Thank Folk It’s Friday – 27th December

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

Blog

– Our Editor in Chief Gareth Hugh Evans released his traditional top 25 songs of the year including tracks from Aldous Harding, Bear’s Den, Big Sky Mountain, Bon Iver, Chaika, Charm of Finches, Falls, Fanny Lumsden, Garrett Kato, George Jackson, Joe Pug, John Smith, Julia Jacklin, Luke Plumb & Kate Burke, Mandolin Orange, Matthew And The Atlas, Michael Waugh, Passenger, Seeker Lover Keeper, Stella Donnelly, The East Pointers, The Maes, The Teskey Brothers, Tia Gostelow and Vetiver. Check it out here

– Our annual Chritsmas Eve list of the best folky Christmas and Holiday songs of the year dropped on Tuesday with tracks from Al Parkinson, Anais Mitchell w/ Thomas “Doveman” Bartlett, Arielle Silver, Bear’s Den, Ben Sollee, Courteous Thief, Fanny Lumsden, Good Lovelies, Jackie Marshall and Emma Bosworth, Jesse Blake Rundle, Joe Pug, Lady Maisery w/ Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith, Judy Collins & Jonas Fjeld, Lana Winterhalt, Noah, Mitch, & Kate, Phoebe Bridgers w/ Fiona Apple and Matt Berninger (The National), Richard Walters, Skinner & T’witch, Sophie Jones (Smith and Jones), Stella Donnelly, The Lone Bellow and The Shut-ins. Check out the list here

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Andrew Swift and Gretta Ziller

Caravan Park

Friday 27th December – Amberlee Holiday Park, Rosebud, VIC
Saturday 28th December – Inverloch Foreshore Camping Reserve, Inverloch, VIC
Sunday 29th December – Seaspray Caravan Park, Seaspray, VIC
Monday 30th December – Eagle Point Caravan Park, Eagle Point, VIC
Tuesday 31st December – Marlo Ocean Views, Marlo, VIC
Wednesday 1st January – Mallacoota Foreshore Holiday Park, Mallacoota, VIC
Thursday 2nd January – Eden Beachfront Holiday Park, Eden, NSW
Friday 3rd January – Tathra Beachside, Tathra, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Áine Tyrrell
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Alana Wilkinson
Saturday 28th December – Inverloch Sounds of Summer, Inverloch, VIC

Alice Skye
Monday 30th December to Wednesday 1st January – NYE on the Hill, Loch, VIC

Amanda Palmer
Monday 30th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Andrew Swift and Gretta Ziller
Friday 27th December – Amberlee Holiday Park, Rosebud, VIC
Saturday 28th December – Inverloch Foreshore Camping Reserve, Inverloch, VIC
Sunday 29th December – Seaspray Caravan Park, Seaspray, VIC
Monday 30th December – Eagle Point Caravan Park, Eagle Point, VIC
Tuesday 31st December – Marlo Ocean Views, Marlo, VIC
Wednesday 1st January – Mallacoota Foreshore Holiday Park, Mallacoota, VIC
Thursday 2nd January – Eden Beachfront Holiday Park, Eden, NSW
Friday 3rd January – Tathra Beachside, Tathra, NSW

Archie Roach
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Austral
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Barleyshakes
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Ben Mastwyk
Tuesday 31st December – Union Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Blair Dunlop
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Bluegrass and Boilermakers
Thursday 2nd January – Rio Bar, Sydney, NSW

Bonnie Kay and the Bonafides
Friday 27th December – The Unicorn Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 29th December – Shady Pines Saloon, Sydney, NSW

Brooke Russell & the Canyon Callers
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Cat & Clint
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Charlie Collins
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Chloe & Jason Roweth
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Cigány Weaver
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Cloudstreet
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Colin Lillie
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Dave Wright & The Midnight Ramblers
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Dope Lemon
Saturday 28th to Tuesday 31st December – Falls Festival, Lorne, VIC
Sunday 29th to Tuesday 31st December – Falls Festival, Marion Bay, TAS
Tuesday 31st December to Thursday 2nd January – Falls Festival, Byron Bay, NSW

Dyson Stringer Cloher
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Elephant Sessions
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD
Thursday 2nd January – The Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 3rd January – The Bellingen Brewery Co, Bellingen, NSW

Emily Barker
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Falls Festival
Saturday 28th to Tuesday 31st December – Lorne, VIC
Sunday 29th to Tuesday 31st December – Marion Bay, TAS
Tuesday 31st December to Thursday 2nd January – Byron Bay, NSW

Fiona Ross and Shane O’Mara
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Fred Smith
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Freya Josephine Hollick
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Gareth Leach
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Georgia State Line
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Great Aunt
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Gretta Ray
Monday 30th December to Wednesday 1st January – NYE on the Hill, Loch, VIC

Gulgong Folk Festival
Sunday 29th to Tuesday 31st December – Gulgong, NSW

Harry James Angus
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Hat Fitz and Cara
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Inverloch Sounds of Summer
Saturday 28th December – Thompson Reserve, Inverloch, VIC

Jack Carty
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

James Ellis & the Jealous Guys
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Jeff Lang
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

John Thompson
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Jordie Lane
Tuesday 31st December – Secret Show, VIC

Kasey Chambers
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Kate Miller-Heidke
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Kay Proudlove
Sunday 29th December – Red Dog on the Green, Figtree, NSW

Kyle Lionhart
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Lachlan Bryan & the Wildes
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Lior
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Little Wise
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Mal Webb
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Martin Pearson
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Matt Joe Gow
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission
Wednesday 1st January – The Archies Creek Hotel, Archies Creek, VIC

Milky Chance
Saturday 28th to Tuesday 31st December – Falls Festival, Lorne, VIC
Sunday 29th to Tuesday 31st December – Falls Festival, Marion Bay, TAS
Tuesday 31st December to Thursday 2nd January – Falls Festival, Byron Bay, NSW

Nariel Creel Folk Festival
Tuesday 31st December to Wednesday 1st January – Nariel Creek, VIC

Narrownecks
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Nathan Seeckts
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Niq Reefman
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

NYE on the Hill
Monday 30th December to Wednesday 1st January – Loch, VIC

Of Monsters and Men
Saturday 28th to Tuesday 31st December – Falls Festival, Lorne, VIC
Sunday 29th to Tuesday 31st December – Falls Festival, Marion Bay, TAS
Tuesday 31st December to Thursday 2nd January – Falls Festival, Byron Bay, NSW

Pierce Brothers
Monday 30th December to Wednesday 1st January – NYE on the Hill, Loch, VIC

Raised By Eagles
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

RAPT
Sunday 29th to Tuesday 31st December – Gulgong Folk Festival, Gulgong, NSW

Rick Hart Trio
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Rose Zita Falko
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Round Mountain Girls
Tuesday 31st December – Seagulls Club, Tweed Heads, NSW

Russell Morris
Thursday 2nd December – Malt Shovel Taphouse, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Friday 3rd December – Soundlounge, Gold Coast, QLD

Sahara Beck
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Sean McMahon
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Stag 2020 NYE feat. Magpie Diaries, Johnston City, James Thomson, Lyle Dennis Express, Dashville Progress Society
Tuesday 31st December – The Stag & Hunter Hotel, Newcastle, NSW

Stu Tyrrell
Sunday 29th to Tuesday 31st December – Gulgong Folk Festival, Gulgong, NSW

The Black Sorrows
Saturday 28th December – Caravan Music Club, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 29th December – Wonderland Spiegeltent, Barwon Heads, VIC
Thursday 2nd January – The Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday 3rd January – Ballina RSL Club, Ballina, NSW

The BordererS
Tuesday 31st December – Para Hills Community Club, Adelaide, SA

The Brother Brothers
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD
Friday 3rd December – The Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD

The Bushwackers
Sunday 29th to Tuesday 31st December – Gulgong Folk Festival, Gulgong, NSW

The East Pointers w/ Laura Hyde
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD
Friday 3rd January – The Imperial Hotel, Eumundi, QLD

The Little Lord Street Band
Saturday 28th December – Clancy’s Fish Pub, Fremantle, WA
Sunday 29th December – Margaret River Brewhouse, Margaret River, WA

The New Graces
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

The Swamp Stompers
Friday 3rd December – Murrah Hall, Murrah, NSW

The Weeping Willows
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – Western Weekender, The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Thelma Plumb
Saturday 28th to Tuesday 31st December – Falls Festival, Lorne, VIC
Sunday 29th to Tuesday 31st December – Falls Festival, Marion Bay, TAS
Tuesday 31st December to Thursday 2nd January – Falls Festival, Byron Bay, NSW

This Way North
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Tia Gostelow
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Tin Star
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Western Weekender
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th January – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Woodford Folk Festival
Friday 27th December to Wednesday 1st January – Woodford, QLD

Z-Star Trinity
Saturday 28th December – Mansfield Hotel, Townsville, QLD
Tuesday 31st December – Riley, Cairns, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“Woodfordia” – The East Pointers

Gareth Hugh Evans’ Top 25 Tracks of 2019

2019

It’s been a very quiet year on the blogging front from Timber and Steel but I couldn’t let the season go past with at least on of my traditional best of lists.

Here’s 25 of the tracks I’ve been digging this year from across the folk spectrum – everything from trad to bluegrass, singer-songwriter to Americana. Hopefully you’ll agree that 2019 was a bumper year for the music we love.

Without further ado we present Gareth Hugh Evans’ Top 25 Tracks of 2019.

1. The Maes – “Treat You Better”

2. Aldous Harding – “The Barrel”

3. John Smith – “Hummingbird”

4. Joe Pug – “The Flood in Color”

5. Bon Iver – “Hey, Ma”

6. The East Pointers – “Wintergreen”

7. Bear’s Den – “Crow”

8. Luke Plumb & Kate Burke – “Billy Boy”

9. Julia Jacklin – “Pressure to Party”

10. Seeker Lover Keeper – “Let It Out”

11. Garrett Kato – “River Mouth”

12. The Teskey Brothers – “Hold Me”

13. Tia Gostelow – “Get To It”

14. Mandolin Orange – “Time We Made Time”

15. Fanny Lumsden – “These Days”

16. Vetiver – “To Who Knows Where”

17. Falls – “On Attack”

18. Chaika – “Arrow”

19. George Jackson – “Dorrigo”

20. Big Sky Mountain – “Cover My Tracks”

21. Charm of Finches – “Lies”

22. Stella Donnelly – “Die”

23. Passenger – “Rosie”

24. Michael Waugh – “Big Things”

25. Matthew and the Atlas – “Calling Long Distance”

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 31st May

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Our latest New Music Monday featured new streams and videos from the likes of Chance McCoy, Emma Beau, Glen Hansard, Hannah Blackburn, Jordie Lane & Yirrmal, Lucie Thorne, Passenger, Seeker Lover Keeper, The Lumineers and The Pigs. Listen and watch them here

Releases This Week

Luke Plumb
Luke Plumb & Kate BurkeLuke Plumb & Kate Burke
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Diamond Duck with Strings

Diamond Duck

Saturday 1st June – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

99 Stories Singer/Songwriter Showcase feat. Jordan Kenny, Justin Webber, Andy Calvert, Pearl Herbert, Kieran Morris, Paul Mason, Rhyen, Claudie Grace, Nat James, Rita B, Leroy Lee
Saturday 1st June – Staves Brewery, Sydney, NSW

Andy Golledge, Caitlin Harnett & Ruben Neeson
Saturday 1st June – Station Bar, Katoomba, NSW

Archie Roach
Friday 31st May – Centenary Square, Parramatta, NSW
Saturday 1st June – Meeanjin Markets, Brisbane, QLD

Ash Grunwald
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – Perisher Peak Festival, Perisher, NSW

Barunga Festival
Friday 7th June to Sunday 9th June – Barunga, NT

BATTS
Friday 7th June – QPAC, Brisbane, QLD

Big Sky Mountain
Thursday 6th June – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT

Bobby Alu
Thursday 6th to Saturday 8th June – Palm Creek Folk Festival, Mount Surround, QLD

Bonnie Kay and the Bonafides
Sunday 2nd June – Collaroy Beach Club, Sydney, NSW

Bush Gothic
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, VIC

Cat Canteri
Saturday 1st June – Macedon Railway Hotel, Macedon, VIC
Thursday 6th June – The Tote, Melbourne, VIC

Chris Neto
Friday 31st May – Beatdisc Records, Sydney, NSW

Cigány Weaver
Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th June – Palm Creek Folk Festival, Mount Surround, QLD

Clare Bowditch
Friday 7th June – Powerhouse Theatre, Brisbane, QLD

Claude Hay
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – Perisher Peak Festival, Perisher, NSW

Clio
Tuesday 4th June – The Grace Darling, Melbourne, VIC

Colin Lillie
Friday 31st May – Ettalong Diggers, Ettalong, NSW
Saturday 1st June – Laurieton Services Club, Laurieton, NSW
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, VIC

Daniel Champagne
Friday 31st May – Conservatorium Chapel, Tamworth, NSW
Saturday 1st June – Metro Social, Katoomba, NSW
Sunday 2nd June – Birdhouse, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Wednesday 5th June – T Guitars, Bowral, NSW
Thursday 6th June – RAD, Wollongong, NSW
Friday 7th June – Factory, Sydney, NSW

