National Folk Festival Adds Even More Artists for 2018

Elephant Sessions
Image Courtesy of Elephant Sessions

The next round of artists for the 2018 National Folk Festival were announced this morning featuring a bunch of internationals, returning favourites and local gems.

The announcement is led by Scottish trad-quintet Elephant Sessions (above) who will be in the country for the festival season. Joining them are the likes of WÖR (Belgium), The Young Folk (Ireland), Trouble in the Kitchen, All Our Exes Live in Texas, My Friend The Chocolate Cake, Fiona Ross (Scotland) and Ken Nicol (England), The Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club, Low Down Riders, Jugularity, Davidson Brothers, Electric Tommy Johnston, Frets Patrick, Loren Kate, Zac Saber, Matilda Rose, Meyers and McNamara, Benji and the Saltwater Sound System and The Quick and The Dead along with choirs Grassroots Union Choir of Tasmania, Alleycats Community Choir, InterVarsity and Ukestral Voices plus the inclusion of the Compánach Irish music concert.

This lineup announcement also features a bunch of poets and spoken word including Keith McKenry, Sandra Renew, Andrew Galan, Daniel J Townsend, Peter Mace, Jacqui Malins with cellist Julia Horvath, Dick Warwick, Martin Pearson, BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT!, Gregory North and Glover and Sorrensen.

The National Folk Festival takes place in Canberra over the Easter long weekend, 29th March to the 2nd April. For more information, including how to pick up early bird tickets, check out the official web site here.

The National Folk Festival Announce Even More Artists for 2015

Kutcha Edwards
Image Courtesy of Kutcha Edwards

A bunch more artists were added to The National Folk Festival lineup this week and we can’t tell you how excited we are.

Firstly a plethora of indigenous artists will be gracing the stage at The National Folk Festival this year including soul/blues icon Kutcha Edwards, celebrated duo Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, Golden Guitar winner Col Hardy, singer-songwriter John Bennett and the Djaadjawan Dancers.

These artists will be joined by the freshly announced My Friend The Chocolate Cake, Shane Howard, Christopher Coleman Collective, Restless Legs, Alex and Annette Hood, The Bush Music Club, The Button Collective, The Coalbrook Band, Coolfinn Mac, Folklore, John Peel, Lime and Steel, Round Mountain Girls, Ryebuck Bush Band, Scots on the Rocks, Señor Cabrales, Southern Cross Trawlers, The Transylvaniacs, Waiting For Guinness, The String Contingent, Ukulele Republic of Canberra, Cathie O’Sullivan, Coral Eden and the Melbourne Colonial Dancers, Dingo’s Breakfast, Frank Povah and Chris Cruise, Keith McKenry and Santa Taranta.

The National Folk Festival takes place over the Easter Long Weekend from the 2nd to the 6th April 2015. For more information check out the official site here.

Review: Blue Mountains Music Festival

Blue Mountains Music Festival
Image Courtesy of the Blue Mountains Music Festival

To start, an admission: I’m a terrible festival attendee. My handful of must-sees quickly gives way to a fickle drifting, distracted eyes and ears rarely attentive for a whole set. I’m also, as you’ll quickly discover, musically illiterate yet fascinated and enthralled by a language I don’t understand. Lyrically, I feel adept to make comment; instrumentally I flounder and use inappropriate and often incorrect words. You’ve been warned: what follows is a review of the beautiful Blue Mountains Folk, Roots and Blues Music Festival by a musical illiterate with a deep love and appreciation for what she hears.

Thanks to Timber and Steel’s Editor in Chief Evan Hughes plans to marry one of my oldest (very youthful) friends, the lovely Sarah Tuz, and my convenient home in the misty, mystical Blue Mountains, I’m writing my first review for Timber and Steel.

Like many fellow festival attendees, I spent the preceding week checking the weather forecast, anticipating a repeat of last year’s perpetual rain and shin-deep mud bath (not atypical in the Bluies). Yet I also knew, as you can read in Evan’s review of last year’s festival, that the residents of the Blue Mountains and those attending from afar, are resilient and undeterred by a bit of soggy trudging between venues, and well-equipped with assorted gumboots and waterproof parkas.

The seventeenth Blue Mountains Musical Festival was, as the program described, the usual motley affair of folk, roots, blues, latin, world, jazz, bluegrass, Indie, reggae, blessed with artists from the quirky, theatrical The Beez, to the determined and socially conscious Blue King Brown. Young local musicians such as the passionate young Claude Hay played just metres away from the iconic Judy Collins, tackling themes from the intimate to the comical to the political and everything in between.

