The National Folk Festival Announces 18 More Artists for 2016

The Young'uns
Image Courtesy of The Young’uns

Having already revealed six of their 2016 artists The National Folk Festival has upped the ante with the revelation of 18 more acts for their 50th anniversary.

The announcement spans the history of The National with new and favourite local and international artists making the cut. Adding to the 2016 lineup are The Young’uns (above), Jaaleekaay, Black Market Tune, Kristina Olsen, Colum Sands, The Rambling Boys, Skipping Girl Vinegar, The April Maze, 19-Twenty, Den Hanrahan, Rowena Wise, Horse & Wood, Kaurna Cronin, Bloodwood, Hayley Shone, Cloudstreet, Latehorse and The Ballpoint Penguins. These artists join the likes of The East Pointers, Jacinta Price, The Company, The Mae Trio, Andrew Winton and Mànran.

The National Folk Festival takes place in Canberra over the Easter long weekend, 24th to 28th March. Earlybird tickets are available now via the official site.

First and Second Round of Artists Announced for AWME

Skipping Girl Vinegar
Image Courtesy of Skipping Girl Vinegar

Somehow two rounds of artists have been announced for this year’s Australasian Worldwide Music Expo (AWME) in Melbourne before we’ve had a chance to post anything. The event is considered one of the top world music events in Australia and its lineup is always one to keep an eye on.

So for the AWME has announced some very very exciting acts for 2016 including Timber and Steel favourites like Henry Wagons, HOWQUA, Jess Ribeiro, Ruby Boots, Skipping Girl Vinegar (above), The Audreys and many more.

AWME takes place in Melbourne from the 12th to 14th November. For more information check out the official site here.

The full 2015 lineup so far is below:

Archer, Cash Savage & The Last Drinks, Emma Donovan & The Putbacks, Henry Wagons & The Only Children, HOWQUA, Jess Ribeiro, John Bennett with David Hyams, Kingfisha, Latinaotearoa, Mick Thomas, Mojo Juju, Ngaiire, OKA, Pirra, Quarter Street, Ruby Boots, Skipping Girl Vinegar, The Audreys, The Meltdown, The Seven Ups, Thomas Oliver, Yirrmal

More Artists Added in the Bluesfest Seventh Lineup Announcement

Bluesfest
Image Courtesy of Bluesfest

This week Bluesfest have revealed even more artists for this Easter plus a 2015 playing schedule. The schedule can be downloaded here and if it looks exciting you better buy tickets quickly as Bluesfest is over 80% sold out.

The artists added this time around include the likes of Frank Yamma, Delta Rae, Wagons, Skipping Girl Vinegar, Marlon Williams, Kristy Lee, Genevieve Chadwick, Dewayne Everettsmith, The Bella Reunion, Luluc, James T, Matt Anderson, Shaun Kirk and Eddie Boyd and the Phatapillars.

Bluesfest is set to take place north of Byron Bay from the 2nd to the 6th of April. Tickets for the festival are already on sale – check out the details on the official site here.

Port Fairy Adds Six More Artists to its 2015 Lineup

Bearded Gypsy Band
Image Courtesy of The Bearded Gypsy Band

The Port Fairy Folk Festival is just over two months away and it looks like they’ve got even more to give with six more artists added to the lineup this week.

Joining an already impressive lineup will be indie-folk duo Luluc, Australian songwriting legend Mike Brady, singer-songwriter Frank Yamma, the genre hopping The Bearded Gypsy Band (above), Scottish traditional singer Fiona Ross and indie-darlings Skipping Girl Vinegar.

The Port Fairy Folk Festival takes place in Port Fairy, Victoria from the 6th to 9th March. For more information and tickets check out the official site here.

Mullum Music Festival Announces Very Folky Lineup

Tinpan Orange
Image Courtesy of Mullum Music Festival

The Mullum Music Festival always has a quality lineup and the 2013 event is no different. Amongst the dozens and dozens of artists announced are more Timber and Steel favourites than you can throw a banjo at including Mama Kin, Tinpan Orange, Love Over Gold, Bobby Alu, Skipping Girl Vinegar, Old Man Luedecke, Jordie Lane, Lucie Thorne, Elana Stone, Jack Carty, The Perch Creek Family Jug Band, Loren Kate, Aluka, Miles and Simone, Mustered Courage, Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel, Green Mohair Suits, James Kenyon and so many many more.

