Vikki Thorn (The Waifs) Announces Solo Tour

Vikki Thorn
Image Courtesy of Vikki Thorn

Singer-songwriter and one third of legendary Australian folk band The Waifs, Vikki Thorn, has annouced plans for her debut headline tour of Australia this March.

The tour will feature Thorn fronting a trio made up of the very talented Heath Cullen and long term The Waifs bassist Ben Franz.

Vikki Thorn hits the road from next week with dates throughout March including an appearance at the Blue Mountains Music Festival – check out the full schedule below:

Tuesday 6th March – The Courtyard Studio, Canberra, ACT
Wednesday 7th March – The Courtyard Studio, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 8th March – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Friday 9th March – The Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW
Saturday 10th March – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 11th March – Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW
Monday 12th March – Art of Espresso, Young, NSW
Wednesday 14th March – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC
Thursday 15th March – The Northcote Social Club, Northcote, VIC
Friday 16th March – Adelaide Festival, The Palais, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 17th March – Peninsula Picnic, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
Sunday 18th March – Blue Mountains Music Festival, Katoomba, NSW
Wednesday 21st March – Fly By Night, Fremantle, WA
Thursday 22nd March – Clancy’s, Dunsborough, WA
Friday 23rd March – The River Hotel, Margaret River, WA
Saturday 24th March – Nannup Town Hall, Nannup, WA
Sunday 25th March – Kalyenup Studio, Albany Entertainment Centre, Albany, WA

The National Folk Festival Announces Over 40 More Acts for 2017

Jessie Lloyd
Image Courtesy of Jessie Lloyd

As the first hot cross buns hit our supermarkets you know that Easter is not that far away – and that means neither is The National Folk Festival.

And now it’s time to get even more excited because The National has just added 30 more artists to its lineup.

First up we have the First Peoples’ program celebrating Aboriginal artists. This lineup includes Genise and Nicholas Williams, The Mission Songs Project (curated by Jessie Lloyd, above), Tilly Thomas, David Spry, Dr Jared Thomas, Kutcha Edwards, Dubmarine, Wiradjuri Echoes and The Djaadjawan Dancers.

As well as the First Peoples’ program The National has added a bunch more artists from around the country including Mic Conway’s National Junk Band, The Mae Trio, Heath Cullen, The String Contingent, The Barleyshakes, Kate Burke, Luke Plumb & Ruth Hazleton, The Morrisons and many more.

The National Folk Festival is held from the 13th to the 17th April in 2017 – for more information and tickets check out the official site here.

Full Line Up Announced for Majors Creek Festival

Kate and Ruth
Image Courtesy of Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton

Majors Creek Festival is a small folk festival held in the small town of Majors Creek, NSW, south east of Canberra. The next festival is going to be held over the weekend of the 20th to 22nd November and they have just finalised a lineup that includes a who’s who of Timber and Steel favourites.

Headlining this year’s Majors Creek Festival roots singer-songwriter Heath Cullen in full band mode, trad songbirds Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton (above), indie-folk sweethearts Women in Docs and raucous Adelaidians The Timbers.

Joining them will be the likes of Bill Jackson with Pete Fidler, Dear Orphans, Echo Deer, Edema Ruh, Enda Kenny, Little Wise, Maia Jelavic, Riogh, Shiny Bum Singers, Sparrow-Folk, The April Maze and many more.

For more information on the Majors Creek Festival check out the official site here. The full lineup is below:

Heath Cullen, Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton, Women in Docs, The Timbers, Accapalerang, Angharad Drake, Bajaly Suso, Bellyfusion Bellydance, Ben Drysdale, Bill Jackson with Pete Fidler, Braidwood Dance School, COZMO, Craig and Simone Dawson, Cumbe!, DASH, Dear Orphans, Deep River Choir, Den Hanrahan and the Rum Runners, Doctor Stovepipe, Echo Deer, Ecopella, Edema Ruh, Enda Kenny, Folklines, Indi Pendant, Jasmine Beth, Jim and Ingrid Rehle-Williams, Little Wise, Lugh Damen, Maia Jelavic, Mat Brooker, Maypole with Molly, Mike Cosgriff, Merrilyn Simmons, Mexico Lindo, Moochers Inc., Mr Tim and the Fuzzy Elbows, OMG Dance Crew, Pete Wild & The Only Ones, Pop Up Choir, Riogh, Rory Ellis, Salsa with Rachel and friends, Shiny Bum Singers, Sparkle Circus, Sparrow-Folk, Surly Griffin Morris, TABLA Bellydance, TallaTango, The April Maze, The Fuelers, Tony Eardley, West Texas Crude

Porch Light Sessions Announces July Lineup

Liz Frencham
Image Courtesy of Liz Frencham

The July edition of the Porch Light Sessions night at the Petersham Bowling Club in Sydney takes place this Thursday 10th July and has a lineup that features some of the folk scene’s favourites.

