Thank Folk It’s Friday – 22nd December

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– We picked our top 25 albums and EPs of 2017 including releases from All Our Exes Live in Texas, BATTS, Billy Bragg, Charlie Fink, David Rawlings, Emily Barker, Fanny Lumsden, Gretta Ziller, Husky, Johnny Flynn, Kasey Chambers, Lankum, Laura Marling, Lisa Mitchell, Nick Mulvey, Offa Rex, Old Crow Medicine Show, Packwood, Paul Kelly, Stu Larsen, The Ahern Brothers, The East Pointers, The Morrisons, Timothy James Bowen and Willie Watson. Details here

– We reached out to the Timber and Steel community to get them to pick their top albums of the year. The results are wonderful with well over 100 artists contributing. Details here

– Our Editor In Chief Gareth Hugh Evans picked his top 25 tracks of 2016 including songs from All Our Exes Live in Texas, BATTS, Billy Bragg, Charlie Fink, David Rawlings, Diamond Duck, Emma Davis, Fanny Lumsden, Gretta Ziller, I’m With Her, Johnny Flynn, Julia Johnson, Laura Marling, Nick Mulvey, Offa Rex, Paul Kelly, Stella Donnelly, Stu Larsen, Taryn La Fauci, The Ahern Brothers, The East Pointers, The Morrisons feat. Georgia Mooney, The Northern Folk, The Young’uns, and Willie Watson. Details here

– We review The Beautiful Girls in Sydney. Details here

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Gretta Ziller and Andrew Swift

Gretta Ziller

Gretta Ziller and Andrew Swift kick off their summer holiday tour of caravan parks around the nation. Will they stumble across your holiday park?

Wednesday 27th December – Discovery Parks Lake Hume, Ebden, VIC
Thursday 28th December – Porepunkah Bridge Holiday Park, Porepunkah, VIC
Friday 29th December – Omeo Caravan Park, Omeo, VIC

Gigs Next Week

A Celtic Christmas feat. Damien Leith, Claymore
Saturday 23rd December – The Palms at Crown, Melbourne, VIC

A Country Christmas Revue feat. Raised By Eagles, Lost Ragas, The Ahern Brothers, Sarah Carroll
Friday 22nd December – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC

A Very Country Christmas feat. James Ellis, Cold Heart, Roz Girvan, Bakersfield Glee Club
Saturday 23rd December – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

A Xmas Happening Love In! feat. Zoùkeys, Hippy Trippy Trio, Jewels’ Blues Explosion
Friday 22nd December – The Bank, Melbourne, VIC

Alex The Astronaut
Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st December – Lost Paradise, Glenworth Valley, NSW

Andrew Swift
Saturday 23rd December – King Island Club, Currie, TAS
Wednesday 27th December – Discovery Parks Lake Hume, Ebden, VIC
Thursday 28th December – Porepunkah Bridge Holiday Park, Porepunkah, VIC
Friday 29th December – Omeo Caravan Park, Omeo, VIC

Andy Baylor
Friday 22nd December – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Benjamin Roberts w/ Daniel J. Townsend
Thursday 27th December – Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide, SA

Breaking Trad
Wednesday 27th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Cat Canteri and Justin Bernasconi
Saturday 23rd December – The Bridge, Castlemaine, VIC

Craig Woodward
Sunday 24th December – Loretta’s, Melbourne, VIC

Dane Blacklock, Velvajayne
Saturday 23rd December – LazyBones Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Darren Hanlon
Friday 22nd December –
Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 23rd December – The Old Museum
, Brisbane, QLD

Edgelarks
Wednesday 27th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Eleanor McEvoy
Friday 29th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Falls Festival
Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st December – Lorne, VIC
Friday 29th to Sunday 31st December – Marion Bay, TAS

Fleet Foxes
Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st December – Falls Festival, Lorne, VIC
Friday 29th to Sunday 31st December – Falls Festival, Marion Bay, TAS

Get Folked Punk Xmas Blowout feat. Vetty Vials & The Sandpit Turtles, Whispering Jackie, Jonno Read, Billy Demos, Billy Puntton, Uke-paley, Jethro Morris, Ess-em, Sooze
Friday 22nd December – LazyBones Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Good Option
Friday 22nd December – Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne, VIC

Gretta Ziller and Andrew Swift
Wednesday 27th December – Discovery Parks Lake Hume, Ebden, VIC
Thursday 28th December – Porepunkah Bridge Holiday Park, Porepunkah, VIC
Friday 29th December – Omeo Caravan Park, Omeo, VIC

Handsome Young Strangers, Steph Miller and Jim Mongrel’s Anti-Christmas Bash
Saturday 23rd December – MoshPit, Sydney, NSW

Helen Townsend
Friday 22nd December – Amble Inn, Corindi, NSW
Saturday 23rd December – The Naked Bean, South Grafton, NSW

Honey
Monday 25th December – Parklands Resort, Mudgee, NSW

James Bennett
Friday 22nd December – Avoca Beach Hotel & Resort, Avoca Beach, NSW
Saturday 23rd December – The Lounge Room, Port Macquarie, NSW
Sunday 24th December – Town Green Inn Port Macquarie, Port Macquarie, NSW
Friday 29th December – Sacred Tree Markets, Nelson Bay, NSW

Jess Locke
Saturday 23rd December – Reverence Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

John Butler
Wednesday 27th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Julia Jacklin
Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st December – Falls Festival, Lorne, VIC
Friday 29th to Sunday 31st December – Falls Festival, Marion Bay, TAS

Justin Bernasconi
Friday 22nd December – The Guildford Family Hotel, Guildford, VIC
Saturday 23rd December – The Bridge, Castlemaine, VIC

Kallidad
Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st December – Falls Festival, Lorne, VIC

Lost Paradise
Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st December – Glenworth Valley, NSW

Mick Thomas & The Roving Commission
Friday 22nd December – Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 23rd December – Caravan Club, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 24th December – Caravan Club, Melbourne, VIC

Microwave Jenny
Sunday 24th December – Bombini, Avoca Beach, NSW

Molsky’s Mountain Drifters
Wednesday 27th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

One Hot Night feat. Busby Marou, Amy Shark, Timberwolf, Pandamic
Friday 29th December – Rockhampton Showgrounds, Rockhampton, QLD

