Full Lineup of the 2017 Illawarra Folk Festival

Illawarra Folk Festival
Image Courtesy of The Illawarra Folk Festival

One of my favourite folk festivals of the year, The Illawarra Folk Festival, hits the Bulli showground in New South Wales on the 12th to the 15th of January and the lineup is incredible.

Despite being a medium sized festival The Illawarra Folk Festival manages to attract some pretty amazing acts and this year is no different. The lineup includes, but is not limited to, Andy Irvine and Luke Plumb, FourWinds, Tattletale Saints, The Whitetop Mountaineers, Tim O’Brien, Wallis Bird, Daniel Champagne, Echo Deer, Handsome Young Strangers, Lime and Steel, Mandy Connell, Martin Pearson, Nigel Wearne, Shanty Club, The Squeezebox Trio, Tinpan Orange, Big Erle, Jane Aubourg, Joe Mungovan, Kay Proudlove, Shelley’s Murder Boys, The Lurkers and many many more.

Tickets are still available for the festival and can be picked up here. If you live in Sydney I’d recommend jumping on one of the Music Trains down to Bulli for the full festival experience.

The full lineup for The Illawarra Folk Festival is below:

International Artists:
Andy Irvine (Ire) and Luke Plumb, Azzband (Italy/Spain), Christine Collister (UK) & Michael Fix, FourWinds (Ire), George & Noriko (Japan), Girls with Knives (Canada), Gregory Page (USA), Ken Field’s Hoot Band (USA), Kenta Hayashi (Japan), Kirsty Bromley (UK), London Klezmer Quartet (UK), Tattletale Saints (NZ), The Haywood Billy Goats (USA), The Outside Track (Scot) , The Sauerkrauts (Germany), The Whitetop Mountaineers (USA), Tim O’Brien (USA), Wallis Bird (Ire), Winter Wilson (UK)

National Artists:
1917: Strike!, 8Foot Felix, Adder’s Fork, Alanna and Alicia, Albion Fair Morris Dancers, Alex Hood, Baltic Bar Mitzvah, Black Bear Duo, Black Joak Morris, Blakboi, Brian Bell, Bruce Mathiske, Bush Music Club, Charlotte Emily, Chloe & Jason Roweth, Col Hardy, Colleen Z Burke, Daddy Longlegs & the Swamp Donkeys, Daniel Champagne, Dave de Hugard, Dave Elliston, Den Hanrahan & the Rum Runners, Dingo’s Breakfast Oz Music & Poetry Band, Echo Deer, Equus, Errol Gray, Fettler’s Yard, Folkaphonic Youth Orchestra, Free Fried Chicken, Genni Kane, Geoffrey W Graham, Glenn Skuthorpe, Glover & Sorrensen, Gone Molly, Good Tunes Band, Gordon Lightfoot Tribute Band, Graham Maureen Seal, Rob & Olya Willis, Gregory North, Handsome Young Strangers, Hillbilly Goats, Homegrown Quartet, Ionia, Jaga Band, Jay Wars & The Howard Youth, Jim Haynes, Jody + Innes, John Broomhall, Junkadelic Brass Band, Kate Maclurcan & The Loose Ends, Lime and Steel, Lindy lady of the Forest: Storyteller, Lisa Couper, Lizzie Flynn & The Reckoning, Low Down Riders, Malcura, Mandy Connell, Mark Cryle & Carmel Newman, Martin Pearson, Matthew Dames , Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club, Men With Day Jobs, Nigel Wearne, Out of Abingdon, Pat Drummond, Pete Denahy, Peter Hicks, Peter Mace, Peter Willey & Matthew Hobbs˜, Rory Faithfield, Rosie Burgess Trio, Rough Red, Rusty & The Saint, Sadie & Jay, Shanty Club, Sissybones, Taylor Pfeiffer – The Banjo Girl, The Good Girl Song Project, The Northern Folk, The Squeezebox Trio, The String Family, The Three Marketeers, The Trippy Hippy Band, The Wish List, Tinpan Orange, Tom Dockray, Tulalah, Women in Docs , Yellow Blue Bus

