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Mandolin Orange tour dates May 2019

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New video and tour announcement: Mandolin Orange
Tour dates: May 2019
More info: Band website

Today, Mandolin Orange release the official music video for 'Golden Embers,' a striking embodiment of both the agony and recovery at the foundation of their new album, ‘Tides Of A Teardrop’ (out February 1st on Yep Roc Records). ‘Tides Of A Teardrop’ delves into singer-songwriter Andrew Marlin’s grief following the death of his mother, and the visual paints an intimate, resilient portrait of a father and son coping with despair. As Marlin told Garden & Gun, “I wrote this song to my Dad. I think we all try to hide our emotional pain or frustration sometimes, for the benefit of the ones around us.”

Watch Mandolin Orange ‘Golden Embers’ video on YouTube.

As a thesis of the new LP and an encapsulation of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz’s patiently expressive work, the piece accompanies news of a headlining tour in Europe and the UK in May 2019. Stops will include London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Munich and more - find all new dates here. Tickets are on sale this Friday, November 30th – following a Music Glue pre-sale on November 29th.

Mandolin Orange’s grassroots success story continues to grow: they’ve sold out every one of their headlining US performances in 2018, and nearly repeated that accomplishment in Europe. Their sixth studio album, ‘Tides Of A Teardrop’, is building on 100 million catalogue streams and 1.3 million monthly Spotify listeners, while earning early praise from Rolling Stone Country, Paste, Garden & Gun, and NPR Music, who hailed the North Carolinians as a “slow-burning, steadily rising duo [that] exudes gentle elegance.”

Watch a live rendition of lead single 'Time We Made Time'.

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Anne Marie Almedal new single out now

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Single release: ‘Lovesong’ by Anne Marie Almedal
Release date: Out now
More info: Artist YouTube

Following the release of her new album 'Lightshadow', Norwegian singer-songwriter Anne Marie Almedal has shared a new cover of The Cure's 'Lovesong'.

Growing up in the suburban bible-belt of southern Norway, bands like The Cure provided much salvation to the misfits of Anne Marie's generation, so it goes without saying that this cover was chosen with much diligence. Anne Marie's rendition of 'Lovesong' is stripped down to the bone with Nicholas Sillitoe’s piano-score sensibility and Alf Vaksdal's atmospheric guitar work and idiosyncratic electronics. Drummer Marius Trøan Hansen provides the downtempo minimalist percussion, whilst Anne Marie lays down her haunting vocals.

Following her critically acclaimed trilogy of folk-pop albums and a 5-year break to focus on family and other priorities, Norwegian singer-songwriter Anne Marie Almedal has now released her new album ‘Lightshadow’.

Recorded in Anne Marie’s hometown Kristiansand in a summer break with producer/co-writer Nicholas (taking time off his busy award-winning soundtrack schedule), the new album features a vast range of estimable Norwegian guest musicians including new-found producer/multi-instrumentalist/studio expert Alf Vaksdal, the young and talented drummer Marius Trøan Hansen, star Norwegian jazz double bassist Ellen Andrea Wang, violinist Sebastian Grüchot and a string quartet made up with members of the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra. The album was then mixed with producer Tim Bran (London Grammar/Halsey/Birdy) and went on to be mastered by Pete Maher (The Killers, The Pixies, Lana Del Ray). The result, a one-listen-and-you’re-hooked defining new direction for Anne Marie.

Somewhat destined to be the first track off Anne Marie Almedal’s new album ‘Lightshadow’, lead single ‘You Keep Me At Arm’s Length’ arrives with just Anne Marie’s commanding vocals and Nicholas Sillitoe’s wistful folk guitar accompaniment, a brooding piano and synth bass slowly adding momentum. But it’s at the beginning of verse two, where we are suddenly propelled into the new ‘Lightshadow’ world of Anne Marie Almedal. Melancholy as ever, unmistakeably bittersweet, focused and full of longing, it’s here and now that Anne Marie sets about to prove herself with a bold new blend of folk, electronics, indie-dream-pop and nonchalant vocals.

Elsewhere, tracks such as ‘Travelling’ nod towards Kate Bush and George Harrison with an emphasis on Anne Marie’s vocals, Nicholas’s intimate piano work and Ellen Andrea Wang’s ruminating double bass. Whilst ‘My Dream Will Never End’ leans towards Anne Marie’s heavier folk sensibilities with references to the vast Norwegian wilderness, implemented in a pensive yet delicate manner that calls to mind the soft delivery of Vashti Bunyan.

‘Lightshadow’ is as diverse as it is evolutionary for Anne Marie. Her new album displays a blissfully original and sonically divergent take on what alt-folk music can sound like when restrictions, formulas, and self-consciousness are thrown out of the window. It may come 5 years after her last release, but shows that more often than not, the best things are worth waiting for.

Previous praise for Anne Marie Almedal

"Sweetness multiplied, sadness tripled, her music brings you a closer step to heaven...as fantastic as sharing the last cigarette with the one you love." - Esquire

"...a hint of Norwegian ice sends chills through all the rustles in the hedgerow." - Financial Times

"Breathtaking" - Daily Express

"Superbly chilled, the low-key approach seems to apply further intensity to the Norwegian singer's delivery, really focusing in on each word. A very lovely, pretty, sensual piece of music, it takes preconceptions around Anne Marie Almedal's music and shunts them into a different plane." - CLASH

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The Trials Of Cato debut album out 9 November 2018

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Album release: ‘Hide And Hair’ by The Trials Of Cato
Release date: 9 November 2018
Label: Water Records
More info: Band website

“one of the real discoveries on the folk circuit in recent times.” - Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2

The Trials Of Cato are today sharing their new single ‘Gloria’, the first to be taken from forthcoming debut album ‘Hide And Hair’. Folk Radio have premiered the song, which you can listen to here.

Guitarist and vocalist Tomo Williams comments on the track; “When the band first returned from Lebanon we travelled around the folk clubs of the UK in our van and came across an inspiring individual that we couldn’t resist writing about. It’s a story of self-discovery and a celebration of being true to oneself. Lots of old folk songs talk about women dressing up as men for financial or personal gain, and we wanted to write a song about someone doing this simply because they want to! This is a song about the emotional journey of a person who comes to terms with their own identity and learns to take pride in it.”

See The Trials Of Cato live on the following dates:

  • Oct 20 - Lichfield Folk Festival

  • Oct 21 - The Canteen, Bristol

  • Nov 1 - Album Launch in Storyhouse Theatre, Chester

  • Nov 3 - FATEA 30th Anniversary, Bournemouth

  • Dec 6 - Newport Folk Club

  • Jan 11 - Ram Folk Club

  • Jan 13 - Folk at the Froize

  • Feb 14 - Falkirk Folk Club

The Trials Of Cato, a band that arrived fully formed and functioning from Beirut in the winter of 2016, have since torn a shape very much their own into the canvas of the UK folk scene. Originally from North Wales and Yorkshire, whilst living in Lebanon they spent a year boiling down the roots of their sound into a sweet hybrid of traditional influences that intrigued Lebanese audiences in the country’s biggest venues. They moved back to the UK to quickly produce their self-title debut EP at the Abbey Road Institute in London. The recording was well received – BBC Radio 2’s Mark Radcliffe hails them as “one of the real discoveries on the folk circuit in recent times.” Their musical development in the run up to their debut album proper, has been swift and sure.

This winter the trio release ‘Hide And Hair’, after a year of near-vertical ascent from a standing start. The trio may inhabit the folk genre with a grateful respect for its history but with this album they twist its old bones into something febrile and contemporary. Stunning instrumental technique hooked to an innovative presentation of traditional and original material leads to a sound where a seventeenth century widow’s lament for a lost soldier lover (My Love’s In Germany) can segue into a stomping dance tune – transporting us from the gloom of the Thirty Years War to the vibrant bounce of beckoning festival main stages.

