Owen Pallett’s Australian Tour Dates

Owen Pallett
Image Courtesy of Owen Pallett

Canadian composer and violinist Owen Pallett is back in the country this week, touring his latest album In Conflict. Pallett is known for his deeply layered arrangements and dynamic live show so seeing him live while he’s in the country. Check out the full list of dates below:

Wednesday 18th March – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 19th March – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 21st March – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW

Details of the MusicNOW – 10 Years Compilations Album feat. Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes and more

Image Courtesy of MusicNOW

MusicNOW is a collaborative music festival which is held each year in Ohio in the USA. The festival, founded by Bryce Dessner from The National, will this year reach its tenth anniversary and they’re releasing an amazing compilation CD of live performances to celebrate.

The artists on the compilation CD features a who’s who of Timber and Steel Favourites including Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes), Sufjan Stevens, Owen Pallett, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Grizzly Bear, Andrew Bird, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and many more.

MusicNOW – 10 Years is due for release on the 10th March via Bandcamp. The first track revealed from the compilation is a cover of gospel singer EC Ball’s “Trials, Troubles, Tribulations” from the Sounds of the South musical project (Justin Vernon, Sharon Van Etten, Matthew E. White, Megafaun). Check out the song, plus a full track listing for MusicNOW – 10 Years below:

1. Sounds of the South: “Trials, Troubles, Tribulations”
2. Robin Pecknold: “Silver Dagger”
3. Sufjan Stevens: “The Owl & The Tanager”
4. eighth blackbird: “Omie Wise”
5. My Brightest Diamond: “I Have Never Loved Someone”
6. Dirty Projectors: “Emblem Of The World”
7. Tinariwen: “Imidiwan Ma Tenam”
8. Tim Hecker: “Chimeras (Live) 2011”
9. Colin Stetson: “Nobu Take”
10. Owen Pallett: “E Is For Estranged”
11. Erik Friedlander: “Airstream Envy”
12. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy: “Love Comes to Me”
13. Grizzly Bear: “While You Wait For The Others”
14. The Books with Clogs: “Classy Penguin”
15. Andrew Bird: “Section 8 City”
16. Justin Vernon: “Love More”

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 4th April


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

Matthew and the Atlas revealed their new track “Nowhere Now”. Details here

– Fiddle player and looper Owen Pallett has released his new video “The Riverbed”. Details here

– Regular Sydney bluegrass jam and performance Bluegrass @ Yulli’s kicks off it’s April show next week featuring John Flanagan. Details here

– Tomorrow afternoon the Newtown Hotel in Sydney is holding the Cider Fair, featuring over 25 ciders to taste and music from Achoo! Bless You and Betty & Oswald. Details here

– English singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey released his new track “Meet Me There”. Details here

– We were very proud to premiere the brand new video from The Pierce Brothers, “It’s My Fault”, on Tuesday. Details here

– This May the Vanguard in Sydney is holding another couple of tribute nights to O Brother Where Art Thou? featuring performances from The Morrisons, Ngaiire, Elana Stone, Brian Campeau, Lucky Luke, Marcus Holden and All Our Exes Live In Texas. Details here

– Tomorrow night some of the best young Irish musicians living in Australia including Mairead Hurley, Louise Phelan, Maeve Moynihan and Ben Stephenson will be performing at The Gaelic Club in Sydney. Details here

– Another new Passenger track, “Scare Away The Dark”, has made its way online. Details here

– The Newtown Social Club in Sydney is finally throwing open the doors of its band room with a bunch of folky artists already announced for May and June. Details here

Fraser A. Gorman is streaming his brand new single “Book of Love”. Details here

– The marvelous Kim Churchill has announced a string of dates through May and June. Details here

Leah Flanagan is in the middle of a bunch of dates in New South Wales and Victoria but she’s also managed to release a really sweet video for her single “Everything”. Details here

The Folk Informal at FBi Social in Sydney will hold their April show this Thursday with the lineup including John Flanagan, Maia Jelavic, Telegraph Tower and Forster Anderson. Details here