The Mullum Music Festival takes place in Mullumbimby, NSW from the 21st to 24th Novemember. For more information check out the official site here. The full lineup is below:

Raul Midon (US), The Basics, The Barefoot Divas, Blue Grassy Knoll, Pieta Brown (US), Swamp Thing (NZ), Robert Ellis (US), Arte Kanela Flamenco, Jaaleekaay (Gambia), Rose Cousins (Can), Mama Kin, Tinpan Orange, Love Over Gold (Pieta Brown & Lucie Thorne), Dubmarine, Bobby Alu, King Tide, Kingfisha, Sticky Fingers, Skipping Girl Vinegar, Sketch The Rhyme, Caitlin Park, Corey Chisel & The Wandering Sons (US), Old Man Luedecke (Can), Marlon Williams (NZ), Jordie Lane, Lucie Thorne, Elana Stone produced by Zebra Zap, Declan Kelly & the Rising Sun, Kooii, Chocolate Strings, Ray Mann 3, Potato Potato, Lifeline, Jack Carty, Rebecca Ireland, The Junes, The Perch Creek Family Jug Band, Loren Kate, Greg Sheehan, Ben Walsh: Loop Zero, Teatro Matita (Slav), Aluka, Miles and Simone, JoJo Smith, Leah Carriage, Starboard Cannons, Mustered Courage, Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel, The Lucky Wonders, Round Mountain Girls, Lez Karski Band, Green Mohair Suits, Annie Plummer, The Sugar Spinner, Walrus & The Carpenter, Sister Mary’s Acoustic Mullum,Victoriana Gaye, James Kenyon, Mr Cassidy, James Teague, Muberry Bend, The Hottentots, Gabriel and Cecilia, Clelia Adams & River Express, Three Little Sisters, Northern Rivers Ukulele Orchestra, Spaghetti Circus, The Pitts, Raise the Roof Community Gospel Choir, The Biggest Little Town Choir, St John’s Singers, Stukulele and Miss Amber’s Chocolate Wheel, MC Mandy Nolan, Roundabout Theatre Company, a c.a.s.e for correlation, The Curly Cousins, The Magic Bus.

Review: Byron Bay Bluesfest 2013

Bonnie Raitt
Image Courtesy of Bluesfest

To all the devout fans and readers of Timber and Steel, let me first take the opportunity to apologise for the prolonged amount of time it took to publish this. Please understand the love this article contains and the arduous task of having to coherently put it down on paper.

It was difficult to come down from falling into the rabbit hole and immersing myself in five days of being lost in Wonderland. Accompanying me were two filmmakers, one photographer, a Byron local and two actors. Each set that finished and each tent that we walked out of incited a collective sigh and exhausting swoon. Bluesfest, to me, is the only festival we have that comes even an inch in resemblance to Woodstock – obviously, the air had a tinge of green to it. We came to be time travellers and kids with rampant obsessions being let loose in Tyagarah. From being stuck between men and women of all ages sharing this one experience but in different ways, to being stuck in the car park for two hours. Together, we were all big players in moments that ranged from chaotically erratic to life affirming. Being in the same vicinity as the legends we all grew up with is something that can never justly be put into words. But, here goes – our shared experience, fifteen minutes in our shoes.

Our first taste of Bluesfest, 2013 was of Leonardo’s Bride. Abby Dobson wearing red feather earrings and a tight white dress – ageless. In the midst of their set, Dobson announced that this would be their last ever show and they certainly ended their reign on top. With each song, Dobson would stare intently and intensely into the crowd, as if to look into each individual’s eyes. Being led astray momentarily, I heard “Even When I’m Sleeping” from outside of the tent and ran back to the front to hear Dobson’s flawless vocals accompanied with Dean Manning’s rusty and robust harmony. At one point, they confessed to drinking since 10am and then proceeding to play “Sleepyhead” as though they had just finished writing it and played it to a new audience for the ninth time. Although, admittedly I could listen to Dobson talk all day and night, after seeing and hearing this live, I would much prefer her to lull me to sweet slumber with this voice of unwavering fervour.

