Thank Folk It’s Friday – 31st May


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mandy Connell Announces May Residency in Melbourne

Photo by Sarah Turier

Victorian based singer-songwriter Mandy Connell is setting up shop in Melbourne through May with Sunday evening residency at Tago Mago in Thornbury.

Connell is well renowned as a passionate folk singer with an unmistakeable voice that just draws you in and keeps you transfixed. Throughout her Tago Mago residency she’ll be sharing the stage with some of Melbourne’s finest performers including Joyce Prescher, Fire in the Head, Layla Jean, Alysia Manceau, Ruth Hazelton and Luke Plumb.

The shows kick off at 5pm each Sunday. The full list of dates and guest performers are below – check out Mandy Connell’s Facebook page for more details:

Sunday 7th May – Joyce Prescher
Sunday 14th May – Fire in the Head
Sunday 21st May – Layla Jean and Alysia Manceau
Sunday 28th May – Ruth Hazleton & Luke Pumb

The National Folk Festival Announces Over 40 More Acts for 2017

Jessie Lloyd
Image Courtesy of Jessie Lloyd

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

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

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

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

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

Full Lineup of the 2017 Illawarra Folk Festival

Illawarra Folk Festival
Image Courtesy of The Illawarra Folk Festival

One of my favourite folk festivals of the year, The Illawarra Folk Festival, hits the Bulli showground in New South Wales on the 12th to the 15th of January and the lineup is incredible.

Despite being a medium sized festival The Illawarra Folk Festival manages to attract some pretty amazing acts and this year is no different. The lineup includes, but is not limited to, 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.

Tickets are still available for the festival and can be picked up here. If you live in Sydney I’d recommend jumping on one of the Music Trains down to Bulli for the full festival experience.

The full lineup for The Illawarra Folk Festival is below:

International Artists:
Andy Irvine (Ire) and Luke Plumb, Azzband (Italy/Spain), Christine Collister (UK) & Michael Fix, FourWinds (Ire), George & Noriko (Japan), Girls with Knives (Canada), Gregory Page (USA), Ken Field’s Hoot Band (USA), Kenta Hayashi (Japan), Kirsty Bromley (UK), London Klezmer Quartet (UK), Tattletale Saints (NZ), The Haywood Billy Goats (USA), The Outside Track (Scot) , The Sauerkrauts (Germany), The Whitetop Mountaineers (USA), Tim O’Brien (USA), Wallis Bird (Ire), Winter Wilson (UK)

National Artists:
1917: Strike!, 8Foot Felix, Adder’s Fork, Alanna and Alicia, Albion Fair Morris Dancers, Alex Hood, Baltic Bar Mitzvah, Black Bear Duo, Black Joak Morris, Blakboi, Brian Bell, Bruce Mathiske, Bush Music Club, Charlotte Emily, Chloe & Jason Roweth, Col Hardy, Colleen Z Burke, Daddy Longlegs & the Swamp Donkeys, Daniel Champagne, Dave de Hugard, Dave Elliston, Den Hanrahan & the Rum Runners, Dingo’s Breakfast Oz Music & Poetry Band, Echo Deer, Equus, Errol Gray, Fettler’s Yard, Folkaphonic Youth Orchestra, Free Fried Chicken, Genni Kane, Geoffrey W Graham, Glenn Skuthorpe, Glover & Sorrensen, Gone Molly, Good Tunes Band, Gordon Lightfoot Tribute Band, Graham Maureen Seal, Rob & Olya Willis, Gregory North, Handsome Young Strangers, Hillbilly Goats, Homegrown Quartet, Ionia, Jaga Band, Jay Wars & The Howard Youth, Jim Haynes, Jody + Innes, John Broomhall, Junkadelic Brass Band, Kate Maclurcan & The Loose Ends, Lime and Steel, Lindy lady of the Forest: Storyteller, Lisa Couper, Lizzie Flynn & The Reckoning, Low Down Riders, Malcura, Mandy Connell, Mark Cryle & Carmel Newman, Martin Pearson, Matthew Dames , Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club, Men With Day Jobs, Nigel Wearne, Out of Abingdon, Pat Drummond, Pete Denahy, Peter Hicks, Peter Mace, Peter Willey & Matthew Hobbs˜, Rory Faithfield, Rosie Burgess Trio, Rough Red, Rusty & The Saint, Sadie & Jay, Shanty Club, Sissybones, Taylor Pfeiffer – The Banjo Girl, The Good Girl Song Project, The Northern Folk, The Squeezebox Trio, The String Family, The Three Marketeers, The Trippy Hippy Band, The Wish List, Tinpan Orange, Tom Dockray, Tulalah, Women in Docs , Yellow Blue Bus