With a clear nod to the musical revivals of the sixties and seventies, Hide And Hair is rooted in the folk traditions of Ireland and Britain but the themes remain decidedly contemporary and questioning. Recorded in the spring of 2018 at Penylan studios in mid-Wales, the array of material is hugely diverse, the album almost being treated as a journey across both time and continents. Album opener Difyrrwch is their own arrangement of three traditional melodies, two Welsh, one English (Hen Ferchetan, Difyrrwch Gwyr y Gogledd, The Parson's Farewell) and Kadisha – the title of which was taken from the name of a spectacular valley in northern Lebanon - finds the band inspired by their first steps into a part of Lebanon peppered with monasteries and ancient buildings. Hide And Hair is as much about characters as it is places, however. ‘Gloria’ is a story of self-discovery and a celebration of being true to oneself. And Gawain takes its inspiration from the medieval tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It's a folk song in spirit but perhaps one which here draws on some heavier rock, psychedelic and Eastern influences, with the electric guitar even making a rare appearance. Like ‘Gloria’, it is essentially the human story of an ordinary character trying to deal with extraordinary circumstances – in this case a beheading match with the supernatural character of the green knight.

Throughout ‘Hide And Hair’, the band’s skill, playfulness and willingness to keep exploring and developing their sound – and the genre – is clear. Whether plying their trade busking, performing in front of thousands at festivals across Europe, or frequently selling out their own club shows, The Trials of Cato have the wind behind them.

Mixed by Donald Richard in Toronto and mastered by John Davis of Metropolis Studios in London.

The Trials Of Cato are: Robin Jones - Mandolin, tenor banjo, vocals / William Addison - Irish bouzouki, vocals / Tomos Williams - Guitar, vocals

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Anne Marie Almedal new album out 26 October 2018

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Album release: 'Lightshadow' by Anne Marie Almedal
Release date: 26 October 2018
More info: Artist website

Norwegian singer-songwriter Anne Marie Almedal has shared a new single from her forthcoming album 'Lightshadow', which is due out 26th October 2018. The single 'You Keep Me At Arm's Length' was premiered by For Folk's Sake, who said "The new record brings a fresh new sound for this beguiling musician, as she blends folk, electronics and some indie-pop beats in an addictive mix." You can see the premiere HERE. The single is also accompanied by a stunning new video by Pål M. Laukli.

Watch the video for 'You Keep Me At Arm’s Length' here.

Somewhat destined to be the first track of Anne Marie Almedal’s new album 'You Keep Me At Arm’s Length' arrives with just Anne Marie’s commanding vocals and Nicholas Sillitoe’s wistful folk guitar accompaniment, a brooding piano and synth bass slowly adding momentum. Melancholy as ever, bittersweet, focused and full of longing, the new single is a bold blend of folk, electronics, indie-dream-pop and nonchalant vocals. It’s a song about unrequited nearness, love forlorn, hopes and dreams flailing in the distant horizon. Something familiar, something new.

'You Keep Me At Arm’s Length' was recorded in Anne Marie’s hometown Kristiansand in a summer break with producer/co-writer Nicholas taking time off his busy soundtrack schedule together with new-found producer/multi-instrumentalist Alf Vaksdal. Drums were added by the young and talented Marius Trøan Hansen, and Nicholas returned home to London to polish the mix with producer Tim Bran (London Grammar/Halsey/Birdy). The result, a one-listen-and-you’re-hooked defining new direction and perfect introduction to the new album.

Previous praise for Anne Marie Almedal

"Sweetness multiplied, sadness tripled, her music brings you a closer step to heaven...as fantastic as sharing the last cigarette with the one you love." - Esquire

"...a hint of Norwegian ice sends chills through all the rustles in the hedgerow." - Financial Times

"Breathtaking" - Daily Express

"Superbly chilled, the low-key approach seems to apply further intensity to the Norwegian singer's delivery, really focusing in on each word. A very lovely, pretty, sensual piece of music, it takes preconceptions around Anne Marie Almedal's music and shunts them into a different plane." - CLASH

More information

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The Last Dinosaur new single out now

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Single release: ‘Me & Magdalena’ by The Last Dinosaur
Release date: Out now
Label: Phases
More info: Band website

A year on from critically acclaimed second album ‘The Nothing’ (★★★★ - The Independent, ★★★★ - Uncut, ★★★★ - Mojo) The Last Dinosaur return with a re-imagining of the Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab For Cutie) penned ‘Me & Magdalena’, written for and recorded by The Monkees for their final album ‘Good Times’. It is also their first single for new label, Phases. Listen here

Featuring backing vocals from Nettwerk artists Austin Basham and Jack In Water and beautiful lap steel from Nashville resident Hip Hatchet this ode to a love beyond measure is the perfect song to soundtrack the transition between Summer and early Autumn as the warm comforting glow of the evening shifts from the setting of the summer sun to the heat of the camp fire.

The band play the Sebright Arms on 26th September supporting Horse Feathers and a headline set on the 2nd of Oct at The Finsbury.

Poignant, dreamlike, beautiful: The Last Dinosaur’s ‘The Nothing’ is a record to swim in. The brainchild of Londoner Jamie Cameron, it’s an album that addresses a tragic event from his teenage years, and transmutes that experience into a cathartic work of art.

At 16, Jamie had met kindred spirit James Macdonald at music college and recorded the 2004 album ‘Good Morning Sunshine… and Goodnight’ with him under the name When I Was a Little Girl, a well-received debut through the independent label Where It’s At Is Where You Are. But a year later, Jamie was in a car crash that tragically claimed the life of his best friend. Out for the day with one of Jamie’s sisters and another friend, the car aquaplaned and hit another car at a junction. James’ injuries were the worst among the passengers, and when he passed away, Jamie was in a state of shock.

“I’d had a pretty idyllic life until then, nothing particularly bad had happened,” Jamie says. “That was a difficult experience to comprehend. Despite how harrowing it was, I thought came out of it relatively mentally unscathed, although in hindsight that’s a trick you tell yourself.”

Instead, he began recording with another music college friend, Luke Hayden, as The Last Dinosaur. Jamie’s parents split up, he broke up with his girlfriend, and The Last Dinosaur’s debut album ‘Hooray! For Happiness’, covered glowingly by the likes of Uncut, The Line Of Best Fit and more, attempted to come to terms with these experiences, while avoiding the real elephant in the room. “I was doing everything to avoid confronting this really big thing that happened at an age when you don’t generally experience death and loss,” Jamie says.

Afterwards, depression took hold of him, but over the course of years, he began writing, recording and amassing songs that addressed his grief and own fear of dying. The powerful The Nothing began to take shape.

“It wasn’t an intention of mine to write an album about dying or anything like that, but I realised after I’d written a few songs that they all were about it in some way. It got to a point where I couldn’t really avoid it. I’d done the divorce album and it was all I was left with, trying to make sense of this thing that happened. Halfway through I realised it was profoundly cathartic, it made me felt less scared of dying.”

‘The Nothing’ is uplifting, life-affirming. Its lyrics may tackle the subject of mortality, but the gorgeous, overlapping, interlacing melodies are like drifting in a blissful reverie. ‘We’ll Greet Death’, with its strings, piano, saxophone and acoustic guitar is defiant, possessed of an emotional complexity. On ‘Grow’, Jamie’s lovely acoustic plucking forms the basis for a song about the fragility of life, while ‘The Sea’ is a meditative post-rock movement that begins in a hushed place and concludes over five minutes later in a gorgeous string-laden denouement. Although Jamie professes to a childhood love for R.E.M, Tortoise and most of all, Talk Talk, the music here is very much his own, self-penned and performed with close friend Rachel Lanskey providing viola on most of the songs. “I’ve had a very strong sense of never wanting to copy anyone else’s music, I just want to sound like me,” Jamie says.

Created between 2009 and 2016, ‘The Nothing’ is a stunning, affecting album that is also a touching tribute to Jamie’s late friend. “Someone called it elegiac,” Jamie says. “I quite liked that notion.”

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Scott Matthews tour dates September - November 2018

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Tour announcement: Scott Matthews
Tour dates: September - November 2018
Label: Shedio
More info: Artist website

  • New album 'The Great Untold' out now
  • Listen to lead single 'Cinnamon' here.

There's no rest for Scott Matthews. 'After his Spring' tour earlier this year culminated in a sell-out show in Sheffield, the Ivor Novello-winning songwriter has announced new tour dates for this Autumn. Beginning in York and reaching out to places that might normally be left off the map, this 15-date UK tour is a second chance for those that missed Mathews first time around in 2018.

Also, the brilliant Jasmine Rodgers and Ady Johnson have been announced as support for selected shows, details on which can be found, here. The full list of dates announced can be found here.

