Timber and Steel’s Top Albums of 2017

Merle

It’s difficult to find an overriding theme in our picks for this year’s top albums. There’s a bit of trad in there, a lot of singer-songwriter and a decent amount Americana and country music. Overall 2017 has been another amazing year for folk music and we couldn’t be happier.

As always we have more “best of” lists coming this week so please stay tuned for them. But in the meantime check out Timber and Steel’s top albums of

Offa Rex
1. Offa RexThe Queen of Hearts
When you get nostalgia right the result can be pure gold. As someone who was brought up on late-60s/early-70s English folk-rock (think Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, Pentangle, etc) The Queen of Hearts feels like home and, as my friends and family can attest, the album has truly been on constant rotation since its release in July.

Offa Rex is the coming together of Portland nu-folk heroes The Decemberists and English folk-singer Olivia Chaney, inspired by the second-wave folk revival of the British isles. Somehow they’ve managed to capture this very distinct period of music, staying true to the instrumentation, production values and aesthetic of the time without descending into kitsch or parody (as many of the bands from the time ended up doing themselves in the 70s and 80s). Rigid rock rhythm sections over murder ballads, harpsichords and reverb-heavy electric guitars, ethereal vocals – The Queen of Hearts feels more like a rediscovered gem than an album recorded and released in 2017.

And let’s make one thing clear – it’s Olivia Chaney who makes this record. While The Decemberists are obviously the driving force behind The Queen of Hearts it is Chaney’s vocals that pull you right back into the early 70s. She somehow channels the likes of Maddy Prior, Sandy Denny, Anne Briggs, et al, while still bringing her own unique sound to the vocals. The tracks where Colin Meloy takes the lead (such as “Black Leg Minor”) or the instrumental “Constant Billy (Oddington) / I’ll Go Enlist (Sherborne)”, while still amazing in their own right, just don’t have the same impact as “The Queen of Hearts”, “Flash Company”, “The Old Churchyard” or any of the other amazing songs with Olivia Chaney front and centre.

Picking favourite songs from an album of standouts is very very hard. I love the nods to early Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath on “Sheepcrook and Black Dog”, probably the most epic of all the songs on the album. “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” is a beautiful tribute to Anne Briggs, with Chaney’s voice just resonating over the drone of a harmonium. And Offa Rex’s version of “Willie o’ Winsbury” may be my favourite of all time.

Even if you only have a passing interest in British folk music, in the second wave folk revival or in The Decemberists’ ongoing evolution as one of the most interesting folk bands in the world, give The Queen of Hearts a listen and see exactly why this is our album of the year for 2017.

The East Pointers
2. The East PointersWhat We Leave Behind
Canadian trio The East Pointers up the production ante with their new album What We Leave Behind, expanding their sound with new instrumentation, increasing their song-to-tune ratio and generally producing one of the most interesting folk albums of the year. And the best part about it is there’s still a focus on ensuring that every bit of the album can be reproduced live with just the three of them – something I can confirm is the case having caught them in Melbourne recently. What We Leave Behind sees The East Pointers grow as a band, deftly straddling the worlds of traditional and modern fold music.

The Ahern Brothers
3. The Ahern BrothersThe Ahern Brothers
Josh Rennie-Hynes and Steve Grady are two voices that seem destined to be together. The Ahern Brothers are the latest in collection of modern artists taking inspiration from close harmony singing in the vein of The Everly Brothers and Simon & Garfunkel and the result is really something special. Their self-titled debut album is a pure delight and elevates everything we’ve heard from Rennie-Hynes and Grady individually to date. There’s a reason these guys are selling out shows and taking the country by storm.

Fanny Lumsden
4. Fanny LumsdenReal Class Act
Fanny Lumsden continues her domination of Australian country music with the 2017 release of Real Class Act. The album is very strongly informed by Lumsden’s decision to live her life on the road with husband Dan Stanley Freeman rather than opting for the relative comfort of a major Australian city (where, let’s be honest, the vast majority of Australia’s country music is produced), and you can really hear the expanse of our wide brown land all over the album. With each release Fanny Lumsden’s songwriting just gets better and better, adding a modern sensibility to a genre that all to often falls into cliche or nostalgia. Real Class Act is what Australian country music should be about.

The Morrisons
5. The MorrisonsThe Morrisons
Australia’s premiere bluegrass and alt-country band The Morrisons released their long-awaited and highly anticipated debut album this year and it has fast become one of my favourite album’s of ever. No one quite takes such a quintessentially American genre like bluegrass and passes it through the Australian lens in the way The Morrisons do. And it doesn’t hurt that individually each of The Morrisons is a master of their respective instrument making the album as technically brilliant as it is artistically brilliant.

Willie Watson
6. Willie WatsonFolksinger Vol. 2
Willie Watson’s exploration of America’s rich vein of traditional folk music continues with the second volume in his Folksinger series. Somehow he finds a way to take traditional and vintage folk and blues songs and modernise them without losing what makes them great songs to begin with. Watson treats this material with respect and reverance, almost taking a step back and letting each song speak for itself. When Willie Watson left Old Crow Medicine Show he expressed a desire to find a softer side of the folk genre, and that’s something he’s truly captured with Folksinger Vol. 2.

