The Best Folky Christmas Songs of 2017

Christmas Cats

It’s Christmas Eve which means its time to publish our favourite Christmas tracks released this year with a folky flavour.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone! Looking forward to folking with you in 2018

Amber Lawrence – “Aussie Aussie Christmas”

Jennifer Hanson – “Only Thing I Really Need”

Balsam Range – “Christmas Lullaby”

Paul Mosley & the Red Meat Orchestra – “Wintersun”

Bradley Palermo – “Christmas In Las Vegas”

Courtney Marie Andrews – “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”

Lori McKenna – “Mama’s Cooking”

Sera Cahoone – “Last Christmas”

Phoebe Bridgers – “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

Amilia K Spicer – “Love’s For Living”

Audio Mozaik – “(They Say) It’s Christmastime”

SUSTO – “Feliz Navidad”

Okkervil River – “What Friends Do”

Rich Krueger – “And It’s That Time Again”

Katie Garibaldi – “Silent Night”

Gregor McEwan – “Home For Christmas”

Butch Parnell – “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

Renée Jonas – “My Man In Red”

Kate Rusby – “Deck the Halls”

Emma Charleston – “O Holy Night”

Waterloo Revival – “All I Want for Christmas”

Edan Archer– “It Just Wasn’t Christmas”

Prosecco Socialist (David Rotheray, Eleanor McEvoy & Mike Greaves) – “This Dog’s Just For Christmas (Not For Life)”

Catherine McGrath – “All I Want For Christmas Is You”

Lisa Prank & Seattle’s Little Helpers – “All I Want For Christmas (Is To Be With You)”

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis – “Just One Kiss”

The Emerald Ruby – “Here Comes Santa Claus”

Lindsey Stirling – “Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy”

Pentatonix – “Away in a Manger”

The Heathen and the Holy – “When Christmas Comes Around”

Licking the Moose – “Longing For Snow”

Skinner and T’witch – “I Don’t Want an iPad (I Just Want World Peace)”

Michael Carpenter – “Another Xmas Song”

Kina Grannis and Imaginary Future – “Let It Snow”

mhm. – “White Winter Hymnal”

O’Hooley & Tidow – “We Sing Hallelujah”

Ryanhood – “Sleigh Ride”

Tesse – “Fat Man In A Red Suit”

The Heather Findlay Quartet – “The Snows That Melt The Soonest/Gaudete”

James Hoffman – “Go Tell it On the Mountain”

Blake Flattley – “Silent Night”

The Human Uniform Choir feat. Julianna Zachariou, Joelton Mayfield, tinkers, Dennis McCarke – “Happy Xmas (War is Over)”

Emma Huntington and Hunter Montgomery – “Once in Royal David’s City”

Villagers – “White Christmas”

Jeff Tweedy, The Staves, Sarah Jarosz, Punch Brothers, Rich Dworsky and Ted Poor – “Fairytale of New York”

Ten Artists to Watch in the First Half of 2017

Bob Dylan

With the new year upon us it’s time to look ahead at some of the great folk, roots and acoustic music that will be coming our way in 2017. And it’s already shaping up to be an amazing year with a bunch of very exciting albums already announced (see the list at the bottom of this piece) and even more in the works. We had a stab at picking 10 artists we think you should be keeping an eye on in the coming months but as always this is far from exhaustive. We hope you enjoy and a happy 2017!

All Our Exes All Our Exes Live in Texas

A perennial for this yearly article it would seem. Somewhere in between tour commitments last year All Our Exes Live in Texas found time to get into the studio and record their debut album When We Fall. The album was produced and engineered by Wayne Connolly (Sarah Blasko, Silverchair, You Am I) and will likely hit stores around March. Expect to see a lot of All Our Exes Live in Texas in the coming months – they’re set to explode.

Davidson Brothers Davidson Brothers

Late last year Australian bluegrass duo Davidson Brothers headed to Nashville to record with Larry Marrs at Mark Thornton for an upcoming album. The Davidson Brothers released their last album Wanderlust back in 2014 so a new record is very much anticipated and if you’ve managed to catch them live yet this year you’ll know they continue to be one of the most exciting live acts in the country. Stay tuned for news of their new album soon!