– Melbourne’s Tanya Batt has just released her brand new video “Fools”. Details here

The Stillsons’ guitarist Justin Bernasconi has announced a new solo record and tour. Details here

– Alice Springs based singer-songwriter Katie Harder is heading out on an NT wide tour from today. Details here

– This week the Porch Light Sessions in Sydney return for their second show featuring The British Blues, Brian Campeau and Wartime Sweethearts. Details here

– The latest video from Sideshow Alley features Bear’s Den performing “Don’t Let The Sun Steal You Away”. Details here

– Adelaide based singer-songwriter Kaurna Cronin has announced plans for an east coast tour this month. Details here

– Swedish duo First Aid Kit have announced plans for a brand new album in June and have revealed their first single “My Silver Lining”. Details here


Apologies to anyone who fell for our Justin Bieber related April Fools post. We promise that’s the last time we’ll mention Bieber’s name on this blog. You can read the piece here

Releases This Week

Ariela Jacobs
ThisAriela Jacobs

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

The Big Jig feat. Restless Legs

Big Jig

Fans of traditional Irish music should not miss this opportunity to see some of Ireland’s best young Australian based performers – including Mairead Hurley, Louise Phelan, Maeve Moynihan and Ben Stephenson – performing together in the intimate surrounds of Sydney’s Gaelic Club.

Saturday 5th April – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Bluegrass @ Yulli’s feat. John Flanagan
Wednesday 9th April – Yulli’s, Sydney, NSW

Saturday 5th April – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

Christopher Coleman Collective
Friday 4th April – The Pier, Port Macquarie, NSW
Saturday 5th April – No 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW
Thursday 10th April – Dowse Bar, Paddington, QLD
Friday 11th April – The Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale, SA

Claude Hay
Friday 4th April – The Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland, NSW
Saturday 5th April – The Commercial Hotel, Milton, NSW
Friday 11th April – The Seaview Tavern, Woolgoolga, NSW

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Thursday 10th April – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Eleanor McEvoy
Friday 4th April – HATS-Courthouse Cultural Centre, Auburn, SA
Saturday 5th April – The Song Room, Tanunda, SA
Sunday 6th April – Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale, SA
Thursday 10th April – Carrington Bowling Club, Newcastle, NSW

Ella Hooper
Friday 4th April – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Gum Ball
Friday 11th and Saturday 12th April – Belford, NSW

John Butler Trio
Saturday 5th April – Botanic Gardens Amphitheatre, Darwin, NT
Monday 7th April – Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
Wednesday 9th April – Newcastle Civic Theatre, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 11th April – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, NSW

John Flanagan
Friday 4th April – Tanswell’s Commercial Hotel, Beechworth, VIC
Saturday 5th April – House concert, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 6th April – “The Stables” House Concert, Glebe, NSW
Wednesday 9th April – Yulli’s, Surrey Hills, NSW
Thursday 10th April – Folk Informal @ FBi Social, Sydney, NSW
Friday 11th April – House Concert, Copacabana, NSW

Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens
Friday 4th April – Polish White Eagle Club, Canberra, ACT

Katie Harder and the Artful Dodgers
Friday 4th April – Railway Club, Darwin, NT
Saturday 5th April – Katherine Sport and Recreation Club, Katherine, NT
Sunday 6th April – Timber Creek Hotel, Timber Creek, NT
Tuesday 8th April – Yarralin Community Youth, Yarralin, NT
Wednesday 9th April – Yarralin Community Basketball Court, Yarralin, NT
Friday 11th April – Tennant Creek Hotel, Tennant Creek, NT

Leah Flanagan
Saturday 5th April – Flying Saucer Club, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 6th April – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Sunday 6th April – The Lighthouse Theatre, Warrnambool, VIC
Monday 7th April – Portland Arts Centre, Portland, VIC
Tuesday 8th April – Hamilton Performing Arts Centre, VIC
Wednesday 9th April – Wesley Performing Arts Centre, Horsham, VIC