Staying in the main tent, Mojo, we caught Skipping Girl Vinegar who were probably one of my favourite bands to catch. Their stage plan was the first thing to note, as they stood side-by-side at the front of the stage. One would think that the drummer, Chris Helm, being placed beside frontman, Mark Lang, would cause some sort of audio chaos, however I feel as though the band are very familiar with this setup. Having never seen Skipping Girl Vinegar live before made this set a real treat, being able to clearly hear the 80’s influence with the obvious variations between male and female vocals. My first impression of the band was, ‘wow, they are so cute,’ and my last impression was, ‘amaze. This is a band full of angsty babes.’ The most standout thing about them was the sheer enthusiasm of Helm, keeping a solid beat whilst having a smile that reminded you of untainted pleasure. Concluding their set, was their “bogan anthem” which had the entire crowd fist pumping the air like true Aussie bogans.

It bewildered me as to how people had time to meander about and it impressed me that they would give up their spots to go to the toilet. We, on the other hand, destroyed our knees, bladders and livers over the course of the five days. When the likes of Glen Hansard and The Frames are due to come on stage, there really is not time for anything else other than the music. With playful banter here and there too – we have a little bit of time for that. As was exemplified by Hansard as he took the stage and brought the Irish sardonic humour to Byron. Backed by a full string section and his busted guitar, the Mojo tent instantly filled up and was teeming with people by the end of his first song. Although Hansard’s humour was a welcome comic relief, it was such a blaring contrast from his music that at times it was difficult to engross myself in his music. All-in-all though, Hansard finishing his set with “Falling Slowly” had the entire crowd forgetting his obscenities and hearing what they all came there for. Outside the tent, inside the tent, every mouth sung along and all eyes remained centre stage.

The humidity and heat were starting to take effect on us, all of us; people were getting restless and aggressive as they weaselled their way to the front of each stage. Admittedly, my friends and I partook in said weaselling. We wanted to have some play in the “search for sugar man,” so many crossed arms were attentively pushed and every small space was utilized as a walkway. The entirety of Bluesfest was one surreal stupor for us all. It was hard to even fathom that Rodriguez was about to come on stage and play for us the songs we did not understand as children and later came to fall in love with as adults.

Initially, it seemed as though he would inanimately play and have no strength to talk as he was escorted on and off the stage. This theory was soon thrown out the window when he began his set. Rodriguez embodied more a worldly man who is an old soul. Between songs, he would come out of nowhere with empowered two to five minute speeches about stopping violence against women – which brought on a bellowing roar from the crowd. He would change between this and something a little more light-hearted.

Rodriguez: I’ll tell you guys a joke. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse went to a marriage counsellor because Mickey wanted a divorce. The counsellor says, ‘Mickey, you can’t just leave your wife because she’s stupid.’

Mickey replies, ‘I’m not calling her stupid, I said she’s fucking Goofy.’

As what was expected, he started to play “Sugar Man” and the crowd lost all sense of propriety. As most were well aware of the documentary “Searching for Sugar Man,” I feel this had a huge play in the number of those in the audience. All together those who came out of curiosity and intrigue alone along with his fans from the seventies and all who came to be in between. Included in his set was a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone,” which even though was not completely true to how it was originally played, was still worthy of the applause it received.

Now, as you may have noticed, I have not made any indication as to which days anyone has played. When the lack of phone reception or battery became an obvious factor to us from day one, the only thing that we came to take note of was our meeting spot of ‘M9.’ My friends had carved this into my memory and days and time were unnoticed. For all of the instances we have ever said, ‘man, I wish I had a soundtrack to my life,’ this came true when we would take minutes out of the day to gorge on the surprisingly delicious festival food provided to us. Included in these moments away was even a spontaneous morning we spent in Byron having pints and conversations with locals and fellow festival goers. By this point, it was hard to imagine the world outside of Byron Bay existing and moving onward.

Back to Wonderland, being the incredibly vertically challenged person that I am, getting into the tent away from the pelleting rain was not on the cards for me. Although at the time, it seemed like a great idea, I disbanded from my friends to find a better spot to watch Santana. There was no chance of this. Instead, I chose to join the other devoted fans in the rain that were just as naive as me in not bringing any form of protection to thwart it. This became irrelevant as soon as he started playing. Santana’s lead vocalists, Andy Vargas and Tony Lindsay, were a brilliant treat filling in the shoes of legendary voices like Rob Thomas and Wyclef Jean during the show. We came to know and take for granted this large and varied band setup then, here, seeing each expression of love and passion on their faces. The kind of musicians that now seem so rare, I eventually welcomed the pouring rain just to see those eyes. Inside the tent and definitely outside of it, I heard Santana all around me with fans singing along in unison and devouring his signature complex and endless riffs.