A “favourite five” glimpse of what we saw:

Fred Smith and Liz Frencham

Fred Smith is a songwriter of 15 years. He’s also an Australian diplomat who has been posted to far corners of the earth – from Bouganville to Uruzgan. Skilfully, he combines these two personas as a master storyteller, conjuring hope, despair and laughter in his audience. I was suitably curious to see him on both Friday and Saturday evening.

Fred began his collaboration with the beautiful, cheeky, passionate Liz Frencham at the National Folk Festival in 2002. Liz on vocals and cello brought balance and intimacy to Smith’s performance on Friday night, enthralling the audience with her vivacious enjoyment of her instrument, balancing Fred’s dry humour with a distinctly feminine presence onstage. The evening mixed the political – such as “Blue Guitar”, reflecting on his time in the Solomon Islands, to the everyday and personal, such as “In My Room”.

Throughout Saturday evenings Dust of Uruzgan (the title of his new album) performance, Smith used a combination of story, song and multi-media to tell of his time posted in the Uruzgan province of Afghanistan. What left the audience hopeful, despite his often tragic stories of distrust and fear, was Smith’s wry yet playful sense of humour, and his overt belief that in spite of the everyday horrors he witnessed, peace is still possible.

Liz Frencham and the rest of the band served as instruments by which Smith added life to his stories. Smith gave voice to the men and women of the armed forces in the province, describing the monotony of constant threat, the loss and death and ceaseless dust. It was not all bleak- from within the reality of war; Smith described uplifting friendships, a spot of ‘Schwafelen’ (brush up on your Dutch to translate this one) and plenty of laughter. A memorable and poignant experience.

Abigail Washburn and Kai Welch

Abigail Washburn’s sweet drawl and croaky laugh is just as compatible with Bluegrass as with traditional Chinese folk songs (hand gestures included). Vivacious, Nashville-based Washburn, complimented by co-writer and singing partner Kai Welch, blessed their Blue Mountains audience with some ramblin’ afternoon tunes, from the delicate “Dreams of Nectar” to the traditional Chinese folk song whose title (ironically for the weekend) translates ‘The Sun Has Come Out and we are so Happy’. Some soul-quietening, smile-delivering entertainment to bring in the Saturday evening.

My Friend the Chocolate Cake

Aptly described by our MC as ‘fizzy and effervescent pop’, My Friend the Chocolate Cake played us a range of tunes from their 21 years at the forefront of Australian Music.

Pianist and vocalist David Bridie started us on a melancholy note with “Strange Crumbs From the Suburban Fringe”, quickly swinging between the carnival and the cinematic in a set filled with songs you recognise but can’t quite place – probably from their presence on a plethora of Australian film and TV soundtracks.

Having never seen them before, I’m unsure if this is typical, but apart Bridie steering the show, and quirky Hope Csutoris on Violin, the rest of the band played along unobtrusively as if willing the audience to ignore the band and draw upon and use the music to conjure up their own images and memories. Bridies’ lovely shy young daughter joined the band on vocals for a rollin’ rendition of “25 Stations”, as My Friend the Chocolate Cake used suburban symbols integral to the Australian identity, music like the voice of a familiar and comfortable old friend.

Harry Manx, Judy Collins, Claude Hay

Bringing in Saturday evening, living up to my wandering tendencies our 7pm timeslot was filled with three very different artists I was very curious to see.

Firstly, a storytelling session with the diverse and bewitching Harry Manx accompanied by the extraordinarily talented and energetic virtuoso Hammond Organ musician Clayton Dooley. I sat, mesmerised as Manx minimised talk between songs, telling tale after tale, fusing eastern musical traditions with the Blues. Disappointingly, our time was cut short by the desire not to miss out on the legendary Judy Collins.

We skilfully edged into the jam-packed Big Top tent for a glimpse of Judy Collins, looking radiant, relaxed and all decked out in glitter and grin. At 71, Judy’s career spans more that half a century, and judging by the composition of the audience, attracts fans spanning many generations and backgrounds. The air was thick with nostalgia, and the voices of hundreds of festival attendees reminiscing in unison. The lyrics of Bob Dylans’ “Mr Tamborine Man” could no doubt be heard halfway up Katoomba St, Judy leading the crowd. Unfortunately, due my partner’s sore foot (see below paragraph), we hobbled across to the RSL stage where we discovered a whole generation perhaps untouched by Judy Collins.

Claude Hay had a collection of Blue Mountains youth dancing furiously to his Blue and Roots tunes. Feeling strangely old (especially compared to the rest of our time at the festival), we sat and watched the ‘young people’ shake and groove and chant along to defiant lyrics, while we polished our dentures and moaned about our arthritis.

Eric Bibb

A beautiful conclusion to my second Blue Mountains Music Festival. Eric Bibb, accompanied by Swedish guitarist Staffan Astner, bestowed upon the audience an exceptional set of traditional and contemporary folk-blues tunes. It was Erics’ fourth Blue Mountains Festival, and second time visiting the Mountains in the space of a year- he played at Blackheath Community Centre in April 2011.