Little Wise and Megan Bernard
Friday 4th April – Café Troppo, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 5th April – Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale, SA

Mark Wilkinson
Friday 4th April – The Studio Underground, Perth, WA
Saturday 5th April – Redhill Concert, Redhill, WA
Thursday 10th April – Mars Hill Café, Parramatta, NSW
Friday 11th April – Heritage Hotel, Wollongong, NSW

Porch Light Sessions feat. The British Blues, Brian Campeau, Wartime Sweethearts
Thursday 10th April – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Sally Seltmann w/ Wintercoats
Friday 4th April – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 5th April – The Clarendon Hotel, Katoomba, NSW
Thursday 10th April – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 11th April – Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh, VIC

The Beez
Saturday 5th April – Wachope Arts, NSW
Sunday 6th April – The Royal Exchange, Newcastle, NSW
Tuesday 8th April – Newcastle University, NSW
Friday 11th April – Candelo Arts Society, NSW

The Big Jig feat. Restless Legs
Saturday 5th April – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

The Folk Informal feat. John Flanagan, Maia Jelavic, Telegraph Tower, Forster Anderson
Thursday 10th April – FBi Social, Sydney, NSW

The Perch Creek Family Jugband
Friday 4th April – The Star Court Theatre, Lismore, NSW
Saturday 5th April – The Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD

Friday 4th April – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Fairytales & Firesides” – Passenger

With a new album on the way I’ve been revisiting Passenger’s back catalogue with gusto this week. Divers and Submarines is a seminal album for Passenger, seeing Mike Rosenberg really break away from the band sound and embrace his inner singer-songwriter and this is one of the album’s best tracks.

Watch the New Owen Pallett Video, “The Riverbed”

Owen Pallett
Image Courtesy of Owen Pallett

Loop wrangling violinist and singer-songwriter Owen Pallett has a brand new album, In Conflict, due for release on the 23rd May this year. The first single from In Conflict is the symphonic, driving track “The Riverbed” which has a new video from director Eva Michon. Check it out below for a taster of what you can expect from In Conflict:

Owen Pallett “The Great Elsewhere” Video

Owen Pallett
Image Courtesy of Pitchfork

Violinist and musical mastermind Owen Pallett released his album Heartland well over a year ago but that’s apparently not stopping him from making new clips from its tracks. The latest is for “The Great Elsewhere” and was directed by Yuula Benivolski and Geoffrey Pugen. If you like complex, atmospheric music then you should check this out.

Juno Award Nominees- A Folk Lover’s Guide


Image courtesy of Basia Bulat

Those who read Timber & Steel religiously would know that we tend to follow the Canadian music scene pretty closely. It’s not just the quality of music permeating the great northern land that we’re interested in, it’s the fact that there’s an overwhelming proportion of musicians blending folk influences amongst others, and creating new, however less traditional, breeds of folk. Although the majority of the exciting movements in Canadian music aren’t so much recognised in the mainstream frontier (which is no doubt the same in every country), the Juno awards aren’t completely void of excitement, as we hope to show. Check out a full list of nominees here.

Arcade Fire

There’d be very few readers out there now that aren’t well versed in Arcade Fire. If you hadn’t heard of them before, you’d have probably heard their name connected with their recent Grammy success. There’s no doubt that these guys are indie-rockers first and foremost, but their weaving of traditional influences and instrumentation into their music has made them a T&S friendly act, right from the get-go. This year they’ve been nominated for Album of the Year, Group of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Alternative Album of the Year.

Basia Bulat

This young lady might just be the most exciting artist on this list. As an old-time folk lover, you can easily hear a traditional Irish-like sound in there, which is only thinly veiled by a more contemporary and alternative exterior. She has a fantastic voice, and is one hell of an autoharpist. She’s been nominated for New Artist of the Year.

Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene are in the same boat as Arcade Fire, being an outright indie-rock group with a folky twist. This collective is undoubtedly Canadian music royalty, including members of Stars, Apostle of Hustle, The Weakerthans, Metric, Jason Collett and Feist. They utilise strings, woodwind and brass instruments to achieve large, glorious and layered sounds. They’ve been nominated for Group of the Year and Alternative Album of the Year.

Del Barber

Del Barber is a roots artist with a strong American folk influence, and enough of an indie stripe to have been pedalled by younger audiences. He has a couple of albums, but to be honest, this is the first time I’ve checked him out. I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve heard so far, and intend to keep a close eye on him. He has been nominated for Solo Roots & Traditional Album of the Year.

Hannah Georgas

This Vancouver-based acoustic singer-songwriter is making really interesting pop songs with lavish arrangements. Her fresh interpretation of Tori Amos-like alt-pop is really refreshing, and has earned her nominations for New Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. Definitely T&S friendly. Earlier in the week, editor Evan Hughes credited me with publishing the first female nipple on Timber & Steel, so by posting the video below, I’m really hoping to build somewhat of a rep. for “bringing the sex”, so to speak. It’s a great song, though…

Justin Rutledge

We’ve been covering Rutledge’s goings on here at Timber & Steel ever since he won my heart with the live version of “Don’t Be So Mean, Jellybean” on his myspace (seriously, go check it out!). He’s signed to Six Shooter Records, who give us some great Canadian acts, and you won’t regret spending the time to get to know him, especially his latest album The Early Widows, for which he’s been nominated for Solo Roots & Traditional Album of the Year. He’s made a couple of short films/acoustic performance videos. An older one is embedded below, but follow this link for another really good one.

Le Vent Du Nord

This is a really cool act, and I’m glad I came across them. They play traditional Quebecois folk music, and yes that’s exactly how it sounds- French, Celtic music. Confused? Canada loves them. They’re nominated for the Group Roots & Traditional Album of the Year.

Luke Doucet

Luke Doucet is a country styled singer-songwriter who has been a landmark on the Canadian roots-music landscape for some time. He’s released 8 records on Six Shooter Records (solo and with his band Veal), the latest of which has been nominated for Adult Alternative Album of the Year. Watch him perform a song about an ex-girlfriend with his wife, Melissa McClelland, below. So awkward.

Old Man Luedecke

Old Man Luedecke has recently finished a decent tour of Australia which saw him wowing crowds across the eastern states and Tasmania with his traditional, quick-picking banjo stylings. I’ve heard people say that he was one of the highlights at Woodford Folk Festival, and I’m not surprised. Old Man Luedecke‘s laid back country charm allows him to really engage with the listener. He’s no stranger to the Juno Awards either, taking out the Solo Roots & Traditional Album of the Year in 2009. And he’s been nominated for the same award again for his latest album, My Hands Are On Fire and Other Love Songs.

Owen Pallett

Owen Pallett is a very rare talent. His brand of indie-folk is often compared to Andrew Bird and Sufjan Stevens, and with good reason. Pallett is a fantastic instrumentalist and vocalist who masterfully uses loop-pedals to create swirling layers of full and textured compositions that have all the power of a small orchestra. He has recently toured Australia as well, and played alongside Sufjan Stevens as part of Sydney Festival at The Opera House. His first release under his name (he previously released material as Final Fantasy), Heartland, has been nominated for Alternative Album of the Year. I hope he wins.

Royal Wood

Royal Wood is a creator of classic, organic, and usually acoustic pop music.  From what I’ve heard of him, he favours the piano as his fundamental instrument. He’s a little bit Lior, in that his sound is obviously very derivative, but unique and personal enough to an extent that allows people to become very loyal to it. He’s been around for a while, and i look forward to checking out his past works. He’s been nominated for the Songwriter of the Year award.

Said The Whale

I was surprised to see Said The Whale nominated for New Group of the Year, mainly because I thought they were already an established act. They’ve certainly been gracing my iTunes for some time. Regardless, they do deserve some accolades swung their way. They’re an indie-rock band, who utilise acoustic instruments a lot of the time. I’m a folk lover, and they do something for me. Embedding is disabled for my favourite folk track of their’s, but you can follow this link to view it, or take your chances on the video below.

