Emma Swift Brings the Folk to Double J

Emma Swift
Image Courtesy of Double J

Has anyone been listening to Double J, triple j’s new older demographic skewed digital radio station, since it launched last week? I have and I have to say I’ve been very very impressed with the playlist thus far. There’s a lot of folk-related artists getting a spin on the network and plenty of great music of all genres to soundtrack your days.

And in even more exciting news for folk music fans Double J last week announced their lineup of specialist shows and presenters including Timber and Steel favourite Emma Swift presenting folk, alt-country, Americana, roots, rockabilly and folk rock show Revelator on Monday nights. Emma Swift is well known as a singer-songwriter both in her native Sydney and in Nashville where she’s been living on and off for the last year or so. She’s also the original host of the FBi Radio’s fantastic In The Pines program, so you know Revelator is going to be filled with some fantastic tunes.

The first show kicks off tonight at 8pm EST – so make sure you tune in and show your support for folk music on national digital radio! For more information check out the official Double J site here.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 31st January


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– The great Pete Seeger passed away from natural causes on the 27th January, aged 94. We collected some of our favourite obits from around the web. Details here

– We round up all of the folk, alt-country and roots winners in the triple j Hottest 100, The Grammys and The Golden Guitars last weekend. Details here

– The new Seth Lakeman album hits stores today and you can get a taster with his new video for “The Courier”. Details here

Matt Corby revealed his new single “What The Devil Has Made” from the Spirit of Akasha surf documentary soundtrack. Details here

– The National Folk Festival has added a bunch of Timber and Steel favourites to its 2014 lineup including Archie Roach, Lindi Ortega, Ange Takats, Castlecomer, Leah Flanagan, The Little Stevies, Martin Pearson, Quarry Mountain Dead Rats, The Morrisons, The Crooked Fiddle Band, The Stetson Family, Tolka, Zeptepi and many many more. Details here

– Regular Sydney night The Folk Informal has announced its lineup for February including James Kelly, Ryan Collings, Betty & Oswald and Timberwolf. Details here

– Melbourne based singer-songwriter Tim Guy released his new video “Armour Weight”. Details here

Dustin Tebbutt has released a mesmerizing new video for his track “White Lines”. Details here

– Singer-songwriter Mark Wilkinson is heading out on a massive national tour this March, April and May. Details here

– Melbourne’s James Teague has scored a residency at The Workers Club every Wednesday through February. Details here

– Blue Mountains based folk-bluegrass four piece Lime and Steel have announced a show in Canberra next Saturday with Vendulka in support. Details here

Timber and Steel favourites Achoo! Bless You will be launching their new single “Wild Eyes” in Sydney this February. Details here

– The wonderful Sam Buckingham has announced a national tour as well as the launch of her Patreon crowd sourcing campaign. Details here

– The new Nick Mulvey track “Cucurucu” now has an expansive new video. Details here

– UK duo Paper Aeroplanes released their new video for “Circus” along with details of their new EP. Details here

– Brisbane based roots singer Jimmy Watts released his new video “Driving”. Details here

– Chamber folk singer-songwriter Packwood has announced a handful of album preview shows this February. Details here

– Donna and Vikki from The Waifs are touring this March as The Stray Sisters. Details here

– The new William Fitzsimmons track “Fortune” has a beautiful new video. Details here

Releases This Week

In The SilenceÁsgeir

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

The Green Mohair Suits w/ The Morrisons, All Our Exes Live in Texas

Green Mohair Suits

After a successful tilt at the Tamworth Country Music Festival earlier this month The Green Mohair Suits return to Sydney in time to launch their latest EP Baby, You Just Want To Give Up. Along for the ride are their fellow Tamworth stage mates The Morrisons and All Our Exes Live in Texas – so it looks like it’s going to be a huge night of pickin’ and harmonies. We’ll be there for sure!