Local Artists:
Alex Boston, Astarte Studio’s Steampunk Gypsies, Big Erle, Brian Jonathon, Brynn Luker, Cake Tin Rattlers, Carefree Road Band, Cat Walk City and Friends, Chord-eaux, Cinnamon Twist Belly Dance, Circus WOW, Chinese Lion Dancers, Cross Rhythm Dance Company, Dani Karis, Erika Steller, Festival Choir & Orchestra, Five Sad Men, Gobsmacked!, Grace Gladwin, Harman & Hellens, Illawarra Breakfast Poets, Illawarra Flame Three, James R Cooper, Jane Aubourg, Joe Mungovan, John Littrich & The Water Runners, Josh Maynard, Kay Proudlove, Kenny Bartley/Super Kenny, King & Queen of Green – The Pearlies, Leo, Lizzie Bennet Band, Love In The Jungle, Man from the Misty Mountains, Maya & Tala, Maypole with Molly, Melanie April, Moscateros, Murmur, My Secret Window, No Such Thing, Paddy & The Wonderband, Patrick Lyons & The American Creek Band, Patron Saints Of Folk, Ralph Scrivens, Rani’s Fire, Ribbon Gang, Ruido Indy Flamenco, Scientists Behaving Badly, Shalani & Chloe, Shelley’s Murder Boys, Silver Lotus Tribal Bellydance, SingGongGo, Soul Flamenco, Southern Gentlemen, Story Beats, Stringline, Swamp n’ Beats, The Beatmeisters, The Bowhemians, The Calamities, The Con Artists, The Derby Dolls, The Lighthouse Keepers, The Lurkers, The Scratchies, The Swingaleles, Three-Sixty, Vic Janko Orkestar, Zlatkos Balkan Cabaret, Zumpa

The Joy of Small Folk Festivals

Top Half
Photo of The Top Half Folk Festival by Barry Skipsey

By Guest Contributor Peter Logue*, repurposed political journalist, festival tragic and accordion pest

It’s probably safe to assume that almost all readers of Timber and Steel have been to a music festival: most will have been to a large folk festival e.g. Woodford, Port Fairy, Blue Mountains or The National in Canberra.

Here’s a question, though: how many have been to a small regional folk festival? By small, I’m talking about the likes of Fleurieu in South Australia, Cygnet in Tasmania, Maldon in Victoria, Gulgong in NSW, The Top Half in NT (above), or the one I’m now involved in after eight years on the Board of the National – Cobargo, in the glorious Bega Valley on the NSW Far South Coast.

(There are many, many more small festivals, most of which are listed here)

I ask this because I believe it is important for the folk movement that people younger than me – which is lot of people – get involved in the smaller festivals, either through volunteering, applying to perform, just turning up and doing a blackboard, or paying the usually small amount to attend.

Why? Well, firstly they are just great fun, full of surprises and creators of those special memories that stay with you until you’re dribbling.

Take as an example the Cobargo Festival, in its 20th year this year.

For the pittance you pay, the program is just outstanding, musically diverse, challenging at times, international in flavour and inclusive.

That last word “inclusive” is the key to the success of the smaller festivals. Unlike some of the larger events (I exclude The National because of (a) the session bar and (b) its focus on learning and participation), smaller festivals are family, along with crazy uncles who play the banjo, daft grannies who play the one row button box, and the multi-talented kids who seem to be, and are, much better musicians than were around when I was their age.

Artists are approachable, usually do more than they’re asked to do, the sessions are diverse and sometimes really hot, and most people retire late at night to playing around a campfire, or sometimes a LED lamp.

At Cobargo this year you can meet the cream of Irish musicians, like Arty McGlynn and his wife Nollaig Casey, part of the Heart Strings Quartet. Arty started off playing covers in Showbands and spent many years as Van Morrison’s lead guitarist. (He must be a very patient man).