Everything about Eric contrasted with the pervasive fog outside the tent, from his bright orange shirt to his infectious and radiant smile. Staffan, dressed in black, hat obscuring his eyes and occasionally bemused smile, was Eric’s quiet yet brilliant shadow. From “Stagger Lee”, “Floodwater”, “Troubadour”, “Tell my Baby” and “Going Down the Road Feeling Bad”, Eric played a mixture of covers and originals which created a warm and contented audience, pleased to be sharing the moment and the music with hundreds of others in the Big Top, rather than outside in Katoomba’s best mist and drizzle.

Blue Mountains Music Festival Announces First Artist Lineup

Beoga
Image Courtesy of Beoga

The Blue Mountains Music Festival was by far one of our favourite events on this year’s music calendar (despite the torrential rain – check out our review here) so we got pretty excited this morning when the first round of artists for next years event landed in our inbox. The Blue Mountains Music Festival celebrates music from a variety of genres but it definitely always has a strong folk, roots, blues and bluegrass contingent on its roster and next year is no different.

Rather than try and single out our favourites from the first announcement we though we’d just give it to you in one hit and let you see just how good it is. Ready? Here we go:

Judy Collins (USA), Abigail Washburn (USA), Harry Manx (UK/Canada), Pierre Bensusan (French Algeria), Staffan Astner (Sweden), Krystle Warren (USA), Ben Sollee (USA), Blue King Brown, The Shane Howard Band, Fred Smith, Eddi Reader (Scotland), April Verch (Canada), Noriana Kennedy (Ireland), Truckstop Honeymoon (USA) While and Matthews (UK), My Friend the Chocolate Cake, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band (USA), The Beez (Germany), Frigg (Finland), Beoga (above – Ireland), ahab (UK), Afro Mandinko, The Buddy Knox Blues Band, Alwan, The Quarry Mountain Dead Rats, Chris Wilson, Fiona Boyes, Rescue Ships, Claude Hay, George Kamikawa and Noriko Tadano, Cass Eager, Phil Davidson, Daniel Champagne, Tonks Green, The Simpson 3 and more.

Pretty impressive eh? The Blue Mountains Music Festival is held in Katoomba, NSW from the 16th to the 18th March. Earlybird tickets are available from now until the 31st December. Check out the official site for more information.

30th Cygnet Folk Festival Announces Artist Lineup

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Andrew Winton
Image Courtesy of Andrew Winton

Tasmania’s premiere folk event, the Cygnet Folk Festival, will be celebrating its 30th year in 2012 and they’ve just released a pretty amazing program of artists for the occasion. Held in Cygnet, south of Hobart, the Cygnet Folk Festival takes place from the 6th to the 8th January.

Headlining the event this year are European folk group Ethno in Transit, Tennessee based singer songwriter Hannah Aldridge, US guitar master Dale Miller, trad autoharp players and multi-instrumentalists Cindy Harris and Eileen Kozloff, two of the UK’s finest young fiddle players, Simon Bradley and Anna Wendy Stevenson, performing with the Simon Bradley Trio, Melbourne based My Friend the Chocolate Cake and WA’s The Miles to Go Trio.

The lineup is also peppered with Timber and Steel favourites including Andrew Winton (above), Evan and Mischa, Evelyn’s Secret, Fred Smith and Liz Frencham, Penny Larkins & Carl Pannuzzo, Quarry Mountain Dead Rats, The Crooked Fiddle Band and many many more.

Tickets and more information are available from the official Cygnet Folk Festival web site. The full list of performers is below:

AP Dantonio, Adam Cousens Band, Aluka, Andrew Marshall, Andrew Veivers, Andrew Winton, Andy Baylor’s Possum Stole the Pumpkin, Benny Walker, Blue Cow, Bohemian Nights, Brett Campbell, Bruce Watson, Ceo Draoicht, Cindy Harris, Dale Miller, David “Odd socks” Wanless, Dominic Francis, Eileen Kozloff, Ethereal, Ethno in Transit, Evan and Mischa, Evelyn’s Secret, Fred Smith and Liz Frencham, Gretel Templeton and Friends, Halfway to Forth, Hannah Aldridge, Harlequin, Helen Thomson sings Gregorian Chant, Hot Club Romanesca, Hot String Band, Jay Fraser, John Flanagan & the Begin Agains, John Francis Carroll, Josh Durno, Junior Bowles, Kate Rowe and Ryan Morrison, Kavisha Mazzella, Kym Pitman, Le Blanc Bros Cajun Band, Madre Monte, Mahuts, Melisande, Miles To Go Trio, Mr Beep’s Magic, Music, Mayhem and Mirth, My Friend The Chocolate Cake, Nadia Sunde, Neil Adam and Judy Turner, Neil Gardner and Friends, New Holland Honey Eaters, Nick Osborn, Papa Chango, Penny Larkins & Carl Pannuzzo, Peter Miller, Quarry Mountain Dead Rats, Roaring Girls, Shanachie, Silkweed, SiSi & The Sonics, Sugarloaf, Susan King & Christine de Trincaud la Tour, Tabasco Tom and Doc White, Taliska, Tas and Mick Fleming’s Hawaiian Duo, The Crooked Fiddle Band, The Hazelman Brothers, The Hobart Smiths, The Lamplights, The Old Lyric Theatre, Uisce Reatha, Unsung Heroes of Australian History, Voicestrings, WhistleBlower and WoodSmith Mead