Scott Matthews’ latest record, 'The Great Untold', deserves to be a career defining one. The sixth studio album by the Ivor Novello Award-winning singer-songwriter (Best Song Musically & Lyrically for “Elusive”) is a master class in honesty, instinct and reflection. A largely acoustic recording, Matthews’ new record features sparse production after being recorded over a productive winter at home. His ten-song cycle is the sound of a man now entirely comfortable in his own skin, putting his neck on the line with a collection of quietly extraordinary songs.

The ghosts of Paul Simon, Ron Sexsmith, Tim Buckley, Nick Drake and John Martyn loom large on a sixth record that revels in its stripped-back nature to show what an exceptionally strong songwriter Matthews really is. The absence of multi-layered instrumentation on The Great Untold, however, should not infer that it lacks depth. The richness in Matthews’ new work comes from the intricacy of his guitar work, influenced by the likes of Bert Jansch and Mark Kozelek, whilst showcasing again an otherworldly singing voice that betrays an everyman inflection and down-to-earth persona.

In many ways, 'The Great Untold' is the start of a new era for Matthews. Since his debut album, Passing Stranger, in 2006, the Wolverhampton-born artist has further refined his craft. Writing deft and sensitive songs during a trajectory that began with the ethereal ‘Elusive’, The Great Untold marks a new beginning on his own terms. The first great arc of his career was completed with his Home duology; a pair of records that reflected on his journey thus far. The Great Untold is the sound of that man moving on. Matthews is recently married, soon-to-experience fatherhood and has new hopes and fears, new stories to tell. “After Home Part 2 was finished, I was looking to move forward by marrying harmony with my experiences since the last record. The plan to write an acoustic record has always been there. And finally the time is right to do that.”

Matthews has tested himself as a songwriter. He started as a soloist and has gone full circle, again ready to fly alone. It opens new possibilities, a different type of challenge. “It takes me out of my comfort zone and has made me test myself. I’ve largely pared it down to guitar and vocals. At the beginning, there was nobody else. It’s time to surprise myself. It’s time to go back to my own world.”

Lyrically, 'The Great Untold' is a work with poetic intent. “It’s a collection of songs that lots of people will hopefully relate to. Naturally, my starting points are from a personal perspective but most times I have to broaden the idea so it's not so insular as a piece of music. It can be a challenge but I'm very proud of where I've ventured to and there's been a lot of soul searching woven into these songs that I hope people will appreciate. When I’m writing, I’m almost hearing voices from The Masters and thinking: ‘Would they approve?’”

The point is to make a connection. “I want to move somebody with the power of moods and music.” It is in the right hands. And that’s an opposite description for The Great Untold. It is a record written by a man at the peak of his powers – 'As The Day Passes', 'Something Real', 'Song To A Wallflower' and the stunning 'Cinnamon' are amongst the finest in his songbook – and by a musician able to channel great beauty in songs that reveal the most human of truths.

"...engagingly thoughtful and classy singer-songwriter" - The Guardian

"John Martyn’s true musical heir" - Folk Radio

"There is a purity to this record; Matthews seems to have returned to his roots" - No Depression

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Bert Jansch album out 26 October 2018

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Album release: 'Just A Simple Soul' by Bert Jansch
Release date: 26 October 2018
Label: BMG
More info: Artist website

  • The first comprehensive Best Of collection spanning Jansch’s 5-decade-long career, compiled by Bernard Butler and the Bert Jansch estate
  • Released on 2CD, 2LP and advance pre-order 2LP+Tote bag

From his 1965 iconic debut album, Bert’s peerless musicality, songwriting and interpretation of traditional song has held generation after generation spellbound and inspired musicians in all genres. Just A Simple Soul – named after the closing track on his 1998 album Toy Balloon ­- is the first collection of Jansch’s entire solo career, with insightful liner notes by Bernard Butler (Suede) who compiled this selection with the Bert Jansch Estate. As a writer and player, Jansch has inspired countless other music icons including Jimmy Page, Paul Simon, Johnny Marr, Laura Marling, Graham Coxon, Fleet Foxes and Neil Young.

Pre-order the collection here.

Presented chronologically the collection begins by drawing from his prolific 1960s period, during which he released six albums between 1965 and 1969. His self-titled debut, sometimes referred to as 'The Blue Album', is listed at #3 in NME’s Best Folk Albums Of All Time, and this collection plucks three tracks including the harrowing ‘Needle Of Death’; about the tragic passing of Bert’s friend, folk singer Buck Polly. The influence of young singer Anne Briggs began to show in this period, and the traditional folk songs she taught him, plus his bluesy, improvised guitar accompaniment which dominated his third solo album, Jack Orion (1966), featuring John Renbourn on guitar. That same year, the collaborative album Bert & John laid the foundations of the trad folk supergroup Pentangle. Jack Orion included ‘Blackwaterside’ (featured in this collection), a traditional song Jansch learned from Briggs. Elsewhere, eco-warning ‘Poison’ and ‘The Bright New Year’ are included from Bert’s fifth solo album Birthday Blues (1969), with Pentangle colleagues Danny Thompson and Terry Cox.

Jansch recorded three solo albums while part of Pentangle, notably 'Rosemary Lane' (1971), an album described by The Guardian as “a stark, reflective work”, which again included a traditional song learned from Briggs (‘Reynardine’, included here) alongside his own compositions. Also featured here is ‘The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face’ (originally written by Ewan MacColl for Peggy Seeger) as a duet with Mary Hopkin. ‘Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning’ and ‘Chambertin’, lifted from 1974’s L.A. Turnaround, highlight a significant passage, being recorded after Pentangle’s demise, featuring erstwhile Monkee Mike Nesmith on production. Jansch’s 70s’ output is drawn to a close with the inclusion of Kittiwake from his 1979 album Avocet, on which he teamed up with the multi-instrumentalist Martin Jenkins and Danny Thompson for a concept album inspired by birds.

Pentangle reunions and illness limited Jansch’s 80s’ solo output. It’s represented by ‘Sweet Rose’ from 'From The Outside' (1985) which was described by Irish author and composer Colin Harper as “Bert's rawest and most cathartic work since Bert Jansch twenty years earlier.” 'When The Circus Comes To Town' (1995) was the start of a renaissance for Bert with the title track featured here, as well as ‘Morning Brings Peace of Mind’. This collection takes its name from ‘Just A Simple Soul’, on 1998’s follow-up Toy Balloon, which also included Bert’s take on Jackson C. Frank’s ‘Carnival’ which was a perennial in his live sets.

Jansch’s 21st century output is represented by ‘Crimson Moon’ (Crimson Moon, 2000) and ‘On The Edge Of A Dream’ (Edge Of A Dream, 2002), two records that bookend his 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Edge Of A Dream featured Bernard Butler on electric guitar, Bert’s son, Adam, on bass and vocals of Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star. This collection is concluded with ‘High Days’, taken from Bert’s 23rd and, tragically, final studio album The Black Swan. Released through Sanctuary and Drag City, it featured prominent admirers including Beth Orton, Devendra Banhart and Helena Epsvall. It was dubbed an instant classic, described by Pitchfork as “immaculate but natural”, and named one of the best albums of 2006 by MOJO, who described it as “a beautiful, evocative piece of music… his strongest album in years.”

'Just A Simple Soul' reminds us of Bert Jansch’s enduring legacy and his influence across the musical spectrum. As Bernard Butler eloquently puts it; “Bert lived and breathed the sound of the guitar and its endless possibilities for communication, storytelling, conversation, emotional dialogue. We have a life’s work here, and what a life Bert Jansch has given us.”

“Bert lived and breathed the sound of the guitar and its endless possibilities for communication, storytelling, conversation, emotional dialogue. We have a life’s work here, and what a life Bert Jansch has given us.” – Bernard Butler

“One of the most influential and intriguing musicians to have come out of the British music scene". – Johnny Marr

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Gregory Alan Isakov new album out 5 October 2018

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Album release: 'Evening Machines' by Gregory Alan Isakov
Release date: 5 October 2018
Label: Dualtone Records
More info: Artist website

Gregory Alan Isakov’s highly anticipated new album, 'Evening Machines', will be released October 5 and is now available for pre-order here. In advance of the release—his first in partnership with Dualtone Records—the album’s first single, 'Chemicals', is premiering today. Listen / share here.