He wrote the book on guitar accompaniment for Irish music, though Paul Brady reckons – half jokingly – he taught has old friend Arty everything he knows.

Nollaig is an outstanding fiddler, her sister Maire NiChathasaigh is a world class harpist, and if you haven’t seen Chris Newman flat pick a guitar, you’re missing one of life’s big treats.
Cobargo will be their first festival in Eastern Australia, but you will never get as close to them as you will at this festival.

This excellent clip recorded by ABC Radio National on their short visit last year gives you a taste:

That’s the thing about small festivals; international and top level local performers love them, not because they pay well (they don’t) but because it gives them a chance to warm up before the big gigs, to perfect new material, and to see parts of the country they wouldn’t normally see.

Small festivals are also places for new or relatively inexperienced soloists or bands to get noticed. There is a formal and an informal network on the folk scene of promoters, staff and organisers from the big and small festivals and “wise heads” who spread reputations by word of mouth.

That’s how bands like The Waifs, Riogh and The Lurkers and countless others got noticed and built a name.

All of the many small festivals I go to each year have workshops, sessions, spoken word, blackboards and dancing as well as concerts.

Most have good food on site and a bar for relaxing in or singing or playing tunes.

All of them have major local involvement. In the case of Cobargo – which I’ve attended for 14 years – the community engagement is extensive.

Small festivals also build the folk community. Those locals who volunteer without any real knowledge of the folk scene, get the bug. They like that a few thousand people can get together for two or three days, have a rip roaring time, get maggotted, laugh sing and dance, and not a bad word is spoken or a punch thrown.

And they suddenly hear the quality of the music that they would never hear on their local commercial radio station or even on the ABC.

Small festivals are the modern day meeting places for our diverse folk tribes. They are also places of great learning. Ask anyone involved in the running and programming of any of our large folk festivals where they learned their skills and you’ll find a vast majority started with the small festivals.

If you haven’t been, try Cobargo from February 27th to March 1st. www.cobargofolkfestival.com

As well as the Heart Strings Quartet, you can see class acts like Archie Roach, Shellie Morris, Steeleye Span’s Ken Nichol, Chaika, Daniel Champagne, Ami Williamson, Nick Charles, Fiona Boyes and dozens more, all in a geographical setting that will take your breath away. And you can join or meet a very special family.

*Peter Logue is a member of the Cobargo Folk Festival organising committee

30th Illawarra Folk Festival Announces First Round of Artists

Eric Bogle
Image Courtesy of Eric Bogle

This coming January is the pearl anniversary of the Illawarra Folk Festival and they’ve just announced a “pearler” of a first lineup announcement – their pun, not mine! The festival, held in Bulli just north of Wollongong in New South Wales, boasts 13 onsite venues and is easily one of our favourite events of the year.

The first round of artists for the 30th Illawarra Folk Festival include a bunch of Timber and Steel favourites including Afenginn, Eric Bogle (above), Ted Egan, Big Erle, The Bottlers, The BordererS, Chloë and Jason Roweth, Claude Hay, Cloudstreet, Fred Smith, The Go Set, Lime & Steel, The Lurkers, The Mae Trio, Margaret & Bob Fagan, Martin Pearson, The Morrisons, Sparrow-Folk, Stray Hens, Takadimi, Timothy James Bowen and many many more.

The Illawarra Folk Festival will be held at the Bulli showground from the 15th to the 18th January. For more information check out the official site here.