Dave Wright & The Midnight Ramblers
Saturday 1st June – The Drunken Poet, Melbourne, VIC

David Bridie
Saturday 1st June · Chapel off Chapel, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 7th June · Trinity Sessions, Adelaide, SA

Diamond Duck with Strings
Saturday 1st June – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

Felicity Urquhart & Brad Butcher
Friday 31st May – Hardy’s Bay Community Club, Hardy’s Bay, NSW
Saturday 1st June – Acoustic Picnic, Dee Why, NSW

Fiona Ross and Shane O’Mara
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, VIC

Folk and Fire feat. STAV, Corey Theatre
Saturday 1st June – Nexus Arts, Adelaide, SA

Folk Like Us feat. Ally Palmer, Phil & Tilley, Rhiannon, Andaman, Hollie Col
Sunday 2nd June – The Soda Factory, Sydney, NSW

FolkSwagon feat. Harley Mavis, Tess Guthrie, Sam Joole
Wednesday 5th June – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Friends & Acquaintances End Of Tour Party feat. Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes, Ben Leece, The Good the Beard & the Ugly, Georgia State Line, Freya Josephine Hollick, The Weeping Willows, Kate Alexander, Hana Breneck
Sunday 2nd June – Billyroy’s Grassroots Music Club, Allsaints, Bendigo, VIC

Giffen Play Paul Simon feat. Zeke Cameron
Friday 31st May – Tomerong School of the Arts, Tomerong, NSW
Saturday 1st June – House Concert, Little Forest, NSW
Sunday 2nd June – Lord Roberts Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Gretta Ziller
Thursday 6th June – Oodies Café, Bundaberg, QLD
Friday 7th June – Captain Cook Holiday Village, Seventeen Seventy, QLD

Grizzlee Train
Saturday 1st June – Avoca Beach Hotel, Avoca Beach, NSW
Thursday 6th June – Slyfox, Sydney, NSW

Handsome Young Strangers, Eddie Lawlor
Sunday 2nd June – Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Hinterlandt
Sunday 2nd June – Servo Food Truck Bar, Port Kembla, NSW
Thursday 6th June – City Recital Hall, Sydney, NSW

Honky Tonkin’ feat. King Arthur
Thursday 6th June – The Rook’s Return, Melbourne, VIC

Huck Hastings
Saturday 1st June – The Dock, Sydney, NSW

Hussy Hicks
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – Perisher Peak Festival, Perisher, NSW

JD And The Hunger Men w/ Demi Mitchell
Friday 7th June – The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW

John Flanagan String Band
Saturday 1st June – Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Jordan Merrick
Friday 7th June – The Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD

Julian James
Friday 31st May – KCs Bar and Grill, Airlie Beach, QLD
Saturday 1st June – KCs Bar and Grill, Airlie Beach, QLD
Sunday 2nd June – Seabreeze Tavern, Mackay, QLD
Friday 7th June – Snack Shack, Tin Pan Bay, QLD

Justin Bernasconi
Saturday 1st June – Macedon Railway Hotel, Macedon, VIC

Kay Proudlove
Thursday 6th June – Jose Jones, Thirroul, NSW

Keaton Henson: Six Lethargies with the Opera Australia Orchestra
Friday 31st May – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

Kim Churchill
Friday 7th June – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW

Kristen Lee Morris
Thursday 6th June – Slyfox, Sydney, NSW

Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes w/ Ben Leece
Friday 31st May – Caravan Music Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 1st June – Rezza House Concert, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 2nd June – Billyroy’s Grassroots Music Club, Allsaints, Bendigo, VIC

Lee Coulter & Dixie Maxwell
Friday 31st May – Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 5th June – Smiths Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 6th June – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Friday 7th June – Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW

Lucie Thorne & Hamish Stuart
Friday 7th June – Merri Creek Tavern, Melbourne, VIC

Lucy Rose
Tuesday 4th June – The Foundry, Brisbane, QLD
Wednesday 5th June – The Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 6th June – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

M.E. Baird
Saturday 1st June – Merri Creek Tavern, Melbourne, VIC

Maggie Carty and Mairtin Staunton
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, VIC

Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, VIC

Miriam Lieberman
Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th June – Palm Creek Folk Festival, Mount Surround, QLD

Mustered Courage
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – Perisher Peak Festival, Perisher, NSW

Natalie Henry
Friday 31st May – Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA

National Celtic Festival
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – Portarlington, VIC

Neil Murray
Saturday 1st June – The Hungry Spirit, Lightning Ridge, NSW

Palm Creek Folk Festival
Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th June – Mountain View Lake Holiday Park, Mount Surround, QLD

Paul Kelly
Saturday 1st June – City Recital Hall, Sydney, NSW

Perisher Peak Festival
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – Perisher, NSW

Rach Brennan & The Pines
Friday 31st May – Howlin’ Wolf, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 1st June – Karova Lounge, Ballarat, VIC

Rezza House Concerts feat. Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes w/ Ben Leece
Saturday 1st June – House Concert, Melbourne, VIC

Rich Davies and the Low Road
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, VIC

Ro
Friday 31st May – Crown & Anchor, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 1st June – Sewing Room, Perth, WA

Rosie Burgess Trio
Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th June – Palm Creek Folk Festival, Mount Surround, QLD

Russell Morris
Friday 31st May – QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 1st June – Twin Towns, Tweed Heads, NSW
Sunday 2nd June – Twin Towns, Tweed Heads, NSW
Friday 7th June – Wrest Point Entertainment Centre, Hobart, TAS

Sásta
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, VIC

Sea Shanty Session
Wednesday 5th June – The Brother’s Public House, Melbourne, VIC

Señor Cabrales
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, VIC

Sharon Van Etten
Saturday 1st June – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Friday 7th June – QPAC, Brisbane, QLD

Slim Dime, Blue Limit
Thursday 6th June – The Main Bar, Ballarat, VIC
Friday 7th June – South Coast Brewing Co., Willunga, SA

Southern Flavour
Sunday 3rd June – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Sydney Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Get-Together
Saturday 1st June – Annandale Community Centre, Sydney, NSW

Teeny Tiny Stevies
Saturday 1st June – The Melba Spiegeltent, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 1st June – The Melba Spiegeltent, Melbourne, VIC

The Grubby Urchins
Wednesday 5th June – The Borthers Public House, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th June – Palm Creek Folk Festival, Mount Surround, QLD

The Hillbilly Goats
Sunday 2nd June – The Bearded Dragon Hotel, Tamborine, QLD

The Maes
Friday 31st May – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC
Sunday 2nd June – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 7th June – Music on the Hill, Red Hill Pavilion, Red Hill, VIC
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, VIC

The Mid-North
Friday 31st May – Old Butter Factory Cafe, Bellingen, NSW

The Pigs
Friday 31st May – Highfields Tavern, Toowoomba, QLD
Saturday 1st June – Racehorse Hotel, Ipswich, QLD

The Slipdixies
Sunday 2nd June – Open Studio, Melbourne, VIC

The Spooky Men’s Chorale
Friday 31st May – Newcastle City Hall, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 1st June – Seymour Centre, Sydney, NSW

The Water Runners
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – Perisher Peak Festival, Perisher, NSW

The Young Folk
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, VIC

Tim Scanlan Trio
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, VIC

Top Half Folk Festival
Friday 7th to Sunday 9th June – Glen Helen, NT

Vaudeville Smash
Friday 7th to Monday 10th June – Perisher Peak Festival, Perisher, NSW

Z-Star Trinity
Friday 31st May – The J, Noosa, QLD
Saturday 1st June – RoyalMail, Goodna, QLD
Sunday 2nd June – Maroochydore Rotary Club Park, Maroochydore, QLD
Wednesday 5th June – Langford’s Hotel, Mackay, QLD
Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th June – Palm Creek Folk Festival, Mount Surround, QLD

Zumpa, All Strings Attached, Lizzie Flynn
Saturday 1st June – Imperial Hotel, Eumundi, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“Lock Keeper” – Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 6th January

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– New Zealand folk duo Tattletale Saints hit Australia this week with dates in NSW and VIC. Details here

– Folk singer Kate Burke released a sad and beautiful track titled “All For Me”. Details here

– Popular Adelaide folk night The Porch Sessions is touring through SA, VIC and NSW this month with Stu Larsen, Luke Thompson and Tim Moore. Details here

– US folk rockers Thompson Springs have announced an Australian tour with Maia Marsh. Details here

– Experimental folk group Vanishing Shapes announced a January tour. Details here

– Tasmanian folk punks The Dead Maggies released their new single “She”. Details here

– This week’s Illawarra Folk Festival has an amazing lineup including Andy Irvine and Luke Plumb, FourWinds, Tattletale Saints, The Whitetop Mountaineers, Tim O’Brien, Wallis Bird, Daniel Champagne, Echo Deer, Handsome Young Strangers, Lime and Steel, Mandy Connell, Martin Pearson, Nigel Wearne, Shanty Club, The Squeezebox Trio, Tinpan Orange, Big Erle, Jane Aubourg, Joe Mungovan, Kay Proudlove, Shelley’s Murder Boys, The Lurkers and many many more. Details here

– Indie-folkers Winterbourne announced a February tour. Details here

Ryan Adams released his Neil Young-esque new single “To Be Without You”. Details here

– English big-band Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band have announced their new album Big Machine. Details here

– Banjo master Noam Pikelny has announced plans for his first official solo album Universal Favorite. Details here

– Sydney Americana singer-songwriter Katie Brianna treated us to a new track “Sticks and Stones”. Details here

Citizen of the World released their new video “In The Moment”. Details here

Releases This Week

11 Short Stories
11 Short Stories Of Pain & GloryDropkick Murphys
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

The Porch Sessions On Tour feat. Stu Larsen, Luke Thompson, Tim Moore

Porch Sessions

Adelaide’s popular folk night The Porch Sessions hits the road with shows in South Australia and Victoria this week featuring Stu Larsen, Luke Thompson and Tim Moore

Friday 6th January – The Cantina, Robe, SA
Sunday 8th January – Illowa, VIC
Wednesday 11th January – Lorne, VIC
Friday 13th January – Melbourne, VIC

Gigs Next Week

Acoustics Anonymous feat. Mckenzie Kay, Jon Maratheftis
Wednesday 11th January – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

Áine Tyrrell
Friday 6th to Sunday 8th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, TAS
Friday 13th January – Rosny Barn, TAS

Alanna and Alicia
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW

Andy Irvine w/ Luke Plumb
Friday 6th to Sunday 8th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, TAS
Tuesday 10th January – House Concert, TAS
Thursday 12th January – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Friday 13th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW

Blue King Brown
Friday 13th January – Mona Vale Hotel, Mona Vale, NSW

Courtyard Sessions Presents Imogen Clark
Friday 13th January – Seymour Centre, Sydney, NSW

Cygnet Folk Festival
Friday 6th to Sunday 8th January – Cygnet, TAS

Deadwood 76, Dave Favours & The Roadside Ashes
Friday 6th January – The Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Don McGlashan
Friday 6th to Sunday 8th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, TAS
Wednesday 11th January – Grand Poobah, Hobart, TAS
Friday 13th January – Brookfields Shed, Margate, TAS

Dubmarine, Circle of Rhythm, Matiu Te Huki, New Venusians, Queen Porter Stomp, Deejay Bentley, Deepchild (DJ set)
Friday 6th January – The Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Folkswagon feat. Scott Rudd, Thompson Springs, Maia Marsh
Wednesday 11th January – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Fourwinds
Friday 6th to Sunday 8th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, Cygnet, TAS
Wednesday 11th to Sunday 15th January – Illawara Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

George & Noriko
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW

Gregory Page
Friday 7th January – The Caravan Club, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 8th January – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Thursday 12th January – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW
Friday 13th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW

Heartbreakers Sessions feat. Jamie Hutchings, Ben Horder
Sunday 8th January – The Bearded Tit, Sydney, NSW

Honey
Sunday 8th January – Mudgee Brewing Co., Mudgee, NSW

Hootenanny feat. Echo Deer
Sunday 8th January – Miss Peaches, Sydney, NSW

Illawarra Folk Festival
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Bulli, NSW

Jaron Freeman Fox & The Opposite of Everything
Friday 6th to Sunday 8th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, Cygnet, TAS
Sunday 8th January – MONA, Hobart, TAS

Joe & Harmony’s Trippy Hippy Band
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW

Josh Pyke & Bob Evans
Friday 13th January – Esk BeerFest, Launceston, TAS

Katie Brianna
Thursday 12th January – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW

Kirsty Bromley
Friday 6th to Sunday 8th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, Cygnet, TAS
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW

Lake Street Dive
Friday 6th January – Howler, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 7th January – Summer of Soul, Mossvale, VIC
Sunday 8th January – Caravan Music Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 13th January – Sydney Festival, Sydney, NSW

Nigel Wearne
Saturday 7th January – The Witches Garden, Mitta Mitta, VIC
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW

Ramblin’ Nights feat. Dan Brodie, JD & The Hungermen, Gana & Scotty
Saturday 7th January – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW

Roadhouse feat. Cruisin’ Deuces
Thursday 12th January – Miss Peaches, Sydney, NSW

Sharon Shannon
Friday 6th January – Mick O’Malley’s Irish Pub, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 7th January – The Basement, Sydney, NSW
Friday 13th January – Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh, VIC

Summer Sets at Hither & Yon feat. Aidan ‘Jazzy’ Jones
Sunday 8th January – Hither & Yon, Willunga, SA

Tattletale Saints
Friday 6th January – Tanswell’s Pub, Beechworth, VIC
Saturday 7th January – Minya Winery, Geelong, VIC
Sunday 8th January – House On The Hill, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 10th January – Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 11th January – The Witches Garden, Mitta Mitta, VIC
Thursday 12th January – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 13th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW

The Outside Track
Friday 6th to Sunday 8th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, Cygnet, TAS
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW

The Porch Sessions On Tour feat. Stu Larsen, Luke Thompson, Tim Moore
Friday 6th January – The Cantina, Robe, SA
Sunday 8th January – Illowa, VIC
Wednesday 11th January – Lorne, VIC
Friday 13th January – Melbourne, VIC

The Saloon Daddies w/ Peasant Moon
Sunday 8th January – The Midnight Special, Sydney, NSW

The Settlement
Saturday 7th January – The Star, Port Fairy, VIC

The Spin Drifters
Wednesday 11th January – The Basement, Sydney, NSW

The Whitetop Mountaineers
Friday 6th January – Smiths Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 7th January – The Metropole, Katoomba, NSW
Sunday 8th January – Petersham Bowls Club, Sydney, NSW
Monday 9th January – Quarterdeck, Narooma, NSW
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW

Thompson Springs w/ Maia Marsh
Wednesday 11th January – Folkswagon, Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Friday 13th January – The Front, Canberra, ACT

Tim O’Brien
Friday 6th to Sunday 8th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, Cygnet, TAS
Wednesday 11th January – Caravan Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 13th to Saturday 14th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

Timberwolf
Saturday 7th January – Here’s To Now, McLaren Vale, SA

Vanishing Shapes
Friday 6th January – 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW
Thursday 12th January – Byron Fine Music House Concerts, Byron Bay, NSW

Wallis Bird w/ William Crighton
Friday 6th to Sunday 8th January – Cygnet Folk Festival, Cygnet, TAS
Wednesday 11th January – Small Ballroom, Newcastle, NSW
Thursday 12th January – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 13th to Saturday 14th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

Winter Wilson
Saturday 7th January – Music By The Sea Festival, Sandgate, QLD
Wednesday 11th January – Upper Lansdowne Hall, Upper Lansdowne, NSW
Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Father Had A Knife/Salonika” – Lynched

If you haven’t discovered Irish band Lynched yet then prepare to meet your new favourite trad artist.

Listen to Kate Burke’s New Song “All For Me”

Kate Burke
Image Courtesy of Kate Burke

Australian folk singer Kate Burke (Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton, Trouble in the Kitchen) released “a new Australian folk song” right before Christmas that is too sad and beautiful not to share.

The track is titled “All For Me” and deals with Burke’s reaction to Australia’s refugee and asylum seeker policies. Take a listen below:

Kate Burke recently released her album with Pete Wild titled Live at St Peterscheck it out on Bandcamp here.

World Tour of Celtic Music at Cobargo Folk Festival

The East Pointers
Image Courtesy of The East Pointers

By Peter Logue

Most people, young and old, could name singers and bands they associate with what’s broadly known as Celtic music.
For the younger folk, it might be the Pogues (even though they’ve been around for decades) or hard pumping bands like Dropkick Murphys who made their name in Boston.

For older folk, it might be The Corrs, the Dubliners, The Clancy Brothers, The Chieftains or even balladeer Daniel O’Donnell, who is still enormously popular on the Australian seniors’ concert and club circuit.

But dig a bit deeper and you’ll find there are many genres under the Celtic music banner in such places as Asturias and Galicia in Spain, parts of Portugal, Brittany in France, and Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton in Canada.

The music of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Cornwall, Brittany and Asturias provide the base from which much of the Celtic music styles emerged, though each of those has been shaped by other forms of local traditional music.

American bluegrass, old-timey and country music and Australian bush music owe their roots to the various Celtic musical styles brought from Ireland and Britain.

In modern times a whole range of Celtic fusion music – bands like the Afro-Celtic Sound System, Shooglenifty and Gaelic Storm (from the movie Titanic) have emerged.

Then there are the many Celtic dance forms and their offshoots, from Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, to the ever popular Scottish county dancing and, of course, our own bush dancing.

This year’s Cobargo Festival presents a great opportunity to take a world tour of the different styles of Celtic music and dance mentioned above.

From Canada’s Prince Edward Island come the dynamic East Pointers whose toe-tapping tunes make you want to do your own Riverdance impersonations in the aisle.

Ireland provides The Rambling Boys, four top class traditional musicians who have paid their dues over the years and who bring humour and pathos to their traditional tunes and songs.

Candelo multi-instrumentalist Kate Burke is a founder member of Trouble in the Kitchen, an Aussie quartet who are more traditional in style than many Irish bands.

Also from Australia, Senor Cabrales play the tunes of Asturias, Galicia, Brittany, Ireland and Scotland on a range of instruments, including the Asturian pipes.

American Beth Patterson brings Celtic rhythms to her songs and tunes, played on the eight string bouzouki – taken from the Greeks and refined into a popular Irish instrument.

Finally Australian Nicola Hayes and Helene Brunet from France demonstrate the Celtic influence in Brittany as well as belting out some traditional Irish tunes.

Hang around the festival session bar and you’re sure to hear fabulous tunes and songs from all over the Celtic musical diaspora.

The Cobargo Folk Festival will be held this weekend from the 26th to 28th February in Cobargo, NSW. For more information and tickets check out the official site here.

Timber and Steel’s Artists’ Top Albums of 2015

Record Collecting

So you’ve read what we think the top 25 albums of 2015 are but here’s what you’re really waiting for – the article where we ask our favourite artists to pick their favourite recordings of the year.

Every year we reach out to artists across the Timber and Steel genre spectrum to pick their number one album or EP of the year and the results are always surprising. So get yourself a cold drink, find somewhere comfortable to site down and enjoy Timber and Steel’s Artists’ Top Albums of 2015:

Postcards From Ursa MinorFrank Turner
Will VarleyPostcards From Ursa Minor
I stumbled across Will a few years back and instantly fell in love. He’s currently my favourite songwriter, and I think this album is little short of a masterpiece.

The DeslondesJimmy Daley (The Morrisons, The Tawny Owl Stringband)
The DeslondesThe Deslondes
Heard the song “Louise” on a live music series on YouTube called Jammin In The Van and was immediately bowled over. Went and bought the album (yes I bought it) and was not disappointed. Killer songs, retro production that sounds modern at the same time, great playing and awesome singing/harmonies. I’ll be knocking back many tins over summer while listening to this album.

The Phosphorescent BluesMichael O’Donnell (The Squeezebox Trio)
Punch BrothersThe Phosphorescent Blues
Stop reading this review right now and go listen to this album. Its just perfect. From the 10 minute opener to Debussy to one hell of an ending, this album is a game changer. There is only one (10 second) instrumental solo on the whole album, opting for lush orchestrations instead. It was a HUGE influence on us.

Paradise is ThereTaryn La Fauci
Natalie MerchantParadise is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings
To be able to re-release a complete new version of a record first released 20 years ago in 1995 is an incredible artstic achievement. Karl Broadie introduced me to her music and since then I have drank up her journey and past records. Her voice holds this piercing warmth and wisdom that coos you in and wraps you up like a child in its mothers arms. Getting to devour this rediscovery of Tigerlily and how she has evolved with it is why this record is my favourite release of 2015.

Wilder MindGerrit Gmel (Citizen of the World)
Mumford & SonsWilder Mind
This is really a no brainer for me, I absolutely adore these guys and without them I probably wouldn’t write the music I write today. This being said, their new sound took me a while to get used to and I went from loving 95% of the songs to loving 70% on this new album. Still, it shows how even a genre-defining band can have the guts and skill to reinvent their sound and write powerful songs independently of the instrumental setup.

Diamonds in the BloodstreamJosh Rennie-Hynes
Raised by EaglesDiamonds in the Bloodstream
A great collection of songs. Honest and thoughtful and the production is spot on. One of my favourite Australian bands.

But For All These Shrinking HeartsWoody Pitney
Josh PykeBut For All These Shrinking Hearts
Josh Pyke delivered again with this new gem of an album, But For All These Shrinking Hearts. Staying true to his iconic style and sound, this tightly produced record is a great listen. Despite not having any stand-out hits like previous albums, it still has plenty of sparkle and charm. My personal favourites are “Hollering Hearts” and “Book of Revelations”.

Carrie & LowellCaitlin Park
Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell
There is no-one quite like Sufjan Stevens. It is hard to put your finger on the power of his story-telling, what it is that drags us in so. For me, it is the way he paints the picture; he writes about the little things, the smaller moments between two people. A whole album dedicated to the memory of his mother and descriptions of her passing, we are left to fill in the the rest of the story. Where they lived, their age – these things don’t matter as long as you are privy to their quiet moments alone. And then in one foul swoop, he wraps up the meaning of the song in one sentence, and your heart breaks into a thousand pieces **we’re all gonna’ die**. A lyric that will stay with me forever, a lyric i will always remember from the year 2015: “What could I have said to raise you from the dead, oh could I be the sky on the fourth of July?”

Strange New PastSteven Barnard (Arbori)
Seth SentryStrange New Past
I know this puts me at risk of losing my indie folk privileges but Seth Sentry’s second LP was simply outstanding. Kendrick Lamars to pimp a butterfly was musically more brilliant but topically from another world. His harmonic nostalgia tethered by trap beats rap ego and existential early 30’s humility is seamless. The record plays from start to finish effortlessly and voids of any Aus hip hop cringe worthy cleches that we have blushed at when measured against the likes of Kings Kunta and Kick Push. I’m a hip hop dancer and this is hands down the best Aussie rap release for getting down to ever. If you dig emotional depth, impressive musicality and need a reason to shake your ass, this record is all that and more.

sound and colorRosie Jackson-Taylor (Liam Gale & The Ponytails)
Alabama ShakesSound & Color
I have been completely obsessed with every single track on the album since the first time I heard it and it was on welcomed high rotation for the entire drive of our East Coast tour earlier this year. Brittany Howard’s voice is unbelievable and every song is captivating in its own right. The whole experience of the album is kind of like listening to futuristic funk blues in space, naked.

Sol InvictusClaude Hay
Faith No MoreSol Invictus
I had been waiting for this album for years. Singer Mike Patton can put an unique infectious melody to anything he touches, melodies that stick. There’s always something different that comes from these guys that is so refreshing to my ears, the complete opposite of commercial radio.

Carrie & LowellSam Newton
The Milk Carton KidsMonterey
This is one of the most ‘pure’ sounding records that I’ve ever heard. I know that this could be said of just about all of the releases by these guys but I feel that with Monterey, they have reached all new heights in lyricism, vocal unity and the art of subtle lead/guitar fills. It says something special about the songwriting of a group when every track on an album contains a maximum of 2 voices and 2 guitars but can still hold its own from start to finish. I bought the vinyl when I saw them live earlier in the year and it has easily been one of my favourite purchases of 2015.

LoyaltyMatt Bauer
The Weather StationLoyalty
I haven’t connected with a record this strongly in a very long time. From the first lines of “The Way It Is And The Way It Could Be” I was just – there. It took me several attempts to get to the end of the record because I was so moved I kept having to turn it off.

Key ChangeMatt Corby
MockyKey Change
This album is full of songs to live life to, songs you can put on at any moment and jam out to.

Carrie & LowellDan Flynn
Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell
How many gobsmackingly good folk songs can you fit into one album? Eleven it seems. This album is unbelievably melancholy but also curiously uplifting and indeed healing. The vocal melodies are outrageously good, the instrumentation is pitch perfect and the production is stunning despite the fact that part of the album was recorded on his iPhone. I will be listening to this for years to come.

Darling ArithmeticKim Churchill
VillagersDarling Arithmetic
I have ogled at the songwriting abilities of Conor J O’Brien since we played a small gig in an odd venue called the Duncan Garage Showroom on Vancouver Island years ago. In the past his lyrics have portrayed a depth and insight that guided me as a person much further into myself and my unconscious emotional processes. Again he helps me make those journeys on this album but with a simplicity and vulnerability that is just profound! He has clearly had some pain and rebirth in his life and he puts it out on the table in an incredible honest way. He reaches further inside himself than many of us ever will and gives us songs that allow us to take the same journey’s into ourselves. It’s kind of creepy how he does it. But he’s always flirted with being a bit creepy. Watch the video clip to his first single off the album, “Courage”, and you’ll see what I mean. In many ways its the essence of psychedelic folk; Spooky, insightful, melodically stunning and at its core undeniably beautiful and honest.

Phosphorescent BluesBlair Dunlop
Punch BrothersPhosphorescent Blues
Whilst it’s an incredibly impressive body of work from a technical standpoint, it never strays into grandstanding or over-indulgence. Beautiful arrangements, soaring harmonies and songs that keep me guessing – a gem!