All Our Exes Live In Texas
7. All Our Exes Live In TexasWhen We Fall
Taking out this year’s ARIA for Best Blues and Roots Album was just the icing on the cake for what has been a massive year for All Our Exes Live In Texas. When We Fall is an album of fine songwriting, pitch perfect production and a true celebration of the four part harmony. Elana Stone, Katie Wighton, Hannah Crofts and Georgia Mooney each bring a unique set of influences and musical styles to All Our Exes Live In Texas which somehow all blend together into something sublime. With the momentum on When We Fall expect All Our Exes Live In Texas to continue crushing it into 2018 and beyond

Laura Marling
8. Laura MarlingSemper Femina
Laura Marling goes deep on her exploration of the feminine and what it means to be a female artist. It’s amazing to watch Marling grow with every album she releases while never really losing track of what drew us all to her in the first place – beautifully written songs and masterful guitar work. Laura Marling truly is one of the greatest artists of our generation.

Charlie Fink
9. Charlie FinkCover My Tracks
My love for Cover My Tracks one hundred per cent stems from my nostalgia for Noah and The Whale’s 2009 concept album The First Days of Spring. Charlie Fink revisits the style and feeling from The First Days of Spring throughout his 2017 solo outing and it’s a welcome return to form for a songwriter that had definitely strayed a little far from his strengths towards the end of Noah and The Whale’s time, prefering a Springsteen-light pop sound to substantial, heart-on-his-sleeve songwriting. The album is raw, emotional, beautiful and heartbreaking – everything I want from a Charlie Fink record.

Packwood
10. PackwoodVertumnus
The culmination four seasonally focused EPs from the last couple of years, Vertumnus is a beautiful opus to the natural world. Packwood’s unique brand of chamber folk has reached its pinnacle with this record, filled with lush compositions and stunning musicianship. Bayden Hyne, along with his arrangers Tilman Robinson (orchestral) and Miriam Crellin (choral) have pefectly crafted each track on Vertumnus making the most of choirs, strings, pianos, finger-picked guitars and banjos and more to compliment Packwood’s trademark fragile vocal style. Taking this work out of the studio and onto the stage is an expensive undertaking but I still hold out hope that we’ll see Vertumnus live before too long.

Kasey Chambers
11. Kasey ChambersDragonfly
Kasey Chambers mixes things up on her latest double album working with two different producers – Paul Kelly and Nash Chambers – and collaborating with a diverse range of artists from multiple genres, resulting in one of her most interesting releases in recent years.

David Rawlings
12. David RawlingsPoor David’s Almanack
David Rawlings and Gillian Welch find a way to write original Americana songs that sound like traditional songs that have been re-discovered and updated for a modern audience – and why can’t I get “Money is the Meat in the Coconut” out of my head?

Billy Bragg
13. Billy BraggBridges Not Walls
Billy Bragg returns to his activist roots on this EP with his electric guitar turned up and his wit as sharp as ever.

Lisa Mitchell
14. Lisa MitchellWhen They Play That Song
Out of no where Australia’s queen of indie-folk delivers the sweetest covers EP of the year, with quirky takes on 90s favourites from Phantom Planet, Spice Girls, Placebo, Letters To Cleo and The Cardigans

Timothy James Bowen
15. Timothy James BowenBloom
Bloom bookends a couple of years of massive upheaval in Timothy James Bowen’s life, while capturing an artist at the peak of his powers as a singer and songwriter.

Husky
16. HuskyPunchbuzz
Husky continue to push the boundaries of their indie-folk sound with an album that borrows as much from eighties pop as it does from lyric-driven singer-songwriter music.

BATTS
17. BATTS62 Moons
Moving away from her electro-folk roots toward a stripped back sound has proven a success for BATTS who’s delivered an EP of really stunning songs.

Gretta Ziller
18. Gretta ZillerQueen of Boomtown
Gretta Ziller has delivered one of the best Americana albums of the year that deserves all the nominations, awards and accolades it will no doubt continue to receive over the coming months

Paul Kelly
19. Paul KellyLife Is Fine
After a couple of genre projects Paul Kelly returns with his most Paul Kelly album in recent memory, further cementing him as Australia’s greatest living songwriter.

Nick Mulvey
20. Nick MulveyWake Up Now
The English singer-songwriter continues to produce interesting, acoustic driven indie music full of weird guitar tunings, multi-tracked vocals and songs just waiting to hit a Hollywood soundtrack.

Emily Barker
21. Emily BarkerSweet Kind of Blue
Emily Barker deftly combines country, blues and folk styles, harkening back to a tradition while still producing a sound that is fresh and engaging.

Stu Larsen
22. Stu LarsenResolute
Australia’s favourite troubadour produces another album of straight up singer-songwriter gems documenting his travels around the world.

Lankum
23. LankumBetween The Earth & Sky
Lankum, the band formally known as Lynched, are producing some of the most raw traditional Irish music going around, complete with the thickest Dublin accent you’re likely to hear this year.

