December – Torquay Hotel, Torquay, VIC
Friday 5th December – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, WA

The Stetson Family
Sunday 30th November – Yarra Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Saturday 29th November – Gorgeous Festival, Serafino Winery, McLaren Vale, SA
Thursday 4th December – Great Northern, Byron Bay, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“The Massacre of Glencoe” – Don Bruce

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing South Australian based Scottish-Australian singer Don Bruce perform a number of times at folk festivals and I love the way he interprets songs. With St Andrew’s Day being this Sunday this I’ve chosen Bruce’s version of Jim McLean’s tragic tale of the 1692 massacre of the clan MacDonald as today’s FFF – not the happiest of songs but an important part of Scottish history.

Fleurieu Folk Festival Announces 2011 Program

The Yearlings
Image Courtesy of The Yearlings

South Australia’s best loved folk event, the Fleurieu Folk Festival, has just announced the lineup to its 2011 event to be held from the 21st to 23rd October in Willunga. Fleurieu is considered by many to be one of the hidden gems on the national folk calendar with many praising its ability to draw high quality acts while still maintaining an intimate, community feel.

This year should be no different with the likes of Totally Gourdgeous, Danny Spooner, Martin Pearson, Lucy Wise, Mal Webb, The Yearlings (above), Don Bruce, Traveller and Fortune and many many more all making an appearance (check the full lineup here). If you’re looking for a great weekend of folky goodness this year we’d highly suggest checking out Fleurieu.

Review: 41st Top Half Folk Festival, Alice Springs

Songs From the Attic/Shed
Image Courtesy of Barry Skipsey

As I awoke bleary eyed and rolled out of my swag on the cold, crisp morning of the Queens Birthday Monday I suddenly realised that the Top Half Folk Festival was over for another year. The weekend had flown by in a blur of folk music and whiskey and it was time to pack up the hire car and make the weary trip from Glen Helen to Alice Springs and once again face the real world.

The Top Half Folk Festival is held alternately in Central Australia (Glen Helen) and the Top End (Mary River) and this year it was the “bottom half’s” turn. Showcasing some of the Northern Territory’s best established and up-and-coming folk music talent, along with special guests from interstate, the Top Half is everything that’s wonderful about a small regional festival – intimate venues, a family atmosphere and beautiful acoustic music filling the equally stunning surroundings.

The official program of the Top Half takes place over the Saturday and Sunday of the Queens Birthday long weekend (with the unofficial program continuing in the Glen Helen Homestead over three late nights) with a single venue hosting a selection of concerts, workshops and other folky goodness throughout.

Day one saw a heady mixture of traditional and contemporary folk to delight and inspire the audience who were trickling in from Alice Springs throughout the morning. The day kicked off with the famous Poet’s Breakfast hosted by the equally famous Jim Smith (VIC) and then was followed by a fascinating maritime themed workshop from WA duo Lesley Silvester and Mike Murray (an odd choice for a desert festival but who doesn’t like a good sea shanty?).

Next up local legend Dave Evans (Bloodwood) presented one of the highlights of the festival, interviewing West Australian group The Loaded Dog with hilarious consequences (and even a few songs thrown in for good measure). I use the term “interviewing” loosely with the majority of the presentation seeing Evans and The Loaded Dog trading friendly barbs and generally trying to outwit each other. The result was not only a great introduction to The Loaded Dog’s music (for those of us who hadn’t heard them before) but a fantastic introduction to the more formal concerts for the rest of the day.

Ted Egan and Jeanette Wormald
Image of Ted Egan and Jeanette Wormald Courtesy of Barry Skipsey

The two Saturday concerts were peppered with some absolutely delightful music spanning folk in all its forms from trad (Darwin’s Moonta Revellers) to contemporary (South Australia’s Don Bruce) and even klezmer (local band Rusty and the Infidels). Highlights from the day included the troubadour stylings of Edan Baxter and Jamie Balfour (Alice Springs) on resonator and lap steel, the irrepressible Ted Egan (Alice Springs) singing some of his most cherished Australian songs, Jeanette Wormald (Alice Springs) who had been coaxed out of semi-retirement from professional music to play a gorgeous set of contemporary country music and Dom Costello and Michael David (Alice Springs and QLD) who absolutely blew me out of the water with their Celtic inspired contemporary folk.

The festival’s special guest, WA singer songwriter Peter Bugden, appeared in two slots over the weekend including closing the Saturday night concert and a solo slot at lunchtime on Sunday. As charismatic as ever, Bugden charmed audiences with his unique mix of humour and poignancy. At one moment Bugden would have the audience rolling in the aisles to one of his stories or tongue-twisting songs and then the next moment they would be enraptured by a song full of heartbreak and longing. While Bugden hails from Perth he has had a long association with the Territorian folk scene and his performances solidified his standing as one of the Top Half’s favourite “blow ins”.

