Wednesday, 22 November 2017


CD Review

The Poacher’s Fate

Ted Kemp & Laura Smyth

Many folk musicians seem to be caught up in a trend of experimentation and fusion, bringing all manner of musical styles and electronics into their arrangements of traditional tunes and songs. 

So it’s a real treat when you get an album which earths its music very clearly back in the good, rich soil of tradition.

Laura Smyth and Ted Kemp concentrate on their voices to create a collection which is an authentic representation of a bygone sound and age. It has the feel of crackling wood fires, tankards of ale clinking in a haze of pipe smoke and travelling players settled at an inn to entertain the locals.

The title track opens the album and straight away the clarity of Smyth’s voice washes over you like plunging your face into a freshly drawn pail of well water. Kemp’s deeper-voiced harmonies complement her singing perfectly in a style which has stood the test of time.

Smyth sings solo on the following track Alizon Device, her own composition. Her voice lies somewhere in between Fay Hield and Nancy Kerr which is in no way a qualitative comparison. All three songstress’ voices are wonderful in their own right.

The song, about an infamous witch trial, is accompanied simply by Kemp on the banjo. The uncluttered nature of the track is like a tonic for the ears.

There is a Tavern will be familiar to almost anyone who has an interest in folk or traditional music. However, the stripped back nature of their performance gives it a real freshness. Kemp is once again there adding the tune with his precise picking.

Kemp swaps roles with Smyth for Murder in the Red Barn. His vocal style is simple, stylish and could be seamlessly transported to the renaissance.
The Pendle witches trial

Smyth’s harmonies almost sneak up on you in their subtlety but they are no less clear for being underneath Kemp’s voice.

Cecilia is sung a Capella by Smyth, which gives you another chance to indulge in her crystal tones. She adopts a style which is somewhere between singing and storytelling where she is able to create drama with her changes in pitch and tone.

The only instrumental on the album is a doublet of Winder’s Hornpipe and the ominously titled Kill Him With Kindness. It’s a gentle, light pair of tunes given character by the shifting tones of Smyth on the concertina.

Smyth brings her voice back for Here’s Adieu to all Judges and Juries. Her voice takes on a deeper tone which reminds a lot of Hannah Martin. But the laser precision of her notes are incredibly piercing in their clarity.

She also provides a rich atmosphere with the growling strings of her cello.

You will be hard pushed to get more traditional than The Brown Hare of Whitebrook which even contains the wonderfully archaic refrain “fol de rol de day”. The song is floated softly along on the tones of Smyth’s squeezebox and Kemp’s gentle guitar.

Brave Benbow is another duet sung a Capella and the perfect blending of the pair’s voices is as harmonious as you could hope for.

Once again Smyth changes the emotion in her voice for The Manchester Angel. The marching style cadence gives it a real strength with Smyth’s cello adds a deep and sad tone to proceedings. Kemp’s understated banjo playing adds an almost sinister tone to the tune.

You have to do a double take when they move into Wild Rover. It’s the traditional song popularised by The Dubliners but their version catches you unawares. It’s only when you catch the lyrics that you realise how familiar they are but surrounded by an unfamiliar arrangement from the two excellent musicians.

The new album
The penultimate track is another a Capella rendering from Smyth who adds strong emotion to Carrickmannon Lake.

As she sings there is no strain in her voice, you get a sense she is holding it at half power but still there is the impressive clarity of tone and precision of words which makes the listener feel they are in the same room.

The final track is a surprise and an unusual way to end the album. It’s Smyth’s grandfather David Smyth reciting a rhyme about County Down in Northern Ireland.

These two people who are steeped in folk music, they are both librarians with Smyth being the Library and Archives Director for the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. This enables them to get under the skin of their music with detailed notes about the songs.

They obviously have a great depth of knowledge and respect for the history of the tunes they have arranged and that comes out in the tight, stripped back and uncluttered songs and tunes they have put together on this album.