Recorded at a converted barn studio located on Isakov’s three-acre farm in Boulder County, CO, the thirteen-track album was self-produced and mixed by Tucker Martine (Neko Case, The Decemberists) and Andrew Berlin (Descendents, Rise Against). 

Of the record—his fourth full-length studio album and first in five years—Isakov comments, “I’d work really hard into the night. A lot of times I would find myself in the light of all these VU meters and the tape machine glow, so that’s where the title came from. I recorded mostly at night, when I wasn’t working in the gardens. It doesn't matter if it’s summer or winter, morning or afternoon, this music always feels like evening to me.”

In celebration of the album, Isakov will embark on an extensive worldwide tour this autumn - including a sold out return headline show at Colorado’s famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre on September 30 with special guest Patty Griffin - and UK / Ireland shows that include a headline at London’s 02 Shepherds Bush Empire. 

The new album follows Isakov’s acclaimed collaboration with the Colorado Symphony, 2016’s Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony, which featured orchestral versions of twelve of Isakov’s beloved songs. Released to widespread acclaim, NPR Music premiered the official music video for the song, 'Liars', praising, “Stunning imagery…an emotionally charged and poignant musical statement.” The Independent, CLASH and Huck magazine were also quick to praise his work with the orchestra. Previous to the symphonic album, Isakov released 2013’s The Weatherman, which debuted at #1 on iTunes’ Singer/Songwriter chart and received widespread acclaim including critical notice at NPR’s Weekend Edition, NPR Music, Esquire, Rolling Stone, The Boston Globe, etc. Of the music, Denver Westword proclaimed, “Bob Dylan once sang, ‘You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,’ and you don't need to be a singer-songwriter to realise that Isakov has created something truly stunning here.”

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and now calling Colorado home, Isakov is a lifelong traveller. Since his debut in 2003, Isakov has self-released three full-length studio albums on his independent label Suitcase Town Music with over 370,000 in sales and has toured extensively building a devoted worldwide audience. He’s also toured extensively with artists including Iron & Wine, Ani DiFranco, Blind Pilot, Passenger, Josh Ritter, Brandi Carlile, and Nathaniel Rateliff and, since his debut with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in November 2013, has performed with symphonies across the county including: the Seattle Symphony, the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, among others.

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Ana Silvera new album out 6 July 2018

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Album release: 'Oracles' by Ana Silvera
Release date: 6 July 2018
Label: Gearbox Records
More info: Artist website

  • New single 'Circle of Chalk'. See the premiere on Folk Radio here
  • Album launch show at The Purcell Room (Southbank Centre) on 4 July 2018

Since the 2012 release of her debut album, 'The Aviary', singer-songwriter Ana Silvera's work has garnered broad acclaim from audiences and critics alike. Her uniquely ethereal brand of alt-folk has seen her perform at SXSW, Iceland Airwaves Festival, Liverpool Royal Philharmonic and more, whilst recent collaborations include composing for Royal Ballet, duetting with Imogen Heap and singing original songs with early music consort Concerto Caledonia.Now six-years after her last full-length record, Silvera is about to release her sophomore album, ‘Oracles’.

“It was Marcus Davey, artistic director of the Roundhouse, who was really the 'Oracles' fairy-godfather. I’d sung in choirs till the age of 15, so that was always my musical foundation. Then Marcus mentioned this great, experimental in-house choir [REC] who were keen to collaborate. It was a very open-ended commission, basically ‘do what you want, use the choir somehow’. I don’t think either Marcus or I realised how much I needed to write this piece”.

Poignant, dreamlike and beautiful, and written following the sudden loss of her mother and brother, ‘Oracles’ was Silvera’s way to transmute her grief into a cathartic work of art. “I wrote ‘Oracles’ in a state of absolute urgency and emergency – it felt like I had been buried in the ground myself, and writing this music was a small pocket of air, my chance to breathe again”.

In 2011, the song-cycle was debuted with REC, and the following year was performed as part of a sold-out concert on the Roundhouse Main Stage, earning Silvera a nomination for a British Composer Award. She then returned to the Roundhouse Theatre to make a live recording of the piece, which forms her second full-length album. The recording features Silvera as a soloist, a choir led by Josephine Stephenson and a stellar line-up of guest musicians including pianist Bill Laurance (Snarky Puppy), double bassist Jasper Høiby (Phronesis) and drummer Jacob Smedegaard (Fiction, Du Blonde) as well as Simran Singh (violin), Anne Chauveau-Dhayan (cello) and Naomi Morris (percussion).

The result is a haunting yet life-affirming collection of songs whose lyrics explore loss, love, salvation and the journey towards acceptance, themes that are underscored by beguiling, weaving choral lines, mellifluous Debussian piano melodies, subtly off-kilter percussion and rapturous strings, all unified by Silvera’s dynamic vocal style which evokes the delicate yet theatrical prowess of Kate Bush, combined with what the Arts Desk described as a “Björk-like spontaneity’.

Conceptually, the piece follows the arc of a ‘quest’ – a folk tale that begins with a search for a tangible or symbolic goal and ends with a triumphant return home. “On reflection, I see my quest was to fathom this experience and - though it no longer existed in the familial sense of the word - to find my own way back home”. ‘Skeleton Song’, an Inuit-myth inspired tune about a woman who is sung back to life, is a fragile yet powerful paean to the female figures surrounding Silvera who “painstakingly pieced me together again”. ‘Catherine Wheels’, the epiphanic closing song, whose swelling strings push the song-cycle to an emotional climax, celebrates “the kind of earth-bound, steadfast love” that allowed Silvera to finally reckon with her past and come to terms with the present.

Says Silvera, “I can honestly say, I found it so moving that post-performance, audience members would come and speak to me about their own experiences of bereavement. Making that human connection and finding we are not alone is perhaps the greatest healer of all”.

Silvera will take a stripped-back version of ‘Oracles’ on tour across the UK and beyond later this year.

Press reaction to date

“Stunning . . . Silvera mixes folk elements with magical storytelling”
 – The Guardian

“a wonderful piece of modern folk . . . its deftness and surety of touch means it’s damned pleasing” – The Quietus

“There's both a lavish, vivid imagination and an intense intimacy at play . . . haunting, grown-up fairy-tales” – Metro

“Melodies that just won't leave you alone and a voice that tugs at your heart”
 – Late Junction, BBC Radio 3

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Scott Matthews releases new single and new album on 27 April 2018

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Album release: 'The Great Untold' by Scott Matthews
Release date: 27 April 2018
Label: Shedio
More info: Artist website

"Putting my world on the line
Turning one leaf at a time
Never knowing what I'll find"

Scott Matthews’ new record, 'The Great Untold', deserves to be a career defining one. The sixth studio album by the Ivor Novello Award-winning singer-songwriter (Best Song Musically & Lyrically for 'Elusive') is a master class in honesty, instinct and reflection. A largely acoustic recording, Matthews’ new record features sparse production after being recorded over a productive winter at home. His ten-song cycle is the sound of a man now entirely comfortable in his own skin, putting his neck on the line with a collection of quietly extraordinary songs.

The ghosts of Paul Simon, Ron Sexsmith, Tim Buckley, Nick Drake and John Martyn loom large on a sixth record that revels in its stripped-back nature to show what an exceptionally strong songwriter Matthews really is. The absence of multi-layered instrumentation on 'The Great Untold', however, should not infer that it lacks depth. The richness in Matthews’ new work comes from the intricacy of his guitar work, influenced by the likes of Bert Jansch and Mark Kozelek, whilst showcasing again an otherworldly singing voice that betrays an everyman inflection and down-to-earth persona.

In many ways, 'The Great Untold' is the start of a new era for Matthews. Since his debut album, 'Passing Stranger', in 2006, the Wolverhampton-born artist has further refined his craft. Writing deft and sensitive songs during a trajectory that began with the ethereal ‘Elusive’, The Great Untold marks a new beginning on his own terms. The first great arc of his career was completed with his Home duology; a pair of records that reflected on his journey thus far. The Great Untold is the sound of that man moving on. Matthews is recently married, soon-to-experience fatherhood and has new hopes and fears, new stories to tell. “After Home Part 2 was finished, I was looking to move forward by marrying harmony with my experiences since the last record. The plan to write an acoustic record has always been there. And finally the time is right to do that.”