The full lineup announcement so far is below:

International:
Afenginn (DENMARK), Anna Ludlow Band (CANADA), Bettina Schelker (SWITZ), Black Market Tune (SCOT/AUSTRIA), David Francey (CANADA), Debasis Chakroborty & Kriti Ensemble (INDIA), The East Pointers (CANADA), George Mann (USA), Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything (CANADA), Kristina Olsen (USA), Melisande – Electrotrad (CANADA), Reg Meuross (UK), Scott Cook (CANADA), Tim Edey Trio (UK)

National:
Stephan Pigram, Eric Bogle, Ted Egan, Folkaphonic Youth Orchestra (premiere), Allez-gator, Appalachian Heaven String Band, Azadoota, Bernard Carney, Big Erle, The Bottlers, The BordererS, Chloe & Jason Roweth, Claude Hay, Cloudstreet, Curragh, Dave de Hugard, David Beniuk, Deep River, Choir, Don Jarmey, Enda Kenny & Lindsay Martin, Fred Smith, Guerilla Zingari, Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse, The Go Set, Greg Champion, John Broomhall, Jordan C. Thomas, Junior, Lagoon Hill Zydeco, The Lazy Farmer’s Sons, Lime & Steel, The Lurkers, The Mae Trio, Margaret & Bob Fagan, Martin Pearson, Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club, Michael Fix, Mike Martin, The Morrisons, Neil Adam & Judy Turner, Nick Rheinberger, On The Stoop, Pat Drummond, Sally Harris, Sparrow-Folk, Springtide, The Squeezebox Trio, Stray Hens, Takadimi, Terry Serio’s Half Truths, Timothy James Bowen, The Transylvaniacs and Kengugro, Vardos, The Wish List

Remembering Pete Seeger – Tribute Concert In Sydney

Pete Seeger

This Sunday the NSW Folk Federation will be hosting a very special tribute concert to Pete Seeger who sadly passed away at the beginning of this year.

Remembering Pete Seeger will be held at the Friend in Hand Pub in Glebe from 4:30pm to 7pm this Sunday and will feature performances from Bob & Margaret Fagan, Mary-Jane Field, Peter Hicks, The Lurkers, Christina Mimmocchi, Maurie Mulheron, Margaret Walters and Chris Wheeler. The second half of the concert will feature all of the performers leading a singalong of Pete’s best known songs.

Entry for the tribute is $10, or free for NSW Folk Federation members. For more information check out the official NSW Folk Federation site here.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 9th May

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

The Felice Brothers have released their first single in three years, “Cherry Licorice”. Details here

– NSW based singer-songwriter Timothy James Bowen has a bunch of east coast dates this month as well as a brand new live video for the track “Breathe Easy”. Details here

– The new folk and Americana show on Double J, hosted by Emma Swift, kicked off this week. Details here

– South Australian singer-songwriter Sam Brittain is heading out on tour to launch his new album. Details here

– The one and only Stu Larsen will be releasing his debut album Vagabond in July. Details here

– Tonight the May edition of Sydney’s MoFo will take place at The Gaelic Club featuring Huckleberry Hastings and Brendon Moon. Details here

– We gave you the exclusive first look at the new Dan and Amy video “Pretend”. Details here

Splendour in the Grass sideshows have been announced for Ben Howard, First Aid Kit, Mikhael Paskalev and The Head and the Heart. Details here

Nick Mulvey has released another new video in the form of “Meet Me There”. Details here

Mark Wilkinson has added some major city dates to his current national tour this July. Details here

– Perth’s Ruby Boots has just released her new EP which you can stream online. Details here

The Lurkers have just released their new clip “Mining Man”. Details here

– The new Al Parkinson single “Like This” has been officially released. Details here

– Get a taster of Nick Payne’s (Dear Orphans) solo material with a live clip for “My Darling” featuring Katie Brianna. Details here

– Folktronica artist Caitlin Park has released her new gender-bending video “Lemonade”. Details here

Busby Marou have released their new video for “My Second Mistake” and announced a tour this July and August. Details here

– Adeladie’s Todd Sibbin has returned with his new band Todd Sibbin and the Acadian Driftwood sharing a new clip and tour dates. Details here

– Alt-country duo Jep and Dep have released their brand new video “Babe Come Down”. Details here

– Next weekend the Sydney Blues and Roots Festival is holding an Autumn edition in Sydney’s west. Details here

Blog

On Sunday Timber and Steel celebrated its forth birthday. Check out our annual editorial from Editor in Chief Gareth Hugh Evans here