Soft Faces to HoldAlanna Eileen
Toby GrahamSoft Faces to Hold
Beautiful, surreal alternative folk music with incredible vocals, lyrically inventive and delicate in all the right places. It got me through the year.

When The Storms Would ComeBronte
Holy HolyWhen The Storms Would Come
I have been a fan of Holy Holy since they released their first EP. Their album When The Storms Would Come, which was released in July this year, has been a stand out album in my opinion. I enjoy the lyrics and the melodies that flow throughout their music which continues to improve with each release. I think the next few years for Holy Holy will be huge and they are starting to enjoy a great deal of success from overseas audiences. Stand out track is “History” but “You Cannot Call For Love Like A Dog” just makes me want to crank up the dial and drive around all night, it is such a cruising tuneeee.

Nathaniel RateliffJoe Murphy (The Timbers)
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night SweatsNathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Only released recently this album is straight out of the 70’s!! Full of now Motown and soul, it’s 2015’s ultimate road trip album.

NinaThe Campervan Dancers
Daniel MarchNina
So much groove! It’s really tight, shows a wonderful depth of stylistic influences. Great production and musicianship – just the whole package. These have been our chosen cruisin’ tunes in Candice-the-Campervan-Dancer-van this springtime.

If I WasJoel Barker
The StavesIf I Was
It was hard to chose against Glen Hansard’s Didn’t He Ramble but after seeing The Staves at The Beautiful Days Festival in Devon, UK a couple of years ago I had to go with their 2015 release If I Was. Hearing three sisters sing together in perfect harmony make it seems so damn easy. The addition of Justin Vernon as producer takes the intimacy of their past work and elevates it into a more accessible market. Theres a new dynamic and consideration to the recording process that really hits a note with me. Songs such as “Make It Holy” and “Steady” have magnificent vocal loops and hooks that keep you wanting more of those voices made to sing together. It’s got a lot of texture, as much intimacy of their previous releases, but additional drive which undoubtedly has introduced them to a whole new fan base. Makes we want to prop myself up against a tree, close my eyes and listen to it on repeat, over and over again.

These WallsRose Wintergreen
Anna CordellThese Walls
Sometimes, very rarely, new songs come to me in my dreams. I wake up with the melody in my bones, I sleepily reach for my phone to record it before it disappears forever. It’s happened several times recently, and I’ve been ecstatic with the deep, haunting quality of the melodies, the pleasing way they meander effortlessly like a creek rambling unselfconsciously in bushland so remote that no one will pass through for decades at a time. Unfortunately for me, I’ve realised that these melodies are actually Anna Cordell’s, from her stunning debut record, These Walls! Arresting and deeply affecting.

EPTim Guy
BumspaEP
A force of nature in the very northern parts of NSW. They made an EP this year and squeezed 5 songs onto a little ’45. The last track comes from the view of a Bushranger being in his cell while awaiting hanging. It’s really rare and really wonderful. Great songwriting with ragged attitude to the musical accompaniment.

FourwindsThe East Pointers
FourWindsFourWinds
After chatting about our many favourite records from this past year, the 3 of us decided that FourWinds deserve the top spot with their self-titled album. This crew from Ireland is tearing up the traditional music scene with their authentic sound and top-notch musicianship. Check ‘em out live if you can!

Modern VintageSian Evans
Cheap FakesModern Vintage
If its not for the super smooth vocals of Kiwi front man Hayden Andrews alone, it’s the funk, the phat base, totally hot horn lines and syncopated silences. Production instrumentation ties cleverly a carnival dub vintage rock’n’roll infused surf style funk and soul variety. Consistent. Solid. It dribbles dizziness, you can’t sit still!

The Woodshed SessionsScott Collins (The Mid-North)
Wood and WireThe Woodshed Sessions Vol. 1
Six tracks recorded in one take around one microphone. It is an exciting display of musicianship and energy. Very fun and awe inspiring.

Sound and ColorAlison Ferrier
Alabama ShakesSound & Color
An exciting, innovative and uplifting second release from the rock band with soul. Singer/guitarist Brittany Howard’s performance is utterly inspiring: she gives it everything she’s got. I sing along with this in the car quite a lot!

The PositionsCastlecomer
Gang of YouthsThe Positions
We love that the album is so dark in theme yet the melodies could be on any pop album. It’s an impressive body of work. Our runners up are Holy Holy’s When the Storms Would Come and Tame Impala’s Currents.

AngelenoNick Payne (Dear Orphans)
Sam OutlawAngeleno
California has always been a source of great country music – first with the Bakersfield Sound and then later from Los Angeles. This year Californian Sam Outlaw refused to move to Nashville to record his debut album Angeleno and instead insisted on recording in Los Angeles with the help of Ry Cooder as producer. The album is both genuine country in its sound and also its stories. This album takes me back to an earlier time in country music whilst still sounding fresh and un-clichéd.

All Your Favourite BandsTracy McNeil (Tracy McNeil, Bell St Delays)
DawesAll Your Favourite Bands
From the first drop of the needle your ears are hit with six single, drawn out notes played on one guitar against a spattering of drumrolls from off in the distance – this is the hook, the earworm of the song painted thinly as a foreshadowing of what’s to come. And what is to come? Like the sun bursting through a dark cloud, the soundscape breaks wide open as the band punches in with that very same hook – this time fully realised. Dawes always create a sound that is purposeful, epic and at times slightly over-worked in terms of lyrics, but their latest release All You’re Favorite Bands gets the balance just right. Produced by David Rawlings, Dawes will find it hard to top this collection of world-class songs, played and captured live in a room by a band at the height of their career.

Trans Arlantic HighwayLuke Sinclair (Raised By Eagles, Bell St Delays)
Lost RagasTrans Atlantic Highway
The most soul shaking cosmic country experience I’ve had since Beck tried his hand at the genre. It’s more traditional than that of course and has all the essential ingredients you need to make a good country album – pedal steel, guitars, drums, bass, great song writing – but there’s an indescribable magic to it. Something deep that runs right to the heart. Matt Walker, Shane Reilly, Roger Bergodaz and Simon Burke are like the components of a beautifully engineered vintage engine, each part absolutely essential to the whole, the art of what happens when things are put together in the right way. Buy this album – it runs like a dream.

The Stars My DestinationNick O’Mara (Raised By Eagles)
Ben SalterThe Stars My Destination
There’s a sense of humour and a sense of dread in varying degrees throughout this album. Track 4 scares the shit out of me. Salter’s an incredible lyricist, his guitar playing’s tidy as fuck and his voice – sheesh, forget about it. This album is more than the sum of those wonderful parts I reckon. It’s just funny, thoughtful, sometimes rockin’, soulful – hope he hasn’t read this the next time I run into him at the pub. “We’ll have all the time in the world, An endless afternoon, When we’re bones under the dunes”.

Choose Your Weapon
Luke Richardson (Raised By Eagles)
Hiatus KaiyoteChoose Your Weapon
It’s complicated and tricky-clever but with grooves that are solid and so grounded. I think my favourite thing about this band is that each part – drums, keys, vocals, etc – are given their own separate sonic space so even when individually there are some pretty dense rhythmic and harmonic things going on the overall sound is still really open.

TravellerGretta Ziller
Chris StapletonTraveller
I was really excited when Gareth emailed me asking for my favourite album of 2015! Determined to do my due diligence, I got straight onto my 2015 Soundtrack on Spotify (where I put all the new music I find) and went round and round. The one album I just could not go past was Chris Stapleton’s Traveller – it’s just so dang good!!! This album came out and it was like he was holding a hand full of ace’s around a table full of jokers in the poker game they call country music! If you’ve heard of The SteelDrivers you would instantly recognise Stapleton’s voice, its a lonely shot of whiskey in an empty bar, it’s singing to Jesus on Sunday morning, it’s whispering to your lover in the dark of night and it crying over a broken heart, and of course his songs cover all this and more! On a side note, I do recommend googling Stapleton, he is no newcomer to Country music, having been involved with the aforementioned SteelDrivers, but he has also been in the background writing hit songs for major country music artists for years! I could keep gushing about this album for days, but, in short, Traveller is a return to good honest heartfelt country music – and we all say Amen!

Echolocations CanyonAinsley Farrell
Andrew BirdEcholocations: Canyon
This entire album was recorded in the Coyote Gulch Canyons in Utah. It’s the first of a series where Bird uses different components of the environment to stretch, bend and explore sound. I think it’s important to give credit to your surroundings and appreciate that the environment you’re in has a huge influence on the sound you put out.

OutsidersKate Burke (Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton, Trouble In The Kitchen)
Heath CullenOutsiders
The fact that I love this album has only a little to do with the fact that Heath lives up the road from me. This album, where Heath is joined by Elvis Costello’s Impostors, has fantastic songs that range from the danceable “Two Left Feet” to the gorgeously Daniel Lanois-esque “Who’ll Rock the Cradle” and anthemic “One for the Road”, all lush and powerful and featuring mad, crazy, wonderful keys and piano at almost every turn. I love it more with every listen.

Mother's Not Feeling Herself TodayRuth Hazleton (Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton)
Suzannah EspieMother’s Not Feeling Herself Today
A brave, bold, powerful and honest collection of songs that successfully destroys taboos and exposes truths; a very rare thing. Beautifully performed and produced, this album is laden with artistic integrity from a songwriter who’s driven from a deeply personal space and sings like a rising angel.

Carrie & LowellWilliam Fitzsimmons
Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell
Sufjan + return to acoustic music. What’s not to love!?!! Truth be told, even though I love and respect Sufjan’s art more than just about anybody else alive (Sorry Selena Gomez!) I was kind of bummed when I heard that he’d be returning to an “acoustic” sound for this record. Don’t get me wrong, I love acoustic music. I make acoustic music. But I cherish the fact that Sufjan has always been willing to do something kind of, well, different … and still make you hum along (e.g. that ghastly solo in “Springfield!!!”). And I snobbishly loved being one of the people who really, really loved the Adz project and his increasingly left of center writing. But once I got past the hype of Carrie & Lowell (the unopened vinyl sat in my studio for about 2 months) and actually listened, I was overjoyed. I recently lost someone very important to me, so certainly the subject matter of Carrie & Lowell hit close to home. But, moreover, it was the record’s ability to wrap these difficult ideas into such simple, small, understated songs. Nobody messes with the idea of subtlety and histrionics like Suf. And to perfect that tricky dance and sing about death at the same time is tantamount to a masterpiece.

CurrentsAnnie Hamilton (Little May)
Tame ImpalaCurrents
Tame Impala have seriously nailed it with this album, there are some excellent musical moments in there. It’s really cool to see a band evolve and grow over the course of a few albums while still maintaining their own sound and style.

Sound and ColorOlivia Hally (Oh Pep!)
Alabama ShakesSound & Color
There’s only one way to listen to this album: from top to bottom and on repeat. It was already my favourite album this year and then I later discovered a bonus track called “Joe” on a TV show and I cried a little bit. It’s too good.

Ryan BinghamRuby Boots
Ryan BinghamFear and Saturday Night
I love the balance between emotive songs/story telling and grit. I am a sucker for good Americana music with raw delivery and grunt behind it and this album fulfils all of that and more. Every track on there is A grade songwriting with classy melody hooks that are not too obvious until you turn it off and they are running through your head for the rest of the day. These songs that make me a little sad but fill me full of hope at the same time, also another soft spot for me. I love this artist, and this album is my favourite album of 2015.

ShipsOscar Lush
Water MusicShips
“Four weeks after the devastating suicide of my sister, I locked myself in my shed for four days and wrote and recorded these songs on my 8-track as both tribute and therapy. I’ve had death close to me before and here I was again.” – This record absolutely broke my heart and still continues to do so. Every time I listen it brings me to tears. Mathew is such a powerful and unique songwriter. Nothing I listened to this year came close in depth and heartache to this record.

DeclarationAnna Cordell
Kate Burke & Ruth HazletonDeclaration
This is REAL folk music. And these are REAL women. This music has purpose beyond the artists own egos. I am completely inspired by this album and these two women – and, well, the music is just so beautiful!

Ron BlockHamish Davidson (Davidson Brothers)
Ron BlockHogan’s House of Music
So many of my favourite contemporary bluegrass musicians are giving it their all on this creative instrumental album. Best of all, there are so many “you can’t do that on a banjo” moments!

Small Town BigshotLachlan Davidson (Davidson Brothers)
Fanny LumsdenSmall Town Big Shot
Fanny is a great artist and natural entertainer, her hard work and real songs have been fantastically produced on her debut record. Catchy, easy listening and a great voice makes you wanna hit repeat every time.

Don't Lose ThisSkyscraper Stan
Pops StaplesDon’t Lose This
I’ve never had much of a hard-on for Jeff Tweedy so I was skeptical when I heard he was collaborating with Mavis Staples on the final, posthumous release of her father’s music. As it turns out, both Jeff and Mavis have done an amazing job fleshing out the bare-bones recordings Pops made in 1999, a year before his death. It’s all here; tremolo guitar, reverby drum sounds and beautiful group vocals from the Staples sisters. Plus some unexpectedly clever lyricism.