Taking the stage on Thursday night will be alt-country songstress Fanny Lumsden, singer-songwriter Heath Cullen and everyone’s favourite singing bass player Liz Frencham (above).

The Porch Light Sessions are presented by Leroy Lee and Nomadic Fish and kick off at 7:30pm. Tickets are just $10 on the door. For more information check out the official Facebook event here.

National Folk Festival Interview: Kate Fagan

Kate Fagan
Image Courtesy of Kate Fagan

The Fagan family are truly of Australia’s most prominant folk dynasties (if such a thing exists in this country) and The National is the folk festival most associated with them. This year the wonderful Kate Fagan will be launching her brand new solo album Inner Nature with her full band – the first time she has played this new material with her full lineup. We sat down with Kate Fagan to chat about growing up in the festival scene, collaborating with her band and playing with Joan Baez.

Gareth Hugh Evans: You’re actually launching your new album Inner Nature at The National Folk Festival right?

Kate Fagan: Yes, launching it with a band. I actually sneaked it out towards the end of last year I must admit when I was doing a few shows as a soloist. But this is the first time I’ll be playing that material with a full band and I’m so looking forward to it because it’s a great crew of players and it will be fun to play with those arrangements.

GHE: Is there a reason why you’ve chosen The National as the venue for this launch?

KF: I love The National, it’s a terrific festival, and it’s one that I’ve been fortunate enough to play at many times in various different incarnations. I’ve been there with a bigger band to do a show with the family [The Fagans] many times. And I’ve been there in smaller ways as a duo and trio performing my material. But I’ve actually not been down there as the Kate Fagan Band which I’ve taken to a few other festivals. I really wanted the opportunity to play some of the stages that I love and in front of some of the audiences that I love with that set up. I just love being at The Nash basically.

GHE: I associate you with The National because that’s where I’ve seen you most, both with The Fagans and doing your solo stuff.

KF: It’s a bit of a spiritual home for our crew. It’s a great festival in the ACT which is within my home state of New South Wales so it’s a bit like a home festival in many ways. Always a great time..

GHE: I feel like because it’s a festival you have grown up in both with your family and solo I’d imagine you’ve got a built in fan base there.

KF: The audiences there are always terrific. They’re enthusiastic about music, they embrace all sorts of things and they are just really keen to get in and go along for the ride. So you get some terrific venues there and a great feeling for the shows. I’m looking forward to it. And I’ve been away for so many years from The National – I’ve kind of been on various little adventures between Nationals and now I have two little kids to bring to The National and start the cycle over. This will be the first time I’ve brought both of them to a festival so I’m really looking forward to that too.

GHE: That’s one of the things I love about The National – that it is generational. I was one of those kids that was brought along to festivals and now I go back as an adult.

KF: That’s one of the very very best things about the acoustic music scene across Australia and I guess around the world. It is very inclusive. It’s very diverse. It’s a great environment to do all that stuff in.

GHE: Tell us a little bit about the band that’s playing with you. I noticed that Heath Cullen, who we’re a fan of at Timber and Steel, is part of your band.

KF: He’s a wonderful musician and a fine songwriter and a dear old friend. He played on the album. I made the album a couple of years ago but again it was only recently that I had the space to mix and release it. So Heath was playing on that album, as was the marvellous, sensitive, funny percussionist Hamish Stuart who I just love playing with. So I feel very lucky that both of them were able to come down for Easter. So yeah, there’s Heath and Hamish and also Jason Walker. He’s a neighbour of mine up in the Mountains – I’ve not long moved to the Blue Mountains – and Jason is a terrific pedal steel player who is probably known to a couple of National audiences. He’s been a couple of times, he was last there with Toby Martin from Youth Group I believe. He kind of crosses into the world of alt-country and also I guess rock in some ways. And the ever handsome, stunning Robyn Martin will be joining us on bass and singing also. So it’s a really great crew and a bunch of people I enjoy hanging out with and feel very lucky to be playing with.