Matthews has tested himself as a songwriter. He started as a soloist and has gone full circle, again ready to fly alone. It opens new possibilities, a different type of challenge. “It takes me out of my comfort zone and has made me test myself. I’ve largely pared it down to guitar and vocals. At the beginning, there was nobody else. It’s time to surprise myself. It’s time to go back to my own world.”

Lyrically, 'The Great Untold' is a work with poetic intent. “It’s a collection of songs that lots of people will hopefully relate to. Naturally, my starting points are from a personal perspective but most times I have to broaden the idea so it's not so insular as a piece of music. It can be a challenge but I'm very proud of where I've ventured to and there's been a lot of soul searching woven into these songs that I hope people will appreciate. When I’m writing, I’m almost hearing voices from The Masters and thinking: ‘Would they approve?’”

The point is to make a connection. “I want to move somebody with the power of moods and music.” It is in the right hands. And that’s an opposite description for The Great Untold. It is a record written by a man at the peak of his powers – 'As The Day Passes', 'Something Real', 'Song To A Wallflower' and the stunning 'Cinnamon' are amongst the finest in his songbook – and by a musician able to channel great beauty in songs that reveal the most human of truths.

"...engagingly thoughtful and classy singer-songwriter" - The Guardian

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Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage new album out 11 May 2018

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Album release: 'Awake' by Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage
Release date: 11 May 2018
Label: Sungrazing Records
More info: Band website

Two years ago, Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage stirred the folk and acoustic world with a stand-out debut album and there’s been little slumbering since. Now they are set to release an arresting second studio album, 'Awake'. The combination of Hannah’s outstandingly pure, clear voice, their perfect fit harmonies and Ben’s exquisite dobro are the rock-solid foundations of this rising duo, first witnessed in the 2016 album, 'Before The Sun'. This quality pairing unarguably has hypnotic effect, painting aural dreamscapes around them in resonant songs that are given room to breathe. 

When Hannah’s folk family travels across Europe and sojourn in America ended and she returned to her native East Anglia, a chance meeting at a Cambridge folk club with The Willows band member Ben was the start of something special. Ben went on to produce Hannah’s solo album 'Charms Against Sorrow' before they ventured into duo territory uncorking a beguiling, intricately woven, ethereal sound all their own. 'Before the Sun' saw them named in many Albums of the Year lists including the 2016 fRoots Critics Poll and hinted at a largely untapped song writing talent amongst the expertly executed traditional arrangements and covers. That song writing skill moves more centre stage in 'Awake' - an album that shows them fulfilling all the promise heaped on them. 

Once again, they have returned to Toronto, putting Grammy-nominated Canadian producer David Travers-Smith (Madison Violet, The Wailin’ Jennys) at the helm for this album crafted with infinite care. The 11-track release has six strong originals alongside innovative arrangements of traditional songs and captivating covers from the Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie cannons. The eye-catching album cover by psychedelic artist Alan Forbes depicts the High Priestess and a deer as The Hanged Man from the tarot card deck and tarot icons run through the CD booklet. Says Hannah: “We used tarot throughout the recording process to help us think and feel more deeply about the music.” A duo who delve into the mysterious and often like to release music in line with the lunar calendar, their live show sees them huddled around a single microphone, drawing the audience in. And so it is with this magnetic album. 

Alongside Hannah’s trademark mountain dulcimer and Ben’s delicious dobro, they both play guitars on the album. Adding their magic are guest musicians from both sides of the Atlantic – from the UK Jon Thorne on double bass, Evan Carson on percussion and Norwich singer songwriter Jess Morgan, Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts on additional vocals and from Canada Chris Coole on banjo, David Travers-Smith on horns and organ, Burke Carroll on pedal steel and on vocals, Vancouver-born American-Canadian alt country singer songwriter Suzanne Ungerleider who performs under the name Oh Susanna. 

Entwined in the sturdy roots of English and North American music, Awake stirs with two original Sanders/Savage numbers – the mythical sea woman yearns to return to her spiritual sea home in the banjo-laced Selkie Song and there is more heartache in I Met a Man, a modern retelling of the ancient story of love between a woman and a green man, with Burke Carroll weaving in his wonderful pedal steel. 

The original material continues in 'A Thousand New Moons' – a luminous, gossamer-spun reflection on endings and beginnings, with Ben on lead vocal. The symbolic number 7 is the title of a song Hannah wrote for those who search for omens in the natural world, prompted by a friend desperate for a life change. The haunting instrumentation adds pedal steel and horns to Hannah and Ben’s guitar duet and the popular ‘One for Sorrow’ magpie nursery rhyme provides the chorus. The beautiful title track was originally written by Ben to tempt a talented friend out of a musical hiatus but has taken on a wider meaning and here it enjoys a lush vocal crescendo with the duo joined by Jess Morgan and Oh Susanna. Reaching is an exquisite, mellow, pin-drop perfect love song written by Hannah which closes the album in this duo’s soft tread style, building to a flourish which unusually features Ben on drums. 

'Awake' is an album that stirs the soul and further endorses the empathetic class act that is Sanders and Savage. Released on May 11 on the Sungrazing Records label it will be distributed by Proper Distribution. 

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Old Crow Medicine Show new album out 20 April 2018

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Album release: 'Volunteer' by Old Crow Medicine Show
Release date: 20 April 2018
More info: Band website

Grammy award-winning American Roots band Old Crow Medicine Show has announced the release of their upcoming album 'Volunteer', due out April 20th. The album was recorded at the historic RCA Studio A and produced by Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson). Since the release of their last Grammy-winning studio effort Remedy, Old Crow Medicine Show has taken their versatility to another level, by not only reinterpreting Bob Dylan’s seminal album 'Blonde On Blonde', but also collaborating with pop sensation Kesha. Volunteer is yet another fine example of how Old Crow Medicine Show remains one of the most vibrant and forward thinking traditional bands of their time.

Listen to new singles 'Flicker & Shine' 'Dixie Avenue'

'The songs on 'Volunteer illustrate themes that resonate far beyond Old Crow Medicine Show’s diverse fan base, while also showcasing the depth in the group's songwriting. An album highlight 'Look Away' inspired by The Rolling Stones, is Ketch Secor’s homage to his love for the history, both sorrowful and joyful, of the South. 'A World Away' is an upbeat homage to refugees, an extremely relevant subject matter that Secor has been writing about since he was young. 'Dixie Avenue' pays a playful tribute to the Virginia location where Secor and bandmate Fuqua fell in love with music. The album’s final track, the bittersweet love song 'Whirlwind', could easily tell the tale of how Old Crow Medicine Show built a successful career from the ground up. 

Old Crow Medicine Show consists of Ketch Secor, Critter Fuqua, Cory Younts, Morgan Jahnig, Chance McCoy and Kevin Hayes. The traditional string band incorporated electric guitar for the first time since 2004 (when Dave Rawlings put a Telecaster on the band’s classic 'Wagon Wheel'), on 'Volunteer', and the album also features Joe Jackson Andrews on his haunting pedal steel.

Celebrating their 20th anniversary, Old Crow Medicine Show is coming off a busy year of touring in support of their latest release, the highly acclaimed '50 Years Of Blonde On Blonde', a rootsy tribute to the Bob Dylan classic. The band also recently collaborated with 2018 Grammy nominee Kesha for CMT’s Crossroads.

Old Crow Medicine Show’s recent accomplishments, demonstrate that they still have the hunger to evolve and thrive in a variety of musical settings. While trends in music have come and gone, Old Crow Medicine Show has maintained their sense of integrity, continuing to share their infectious hybrid of traditional mountain music across the country.

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Gretchen Peters new album out 18 May 2018

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Album release: 'Dancing With The Beast' by Gretchen Peters
Release date: 18 May 2018
Label: Proper Records
More info: Artist website

Gretchen Peters announces new album and extensive UK tour dates. 

'Dancing with the Beast', the new album from Gretchen Peters, puts female characters at the fore, from teenage girls to old women. And intentionally so. With the 2017 Women’s March and the #MeToo Movement as bookends to her writing time, Peters knew that a feminist perspective would be the critical core of the record.

She admits, “You can trace the feminist DNA in my songwriting back to ‘Independence Day’ and probably before. The thing that 2017 did is just put it front and center.” Though Peters doesn’t consider herself a political writer, she is politically minded and, therefore, knew she had to address the 2016 election and all that has happened since... but in her own way.