The Stars My DestinationMark “Looch” Lewis (Handsome Young Strangers, Wifey)
Ben SalterThe Stars My Destination
Well I have to admit in the 4 years I have been doing this for you lovely folk at Timber And Steel I have had the hardest time choosing. Kudos to Buddy Glass and Bad Dreems for almost getting there. It took me a week but I’m giving my gong to Ben Salter for My Stars The Destination. The thing that kills me about this guy is that he just improves artistically and vocally with every release. His debut The Cat was a magnificent effort but he has raised the bar again here. As a songwriter he is up there in my book with Gareth Lilliard, Tim Rogers, Mick Thomas and Paul Kelly. I don’t think it would be overselling to say he is possibly the best vocalist in the land right now. Listen to the title track when the vocals beef up half way through. If that doesn’t make your neck hairs stand up I don’t know what will. Usual story: should be huge, probably wont be. Travesty.

1989Ryan Oliver (Oliver’s Army)
Ryan Adams1989
I’ve always been a fan of Ryan’s ability to take a song and completely own it, especially in cover songs (We all remember his haunting version of ‘Wonderwall’ don’t we?). He took probably the most commercial and poppy sounding album and turned it into a very solid folk rock album that you wouldn’t know wasn’t if they didn’t happen to be mega-hits that he was covering. The production is great and I think maybe most noteworthy is his ability to spin somewhat jovial adolescent lyrics and somehow add that signature Ryan Adams melancholy. Respect.

HighRoland Kay-Smith
Royal HeadacheHigh
The formula these guys have is irresistible. I’m not much of a heavy rock guy, traditionally favouring more Timber-and-Steel-esque tunes, but the whole blue-eyed garage soul thing just gets me. Some of it’s silly, some of it’s naff, but there are enough great tunes here to keep me coming back again and again.

ValleywoodNad Budge (The Stetson Family)
Dan ParsonsValleywood
I first heard Dan Parson’s new album Valleywood whilst driving around Nashville in a crappy rental car with a really crappy sound system, and it blew me away – Valleywood, that is, not the car! I was first struck by how great the production came across, full, rich and really well balanced – then I was drawn into Dan’s songs, each one wanting me to listen to what he had to say, and giving me a sense of nostalgia as well as excitement for this next generation of great songwriters.

CurrentsDustin Tebbutt
Tame ImpalaCurrents
This was my favourite release this year. I hadn’t really listened to the band before this album, and it was an incredible introduction. For me, it’s the beautiful combination of genres in here that gives this record so much depth. A lot of the song structures and mixing techniques borrow heavily from house music (the extensive use of filters for example), and a lot of the beats are a mix of old school soul and breaks. These fundamentals are then built upon with psychedelic guitar parts and raw, dreamy vocals. The record has attitude, vibe, heart and a real overarching journey. I just love it.

The Phosphorescent BluesJon Boden (Bellowhead, Spiers & Boden)
Punch BrothersThe Phosphorescent Blues
I was a bit late to the Punch Brothers party, but what a sound! It’s not really bluegrass, more experimental art-pop with bluegrass instrumentation. Beachboys-esque vocals, mandolin funk workouts, beautiful style and tone throughout by five masters of their instruments.

Carrie & LowellSam Sweeney (Bellowhead)
Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell
This is such a beautiful and poignant record. It’s hard to listen all the way through without shedding a tear. After The Age Of Adz, this a welcome return to Sufjan’s folkier side. It’s a heart breaking album about his relationship with his mother who died of cancer in 2012 after a long history of substance abuse and mental health issues. It’s a painful listen and yet so perfect.

Mellow DramaMark Lucas
James McMurtryComplicated Game
It’s the narrative, those fragile vignettes that come alive with truth and a sheer humanity that doesn’t preclude a little bitterness but is always tempered by a dry humour. As he says himself, like his American literary giant father, Larry McMurtry (“The Last Picture Show”, “Lonesome Dove” etc.), James is a fiction writer. His dad was an inspiration to me before I stumbled across his son’s work on a drive across Texas in ‘89. It’s been a heck of a journey in song and, to my way of thinking, that’s what it’s all about – a Complicated Game indeed and I still “miss my dog from years ago” too.

TrackerBob Barford (Bloodwood)
Mark KnopflerTracker
Mr Laidback personified. I reckon he put this album together for his own amusement and just because he could. While not overly impresive on the first few listens, like any good album it grows on you. It’s an insight into what he is up to at this point in time.

Shadows In The NightMark Moldre
Bob DylanShadows In The Night
So many iconic artists have tried the “American Songbook” album and have dismally failed. This is Dylan at his most intimate and unguarded. We hear every drawn breath from Dylan at microphone, every finger touching a string, the slow drag of a bow across a double bass string, a quiet movement or shifting of feet in the room – nothing is hidden from the listeners ear. No careful ProTools editing. A band in a hushed room. Guitars are caressed, sweeping pedal steel is syrupy and lush, drums are ever so softly brushed, tempos remain languid and dreamy while Dylan growls and croons his way through the mist. Lyrics written decades ago seem timeless, ironic and strangely poignant in Dylan’s gentle phrasing. Imagine granddad at the family reunion recalling songs of his younger days at the upright piano in the corner of your lounge room as the warm glow of an open fire crackles and pops. Nostalgia, sadness, wry humour and regret all seep and melt into one another until you feel you’re drifting in a grainy sepia haze. Perfect.

The Hedge SchoolsColm Mac Con Iomaire (Colm Mac Con Iomaire, The Frames)
The Hedge SchoolsAt the End of a Winding Day
My favourite albums involve time and space travel. They bring you places. This album At the End of a Winding Day by Dublin songwriter Patrick Barrett and Producer and co-conspirator Joe Chester AKA The Hedge Schools is a warm, golden, sonic-embrace. Visit this place and be well.

WindfallBrad Butcher
Joe PugWindfall
As much as I loved Rodney & Emmylou’s Traveling Kind or Isbell, Stapleton, or Oz’s very own songsmith Shane Nicholson’s great albums of 2015 Windfall speaks to me the most from an artistic point of view and holds the elements of music I love dearly; great songwriting recorded in a moving an honest way.

Kill It YourselfJesse Lubitz (TinPan Orange)
Jess RibeiroKill It Yourself
The latest album from Jess Ribeiro creates an entire world. It’s a fully cohesive album with songs that draw you in and make you want to listen harder – it feels as though you might miss something important if you’re not paying full attention. Each song is beautiful and the production is perfect.

TelegraphCara Robinson (Hat Fitz & Cara Robinson)
Kevin DohertyTelegraph
I had the pleasure of hearing Kevin Doherty’s live set while in a play in Dublin, Ireland. I fell in love with the stories that he made into song about his insight into the world today, the world that has passed and indeed the world too set before us. His own stories in song take on the heroism, evil, love, madness all words and more that is more than the story itself he quotes. The album itself is personal and inviting and welcomes you in with the warmth and depth that he has in his voice to listen with intent as the album unfolds. There is a sense of awareness that is brought forward from a time long forgotten in the music and it is so important in song writing today that these stories of historical changes are kept alive as it seems a lot of the modern day writing is about surface subjects only a few dare to reiterate in a whole album. Recorded by a mighty line up of artists indeed within their own right, Liam Bradley, James Delaney, Paul Moore, Paul Rodden, Nicky Scott, Enda Walsh and Kevin Doherty set the tempo aptly. Favorite tracks “Camden Street” and “Tug Boat” The story and historical references are poetical and strong and is indeed offered beautifully and honestly to the listener. Inspiring writing.

Marlon WilliamsPatrick James
Marlon WilliamsMarlon Williams
Although I’m in a library, listening with headphones and writing about this, it’s almost as if I am sitting in a tin shed listening on a half broken record player with a glass of aged scotch delving into something from my mum and dad’s music collection. Obviously this guy has such an incredible vocal ability, but sometimes that’s hard to capture and draw an intimate focus to on record. He and his team have nailed that and the band compliments it so well. I tend to be drawn to albums that inspire my own writing or change the way I think for a minute about music. This album does that for me. Not because the production is over the top or revolutionary but because it’s raw and honest and it takes me to a specific setting. It’s also performed in a refined way that almost seems theatrical, I think that’s what gets in me in from the start.

Hell Breaks LooseImogen Clark
Shane NicholsonHell Breaks Loose
Hell Breaks Loose is like a glass of whisky you want to drink, and love to drink, even though you know that when you ingest it, it’s going to bring to the forefront of your mind some of the most heartbreaking truths you’ve ever known and expose things you didn’t even know you felt or thought. Gut-wrenching lyrics and beautiful melancholic melodies, and more honesty than even whisky could bring.

BloodPhia
Lianne La HavasBlood
Lianne’s voice is so velvety and intoxicating and enveloping, and the songs she writes are deep and powerful. She writes a killer pre-chorus too. The production is also fantastic, highlighting the light and shade and rough and smooth of her voice and songs. I can’t stop listening to it!

One Song RomanceNick Keeling (Mustered Courage)
Michael BarnettOne Song Romance
This album is a precision powered product of over 50 years of stringband music in America. Michael is a champion of the newest ilk in bluegrass and old-timey, and can play the fiddle like you wouldn’t believe. The front porch isn’t enough these days and folk musicians that were inspired by the likes of Bela Fleck and Chris Thile a decade ago are now taking to advanced tertiary institutions like Berklee and Juliard to hone their craft. If you like Punch Brothers, Crooked Still, or The Deadly Gentlemen, then rosin up to One Song Romance.

GoonJon O’Neill (Forest Falls)
Tobias Jesso JrGoon
It’s been hard as of late to find music that gives me a comforting chill down my spine, but this album did. Every one of Jesso’s masterpieces is straight from the heart and has an overwhelming sense of home and familiarity. I love this album because it doesn’t rely on production to make the songs “better” – rather, they are simple, beautiful and raw.

10Bill Jackson
Darrell Scott10: Songs of Ben Bullington
Darrell Scott met Ben Bullington during a trip to Yellowstone National Park with his children. Bullington was a small town Montana doctor who happened to write songs in his spare time and a mutual friend thought they might enjoy each other’s company – two single dads on vacation in the wilderness with their offspring. In fact, they wound up good friends with more in common than they probably thought at first. Bullington, it turned out, was fighting a cancer diagnosis that wound up taking his life. But, before he passed, he wanted to play a songwriters-in-the-round show in Nashville, and the date was set at the Station Inn. According to the liner notes on Scott’s new album, 10: Songs of Ben Bullington, that was the first time that he’d heard Bullington’s songs. And, as we can hear on the disc, Bullington was a remarkable songwriter. His lyrics have a natural musicality, and the nuance of his stories is bowl-you-over good in places. Scott’s treatment of the songs is pure and arresting. Here’s one of the most versatile artists in the Americana/roots world, whose instrumental prowess is well documented, giving one strum per measure in some cases, leaving room for the songs to create their own life. Not a lot of songs could stand up when stripped back to such simplicity. On the one hand, it’s a shame that a songwriter the calibre of Ben Bullington lived most of his whole life without his songs getting much further than his own guitar. On the other hand, it’s a blessing that his friend Darrell Scott picked up that very guitar and immortalized them. Favourite tracks: “I’ve Gotta Leave You Now”, “Born in 55”.

Mellow DramaAriela Jacobs
Kevin GarrettMellow Drama
Colouring was the first track I heard off Garrett’s debut EP and I immediately fell in love with the rest of the compilation. Similar to the James Blake aesthetic, his songs are punctuated with electronic beats but they are used gently and sparingly. Lyrically, he grabs your attention from the get go and although simplistic in narrative, he reels you in with unheard of metaphors to symbolise a broken relationship. Kevin may make you weep your eyes out, but I’m telling you it’s worth the sob and the copious amounts of ice cream afterwards.

Dogs at BayThom Lion
Bad DreemsDogs At Bay
I haven’t heard rock this real in a while. The songs and sound are unashamedly Australian. A raw record that hits you right in the face!

Daniel RomanoHarvey Russell (Peasant Moon)
Daniel RomanoIf I’ve Only One Time Askin’
Canadians do country well and Daniel Romano is no exception. On his fourth solo album the Ontarian moves away from the country folk of early material and beyond the twangy honky tonk of his 2013 release. This time it’s a modern interpretation of the countrypolitan sound which emerged in the 1960s. Some will accuse him of pastiche, and this is tempting if only the songwriting, instrumentation and vocal phrasings weren’t so damned good. George, Merle, Willie and even Charlie Rich would be happy to have written these songs. Romano knows he’s writing classics too, his brashness is evident through the use of rich synth-strings and drum machines. This was album of the year before I’d reached the end of my first listen.