GHE: Do the songs on the new album lend themselves better to a full band setting? Or is that just how you wanted to present them this time around?

KF: I think it’s more that there was a chance to do it this time around. And again a festival like The National is big enough to support an extended, full band. It is a nice chance to bring a different sound to some good stages. These songs can go a lot of ways. I actually did tour a lot of them at the end of last year as a solo performer and they can work that way as well. It’s always fun to play with other musicians and particularly those of this quality. It’ll be a good old romp.

GHE: Do you discover anything new about the songs when you play them with a band?

KF: Yeah, I think definitely. There’s always a great lesson to be learned in a way in handing the work over to other people and saying “what do you hear” or “what would you like to play”. The generosity of players, what they bring to your material is just fantastic. I guess with this album I haven’t had a chance to do a lot of that, again partly because I’ve been busy on other projects. But the first real sense of that was when we recorded the album. Some of it had been played in small ensembles but a lot of it was new for the album. Some of those tracks really started to come alive in that way, in a place outside of my own head when we recorded them for the first time. It was just an exhilarating process to hear that. And stuff that you would never expect tends to fly into the room at that point. It’s something that I really love about collaborating with other artists.

I think you learn so much from the players that you get to stand next to. When I made my first solo album I probably didn’t understand that as much and you try to keep track of it all for yourself. It was quite liberating on this album to basically hand things over and say “whatever you hear I know it’s going to be stellar and I’m grateful for you for taking that and making something amazing with it”. The players on this album certainly brought that. Dave Symes plays bass on the album – he’s just a wonderful musician and producer and a very intuitive player. I felt like I was meeting the songs again for the first time again when I heard what Dave and Hamish were doing with those arrangements – they’ve worked together for a long time. There’s this unspoken magic between them.

So it’ll be great to listen to what this band does because we’ve never played together and we’ve been rehearsing in different towns and we’re just going to bring it all together with a bang at The National.

GHE: I was just assuming that you’d done hours and hours of rehearsals with the whole band.

KF: We will have by The National. We’ve all played together in different combinations. Heath and Robyn have played together forever and again have that understanding and that lock. It’ll be fantastic to put it all together.

GHE: One last thing I have to ask because I saw it in your press release – you supported Joan Baez last year. How was that?

KF: Amazing. And a tremendous adventure, a really big adventure. She was all that you would expect as a performer – she was gracious and funny and knowledgable. It was terrific to watch her go out every night and give to the audience. Every night it was as though she wanted to invite the whole audience onto stage with her and they felt included in her material. And I guess somebody like Joan Baez can choose from the vast pantheon of folk songs and just deliver them. So she was able to choose from this extraordinary array of material and just make these songs her own while still making the audience feel very connected to them and as though she was singing on their behalf. It was lovely to watch that and extra special to get a chance to sing with her every night.

GHE: She’s such a touchstone for so many artists, it must have been exhilarating.

KF: It really was. It was great fun and I felt lucky to be doing it and also very inspired to be doing it. We had a great month.

GHE: Fantastic. Thank you so much for talking with me today and good luck at The National.

KF: I’m really excited to bring this album down to The National and I can’t wait to get there!

The National Folk Festival takes place in Canberra from the 17th to 21st April. Kate Fagan’s set times for the festival are below:

Saturday 19th April – 4:20pm Budawang
Sunday 20th April – 5pm Marquee
Monday 21st April – 12pm Majestic

The Full National Folk Festival Program Revealed

Old Man Leudecke
Image Courtesy of Old Man Luedecke

Can you believe Easter is under two months away? Crazy times! With that in mind The National Folk Festival last week officially launched their 2014 program with well over 200 artists announced.

To recap the international contingent includes Woody Mann (USA), Damien Dempsey (Ireland), Tift Merritt (USA), Lindi Ortega (Canada), Old Man Luedecke (Above, Canada), Eleanor McEvoy (Ireland), Fásta (Quebec/Ireland/Scotland) and The Alaskan String Band (Alaska).