The Poacher’s Fate is officially released November 25 on the Broken Token label and available now through the duo’s website, iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


CD Review

Pretty Peggy

Sam Kelly has one of the most recognisable voices around the folk and acoustic scene. His tones feel like a chocolate ganache matured in a smoke house. Kelly was responsible for one of the most beautiful and expressive songs for many years in I'll Give You My voice (see below).

Sam Kelly
For this new album, Pretty Peggy, he has once again surrounded himself with The Lost Boys who are part of a cast which reads like a Who’s Who? of folk and includes Geoff Lakeman, father of the Lakeman folk dynasty, playing spoons no less.

Kelly opens the album with a slapping beat, like waves on the prow of a ship which is appropriate for a track called Looking Out for the Greenland Whale. It sounds like a hybrid of a broadside and a shanty and is full of verve.

Particularly worthy of note is the colour added by Jamie Francis on banjo. About two thirds of the way in there is a distinct change of pace, almost as if Kelly and the band were holding back waiting for a signal to let all hell loose; if you are going to open an album then this is an impressive way to do it.

This gives way to the title track, a tangibly smooth version of a traditional song. Kelly gives his signature warble free reign as part of a lovely ballad which includes another stunning voice - Cara Dillon - who has just released her new album, Wanderer.

Toby Shaer on the fiddle adds definite character to Angeline the Baker, keeping the dancing tune straddling a line between hoe down and bluegrass.

When the Reivers Call has a dark brooding character which seems to have picked up the feel of a prog rock ballad of old. With a much harder and thumping cadence it still very cleverly keeps its folk roots on full display.
Cara Dillon

In what is almost a perverse juxtaposition, If I Were A Blackbird is one of the simplest tunes from the band.

The song has been around so long it’s almost thought of more like a nursery rhyme, something like Bobby Shafto. As if playing with the listener, Kelly knows this is the sort of song his vocal skill breathes new life into.

It’s a musical treat where you wouldn’t necessarily listen to it because of its familiarity but Kelly’s captivating voice is what draws you in.

The Shining Ship has a fantastic intro, you could easily envision it as the opening soundtrack to some epic film from the Coen Brothers or the like.

Kelly’s voice adds to the haunting quality with the style sounding strongly influenced by far off exotic places. You get a taste of the Far East, the Middle East and even the Aussie Outback.

There is a real manic quality to both Kelly’s vocals and the maelstrom of the musicians backing him, it’s like they are struggling to keep it on the acceptable side of sanity and slowly losing the battle.

This gives way to Chasing Shadows which comes across as a battle of sound with the subtle yet machine gun rattle of Francis on the banjo trying to drag Kelly’s vocals along in what is a very pleasant ballad.

The Close Shave is a highly amusing and bawdy tale of deception which is always a joy to hear. Kelly’s version is sprightly with Shaer adding a lovely thread of frivolity through his whistles.

It’s Shaer who leads proceedings on the following track, Shy Guy’s Serve. There is a strong fusion of the modern and Celtic traditional in this instrumental.

Crash on the Levee comes in with a brooding electronic sound and is more rock than folk. The harder, throbbing beat stands out from the other tracks and is obviously Kelly and TLB stretching their musical muscles.

The new album
The more familiar Kelly returns on the penultimate track, The Keeper. Apart from The Blackbird it’s probably the most traditional sound on the album.

It’s fast-paced and throws everything into the mix to create a real full and fascinating musical picture. You can almost see Kelly with his finger in his ear as he sings amongst the leaves o’ green-oh.

Kelly and TLB take the album out with The Rose which has a distinct flavour of Simon & Garfunkel in the harmonies and softness of the singing.

Kelly and TLB have created an album which is diverse; brings tunes which move across musical boundaries and which has a rich melee of sounds, all of which enhance and enrich the central core of Kelly’s unmistakable vocals without being in any way overshadowed by them.

Pretty Peggy is out now on the Navigator Label distributed by Proper Music. It is available from the band's website and through Amazon and iTunes.