Old Crow Medicine Show
24. Old Crow Medicine Show50 Years Of Blonde On Blonde
Old Crow Medicine Show pay homage to Dylan with this live stringband version of the classic Blonde On Blonde

Johnny Flynn
25. Johnny FlynnSillion
An absolute gem of an album that sees Johnny Flynn’s distinctive voice and resonator front and centre, but a willingness to play with production a bit more than previous releases, adding more texture and nuance to each of the tracks.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 21st August

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

Boy & Bear announced details of their new album Limit of Love. Details here

– Adelaide singer-songwriter Tom West released his new single “Big Balloon” and added September tour dates. Details here

– Swedish nu-folk band Of Monsters and Men released their new video “Empire”. Details here

– Adelaide four piece The Timbers will be launching their new single at a show in September. Details here

– Anti-folk hero Joanna Newsom released her new video “Sapokanikan” from her upcoming album Divers. Details here

– Sydney singer-songwriter Katie Wighton released her quirky new video “Little Dove”. Details here

– The next edition of the Heartbreaker Sessions in Sydney is this Sunday featuring Andy Golledge and Kris Morris. Details here

– Canadian folk rockers Great Lake Swimmers released their new video “I Must Have Someone Else’s Blues”. Details here

MountainGrass dropped their 2015 lineup headlined by Laurie Lewis and featuring Chris Henry & The Hardcore Grass, Orpheus Supertones, Bluegrass Parkway, Paul Wookey, Pete Denahy, Davidson Brothers, Karen Lynne, The Weeping Willows, The Kissin’ Cousins, The Pipi Pickers, John Flanagan, Old South, Buffalo Nickel, Coolgrass, The Strzelecki Stringbusters and many more. Details here

Lucinda Williams has announced Australian headline shows and appearances at A Day On The Green this November and December. Details here

– Perth based singer-songwriter Bernardine released her new video “I Don’t Mind”. Details here

Ash Grunwald released his new single “Second Guess” and announced a national tour. Details here

– Sydney venue The Petersham Bowling Club is holding an OXJAM concert at the end of the month featuring Cruisin’ Deuces, Mark Lucas, Katie Brianna, Bree De Rome and Brian Manning. Details here

Releases This Week

Nathaniel Rateliff
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night SweatsNathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
iTunes

Oh Pep!
LivingOh Pep!
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Macquarie Arms’ 200th Birthday Party feat. Imogen Clark & The Lonely Hearts

The historic Macquarie Arms Hotel at the base of the Blue Mountains in Windsor, west of Sydney, will this weekend celebrate its 200th Birthday. Hometown girl and Timber and Steel favourite Imogen Clark will be singing up a storm with her band The Lonely Hearts to celebrate – this gig is going to be a cracker!

Saturday 22nd August – Macquarie Arms Hotel, Windsor NSW

Gigs Next Week

Bronte
Saturday 22nd August – Sappho’s, Sydney, NSW

Day Ravies, Wireheads, Thigh Master, Weak Boys
Friday 21st August – Proper Music Social, Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Echo Deer, Yhan Leal
Sunday 23rd August – Proper Music Social, Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Eddie Boyd & The Phatapillars
Thursday 27th August – Rad Bar, Wollongong, NSW

El Grande
Friday 21st August – The Pacific Hotel, Yamba, NSW
Saturday 22nd August – Brunswick Hotel, Brunswick Heads, NSW
Saturday 23rd August – House Concert, Holgate, NSW
Wednesday 26th August – RAD, Wollongong, NSW
Thursday 27th August – Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS

Fitzroyalty feat. Ben Mitchell, Toby Robinson
Tuesday 25th August – Little & Oliver, Melbourne, VIC

FolkSwagon feat. The Tawny Owl String Band, The Campervan Dancers, Colin Jones
Wednesday 26th August – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Good Counsel, The High Ceilings, Prints
Saturday 22nd August – Proper Music Social, Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Gympie Muster
Thursday 27th to Sunday 30th August – Gympie, QLD

Heartbreaker Sessions feat. Andy Gollege, Kris Morris
Sunday 23rd August – Freda’s, Sydney, NSW

Hucker Brown
Thursday 27th August – Proper Music Social, Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Immigrant Union
Thursday 27th August – Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 28th August – The Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay, NSW

Imogen Clark
Saturday 22nd August – Macquarie Arms Hotel, Windsor NSW

Jack Carty and Jordan Millar
Friday 21st August – Grace Darling Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 22nd August – The Grand Poobah, Hobart, TAS

James Teague
Sunday 23rd August – Mill Hall, Rous Mill, NSW
Thursday 27th August – The Music Hunter Experience, Katoomba, NSW
Friday 28th August – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Jane Cameron
Friday 21st August – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Jed Rowe
Friday 21st August – Ararat Live, Ararat VIC
Saturday 22nd August – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide SA
Sunday 23rd August – Red Poles, McLaren Vale SA

Josh Rennie-Hynes & Caitlin Harnett
Saturday 22nd August – Woodford Open Space, Woodford, QLD

Katie Wighton
Friday 28th August – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW

Kelly Country Pick
Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd August – Beechworth, VIC