Fleet Foxes

While there’s been no official announcement of a new Fleet Foxes album this year, their first since 2011’s Helplessness Blues, all signs are pointing toward a release very soon. Frontman Robin Pecknold has been hinting at a new Fleet Foxes long player (plus a solo album) over the last couple of months and the band also reassured fans via social media that they wouldn’t have to fly to an announced show in Ireland in July because “we’ll be doing a full world tour in 2017-18 so no need to spend a lot on travel”. Watch this space for more information when it’s announced!

Husky Husky

Don’t be surprised if Husky’s 2016 single “Late Night Store” makes an appearance in this year’s triple j Hottest 100 – the national youth broadcaster has been hammering it of late. The track is the first taster from the Melbourne indie-folk duo’s third album which is due for release at “some point” in 2017. That’s all the information we have now but expect some more news to drop soon.

Jordan Jordan Ireland

The ex-member of The Middle East announced plans to release his new album Jordan Ireland With Purple Orchestra on the 20th January. The first track from the album “East Coaster” is a lot more acoustically driven than Ireland’s previous project Stolen Violin, but that’s not to say the rest of Jordan Ireland With Purple Orchestra will follow suit. We’ll have to wait and see what the album brings but I have a feeling it’s going to be something special.

Laura marling Laura Marling

A new album from Laura Marling in 2017 – Semper Femina due on the 10th March – is in itself not a surprise. The prolific singer-songwriter has released five albums over the last nine years with Semper Femina marking her sixth long player. But on hearing the first single “Soothing” it’s clear that Marling is experimenting with her sound and Semper Femina may not be as “folk” as we’re used to from her. The album will apparently focus heavily on female characters and creativity, a theme Laura Marling explored in her excellent 2016 podcast Reversal of the Muse which we highly recommend you download.

Punch Brothers Punch Brothers Side Projects

While things are pretty quiet on the Punch Brothers front the various members are keeping themselves very very busy. As well as hosting the new season of A Prairie Home Companion mandolinist and singer Chris Thile will release his album with jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau, on the 27th January. Banjo player Noam Pikelny’s new solo album Universal Favorite is due for release in March this year and was produced by Punch Brothers fiddle player Gabe Witcher. Witcher has also produced a solo album for guitarist Chris “Critter” Eldridge which will hopefully come out this year. Bassist Paul Kowert is prepping a new album as well with his trio Haas Kowert Tice (featuring Brittany Haas and Jordan Tice). All in all this might be the biggest year ever for fans of Punch Brothers.


Rhiannon Giddens Rhiannon Giddens

With her new album Freedom Highway due on the 24th February and an Australian tour this April (including an appearance at Bluesfest), 2017 could well be the year Rhiannon Giddens solidifies her Australian fanbase. Freedom Highway delves deep into black American history with songs based on slave narratives of the 19th century through to the civil rights movements of the 1960s. This may be Giddens’s most powerful work to date.

The Morrisons The Morrisons

There was a time when you couldn’t move in Sydney without bumping into a gig from The Morrisons. But over the last 18 months or so The Morrisons have become a little more scarce as the members focus on their side projects, although they continue to shine with their Paul Kelly and O Brother Where Art Thou? theme shows. In recent months the band have started posting photos from the studio and as we write this it looks like The Morrisons are on the verge of announcing the release of their debut album and a bunch of tour dates – 2017 is going to be the year The Morrisons come back in a big bad way.

Timberwolf Timberwolf

Adelaide based indie-folk singer-songwriter Timberwolf has been quietly plugging away at the scene for a while now and I feel as though 2017 will be his year. Having already garnered attention from triple j for his new single “Washed Out” Timberwolf is about to release his debut album and has a bunch of tour dates through the end of January and the start of February. Once the album is announced expect to see Timberwolf through 2017.

2017 Album Release Schedule

6th January: 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory – Dropkick Murphys
13th January: Gentlewoman, Ruby Man – Flo Morrissey & Matthew E. White
13th January: Laws of Gravity – The Infamous Stringdusters
13th January: Endless – The McClymonts
20th January: Jordan Ireland With Purple Orchestra – Jordan Ireland With Purple Orchestra
20th January: Dragonfly – Kasey Chambers
27th January: Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau – Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau
27th January: Seven Long Years – Musketeer
27th January: Stitch of the World – Tift Merritt
3rd February: Big Machine – Eliza Carthy and The Wayward Band
10th February: Memories Are Now – Jesca Hoop
10th February: Best Of – Old Crow Medicine Show
17th February: Windy City – Alison Krauss
17th February: Postcards From The Shell House – Busby Marou
17th February: Life Will See You Now – Jens Lekman
17th February: Highway Queen – Nikki Lane
17th February: Prisoner – Ryan Adams
24th February: Freedom Highway – Rhiannon Giddens
27th February: Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood – Sun Kil Moon
March – Universal Favorite – Noam Pikelny
3rd March: When We Fall – All Our Exes Live In Texas
3rd March: Ironbark – The Waifs
10th March: Semper Femina – Laura Marling
16th March: The Order of Time – Valerie June
31st March: Life Love Flesh Blood – Imelda May