Kelly is touring with the album over the next two months either with the band or as a duo with Francis starting November 15 at Red Lion Folk Club, Vicarage Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham. B14 7LY. The Duo will be supported by Richi Jones. Doors open around 7.15pm with the show at 7.45pm and tickets are £13.20.

Then on November 27 you can see him with TLB at Kingkerswell Parish Church, Newton Abbot, Devon. TQ12 5LD. Doors open 7pm and tickets are £13.20.

There is a fair old journey for the band for the next night's gig on November 28 where they will play Norwich Arts Centre, 51 St. Benedict’s Street, Norwich. NR2 4PG. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £12 or £10 concessions plus £1 online or telephone booking fee.

Then on November 29 the band will be performing at Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, London. NW1 7AY. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets £14 or £10 for under-26. There is a £2 online booking fee or a £2.50 telephone booking fee. No fees apply if booked in person. To end the month they will play Forest Arts Centre, Old Milton Road, Hampshire. BH25 6DS. The show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £15 or £14 with concessions plus 50p booking fee.

At the start of next month the band can be found at Stamford Arts Centre, 27 St Mary's Street, Stamford, Lincs. PE9 2DL Show kicks off at 8pm and tickets are £16 or £14 concessions plus £1 booking fee. Support will be from Jellyman's Daughter

The following night, December 2 they will be performing at Kings Somborne Village Hall, Recreation Ground,off Romsey Road, King's Somborne, Stockbridge, Hampshire. SO20 6PP. Doors open 7.30pm and tickets are £15 in advance or £17 on the night. Please note ticket payments online are through Paypal although you don't need to have a Paypal account to be able to buy. They can also be bought by cheque then notified via email and if you pay on the night it's cash only.

Their next gig is on December 5 where you can see them at Ropetackle Arts Centre, Little High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43 5EG. The show starts 8pm and tickets are £14 or £12 if you are a friend of the venue. 

Following this on December 6 they will be playing St Lawrence Parish Church, Congleton Road, Biddulph, Stoke-on-Trent. ST8 7RG. Show starts at 7.30pm and tickets are £13.20 including booking fee. On December 7 they will be performing at Greystones, Greystones Road, Sheffield. S11 7BS. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £14.30 including booking fee. The band will again be supported by Jellyman's Daughter. 

Their final gig of the month is Kelly & Francis, on December 15 and at The Ram Club based at Old Cranleighan, Portsmouth Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey. KT7 0HB. It's a Christmas party show, however no ticket information or times were available at time of publication. Check with the website over the coming weeks for updates.

Every effort has been made to ensure all information is correct at time of publishing.Folkall accepts no responsibility for information received in good faith about dates, times or costs which is incorrect or for broken links to websites. Where long journeys are likely it is recommended that you check for updates on the relevant sites before starting out.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017


CD Review

Long Way From Home

Couple Adam and Coralie Usmani set about bringing a merging of cultures for their second full album. They have traversed the globe from New Zealand to Scotland where, fronting a collective, they are delving into the sounds of Scottish traditions while wrapping them up in their Auckland heritage.

Madam Tsunami
They have employed the help of some notable Scottish musicians, not least of which is Ross Ainslie, who brings his talent on the pipes and whistle which would give any offering an authentic Celtic flavour.

Adam and Coralie have a very relaxed and easy style which translates into their harmonies as they sing and play together.

Almost as if they want pay homage to their adopted home the gentle opening with Mama gives you the first feel for Coralie’s fiddle playing and Adam’s subtle guitar and piano backing. The soothing instrumental does conjure images of mists slowly covering the highlands.

The following track, Hold Me Close, introduces Adam’s strong, slightly gravelly voice which is tempered by the gentle sound of his wife’s tones. The song has a definite tempo, strengthened by Adrien Latge on drums, but is not overpowering.

Adam’s tone is softened for the title track which seems to blend even better with Coralie’s harmonies than the previous track. The tune is simple and almost playful and given a definite lift by the fiddle’s voice.