Releases This Week

Little Bastard
Little BastardLittle Bastard
iTunes

Luka Bloom
Head and HeartLuka Bloom
iTunes

First Mind
First MindNick Mulvey
iTunes

Atlas
ATLASOwls of the Swamp
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Presents

Scott Matthew

Scott Matthew

Sunday 11th May – Brew, Brisbane, QLD
Monday 12th May – Mandala Organic Arts Cafe, Gold Coast, QLD
Tuesday 13th May – Pure Pop Records, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 14th May – The Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Timothy James Bowen

TJB

We’ve been fans of singer-songwriter Timothy James Bowen for a while now, even though he hasn’t featured a lot on the blog. If you’re in NSW you should check out one of these shows to see just why we think he’s something special

Sunday 11th May – House concert, Bulli, NSW
Friday 16th May – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Boy & Bear
Friday 9th May – Regent Cinema, Ballarat, VIC
Saturday 10th May – Deakin’s Costa Hall, Geelong, VIC
Sunday 11th May – Lighthouse Theatre, Warrnambool, VIC
Wednesday 14th May – Lismore Workers Club, Lismore, NSW
Thursday 15th May – C.ex Club, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Friday 16th May – Panthers, Port Macquarie, NSW

Claude Hay
Thursday 15th May – Venue TBC, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 16th May – O’Neill’s Pub, Dickson, ACT

Daniel Champagne
Friday 9th May – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 10th May – Tattersalls Hotel, Hobart, TAS
Thursday 15th May – Lizottes, Central Coast, NSW
Friday 16th May – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW

Dustin Tebbutt
Friday 16th May – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Ella Hooper
Friday 9th May – Jive, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 15th May – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 16th May – Soundlounge, Gold Coast, QLD

Fanny Lumsden & The Thrillseekers w/ Katie Brianna and Emma Beau
Thursday 15th May – Vic on the Park, Sydney, NSW

Hayden Calnin w/ Eliza Hull
Friday 9th May – Goodgod Small Club, Sydney, NSW

Jep and Dep w/ The Weeping Willows
Saturday 10th May – The Retreat Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Kim Churchill
Thursday 15th May – The Northern, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 16th May – Electric Playground, Brisbane, QLD

Little Wise
Sunday 11th May – Kingston City Arts Festival, VIC

Mark Wilkinson
Friday 9th May – Glebe Cafe Church, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 10th May – Clarendon Guesthouse, Katoomba, NSW
Friday 16th May – Brothers Leagues Club, Cairns, QLD

Melbourne Folk Club w/ Mick Thomas, Suzannah Espie, Marlon Williams
Wednesday 14th May – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC

MoFo feat. Huckleberry Hastings, Brendon Moon
Friday 9th May – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Owen Campbell
Friday 9th May — Mudgee Brewing Company, Mudgee, NSW
Saturday 10th May — TAB Garden Hotel, Dubbo, NSW
Sunday 11th May — Towradgi Beach Hotel, NSW
Thursday 15th May — The Armidale Club, Armidale, NSW
Friday 16th May — Goondiwindi River Jam, Goondiwindi, QLD

Paul Greene and the Other Colours
Friday 9th May – Venue 505, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 10th May – The Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW

Sam Brittain
Friday 9th May – Revolver, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 16th May – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW

Scott Matthew
Sunday 11th May – Brew, Brisbane, QLD
Monday 12th May – Mandala Organic Arts Cafe, Gold Coast, QLD
Tuesday 13th May – Pure Pop Records, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 14th May – The Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC

Sydney Blues and Roots Festival Autumn Edition
Friday 16th to Sunday 18th May – Windsor, NSW

The Beards
Friday 9th May – Tattersalls Hotel, Penrith, NSW
Saturday 10th May – Collector Tavern, Parramatta, NSW

The Perch Creek Family Jugband
Friday 9th May – Yours and Owls, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 10th May – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 11th May – Lizottes, Dee Why, NSW
Monday 12th May – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