Pam Hata
Sunday 24th December – The Duck on Clarence, Port Macquarie, NSW
Thursday 28th December – Oasis by the River, North Haven, NSW

Pierce Brothers
Friday 29th December – Lorne Hotel, Lorne, VIC

Rita B
Saturday 23rd December – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Sleepy Dreamers, Arbes, Sean Watson
Friday 22nd December – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

That Red Head
Saturday 23rd December – Wayward Brewing Company, Sydney, NSW
Friday 29th December – LazyBones Lounge, Sydney, NSW

The Beautiful Girls
Thursday 28th December – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

The Bluegrass Playgirls with GlenyRae & JennyShimmin, Robbie Long & Smithy
Saturday 23rd December – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

The Demon Drink
Wednesday 27th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

The Drunken Poachers
Saturday 23rd December – Labour in Vain, Melbourne, VIC

The East Pointers
Wednesday 27th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

The Heggarties and Matt J Ward
Friday 22nd December – Exeter Hotel, Adelaide, SA

The Railsplitters
Friday 29th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

The Teskey Brothers
Friday 29th to Sunday 31st December – Falls Festival, Marion Bay, TAS

This Way North
Saturday 23rd December – Aireys Pub, Aireys Inlet, VIC
Friday 29th December – Tanswells Hotel, Beechworth, VIC

Woodford Folk Festival
Wednesday 27th December to Monday 1st January – Woodford, QLDFriday Folk Flashback

“How to Make Gravy” – Paul Kelly

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 – 30th June

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Melbourne chamber-folk singer-songwriter Packwood announced the release date for his sprawling concept album Vertumnus. Details here

– Singer-songwriter Sam Buckingham released her new video “Living In The Dark” featuring Fanny Lumsden, Timothy James Bowen, Kent Eastwood, Syd Green, Dan Stanley Freeman and Christina Mullany. Details here

– Regional Queensland tour dates were announced for Tobias and Fanny Lumsden. Details here

– Americana singer-songwriter Gretta Ziller released her new video “Slaughterhouse Blues”. Details here

Shane Nicholson released his new video “Safe” plus announced a whole bunch of tour dates. Details here

– New York based trio The Lone Bellow announced details of their new album Walk Into A Storm. Details here

– Perth singer-songwriter Riley Pearce has announced a series of secret warehouse shows in South West WA. Details here

– Vancouver based Australian singer-songwriter Larissa Tandy released her new single “The River”. Details here

– Singer-songwriters Georgia Fields and Phia will be kicking off a co-headline tour this week. Details here

– Alt-country singer-songwriter Jed Rowe has announced plans to release his fourth studio album A Foreign Country. Details here

– Sydney singer-songwriter Taryn La Fauci announced a bunch of tour dates to launch her new album Cycling. Details here

Tom Stephens released his new video “Wake Me When The Day’s Gone”. Details here

Reviews

Track by Track

“Last week The Ahern Brothers released their self-titled debut album and we sat down with the boys to get a run down on each of the tracks, with Josh Rennie-Hynes and Steve Grady taking a side each”The Ahern Brothers take use through their self titled debut album. Track by Track here

Releases This Week

Josh Pyke
The Best of Josh PykeJosh Pyke
iTunes

Cycling
CyclingTaryn La Fauci
iTunes

Tex Don and Charlie
You Don’t Know LonelyTex, Don & Charlie
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

All Our Exes Live In Texas

AOELIT

The All Our Exes Live In Texas national tour kicks into high gear with massive shows in Sydney and Melbourne. These shows are selling out (or sold out depending on when this is published) so get in quick.

Friday 30th June – Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW
Saturday 1st July – Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 7th July – Howler, Melbourne, VIC

Gigs Next Week

All Our Exes Live In Texas
Friday 30th June – Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW
Saturday 1st July – Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 7th July – Howler, Melbourne, VIC

Amber Lawrence
Friday 7th July – Coogee Diggers, Sydney, NSW

Amber Lawrence & Catherine Britt w/ Fanny Lumsden
Friday 30th June – Commercial Club, Albury, NSW
Saturday 1st July – Club Mulwala, Mulwala, NSW

Andy Golledge Band, Caitlin Harnett, Ruben Neeson
Friday 30th June – Lazybones Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Ayleen O’Hanlon & Rich Davies and The Low Road
Friday 7th July – Music on the Hill, Red Hill Showgrounds, Red Hill, VIC

Bello Winter Music Festival
Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th July – Bellingen, NSW

Ben Ottewell
Friday 30th June – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 1st July – Caravan Music Club, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 2nd July – Peppermint Bay, Hobart, TAS
Tuesday 4th July – The Landsdowne Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 6th July – The Bunker, Coogee, NSW
Friday 7th July – Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Bluegrass Parkway
Friday 30th June – Harmonie German Club, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 1st July – Thirroul Railway Institute, Thirroul, NSW
Sunday 2nd July – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Bonniesongs, Emma Davis, Rachael Comte
Sunday 2nd July – Secret Show, Melbourne, VIC

Brad Butcher w/ The Weeping Willows
Friday 30th June – The Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale, SA
Saturday 1st July – The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Friday 7th July – Two Goats Cafe & Baa, Armidale, NSW

Busby Marou
Friday 30th June – Darwin Entertainment Centre, Darwin, NT

Cecilia Brandolini
Thursday 6th June – Staves Brewery, Sydney, NSW

Clare Bowen w/ Timothy James Bowen
Monday 3rd July – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Tuesday 4th July – Hamer Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 5th July – Canberra Theatre Centre, Canberra, ACT
Friday 7th July – Anita’s Theatre, Thirroul, NSW

Claymore
Friday 7th July – Croydon Bowling Club, Melbourne, VIC

Cyclo Timik, Whiskey Dram, Quinton Trembath
Friday 30th June – Open Studio, Melbourne, VIC

Daniel Champagne
Friday 30th June – NightQuarter, Gold Coast, QLD
Sunday 2nd July – Solbar, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Thursday 6th July – Bellevue Hotel, Townsville, QLD
Friday 7th July – The Shed Tablelands Music Lovers, Atherton, QLD

