Thank Folk It’s Friday – 28th March

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– A new regular country music night, Fun Shootin’ Thursdies, kicked off in Sydney last night. Details here

– NSW based singer-songwriter Daniel Lee Kendall has made a welcome return to the scene with his new single “Angelique”. Details here

– As well as announcing a new album Wagons also have a national tour on the way this May and June. Details here

Passenger announced plans to release his new album Whispers this year with the release of cover art and a making of video. Details here

– And just after the album was announced Passenger also released the video for its title track “Whispers” as well as the release date of the 6th June. Details here

– Irish singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow has announced plans to return to Australia this May including a performance at Vivid Sydney. Details here

Timber and Steel are very proud to be presenting the upcoming tour from singer-songwriter Scott Matthew. Details here

– UK five-piece Eliza and the Bear have released “Brother’s Boat”, their brand new single and video. Details here

– The wonderful Hayden Calnin has announced a couple of intimate EP launch shows in May. Details here

Little Features hits Sydney this Saturday with a lineup that includes Tom Stephens, Lily So and the Bellows, Direwolf and Maia Jelavic. Details here

– Watch “Shake It”, the new video for Sydney roots singer-songwriter Steve Smyth. Details here

– The new album from Paul Greene and the Other Colours drops today (see below) and so does the first date of their NSW tour. Details here

– US nu-folk legends Midlake will be making their way to Australia this May. Details here

The Paper Kites have released their new video “Tenenbaum” ahead of their national tour. Details here

– UK singer-songwriter Gibson Bull has released his brand new video “Where Are You Now”. Details here

John Flanagan is raising money to head over to Nashville to record with a tour that kicks off tonight. Details here

– Sydney seven-piece Little Bastard have released their brand new video “High For You”. Details here

Interviews

“We’re actually not fans of real gentle folk music anyway. We’re like Led Zeppelin fans and Nick Cave fans. We don’t just sit around listening to ponderous acoustic folk music all day. It sort of makes me a little bit angry and bored [laughs]. So we like things a little grittier than that. We haven’t always reflected that in our records I don’t think and it’s probably partly been my fault, reigning Tristan in thinking my voice is too blah blah blah for that. But this time we just came up with all these rock riffs and just went with it. It was a fun record to make” – Taasha Coates from The Audreys chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“For us we love the sound of American music but we’re not Americans, it’s stupid for us to write about American things. It’s not because we’re just writing about Australian songs – that’s just because we’re in Australia. If you were a Scandinavian bluegrass band you should be writing about Scandinavian things. It’s about writing from your own experience, what you know and what you’re influenced by. Otherwise it comes a across as really disingenuous I think” – James Daley from The Morrisons chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“It’s a bit of a tester I guess. The issue for us is that we’ve got these lives that are scattered around the country. And having young children it’s quite hard to do things like go on the road. So at the moment we’re not really in the position to play together full time or to really take the band on the road or take it overseas like we were doing before. So I guess this is a bit of a starter – we want to just ease into it a bit and see how we’re placed over the next couple of years” – Kate Burke from Trouble in the Kitchen chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“The first gig we’re doing on the Friday night is on the Budawang stage which is the big one. Something Jess said was the very first time she went to The National 14 years ago or whatever she saw bands on the Budawang, this is way before Crooked Fiddle, and she said “I want to be playing on that stage”. And finally we’re playing on that stage at quite a good time on the Friday night so we’re very excited” – Gordon Wallace from The Crooked Fiddle Band chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“I think you learn so much from the players that you get to stand next to. When I made my first solo album I probably didn’t understand that as much and you try to keep track of it all for yourself. It was quite liberating on this album to basically hand things over and say “whatever you hear I know it’s going to be stellar and I’m grateful for you for taking that and making something amazing with it”. The players on this album certainly brought that”Kate Fagan chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

Releases This Week

Johnny Cash
Out Among The StarsJohnny Cash
iTunes

Sweet Rain Falling
Sweet Rain FallingLittle Wise
Bandcamp

Nickel Creek
A Dotted LineNickel Creek
iTunes

Paul Greene
One Lap Of The SunPaul Greene and the Other Colours
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

John Flanagan

John Flanagan

Melbourne Americana artist John Flanagan is about to head over to Nashville to record his new album. But before he does he needs to head out on the road to raise a bit of cash for things like plane tickets and recording studios. His tour kicks off tonight with a full band show in Melbourne before heading up and down the east coast.