Unfortunately, due to so many inevitable clashes, we caught only a small part of Iggy and The Stooges. However, we made it just in time for Iggy Pop telling the audience to ‘get on stage and dance with The Stooges’ – oh, excellent. This drove those on stage and those in the audience wild. This was a fairly standard show for The Stooges as they paraded a shirtless Pop and gave the crowd what they wanted, plain dirty rock.

Now, Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters was a definite highlight. For all of you who were there for Bluesfest or caught one of his sideshows, I know you would agree with me here. You are conditioned and familiar with Robert Plant as the voice of Led Zeppelin and having this sound in your head that seems irrevocable. Though, you also deeply love the band, so you should know better. True to form, Plant delivered. The Sensational Space Shifters having quite a psychedelic feel to them combined with Plant driving the whole thing brought old classics like “Whole Lotta Love” and “Heartbreaker” back to life, but reincarnated. Forty years on and he still manages to bring people to their knees in awe with inscrutable innovation. With lights coming from the stage and places beyond it, amplified by the crowd losing all inhibition, I felt tears well up in my eyes.

Almost ashamedly, Bluesfest was the first time that I had heard of Blind Boys of Alabama and I shudder to think of what I would be had I not seen them. Being around since the 1930’s and being the brand of Gospel Blues that I delight in, their set proved to be one very unforgettable hour of splendour. Setting the whole tent off in uplifted, unrestrained and exalted dancing, blind “boys” Jimmy Carter, Ben Moore, Eric McKinnie with dashingly charming guitarist Joey Williams proved that blues is not a dead musical variety.

When we came around to see Roger Hodgson, I had met an older couple in the mosh and judging by their expression of elation and the way they held each other you just knew – they were there from the beginning. We talked about this deep love for Supertramp and could barely contain ourselves with anticipation. Post this discussion and close to the lead up to Hodgson getting on stage, they assured me that they would be a barricade around me so that no more of these ten-foot giant fans could stand in front of me.

As incredibly cliché as it may sound, “Breakfast In America” and “Dreamer” were definitely the highlight of his set. Not just because they were the most famous Supertramp songs, but they had the entire crowd dancing their own dance, jumping, screaming, being taken somewhere they only knew. Spending a good portion of the set with my eyes closed, there was still the feeling of this veil of pure love over the entire tent. Since my friends were amazing enough to let me stand in front of them for most of the festival, I looked back during “Breakfast In America” to see them losing it all, I looked back at the older couple and the woman and I grabbed each other’s arms, almost in fear of losing ourselves. Hodgson on stage brought me to the realisation of what distinguishes this era of rock to ours now. Forty years on and his integrity is still intact, that charismatic smile of his as he oversees the sea of people he has connected with for decades.

Bonnie Raitt was probably who I was most excited about. From the line-up, it may have seemed odd but, the way she is live and the way that she connects with her audience is just phenomenal. I left my friends to eat outside the tent as I tried to weasel my way through to the front, however, it proved that most people had the same idea and created a kind of blockade with no space for even me to push through. For a woman in her early sixties, Raitt sure knows how to pull a crowd and keep them there. Among most of the other musical legends alongside her at this festival, Raitt has been performing for more years than I have been in existence, so you come to expect a certain ease and comfort she has on stage. You would hear these constant bouts of fevered exclamations, like ‘I love you, Bonnie!’ or ‘Yeah, Bonnie!’ And, upon her encore, she took a seat and expectations came to fruition when she spoke of the beauty of the next ballad – queue “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” The entire tent stood still, which was appropriate for the intensity of the crowds’ fixated attention on one spot.

Paul Simon – what a God. Ruining the punch line, a man who plays a full set and receives three encores is a man to commend. Simon had a somewhat melancholic and earnest demeanour, which we soon found out had been caused by the passing of good friend and co-producer, Phil Ramone. Quite apropos was Simon’s tribute to his friend in playing “Slip Slidin’ Away” (Of which Ramone had co-produced). At this point, I turned around to my own friend, held her and said, ‘this is happening.’

Though, with this in mind, Simon still made a point to mention that he wanted everyone to be dancing. A mixture of classics and songs from his Graceland album set the audience on fire. As I earlier mentioned, he incited three encores and seemingly perpetual cheering. One of my favourite things about Bluesfest is the intergenerational mix, which was clear on the final night where the Mojo tent played host to the likes of Paul Simon. Backed by a full band of skilful and multi-instrumentalist musicians, Simon’s poetry not only came to life but came to us all individually and embraced us. There was a particular spot that we kept to in the Mojo tent where we had a glimmer of phone reception and I immediately texted my Mother and Father who were the reason for my Simon and Garfunkel adoration. Simon playing tracks like “Still Crazy After All These Years” and “The Sound of Silence” and closing with “The Boxer” in a way completed my life. In contrast to some of the other sets we caught, there was a surprisingly large amount of room to dance and loudly sing along.