Man on the Run has a cadence which matches the title with a jaunty pace pushed along by Adam’s strumming and chased by Coralie’s fiddle. The couple have a knack of giving their music strength and yet keeping it really laid back so although this is a toe tapping song it’s not a foot stomper.
Adam Usmani

What follows is a brooding song with Adam bringing a melancholic tone to his singing on Blackfriars. The little vocal inserts he puts into some of the songs bring memories of much simpler times on the folk scene. Not quite going back to the hey nonny, nonny days but there is something reassuringly traditional about their style at times and the track does have a gypsy style accent to it.

Even though the title is French, there is something therapeutically laid back and siesta like about Carnaval De Nantes. It’s a gentle but remarkably evocative tune and although it does fill out and pick up slightly you are never willing it on to build any higher than it does.

The grittier tone of singing is back for Cinderella as the words express love for the title character. The song has a mixture of styles from the lounge sound of the piano to the European style mandolin notes from Innes Cardno.

Coralie’s ethereal fiddle playing introduces Fray and once again you get to enjoy the harmonising they do so well with their voices. There is a brooding sound to Adam’s lyrics which is lightened by his partner’s tones who also takes out the tune with a gentle insert on her strings.

Plot on the Moon is a slightly off the wall political song which does have tones of Steve Knightley from Show of Hands and Luke Jackson. The Brexit song asks the pertinent question ‘Britannia what have you done?

There is almost a reggae beat to Shotdown but once again the couple have put their subtle cover on it which, for this album at least, seems to be their trademark. It seems they are firmly lodged in the camp of ‘less is more’.

Waiting for the Day is a slightly laboured song which sounds even more like Jackson than the previously mentioned track. It’s the only track on the album which is not easy on the ear and seems to stretch Adam to the limit of his vocal range.

The new album
The album finishes on Living Memory with probably the most subtle pipes you are ever likely to hear. Anyone who things they can only be harsh or rasping should listen to Ainslie on this track. Adam’s voice has a touch of the Van Morrison’s about it and it does, at times, come across that he is trying too hard to inject emotion into his singing.

If there is one thing missing from this album it’s Coralie’s turn to take the lead on the vocals. You get a hint at the gentleness of her voice through the harmonies and backing she provides but it would be interesting to hear her at full tilt.

Madam Tsunami do subtlety to the nth degree, but commendably enough they never lose any strength or clarity on what is an extremely enjoyable album.

Long Way Home is available now from the band’s website and


CD Review

Raighes Vol2

The follow-up to the first volume by Roberto Diana is a seriously class album where the musician can show off his easy, yet complex style of playing which, when it comes to the guitar, is reminiscent of the great Martin Simpson.

Roberto Diana
Picture by Giulia Cartasegna
This is especially so with opener Limbara’s Eye, the gentle and precise picking of the strings is mesmerising from the off and evokes the tunes of another great acoustic guitarist and composer John Williams.

The track is far too short and just as you have relaxed into the subtle tones it has gone.

Just so you don’t get too comfy Diana shocks you upright with his reverberating electric guitar intro to Screaming to the Moon. There is a touch of Hendrix about the methodology but it’s a little less edgy.

He comes back on the acoustic for Empty Rooms which is another thoughtful and genteel tune. The economical use of the chords along with the mixture of soft and harsh strumming give this track real character akin to a musical conversation.

Diana picks up the pace for Walking in London where he constructs a musical map of the bustling capital, even throwing in sitar-like tones on the vichitra veena.

With his strings Diana paints a picture as complex as the streets, buildings and lives he meets during his stay of one of the world’s most famous cities.

His opening to the Other Side of the Mountain does bring to mind the style of Ry Cooder but has the flow and mixture of something more akin to a Fleetwood Mac offering.

The tune is more fractured than previous ones so it never really allows you to settle into it as he uses his music to relate his setting off on his personal adventure through life.