Dashville On The Road feat. James Thomson, Baghead, Melody Pool, Magpie Diaries, Dave Wells, Deanna Rose, Demi Mitchell, Jason Walker, Lyle Dennis
Friday 7th July – Royal Federal Hotel, Branxton, NSW

Dave Favours and the Roadside Ashes
Thursday 6th July – The Golden Barley, Sydney, NSW

Dusty Ravens & Low Down Riders
Friday 30th June – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW

Emma Davis
Saturday 1st July – LongPlay, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 2nd July – Secret Show, Melbourne, VIC

FolkSwagon feat. James Campbell, Tashi, Sam Newton
Wednesday 5th July – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Georgia Fields and Phia
Thursday 6th July – Suttons House Of Music, Ballarat, VIC

Handsome Young Strangers, Medusa’s Wake
Thursday 6th July – Royal Albert Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Harvey Russell & Natalie Henry
Wednesday 5th July – The White Horse, Sydney, NSW

Hayden Calnin
Friday 30th June – Hudson Ballroom, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 6th July – Mojos, Fremantle, WA

High Tea feat. Charm of Finches
Thursday 6th July – House Concert, Sydney, NSW

Honey & Knives
Friday 30th June – 63 First Ave, Sawtell, NSW

Humbug, Slim Dime
Friday 7th July – Illawarra Folk Club, City Diggers, Wollongong, NSW

Husky
Thursday 6th July – Bello Winter Music Festival, Bellingen, NSW
Friday 7th July – Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane, QLD

Jacob Diamond
Friday 30th June – The Milk Factory, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 1st July – Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 2nd July – Bar 303, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 5th July – Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA

Joe Pug w/ Courtney Marie Andrews
Thursday 6th July – Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 7th and Saturday 8th July – Bello Winter Music, Bellingen, NSW

Kelly Brouhaha
Friday 30th June – Westernport Hotel, San Remo, VIC
Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd July – Newport Folk Festival, Newport, VIC

Larissa Tandy w/ Brooke Russell and The Mean Reds
Friday 30th June – Baha, Rye, VIC
Sunday 2nd July – The Gasometer, Melbourne, VIC

Leah Senior
Friday 7th to Sunday 9th July – Bello Winter Festival, Bellingen, NSW

Les Thomas w/ Small Town Romance, Damon Smith
Friday 30th June – Kingsbury Bowls Club, Melbourne, VIC

Lisa Crawley & Ben Mastwyk
Sunday 2nd June – Babushka Bar, Ballarat, VIC

Lisa Mitchell and Dustin Tebbutt w/ Alex The Astronaut
Friday 30th June – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 1st July – The Gov, Adelaide, SA

Little Wise
Thursday 6th July – When She Believes, Winter Sessions, Launceston TAS
Friday 7th July – Mountain Mumma, Sheffield, TAS

Lloyd Spiegel
Friday 30th June – The Skylark Room, Upwey, VIC
Friday 7th July – Hickinbotham Winery, Dromana, VIC

Makuru Arts Festival feat. The Merindas and live band, Phil Bartlett, Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse, Kobi Morrison, Ronald Dick, Chloe Maynard, Moombaki, Madjitil Moorna, Kwarbah Djookian Dancers, Beat Walkers, Yirra Yaakin Noongar Sonnets with Della Rae Morrison and Maitland Schnaars
Saturday 1st July – Kalamunda Performing Art Centre, Kalamunda, WA

Mark Lucas & The Lazy L Quartet, Andy Gordon
Saturday 1st July – Staves Brewery, Sydney, NSW

Mat Black Band w/ Rough Sauce, Mr Alford Country
Saturday 1st July – The Brunswick Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Miles and Simone
Sunday 2nd July – Newport Folk Festival, Newport, VIC
Friday 7th July – Festival of Voices, Hobart, TAS

Mitch Power
Sunday 2nd July – The Taproom – Castlemaine Brewing Company, Castlemaine, VIC

Newport Folk Festival
Friday 30th to Sunday 2nd July – Newport, VIC

Phia
Wednesday 5th July – Kew Court House, Kew, VIC
Thursday 6th July – Suttons House Of Music, Ballarat, VIC

Quinton Trembath
Friday 30th June – Open Studio, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 1st July – House Concert, Melbourne, VIC

Red-Eyed and Blue feat. The Singing Skies, Sam Newton
Sunday 2nd July – The Bearded Tit, Sydney, NSW

Richard Cuthbert & Darren Cross
Thursday 6th July – Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Rick Hart and The Sweet Addictions
Saturday 1st July – The Elwood Lounge, Melbourne, VIC

Sam Newton
Sunday 2nd July – Red-Eyed and Blue, The Bearded Tit, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 5th July – Folkswagon, Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Saoirse
Sunday 2nd July – St John’s Mitcham, Melbourne, VIC

Shaky Stills
Sunday 2nd July – The Standard Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Singing Up Country feat. Yirrmal, Kahl Wallis, Emily Wurramara
Friday 7th July – Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns, QLD

Skyscraper Stan
Sunday 2nd July – Pistol Pete’s Food n Blues, Geelong, VIC
Tuesday 4th July – The Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 7th July – Babushka Bar, Ballarat, VIC

Slim Dime
Sunday 2nd July – Oscar’s Alehouse, Belgrave, VIC
Friday 7th July – Illawarra Folk Club, City Diggers, Wollongong, NSW

Sneaky Jams feat. Trash Vortex, Baiylaw, So-li, Jethro Morris
Wednesday 5th July – The Hideaway Bar, Sydney, NSW

Sydney Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Get-together
Saturday 1st July – Annandale Neighbourhood Centre, Sydney, NSW

The Ahern Brothers
Friday 30th June – 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW
Saturday 1st July – Royal Mail Hotel, Ipswich, QLD
Friday 7th July – Woodford Open Space, Woodford, QLD

The Coconut Kids
Saturday 1st July – The Bearded Tit, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 2nd July – Junction 142, Katoomba, NSW
Thursday 6th July – Strangelove, Sydney, NSW
Friday 7th to Sunday 9th July – Bello Winter Festival, Bellingen, NSW

The Grigoryan Brothers
Friday 30th June – Kyneton Town Hall, Kyneton, VIC
Saturday 1st July – Kerang Golf Club, Kerang, VIC

The McClymonts
Thursday 6th July – Big Red Bash, Birdsville, QLD

The Teskey Brothers
Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th July – Bello Winter Music Festival, Bellingen, NSW

Tom Stephens
Saturday 1st July – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, NSW

Trioc
Friday 7th July – Old Castlemaine Gaol, Castlemaine, VIC

Twilight in Tulsa
Saturday 1st July – Son of Run, Belgrave, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye” – Firkin

Packwood Announces Release Date for Vertumnus

Packwood
Image Courtesy of Packwood

Melbourne based chamber-folk singer-songwriter Packwood has finally announced a release date for his sprawling concept album Vertumnus – 18th August.