This was the only way to end Bluesfest for me. When we had left the tent after Simon’s epic set, we trailed out flustered and speechless.

Festival Director, Peter Noble, has something to be proud of, indeed. This was a great year and having a fully sold out festival with satisfied faces made the insufferable portaloos and broken shoes worth every second.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 22nd March

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– New Sydney gypsy folk duo Betty & Oswald have a bunch of local dates over the coming weeks. Details here

– Made up of half of Brisbane-based celtic band Súnas, Two Crows are a brand new duo project and have a bunch of east coast dates coming up. Details here

– For the second year in a row Fanny Lumsden is going to the country in April for a tour of country halls. Details here

– Melbourne-based experimental vocal trio Aluka have announced a debut album and upcoming tour. Details here

– Melbourne trio The Walters have released the new animated video for their single “Bring Me Water”. Details here

– We’re big fans of “Pot Of Honey” the new single and video from The Mid-North. Details here

– The JamGrass Music Festival folks posted a bunch of videos on their Youtube channel from 2012 and we’ve selected a couple to embed on the blog. Details here

– Aussie supergroup The Hillybilly Killers – Bill Chambers, Tim Rogers and Catherine Britt – have an east coast tour planned for March and April. Details here

– One of our favourite regular folk nights, Sydney’s Little Features, is back for 2013 with an awesome lineup this Saturday – Jacob Pearson, Charlie Gradon, Arbori, Mimi Gilbert and Achoo! Bless You. Details here

Bluesfest, which is just a week away, has added a handful of artists to its lineup and a brand new venue. Details here

– Sydney’s Boy Outside has teased his new single ahead of a launch this April. Details here

Skipping Girl Vinegar have released their new video “Making Our Way” ahead of their appearance at Bluesfest next week. Details here

Stu Larsen and Natsuki Kurai are teaming together for a national tour this April. Details here

Interviews

“It’s kind of getting to a – kind of – a really good stage at the moment. We’re recording another album, a new album and that just – everything’s just kind of falling into place a bit. It’s not like – it all feels nice. Everyone, the vibes are great, you know. Like anything it’s hard work, but all the hard work got a lot of return”Bobby Alu chats to Janine Estoesta. Interview here

“I think the thing with this record, Sugaring Season, is there are no bells and whistles, there are no tricks and gadgets. It’s probably one of the most straight ahead records I’ve ever made. It’s also one of the deepest records I’ve ever made – and I’m not entirely sure what I mean by that. It’s not like I’ve reinvented the wheel or anything but I’ve got rid of anything extraneous”Beth Orton chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

Blog

“It’s St Patrick’s Day again and like good folkies we’re celebrating with a few pints of the black stuff and more jigs and reels than you can poke a bodhrán at. And of course St Patrick’s day means our traditional St Patrick’s playlist. This year we’ve taken the playlist “in house” (after a couple of years of guest writers) to bring you some of our favourite contemporary Irish singer-songwriters, bands and artists. Enjoy your day and enjoy the music” – St Patrick’s Day playlist by Gareth Hugh Evans. Blog here

“There’s nowhere near enough room here to list the richness of Warren’s contribution to Australia’s culture. That contribution will be formally recognised at this year’s National Folk Festival with a preview showing of Larrikin Lad, a one-hour biographical documentary about Warren, produced by by Rebel Penfold Russell, Pat Fiske and Adam Bayliss” – Peter Logue talks about the upcoming documentary on Australian legend Warren Fahey, Larrikin Lad. Blog here

Reviews

Recordings

“This trio are truly delightful and charming to watch and listening to the tad bits of stories about lady dance troupes, playing alongside Rage Against the Machine, a kidnapped tram, remind me of the extra features parts you get with the latest movie you purchase on DVD”Nikita Andrea reviews Most Requested: Live 2009 – 2012 from The Little Stevies. Review here