Cuff The Duke Record Wood & Wires Session

Image courtesy of Cuff The Duke

As a lover and maker of live acoustic sessions with Your Take Sessions, I’m always on the lookout for great new sessions online. You’d have probably heard of La Blogotheque Take Away Shows (where the movement started), Bandstand Busking, Black Cab Sessions, Shoot The Player, Balcony TV, Le HibOO and a few others we’ve been plugging on Timber & Steel like Lake Fever Sessions, Laudro Matinee Sessions, Hearya Sessions, Brixton Sessions etc. In the last couple of days I’ve come across some amazing ones that have somehow alluded my ever-watching eye. The first of these is a relatively new one out of Melbourne called Sideshow Alley, whose latest video with the Australian Ballet really takes this genre of music film to the next level, and today I accidentally stumbled across a session with a fantastic and diverse back-catalogue of films called Wood & Wires.

If I hadn’t visited Cuff The Duke’s facebook page on a whim today, I might have never come across the Wood & Wires video series. I’d like to think it was fate, given its title’s proximity to that of Timber & Steel. But I know better. The latest video with Cuff The Duke is a great place to start exploring these videos. The session takes place in The Kingston Guitar Shop, and perfectly captures the quality of sound and image that this series offers. I’m really surprised I hadn’t seen any of these episodes before. There’s some high calibre acts in here, and smaller acts that Timber & Steel have covered including Dan Mangan, Bedouin Soundclash, Stars, Ra Ra Riot, Black Lungs, Zeus, Jason Collett, Great Lake Swimmers, Owen Pallett, The Wooden Sky and The Wilderness Of Manitoba. That should keep you busy for a while.

Review: Sufjan Stevens at The Sydney Opera House, Sydney

Sufjan Stevens
Image Courtesy of The Sydney Festival

Sufjan Stevens supported by Owen Pallett
28th January 2011, The Sydney Opera House (Sydney Festival)

Even through the height of his Illinois-based popularity I have never seen Sufjan Stevens live before, so his inclusion in this year’s Sydney Festival lineup immediately shot him to the top of my must-see-gigs-of-2011 list. I’d been a little wary of Steven’s lastest album The Age of Ads with all its bombast and electro flourishes (despite all the press Timber and Steel gave the album I still haven’t fully warmed to it) but was resigned to the fact that the show would probably focus on the new material over his softer, folkier back catalogue. And from his appearance on Jimmy Fallon late last year I also expected fluro, Lots of fluro.

Sufjan Steven’s support act was Owen Pallett, an artist I’d heard so much about but hadn’t managed to listen to until this night. For the uninitiated Pallett is a solo violinist (and sometime keyboardist) who utilises effect and looping pedals (in the same vein as Andrew Bird or Colm Mac Con Iomaire) to create a rich, soaring musical landscape. Owen Pallett absolutely blew me away with his mastery over his chosen instrument and the way he was able to weave melodies and rhythms into each other to create a rich sonic tapestry. What sets Pallett apart from his contemporaries is his liberal use of the effects pedal to create an orchestral sound – drums, bass and keyboard sounds all emanated from Pallett’s violin. Some of the tracks that Owen Pallett played in the middle of the set (forgive me for knowing none of the names) were probably a little too avant-garde for my tastes but his more classical numbers, particularly the piece that finished his set, were just too stunning for words.

The roar of the crowd when Sufjan Stevens and Co. made there way on stage is probably the most deafening I have ever heard at the Sydney Opera House. Sporting an 8 piece backing band that included two drummers (I know, two drummers) and wearing head to toe fluro, Sufjan Stevens said his quick hellos and then launched into the 20 minute long title track from last year’s EP, “All Delighted People”. The audience were enraptured right from the start, promptly raising their hands when to the songs “all delighted people raise your hands” lyric giving the concert hall the feeling of an evangelical church.