Dreaming on a Plane is exactly what happened according to Diana, he translated this song to his guitar after imagining a duel between a saxophone and banjo. If you listened carefully you can hear the banjo’s voice occasionally chipping in.
The unusual vichitra veena

Nuraghes is very much a link to Diana’s Sardinian roots, which is the meaning behind the album’s title, and you get the feel of both the exotic and the ethnic as he brings the strands of sounds together for this piece.

One again you can’t but help but think of fellow guitar maestro Simpson with the intro to Last Goodbye but it soon sounds like Cooder is back in the house with the haunting slide guitar coloured by the wonderfully lingering sound of Jimmy Ragazzoni on harmonica.

There are incredibly subtle touches too, such as the almost imperceptible sound of Isha on tanpura.

Her Sunshine Smile starts off gently with the notes falling like individual raindrops at the beginning of a storm. The tune is inspired by a love story and it has an emotion where you can see where Diana is coming from.

He really gets a chance to show his skill on the guitar strings with Looking For. It is a thoughtful and musing piece where his style is not unlike Ewan McLennan the Scottish guitarist whose method is strongly influenced by classical guitar.

It seems Diana created a flash mob scenario when he came up with Airport Dance. The story he tells is that after running out of things to pass the time while waiting for a flight he took out his guitar and starting playing.

A French girl was inspired to dance to the tune and the action spread to the rest of the airport, stopping only when he was due to board his flight.

You can almost visualise the motion building as the tune progresses and see the need for movement slowly filtering through crowd from the single girl caught up in his music.
Diana's latest album

Diana’s versatility and creativeness is undeniable and this album covers a wide spectrum of sounds, styles and genres, so much so that you can never say you don’t get your money’s worth from him.

Raighes Vol 2 is a pretty complex piece of musical work but for all that it’s very easy to listen to and even easier to get caught up in the visions the musician creates using sound like a painter’s pallete.

While keeping firmly to his roots at the same time Diana takes you on a musical journey but in such a way that it comes with open doors so not only can you follow the path he has written but you can also find your own way through.

Raighes Vol 2 is available now from the artist’s website.


Monday, 31 July 2017


CD Review

All We Have Is Now

It would be easy to do a double take when you first fire up the new album from Elephant Sessions, because you could readily think someone has slipped a funk album from the 90s into the sleeve.

Elephant Sessions
However, it’s not too long before the more traditional sound of the mandolin is joined by the fiddle for opener Wet Field Day.

Euan Smillie  and Alasdair Taylor keep things moving at a fairly sharp pace and create a sound which further blurs the lines between the folk and pop sound, so much so that on occasion it’s a hair’s width from leaving the folk realm altogether.

It seems the Inverness quintet of Smillie and Taylor along with Mark Bruce, Seth Tinsley and Greg Barry are determined to create a sound which fluidly flows over genres without showing any joins. 

Even the opening of the following track, Lament for Lost Dignity, could easily be mistaken for a Jamiroquai intro. It’s the picking of the mandolin which again grounds it to at least some of its roots in the traditional camp to produce what is a pleasant and easy going instrumental which opens out to a much fuller sound in the last quarter.

The military style drum intro to Misty Badger is the precursor to the gentle, lilting and slightly jazzed-up sound of Smillie on the fiddle, who changes tack around halfway through. He produces a much punchier sound, carried along underneath by the bass.

Showing their versatility, Dirty comes in with a face-paced, middle-eastern-style cadence and moves through the bars with a sense of urgency before pulling up like a pursuit where the characters have lost the scent only to pick it up again with the same sense of haste.

Summer is a much more delicate tune, almost understated with a lighter dancing lilt to Taylor’s mandolin picking which is accentuated by the slightly tinny sound of Barry’s cymbals.

The band's debut album
There are times when it sounds like a slower version of the opening track but the whole thing is wrapped up with funkier synth sounds and more percussion. Although there is a lot going on, it is a fairly insipid track which lacks colour or character somewhat.

The brooding intro to Tingles, which lays the path for the jagged sound of the fiddle, is a much stronger track. The fiddle takes control but has the almost indiscernible support of the mandolin both of which are pushed along by a strong throbbing backbeat.