Gigs

“The joys of social media, a couple of weeks ago I stumbled across an unassuming Facebook event for ‘Wales @ Cecil Sharp House’. I’ve been to Wales and liked it, and I live in London, so it seemed a good combination to investigate”KTBell reviews Wales in London at the Cecil Sharp House, London. Review here

“I think the band were as surprised as we were. I think they are every night. In 1979, when she recorded her first album, producers Lenny Waronker and Russ Titelman told the top-class session musicians they’d hired just to follow her lead”JDX and Serena Skye review Rickie Lee Jones at The Old Museum, Brisbane. Review here

Releases This Week

Child Ballads
Child BalladsAnaïs Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer
iTunes

Tooth and Nail
Tooth & NailBilly Bragg
iTunes

Back on the Milks
Back on the MilksThe Starry Field
iTunes

Gigs Next Week

Betty & Oswald
Monday 25th March – 505, Surry Hills, NSW

Breaking Hart Benton
Friday 22nd March – The Empress Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 24th March – The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA

Brighter Later
Sunday 24th March – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Counting Crows
Wednesday 27th March – QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Communion Melbourne feat. Jack Donne, I, a Man, Kathryn Rollins, House of Laurence, Mustered Courage
Sunday 24th March – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

Dave Di Marco
Friday 22nd March – The Brewery, Byron Bay, NSW
Saturday 23rd March – The Loft, Gold Coast, QLD
Sunday 24th March – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD

Damien Dempsey
Tuesday 26th March – The Entertainment Centre, Darwin, NT
Wednesday 27th March – The Contemporary Arts Centre, Cairns, QLD
Thursday 28th March – The Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD

Don’t Mention The Wall
Friday 22nd March – Springwood, NSW (house concert)
Thursday 28th March – Newcastle University, NSW (lunchtime show)

Eli Wolfe
Friday 22nd March – The Armidale Club, Armidale, NSW
Saturday 23rd March – 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW

Glen Hansard and The Frames with Lisa Hannigan
Saturday 23rd March – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Monday 25th March – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 26th March – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Friday 29th March – BluesFest, Byron Bay, NSW

Jack Carty and Jordan Millar
Friday 22nd March – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 23rd March – The Loft, Warrnambool, VIC
Sunday 24th March – The Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 28th March – Manhattans Wine Bar, Launceston, TAS

Jake Shimabukuro
Wednesday 27th March – Powerhouse, Brisbane, QLD

Jordie Lane
Friday 22nd to Saturday 23rd March – Yackandandah Folk Festival, Yackandandah, VIC
Sunday 24th March – Hills Are Alive Festival, South Gippsland, VIC
Tuesday 26th March – Lizottes Central Coast, Dee Why, NSW w/ Ruthie Foster
Wednesday 27th March – Lizottes Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW w/ Ruthie Foster
Thursday 28th March – Memorial Hall, Bellingen, NSW w/ Ruthie Foster
Friday 29th March to Monday 1st April – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Little Features feat. Jacob Pearson, Charlie Gradon, Arbori, Mimi Gilbert, Achoo! Bless You
Saturday 23rd March – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Luka Bloom
Friday 22nd March – Wrest Point Showroom, Hobart, TAS
Saturday 23rd March – National Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Monday 25th March – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 28th March – The J, Noosa, QLD

Michael Kiwanuka
Tuesday 26th March – St Michael’s Church, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 27th March – St Stephen’s Uniting Church, Sydney, NSW

MoFo feat. The Underscore Orkestra and Chaika
Friday 22nd March – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Nick and Liesl
Sunday 24th March – Gratitude Day, Coffs Harbour, NSW

Passenger
Sunday 24th March – The Playhouse Theatre, Hobart, TAS
Wednesday 27th March – Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide, SA

Patrick James
Saturday 23rd March – Baby Black Cafe, Baccus Marsh, VIC
Sunday 24th March – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 29th March – The Front, Canberra, ACT

Paul Brady
Friday 22nd March – The Fly By Night, Perth, WA
Sunday 24th March – Brunswick Music Festival, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 28th March – The Irish Club, Brisbane, QLD

Paul Simon with Rufus Wainwright
Wednesday 27th March – Entertainment Centre, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 28th March – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, VIC

Seth Lakeman
Friday 22nd March – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 23rd March – Lizottes, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 24th March – Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Wednesday 27th March – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 28th March – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 29th March – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW

Simone Felice with Jess Ribeiro
Thursday 28th March – The Exeter, Adelaide, SA

The Lumineers with The Falls
Thursday 28th March – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 29th March – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