Timber and Steel First: 2011/12 Woodford Folk Festival Lineup

Woodford
Image Courtesy of the Woodford Folk Festival

Timber and Steel is proud (and just a little bit excited) to be among the first to bring you the 2011/12 Lineup for the Woodford Folk Festival.

The theme for this year’s Woodford Folk Festival – held from the 27th December to the 1st January in Woodfordia, QLD – is “Pieces of the Puzzle” which focuses on the idea that we all contribute to making this world a better place. And with a lineup like this, it looks like Woodford are doing just that. So let’s get into it shall we:

Gotye
De Pedro
Cloud Control
Xavier Rudd
Tinpan Orange
Eagle and the Worm
Husky
Owl Eyes
The Herd
Jesca Hoop (USA)
Andy Bull
Daily Meds
Dubmarine
Jordie Lane
The Red Eyes
Graveyard Train
Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro
Sticky Fingers
Band of Frequencies
Benjalu
OKA
BLAKwax (USA/AUS)
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Busby Marou
Hanggai
The Bakery
The Ninth Chapter
Charlie Mayfair
Tuba Skinny (USA)
The Medics
Crooked Still (USA)
Daniel Champagne
Danny Widdicombe
Die Roten Punkte
Skipping Girl Vinegar
Faux Pas
Frank Yamma
Swamp Thing (NZ)
Gambirra
Watussi
Haitus Koiyote
Hugo and Treats
Jack Carty
Jamie MacDowell & Tom Thum
The Sunshine Brothers
Jess Beck
John Flanagan and The Begin Agains
Lola the Vamp, Rita Fontaine, Flavella L’Amour,
Lucy Wise and The B’Gollies
Sol Nation
Sue Ray
Dougie Maclean (SCOT)
Tim Edey & Brendan Power (IRE/NZ)
Tripod
More Fiddles Than Frocks
Andre Soler
Amelia Curran (CAN)
David Myles (CAN)
DJ Mike Ford
Elixer (feat. Katie Noonan)
Dachambo (JAP)
Monsieur Camembert
Kira Puru & The Bruise
My Friend The Chocolate Cake
Roesy
Sherman Downey & The Silver Lining
The Transylvaniacs
Brothers Grim
Charlie A’Court (CAN)
Genevieve Chadwick
Joe Robinson
Pugsley Buzzard
Invisible Friend
The Old Spice Boys
The Re-Mains
Benny Walker

Pretty impressive right? There are far too many names there that we’re excited about to list each individually but lets just say that we can’t wait for New Year!

Queenscliff Music Festival Announces Lineup

Queenscliff Music Festival
Image Courtesy of the Queenscliff Music Festival

The Queenscliff Music Festival, held in Victoria from the 25th to the 27th November, has just announced an absolutely cracking lineup for this years event. While the festival has a multi-genre focus folk, acoustic, roots and blues are definitely well represented with The Beautiful Girls, The Bamboos with Kylie Auldist, Shane Nicholson, Wagons, Christine Anu, My Friend The Chocolate Cake, The Triffids, Lanie Lane, Gossling, Matt McHugh, Leah Flanagan and The Snowdroppers all making an appearance.

For more information on the festival visit the official web site. The full lineup is below:

The Triffids
No Fixed Address
Eskimo Joe
Gypsy & The Cat
The Cruel Sea
The Herd
Kimbra
The Beautiful Girls
The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker
Oh Mercy
The Bamboos with Kylie Auldist
Vince Jones
Shane Nicholson
Wagons
Christine Anu
Stonefield
Pseudo Echo
Richard Clapton
My Friend The Chocolate Cake
Lanie Lane
Amaya Laucirica
Gossling
Mat McHugh
The Bondi Cigars
Leah Flanagan
The Red Eyes
The Blackeyed Susans
Puta Madre Brothers
Nat Col & The Kings
The Snowdroppers
The Wayne Jury Three
Sweethearts
John-Luke Shelly & High Speed Steel

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