Friday 31st January – The Loft at UTS, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Andy Irvine
Friday 31st January – Music in the Park, Bendigo, VIC
Sunday 2nd February – Trinity Sessions at Trinity Church, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 6th February – House Concert, Alice Springs, NT

Cass McCombs
Thursday 6th February – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW

Tuesday 4th February – St Stephen’s Uniting Church, Sydney, NSW

Eddie Vedder
Friday 7th February – Riverside Theatre, Perth, WA

Emily Barker
Sunday 2nd February – Astor Lounge, Perth, WA

Imogen Clark and Joe Mungovan
Sunday 2nd February – Fitzroy Hotel, Windsor, NSW
Friday 7th February – Corner Store, Sydney, NSW

Jack Carty
Friday 31st January – House Concert, Pemulwuy, NSW
Saturday 1st February – House Concert, Sutherland Shire, NSW
Sunday 2nd February – House Concert, Morisset, NSW.
Monday 3rd February – House Concert, Newcastle, NSW
Thursday 6th February – House Concert, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Friday 7th February – House Concert, Canberra, ACT

James Teague
Wednesday 5th February – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

Kim Churchill
Friday 31st January – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 1st to Sunday 2nd February – Festival of King Island, King Island, TAS

Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes
Saturday 1st February – Lefty’s Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Laneway Festival
Friday 31st January – Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 1st February ­- Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC), Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 2nd February – Sydney College of the Arts (SCA), Sydney, NSW
Friday 7th February – Harts Mill, Adelaide, SA

Mat McHugh
Friday 7th February – Torquay Hotel, Torquay VIC

One Up Two Down and Oh Pep!
Thursday 6th February – Retreat Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 7th February – Tanswell’s Commercial Hotel, Beechworth, VIC

The Beez
Saturday 1st Febraury – Tilba Winery, NSW
Sunday 2nd February – The Artists Shed, Queanbeyan, NSW
Thursday 6th February – Braidwood Folk Club, NSW
Friday 7th to Sunday 9th February – National Multicultural Festival, ACT

The Green Mohair Suits w/ The Morrisons, All Our Exes Live in Texas
Friday 31st January – The Loft at UTS, Sydney, NSW

The Timbers
Friday 31st January – The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA

Traveller & Fortune
Friday 31st January – The Grace Darling, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 1st February – JIVE, Adelaide, SA

Unpaved Sessions feat. Justin Bernasconi (The Stillsons), Nia Robertson, Sophie Klein, Kaidee Grzankowski and more
Monday 3rd February – The Old Bar, Melbourne, VIC

Woody Pitney with Zoe Elliot, James Kelly
Thursday 6th February – FBi Social, Sydney, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“To My Old Brown Earth” – Pete Seeger

When choosing a FFF track this week I knew it had to be something from the late Pete Seeger. I settled on this track after it was posted by Billy Bragg with the following blurb: “One last thing about Pete Seeger before I turn in: if anyone’s planning to make a tribute to the great man, I would heartily suggest playing this song. Everyone knows the 60s classics, but this, from 1996, is the song we should be listening to as we contemplate with his passing.” RIP Pete Seeger.

Weekend Awards Round Up

Golden Guitars
Image Courtesy of the CMAA

The long weekend was also a massive weekend for awards with the Golden Guitars, triple j’s Hottest 100 and The Grammys all vying for attention. If you were too busy to take everything in never fear – we have a nice little Timber and Steel friendly wrap up for you here:

triple j Hottest 100

Vance Joy

As you’re no doubt aware the top spot was taken out this year by the folky “Riptide” from Australia’s Vance Joy, pipping favourites “Royals” by Lorde and “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk at the post. Vance Joy also came in at number 95 with his track “Play With Fire”.

Other notable Timber and Steel faves to make it into the list include Boy & Bear, Josh Pyke, Matt Corby, Dustin Tebbutt and more. The full list of winners can be found here with a snap shot of our favourites below:

1. Vance Joy – “Riptide”
8. Matt Corby – “Resolution”
41. Boy & Bear – “Southern Sun”
44. Dustin Tebbutt – “The Breach”
55. Boy & Bear – “Harlequin Dream”
75. Mikhael Paskalev – “I Spy”
87. John Butler Trio – “Only One”
88. Josh Pyke – “Leeward Side”
95. Vance Joy – “Play With Fire”

The Grammys

The Grammys

Due to the sheer number of categories at The Grammy’s it’s very easy to look past the glitz, glamour and mounty hats to find some amazing music being recognised. Big winners on the folk, roots and country side of the fence include The Civil Wars, Ben Harper, Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Steve Martin & Edie Brickell and many more.