Not Good With Horses, Fanny Lumsden
Thursday 27th August – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Mary Chapin Carpenter w/ Tift Merritt
Thursday 27th August – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 28th August – Gympie Muster, QLD

Riley Pearce
Friday 21st August – Prince of Wales Hotel, Bunbury, WA
Saturday 22nd August – White Star Hotel, Albany, WA
Sunday 23rd August – Caves House Hotel, Yallingup, WA
Friday 28th August – Indi Bar, Scarborough, WA

Ruby Boots
Sunday 23rd August – Darwin Festival “Big Country”, Darwin, NT
Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th August – Dowerin Field Day Festival, The Wheatbelt WA

Sian Evans
Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd August – Townsville Culture Fest, Townsville, QLD

The AU Sessions feat. Elwood Myre, Max Marvell
Tuesday 25th August – Hive Bar, Sydney, NSW

The Brouhaha
Friday 28th August – The Exeter Hotel, Adelaide, SA

The Scrimshaw Four w/ Uncle Bobby​, Senivoda​​
Monday 24th August – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

Tim Wheatley
Friday 21st August – Illawarra Brewery, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 22nd August – Howlin’ Wolf, Wollongong, NSW
Sunday 23rd August – The Soda Factory, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 27th and Friday 28th August – Gympie Muster, Gympie, QLD

Timberwolf
Friday 21st August – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 22nd August – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 28th August – UniBar, Adelaide, SA

Xavier Rudd & The United Nations
Friday 21st August – Coffs Ex Services, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Sunday 23rd August – Miami Marketta, Gold Coast, QLD
Thursday 27th August – Club Forsters, Forster, NSW
Friday 28th August – Civic Theatre, Newcastle, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Shove The Pig’s Foot (A Little Closer to the Fire)” – Bruce Molsky with Tim O’Brien, Aly Bain, John McCustker, Jerry Douglas, Dirk Powell, Mike McGoldrick, Phil Cunningham, Donald Shaw, Russ Barenberg, John Doyle, Todd Parks, Pat McInerney and James McIntosh

I’ve been playing tune at a few jams recently (with the intention of eventually learning it properly) and it’s so catchy! Just had to share the Transatlantic Sessions version just because of all of the amazing musos on this track.

Watch the New Katie Wighton Video “Little Dove”

Katie Wighton
Image Courtesy of Katie Wighton

Sydney singer-songwriter Katie Wighton released her beautiful new video “Little Dove” late last week. The track is taken from Wighton’s brand new EP oh-dark-hours which came out on Friday.

Watch “Little Dove” below:

Katie Wighton will be launching oh-dark-hours at Brighton Up Bar in Sydney on Friday 28th August – check out more details here.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 14th August

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– We very proudly premiered the new video from Fanny Lumsden, “Soapbox”, along with announcing the full dates for her Country Halls tour. Details here

Patrick James officially released “Bugs” as his new single and video. Details here

– The Gold Coast Folk Festival announced their 2015 lineup featuring Perch Creek as the festival headliners. Details here

The Waifs added a whole bunch of East Coast, SA and NT dates to their Beautiful You tour this October and November. Details here

– We premiered the new Packwood single “We Drink Light” from his upcoming EP Vernal. Details here

– Sydney’s Katie Wighton announced details of her EP launch show at the end of the month. Details here

– The Mullum Music Festival announced their 2015 lineup with plenty of folk leaning artists including Ron Sexsmith, We Two Thieves, Ben Ottewell, Suzannah Espie, Harry James Angus, TinPan Orange, All Our Exes Live in Texas, Hat Fitz and Cara, Lucie Thorne and Hamish Stuart, Starboard Cannons, Sweet Jean, Oh Pep!, Raised By Eagles, Loren Kate, The Button Collective, Fred Smith and many many more. Details here

Bluegrass @ Yulli’s is this Wednesday and features Dear Orphans and Ben Wilson. Details here

– There’s a new album on the way from Dave Rawlings Machine, Nashville Obsolete. Details here

– Central Coast country blues singer-songwriter Kris Morris released his new video “Bury My Bones”. Details here

The Mae Trio announced their new EP September which is due for release in September and will be accompanied by a tour through September. Details here

– Electro-folk singer-songwriter Dustin Tebbutt has announced plans to release his new mini-album Home. Details here

Releases This Week

Kill It Yourself
Kill It YourselfJess Ribeiro
iTunes

Katie Wighton
oh-dark-hoursKatie Wighton
Bandcamp

The Waifs
Beautiful YouThe Waifs
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Mustered Courage w/ Ayleen O’Hanlon, Mr Alford Country

Mustered Courage

Mustered Courage kick off their “Honesty” single launch tour with a massive gig in their home town of Melbourne next Friday

Friday 21st August – The Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Gigs Next Week

Adam Young, Sam Shinazzi
Sunday 16th August – Proper Music Social, Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Aldous Harding
Friday 14th August – Finbox (Upstairs), Thirroul, NSW

Bluegrass @ Yulli’s feat. Dear Orphans, Ben Wilson
Wednesday 19th August – Yulli’s, Sydney, NSW