The Timbers
Friday 9th May – Albion Hotel, Albury, NSW
Saturday 10th May – Penny Black, Melbourne, VIC

Timothy James Bowen
Sunday 11th May – House concert, Bulli, NSW
Friday 16th May – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Todd Sibbin and the Arcadian Driftwood
Saturday 10th May – Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Vance Joy
Friday 16th May – The Metro, Sydney, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Youth” – Daughter

Daughter have become a favourite on the indie scene worldwide but for us our love affair began with the band’s early, folky single “Youth”

Watch the New Video From The Lurkers, “Mining Man”

The Lurkers
Image Courtesy of The Lurkers

Sydney subversive bluegrass trio The Lurkers have just released the new animated video for their track “Mining Man”. Animated by Patch Sinclair and made with the help of the Alistair Hulett Memorial Fund, “Mining Man” perfectluy captures The Lurkers’ protest anthem against CSG mining and exploration – check it out below:

The Full National Folk Festival Program Revealed

Old Man Leudecke
Image Courtesy of Old Man Luedecke

Can you believe Easter is under two months away? Crazy times! With that in mind The National Folk Festival last week officially launched their 2014 program with well over 200 artists announced.

To recap the international contingent includes Woody Mann (USA), Damien Dempsey (Ireland), Tift Merritt (USA), Lindi Ortega (Canada), Old Man Luedecke (Above, Canada), Eleanor McEvoy (Ireland), Fásta (Quebec/Ireland/Scotland) and The Alaskan String Band (Alaska).

Not to be outdone the local additions to the lineup include a bunch of Timber and Steel favourites including Jordie Lane, Kate Fagan, The Little Stevies, Heath Cullen, The Crooked Fiddle Band, Castlecomer, The Mae Trio, The Barons of Tang, The Davidson Brothers, Tolka, Bernard Carney, The Ellis Collective, Quarry Mountain Dead Rats, Archie Roach, Joseph Tawadros Trio, Leah Flanagan, The Lurkers, Margaret Walters, Martin Pearson, The Morrisons, The Rusty Spring Syncopators, Sarah Humphreys, Sparrow Folk, The Stetson Family, Takadimi, Trouble in the Kitchen, Zeptepi and many many more.

The National Folk Festival has also announced the recipient of the National Folk Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award is folk veteran Margret Roadknight.

The National Folk Festival takes place at Exhibition Park in Canberra from the 17th to 21st April. Check out the official web site for more information.

More Artists for the 2014 National Fold Festival

Damien Dempsey
Image Courtesy of Damien Dempsey

This news a little old but exciting none the less. The National Folk Festival last week revealed even more artists for its 2014 event and once again we’re impressed.

Headlining the announcement is Dublin based singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey (above) who joins an already impressive list of international and local guests. The rest of the lineup announcement is just as strong with the addition of The Fiddle Chicks, Takadimi, Danny Spooner, Glover & Sorrensen, Sarah Humphreys, The Lurkers, Rusty Spring Syncopators and many many more.

All of these artists join an already amazing lineup – check out the offcial site here for more information. The National Folk Festival takes place at Exhibition Park in Canberra from the 17th to 21st April. The full list of new artists are below:

Damien Dempsey Tom Lewis (Canada), Valanga Khoza and South African Jive, Rory Faithfield, The Fiddle Chicks, Candy Royalle & Sloppy Joe, Recycled String Band, Penny Davies & Roger Ilott, Damien Thornber and the Orphans, Iris, Justin Walsh & Rhyll Wilson, Bon Accord, Christopher Cady, Geoffrey W Graham, Takadimi, Amazing Drumming Monkeys, Irish Joe Lynch, Coolfinn Mac, Danny Spooner, Dylan Hekimian, Great Big Story Book, Gobsmacked!, The Ladybug Express, Glover & Sorrensen, James Griffin, Mike Martin & Lindsay Martin, Rhys Davies ‘The Trickster’, Riff Raff Radical Marching Band, Sarah Humphreys, Tángalo, 3 Sheets To The Wind, The Lurkers, Rusty Spring Syncopators, The Squeezebox Trio, Tingley Turner

Which Side Are You On? – A Political Playlist

Woodie Guthrie

A criticism often leveled at modern music of is that no one sings political songs anymore – a statement that is both blindly false and shows up the lazy listening practices of music critics everywhere. Political music is as prevalent as ever and spans every genre – from Beyoncé’s take on modern feminism and Pink’s pleads to the president in the pop realm right through to Rage Against The Machine and even Green Day cramming their rock records with political messages.