We’ve listed our top categories below – check out the full winners here.

Best Country Solo Performance
Darius Rucker – “Wagon Wheel”

Best Country Duo/Group Performance
The Civil Wars – “From This Valley”

Best Country Song
Kacey Musgraves – “Merry Go ‘Round”

Best Country Album
Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park

Best American Roots Album
Steve Martin & Edie Brickell – Love Has Come For You

Best Americana Album
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – Old Yellow Moon

Best Bluegrass Album
Del McCoury Band – The Streets Of Baltimore

Best Blues Album
Ben Harper With Charlie Musselwhite – Get Up!

Best Folk Album
Guy Clark – My Favorite Picture Of You

Best Regional Roots Music Album
Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience – Dockside Sessions

Best World Music Album
Gipsy Kings – Savor Flamenco

The Golden Guitars

Lachlan Bryan

So many of our favourite artists have spent the last couple of weeks up in Tamworth for the Country Music Festival which culminated in the Golden Guitar awards on 25th Januray.

We’re really proud that Timber and Steel favourite Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes walked away with Alternative Country Album of the Year for Black Coffee, Ashleigh Dallas was named the Qantaslink New Talent of the Year and that Ted Egan was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Check out the full list of winners here.

Finally Timber and Steel favourite, The Mid North, also walked away from Tamworth winners with both the Battle of the Bands and Buskers Competition gongs under their belt. Definitely a well deserved win!

The Mid North

Review: Rosie by Thelma Plum

Images Courtesy of Thelma Plum

Although this is Timber & Steel‘s first article on Thelma Plum, it’s safe to assume that most of our Australian readers would have already heard of her by now. Even if you haven’t heard the name, it’s likely that most would have heard or overheard her stirring breakthrough ditty “Father Said” on the radio, perhaps without realising who it belonged to. That song, with its deep, hypnotic, fingerpicked guitar has captivated its way onto high rotation on Triple J and kickstarted Plum‘s ascendence. The first time I heard that song I was stuck in traffic on Adelaide’s city ring route and it seemed like traffic had somehow ground to a halt to observe the sanctity of it, as a sign of respect. As wrong as it seems, you don’t really expect to hear quiet, simple, beautiful songs on the radio anymore, and I’m glad Triple J are willing to make an exception but it certainly took me by surprise. I suppose if you remember where you were the first time you hear any song, then that fact speaks to its quality and its power.

“Father Said” is just one of six tracks unveiled to the world in Plum‘s debut EP, Rosie, which delightfully showcases her ability to craft more than just a wholesome folk tune. Despite still only being the tender age of 18, Plum seems to have a managed to successfully launch a second song to radio- the EP’s opener “Around Here”. Although built on a foundation of simple acoustic strumming, the wonderfully produced track builds with layers of poppy instruments to a blissful ‘walking on sunshine’ plateau before reaching it’s hand-clappin’ destination with a quirky chorus of “la-di-da fuck you”s. It’s a particularly enjoyable, light-hearted listen. The EP’s 3rd track “Dollar” is of a similar pop pedigree and is almost equally chanced at radio play. Although pleasingly arranged, what really carries “Dollar” is Plum’s vocal delivery- in particular her attitudinal, self-assured phrasing.


In contrast, Plum shows off another feature of her downright beautiful, versatile voice on her track 4 piano ballad “Breathe In Breathe Out”. It’s a moving, dramatic song- if it were written 15 years earlier it would have probably been used on the soundtrack to Titanic. Plum rounds out the EP with another slow-growing piano-ballad gem “King” and what seems to be a song for her pet dog Rosie, who, under the assumption that this whole EP was named for her, is the most spoilt pooch going round.