Daniel KnoxJosie Rothwell (Peasant Moon)
Daniel KnoxDaniel Knox
The 2015 release from Chicago troubadour Daniel Knox is my fave album of the year – the top of a very long short list. The album is rich with gorgeous instrumentation, surprising given the stark piano and vocal package of his earlier releases. The arrangements complement the sharpness of his songwriting and his utterly enchanting voice. I love the breadth of the album – Knox gives us hazy dream trance on “Blue Car”, sharp and catchy on “Don’t Touch Me” and even a hypnotic choir in 14 15 111. Lyrically, Knox’s observations of the sometimes mundane imbue the entire album with an undercurrent of creepy menace

Imaginary ManAshleigh Mannix (Ashleigh Mannix, Little Georgia)
Rayland BaxterImaginary Man
I was hooked on the first listen. The first track “Mr. Rodriguez” had me bopping from the intro, and by the time the second verse had kicked in, I was swinging my hair and red wine around the kitchen like no tomorrow. My favourite song is “My Captain”, followed closely by “Rugged Lovers”. Both songs make me stop whatever I’m doing, and just listen. He makes me want to be a better songwriter. It’s just such a friken great album.

Imaginary ManJustin Carter (Justin Carter, Little Georgia)
Rayland BaxterImaginary Man
A lyrically inspiring album from start to finish.

Multi-LoveSahara Beck
Unknown Mortal OrchestraMulti-Love
Every song makes me fall in love again and again, not only with its extremely catchy melodies which dance through every instrument but also the lyrics that call you in with their familiar and relatable subject of thought. Unknown Mortal Orchestra have been on repeat in my mind all year long, this album is a wise old ear worm that I welcome into my mind with a warm accommodating smile

Chaos and the CalmMark Wilkinson
James BayChaos and the Calm
This record is really strong from top to bottom. It has a fantastic energy about it and the production hasn’t been overdone which really allows Bay’s voice to shine. The songs are catchy and accessible without being soulless and Bay’s vocals can stretch from intimate to powerful giving the album space for light and shade.

Sam AmidonCatgut
Sam AmidonHome Alone Inside My Head
Sam Amidon can go from quietly beautiful to shockingly abrasive in seconds. For Home Alone Inside My Head he put together a bunch of field recordings captured in 2002 after studying with old time fiddler Bruce Greene and free jazz violinist Leroy Jenkins. It’s not easy listening but it’s a glimpse inside the musical mind of someone we find very inspiring.

CurrentsTom Stephens
Tame ImpalaCurrents
Couldn’t deny Kev the props he deserves. The tunes are written, recorded, performed and produced all by the man himself, on his lonesome. There wasn’t even a dude around to get him a coffee when he was feeling flat. When it dropped the band and I listened to it five times in a row driving back from Melbourne. Everything is perfectly placed. The man is a master.

Yours DreamilyEddie Boyd (Eddie Boyd and the Phatapillars)
The ArcsYours, Dreamily,
The album is just filled with bangers from start to finish. Really great songwriting, catchy as f*@k and really interesting production. I would best describe it as soul/motown rock meets wild wild west. Super cool.

Ben MastwykJustin Bernasconi (Justin Bernasconi, The Stillsons)
Ben MastwykMornin’ Evenin’
Mastwyk’s beautifully crafted debut album is full of gems, the songs gently pushes and pulls you all the way from Texas to Melbourne inner north in one long dance.

The GleanerJordie Lane
Brendan WelchThe Gleaner
Thanks to local new Ballarat label, Heart Of The Rat Records, this brilliant album was given new life in October. Undoubtedly my favorite Australian voice, Brendan’s epic songs are matched by Paul Dempsey (Something For Kate) with the producer hat on! I know already it’s gonna be one of my favorite records of all time!

Coming HomeBroads
Leon BridgesComing Home
Our pick for 2015’s top album was the debut album from Texan soul singer Leon Bridges. Co-written with members of Texan band White Denim, the album perfectly pays homage to that moment in history when gospel music bled into the world of soul. Particularly reminiscent of the velvet tones of Sam Cooke, the charismatic charm of this album had us absolutely bowled over, and has been played on high rotation since its release mid way through the year. Check out the single “Lisa Sawyer” – absolute retro gold.

Father John MistyTanya Batt
Father John MistyI Love You, Honeybear
I can’t even express what this album did to me the first time I heard it. It’s no hidden secret that Joshua Tillman is one of the best singer/songwriters of our generation/ever. His lyrical ability to tell a story is like no other. Then throw in the incredible voice and arrangements within his work and you just die a little inside with the pain he shares with you. I am a bit of a sucker for a concept album also so this is why this ended up being the winner. It’s such an honest album, so honest that he found it incredibly hard playing these songs in front of those close to him, and I feel that’s something I can relate to. I love you, Father John Misty. Thank you for sharing this with us all.

Such JubileePaddy Connor (Lime and Steel)
Mandolin OrangeSuch Jubilee
This duo have a magic touch of writing and playing songs that seem deceptively simple: and sometimes just that little extra beat or chord that grabs you. That can really play, but it’s never flashy: feels like you’re around a kitchen table at 2am with old friends singing that one song that opens their heart.

Jason IsbellAndrew Swift
Jason IsbellSomething More Than Free
A lot of my friends ok the music industry were raving about Jason Isbell, especially the women. If his name got mentioned on social media it was often followed by “swoon” or “my future husband” but it was actually my Dad that handed me his album and upon first listen I didn’t understand the fuss. As I’m lazy when it comes to changing CDs in my car it stayed in there for a while and played through several times and I came to realise just how impressive this man is. Something More Than Free is an album of songs I wish I had written. They’re not catchy when you first hear them but they grow on you, become a part of you, draw you in so you want to listen to the lyrics and thank god they do, the man is a wordsmith! This is one of those album where you don’t skip a song from start to finish.

Hell Breaks LooseTristan Goodall (The Audreys)
Shane NicholsonHell Breaks Loose
We don’t always agree on things like this, but in the case of the best album of 2015, my band-mate Taasha and I are in complete agreement. Shane Nicholson’s Hell Breaks Loose is a killer record. A break-up album for the educated country set (I think that’s us) that hums with vibrant melodies, deadly hooks and stinging lyrics, it sets a new bar for roots acts in our neck of the woods. Gently driving acoustic guitars and shuffling drums support a singer in search of a new start – confident, melancholy and yet tuned to hope.

Be ItThe April Maze
Jesse WitneyBe It
Four tracks of gold. The musicianship, arrangements and production are off-hook. Track 2, “Higher”, really takes you higher, it is so uplifting. But track 4, “Australia”, Jesse does something really special – it is very beautiful and captures the true essence of Australia. The perfect soundtrack for a roadtrip.

Glass FoolTodd Sibbin
Kaurna CroninGlass Fool
I’ve watched Kaurna’s development through four releases and on every level Glass Fool marks a significant step up. The songwriting, both lyrically and melodically, arrangement, production and his band’s cohesion (particularly Chris Panousakis’ lead guitar work) combine for a very tidy release indeed.

PondBetty & Oswald
PondMan It Feels Like Space Again
Oh boy the new Pond album has been round the block a few times at our place. Sonically arousing and drenched in all that bowie-esque glamour, these guys are right on!

Glass FoolBeth Stephen (The Little Stevies)
Tim GuyChords
The first thing that stood out to me hearing Chords for the first time was the song arrangements. I suspected from the moment I heard them that a lot of thought had gone into the structure of the songs and the lengths of the sections in each song. None of the songs are too over played, it’s full of great guitar licks and vocal hooks, the melodies and chord progressions are really interesting and unexpected, and Tim has given great vocal performances on all tracks. He’s used his whole vocal range and included stacks of killer harmonies. The album covers a range of genres which I think can be risky sometimes in terms of keeping a natural flow. But Tim pulled it off. My fav’s are “Footsteps” and “It’s The Weekend”. Chords is a strong collection of strong stand alone songs.

Kendrick LamarHayden Calnin
Kendrick LamarTo Pimp A Butterfly
This is a piece of art. Kendrick has made what I consider to be one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. He’s doing wonders for an ever-rising genre of music and delivers an intelligent, modern, original, political and poetic masterpiece with this LP. Fav track: “Alright”

Glass FoolWillowy
The Weather StationLoyalty
Beginning with a stumbling fast paced picking of the guitar and warped percussion – the mood of this album is immediately established, taking the listener on a somber yet hopeful sonic journey. Even with upbeat songs like the title track “Way it is, Way it Could Be” there lies a weight in expectation. Noticing this year a pull towards a fuller and often more electric centered production, each track on this album unashamedly bares it soul with a stripped back, predominantly acoustic, yet thoughtful layering of instruments that builds when needed. The album highlights Tamara Lindeman’s emotional and warmly experimental vocals that compliment her soul bearing songwriting.

Jason IsbellEmily Barker
Jason IsbellSomething More Than Free
Like many, I adore Jason’s record, Southeastern, so it was always going to be a difficult album to follow up. I bought Something More Than Free at Grimey’s record shop in Nashville and it was the only CD I had in my hire car for the week I was there. It is fantastic. As always, his raw lyrics and vocal delivery are arresting. Dave Cobb’s production is also killer. My favourite track is “Children of Children” because it reminds me of the beautiful, haunting Dillard and Clark record, Through the Morning, Through the Night.

TravellerTimothy James Bowen
Chris StapletonTraveller
He’s got a voice that will leave you mouth-gapingly speechless and a beard/hat combo to match. Do your ears a favour and get into it as fast as humanly possible. In particular, listen out for the track, “Tennessee Whiskey”. Good Lord.

Mother's Not Feeling Herself TodayLiz Stringer
Suzannah EspieMother’s Not Feeling Herself Today
Suzannah has always been one of my favourites. As a writer and performer. This new collection of songs, recorded with Jeff Lang at his studio and a stellar band, is another heartbreakingly beautiful one. One of the few artists that consistently brings me to tears, Espie has trawled some depths lyrically throughout this album that few would be brave enough to attempt and, in doing so, has cracked open a vein of shining gold. It’s stunning.

Songs to PlayJulia Jacklin
Robert ForsterSongs to Play
I hadn’t heard of Robert Forster until I listened to him being interviewed by Richard Fidler about story songs from the 1970s. I liked his talking voice and his passion for Carly Simons “You’re So Vain”, I’d never really listened closely to the lyrics. So I looked up his record and it made me really happy! His wobbly vocals, Australian accent, the Christmas bells in “And I Knew”. Listen to “A Poet Walks” if you need a confidence boost over the Christmas socialising period.

Dorsal FinsRoscoe James Irwin
Dorsal FinsMind Renovation
An absolute cracker of a record from some of the best dudes in Melbourne. With Ella Thompson (GL), Jarrad Brown (Eagle and The Worm) and Liam McGorry (Saskwatch) at the helm, there was no chance this record wasn’t going to rule. Sweet 90s garage vibes and some great electro boogie, all without actually sounding like a retro throwback record. “Nothing Left to Hide” with its Iggy-ness, and “Heart On The Floor” are standouts. One of the best live bands kicking around as well.

MotorheadShane Nicholson
MotorheadBad Magic
After 40 years in the game, they have just released one of their best records ever. The songs, the execution, the sheer power, the consistent disregard for trends. Best band that ever was.

Hell Breaks LooseThe Weeping Willows
Shane NicholsonHell Breaks Loose
The combination of skilfully crafted songs and his soul-soothing voice place Shane Nicholson in the world-class league of singer-songwriters. To us, “Hell Breaks Loose” is Song of the Year and we challenge you to stay dry-eyed throughout “Single Fathers”, “Secondhand Man” and “Hermannsburg”.

PassengerThe Once
PassengerWhispers II
Passenger is a songwriting king. There are songs on this record that will kick you in the guts, make you question your very own choices of the heart, make you remember all the feelings that you stopped allowing yourself and all in the most positive way. AND he is donating ALL of the album sales to UNICEF in a quest to help end painful hunger in Liberia. What? He’s unreal. Just sayin’.

RadiusThe Brouhaha
Allen StoneRadius
The lead single “Freedom” hooked me in. Live video on top of Capitol records, so much soul, so much vibe. Love love love 🙂

The MiraculousMusketeer
Anna Von HausswolffThe Miraculous
I had the pleasure of watching Anna play the pipe organ at the Town Hall in Sydney early in the year. I also had the pleasure of exploring and playing music in her home country of Sweden, in their summer months. So, when she dropped this album I couldn’t help but fall back into that vivid northern world. I guess that makes me a little biased, but The Miraculous is probably the most well crafted piece of music I have heard all year. I would call it gothic folk rock. It is unique and moving and Anna’s voice will open your soul.

Deeper SouthRosie McDonald (RAPT, Folklore)
Shane HowardDeeper South
So many great albums out this year, but the one that stays with me, like a prayer shawl, is Deeper South by Shane Howard with Ewan Baker and John Hudson. I have huge respect for Shane. His music, poetry, philosophy and voice now seem to have been honed by the elements, love and love lost, empathy with others and his own life struggles. There is no preaching, no soap box, just wry observations of love, despite the struggles and realities of living. The first track, the windswept evocative “Deeper South”, got under my skin and recently when all the news was so dire, I’ve played it like a psalm. I can come back and back to it and each time is moves and calms me. The album has celtic, jazz and folk influences and the other musicians, Ewan on fiddle and mando, and John on beautifully played guitar, complement the songs exquisitely along with guest performers. Live, the experience is just as meaningful but this crowd sourced and lovingly packaged album, like a small hard cover book, is a true work of brilliance and worthy of a place in any collection.