And of course folk, country and roots are well represented when it comes to the modern political music with many seeing these genres synonymous with the struggles of the common man. As you head out to vote today we thought we’d get you in the mood with a list of ten modern political songs from some of Timber and Steel’s favourite artists

1. Ani DiFranco – “Which Side Are You On?”
In re-imangining the traditional classic (made most famous by Pete Seeger) Ani DiFranco provides a clear bridge from the political music of the mid 20th century and the modern age.

2. Gemini Downs – “Will You Marry Me?”
Marriage equality has gained momentum as a political issue in Australia over the last couple of weeks. We think this track by Adelaide’s Gemini Downs perfectly captures the sentiment of the issue.

3. Ben Harper – “Better Way”
Ben Harper wants to wake us from our apathy and empower us to find a better way: “What good is a man who won’t take a stand? What good is a cynic with no better plan? I believe in a better way”.

4. The Lurkers – “Who’s Got A Padlock And Chain?”
The Lurkers don’t just sing about politics – they live and breathe politics. While others are content to sing about metaphorically chaining themselves to the train tracks, these guys are actually out there chaining themselves to train tracks.

5. Les Thomas – “Song for Selva”
Singer-songwriter and folk evangelist Les Thomas has done so much for refugees in this country, using his music to build awareness, raise money and truly make a difference.

6. John Butler Trio – “Company Sin”
Through a stone at John Butler’s back catalogue and you’re guarenteed to hit a political reference. We thought this track about mining in far north WA would be a nice inclusion for this playlist.

7. Flogging Molly – “Rise Up”
Folk and punk are genres that have been linked with politics for as long as they’ve existed so including a folk-punk anthem in this list was a must

8. The Decemberists – “This Is Why We Fight”
I think the title of this track says it all.

9. Michael Franti & Spearhead – “Yell Fire”
Another great song in the people-take-action tradition of folk and roots music. And very catchy as well!

10. Old Crow Medicine Show – “Levi”
“Levi” does what so many great political songs have done in the past – using the story of an individual to make a comment about a wider issue, in this case war.

Artists for the 2013 Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival

Mustered Courage
Image Courtesy of Mustered Courage

Every year I look at the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival lineup and want to go, but every year something comes up and I don’t make it. But in 2013 I’ve made a commitment to make it to the Northern NSW festival and no matter what comes up I’ll be there.

Which is a good thing as the 2013 Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival features some of Timber and Steel’s favourite artists including Mustered Courage (above), The Company, Lucy Wise and the B’Gollies, The Mid North, Bellyache Ben and The Steamgrass Boys, The Lurkers, Oh Pep!, Rhiannon and Monique and many many more.

The Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival is held on the 25th, 26th and 27th October in Dorrigo, NSW with tickets available from the official site here. The full list of artists announced for the festival (so far) are below:

The Foghorn StringBand, Charlie Walden and Patt Plunkett, Bluegrass Parkway, Ross Nickerson, Mustered Courage, Appalachian Heaven String Band, The Company, The Hottentots – Carl & Parissa, Lucy Wise and the B’Gollies, Starboard Cannons, Ange Tackats and Band, The Mid North, Cat and Clint, Gleny Rae Virus and her Playboys, Bellyache Ben and The Steamgrass Boys, Oh Pep!, The Lurkers, Rhiannon and Monique, Don & John – Resonator Brothers, Evan Mathieson and more

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