I was relieved to find that Rosie has been flawlessly recorded and produced, which can often be an unfortunalte barrier for unearthed artists in making that next step up to household name. Alas, stars are a aligning for Thelma Plum at the moment on the back of winning the Triple J Award for National Indigenous Music and the 2012 Deadly Award for Emerging Talent, and I’m sure she’ll continue to build upon her experiences playing bigger shows, most recently Byron Bay Bluesfest. Pair that with the fact that she’s an absolutely stunning gal, and I think you’ll agree that Australia’s found its next darling.

Buy Rosie by Thelma Plum from iTunes.

Go to Thelma Plum’s Triple J Unearthed Page.

Winners, Grinners and Public Cringers

Image courtesy of Calgary Herald

There have been a lot of music awards announced in the last month or so and I have to say I am quite disappointed in the public negativity surrounding the sometimes ‘surprise’ winners. In a time where music piracy is high, CD sales are down, online purchasing and sharing are the new black, it’s become the norm for every man and his internet connection to bag out musicians that they don’t like or haven’t even heard just because their precious favourite didn’t win. In short, our online society have become a bunch of whingers.

However, here at Timber and Steel,  we don’t subscribe to that norm, in fact we go out of our way not to say a negative word about anyone who gives their craft a red hot go. We aim to Spotlight new artists and let you know all the latest news from the folk, indie and trad (among other genres) world. So sure, we’re not going to be writing about the latest pop hit, but we do still recognise the excellence of musicians not from our chosen genres. And if we don’t know an artist, we google them!

So what am I on about today? Well two instances come to mind, Angus & Julia Stone winning the Triple J Hottest 100 and Arcade Fire‘s wins at the Grammy‘s and Brit awards. I noticed the day after Australia Day my facebook feed was full of people commenting on the hottest 100 being lame this year and many not agreeing that ‘Big Jet Plane’ should have won. And I’m sure many of you have now seen the amusing compilation of online backlash about the Grammy Awards.

Angus & Julia Stone won many accolades in 2010 and their song ‘Big Jet Plane’ came in at Number 1 in the Triple J Hottest 100. Amid the online whining that it was not the ‘hottest’ or ‘best’ song of the year, I could only think that the top spot can’t be that far off as Angus & Julia Stone won both Album of the Year and Single of the Year for ‘Big Jet Plane’ at the 2010 ARIA awards out a total 6 nominations. The ARIA’s are voted for by the industry with a mix of artists, manager, media, record companies and a variety of industry members having their say. The hottest 100 this year received a record number of votes from the public, over 1.2 million if I remember rightly. I am sure a number of people vote in the hottest 100 who are not avid Triple J listeners. Yet both the ARIAs and the hottest 100 yielded the same result.

And Pluck Your Strings blogged their thoughts on the problems with the current way the hottest 100 is carried out. While I agree partially with some points and I’m sure there are a number of other opinions out there in cyberland about who should have won, the point is that Angus & Julia Stone had the most people include ‘Big Jet Plane’ in their personal top 10 songs of the year through which they voted it in to the top spot of the count down. There was some backlash last year when Mumford & Sons took out the coveted spot with ‘Little Lion Man’ saying that people only voted because it had the F word in it. I have to admit I voted for it without having really ever heard it, I just knew the hype around it and the way people spoke about it meant the song was deserving for such a title. But that is the point, the award is for the song that impacted the most people – through whatever means. Heck, Cee Lo Green’s ever poppy ‘F you’ came in at number 7 arguably for the same reason, but it doesn’t mean people did not enjoy the entire song surrounding that word. And Mumford & Sons are still largely popular selling out concerts throughout the past year.