Friday 28th March – Lomond Hotel, Brunswick, VIC
Friday 4th April – Tanswell’s Commercial Hotel, Beechworth, VIC

Gigs Next Week

Ash Grunwald
Friday 28th March – Tanks Art Centre, Cairns, QLD
Saturday 29th March – Base Backpackers, Magnetic Island, QLD

Caitlin Park
Thursday 3rd April – The Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC

Christopher Coleman Collective
Friday 28th March – Royal Exchange, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 29th March – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 3rd April – Grand Junction, Maitland, NSW
Friday 4th April – The Pier, Port Macquarie, NSW

Claude Hay
Friday 28th March – The Old Manly Boatshed, Manly, NSW
Saturday 29th March – The Katoomba RSL Club, Katoomba, NSW
Friday 4th April – The Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland, NSW

Eleanor McEvoy
Friday 28th March – Illawarra Folk Club, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 29th March – Petersham Bowling Club, Petersham, NSW
Sunday 30th March – St David’s Church, Dee Why, NSW
Thursday 3rd April – South Coast Folk Club, Port Noarlunga, SA
Friday 4th April – HATS-Courthouse Cultural Centre, Auburn, SA

Ella Hooper
Saturday 29th March – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW
Friday 4th April – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

John Butler Trio
Friday 28th March – Belvoir Amphitheatre, Swan Valley, WA
Saturday 29th March – Old Broadwater Farm, Busselton, WA
Tuesday 1st April – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 3rd April – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, SA

John Flanagan
Friday 28th March – Lomond Hotel, Brunswick, VIC
Friday 4th April – Tanswell’s Commercial Hotel, Beechworth, VIC

Jordan Millar
Friday 28th March – The Loft, Gold Coast, QLD
Saturday 29th March – Cafe Le Monde, Noosa Heads, QLD
Sunday 30th March – Dowse Bar, Brisbane, QLD

Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens
Friday 28th March – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 4th April – Polish White Eagle Club, Canberra, ACT

Lior
Friday 28th March – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Little Wise and Megan Bernard
Sunday 30th March – Matians Cafe, Deans Marsh, VIC
Wednesday 2nd April – Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 3rd April – “E” For Ethel, Adelaide, SA
Friday 4th April – Café Troppo, Adelaide, SA

Mark Wilkinson
Friday 28th March – The Sound Lounge, Gold Coast, QLD
Saturday 29th March – Visy Theatre, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 30th March – Pig House Flicks, Byron Bay, NSW
Wednesday 2nd April – The Promethean, Adelaide, SA
Friday 4th April – The Studio Underground, Perth, WA

Paul Greene and the Other Colours
Friday 28th March – The Fig, Manly, NSW
Sunday 30th March – The Waterhouse, Huskisson, NSW

Sally Seltmann w/ Wintercoats
Thursday 3rd April – Lizottes, Kincumber, NSW
Friday 4th April – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

Steve Smyth
Saturday 29th March – Baha, Rye, VIC
Thursday 3rd April – Easy Tiger, Paddington, NSW

The Beez
Friday 28th March – Taste Canowindra, NSW
Sunday 30th March – Tamworth, NSW (house concert)

The Good Ship
Friday 28th March – Small Ballroom, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 29th March – FBi Social, Sydney, NSW

The Little Stevies
Friday 28th March – Caravan Music Club, Melbourne, VIC

The Perch Creek Family Jugband
Friday 28th March – Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS
Saturday 29th March – Devonport Regional Gallery, Devonport, TAS
Sunday 30th March – Live At The Wharf, Ulverstone, TAS
Friday 4th April – The Star Court Theatre, Lismore, NSW

The Pierce Brothers
Saturday 29th March – Upstairs Beresford, Surry Hills, NSW
Sunday 30th March – The Small Ballroom, Newcastle, NSW

The Stray Sisters
Friday 28th March – Belvoir Amphitheatre, Swan Valley, WA (with John Butler Trio)
Saturday 29th March – Old Broadwater Farm, Busselton, WA (with John Butler Trio)
Monday 31st March – Albany Entertainment Centre, Albany, WA

Yetis
Thursday 3rd April – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW
Friday 4th April – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“There Once Was Love”/”Innstück” – Fairport Convention

I love the way these tracks play with conventional folk time signatures to create music that has a a sense of urgency and complexity that you don’t often find in the tradition. “Innstück” itself is one of my favourite modern folk tunes.

National Folk Festival Interview: Kate Fagan

Kate Fagan
Image Courtesy of Kate Fagan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Full National Folk Festival Program Revealed

Old Man Leudecke
Image Courtesy of Old Man Luedecke

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

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

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

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

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

The National Folk Festival Announces First Artists For 2014

Trouble In The Kitchen
Image Courtesy of Trouble In The Kitchen

The National Folk Festival, held each year over the Easter long weekend in Canberra, is getting into the lineup announcement game early with the release of their first round of artists over the weekend. The National Folk Festival is considered by many to be Australia’s top folk event and it’s definitely a must on our yearly festival calendar.

The first round of artists for 2014 demonstrates just how diverse the National Folk Festival is each and every year. Among the first artist announcement are Eleanor McEvoy, Rose Cousins, Jordie Lane, Kate Fagan, Bernard Carney, The Mae Trio, The Davidson Brothers, Luke Plumb (Shooglenifty) and many many more.