Noam Pikelny Announces Solo Album Universal Favorite

Noam
Image Courtesy of Noam Pikelny

Punch Brothers banjo player and all round folk prodigy Noam Pikelny has announced plans to release his first official solo album Universal Favorite in March this year.

The album features Pikelny without accompaniment – it’s just banjo, vocal and the occasional other instruments. Universal Favorite was produced by Pikelny’s Punch Brothers bandmate Gabe Witcher.

Full details of the album are still to come but in the meantime check out the first instrumental track “Waveland”:

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Punch Brothers and More Announced for the Adelaide Guitar Festival

Bela Fleck
Image Courtesy of Punch Brothers

Looks like it’s time to book tickets to Adelaide. The Adelaide Guitar Festival has this year announced a killer lineup that could well be its best ever with plenty for Timber and Steel fans to enjoy.

American banjo maestros Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn have been announced as co-headliners along with progressive bluegrassers Punch Brothers. That alone should be enough to get you down south but the lineup has plenty more to offer with 18 international acts, 66 national artists and almost 200 local musicians including Daniel Champagne, Genevieve Chadwick, Matt Walker, Slava Grigoryan, The Panics, Dr Zane Banks (The Morrisons, Cruisin’ Deuces) and many more.

The Adelaide Guitar Festival takes place from the 11th to 14th August. For more information check out the official site here.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 25th March

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Sydney based singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin released her new video “Pool Party”. Details here

Matthew and the Atlas released their new video “Temple”. Details here

– Melbourne based singer-songwriter Ariela Jacobs released her new video “Lost”. Details here

– UK singer-songwriter Jake Bugg announced details of his upcoming album On My Own. Details here

– Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance announced his upcoming album The Wild Swan. Details here

William Fitzsimmons released his new video “Hear Your Heart”. Details here

– Seminal newgrass band Punch Brothers announced Australian tour dates. Details here

– Singers Neko Case, K.D. Lang, and Laura Veirs have announced a collaborative album case/lang/veirs. Details here

Vance Joy released his new video “Straight Into Your Arms”. Details here

Interviews

“I think what makes The National special for me is the way it homages and appreciates the raw, grass roots qualities of folk and traditional music, presenting it all with great respect on both big and small stages. The level of knowledge, friendliness and depth with which the audience throws itself into proceedings is second to none, at least as far as I’ve experienced at festivals around the world”Nancy Kerr chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“I did write a pop song. I wanted it to be accessible to a wider audience. I wrote three songs last year and that was one of them – they all kind of have this pop sensibility”Sian Evans chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“We’re trying to be miles away from the play-louder-than-the-pub kind of band, which I’ve definitely done in the past but it gets kind of exhausting. These days we hope to invite people in rather than try to compete with them” – Sam King from Burrows chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“It’s the last arena where you go to see an act and straight away go and talk to the person who’s just played and take a bit home with you. It’s that kind of instant performance energy. That’s why these festivals are still trucking along well. As a musician it’s a privilege to play at them because people face your way and they might buy something and you get to talk to everyone”Andrew Winton chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

Releases This Week

Radical Face
The Family Tree: LeavesRadical Face
iTunes

Timber and Steel Presents

The Timbers

William Fitzsimmons

Thursday 24th to Monday 27th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
Friday 1st April – Mt Gambier Hotel, Mt Gambier, SA

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Black Market Tune

Black Market Tune

The Austro-Scotish trad specialists play The National Folk Festival plus gigs in Canberra and Sydney

Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
Tuesday 29th March – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Wednesday 30th March – The Exchange Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Americana Fiesta
Sunday 27th March – Bald Faced Stag, Sydney, NSW

Ann Vriend
Friday 25th March – The Goulburn Club, Goulburn, NSW
Saturday 26th March – The Milk Factory, Brisbane, QLD