Kendrick LamarMatthew Black (The Bottlers)
Kendrick LamarTo Pimp A Butterfly
Kendrick Lamar takes to his expansive african-americana scrapbook with a cleverly glinted and winking poet’s eye view of everyday life based subject matter with 2015’s To Pimp a Butterfly. 

Swaggering back into beat poetesque lyricism mixed with gritty urban, jazz draped drawls he looks at today’s America and further into tommorow’s American influenced world from the perspective of a young black man still fighting the battles his radical forebearers fought. Casting aside industry pushed gangster rap stereotypes this illuminating stew all cooks down into what very well could be classified as the next leap in the evolution of hip hop music.

Universal ThemesGeorgia Fair
Sun Kil MoonUniversal Themes
Because my girlfriend hates it and “Birds of Films” is so beautiful.

courtney barnettLauren Moore (Pepperjack)
Courtney BarnettSometimes I Sit and Think And Sometimes I Just Sit
Courtney Barnett is undeniably a force in the Australian music industry. She has the complexity and aloofness of an aging rock star but with the level headed intellect of a philosopher. The elaborately titled Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit showcases her signature lyrical witticisms and deadpan vocal style but also brings some unexpected angst. It’s refreshing and relatable. Barnett has something to say and the world is listening. I can’t wait to hear more.

Bird Under WaterTom West
Arooj AftabBird Under Water
Bird Under Water is a beautifully serene and lush record by Brooklyn Based Arooj Aftab. I have found myself getting lost time and time again in her complex, haunting melodies and flawless vocals, often splendidly layered and harmonised. The songs feel skilfully composed and even after repeated listens I still get a thrill out of the many unexpected turns and instrumental surprises. I can’t recommend this record highly enough.

Weight of the WorldGeorge Jackson (One Up, Two Down, The Company, Chris Henry & The Hardcore Grass, Buffalo Nickel)
10 String SymphonyWeight Of The World
Nashville based 10 String Symphony released a great full length album this October which has been on high rotation for me since. The 5-string fiddle/banjo duo consists of Rachel Baiman and Christian Sedelmyer who are both fantastic and acclaimed fiddlers, though interestingly this album is strongly song-centric. The minimal instrumentation and vocal arrangements are super interesting to listen to, they’ve come up with some really interesting solutions to creating a full sound with just the two voices and two fiddles (or one fiddle and one banjo) to work with.

Carly Rae JepsonImogen Bel
Carly Rae JepsenE-mo-tion
I was definitely a sucker for Jepsen’s huge hit “Call Me Maybe” but it seemed as though she was headed for one hit wonder territory after that. Not the case! This album is full of fun and catchy hook-filled tunes with production that makes me feel like I’m dancing under a mirror ball on prom night in 1985. It’s full of the energy and naivety of a first crush, and it’s a lot of fun to get swept away in the drama of it all. Best tracks: “E-mo-tion”, “All That”, “Run Away With Me”.

Cold SummersFraser A Gorman
CrepesCold Summers
Tim Karmouche’s songwriting is some of the most exciting music I’ve heard lately. He retains a classic style akin to the Beatles/John Lennon but it’s contemporary, exciting, lyrically interesting pop music at its best.

Loren KateKris Morris
Loren KateTil Night Meet’s The Sun.
Loren is an amazing story teller and the EP captures the honesty and fragility of what she does perfectly. It’s a heartbreaker but there’s hope and love in there. It’s really something.

Blessing and CursingMandy Connell (Mandy Connell, Stray Hens)
Jimmy DowlingBlessing and Cursing
Co-produced by Matt Walker, with harmonies from Lucie Thorne. Simple instrumentation, very Aussie writing style, with stark images of our industrial landscape mixed with the light and space of the countryside. His best realisation yet.

Mother's Not Feeling Herself TodayLes Thomas
Suzannah EspieMother’s Not Feeling Herself Today
Suzannah Espie’s courageous album Mother’s Not Feeling Herself Today tops my list because it shows how music and songwriting can express topics that are usually too taboo to speak about. The honesty and generosity she shares about getting through post-natal depression and early motherhood is extremely rare and beautiful, and for that reason I hope these songs can be heard everywhere. Yes, it’s pretty heavy, but it’s also done in a supremely artful and moving way that would no doubt help countless people to process these under-acknowledged challenges and hardships.

Dick DiverDarren Hanlon
Dick DiverMelbourne, Florida
Boisterous, erudite, effortlessly nostalgic. All four songwriters share an aesthetic of detailed suburban minutiae and find poetry, humour and melancholy in the commonplace. This album feels like such an important beacon of light in Australian music at the moment, so therefore it’s criminal that they don’t play live more.

Tomorrow is my TurnSam Lee
Rhiannon GiddensTomorrow Is My Turn
This is more than a covers album – Rhiannon has taken some classic American song book standards and also lesser known blues and old time songs and crafted the most elegant dynamic and rich album that keeps so much of the original’s flare but represents these songs as though they were brand new and freshly forged. A true pioneer and gifted singer and musician coming into her own.

Brandie carlileFanny Lumsden
Brandi CarlileFirewatcher’s Daughter and Kacey MusgravesPageant Material
Just bloody great music. Purely honest to themselves in their songwriting and production and vocal delivery. Sassy, Classy and smart assy.

Skull n BonesThe Dead Maggies
So we marched through the woodlands to meet up ’round a campfire, and decide on the best album of 2015. After a few gallons of rum we decided that there was nothing good released in 2015. In fact we draw our inspiration from 1830s Tasmanian bushranger music, so we don’t listen to modern stuff. We can however give you a couple of tips for 2016… The Australian Beefweek Show (Newcastle pub-rock-cow-punk yobs) and Dominic Francis Grief Ensemble (Hobart, deep-intelligent-folk-rock), check them both out when they release albums next year. Now, where did I leave that rum…

National Folk Festival Interview: Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton

Kate and Ruth
Image Courtesy of Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton

Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton are one of the reasons I got back into folk music in a big way as an adult – their albums from the late 90s and early 2000s proved to me that folk music could be for young people as well. After taking a break to start families and explore other musical projects Kate & Ruth return in 2015 with a brand new album – Declaration – and an appearance at this year’s National Folk Festival. I sat down with Ruth Hazleton to chat about the album and get her take on how her festival experience has changed over the years.

Gareth Hugh Evans: So congratulations on the new album Declaration. I’ve been listening non-stop since I got it and I absolutely love it. I think it’s up there with everything else you’ve produced. Congratulations!

Ruth Hazleton: Thank you!

GHE: For Declaration you’ve collaborated again with Luke Plumb as producer. What was it like working with him?

RH: We all met in the early early days, in the late 90s. He was playing music in Tasmania. We’ve always gotten along and always been aware of each other and then of course Shooglenifty stole hime for a long time. I think Kate and I decided about 18 months ago that we would like to do another album as it’s been such a long time in between. And we immediately thought of Luke because we knew that he was starting to do some production work. From the word go he had input – we’d narrowed down a list from about 60 songs to 15 and got it to where it was. He’s been a bit of a silent third member of the band actually. I don’t think the album would have been anywhere near as successful without his input. It’s been an absolute joy actually, not just from a production level but his playing on it is fabulous and also he engineered it as well. He’s just a really lovely person to work with in the actual recording studio situation. Kate and I both with kids and being mums we needed somebody who was level headed to keep us all together.

GHE: I love his production work. And the fact that he’s such an amazing musician as well adds to the production that he does.

RH: I think one of the specialties of Luke is even though he doesn’t sing he’s intensely good with song and finding the meaning in a song and finding the lyrics. He’s a bit of a super-head and we’re a bit proud to have been working with him.

GHE: You said you had to whittle the song choices down from about 60 songs, most of which I assume were traditional. Where do you source your trad songs from? Are you just flicking through the The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs and pulling songs out?

RH: We’ve done it that way in the past. All of us have houses full of Australian Folklore Volume 1 and 2 and the Cecil Sharpe Collections and all of that sort of stuff. We’re also very influenced by contemporary singers. Like “The Queen of Hearts” on the album for example, there’s been a lot of versions of that done very recently. When you play traditional songs you kind of go “does the world need another version of that?”. I think ultimately we just listen really widely and a good part of that process is the three of us all put in 20 odd songs each from all over the place. We basically did this from recordings as opposed to sheet music and books this time around. And it was good because we were challenged by Luke particularly from the word go with what it was about that song – was it the feel, was it the lyrics, was it the story. It made us really think about what we were trying to say. Sometimes you stumble into doing an album and it’s all about enthusiasm and you lose site of what the bigger picture is. And also quite often at festivals you’re sitting down listening to other people singing and you go “I want that song!”. A good song is a good song, however you find it.

GHE: I feel like when you’ve talked about your song choices on stage before you very rarely talk about getting the songs directly from “the source”. More often than not your story behind where you found the song involves you hearing someone’s version first.

RH: Yeah but also I studied post graduate folklore – we’ll start at that point but I always make a point, and so does Kate, of going back and finding the source. So even if we’ve fallen in love with say Linda Thompson’s version of “Bleezin’ Blind Drunk”, I’ll get back in there and do as much research to try and find exactly where that came from. And sometimes that takes an awful amount of time but sometimes it informs the way you sing it, knowing its history.

GHE: Do you ever then find the original version is so different that you’re torn by how to interpret it?

RH: Actually more so on this album. Kate and I took a very different approach to traditional music. When we were younger and we were being called “bearers of the tradition” there was a weight with that. We felt like we couldn’t touch the traditional song much. With this album we’ve really rearranged the songs to suit our purposes. Not to the point of not being recognisable of course! I probably call it the Andy Irvine approach – a song is a song that needs to be sung in its context. To put your own musical input into it you’ve got to be more and more prepared to muck around with the lyrics and muck around with the tune so it suits your purposes better. As I said I think that’s all fine as long as it comes with the respect and the knowledge of the source. I think songs don’t exist if you sing them the same way over and over again for ever.

GHE: I really like it when artists take traditional music and make it their own. The songs are not unrecognisable but you’re singing them from your own context.

RH: Absolutely. I think when you’re young you get so excited by the music that you do tend to cover it as opposed to interpret it. I agree with you, interpretation is the key to singing traditional songs. I’m not a great songwriter – Kate writes more songs than I do – but there’s a similar craft to that reinterpretation as exists to songwriting.

GHE: I’m glad that you’ve got a couple of your own songs on here as well. You’ve got one each on the album. The song you wrote is “Hearts Of Sorrow” which is beautiful, it has lots of contemporary themes running through it. Why that song in particular?

RH: I think it fitted topically. The album is a bit darker in terms of topic. Certainly one of the things that comes through [the album] is women’s stories – domestic abuse and that sort of stuff. I don’t write that many songs so it was a terrifying thing to actually include one on a Kate and Ruth Album. I’ve sung them live but I’ve very rarely released a song of my own. I think both of us are politically charged and politically aware and politically extremely disappointed at the moment. I think we felt like we wanted to make that statement and it just so happens that I had that song sitting on the sideline and it kind of works within the context of the album as a whole. I’m pleased it got on there!

GHE: Do you guys have a rule that you have to have a Bob Dylan song on every single album?

RH: No, but we always come to an album wanting to put a Dylan one on there. It turned out the way that it has.

GHE: I don’t think there’s a Dylan song on every album, that was a bit cheeky of me.

RH: But there pretty much is! I think we do actually go “is there a Dylan song that will fit?”. “Lay Down Your Weary Tune” – Bob Dylan wrote it as is departure from wanting to be a political singer but it’s also got that kind of sentiment that anyone who’s into politics has at the moment, a kind of resignation for the status of bad things that are going on. It’s a reflection of that sort of thing.

GHE: And again it’s the way that you interpret those songs as well. I came to Dylan quite late so I heard your version of “Let Me Die in My Footsteps” before I heard his version, and when I sort his out I thought “this isn’t anywhere near as good as Kate & Ruth’s“.

RH: What a compliment! But if you wanted to compliment the real taker there that would be a musician named Tim Scalan who we pinched that particular feel from. But there you go, there’s the folk process in action.

GHE: You guys are going to be at The National Folk Festival this year which is very exciting. I first saw you guys at The National way back in the late 90s. Does it feel like a bit of a homecoming for you guys?

RH: Absolutely. We met when we were in Canberra, I went to university in Canberra and Kate did her later schooling in Canberra. We learnt and met a lot of people in our folk family in Canberra. So it’s exciting and also slightly nerve wracking after such a long break, going back to it. But it’s definitely home territory and I think it’s the festival we’re the most fond of given our history and how long we’ve been going.

GHE: Has The National changed for you now that you have kids? Does the way you experience the festival differ now that you’ve started a family.

RH: Yeah, it’s a totally different cup of tea. You kind of still think you’re 21 in your head half the time. I’d love to be in the session bar until five o’clock every morning but I’ve got a child who gets up at five thirty [laughs]. It’s a lot harder traveling and being able to get out there, as well because Kate and I live in different states. It’s different at the festival but it’s nice because more people our age are having kids now so there’s an assemblage all of us who were once young now dragging around little kids and changing nappies in odd spots. It’s lovely to expose your kids to the same stuff that you grew up with in a way – it’s really funny watching them pick out instruments and dancing along and knowing all these kooky songs that are very not mainsteam.