But probably the most exciting announcement of all is the return of trad legends Trouble In The Kitchen (above) who have been on a break since 2008 (the band appeared at the festival in 2010 without guitarist Kate Burke). Trouble In The Kitchen were at the forefront of my re-introduction to traditional music in the early 2000’s and it’s great to see the original lineup back – and they’re promising some brand new material. Check out more information about the band’s return here.

The National Folk Festival takes place at Exhibition Park in Canberra from the 17th to 21st April. The full lineup announced so far are below:

Alaska String Band (USA), Australian Chinese Music Ensemble, Barleyshakes, Bernard Carney and David Hyams (WA), Chris Duncan & Chatherine Strutt, Cole and Van Dijk, Darcy Welsh, Davidson Brothers, Eleanor McEvoy (Ireland), Fásta (Ire/Can/Scot), Frank Yamma, Gina Williams with Guy Ghouse (WA), Jan “Yarn” Wositsky, Jordie Lane, Joseph Tawadros Trio, Kate Fagan, Luke Plumb with Peter Daffy, The Mae Trio, The Pepperjacks (WA), The Raglins, Rose Cousins (Canada), Trouble in the Kitchen

National Folk Festival Fave: The Fagans/Nancy Kerr and James Fagan

The Fagans
Image Courtesy of The Fagans

This year’s National Folk Festival offered up a rare treat featuring performances from both The Fagans and duo Nancy Kerr and James Fagan. With the latter now based out of the UK (and doing very well for themselves over there) seeing these festival staples is becoming increasingly rare. With Nancy Kerr pregnant they seemed to be hinting that this would be the last time for a while that the couple would be in Australia.

I managed to catch The Fagans in full at the Marquee stage on the Friday of the festival. For the uninitiated The Fagans are a family group consisting of Bob Fagan, Nancy Kerr, Margaret Fagan, Kate Fagan and James Fagan. Focusing on traditional and contemporary music from Australia, USA and the Brittish Isles, The Fagans combine a wide variety of acoustic instruments (including violin, viola, guitar and bouzouki) with wonderful five part harmonies.

Sadly Bob Fagan had been ill prior to the National and was forced to rest his voice for the entire weekend. The rest of the group more than made up for his vocal absense but you could tell Bob was frustrated throughout the entire set, often mouthing the words along with the rest of the group or simply sitting songs out.

As usual the highlight of the set was the wonderful Kate Fagan. In both her solo work and with the rest of the family Kate really personifies the best in a female folk singer – her ability to tell a story through not only her words but through the emotions in her voice really sets her apart from her contemporaries. When combined with the talents of the rest of The Fagans (who truly are masters of vocal harmony) Kate’s voice soars. The Fagans really are a joy to watch and it’s easy to see why they are a firm festival favourite.

Nancy Kerr and James Fagan
Image Courtesy of Nancy Kerr and James Fagan

The duo show I saw with Nancy Kerr and James Fagan was in my favourite National Folk Festival venue The Coorong. The sound and acoustics in the Festival’s second largest hall (after The Budawang) are just magnificent and any act that is lucky enough to play the venue should count themselves lucky.

Nancy Kerr and James Fagan are simply superb. There’s a reason they are the darlings of the UK folk scene with a numerous accolades and BBC Folk Awards behind them – they really are magnificent at what they do. Nancy Kerr has this way of writing a song that makes it sound as though it has been around for 1,000 years – her way of storytelling has this timeless quality that feels as though it is continuing the tradition of hundreds of songwriters that have come before.

What impressed me most about Nancy Kerr and James Fagan’s performance was the musicianship of the duo. James’ skills with the guitar are enviable and his voice is absolutely golden. Nancy’s skills with the fiddle are some of the best I’ve ever seen – her ability to sing, play and pluck the instrument at the same time has to be seen to be believed.

Overall I was stoked to be able to see both The Fagans and Nancy Kerr and James Fagan over the weekend. These guys really are giants of modern Australian folk music and it’s a joy to be a part of their audience. Let’s hoping its not too long until we can see them all in one place again.

Mark Seymour at the Music Deli Songs of Australia

Mark Seymour
Image Courtesy of Brisbane Times

ABC Radio National’s popular Music Deli program is set to kick off its concert series this year with Songs of Australia featuring the one and only Mark Seymour. The event attempts to juxtapose contemporary and historical Australian music, giving new audiences a taste of traditional folk while introducing older audience members to modern song writers. Seymour is will be performing a bunch of his own work plus older folk songs such as “Weevils in the Flour” and “The Dying Stockman”.

The Songs of Australia concert is due to take place at the Melbourne Recital Centre on the 12th Februrary. Other guests at the concert include Archie Roach, Jen Cloher and Kate Fagan singing traditional, contemporary and classic Australian songs. Danny Spooner and Jenny M Thomas will be on hand in the Salon pre-show singing new arrangements of traditional songs.

For more information visit the Music Deli or the Melbourne Recital Centre web sites

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