There’s a bittersweet beauty to the passing of time -- the changes it brings are just as often heartbreaking as they are heartwarming. The inevitable tension that arises from that sway is Gretchen Peters’ most trusted muse. With melody supporting that melancholy, the songs on the new album combine to lift the effort over the high artistic bar set by her last outing, 2015’s award-winning 'Blackbirds'.

Whether a single sentence or a simple setting, once planted, even the tiniest seed can grow into a vision unto itself. Strung together and populated with strong and broken female heroines, those vignettes make up 'Dancing with the Beast' and, indeed, Peters’ entire discography.

Beauty tempered by dread, sorrow buoyed by hope, these are the ever-present tugs of war that make life worth living and songs worth writing. And they are the over-riding themes that make Gretchen Peters one of her generation’s most compelling singer/songwriters.

UK TOUR DATES

Saturday, 19th May 2018 / Stamford, Corn Exchange     
Sunday, 20th May 2018 / Milton Keynes, The Stables  
Tuesday, 22nd May 2018 / Edinburgh, Queens Hall       
Wednesday, 23rd May 2018 / Gateshead, The Sage Gateshead       
Friday, 25th May 2018 / Birmingham, Birmingham Town Hall          
Saturday, 26th May 2018 / Southport, The Atkinson      
Sunday, 27th May 2018 / Manchester, Royal Northern College of Music         
Wednesday, 30th May 2018 / Leeds, City Varieties
Thursday, 31st May 2018 / Bury St Edmunds, The Apex
Saturday, 2nd June 2018 / Bristol, St Georges    
Sunday, 3rd June 2018 / Worthing, The Pavilion Theatre       
Thursday, 7th June 2018 / Shetland, Mareel       
Saturday, 9th June 2018 / Nottingham, Gate to Southwell Festival       
Tuesday, 12th June 2018 / Cardiff, Level 3 – St David’s Hall      
Wednesday, 13th June 2018 / London, Cadogan Hall          
Friday, 15th June 2018 / Beverley, Beverley Folk Festival Main Stage
Friday, 24th August 2018 / Wadebridge, Cornwall Folk Festival
Sunday, 26th August 2018 / Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury Folk Festival

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Underneath The Stars Festival announces full line-up for 2018

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Festival announcement: Underneath The Stars
Festival dates: 20 - 22 July 2018
More info: Festival website

Underneath The Stars announces full line-up for the 2018 edition of their music & arts festival on 20 - 22 July 2018 at Cinderhill Farm, Yorkshire.

Steve Earle & The Dukes, Kate Rusby, Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and Lau among those set to appear.

South Yorkshire's stellar music & arts festival Underneath The Stars returns this summer with another exciting line-up of established and emerging talent across the folk, jazz, roots, bluegrass, fusion and Americana music worlds, as well as the promise of enticing workshops, arts, crafts and food stalls, highlighting the creative talents of the Yorkshire region. Organised by the family production team of acclaimed Yorkshire folk singer-songwriter Kate Rusby, and now in its fifth year, 2018’s edition also sees its relocation to a brand-new site at Cinderhill Farm, Cawthorne, near Barnsley, and promises a warm welcome to this beautiful and cozy little corner of rural Yorkshire.

Heading this year’s line-up are Grammy Award winning songwriter and activist Steve Earle with his band The Dukes, as well as Barnsley born and bred Kate Rusby, with her disarming mixture of down to earth charm and otherworldly vocals. George Hinchliffe's Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain will be presenting their hilarious, virtuosic, twanging, foot-stomping obituary of rock-n-roll and melodious light entertainment featuring only the “bonsai guitar”. Lau - “the most musically adventurous trio in British folk” (The Guardian) – appear too, with their unique explorations of acoustic folk tradition and electronica. Barnsley based best-selling author Joanne Harris, most famous for her novel ‘Chocolat’, will also be presenting a special audio-visual show combining original music, songs and stories with The Storytime Band.

Elsewhere The California Feetwarmers provide boisterous on-stage antics to accompany their re-workings of classics from The Blue Ridge Playboys, Scott Joplin, The Memphis Jugband and Emile Grimshaw’s Rag Pickers, and Yves Lambert Trio ­– Yves being one of the most influential and legendary players in Quebec’s traditional roots music scene – fronts a trio playing diatonic button accordions, harmonica, jaw harp, and percussion. Two of the world’s finest instrumentalists Damien O’Kane & Ron Block (Ron being a member of Grammy-winning band Alison Krauss and Union Station, and Damien a stand-out solo artist, member of Kate Rusby’s band and one of the best banjo players in the Irish music scene) perform together in the bluegrass-country tradition. Grace Petrie brings her inimitable takes on life, love and politics, that has won her scores of fans across the alternative, folk, political and comedy scenes. Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards also feature with their superb string playing, Sheffield-based ensemble (featuring BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year, Nancy Kerr) Melrose Quartet will appear, and The Adventures of Andy Kershaw - a one-man audio-visual show from the legendary broadcaster and foreign correspondent - is sure to be a highlight.

Scottish collective Fat Suit mix the worlds of jazz, funk and soul, Honeyfeet offer a righteous blast of energy once called Folk-Hop and Barrelhouse-pop, Estebel are a rare line-up of two nightingales from Estonia and two Flemish brothers from Belgium, and John Metcalfe - one the most exciting and versatile musicians and sought-after arrangers and composers in the UK, having worked with Morrissey, Coldplay, Bat For Lashes, Blur, George Michael, Johnny Marr and Tom Jones – features in what will be an incredibly compelling performance. Midnight Skyracer provide some driving bluegrass, Amythyst Kiah brings her self-described Southern-Gothic alt-country all the way from Johnson City, Tennessee, and there will be folk music from acclaimed young English folk singer and multi-instrumentalist Jack Rutter. Also here is award winning interpreter of Scottish folk and song, Lori Watson, whose recent album was awarded album of the month in The Guardian. 20-year-old Welsh speaker with Bajan heritage (fusing bilingual soul-folk jazz) Kizzy Crawford is sure to be captivating, as is English singer-songwriter Jack Harris.

Howlin’ Ric & The Rocketeers bring original Rock & Roll and Rhythm & Blues with a classic sound, Stables – a new alt-folk duo comprising Matthew Lowe lead singer of Keston Cobblers Club and Daniel Trenholme – will be one to see, as will the unique voice of internationally-tipped, Amsterdam-born folk-pop musician Pitou. Hearts at War – featuring the incredible vocal talents of Rosie Doonan, Louise Hull and Megan Barber follow, and the Barnsley Youth Choir return after a triumphant set at last year’s event. L-R meld heart wrenching songs and dance of the Asturian countryside with the bluesy grit of the Gretsch guitar.

In addition to two towering big-top music venues (the mainstage is fully seated, with an “attentive concert hall” ambience, stage two is a standing venue for a more boisterous atmosphere) the festival site features lively street-arts performers, workshop activities, handmade crafts and vintage stalls as well as boutique street food vendors and bar areas. A brand-new Makers Market is also introduced this year which prioritises fair and ethical trading, environmental sustainability, value for money to customers, creativity and innovation. 2018’s food vendors have all been hand-picked for their creativity, quality ingredients and value for money, as has the range of local real ales, ciders, wines and spirits available at The Festival Bar.

A great deal of attention has also been put into guest comfort, with provisions for a high level of accessibility for those with disabilities, and even a pre-pitched luxury camping option available to weekend ticket holders.

“We are delighted and excited to have found a new home for Underneath the Stars Festival at Cinderhill Farm. It was especially important for us to keep the site within the Barnsley area in order to continue contributing to the incredible creative culture of the very place our own families were born and raised. We are proud to be hosting some of the best roots performers in the world and at the same time showcasing the talent and creativity within the region of Yorkshire.” - Joe Rusby, Creative Director

Watch the 2017 highlight video

  • Under 7’s gain free entry

Sustainability

Underneath The Stars operates a 'Leave No Trace' policy and is continually working to develop their solutions to transport, energy, purchasing and waste.