April Maze
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Black Market Tune
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
Tuesday 29th March – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Wednesday 30th March – The Exchange Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Batch Sessions feat. Tenderfoot, Ed Wells
Wednesday 30th March – Batch Brewing Company, Sydney, NSW

Blind Boys of Alabama
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW
Thursday 31st March – QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 1st April – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC

Bloodwood
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Bluesfest
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – Byron Bay, NSW

Burrows
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

City and Colour w/ Little May
Saturday 26th March – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
Monday 28th March – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, SA
Wednesday 30th March – Red Hill Auditorium, Perth, WA

Daniel Champagne
Thursday 31st March – Rad Bar, Wollongong, NSW
Friday 1st April – Canberra Musicians Club, Canberra, ACT

Emily Barker
Saturday 26th March – The Railway, Fremantle, WA

FolkSwagon feat. Danielle Deckard, The Delta Revue, The Run
Wednesday 30th March – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Festival of Small Halls feat. Vishtèn, The Little Stevies, Rob Longstaff
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 31st March – Hume Club, Bonegilla Migrant Experience, Bonegilla, VIC
Friday 1st April – Balgownie Village Community Centre, Balgownie, NSW

Gordie Tentrees
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
Tuesday 29th March – The Old Church, Canowindra, NSW
Wednesday 30th March – Food Angel Café, Dorrigo NSW
Thursday 31st March – Tintenbar Upfront Happ, Tintenbar, NSW
Friday 1st April – Magda Community Artz, Brisbane, QLD

Hootenanny feat. Deep South & Down
Sunday 27th March – Miss Peaches, Sydney, NSW

Hussy Hicks
Friday 25th to Sunday 27th March – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW

Irish Mythen
Saturday 26th to Monday 28th March – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW
Wednesday 30th March – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything
Friday 25th March – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 27th March – The Who Club, Warburton, VIC
Monday 28th March – The Flying Saucer Club, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 31st March – The Homestead Tasmania, Hobart, TAS
Friday 1st April – Live at The Wharf, Ulverstone, TAS

Jason Isbell
Sunday 27th March – Boogie Festival, Bruzzy’s Farm Tallarook, VIC
Monday 28th March – Bluesfest, NSW
Tuesday 29th March – Recital Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 31st March – Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo, VIC
Friday 1st April – The Croxton Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Jordie Lane
Friday 25th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 31st March – Secret Show, Sydney, NSW
Friday 1st April – Music on the Hill, Red Hill, VIC

Kaurna Cronin
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Kit & Cub
Sunday 27th March – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes
Saturday 26th March – The Union, Melbourne, VIC

Little Features
Saturday 26th March – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Man From Snowy River Bush Festival
Thursday 31st March to Sunday 3rd April – Corryong, VIC

Mark Lucas and The Dead Setters
Saturday 26th March – The Retreat Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 27th March – The Yarra Hotel, Abbotsford, VIC
Friday 1st April – The Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Moxie
Friday 25th March – Fly By Night Club, Fremantle, WA

Nancy Kerr & James Fagan
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – The National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Nancy Kerr & the Sweet Visitor Band
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – The National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – Bluesfest, NSW
Wednesday 30th March – 170 Russell, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 31st March – Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Paddy McHugh & Andy Golledge
Friday 1st April – The Midnight Special, Sydney, NSW

Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin w/ Liz Frencham and Lime & Steel
Thursday 31st March – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Pocket Fox
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Rhiannon Giddens
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW

Riley Pearce
Wednesday 30th March – The Bearded Lady, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 1st April – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW

Sahara Beck
Sunday 27th to Monday 28th March – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW

Shakey Graves
Tuesday 29th March – Hamer Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 31st March – The Basement, Sydney, NSW

Sian Evans
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Steve Earle & The Dukes w/ The Mastersons
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW

The Decemberists
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW
Tuesday 29th March – Hamer Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 30th March – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

The East Pointers
Thursday 24th to Monday 27th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
Wednesday 30th March – Kendall Community Centre, Kendall, NSW
Thursday 31st March – No 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW
Friday 1st April – Yamba Community Centre, Yamba, NSW

The Fagans
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – The National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

The Little Stevies
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 31st March – Hume Club, Bonegilla Migrant Experience, Bonegilla, VIC
Friday 1st April – Balgownie Village Community Centre, Balgownie, NSW

The National Anti-Folk Festival
Thursday 24th to Monday 27th March – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT

The National Folk Festival
Thursday 24th to Monday 27th March – Canberra, ACT

The Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band
Friday 25th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 27th March – The Quarterdeck, Narooma, NSW
Wednesday 30th March – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW
Thursday 31st March – The Stone House, Tomerong, NSW
Friday 1st April – Railway Institute Hall, Thirroul, NSW

The Rambling Boys
Thursday 24th to Monday 27th March – National Folk Festival, ACT

The Timbers
Thursday 24th to Monday 27th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
Friday 1st April – Mt Gambier Hotel, Mt Gambier, SA

The Weeping Willows
Friday 25th March – Billyroy’s Blues Bar, Bendigo, VIC
Sunday 27th March – T’Gallant Winery, Main Ridge, VIC
Friday 1st April – Harmonie German Club’s Friday Night Live, Canberra, ACT

The Young’uns
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Tim Guy
Thursday 31st March – The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW
Friday 1st April – Vic on the Park, Sydney, NSW

Tweedy
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – Bluesfest, NSW

Vishtèn
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT
Wednesday 30th March – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 31st March – Hume Club, Bonegilla, VIC
Friday 1st April – Wooloongong Hall, Wooloongong, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Big Scioty” – Aly Bain and Jay Ungar

Punch Brothers Announce Australian Tour Dates

Punch Brothers
Image Courtesy of Punch Brothers

It seems like the tour announcements are coming thick and fast at the moment. If you’ve been paying attention to social media you would have seen that seminal newgrass band Punch Brothers will be returning to Australia this August for their first tour since 2012.

In the intervening years Punch Brothers have released an album (The Phosphorescent Blues) and two EPs (Ahoy! and The Wireless) so there’s going to be lots of new music to enjoy.

Check out the full list of Australian dates below:

Tuesday 9th August – Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 11th August – Adelaide International Guitar Festival, Adelaide, SA
Friday 12th August – City Recital Hall, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 13th August – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC

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.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 20th November

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Progressive bluegrass five-piece Punch Brothers announced a new EP The Wireless. Details here

Timber and Steel announced that we would be presenting the Best Live Roots Act at the AU Awards. Details here

– A brand new monthly night in Brisbane, The Brisbane Folk Club, will kick off in December featuring Ben Salter, Neighbour and Marcus Blacke. Details here

Marlon Williams released his brand new video “Hello Miss Lonesome”. Details here

Bluegrass @ Yulli’s in Sydney will celebrate its 2nd birthday next week with a tribute to Johnny Cash and Paul Kelly featuring members of Catgut, Two Fat Bastards, The Plough, Bec Bastoli and more, as well as raising money for UNHCR. Details here

John Flanagan released his cameo heavy video for “Whatever Makes You Happy”. Details here

Ruby Boots released her new video “Cola & Wine”. Details here

Passenger has announced headline tour dates for 2016. Details here

– The final AU Sessions are this Tuesday featuring Caitlin Harnett and Jordan Léser. Details here

– Alt-country duo Little Georgia released their new video “Forget Me”. Details here

The Tallest Man on Earth released his new video “Darkness of the Dream”. Details here

Interviews

“What we’ve been calling it is gypsy-swing. Rather than your traditional format which is Django plays the head or Steph plays the head and then they solo for 20 minutes then we’re done, we’ve tried to gear it more towards the swing era where they had those big fancy introductions by the saxes, except the accordion takes that. We’ve been trying to be a lot more arranged with what we do – we still have room for solos but it’s not the highlight of the song or the focus of the song”The Squeezebox Trio chat to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

Reviews

Gigs

“Mumford & Sons did not disappoint with a blistering set covering all three of their albums. With the departure from acoustic instrumentation on Wilder Mind I half assumed that the tracks from Sigh No More and Babel would be reworked live to include the two-guitars-bass-keys-and-a-drum-kit set up, but for the older tracks the banjos and double bass were out in full force”Gareth Hugh Evans reviews Mumford & Sons at Gentlemen of the Road, Sydney with photographs by Sarah Turier. Review here

Releases This Week

Andrew Winton
GloryBox MechanicsAndrew Winton
Bandcamp

Punch Brothers
The WirelessPunch Brothers
iTunes

Timber and Steel Presents

TJB
Timothy James Bowen

Friday 20th November – Australian Music Week Showcase, Shucked, Cronulla, NSW
Friday 20th November – Home Sweet Home, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 21st November – Australian Music Week Showcase, Rydges, Cronulla, NSW
Saturday 21st November – Australian Music Week Showcase, Zinc, Cronulla, NSW
Sunday 22nd November – Beechworth Town Hall, Beechworth, VIC
Monday 23rd November – The Monday Jam, The Beresford Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 26th November – Secret Show, Jan Juc, VIC
Friday 27th November – Secret Show, Philip Island, VIC

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

The Squeezebox Trio w/ Snail

Squeezebox

Sydney’s own gypsy-swing masters The Squeezebox Trio launch their highly anticipated debut album And A Hotplate at Sydney’s premiere jazz club. The wonderful Snail will be out in support.