The Starry Field
Friday 29th March – The Clever Duck, Cairns, QLD

The Tiger and Me
Friday 22nd March – The Brisbane Markets, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 23rd March – The Joynt, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 24th March – The Brisbane Markets, Brisbane, QLD
Tuesday 26th March – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 28th March – Hotel Steyne, Sydney, NSW

Two Crows
Friday 22nd March – Australian Celtic Studies Centre, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 23rd March – Clarendon Guesthouse, Katoomba, NSW
Sunday 24th March – Mt Kembla Village Hotel, Mt Kembla, NSW
Wednesday 27th March – Front Gallery and Cafe, Canberra, ACT

Wilco
Wednesday 27th March – Hamer Hall, Melbourne, VIC

William Elliott Whitmore
Saturday 23rd March – Mojo’s Bar, Fremantle, WA
Sunday 24th March – Enigma Bar, Adelaide, SA
Tuesday 26th March – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 27th March – Annandale Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 28th and Friday 29th March – Byron Bay Bluesfest, NSW

Yackandandah Folk Festival
Friday 22nd to Saturday 23rd March – Yackandandah, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“Barrett’s Privateers” – Stan Rogers

I heard this song the other day and it brought back so many memories of growing up in folk clubs and folk festivals – I’m sure this song was a mainstay of singing sessions in my childhood. Now I just want to go out and learn it!

Watch the New Skipping Girl Vinegar Video, “Making Our Way”

Skipping Girl Vinegar
Image Courtesy of Skipping Girl Vinegar

After a successful showcase tour of the US Skipping Girl Vinegar are back on home soil and have just released their brand new video “Making our Way”. The video for “Making our Way” is absolutely stunning, featuring some pretty amazing aerial shots – check it out below:

Skipping Girl Vinegar will be appearing at next week’s Bluesfest with more Australian dates on the way.

Review: Wales at Cecil Sharp House, London UK

DSC_0588Review and photos by KT Bell

The joys of social media, a couple of weeks ago I stumbled across an unassuming Facebook event for ‘Wales @ Cecil Sharp House’. I’ve been to Wales and liked it, and I live in London, so it seemed a good combination to investigate.

I headed along a little later than planned and came to discover the absolute delight that was a whole day, indoor festival celebrating some of the best folk music currently coming out of Wales. It was also super conveniently close to my home and was housed in the intriguing Cecil Sharp House, the home of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. It had never occurred to me that such a place existed but it does and houses a wealth of exciting folky opportunities! But I digress.

Wales at Cecil Sharp House - Mabon

I arrived in time to catch the second half of Jamie Smith’s Mabon. One of the things that continues to excite me about folk music is the increase in young people both appreciating and playing it. Now, the audience here were mostly older than myself but many of the acts were my age or younger, and the verve and vitality they put in to their music is incredibly infectious. This quintet was in no way short of energy, character and mischief. The phrase that came to mind, conjured by their energetic folk tunes, was harmonised chaos, but in the enthralling, completely immersed, ‘got to hear more’ kind of way. Described as ‘high-energy interceltic musical mastery’ they deftly switched between toe-tapping jigs to haunting ballads and took a few swift turns through traditional Welsh and Celtic folk tunes switching between instrumental numbers and both English and newly introduced Welsh lyrics, I was left clamouring for more. So much so that I bought their album instantly and have had it on loop every day at work since. It’s that delightful mix of energy and celtic folk that can carry you comfortably through the day and reminds me of the likes of the Crooked Fiddle Band and the Barons of Tang. Happily they will be back in London on the 19th April and I shall see what I can do about heading along to get another live dose – seriously addictive. If you’re

Wales at London - Parti Cut LloiGiven the event was in one hall, with smaller rooms downstairs to hold other, more intimate performances and even a family Twmpath/ Ceilidh (don’t worry if you struggle to pronounce those, think country dancing, much like a good old barn dance), I milled around a bit in the main hall and waited for the next act which was intriguingly called Parti Cut Lloi. I’m always a bit dubious of an all male choir, often you hope it will be a Spooky Men’s Chorale or Man Choir type of performance but can often be left wanting. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover the harmonies and a Capella sorry, plygain delivery of their all Welsh repertoire of traditional songs from the middle of Wales (I looked it up, they really are from the middle of Wales!) was absolutely enchanting! And their name means “The Calf Shed Party” which makes mostly sense given their numbers were halved for this performance because the others were all tending to their farms as it’s mid lambing season. I met a few of them in the bar a bit later, cheeky and down to earth blokes all round.