Bones Atlas, MVRKS, Underground Architects
Thursday 20th August – Proper Music Social, Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Brendon Moon and Oliver Proudfoot
Friday 14th August – Upstairs Lentil As Anything, Sydney, NSW

Brisbane (Fringe) Bluegrass Festival feat. The Company, Starboard Cannons
Saturday 15th August – West End Sessions, Brisbane, QLD

Day Ravies, Wireheads, Thigh Master, Weak Boys
Friday 21st August – Proper Music Social, Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Eddie Boyd & The Phatapillars
Friday 14th August – Baha Tacos, Rye, VIC
Saturday 15th August – The Penny Black, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 16th August – The Loft, Warrnambool, VIC

El Grande
Friday 14th August – Moonshine, Manly, NSW
Wednesday 19th August – Bar on the Hill, Newcastle Uni, NSW
Thursday 20th August – The Pier, Port Macquarie, NSW
Friday 21st August – The Pacific Hotel, Yamba, NSW

Fairlight Folk feat. Liz Frencham, Mythra Ensemble
Saturday 15th August – Fairlight Folk, Sydney, NSW

Fitzroyalty feat. Kurt Gentle, Oscar Lush
Tuesday 18th August – Little & Oliver, Melbourne, VIC

Immigrant Union
Friday 14th August – The Lass, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 15th August – Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 16th August – The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW

Jack Carty and Jordan Millar
Friday 14th August – The Milk Factory, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 15th August – Rous Mill Hall, Rous Mill, NSW
Thursday 20th August – Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Friday 21st August – Grace Darling Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

James Teague
Friday 14th August – Soundlounge, Gold Coast, QLD
Thursday 20th August – Tree House, Byron Bay, NSW

Jane Cameron
Friday 21st August – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Jed Rowe
Friday 21st August – Ararat Live, Ararat VIC

Jesse Witney
Friday 14th August – Batch Brewing, Sydney, NSW

Kelly Country Pick
Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd August – Beechworth, VIC

Little Features feat. Nick Orton, Chris Rogers, Leroy Lee, Eddie Boyd
Wednesday 19th August – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Mustered Courage w/ Ayleen O’Hanlon, Mr Alford Country
Friday 21st August – The Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Quarry Mountain Dead Rats, The Morrisons, Catgut
Saturday 15th August – The Annandale, Sydney, NSW

Sian Evans
Friday 14th August – The Bearded Lady, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd August – Townsville Culture Fest, Townsville, QLD

The Daphne Rawling Band, Carl Manwarring
Saturday 15th August – Proper Music Social, Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

The Scrimshaw Four w/ Chaos Magnet, The Horns of Leroy​
Monday 17th August – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

Timberwolf
Friday 21st August – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

Xavier Rudd & The United Nations
Friday 14th August – The Venue, Townsville, QLD
Saturday 15th August – Magnums, Airlie Beach, QLD
Sunday 16th August – MacKay Entertainment Centre, Mackay, QLD
Tuesday 18th August – Pilbeam Theatre, Rockhampton, QLD
Wednesday 19th August -Moncrieff Theatre, Bundaberg, QLD
Thursday 20th August – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD=
Friday 21st August – Coffs Ex Services, Coffs Harbour, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Rocky Road to Dublin” – The High Kings

Katie Wighton Announces EP Launch Show

Katie Wighton
Image Courtesy of Katie Wighton

Sydney singer-songwriter Katie Wighton has announced plans to released her brand new EP OH-DARK-HOURS very soon, with a launch show show in Sydney at the end of the month.

Wighton might be known to Timber and Steel readers as one quarter of All Our Exes Live in Texas, but you may not know she’s also an amazing solo singer-songwriter mixing her folk and country influences with a modern pop sensibility.

OH-DARK-HOURS will be launched at Brighton Up Bar on Friday 28th August. For more information check out the official Facebook event here. And also make sure you head over to Unearthed to listen to her new single “Little Dove”.

The Musical Lineup for Finders Keepers Sydney This Weekend

Julia Jacklin
Image Courtesy of Julia Jacklin

The Autumn/Winter edition of the Finders Keepers Markets hits Sydney this weekend and the good news is the event has been extended to three days – which also means three days of live music.

The Finders Keepers Markets are held in Sydney twice a year and feature some of the best in local design and art stalls. This weekend’s market will take place at Australian Technology Park on Friday 8th, Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th May.

The musical lineup this time around features a bunch of Timber and Steel favourites over all three days including Direwolf, Leroy Lee, Not Good With Horses, Julia Jacklin (above), Richard Cuthbert, Jacob Pearson, Katie Wighton, Brian Campeau and many many more.