Saturday 21st November – 505, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

All Our Exes Live In Texas
Thursday 26th November – Schoolhouse Studios, Melbourne, VIC

April Maze
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd November – Majors Creek Festival, Braidwood, NSW

Archie Roach
Saturday 21st November – The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Sunday 22nd November – Homeground 2015, Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

Batch Sessions feat. The Daphne Rawling Band, Tim Wheatley
Wednesday 25th November – Batch Brewing Company, Sydney, NSW

Bluegrass @ Yulli’s
Wednesday 25th November – Yulli’s, Sydney, NSW

Clare Valley Carnival of Music
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd November – Auburn, SA

Chris Henry & Hardcore Grass
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd November – MountainGrass Festival, Harrietville, VIC

Dan Flynn and The State of Things
Sunday 22nd November – Petersham Bowls Club, Sydney, NSW

Dana Hassall
Friday 20th November – Mansfield Coffee Merchant, Mansfield, VIC
Saturday 21st November – Bos Taurus, Mansfield, VIC
Sunday 22nd November – The Front Gallery, Canberra, ACT
Friday 27th November – Rooty Hill RSL, Rooty Hill, NSW

Davidson Brothers
Friday 20th to Saturday 21st November – MountainGrass Bluegrass Festival, VIC

Festival of Small Halls feat. Irish Mythen, Starboard Cannons
Saturday 21st to Sunday 22nd November – Mullum Music Festival, NSW
Friday 27th November – Felton Hall, Felton, QLD

FolkSwagon feat. Snail, The Campervan Dancers, Colin Jones
Wednesday 25th November – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Gorgeous Festival
Friday 27th to Saturday 28th November – Penny’s Hill Estate, McLaren Vale, SA

Handsome Young Strangers
Sunday 22nd November – Botany View Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Home Sweet Home feat. The Sweet Jelly Rolls, Timothy James Bowen, Maia Jelavic
Friday 20th November – House Concert, Sydney, NSW

Joe Hill Centennial Concert feat. George Mann, Maurie Mulheron, Margaret & Bob Fagan, Sydney Trade Union Choir
Saturday 21st November – NSW Teachers Federation, Sydney, NSW

Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes
Sunday 22nd November – Junkyard, Maitland, NSW

Loren Kate
Saturday 21st to Sunday 22nd November – Mullum Music Festival, NSW

Maia Jelavic
Friday 20th November – Home Sweet Home, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 21st to Sunday 22nd November – Majors Creek Festival, Braidwood, NSW
Thursday 26th November – Wild Rover, Sydney, NSW

Majors Creek Festival
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd November – Braidwood, NSW

Marlon Williams and The Yarra Benders w/ Ben Salter
Friday 20th November – Small Ballroom, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 21st November – Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 22nd November – Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW
Tuesday 24th November – RAD Bar, Wollongong, NSW
Wednesday 25th November – Transit Bar, Canberra, ACT
Friday 27th November – Prince Bandroom, Melbourne, VIC

Mountaingrass
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd November – Harrietville, VIC

Mullum Music Festival
Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd November – Mullumbimby, NSW

Mustered Courage
Friday 20th November – Prince of Wales, Bunbury, WA
Saturday 21st November – Indi Bar, Scarborough, WA
Sunday 22nd November – Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle, WA

Pierce Brothers
Friday 20th November – 170 Russell, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 21st November – Westernport Hotel, San Remo, VIC

Queenscliff Music Festival
Friday 27th to Sunday 29th November – Queenscliff, VIC

Ron Sexsmith
Friday 20th November – Mullum Music Festival, Mullumbimby, NSW
Saturday 21st November – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Monday 23rd November – Basement, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 25th November – Rosemount, Perth, WA
Friday 27th November – Caravan Club, Melbourne, VIC