Vertumnus is a culmination of four years work with Packwood releasing four EPs, each inspired by a different season. Collected in a single album, Vertumnus is a stunning piece of music that really is the pinnacle of everything Packwood has produced over his career.

Packwood is streaming three tracks on his Bandcamp (where you can pre-order the album) which we’ve embedded below:

Gareth Hugh Evans’ Top 25 Tracks of 2015

2015

Ok, so we have one final best of list to round out the week and then I promise you we’re done. Our illustrious Editor in Chief Gareth Hugh Evans has sifted through the wealth of music that’s been released this year and whittled it down to his top 25 tracks of 2015. Some of these are album tracks that haven’t been released as singles, some are singles from albums that were released last year and at least one or two have only seen light as live versions – but one thing that’s certain is that this is a pretty good snapshot of all of the music we’ve been loving throughout the year.

So without further ado please enjoy Gareth Hugh Evans’ Top 25 Tracks of 2015.

1. Sufjan Stevens – “Should Have Known Better”
While I loved the direction that Sufjan Stevens took with his Age of Adz album, when “Should Have Known Better” dropped earlier this year I almost wept. This was Stevens leaning back into to his acoustic roots without denying where his sound has evolved in recent years (the electronic middle eight in the track is a nice nod to Age of Adz). Despite the heavy subject matter of the track (“When I was three, three maybe four, She left us at that video store”) it is overwhelmingly uplifting and I can’t help but smile as I let the melody wash over me. It’s good to have you back Sufjan!

2. John Flanagan – “The Last of the Cassette Men”
A core element of “folk music” as an overarching genre is the story song and John Flanagan has written the best story song of the year, recounting the time Flanagan was tasked with driving his songwriting hero Paul Kelly to a show. John Flanagan’s easygoing, personal narrative style works perfectly in this track, almost aping the songwriting style of Kelly without descending into parody. With this track John Flanagan has proven himself a songwriting force to keep an eye on.

3. Packwood – “All Smoke Must Find Its Way Home”
With four EPs released this year there’s a wealth new Packwood material to choose from, but I can’t help but come back to “All Smoke Must Find Its Way Home”, his first single from 2015. The track is everything I want from a Packwood song – soaring melodies, delicate finger-picked guitar, orchestral arrangements (including a choir!) and Bayden Hine’s vulnerable vocal style. Another work of genius from Australia’s king of chamber folk.

4. Patrick James – “Bugs”
“Bugs” has been a standard of Patrick James’ live set for much of his career, including his time as a busker, but it’s only in 2015 that it’s been released as a single thanks to his debut album Outlier. What makes “Bugs” such a great song is hands down the chorus: a catchy, loopy piece of music that always stimulates a sing along. With live versions of “Bugs” available on the internet for years now I’m glad James has not gone crazy on the production of this track, keeping the arrangement subtle and familiar.

5. The Morrisons – “Wild Eleanor”
Despite being probably the most recognisable Bluegrass band in Sydney the amount of recorded music available from The Morrisons is pretty light on the ground. Which is why I’m so chuffed they’ve chosen to record and release one of my favourite of their tracks, “Wild Eleanor”. The frantic single shows off just how skilled each of the members of The Morrisons are. And yes, I even like the hokey clip shot at Sydney’s Hibernian House.

6. Laura Marling – “False Hope”
This is Laura Marling’s Dylan-going-electric moment. When “False Hope” hit earlier this year the first thing that fans noted was just how rock driven it was- Marling has swapped the acoustic guitar for a choppy electric and surrounded herself with a traditional rock lineup. But Laura Marling’s lyrical style and vocals shine through – you know this song is unmistakably a Laura Marling track despite the instrumentation and for that reason alone it’s something special.

7. Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton – “Waly Waly”
I was trying to put my finger on what it is about “Waly Waly” that stands out for me on the excellent album Declaration from Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton and it hit me – about halfway through the song Ruth Hazleton brings in this minor led banjo lick that just, well, grooves. It’s that lick, and the minor arrangement over the chorus, that gets my toe tapping and my head bobbing every time. It’s not often that you mention the word “groove” in reference to a Child Ballad but that’s how clever Declaration from Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton are.

8. Mumford & Sons – “Ditmas”
“But this is all I ever was, And this is all you came across those years ago, Now you go too far, Don’t tell me that I’ve changed because that’s not the truth, And now I’m losing you”. Could this be the catchiest chorus of 2015? Forget that Mumford & Sons ditched the banjo and the acoustic guitar – what they’ve created in “Ditmas” is the perfect Mumford & Sons song. Restrained verses, blistering choruses and lyrics you want to sing along to at the top of your lungs.

9. The Paper Kites – “A Silent Cause”
To be honest “Electric Indigo” has been the track on highest rotation from twelvefour for me this year, but every time I’m listening to the album from start to finish I always have to go back and listen to “A Silent Cause” again and again. It’s such a simple song – lead vocals, guitar and subtle vocal harmonies – but it’s just mesmerising. It’s a nod to The Paper Kites’ earlier work and there’s a real Paul Simon feel to the way its been written. “A Silent Cause” has not (yet) been released as a single from twelvefour but it’s definitely the standout for me.

10. Fanny Lumsden – “Soapbox”
Fanny Lumsden’s incredibly catchy single “Soapbox” is the driving force behind the success of her album Small Town Big Shot. The track’s driving back-beat courtesy of the clapping percussion drives the song forward and that banjo riff is so hum worthy. I love how crisp Lumsden’s vocals are on this track – you get to follow the narrative elements of the song without having to distance yourself from the rest of the instrumentation. It’s a great track to see live as well!