Wales at Cecil Sharp House - DnAWhile the main hall was setting up for the next act, I headed down to one of the smaller rooms to take in DnA, a mother and daughter duo on Harp and fiddle. The connection between the two of them while performing is visceral and intense but in a way they focuses your attention on the skill and harmonies they create. I even learned a bit of Celtic Harp history, the trick of placing a 10 shilling note between the strings to help create the thrumming chorded harmonies in a tune I swiftly forgot the name of. But all in all, their set was quite easy to lose yourself in.

Wales at Cecil Sharp House - Rag FoundationI headed back upstairs to the main hall in a lulled sense of peace only to be awakened again by the Rag Foundation in full swing. An incredibly polished and professional 5 piece, they deliver a more urban folk with an edgy and powerful tone that marked the change from day to night and the energy from mellow and toe tapping, to surging rhythms. From the South of Wales, their verve had a different quality and an energy of it’s own which had the heart pumping and the audience entranced.

Wales at Cecil Sharp House - Cerdd CeginFor a reprieve after the sheer energy of Rag Foundation, I headed back downstairs to catch Cerdd Cegin, an intriguing combination of one Canadian come Welsh Harpist and two fiddle players. Positioned to face in towards each other, it felt a little like voyeurism to be drawn in to the world they expertly created with their entwining melodies and harmonies. Described as “a secret music, a quiet music, music for kitchens and friends”, the trio did not disappoint with an incredibly intimate yet short set – Ceri Owen-Jones, Harpist, needs to learn to either talk quicker or make his stories shorter. However, their last piece was breathtaking. Ceri introduced the song by explaining the time and place that inspired the composition, he went for a walk in the west of Wales and discovered himself caught on the side of a mountain with a storm baring down on him and a very slippery, frantic scramble back down to safety, and every ounce of anxiety, adventure and sheer relief was captured and conveyed by the trio. Fascinating!

Wales at Cecil Sharp House - AlawThe knot of onlookers, once the set was over, all flooded back up to the main hall to catch the fresh, new collaboration that is Alaw. Boasting the violi player and accordion player from Mabon (Oliver and James Smith himself respectively), the mix of their folk with the crisp guitar addition make for a new dynamic and a different energy around the music they deliver. A beautiful mix of enchanting melodies and moody ballads and an among delivery of on stage banter that they were still ‘ironing out’ and making mental notes of what did and didn’t work, much to the audiences’ amusement, made of a friendly and warming set.

Wales at Cecil Sharp House - CalanThe final act for the night was a youthful and vivacious Calan, a 5 piece of energetic folk complete with some crazy Welsh instruments. They have stolen hearts across Wales and seem to be a driving force for rekindling Welsh folk in the broader UK landscape. It helps that they’re young and good looking. They reminded me of Wales’ answer to Skipping Girl Vinegar only they also whipped out clog/ step dance off between main vocalist Bethan and her Father which we all eagerly crowded around to witness. It was a clap/ cheer off and apparently her dad always wins… and did again. The vitality of Calan had the hall buzzing with enjoyment. I can see they will go far and the Welsh will be proud of the way they are being represented.

Altogether a fabulous day out and more Welsh spoken than I have ever heard! (Not that I’ve heard much Welsh, but you get the drift) And big props to Cecil Sharp House and the English Folk Dance and Song Society for providing a space for the Arts Council of Wales and Folk Development for Wales government initiative produce such a showcase of Wales to the rest of the UK, and hopefully, the world!

Port Fairy Adds Final Artists

Jackson McLaren
Image Courtesy of Jackson McLaren & The Triple Threat

The 2013 Port Fairy Folk Festival is under 5 weeks away and the organisers are busy putting the finishing touches on a massive lineup that already includes Arlo Guthrie, Eric Bogle, Glen Hansard, Gurrumul, Kim Churchill, Lisa Hannigan, The Little Stevies, Xavier Rudd, Mustered Courage, The Stillsons and more. The artists added to that already star studded lineup over the weekend include Tim Finn, Skipping Girl Vinegar, Jackson McLaren & The Triple Threat (above), Siskin River, Shaun Kirk and Alanna & Alicia Egan.

The Port Fairy Folk Festival takes place in Port Fairy, VIC from the 8th to 11th March with tickets available now. For the full list of artists and more information head over to the official site here.

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