Arcade Fire are a group that admittedly I have not heard much of, though I have heard of them. For their album The Suburbs to beat out some of the industries biggest heavyweight (Lady Gaga and Eminem being the main contenders) is a huge nod to the independent Canadian group, especially as the Grammy’s are also peer-voted awards for the industry to recognise talent. To back that up with two Brit awards for Best International Group and Best International Album is surely a sign that they are doing something right musically. The Grammy win seems to have spurned a huge negative reaction in cyberspace, a hateful display of bad losers really. The only good things to come out of such negativity is this amusing youtube creation (for those who haven’t yet seen it)

So I guess my point is that I’d like to see all those online negative nellies to suck it up – your favourite act will never win every award, so learn to deal with it like a big kid. Congratulate the winners and if you don’t know who they are, google them and have a listen – you might even discover why they’ve been recognised. And if you’re still not happy you can sulk, but don’t take it out on the internet – there’s enough bad news and negativity out there already. Why not be constructive and write something positive about your favourite act and why you believe people should check them out or why they should win awards.

Celebrate the positive things in life, even if it’s not your favourite act getting a gong. The negative comments only serve to make us cringe.

So, in the spirit of celebrating winners and because I’m a great big Gleek (Glee fan for those not in the know) imagine my delight when, to celebrate winning Sectionals, the Glee characters chose to cover Florence & the Machine’s ‘Dog Days Are Over’. In the spirit of sharing the love, I thought I’d pop this short footage for you all to check out.

Angus and Julia Stone Take Out The Hottest 100

Angus and Julia Stone

For the second year in a row a folk artist has taken out the top spot in triple j’s Hottest 100. Angus and Julia Stone have picked up the honour for their track “Big Jet Plane” in what was a pretty dance and pop heavy top ten. Other notable folk entries in the Hottest 100 include Boy & Bear for “Fall At Your Feet” (#5), Cloud Control for “There’s Nothing In The Water We Can’t Fight” (#18) and the John Butler Trio for “Revolution” (#39).

The full 100 songs can be found on the triple j web site.

Boy & Bear Win Unearthed J Award

Boy & Bear

It probably comes at no surprise to learn that Sydney folksters Boy & Bear have taken out this year’s Unearthed J Award. The band has gone from strength to strength after being picked up by triple j from their Unearthed web site, touring the world, releasing world class music and touring some of the best in the business.

The other two J Awards announced today were Tame Impala’s Innerspeaker for Album of the Year and Washington’s “Sunday Best” for Music Video of the Year.

Kevin Mitchell (Bob Evans) Guest Hosting Roots ‘n’ All

Bob Evans
Image Courtesy of triple j

Australia’s favourite grunge-go-gone-folk Kevin Mitchell (Jebidiah, Bob Evans, Basement Birds) will be taking over triple j’s Roots ‘n’ All program tonight while regular host Sarah Howells takes a much needed break. You can expect to hear an eclectic mix of Mitchell’s favourite folk, roots, blues and reggae tracks. Listen to triple j from 10pm tonight or stream the show on the Roots ‘n’ All web site for a week from tomorrow.

Mumford and Sons to Guest Program Roots n’ All

Mumford and Sons
Image Courtesy of Mumford and Sons

Mumford and Sons have been very very busy guys since they touched down in Australia for the Splendour in the Grass festival. Playing to sold out crowds everywhere they went, the band has been truly been adopted by Australian audiences as one of our own. So much so in fact that they will be guest programing triple j’s Roots n’ All program this Thursday 12th August while regular host Sarah Howells takes a well earned break.

The show, which has already been prerecorded, is rumoured to have guest appearances by Matt Corby and Angus and Julia Stone. Tune into Roots n’ All this Thursday at 10pm.

triple j Celebrate NAIDOC Week

The Stiff Gins
Image Courtesy of Stiff Gins

Timber and Steel normally tries to refrain from posting every TV and radio appearance by our favourite artists unless its something you’ll miss otherwise. We don’t want the blog to become just a repost point of content that’s more readily available elsewhere. But because it’s NAIDOC week and because this triple j TV recording is so special we just had to let you know.

Recorded at Sydney’s Oxford Art factory, triple j have captured a performance by Aboriginal artists Stiff Gins, Radical Son, Leah
, Busby Marou and Street Warriors. It is only available on iView for the next 12 days so see it here now before it expires.

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