11. William Fitzsimmons – “Pittsburgh”
There’s such a lean-in quality to William Fitzsimmons’ voice – it’s so delicate over the top of his acoustic guitar and the result is beautiful. The album version of this song is supplemented by subtle piano, electric guitar and backing vocals but if you’ve managed to hear any of the live versions floating around Youtube you’ll know just how good this song is with just Fitzsimmons and his guitar.

12. Matt Corby – “Monday”
The first new music from Matt Corby in quite a while ends up being classic Matt Corby. That layered, looped vocal and hand percussion. The blues inspired melody. That voice. It’s good to have you back Matt Corby.

13. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – “S.O.B.”
The transformation of Nathaniel Rateliff from sensitive acoustic singer-songwriter to full blown gospel-blues master has been one of the unexpected joys of 2015. Together with his outstanding band The Night Sweats, Rateliff released one of the year’s catchiest tunes in “S.O.B.” complete with a Blue Brothers inspired video.

14. Bellowhead – “Roll Alabama”
Bellowhead tempered the news that they’d be wrapping things up this year with the release of their new single “Roll Alabama”. The track is filled with Bellowhead’s usual bombast but also manages to balance this with fine arrangement – at no point is the song overwhelmed by the instrumentation. The clip for “Roll Alabama” is a loving ode to Bellowhead as a live band, making me wish they’d made the trip to Australia at least once.

15. The East Pointers – “The Drift”
I love that the tenor banjo, after being maligned by its five stringed cousin in recent years, is making a bit of a resurgence. And Canadian trio The East Pointers are leading the tenor banjo charge. I love the way “The Drift” plays with tempos and instrumentation, building and dropping throughout, providing texture to the traditionally inspired music. A highlight from Secret Victory which is stuffed full of amazing tracks.

16. Yetis – “Luckiest Guy Alive”
Yetis were another band that we said goodbye to in 2015 but who left us with an amazing goodbye track. “Luckiest Guy Alive” is beautiful – five part harmonies over a solo piano – and it just seems to sore. I’m not sure Yetis every really reached their full potential and I would have loved to have seen more from them before they went their seperate ways – but “Luckiest Guy Alive” is a nice way to say goodbye.

17. Boy & Bear – “Walk the Wire”
Boy & Bear have embraced the 70s and early 80s on their new album Limit of Love and the greatest example of this is “Walk the Wire”. Embracing synths and crisp guitars, “Walk the Wire” still has that undeniable Boy & Bear groove to bop your head along to. The video is also hilarious – don’t just listen to this track on YouTube in the backgound, make sure you give it your full attention.

18. Ruby Boots – “Wrap Me In A Fever”
No this is country music. Ruby Boots’ big voice just powers through this track as the drums shuffle, the steel guitar twangs and an organ adds just a touch of class. “Wrap Me In A Fever” is a song full of heartbreak and lonliness but Ruby Boots also imbues a sense of strength into it with her big voice.

19. Gurrumul & Paul Kelly – “Amazing Grace”
The moment I heard that Gurrumul was turning his voice to gospel music for his latest album my first thought was “why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?”. The fact that he’s joined by Paul Kelly on possibly the most iconic gospel song of all time is just incredible. Here are two artists at their best breathing life into a classic and reinventing it for an Australian audience.

20. Passenger – “Fools Gold”
The ever prolific Passenger this year released an album (Whispers II) and then a series of videos for brand new songs that were shot while he toured the world. To be honest I could have picked any number of the songs that Passenger released this year but this is the one that stuck in my head. The song is textbook Passenger – delicate vocals over finger-picked guitar – but that little lick at the start and the “Hey-ey-ey” of the chorus are what gives “Fools Gold” the ear-worm quality.

21. Josh Pyke – “Hollering Hearts”
From the opening ukulele to the “oh oh oh” backing vocals there’s something insanely catchy about this song. No one quite writes folk-flavoured pop music like Josh Pyke and “Hollering Hearts” is pretty much a perfect Josh Pyke tune. I’m not sure how I feel about the lyric video (if you’re going to go to that much effort animating it why not just make a video?) but at the end of the day this is all about the music.

22. Falls – “When We Were Young”
I chose to post the live version of this song purely for the nostalgia of it. This is Falls performing at the Hotel Hollywood in Sydney during one of their rare visits back to our shores – and for these guys this is where it all started. I love how infectious this song is, almost willing you to clap along and stomp your feet. Of all the new material on Omaha this is the track that really captured me – I feel like it’s the bridge between their Hollywood EP and the tracks they’ve been writing since they’ve relocated to the USA.

23. Sam Amidon – “Blue Mountains”
“Blue Mountains” is not taken from Sam Amidon’s 2015 album of home and field recordings Home Alone Inside My Head but is rather the final single from his amazing 2014 record Lily-O. This is Amidon at his most coherent and accessible – the track has a pretty conservative structure and vocal line which is something he’s not always known for. I love the 6/8 drum beat that comes in about half way through this song giving it that extra drive, and of course Amidon’s meandering fiddle lines are just beautiful.

24. We Banjo 3 feat. Sharon Shannon – “The Fox”
This is traditional music at its most polished, with none of the rough edges you’ll find on other versions of this classic track. But that’s not a bad thing – We Banjo 3 have perfectly captured the rollicking fun of “The Fox”. Strangely Sharon Shannon’s accordion seems to be relegated to the back of the mix until they break into the reel two thirds of the way through (known as “Clumsy Lover” for those of you playing at home) – but I guess that’s why this is We Banjo 3 featuring Sharon Shannon and not the other way around.

25. Nick Payne – “Old Sydney Town”
I’ve had the pleasure of watching Nick Payne workshopping his convict folk song at jam sessions and festivals over the past 18 months and what he’s managed to capture on tape is pretty bang on what you’ll get live. I love the old time feel of this track and the fine group of musicians he’s managed to amass to accompany him (including many members of his band Dear Orphans) elevate the song to another level. I love the “behind the music” style of the video as well – very nice.