Not to be outdone the local additions to the lineup include a bunch of Timber and Steel favourites including Jordie Lane, Kate Fagan, The Little Stevies, Heath Cullen, The Crooked Fiddle Band, Castlecomer, The Mae Trio, The Barons of Tang, The Davidson Brothers, Tolka, Bernard Carney, The Ellis Collective, Quarry Mountain Dead Rats, Archie Roach, Joseph Tawadros Trio, Leah Flanagan, The Lurkers, Margaret Walters, Martin Pearson, The Morrisons, The Rusty Spring Syncopators, Sarah Humphreys, Sparrow Folk, The Stetson Family, Takadimi, Trouble in the Kitchen, Zeptepi and many many more.

The National Folk Festival has also announced the recipient of the National Folk Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award is folk veteran Margret Roadknight.

The National Folk Festival takes place at Exhibition Park in Canberra from the 17th to 21st April. Check out the official web site for more information.

The National Folk Festival Announce Second Round of Performers

Tift Merritt
Image Courtesy of Tift Merritt

Christmas has come a few days early with the National Folk Festival announcing their second round of artists for 2014.

Headlining the list this time around are UK singer-songwriter Rory McLeod, Canadian banjo player and singer Old Man Luedecke and US folk singer Tift Merritt (above). Joining them will be Louise Phelan & Maeve Moynihan, Siobhan Owen, Joe Lynch, Fiona Ross, Heath Cullen, Cameron Mather, The Barons of Tang, Richard Perso, Tracey Bunn and Her Handsome Devils, Chloe & Jason Roweth, Souleiado French Dance Group, The Last Five Coins, Karavana Flamenca, Santa Taranta, Dick Warwick and Geoffrey W Graham.

All of these artists join an already impressive lineup that features Eleanor McEvoy, Rose Cousins, Jordie Lane, Kate Fagan, Bernard Carney, The Mae Trio, The Davidson Brothers, Luke Plumb (Shooglenifty), Trouble In The Kitchen and many more.

The National Folk Festival takes place at Exhibition Park in Canberra from the 17th to 21st April

Corinbank Returns With New Lineup

Jack Carty
Image Courtesy of Jack Carty

After a devastating weather event forced Corinbank Festival in Canberra to cancel earlier this year (read all about it here in our interview with Corinbank General Manager Amy Moon) the event is back with a new lineup, new dates and a whole bunch of quality music for your listening pleasure.

Corinbank Take 2 will take place from the 30th November to 2nd December in the Brindabella Mountains, ACT. The lineup is a mixture of acts from the cancelled event earlier this year and some fresh new faces including Timber and Steel favourites Busby Marou, Dallas Frasca, The Barons of Tang, Jack Carty (above), Heath Cullen, Lucie Thorne, Julia & The Deep Sea Sirens, The Ellis Collective and more.

All tickets purchased for the original Corinbank Festival are still valid for the Take 2 event. If you haven’t gotten yourself tickets yet head over to the official Corinbank site for details. The full lineup announced this morning is below:

Busby Marou, Dallas Frasca, The Barons of Tang, Jack Carty, Heath Cullen, Lucie Thorne, Cilla Jane, Amax, Beth n Ben, Big Score, Brass Knuckle Brass Band, Caity Sarah/This n’ That, Cracked Actor, D’Opus and Roshambo, Fun Machine, Hashemoto, James Fahy and his Trio, Julia & The Deep Sea Sirens, Los Chavos, Matt Dent, Drew Walky and the Hypnotic Planigales, Pocket Fox, Moochers Inc, No Hausfrau, Son of Rut, The Burley Griffin, The Ellis Collective, The Fuelers, Waterford, ZoOpaGOo

Snowy Mountains of Music Announce First Round of Artists

Eric Bogle
Image Courtesy of The Snowy Mountains of Music

This year’s coolest festival (oh yes we did), The Snowy Mountains of Music, has just announced it’s first round of artists and the lineup is pretty awesome.

We’ve already been given a sneak peak at the artists with Dallas Frasca, Eric Bogle (above) and The Sunny Cowgirls announced late last year but joining them at The Snowy Mountains will be The Stiff Gins, Heath Cullen, Marshall and the Fro, Azadoota, The Woohoo Revue and The Go Set.

The Snowy Mountains of Music is held on the Queen’s Birthday Weekend from the 10th to 13th June. Tickets are already on sale from the official web site. Stay tuned for more news as it comes to hand.

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