For more information on the artists and the markets check out the official site here. The full musical lineup for the three days is below:

Friday 8th May
6pm: Jake Howden
7pm: Direwolf
8pm: Leroy Lee
9pm: Not Good With Horses

Saturday 9th May
10am: Jack Shit (DJ)
12pm: Julia Jacklin
1pm: Richard Cuthbert
2pm: Echo Deer
3pm: DJ Dylabolical

Sunday 10th May
10am: Jack Shit (DJ)
12pm: Jacob Pearson
1pm: Katie Wighton
2pm: Brian Campeau

The Morrisons Return With O Brother Where Art Thou? Tribute Shows

The Morrisons
Image Courtesy of The Morrisons

Sydney pickers The Morrisons are heading to The Vanguard in Newtown in May for another round of O Brother Where Art Thou? tribute shows. The classic Coen Brothers film has inspired a generation of folk musicians and getting the chance to see iconic songs like “Man of Constant Sorrow”, “I’ll Fly Away” and “You Are My Sunshine” performed by musicians of The Morrisons’ calibre is not to be missed.

On the 6th, 7th and 8th May The Morrisons will be joined by local musicians Brian Campeau, Lucky Luke, Georgia Mooney, Hannah Crofts, Katie Wighton and Luke Escombe along with comedian Tommy Dean for Man Of Constant Sorrow: A Tribute to the Music of O Brother Where Art Thou?. If you’re keen to get to one of these shows get in quick – tickets are selling fast. Check out The Vanguard’s official site for more details.

Interview: All Our Exes Live In Texas

All Our Exes
Image Courtesy of All Our Exes Live In Texas

I count myself lucky that BIGSOUND this year gave me the opportunity to finally sit down with all four members of quartet All Our Exes Live In Texas in the same place. Elana Stone, Katie Wighton, Hannah Crofts and Georgia Mooney are all celebrated singer-songwriters in their own right, dividing their time between their solo careers and their alt-country girl-group. I took the opportunity to chat to All Our Exes Live In Texas about how they juggle their different musical projects, playing soccer with their childhood crushes for their new film clip and how they’re feeling about their upcoming tour.

Gareth Hugh Evans: You guys started as a bit casual, “hey let’s just get together and play”, but there seems to have been a shift in the last few months towards making the project more focused. What’s fueled that decision.

Katie Wighton: I don’t think any of us were actively looking to make it a project. It was fun the first time we did it and then people kept asking us to play and then asking us to record a CD. Then we got a really great booking agent recently and he sort of made it a bit more serious. It’s still really fun and that’s kind of the main aim. We want to stay friends and we want to still have fun.

GHE: Do you now have to plan your writing and practicing sessions a bit better?

Hannah Crofts: We definitely recently have had heaps of shows we’ve had to work towards. A lot of the time when we practice I feel like it’s practicing for the next thing coming up. We want to write our album next year so we want to go away for a week and actually spend some time together.

GHE: Can I ask a little bit about the writing process. You’re all fantastic solo artists in your own right. How do you decide what’s going to be an Exes song and what’s going to be a solo song?

Georgia Mooney: I don’t know. It’s quite hard. I suppose our solo stuff is all slightly different in genre. We individually write songs and then we bring them in and then we workshop them together. And that’s really nice – having everybody’s input on your song and then being able to play other people’s songs. It’s a nice break from just doing your own slog.

GHE: And I guess the styles are different enough. If you feel like writing a country song or you feel like turning one of your songs into a country song you have the All Our Exes Live In Texas outlet.

GM: Sometimes we do our own songs and just kind of change them up. Rearrange.

HC: Reggae versions is my solo project.

GHE: I’ve seen you do some Exes songs in your solo set Hannah. And I think out of everyone here your solo stuff is the closest to All Our Exes Live In Texas?

HC: I think it’s just because I only know how to play three chords. I just write my songs with those three chords and bring in a three chord song set. [laughs] I think that’s probably why!

GHE: I know you’re out their promoting your solo stuff at the moment Elana which I don’t cover on Timber and Steel because it’s not really folky. How do you divide your time between Exes and your solo stuff.

Elana Stone: That is a horrible question.

GHE: Sorry!

KW: She doesn’t mean it’s a horrible question she means it’s a horrible feeling to have to do that.

ES: I guess I just have to do the most urgent things that I have to do. And I think lately these guys have been having to pull a bit more of my work load which is shit for them. Because I’m doing the solo thing, and we’re all self managed, it’s just so much work. And I guess I’ve spent a long time making this album now I really want to put it out in a good way. If anything I think what we all hope is that the Exes thing is a) a little vacation from our solo stuff and b) a little ticket to people’s awareness of our solo careers as well as with the band. We’re kind of hoping that the two things will kind of miraculously work together. Whether that actually happens or not we’re yet to discover.

KW: It’s cool though. I think it’s one of the best things about this project is that it doesn’t feel quite as lonely as our solo stuff.

HC: All sitting alone in our rooms writing songs about boys and crying.

KW: We’re four people all of whom are really keen and we love each other. It’s a project that we love rather than just one person really pushing their own bandwagon.

GHE: And you get to share the load as well. I talk to a lot of self managed artists and I know how much work it can be.

ES: The more you go to these sorts of conferences the more you realise just how much there is to do. Where do you become a creative person in the midst of all of that? It’s crazy.

KW: You need to delegate in such a big way and it’s vaguely more possible with four people. Like Hannah works in management and stuff so she’s a bit of a gun in that respect. It’s good to have different strengths that we sort of try to work to.

GHE: The new single is “Tell Me”. I really like that track. Is that the step towards an album.