Timber and Steel’s Top Albums of 2015

Record Player

If anything has characterised 2015 for me in terms of new albums it’s that we finally saw debuts from some of our favourite artists. So many bands these days are serial EP releasers so it’s great to see the likes of Patrick James, Falls Marlon Williams and more knuckle down and get into the studio. It’s also great to see the return of firm favourites after time away and an explosion of traditional music that pushes boundaries and challenges our perception of what trad music can be.

Coming up with a top 25 list is always a challenge (let alone putting them in some kind of order) but I think what we’ve come up with is a wonderful cross section of all the genres of “folk” music we cover on Timber and Steel – from singer-songwriter to Americana to indie folk to traditional and beyond.

So without further ado here it is – our top 25 albums and EPs from 2015!

Kate and Ruth

1. Kate Burke & Ruth HazletonDeclaration

What a year 2015 has been for traditional music. Maybe it’s just me but it seems like a lot more trad is breaking through at the moment and the icing on the cake this year has been the incredible new album from Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton, Declaration.

This is the duo’s first album in about eight years and their return to the studio has been a welcome one. Once again teaming with producer Luke Plumb, Declaration is loosely themed around traditional music from the female perspective with a few contemporary tracks thrown in for good measure.

The tracks are rich, heartbreaking, emotional and beautiful. So many of the songs deal with pretty heavy themes such as domestic violence (“Bleezin’ Blind Drunk”), false accusations of adultery (“Waly Waly”) and the disintegration of a woman’s public reputation (“Katy Cruel”) and these are conveyed with resonance by Burke and Hazleton. Hearing these two singing together again reminds me of why I fell in love with their harmonies all those years ago.

The two originals on the album – “The Freeze” and “Hearts Of Sorrow” – are two of my favourites and they make me wish Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton were more prolific as songwriters. Maybe one day we’ll get a full album of self penned tracks?

I love how much Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton have matured as performers over the last 15 years. Gone is the rigid need to stick 100% to the tradition and instead we have a fluid take on the material that draws as much from contemporary music as it does from Anglo, Celtic and American music. A simply wonderful album

Sufjan

2. Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell

Touted as the return to Folk Music for Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell is in fact the next step in his musical evolution. Rather than shrugging off the electronic chaos of his recent albums, Stevens has merely toned it down and brought back his acoustic guitar to dive into the complex relationship with his mother following her passing. This album is so raw, so nuanced and deserved of every bit of praise that has been heaped upon it.

Fanny Lumsden

3. Fanny LumsdenSmall Town Big Shot

I’ve always predicted big things for Fanny Lumsden ever since I saw her perform at a rooftop bar in Sydney many moons ago. Small Town Big Shot is the album that is currently turning Lumsden from Sydney’s alt-country darling to a favourite of the Australian country scene. The album is full of Fanny Lumsden’s true-to-life accounts of growing up in rural Australia while never straying into the Americanised, dust kicking ideal of country life so often portrayed by Australian country artists. Not to be ignored, Lumsden’s band The Thrillseekers add a rich musical tapestry to her songs and really seem to have gelled as group. Only released in September there’s a lot of life in Small Town Big Shot so we’ll continue to see Fanny Lumsden riding high off it’s ever growing success in 2016.

Paper Kites

4. The Paper Kitestwelvefour

The Paper Kites have produced what has to be one of the most interesting concept albums of recent years. twelvefour was written exclusively between the hours of 12am and 4am as frontman Sam Bentley believed this is when people are at their most creative. The result is stunning – a patchwork of eighties electro influences and the band’s trademark indie-folk – and will no doubt go down as a high watermark in their career. twelvefour feels very deliberately structured moving from the straight up electro of “Electric Indigo” and “Relevator Eyes” to more folky numbers in the second half of the album (“A Silent Cause” is a standout for me). I’m interested to see where The Paper Kites take their sound next.

Packwood

5. PackwoodAutumnal

This year chamber-folk artist Packwood released four seasonally themed EPs as part of his Vertumnus album project. The first of these was Autumnal which has remained my firm favourite through all of the subsequent releases. Gone is Packwood’s trademark sparsely plucked banjo (don’t worry, it returns in later EPs) and instead we get delicately fingerpicked guitar accompanied by choir and chamber orchestra. The songs are delicate and sumptuous and Packwood has really come a long way as a songwriter since his debut. Put on Autumnal, close your eyes and let the world fall away.

Laura Marling

6. Laura MarlingShort Movie

We’re now five albums into Laura Marling’s career and her songwriting has never been stronger. On her latest release Short Movie Marling’s songwriting takes on a freeform, Dylan-esque mode only hinted at on previous albums and it takes her into some very ineteresting places. There’s a lot more electric guitar on Short Movie and at times she descends into beat-poet-like spoken word phrases (like on the amazing “Gurdjieff’s Daughter”) yet no one is crying that Marling’s turned her back on her folk roots (like Marling’s old band Mumford & Sons). Instead Short Movie is being praised as an evolution of her sound and while it is miles away from her 2008 debut Alas, I Cannot Swim, both musically and stylistically, this is 100% a Laura Marling album.

Pittsburgh

7. William FitzsimmonsPittsburgh

In his ode to his recently passed Grandmother and her home town of Pittsburgh, William Fitzsimmons has created a delicate, beautiful piece of magic. This is his first self-produced album since 2006’s Goodnight and it does feel markedly different from his recent releases – the production is not a slave to his voice and guitar, instead it sits more comfortably as part of each song. At only seven tracks long Pittsburgh leaves you warm and fuzzy and wanting more.

Outlier

8. Patrick JamesOutlier

It seems like 2015 saw a lot of long time favourite Timber and Steel artists finally got around to releasing their debut album – and one of the debuts we were most excited about was from Patrick James. Over the course of a bunch of EPs Patrick James has refined his James Taylor-esque folk songs and Outlier is the culmination of years of solid songwriting. The production on Outlier makes the most of James’ unique voice and elevates his solo singer-songwriter roots into a rich, luscious landscape.