Local Artists:
Alex Boston, Astarte Studio’s Steampunk Gypsies, Big Erle, Brian Jonathon, Brynn Luker, Cake Tin Rattlers, Carefree Road Band, Cat Walk City and Friends, Chord-eaux, Cinnamon Twist Belly Dance, Circus WOW, Chinese Lion Dancers, Cross Rhythm Dance Company, Dani Karis, Erika Steller, Festival Choir & Orchestra, Five Sad Men, Gobsmacked!, Grace Gladwin, Harman & Hellens, Illawarra Breakfast Poets, Illawarra Flame Three, James R Cooper, Jane Aubourg, Joe Mungovan, John Littrich & The Water Runners, Josh Maynard, Kay Proudlove, Kenny Bartley/Super Kenny, King & Queen of Green – The Pearlies, Leo, Lizzie Bennet Band, Love In The Jungle, Man from the Misty Mountains, Maya & Tala, Maypole with Molly, Melanie April, Moscateros, Murmur, My Secret Window, No Such Thing, Paddy & The Wonderband, Patrick Lyons & The American Creek Band, Patron Saints Of Folk, Ralph Scrivens, Rani’s Fire, Ribbon Gang, Ruido Indy Flamenco, Scientists Behaving Badly, Shalani & Chloe, Shelley’s Murder Boys, Silver Lotus Tribal Bellydance, SingGongGo, Soul Flamenco, Southern Gentlemen, Story Beats, Stringline, Swamp n’ Beats, The Beatmeisters, The Bowhemians, The Calamities, The Con Artists, The Derby Dolls, The Lighthouse Keepers, The Lurkers, The Scratchies, The Swingaleles, Three-Sixty, Vic Janko Orkestar, Zlatkos Balkan Cabaret, Zumpa

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.

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.


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 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.


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.

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

Under the Radar: Bands You Should See at JamGrass This Weekend

Bill Jackson
Image Courtesy of Bill Jackson

With just days left until the 2013 JamGrass party kicks off at the Thornbury Theatre in Melbourne we thought we’d take a look at a couple of “under the radar” artists you just need to check out – and hopefully convince anyone still umming and ahhing about tickets.

We all know the big names and Timber and Steel favourites on the JamGrass bill like Mustered Courage, The Davidson Brothers, The Quarry Mountain Dead Rats and The Green Mohair suits, but if you manage to snap up a ticket for this Friday, Saturday and Sunday we highly recommend you make time for the following – who knows, you might come away with a favourite new artist.

Bill Jackson

If you’ve been immersed in the folk and alt-country scenes in Australia there’s a very good chance you’ve come across the amazing Bill Jackson (above) at some point. The man embodies the folk troubadour – an old soul that could just as easily be at home in Nashville as he is in his native Melbourne. Jackson is rarely without his brother-in-arms Pete Fidler, arguably Australia’s leading dobro player. If you were at JamGrass last year you would have seen Fidler with more bands than I can count – but his synergy with Bill Jackson is just on another level. Check out Bill Jackson’s 2011 album Jerilderie to see exactly what we mean.

At JamGrass this year Jackson and Fidler will be joined by The Stillsons’ Ben Franz on bass, Tracy McNeil’s drummer Bree Hartley and well known blues guitarist Shannon Bourne – although don’t be surprised if some extra special guests make it up onto the stage as well. The Bill Jackson Band will be performing on the Sunday night of the festival so make sure you’re front and centre.

Luke Plumb

The Ramblin’ Roses

Legendary mandolin slinger Luke Plumb (above, Shooglenifty) has assembled a cast of amazing musicians for a tribute to The Grateful Dead smack bang in the middle of JamGrass on Saturday. If you’re into your jam music and your bluegrass music then this performance is going to be something pretty special, and exactly what JamGrass is all about.

Joining Plumb will be guitarist Jim Green whose trio played JamGrass last year, luthier and guitarist Pete Daffy, keyboardist Dave Evans (The Band Who Knew Too Much), former John Butler Trio member Shannon Birchall and Ben McAtamney on Drums. With a collection of musos like that this show is not to be missed.

Pete Daffy

The Backsteppers

The aforementioned Pete Daffy (above) will also be bringing his bluegrass infused band The Backsteppers to JamGrass for some amazing music on the Sunday night of the festival. Daffy, on vocals and guitar, will be joined by Maree Daffy (double bass) and Steve Gilchrist (below, Mandolin) who is so intensely good it hurts.

And if that wasn’t incentive enough to see The Backsteppers we have it on good authority that they may be joined on the night by some guest fiddle players. Sounds right up our alley

If you’re yet to make up your mind whether JamGrass is your thing this weekend then we hope we’ve swayed you to check it out. Tickets are still available – head over to the official web site here to snap them up.

JamGrass Festival Announces Final Acts and Day Lineups

JamGrass Lineup
Image Courtesy of JamGrass

If you have a look at the image at the top of this article you’ll see that the folks behind JamGrass have announced the daily lineup for the October festival. You’ll also notice a bunch of artists on the lineup that have yet to have been announced including Fraser A Gorman & Big Harvest, The Stetson Family, The Ramblin’ Roses feat. Luke Plumb, The Backsteppers, Little Rabbit (which includes JamGrass favourites Pete Fidler, Kat Mear, Kim Wheeler and Alex Aronsten) and a very special grand finale jam hosted by Mustered Courage.

The festival will be MC’d by the legendary Sam Cutler, former tour manager for The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead. JamGrass will take place from the 11th to the 13th October at The Thornbury Theatre in Melbourne. For more information including how to get your hands on early-bird tickets check out the official JamGrass Festival website here.

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