GM: Yeah, it’s the first song.

ES: We’re going to try and do a few singles and then have the album out early next year.

HC: We have a video coming out where we play on a soccer team.

GHE: I’ve seen some stills from it. You’re playing against people like Lawrence Leung

GM: We got Phil Jamison! Hannah’s high school heart-throb.

HC: I was so nervous that when I met him I said “Hi I’m Han” and he said “Han?” and I said “…Nah”. And then I basically didn’t talk to him again after that.

KW: We had Jackson Gallagher from Home and Away who was exceptionally good at soccer.

GM: We all had fairly epic falls. It’s brutal. Hannah particularly get’s beaten up.

KW: It was quite funny because Jackson was like “we’ll do a slide tackle” and we were all like “oh yeah, a fake slide tackle”. But he was serious and did an actual serious slide tackle and Hannah went arse over tit.

GHE: Is the album going to be all original stuff or are you going to be breaking out the covers as well?

HC: Maybe one or two covers?

ES: I think we’re going to try and make it all originals.

KW: I think we’ve got enough originals to cull the covers.

GHE: Because you started as a cover band right?

GM: We started in a hurry. James Daley from The Morrisons organised this gig and said “you guys should be a girl band and you should do a 20 minute set”. I learned how to play the mandolin…

KW: Georgia bought a mandolin a month before the gig.

GM: And then we hurriedly got some songs together and we played one original.

KW: Which is fairly dodgy and I may not want to play it ever again.

HC: It’s our anthem! I even had the chords – C, D and A – written on my ukelele, stuck on the top, so I could remember how to play my ukulele.

KW: We’ve come far.

ES: We have come far. That gig was special though. We were really excited and really nervous and there was something really magical in the air.

GHE: I think I’ve seen Youtube clips of that gig.

GM: Oh god! I’ve deleted those now.

KW: I still feel like we played at a night of country music with these amazing guitarists – Miles Frazser who plays with The Morrisons who I was like “why am I playing before you? My guitar playing is just horrendous”. And now we had a gig where Miles was like “your guitar playing’s really great. You’re playing really well”. I nearly fell over. I’ve improved! When actual guitarists are saying you’re doing a good job it’s a good feeling.

GHE: You guys are heading out on tour as well. Are you excited about going out on tour?

HC: We’re starting to go into some regional areas. We’ve never played outside of Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin before.

ES: We did play Brisbane.

HC: Yeah we did play Brisbane. But we’re starting to go to the regional areas of Australia.

GM: Like Ballarat!

ES: We’re really excited about touring. I think it’s going to be really fun. We’ll probably come back talking even worse than we talk now.

GHE: Well thank you for talking as much as you do now with me today.

HC: Thanks Gareth!

All Our Exes Live In Texas will be touring through October. Check out the full list of dates below:

Thursday 9th October – Shebeen, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 10th October – Main Bar, Ballarat, VIC
Saturday 11th October – Harvester Moon, Bellarine, VIC
Sunday 12th October – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA
Wednesday 15th October – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 16th October – The Courthouse, Mullumbimby, NSW
Friday 17th October – No 5 Church St, Bellingen, NSW
Saturday 18th October – Grand Junction, Maitland, NSW
Friday 24th October – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 25th October – Katoomba RSL, Blue Mountains, NSW
Sunday 26th October – Front Gallery, Canberra, ACT

FBi Social’s Folk Informal Announces August Lineup

Dan and Amy
Image Courtesy of Dan and Amy

As the year rolls on we’re already getting excited about the August lineup of regular monthly nights around the country. The latest regular night to announce their August artists is Sydney’s Folk Informal, and it’s a veritable who’s who of Timber and Steel Favourites.

Taking to the stage this August for The Folk Informal will be Melbourne brother-sister duo Dan and Amy (Above), singer-songwriter Adrian Slattery’s Big Smoke project (in solo mode), one quarter of All Our Exes Live in Texas Katie Wighton and acclaimed duo Sweet Jean.

The Folk Informal takes place at FBi Social in Sydney’s Kings Cross on Thursday 14th August. Doors open at 8pm with tickets just $10. Check out the set times below – the official Facebook event has more information here.

8:30pm – Dan and Amy
9:20pm – Big Smoke
10:10pm – Katie Wighton
11pm – Sweet Jean




Thank Folk It’s Friday – 21st June

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Wes Carr’s Buffalo Tales project hits the road this Friday for Timber and Steel with dates planned in NSW, VIC and SA. Details here

– Before she heads out on tour supporting Whitley, Esther Holt has a brand new video for the track “Rock Me Through The Night”. Details here

JamGrass announced their second artist lineup including Mustered Courage, Davidson Brothers, Bill Jackson Band, The Rusty Datsuns, Appalachian Heaven String Band, Jimi Hocking’s Blue Mandolin and The Morrisons. Details here

– South Australian singer-songwriter Sam Brittain has announced a national tour through July and August. Details here

– Sydney five-piece Castlecomer are heading out on tour in August and September to support their new EP Lone Survivor. Details here

– Melbourne singer-songwriter Vance Joy has announced a headline tour this August. Details here