Wilder Mind

9. Mumford & SonsWilder Mind

With all of the attention on Mumford & Sons “ditching the banjo” and turning their back on folk music when Wilder Mind came out very little attention was paid to the album itself. Which is a shame because it’s another solid outing for the boys. If you push through the electric guitars and drums you discover that Wilder Mind is unmistakably a Mumford record with big choruses, melodies dripping with four part harmonies and festival ready lyrical hooks. And anyone who has seen Mumford & Sons this year will know they have in no way ditched the banjo – Wilder Mind sits perfectly within their entire catalogue.

Omaha

10. FallsOmaha

It took Falls moving to LA 18 months ago (and dropping the “The”) to produce their gorgeous debut album Omaha. Falls have expanded their two-voices-and-a-guitar sound to an almost orchestral level, but at the forefront is still their lyrically driven melodies and beautiful harmonies. I’m actually really impressed that all of the tracks on Omaha having seen them perform almost exclusively from their Hollywood EP before their big move Stateside. Now we just need a national Australian tour off the back of the album!

Omaha

11. TolkaOne House

The stunning result of trad band Tolka’s trip to Belfast last year to write and record a new album – one of the tightest trad bands in the country.

Limit of Love

12. Boy & BearLimit of Love

Boy & Bear return with a 70s vibe and a bunch of new tracks that saw the band collaborating on the songwriting duties.

If I Was

11. The StavesIf I Was

The Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) production on The Staves’ debut elevates their sound from simple three part harmonies to full blown indie-folk goodness.

Secret Victory

12. The East PointersSecret Victory

The result of writing sessions on their summer tour of Australia, The East Pointers have written 10 original tracks that sound as if they’ve been ripped directly from the tradition.

Monterey

13. The Milk Carton KidsMonterey

Monterey is the closest The Milk Carton Kids have come to capturing their mesmerising live show on record – this is something special.

Freewheeler

14. Dougal Adams, Ado Barker & Ben StephensonThe Freewheeler

Instead of complaining that it’s been too long between albums for Trouble in the Kitchen get your trad fix with the debut album from Dougal Adams, Ado Barker & Ben Stephenson.

Solitude

15. Ruby BootsSolitude

The Perth songstress has nailed down an amazing band and has produced one of the best alt-country albums of the last few years.

Tomorrow Is My Turn

16. Rhiannon GiddensTomorrow Is My Turn

In her debut solo album Rhiannon Giddens has built on the trad and old time of her work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops and spun it into something new and very exciting.

Marlon Williams

17. Marlon WilliamsMarlon Williams

With a voice that has reduced grown men and women to tears, there’s a lot to love about Marlon Williams’ debut record – this man is taking country music back to its roots and winning fans every step of the way.

Inside Llewyn Davis

18. VariousAnother Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis

The folk and Americana industry’s best come together for a night of music inspired by the 60s folk scene and to a lesser extent the Cohen Brothers’ film Inside Llewyn Davis.

Dream's End

19. Matt BauerDream’s End

On his latest album Matt Bauer has upped the production stakes, forgoing his normally sparse folk songs and the result is wonderful.

Punch Brothers

20. Punch BrothersThe Phosphorescent Blues

I think it’s time to stop referring to Punch Brothers as “bluegrass” or “nu-grass” or anything at all – with The Phosphorescent Blues they have proven they are undefinable.

WHITE LIES

21. Mustered CourageWhite Lies and Melodies

Mustered Courage have always been the most polished bluegrass band in Australia but they’ve upped the ante with their new album adding a pop sheen to their sound.

Hell Breaks Loose

22. Shane NicholsonHell Breaks Loose

The godfather of the Australian Americana scene released one of the year’s best country albums – all heartbreak and whisky and everything that’s good about this kind of music.

The Decemberists

23. The DecemberistsWhat A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World

A welcome return to the studio from The Decemberists to follow up their amazing 2011 album The King Is Dead – a little less folk, a little more rock and all sorts of goodness.

Josh Pyke

24. Josh PykeBut For All These Shrinking Hearts

Australia’s premiere troubadour delivers yet another stunning album with his trademark wry lyrics and hooky melodies.

S

25. Emmy The GreatS

Emmy The Great slides into electro music while maintaining the folk-inspired melodies she’s become known for.

Americana Australia, Post to Wire, Unpaved & Timber and Steel Present The September Sampler

Americana Australia

This month the good folks behind online community Americana Australia asked Timber and Steel along with our fellow roots bloggers Post to Wire and Unpaved to contribute tracks to their monthly playlist sampler. The result is a wonderfully eclectic mix of tracks that is the perfect playlist for the first day of spring.

The three tracks selected by Timber and Steel are pulled from what’s on high rotation here – “Travelling Shoes” from Jack Carty’s recent free live album, “Waly Waly” from Kate Burke and Ruth Hazleton’s amazing new album Declaration and the brand new Packwood track “My Fair Life” which is taken from the album Vernal, released today.

Take a listen to the full playlist below:

A breakdown of who chose which track is below:

Post to Wire:
1. James Thomson – “Highway Nights (I Wanna Be)”
2. HT Heartache – “Cowboy Poetry”
3. Will Wood – “Quiet Night”

Unpaved:
4. Suzannah Espie — “I’m Sorry”
5. Damon Smith and the Quality Lightweights — “The Sun And The Moon”
6. Alison Ferrier — “Be Here Now”

Timber and Steel:
7. Jack Carty – “Travelling Shoes (Live @ The Front)”
8. Packwood — “My Fair Life”
9. Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton – “Waly Waly”

Americana Australia asked Timber and Steel:
10. Raised By Eagles — “Waterline”
11. The Heggarties — “True to You”
12. Ben Bunting — “Don’t You Ever Speak My Name Again”

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

Timber and Steel Premiere: Packwood’s New Single “We Drink Light”

Packword
Image Courtesy of Packwood

Another day, another premiere! We’re so proud to bring you “We Drink Light”, the brand new single from Melbourne based chamber-folk artist Packwood. Before I go on you have to start listening to this right now:

“We Drink Light” is the first single taken from Packwood’s upcoming EP Vernal, the third in his four part seasonal epic album series Vertumnus. The track is the embodiment of the spring to come, bursting forth with orchestra and choir performances that have become Packwood’s trademark. You can pick it up already on iTunes here.