GHE: So after The National are you guys taking Declaration out on tour or to any other festivals?

RH: We’re only just getting around to sorting that out. We’re doing the St Albans Folk Festival. It’s been really lovely, people have been inviting us to play a fair bit which is wonderful, but logistically it’s really different to organise all of that stuff. But I think we’re going to sit down after Easter and do some Melbourne launches, try and get up to the Sydney/Newcastle region for a weekend. Kate’s just started post-graduate studies so a lot that revolves around her at the moment. We will launch it but I think we’ll launch it slowly and I think that’s part of what happens realistically when you have kids and you try to get back into the game. We’ll be flogging it for a long time!

GHE: I’m really happy that you’ve chosen to launch it at The National. It will be great to see you guys live. I hope I can actually get into one of your gigs because I imagine they’ll be very popular!

RH: You never know! We’re really looking forward to it.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 23rd January

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Melbourne based chamber-folk singer Packwood released his brand new single “All Smoke Must Find Its Way Home”. Details here

– The upcoming Fringe World festival in Perth will feature three tribute nights to O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Details here

– Celebrated trad singers Kate Burke and Ruth Hazleton has revealed details of their upcoming album Declaration. Details here

Ruby Boots has kicked off her 2015 signing to Lost Highway and announcing her new album Solitude. Details here

– The The National Folk Festival have announced a bunch of US artists for their 2015 lineup including Kim Richey, Joe Filisko & Eric Noden, Kipori Baby Wolf Woods New Orleans Band, Jesse Milnes & Emily Miller and Whitetop Mountaineers. Details here

The Decemberists released their new video “A Beginning Song”. Details here

– Sydney band Citizen of the World released their new video “Done”. Details here

– Melbourne’s John Flanagan has announced a massive tour beginning this February. Details here

Laura Marling revealed her new track “False Hope”. Details here

Little Georgia, the alt-country duo project from Justin Carter and Ashleigh Mannix, released their new video “Heartbreak”. Details here

– Melbourne based singer-songwriter and activist Les Thomas released his new single “Guantanamo Blues”. Details here

– Alt-country singer-songwriter Jenny Queen released her new video “Hell No”. Details here

– Six more artists have been added to the Port Fairy Folk Festival lineup including Luluc, Mike Brady, Frank Yamma, The Bearded Gypsy Band, Fiona Ross and Skipping Girl Vinegar. Details here

Punch Brothers revealed their new track “My Oh My”. Details here

The Staves went back in time for their new video “Black & White”. Details here

Trampled by Turtles released their new video “Repetition”. Details here

The April Maze announced a new album and 2015 tour dates. Details here

Bell St Delays, the duo project of singer-songwriters Tracy McNeil and Luke Sinclair (Raised By Eagles), released their new video “Not This Time”. Details here

Marlon Williams released his new video “Dark Child” and announced an Australian tour in April. Details here

Angus and Julia Stone have announced the final dates for their summer tour. Details here

Rhiannon Giddens released “She’s Got You” from her forthcoming album. Details here

– Swedish singer-songwriter José González released his new single “Leaf Off/The Cave”. Details here

Interviews

“On an afternoon when frying eggs on the pavement in rural Queensland was definitely an option, Bill Quinn spoke with Ann from her sick bed in Edmonton, as she was putting the final touches on her tour, and readying to hop on a plane the following week”Ann Vriend chats to Bill Quinn. Interview here

Blog

“As we emerge from the haze of the Christmas and New Year period I can tell you right now that the future is looking bright indeed. So many of our favourite artists spent last year in the studio and the next six months is going to be thick with exciting releases. With so much good music on the way I thought I’d try and distill a list of ten artists that I’m excited to hear from in the first half of this year. This list is by no means exhaustive and I could probably spend hours talking about every release on the calendar, but hopefully this gives you a jumping off point to get as excited as I am for 2015”Gareth Hugh Evans picks his ten artists to watch in the first half of 2015. Find out who he chose and why here

“Here’s a question, though: how many have been to a small regional folk festival? … I ask this because I believe it is important for the folk movement that people younger than me – which is lot of people – get involved in the smaller festivals, either through volunteering, applying to perform, just turning up and doing a blackboard, or paying the usually small amount to attend” – guest contributor Peter Logue recounts the joy of the small folk festival. Read about it here

Releases This Week

Alanna Eileen
AbsenceAlanna Eileen
Bandcamp

Punch Brothers
The Phosphorescent BluesPunch Brothers
iTunes

Husband
The MoneyHusband
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Black Market Tune

Black Market Tune

Black Market Tune was a highlight at this year’s Illawarra Folk Festival so I urge anyone who hasn’t seen them live yet to get along to one of their shows. This week they’ll be bringing their uniquely European take on Scottish traditional music to Victoria – see them before they leave the country!

Sunday 25th January – Beav’s Bar, Geelong, VIC
Friday 30th January – Albert Park Yacht Club, Melbourne, VIC

Gigs Next Week

Alanna Eileen
Saturday 24th January – Smith’s Alternative Bookshop, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 25th January – The Front Gallery and Cafe, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 29th January – The Grace Darling Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Ann Vriend
Saturday 24th January – The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 29th January – The Reef Casino, Cairns, Qld
Friday 30th January – Sovereign Resort Hotel, Cooktown, Qld

April Maze
Friday 23rd January – Tomerong Hall, Shoalhaven, NSW

Australia Day at The Rocks
Monday 26th January – The Rocks, Sydney, NSW

Bell St Delays
Thursday 29th January – Three Chimneys, Wollongong, NSW
Friday 30th January – Petersham Bowls Club, Sydney, NSW

Bernard Fanning with Little May
Saturday 24th January – Leeuwin Estate Winery, Margaret River, WA
Thursday 29th January – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 30th January – Twilight At Taronga, Sydney, NSW

Black Market Tune
Sunday 25th January – Beav’s Bar, Geelong, VIC
Friday 30th January – Albert Park Yacht Club, Melbourne, VIC

Charm of Finches
Friday 23rd to Monday 26th January – Newstead Live Music Festival, VIC
Wednesday 28th January – Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne, VIC

Husband
Friday 23rd January – Mojos Bar, Fremantle, WA
Friday 30th January – The Prince of Wales Hotel, Bunbury, WA

Kim Churchill
Friday 23rd January – The Cambridge, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 24th January – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 29th January – The Beach Hotel, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 30th January – The Zoo, Brisbane, QLD

Lachlan Bryan w/ Jack Henderson, Sam York, Aleyce Simmonds
Tuesday 27th January – The Glasshouse Theatre, Port Macquarie, NSW
Wednesday 28th January – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 30th January – The Basement, Sydney, NSW

Mandy Connell
Tuesday 27th January – Retreat, Melbourne, VIC

Newstead Live
Friday 23rd to Monday 26th January – Castlemaine, VIC

Numberalla Folk Festival
Friday 23rd to Monday 26th January – Numberalla, NSW

Passenger
Friday 23rd January – Qantas Credit Union Arena, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 25th January – Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD
Tuesday 27th January – Cairns Convention Centre, Cairns, QLD

Peasant Moon
Friday 30th January – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Roger Knox
Sunday 25th January – The Aurora, Sydney, NSW

Tamworth Country Music Festival
Friday 16th to Sunday 25th January – Tamworth, NSW

The Melbourne Folk Club feat. Darren Hanlon, Laura Jean, Single Twin
Wednesday 28th January – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC

The Wild Comforts
Saturday 24th January – The Bearded Lady, Brisbane, QLD

Tim Edey
Friday 23rd to Monday 26th January – Newstead Live, VIC
Wednesday 28th January – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 29th January – Vencia Hall, Briagalong, VIC
Friday 30th January – Harvest Moon, Bellarine, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“Shady Grove” – Crooked Still

Someone pointed out to me this week that old timey/bluegrass standard “Shady Grove” is likely derived from the English ballad “Matty Groves” and my mind was blown. How could I not have noticed this before? Now I can’t think about/sing either song without getting it mixed up with the other.

Ten Artists to Watch in the First Half of 2015

Bob Dylan

As we emerge from the haze of the Christmas and New Year period I can tell you right now that the future is looking bright indeed. So many of our favourite artists spent last year in the studio and the next six months is going to be thick with exciting releases. With so much good music on the way I thought I’d try and distill a list of ten artists that I’m excited to hear from in the first half of this year. This list is by no means exhaustive and I could probably spend hours talking about every release on the calendar, but hopefully this gives you a jumping off point to get as excited as I am for 2015.

Fanny Lumsden
Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers

After smashing her Pozible campaign goal in 2014 Sydney’s Fanny Lumsden has headed into the studio with her band The Thrillseekers and producer Matt Fell to record her debut album. Details of the album are still few and far between but expect to hear Lumsden’s trademark big vocals. And if 2014 was anything to go by Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers will be performing all over the country and gaining fans everywhere they go.

Kate and Ruth
Kate Burke and Ruth Hazleton

When I interviewed Kate Burke as part of Trouble in the Kitchen before last year’s National Folk Festival she confirmed that after some time off to raise a family she’d be heading back into the studio with Ruth Hazleton to record the duo’s fifth album. Since then a slow trickle of photos and status updates have emerged via Kate and Ruth’s previously quiet Facebook page from their recording sessions with producer Luke Plumb. The album, titled Declaration, is due for release in April this year and will feature a collection of traditional and original songs. Expect the see Kate Burke and Ruth Hazelton popping up on the live circuit in the coming months as well – can’t wait!

Mumford and Sons
Mumford and Sons

When Mumford and Sons went on hiatus in 2013 many assumed that was it for the English nu-folk superstars. But then rumours began to emerge in October last year that the band had headed back into the studio with producer James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Haim). And now that they’ve been named as the headliners of the 2015 Bonnaroo festival this June I think we’ll be hearing a lot from Mumford and Sons in the next six months.

Packwood
Packwood

2014 was a pretty quiet year for the now Melbourne based chamber-folk singer-songwriter Packwood. In 2013 Packwood successfully ran a crowd funding campaign and then hunkered down to write and record his ambitious four part seasonal album series, Vertumnus, complete with his trademark orchestral and choral accompaniment. The first part of the album series, Autumnal, is due in March and promises a lot more guitar than the banjo-based songs of his previous recordings – and will also hopefully mean a return to live music for Packwood as well.

Rhiannon Giddens
Rhiannon Giddens

Rhiannon Giddens’ starring role in both The New Basement Tapes project and the Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis live concert and album has definitely raised her profile. And now the Carolina Chocolate Drops singer and musician will be releasing her debut solo album Tomorrow Is My Turn on the 10th February featuring traditional songs, covers and original material and from what we’ve heard so far it’s going to be very unique and very very good.

Ruby Boots
Ruby Boots

After a massive 2014 touring the country and showcasing at festivals and conference WA’s Ruby Boots has kicked off 2015 with some massive news – a signing to the Lost Highway Australia record label and the announcement of a new album, Solitude, which will be due for release in April. Ruby Boots is the poster child for the burgeoning Australian alt-country scene and her success will only bring more attention to the genre and increase the profile of her contemporaries. Go and see Ruby Boots in 2015 and find out exactly what all the fuss is about.

Sam Lee
Sam Lee & Friends

No one is producing traditional music like Sam Lee. His 2012 debut album Ground of its Own brought together the songs Lee had collected throughout Britain, many from the UK traveller community, with a very modern arrangement and production. Over the last two years Sam Lee has brought together a band and now performs under Sam Lee & Friends, and has announced his second album The Fade In Time to be released on the 16th March. If you managed to catch Sam Lee & Friends at WOMADelaide last year you’ll know exactly why we’re so excited for The Fade In Time.

Sufjan
Sufjan Stevens

Let’s be honest, Sufjan Stevens has always been a little bit odd. So when he asked his fans to go on an experimental journey with him for his 2010 albums All Delighted People and The Age of Adz I think he alienated a lot of people who loved his folkier side. On the 31st March Sufjan Stevens has announced he’ll release his brand new album Carrie & Lowell which promises a return to his folky roots, an announcement which no doubt was met with a sigh of relief from many of his fans. We’ve only heard a few snippets from Carrie & Lowell so far so the next couple of months will be very very interesting as more of the album is revealed.

The Staves
The Staves

The Staves have always been Timber and Steel favourites but they may have outdone themselves in 2015, choosing none other than Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) as the producer of their debut album If I Was, due for release on the 30th January. We’ve already heard a couple of tracks from If I Was and it’s everything you’d expect from a collaboration between The Staves and Bon Iver – beautiful three part harmonies, sweet folk songs and dense, dramatic production. Now we just need to convince The Staves to make it down to Australia at some point this year.

Tolka
Tolka

In 2014 Melbourne trad-folk quartet Tolka travelled to Northern Ireland thanks to a grant from the Australia Council to write and and record their second album with Dónal O’Connor and producer Brian Finnegan. The result is One House, due for release on the 1st March and featuring ten original tunes and songs that feel like they’re pulled directly from the tradition. With One House under their belt Tolka are set to become the darlings of the Australian folk scene this year.

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