Ruby Boots
Friday 20th November – Basso Fridays, The Bassendean Hotel, Perth, WA
Saturday 21st November – The Ellington Jazz Club, Perth, WA

Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel
Saturday 21st November – Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 22nd November – Beechworth Town Hall, Beechworth, VIC

Suzannah Espie
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd November – Mullum Music Festival, Mullumbimby, NSW

Sweet Jean
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd November – Mullumbimby Music Festival, Mullumbimby, NSW
Thursday 26th November – Shebeen, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 27th November – The Skukum Lounge, Ashgrove, QLD

The AU Sessions feat. Caitlin Harnett, Jordan Léser
Tuesday 24th November – Hive Bar, Sydney, NSW

The Crooked Fiddle Band w/ The Dead Maggies, Scarlet’s Revenge
Thursday 26th November – The Factory Floor, Sydney, NSW

The Daphne Rawling Band
Saturday 21st November – The Blind Bear, Cronulla, NSW
Saturday 21st November – JD’s Bar & Grill, Cronulla, NSW
Wednesday 25th November – Batch Brewery, Sydney, NSW

The Dead Maggies
Friday 20th November – The Apple Shed, Grove, TAS
Saturday 21st November – The Brisbane Hotel, Hobart, TAS
Thursday 26th November – The Factory Floor, Sydney, NSW
Friday 27th November – The Pyrate House, Sydney, NSW

The Morrisons
Saturday 21st November – Aus Music Week, Cronulla, NSW
Friday 27th November – Franks Wild Years, Thirroul, NSW

The Snowdroppers
Sunday 22nd November – HiFi Days Festival, Cronulla, NSW
Thursday 26th November – Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS
Friday 27th and Saturday 28th November – Queenscliff Music Festival, VIC

The Squeezebox Trio
Saturday 21st November – 505, Sydney, NSW

The Timbers
Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd November – Majors Creek Festival, NSW

Timothy James Bowen
Friday 20th November – Australian Music Week Showcase, Shucked, Cronulla, NSW
Friday 20th November – Home Sweet Home, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 21st November – Australian Music Week Showcase, Rydges, Cronulla, NSW
Saturday 21st November – Australian Music Week Showcase, Zinc, Cronulla, NSW
Sunday 22nd November – Beechworth Town Hall, Beechworth, VIC
Monday 23rd November – The Monday Jam, The Beresford Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 26th November – Secret Show, Jan Juc, VIC
Friday 27th November – Secret Show, Philip Island, VIC

TinPan Orange
Friday 27th November – Queenscliff Music Festival, Queenscliff, VIC

Tiny Ruins
Wednesday 25th November – Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Joe Hill/Swing Low Sweet Chariot (Live at Woodstock)”- Joan Baez

Yesterday was the 100 year anniversary of the execution of labor activist, folk singer and songwriter Joe Hill. The song “Joe Hill” by Earl Robinson (based on the Alfred Hayes poem “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night”) has been covered by everyone from Pete Seeger to Bruce Springsteen but we had to include this beautiful, famous version from Joan Baez at her Woodstock performance.

Punch Brothers Announce New EP The Wireless

Punch Brothers
Image Courtesy of Punch Brothers

Progressive bluegrass five-piece Punch Brothers have announced plans to release a new EP on the 20th November this year. Titled The Wireless the EP is made up of material that didn’t make the cut of the band’s latest album The Phosphorescent Blues.

The full track listing for The Wireless is here:

1. In Wonder
2. The Hops of Guldenberg
3. Sleek White Baby
4. No More. Yet
5. Clementine

Check out a behind the scenes video of the EP’s first single “Sleek White Baby” featuring guest vocals from comedian and actor Ed Helms below:

Aoife O’Donovan Announces New Album In The Magic Hour

Aoife
Image Courtesy of Aoife O’Donovan

Americana and folk singer Aoife O’Donovan (Crooked Still) has announced plans to release her second solo album In The Magic Hour on the 22nd January.

A followup to O’Donovan’s highly successful debut Fossils, In The Magic Hour will see contributions from the likes of Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, Chris Thile (Punch Brothers), Nate Query (The Decemberists), Brooklyn Rider, Gabriel Kahane and more.

The full track listing is below along with the video for the first single “Magic Hour”:

1. Stanley Park
2. Magic Hour
3. Porch Light
4. Hornets
5. Magpie
6. Donal Óg
7. The King of All Birds
8. Not The Leaving
9. Detour Sign
10. Jupiter

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