Vernal is scheduled for release on the 1st September and follows on from Packwood’s recent releases Autumnal and Hibernal. The full track listing is below:

1. We Drink Light
2. How Many Rivers
3. Hollow
4. Another Day Spent
5. My Fair Life

Ten Albums and EPs From the First Half of 2015 You Should Own

Bob Dylan

We’ve hit the halfway point of 2015 and already we’ve been treated to some very very fine music of the folk, acoustic and roots albums from some of our favourite artists. When I was sifting through the releases so far this year whittling it down to just ten records was almost impossible. But this is the challenge I’ve set myself and ten albums I have chosen – with honourable mentions to of course go to William Fitzsimmons, Passenger, Lucy Wise Trio, José González, Catgut, Punch Brothers, The Decemberists and many many more. So prepare to discover some amazing music, revisit some amazing music or hotly debate what’s missing from our list of the top ten albums and EPs from the first half of 2015.

DeclarationKate Burke & Ruth Hazleton

Declaration

The return of Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton to the studio with their fifth album was welcomed with open arms from everyone in the folk scene. I’ve said it many times before but Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton’s music in the early 2000’s is what solidified me as a life long fan of folk and traditional music and having them back in my earbuds with brand new music is simply wonderful. This album is everything you want from Kate & Ruth – beautiful harmonies, stunning renditions of traditional songs and some contemporary music added in for good measure.

Short MovieLaura Marling

Short Movie

Five albums in seven years is no mean feat, but what is truly amazing about Laura Marling is how much she has grown as an artist over that time. Not content to just present the same idea over and over again Laura Marling has become more than the sum of her influences, more than just a sweet folk singer from London, and has truly become one of the most exciting and important artists of her generation. Short Movie is the most lyrically and melodically raw album of Marling’s catalogue – all electric guitars and Dylan-esque spoken lyrics – yet it also manages to be her most seamlessly produced work to date, which is yet another achievement given the record was completely self produced.

Marlon WilliamsMarlon Williams

Marlon Williams

Where did you come from Marlon Williams? By this time last year I’d only heard rumours of this alt-country singer from New Zealand who was taking the folk scene by storm. Since then I’ve seen the man live more times than I can count, watched him literally reduce audience members to tears with his voice and have had his self titled album on repeat since its release. Williams has been described as harkening back to the country music stars of old, but I think there’s something thoroughly modern about his music – taking his cue the best of the golden tonsiled singers of the 50s and 60s and updating that sound to a new generation.

MontereyThe Milk Carton Kids

Monterey

When you listen to a new Milk Carton Kids album you pretty much know exactly what you’re going to get – two part harmonies over lead and rhythm guitar. But what makes Monterey stand out to me is the production. For the first time I feel like The Milk Carton Kids’ live sound has been captured on a record, although I can’t quite put my finger on why that’s so – on the surface the presentation is not that much different to The Ash & Clay. Maybe it’s just the “feeling” of the songs – but whatever it is this is definitely an album to have in your collection.

AutumnalPackwood

Autumnal

I’m kind of glad it’s taken three years for Packwood to release new music since his incredible debut self-titled album. In the intervening years Packwood has developed as a songwriter, adding a lyrical depth to his beautifully arranged chamber-folk music that was a little lacking on the first release. Autumnal is the first of two mini albums that Packwood has already released this year (with two more to come) but is by far my favourite with its choral arrangements, sweeping orchestras and nods to contemporaries like Sufjan Stevens and Sam Amidon. I’m going to revisit Packwood’s entire seasonal concept album Vertumnus as a whole once all four mini-albums are released, but for the moment I’m thoroughly enjoying Autumnal as a standalone release.

Tomorrow Is My TurnRhiannon Giddens

Tomorrow Is My Turn

2015 really been the the year of Rhiannon Giddens. Her successful collaboration with superstar producer T-Bone Burnett on the Inside Llewyn Davis concert Another Day, Another Time as well as the Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes has lead to the outstanding Tomorrow Is My Turn, Giddens’ debut solo album. The record takes traditional and contemporary music and reimagines it for Giddens folk-blues-jazz-old-time voice with amazing results, elevating her beyond her work with The Carolina Chocolate Drops. I feel like Tomorrow Is My Turn is destined to be an album that influences folk singers for years to come.

SolitudeRuby Boots

Solitude

When we picked Ruby Boots as an artist to watch in 2015 we suspected that come July we’d be talking up her new album Solitude. And that prediction has come true as Solitude is one of the alt-country albums of the past few years. Ruby Boots’s trademark big country voice is all over this record but what really makes it for me is just how tight she’s sounding with her full band – in fact I’d almost say that Solitude is the first time I’d describe Ruby Boots as a “band” rather than the solo project of frontwoman Bex Chilcott. When you add that dynamic to Ruby Boots’ masterful songwriting you’ve got an instant Australian country music classic.

Carrie & LowellSufjan Stevens

Carrie & Lowell

While I’ve enjoyed almost everything Sufjan Stevens has produced in the last five years his move away from his experimental electro music and back to his folk roots for Carrie & Lowell got me extremely excited, and the album itself has not disappointed. Here is a fragile, sumptuous, personal, raw piece of art that may well be Sufjan Stevens’ best album to date. I’m glad that Carrie & Lowell isn’t just Seven Swans revisited and that despite it being very much a folk album you can still here the echo of Stevens’ electro dalliance. This is Sufjan Stevens moving forward with his music and we’re all going on the journey with him.

If I WasThe Staves

If I Was

I feel like The Staves have always been destined for greatness since they burst onto the UK nu-folk scene almost six years ago. But it’s taken their Justin Vernon produced album If I Was to bring them to the attention of the wider folk community. In the past The Staves have leant on their three part harmonies to drive their music, and those harmonies are all over this album, but the inclusion of Vernon as producer has brought with it a full compliment of drums, guitars, horns and more. This adds a wonderful fullness to If I Was and only enhances The Staves’ stunning singing and songwriting.

One HouseTolka

One House

Tolka really are on the cutting edge of traditionally inspired music in Australia right now. Their latest album One House is almost entirely original music that draws so heavily on the tradition that you’d assume all of the tunes have existed for millennia. The production is pretty spot on and I love the use of samples dotted throughout – it adds an extra element to the music and makes One House stand out from its contemporaries. I can’t wait to see what Tolka have in store next.

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