I’ve long considered Stevens’ two releases last year, All Delighted People and Age of Ads, as book ends to the different stages in his career. All Delighted People is still very much a folk album despite it orchestral intentions and seems to be Sufjan Stevens’ way of saying “I just need to get this out before starting something new”. Age of Ads starts with “Futile Devices” that is like a memory of All Delighted People before launching into the new electro-Sufjan of “Too Much” (and the rest of the album). Similarly, the concert on Friday, started with “All Delighted People” and then moved straight into “Too Much”, almost as a way of saying “goodbye to old Sufjan and hello to new”.

And new it was. I’m not sure how many people in the audience were expecting gentle, banjo-driven contemplations on middle-America but instead what we were treated to was an absolute sonic barrage. Stevens admitted that he’d spent much of the last two years experimenting and playing with electronic and synthesizer sounds which have adapted to the live setting – the synths and drum machines are still there but now they’re complimented with horns, guitars and even recorders.

Sufjan Steven’s entire set was not just the bombasity of Age of Ads – it was also peppered with quieter folk numbers, the majority from All Delighted People. Stevens had taken a huge risk playing nothing from his popular “50 States” albums but it seemed to pay off – the crowd around me who had been muttering “I hope it’s not all like this” at the beginning while Stevens and his backing singers showed off their fluro-go-go-dancing moves were same crowd who were on their feet applauding at the end of the 2 hour set.

And almost as a thank-you-for-putting-up-with-my-new-sound Sufjan Stevens returned to the stage at the end of the night in a regular t-shirt to perform a trio of classic songs from Illinois – “Concerning The UFO Siting Near Highland, Illinois”, “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.” and “Chicago”. While these three tracks certainly got the biggest reaction from the crowd they really felt like a sweetened bonus to what was already an amazing night.

After seeing Sufjan Stevens post-Age of Ads I’m not sure I can rightfully claim him as a folk musician anymore. But that said I’m not sure I could have asked for anything more from the man. The show was what every concert should be – a performance. Sufjan Stevens has managed to reinvent himself without losing any of his passion or vigour. I will always be a fan of his back catalogue but if you asked me whether I’d go and see an Age of Ads based show again I would. In a heartbeat.

Joanna Newsom Tribute Album

Versions of Joanna
Image Courtesy of Pitchfork

Before Joanna Newsom makes her way down to Australia next year fans will be treated to a very special tribute album to her career so far. Versions of Joanna (above) will be released digitally in December and features the likes of M. Ward, Owen Pallett, Billy Bragg and more sharing their takes on the songs of Ms Newsom. All proceeds from the sale of Versions of Joanna go towards helping Oxfam so it’s not only an awesome Christmas gift for yourself, it’s also thoughtful as well. The full track listing is:

1. Francesco Santocono – “’81”
2. A Voice Heard on Baer Mountain – “Autumn”
3. Sarah Katheryn – “Baby Birch”
4. Joel Cathey – “Book of Right-On”
5. Guy Buttery – “Book of Right-On” (instrumental)
6. Josh Mann – “Bridges & Balloons”
7. Chris Leeds – “Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie”
8. Ian Cooke – “Colleen”
9. This Is Deer Country – “Easy”
10. Doublewuzzy – “Flying a Kite”
11. Rosa Hinksman – “In California”
12. White Elephant Gift Exchange – “Inflammatory Writ”
13. Ian Cooke – “Monkey & Bear”
14. Billy Bragg – “On a Good Day”
15. Kristina Forrer – “On a Good Day”
16. Owen Pallett – “Peach, Plum, Pear”
17. M. Ward – “Sadie”
18. Ben Sollee – “Sawdust & Diamonds”
19. David Miele – “Soft as Chalk”
20. The Moscow Coup Attempt – “Sprout and the Bean”
21. Melissa Stylianou – “Swansea”
22. Jennifer Schmitt – “This Side of the Blue”

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