Sunday proved more of the same high quality performances starting once again with Jim Smith’s Poet’s breakfast before launching into a day of workshops and concerts. Paul “Stewy” Stewert once again assembled a “cricket team” (top image) of festival musicians (including members of local folk music heroes Bloodwood) for a workshop featuring songs from the depths of his impressive record collection. The workshop had the audience commenting how dismal their record collections were in comparison and many of the musicians frantically writing down the names of the all the new songs they had to learn.

Timber and Steel
Image of Timber and Steel Courtesy of Barry Skipsey

The two Sunday concerts were once again a mixture of the old and the new (both in terms of the music and the acts) and really demonstrated why audiences keep coming back. Highlights included South of the Berrimah Line (Katherine) combining old timey, country, Celtic and contemporary folk music with wonderful instrumentation and harmonies, Australian folk legend Margaret Walters (NSW), Phil Beck (WA) whose beautiful finger picking style and affection for the sadder side of folk music reduced some audience members to tears and the-band-that-became-a-blog Timber and Steel flexing their nu-folk muscles. The night was closed out by local rock/blues/folk/country trio Built for Comfort who had the crowd rocking in their seats and singing along to all the words.

Session Bar
Image Courtesy of Barry Skipsey

Many of the Top Half’s best moments occur off-program in the Glen Helen Homestead or the “Session Bar” as it’s commonly referred to. After each evening concert draws to a close the crowd descends on the homestead, musical instrument in one hand, a frothing pint in the other, and plays, sings and dances well into the early morning hours. At any given moment you can be treated to set dancing, traditional Irish fiddle tunes, a Capella singing and pub classics resonating through the building and out into the MacDonnell Ranges beyond.

Playing music, dancing and singing until 3am every morning and then ensuring you’re up in time to catch the Poet’s Breakfast takes its toll, hence the bleary eyes from this reviewer on the Monday morning. But the lack of sleep and below zero temperatures most mornings did nothing to dent the feeling that we had been a part of one of the best little festivals in the country. And the fact that it will be held in the tropical north next year has already inspired us to want to do it all again. Congratulations to the Central Australian Folk Society and the Top End Folk Club for another amazing Top Half Folk Festival. Long may they continue.

41st Top Half Folk Festival This Queens Birthday Weekend, 11th-13th June

Top Half Folk Festival
Image Courtesy of Barry Skipsey

One of Australia’s great little folk festivals is happening again from the 11th to 13th June. Now in its 41st year, which must make it one of Australia’s longest running folk festivals, The Top Half Folk Festival alternates between Darwin and Alice Springs. This year it’s Alice’s turn, and the venue is once again The Glen Helen Resort. Just 132klms west of Alice Springs is the magnificent Glen Helen Gorge, fashioned by the famous Finke River and nestled amongst the magnificent MacDonnell Ranges, a perfect backdrop for a festival. The Top Half Festivals have never been large in numbers but make up for this with their friendliness, quality of music and uniquely Territorian flavour. Over the years many of Australia’s top folk performers have performed at the festival and this year’s list of confirmed visiting artists is promising to make it another ripper.

Peter Bugden is the featured guest artist. Peter has lived in Perth for many years and is well known around Australia for his singing, guitar accompaniment and wonderful laid back introductions that have had many an audience in stitches. Also featuring from Perth will be Loaded Dog, Mike Murray & Lesley Sylvester, and Phil Beck. From NSW we have Margaret Walters, Francesca Sidoti and the-band-that-became-this-blog Timber and Steel. Also appearing will be The Dingos Breakfast Duo consisting of Roger Montgomery, John Angliss and Martin Pearson (wait – duo?), Don Bruce from S.A. will be there and a contingent from Bendigo are also driving up. The usual suspects from Darwin will be driving down, Tony Suttor, Peter Bate and Paul Stewart to name but three, and Alice Springs locals Ted Egan, Barry Skipsey and the odd Bloodwood* member or two, may well be found near the bar area.

The weekend opens with a welcoming BBQ on Friday and a free for all music/song session and continues through Saturday and Sunday with a mixture of concerts, presentations, poetry, craft, and mighty jam sessions that go on into the wee small hours. Monday is recovery day and a chance to fully appreciate the beautiful surroundings or simply to lie down and get some sleep. The usual facilities are all available out at Glen Helen, however accommodation is limited and it’s best to book before going (Shelagh at Glen Helen can be contacted on 08 8956 7489)

If you want further information about the festival contact Dave Evans or Scott Balfour (the B and D of Bloodwood) at

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