Okkervil River have announced plans to release their new album The Silver Gymnasium this September and have already revealed the first single “It Was My Season”. Details here

– Justin Vernon’s side project, Volcano Choir, has a new single out called “Bygone”. Details here

– Sydney’s Little Features night has announced it’s June lineup including Matt De, Liam Gale, Baby Lips and The Silhouettes, Charlie Gradon and Fanny Lumsden and the Thrillseekers. Details here

– Brother-sister duo Dan & Hannah Acfield are touring the east coast from the end of the month. Details here

Timber and Steel was lucky enough to be treated to the exclusive first viewing of Sam Buckingham’s new video “Follow You”. Details here

Thelma Plum has released a really sweet video for her latest single “Dollar”. Details here

– Check out the new video from the latest Communion Records signing Nick Mulvey. Details here

Interviews

“We all fell in love with country music at different moments in our lives but I think the main attraction was the potential for some sweet, sweet harmonies. The song titles get us too – my personal favourite is “I Don’t Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling”.”Katie Wighton from All Our Texas Live In Texas chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“The last couple of shows I’ve played have been truly beautiful experiences. I think I got up on the stage and realised that these people have come to this place to hear something that I get to create. That’s a crazy thing to do, to put yourself out there, to play your songs for a bunch of people. That conceptually, at its fundamental level, is incredible”Matt Corby chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

Blog

“I was really made to feel at home and sensed that everyone wanted me to give my best and this made my job so much easier. Unless you are a slightly awkward singer songwriter who has felt the nakedness of revealing your inner thoughts and feelings on stage before an educated and critical audience, you may not know what I’m talking about but a welcoming feeling and friendly atmosphere at a festival goes a long way towards bringing out the best in me”Hugh McDonald talks through his experiences at this year’s Top Half Folk Festival. Blog here

Reviews

Recordings

“The history of Timber and Steel is so closely intertwined with the career of UK singer-songwriter Laura Marling there was no way we were going to pass up the opportunity to review her latest masterpiece Once I Was An Eagle. And because Marling is so special to us we thought we’d try something a little unique for the review – four Timber and Steel reviewers take on four songs from Once I Was An Eagle as well as giving you some insight into their relationship with the singer” – The Timber and Steel team review Laura Marling’s album Once I Was An Eagle. Review here

Gigs

“The one thing about the Top Half Folk Festival that always makes it a standout for me is the singing. That might seem a strange thing to say, when folk festivals are traditionally full of singing. But these days that singing is more about performers singing to audiences, not ordinary people singing their lungs out with performers” – Jeff Corfield reviews The Top Half Folk Festival. Review here

Releases This Week

Roadtrip Confessions
Roadtrip ConfessionsBuffalo Tales
iTunes

Fever to the Form
Fever to the FormNick Mulvey
Communion Shop

Turbines
TurbinesTunng
iTunes

Timber and Steel Presents

Anne of the Wolves
Anne of the Wolves with Wayward Breed, James Kenyon
Sunday 23rd June – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Tickets on the Door

Buffalo Tales
Buffalo Tales
Friday 21st June – Bucket List, Bondi, NSW
Wednesday 26th June – Folk Club, The Soda Factory, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 27th June – Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW

Official Site

Jep and Dep
Jep and Dep
Saturday 22nd June – FBi Social, Kings Cross, NSW
Wednesday 26th June – City Conversations, Sydney Town Hall, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 27th June – Green Room, Enmore, NSW

Facebook Event

Gigs Next Week

Dan & Hannah Acfield
Thursday 27th June – Treehouse On Belongil, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 28th June – The Loft Chevron Island, Gold Coast, QLD

Folk Club feat. Buffalo Tales, Lily So & The Bellows, Jacob Pearson
Wednesday 26th June – The Soda Factory, Sydney, NSW

Grizzly Jim Lawrie w/ Canary, Tin Lion, Yeo, Money For Rope DJs
Wednesday 26th June – The Old Bar, Melbourne, VIC

Imogen Clark
Sunday 23rd June – The Toxteth Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Martha Wainwright
Saturday 22nd June – Astor Theatre, Perth WA

Matt Walters
Saturday 22nd June – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 23rd June – Dowse Bar, Brisbane, QLD

Mustered Courage
Wednesday 26th June – Yinnar Pub, Yinnar, VIC
Friday 28th June – Molly Malones, Devonport, TAS

Perch Creek Family Jugband
Friday 28th June – Bangalow Bowling Club, Bangalow, NSW

Texture Like Sun, Ella Hooper
Tuesday 25th June – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

The Stillsons
Friday 21st June – Grace Darling, Melbourne, VIC

Tigertown
Friday 21st June – Solbar, Maroochydore, QLD
Saturday 22nd June – Spotted Cow, Toowoomba, QLD
Friday 28th June – The Weatsheaf, Adelaide, SA

Wagons
Saturday 22nd June – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“More Than Boys” – Luke Jackson

Sometimes you just hear a song that blows your head back. “More Than Boys” turned up on a podcast I was listening to this week and I just had to seek it out online to listen to again and again and again. Really great stuff from the English singer-songwriter.

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