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You Are Wolf new album out 23 March 2018 

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Album release: 'Keld' by You Are Wolf
Release date: 23 March 2018
Label: Firecrest Records
More info: Artist website

You Are Wolf is the alt-folk project of award-winning composer and vocalist Kerry Andrew. Releasing her second album 'Keld'  in March, it is the follow-up to her 2014 debut 'Hawk To The Hunting Gone', a record that explored British birds and folklore. Now working as a trio with multi-instrumentalist Sam Hall and percussionist Peter Ashwell, 'Keld' - an old Northern English word meaning “the deep, still, smooth part of a river” – is an album that explores and develops the theme of freshwater. Wild swimming is a key passion and inspiration of hers, and she can often be found dipping into lochs, lakes, rivers and the sea in all weathers. Though there are countless traditional songs about the sea, there are less about our inland waterways, and Kerry decided to use this as a challenge: to source traditional material and write originals all inspired by freshwater folklore.

It was an aim of Kerry’s to find songs that featured an array of strong female characters, and 'Keld'  includes traditional songs about waterfall banshees, killer female water sprites, drowning boys and powerful witches. Original songs are inspired by wild swimming, vengeful rivers, nymphs and naiads, and even an Anglo-Saxon charm. You Are Wolf brings these ancient songs and stories into the present, with bold arrangements inspired by leftfield pop, new classical music and electronica.

The album is produced by MaJiker, best known for his work on French alt-pop queen Camille’s Victoire-winning albums. He has also remixed / worked with Fever Ray, Nitin Sahwney and Gaggle, and brings an experimental pop sensibility to the album. Where Hawk To The Hunting Gone was heavily vocal, with lots of vocal looping - inspired by the likes of Camille, Bobby Mcferrin, Meredith Monk and tUnE-yArDs – 'Keld'  is more expansive. With a wider palate of sounds including drums, ‘cello, vibraphone, trumpet, found sounds and field recordings, it’s an album that not only draws from innovative contemporary folk artists including Lisa Knapp (who features here on 'The Weeper'), Sam Lee and The Unthanks, but also by music outside the folk sphere: everything from minimalist composer Steve Reich to PJ Harvey, traditional Central African Pygmy music and Julia Holter. The brilliant poet Robin Robertson also appears.

You Are Wolf is a regular on Radio 3’s The Verb and performed her debut short story with music on BBC Radio 4’s 'Stories From Songwriters' series. Elsewhere, as Kerry Andrew, she is a composer of experimental vocal music and choral music, has a PhD in Composition and is the winner of four British Composer Awards. Kerry has written for The Guardian and is an occasional presenter on BBC Radio 3. Her debut novel, Swansong, based on a folk ballad, is published by Jonathan Cape on January 25th 2018. The novel has been praised by Robert Macfarlane as “spiky, strange and contemporary, but always with a dark undertow of myth and folklore tugging at its telling”, and by folk legend Shirley Collins as “a subtle, supernatural tale told in a present-day voice.” 

Press reaction to date

“English avant-folk at its finest” – The Guardian 

“Imagine Bjork working her magic on the English folk tradition” – Uncut  

“Her voice is a thing of beauty and clarity… [she is] reconfiguring British folk as a music not only of the past, but of the present and future” – Prog  

 “one of the most original albums of traditional folk songs you’ll hear this year - fRoots 

‘a truly beautiful voice” – Drowned In Sound  

As heard on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 

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Joan Baez 2018 tour and new album out 2 March 2018

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Album release: 'Whistle Down The Wind' by Joan Baez
Release date: 2 March 2018
Label: Proper records
More info: Artist website

Legendary singer, songwriter, activist and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Joan Baez, will release a new album 'Whistle Down The Wind' (Proper Records) on March 2 2018. Produced by three-time Grammy® Award winner Joe Henry and recorded over ten days of sessions in Los Angeles, 'Whistle Down The Wind' gathers material by some of Baez’s favourite composers. Pre-order the album here.

In conjunction with the new album, Joan will undertake an extensive 2018 world tour, including UK and ROI dates in March and May. Speaking of the tour, which will begin on March 2 in Stockholm, Baez says “While 2018 will be my last year of formal extended touring, I’m looking forward to being on the road with a beautiful new album about which I am truly proud.  I welcome the opportunity to share this new music as well as longtime favourites with my audiences around the world.”

Joan last performed in the UK in 2014 when she sold out 4 nights at London’s Royal Festival Hall, following a sold out 21 date tour in 2012. Watch Joan Baez performing Diamonds and Rust.

'Whistle Down The Wind' is Joan’s first new studio album in a decade, since 2008’s critically acclaimed, Grammy®-nominated 'Day After Tomorrow', which was produced by Steve Earle.  Its release ignited an extraordinary decade of achievement by Joan, including: the PBS 'American Masters' series premiere of her life story, Joan Baez: How Sweet The Sound (2009), which underscored the 50th anniver­sa­ry of Joan’s debut at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival.  Joan’s seminal debut album of 1960 was honoured by the National Academy of Record­ing Arts & Sciences in 2011, which inducted it into the Grammy® Hall Of Fame; and subsequently by the Library of Congress in 2015, which selected it to be preserved in the National Recording Registry. That same year, Amnesty International bestowed its highest honour on Joan, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, in recognition of her exceptional leadership in the fight for human rights and she was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in April 2017.

Record-breaking years of touring in the recent past included Joan’s first tours in three decades in both Australia (2013) and South America (2014).  Joan’s 75th birthday was celebrated at New York’s Beacon Theatre in January 2016, where she was joined by Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris and a host of others. 

Joan’s first solo exhibition of paintings was presented in Mill Valley, CA in 2018.  The collec­tion celebrated 'Mischief Makers' – portraits of risk-taking visionaries who have brought about social change through non-violent action.  The entire exhibit was subsequently purchased by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and donated to Sonoma State University, where it will eventually be displayed at an envisioned new social justice learning centre on campus.

Joan Baez remains a musical force of nature of incalculable influence.  She marched on the front line of the civil rights movement with Martin Luther King, shined a spotlight on the Free Speech Movement, took to the fields with Cesar Chavez, organised resistance to the Vietnam War, inspired Vaclav Havel in his fight for a Czech Republic, saluted the Dixie Chicks for their courage to protest the Iraq war, and stood with old friend Nelson Mandela in London’s Hyde Park as the world celebrated his 90th birthday. Joan’s earliest recordings fed a host of traditional ballads into the rock vernacular, before she unselfconsciously introduced Bob Dylan to the world in 1963.  Thus began a tradition of mutual mentoring that continues on 'Whistle Down The Wind', and which will reverberate long into the future across Joan’s lifetime of recordings.
 
 

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Beth Nielsen Chapman new album out 9 February 2018

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Album release: 'Hearts Of Glass' by Beth Nielsen Chapman
Release date: 9 February 2018
Label: Proper Records
More info: Artist website

Beth Nielsen Chapman’s brand-new studio album, 'Hearts Of Glass' is a powerful collection of songs that dig deep into the place within us where vulnerability meets strength. Produced by Sam Ashworth, 'Hearts Of Glass' is sparse and beautifully recorded. The songs, mostly written by Beth alone, include several new compositions, from the haunting 'Epitaph For Love' to the instant classic 'You’re Still My Valentine', to the infectious 'Enough For Me', written with Sam. The opening track, 'Come To Mine', the only other co-written song, was composed with the legendary Graham Gouldman and Kevin Montgomery at Chris Difford’s Songwriting retreat in Somerset England.  

“My intention was to do an album of songs 100% written by me, and bring together those kinds of songs that have a certain focus and vibe, but 'Come To Mine' just jumped out and insisted on leading the pack!  It’s timely what with all that’s swirling around in the world right now”. The same is true for the closing track 'Dancer To The Drum' which provides the perfect bookend" said Beth. 

'Hearts Of Glass' also features several gems plucked from Beth’s previous releases that have been re-recorded, now moved from piano to guitar with minimal touches of production. 'Life Holds On', sounding like it could have been written yesterday, is just one stunning example of how the “less is more” approach reveals the power of these songs, stripped down to Beth’s voice and the pulsing of her electric guitar. The songs are front and centre, as is the case for 'Rage On Rage', 'Dancer To The Drum' and 'Child Again', each having been reborn. 'Old Church Hymns & Nursery Rhymes', recorded here for the first time by Beth, is a song she wrote for Waylon Jennings, released on his 'Eagle' album and uses amazing imagery to capture the passing of time. 

In addition, the first-time release of Beth’s version of the timeless classic “If My World Didn’t Have You” features Rodney Crowell on backing vocals. This song first appeared on Willie Nelson’s 'Horse Called Music' album along with her song 'Nothing I Can Do About It Now' which went to #1 for Willie in 1990. 

Beth’s working with producer Sam Ashworth came about from a conversation with legendary broadcaster Bob Harris OBE, in which she mentioned she loved the recordings of duo The Civil Wars and was looking to record her new album with that kind of clarity and space. Bob suggested she meet up with the producer/artist Charlie Peacock. When Beth and Charlie’s schedules didn’t sync, Beth met with his son Sam, a young, talented producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and from their first meeting, Beth felt very confident that this was going to work. 

“I made a decision early on in the process that this time I was going to fully allow myself to be produced and work on taming my inner “control freak”.  From the selection of the songs to choosing of the musicians and the addition of overdubs, Beth deferred to Sam. “Creatively this was very new territory for me. It was such an interesting dynamic to hand over so many of the decisions and trust the process. I found by not jumping in too quickly and directing, that I ended up not only with something I loved, but I learned a lot about myself and the places you can go when you let someone else drive." 

The places that 'Hearts Of Glass' goes will take you right into the centre of the truth, and the full beautiful dance of contradictions that inhabit love and life.

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Darling West new album due 16 February 2018

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Album release: 'While I Was Asleep' by  Darling West
Release date: 16 February 2018
Label: Jansen Records 2018
More info: Band website

The last twelve months of Darling West’s musical career have seen them hit somewhat of a purple patch. In the time since the release of their second album, 'Vinyl And A Heartache', they have played concerts all over the world, been listed on the biggest radio channels in Norway and appeared on the Top 100 Country charts in the US. They’ve been played more than three million times on Spotify, been booked to the biggest festivals in Norway, SXSW in Texas, Folk Alliance in Kansas City and Americanafest in Nashville, toured with Sam Outlaw, and supported Lucinda Williams. In February, 2017, they also won a Norwegian Grammy for their album 'Vinyl And A Heartache'.

Never a band to rest of their laurels, they rode this wave of success right back into the recording studio to record the ten songs that would come to make up their third album While I Was Asleep. Bringing with them a new-found sense of confidence and purpose, 'While I Was Asleep' is the sound of a refreshed and revitalised Darling West. The band is still playing their sweet Americana /country / folk, but there is a lot more drive in the music and their melodies are more magnetic and enchanting than ever before.

Darling West’s talent for insightful and honest storytelling is evidenced not least of all the album’s title track. Written across borders – penned in Brooklyn USA and finished in Norway’s Ål mountains – it’s a song that captures vocalist Mari Sandvær Kreken’s sensitivity to a pop melody, as she marries a sense of sadness and melancholia with her driving, propulsive, and heart-felt delivery. Elsewhere, 'After My Time' - one of the few songs from the album to have been written in their apartment in Oslo - meditates on notions of modern-day anxieties and mortality. Mari has said about the song; “It does something to you when you read about human destinies and experiences you hardly can imagine. It’s difficult to take in, but at the same time it’s important to not shut it out.” 'Traveller' is a song that further exemplifies the band’s thoughtfulness in their writing, as Mari continues; “Traveller tells the story of a restless soul, who made some choices in the past and are still haunted by them. Most of us entertain that thought sometimes; "What would have happened if...?". But for some it turns out to be a defining moment that they will always carry with them.” Punctuated with Mari and Tor Egil Kreken’s spine-tingling vocals and finger picked guitars - with Kjetil Steensnæs creating beautiful lines with his pedal steel, weaving in and out of a lush string section – 'Traveller' is one of the album’s highlights. 

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Van William debut album due 19 January 2018

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Album release: ‘The Countries’ by Van William
Release date: 19 January 2018
Label: Fantasy Records / Concord Music
More info: Artist website

Just a couple years ago, Van William was a man with a plan. Having toured the world from age twenty – first with his band Port O’Brien, followed by his second group Waters – he had met and cultivated a tight knit community of fellow musicians, embarked on a serious, years-long romantic relationship, even found time to spend summers in the Kodiak Islands of Alaska working on his father’s commercial fishing boat, as he’d done all his life. 

When, in short order, his musical projects and romantic relationship dissolved, and his father announced his retirement after 49 summers at sea, Van reached an inflection point. “I was freaked out”, the songwriter recalls, looking back on the most tumultuous year of his life. “But with that freak-out came a renewed sense of purpose” and a new musical direction, heralded by the arrival of ‘Countries’, Van’s vivid and open-hearted solo debut full length album, set for January 19 release on Fantasy Records / Concord Music. Stream / Share new album track ‘The Country’ via Soundcloud here.

Anchored in Van's love of melodic song craft and infused with melancholy, the eleven original songs on ‘Countries’ don't belong to any specific style. Call them American Heartache, music that stirs up forgotten memories and feels eternal and fresh, pulling the past into the present as a way of navigating considerable loss.

Van wrote the songs that would become ‘Countries’ in a secluded part of the Sierra Nevada, then enlisted a close-knit group of friends - including his co-producer Brian Phillips, Dawes drummer Griffin Goldsmith, Pop ETC bassist Chris Chu and keyboardist Tam Visher - to bring the album to life in a studio in Marin County. Special vocal guests on the album include the Soderberg sisters of First Aid Kit, Miya Folick, and Sara DaMert of Waters.  

“These songs sound exactly like I feel” says Van, “restless, reeling, heartbroken and ready to burst. I grew up on Fugazi and Plastic Ono Band; The Lonesome Crowded West and On the Beach. I wanted to make a record that unambiguous, that digs its hooks in deep and doesn’t let go”. 

‘Countries’ follows Van’s critically acclaimed ‘The Revolution EP’, released earlier this year which earned praise from NPR, Wild Honey Pie (“therapeutic and celebratory”) and others. The EP’s title track and video both feature Van’s longtime friends and collaborators First Aid Kit, who he’s set to support on an international tour starting in North America in January 2018. Before that Van will play a three-week residency at LA’s Moroccan Lounge, with special guests to be announced day-of-show each week. UK listings for the international support tour are below. 

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I'm With Her debut album out 16 February 2018

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Album release: 'See You Around' by I'm With Her
Release date: 16 February 2018
More info: Band website

Title track out now – click here to Listen. 

International Headlining Tour Kicks Off in Early 2018. 

I'm With Her, the band of Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O'Donovan, have announced the release of their full-length debut, 'See You Around', out February 16, 2018. 'See You Around', the title track from the album, is available everywhere today. Co-produced by Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Laura Marling, Paul McCartney) and the band and recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Bath, England, 'See You Around' is a 12 track LP filled with finespun narratives and breathtaking harmonies – full track listing is below. Additionally, I’m With Her has announced an international headlining tour that will kick off in March 2018 and bring the band to major cities across the world including Los Angeles, Paris, London, and more. 

'See You Around' presents a warmly textured, yet stripped-down sound layered with lush guitar tones and crystalline harmonies. The album is comprised of 11 originals, penned by the band in Los Angeles and Vermont, plus the never before released Gillian Welch-penned 'Hundred Miles'. With each member playing guitar and handling various aspects of the instrumentation— including fiddle and ukulele for Watkins, mandolin and banjo for Jarosz, piano and synth for O’Donovan—the band cut most of the album live, performing just a few feet away from each other in the tracking room. All through 'See You Around', I’m With Her exhibits a refined musicality that reflects their deep musical roots. 

After years of crossing paths in their intersecting scenes, I’m With Her came together by happenstance for an off-the-cuff performance at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival during the summer of 2014.The multi-Grammy-Award-winners have individually released nine solo efforts, co-founded two seminal bands (Nickel Creek and Crooked Still), and contributed to critically acclaimed albums from a host of esteemed artists. The band has garnered tremendous acclaim for their unique blend of instrumental interplay and indelible harmonies. 

"We all feel immensely fortunate to be in this band together,” says I’m With Her. “As longtime friends and fans of each other’s music, it’s been wonderful to realise that writing and collaborating together fits so seamlessly into our lives. And now, we’re so excited to get to tour and share the work we’ve done as a band with our debut album, 'See You Around'."

Press reaction to date

“…when the three women sang together, their voices became one instrument, sharing every breath” – New York Times

“…quiet beauty, gorgeous playing and harmonies and touching, visceral intimacy” – NPR World Café 

“gorgeous” - CLASH

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