There is a cool and retro interlude about two thirds in which could easily be a homage to Lalo Schifrin, the creator of so many memorable film and TV tracks from the 70s.

Fran’s is a far more traditional sound with the strings creating a thoughtful and evocative opening sequence. It’s the longest track on the album and arguably the most memorable. The fiddle is helped along by a subtle and almost tribal drum beat.

Smillies' elegant use of his strings, along with the underlying rhythm from Bruce, makes this a genuinely reflective piece of music and it deserves to be the longest track on the album.

The band jumps back on the jazz-funk tracks for I Used To Be A Good Boy. The mandolin leads proceedings with the definite picking of Taylor pushing things along with impressive and skilled fingering.

The album goes out on Doofer which kind of sneaks up on you and, while the mandolin is the engine, the electro backbeat keeps pace with some more impressive string picking. This is also the track where the traditional is pretty much left behind with the instrumental sliding away into something more commercial sounding.

The new album
There are a number of bands out there at the moment trying to take to the next level what groups such as Fairport Convention started.

The only danger is that the more modern sounds and techniques dilute what is supposed to be music rooted in the traditional then the less likely it is that you are going to end up with anything definite, a little like putting different coloured paints onto a canvass and then mixing them all together until you get that muddy, brown mess when no one can tell which colours were used.

Elephant Sessions are good at what they do, their skills as musicians are unquestionable and they are definitely pushing the boundaries which distinguish musical genres, what remains to be seen is if the resulting amalgamation leaves the listener discerning the roots of the music or simply scratching their heads.

All We Have Now is available now from the band’s website.

Monday, 22 May 2017


CD Review

The Seventh Wave

Scots band Skipinnish is looking to tap into the power of legend and folklore with their new album The Seventh Wave. The story goes that the seventh wave is the biggest and strongest of any which have gone before.

The band Skipinnish
It’s certainly true their seventh album is packed with class music and they create a full bodied sound, going for the big production while keeping the elements of their traditional music at the forefront.

Band members Andrew Stevenson and Alasdair Murray are part of a movement which has done what many would have thought impossible and made bagpipes cool bordering on rock ‘n’ roll.

The opening track, Alive, comes in with the gentle tones of Norrie MacIver but is soon pushed into life with Rory Grindlay’s drums. It’s a taste of what’s to come with the big sound hitting you full on right from the start and with more than a few hints at the versatility and diversity of sound they put together.

If you had any doubts this band was borne out of Scottish traditional music then medley, The Hag, should dispel them as a tidal wave of pipe music comes thundering in. Four tunes give you plenty to get your teeth into and give an insight into the range of this much decried instrument.

In complete contrast comes the mellower tone of Harvest of the Homeland, written by Angus MacPhail and MacIver whose whisky smooth voice provides the thoughtful lyrics backed by his co-writer on vocals. The song builds up slowly to go out on the packed sound they do so well.

It’s hard to think of an album of Scottish music being conceived without the mention of a body of water somewhere and Skipinnish do not disappoint.

Ocean of the Free is a fast-paced and contemporary folk tune from MacPhail and Robert Robertson. The fiddle playing of Archie McAllister dances lightly under the vocals as Grindlay’s powerful drumming pushes the rhythm along.

There is another change of pace for The Iolaire which is a thoughtful and poignant song of longing to be back home. MacIver’s voice is filled with emotion as he sings towards the finale where the haunting voice of Caitlin L R Smith, backed by a full choir, makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention.
The band in concert

Another track from MacPhail and Robertson, December, manages to create some powerful images through the lyrics. The sound leans more towards the country style but the accordion and the pipes keep the Scottish roots evident.

The Old Woman is another medley which brings five tunes together and this time the whistle’s bringing in the lively sound. From this the blend of accordion, whistles, drums and the final introduction of the pipes never really let up on the listener and, if by the end of it all, you are not at the very least tapping your feet then make a doctor’s appointment - something is clearly wrong!

MacIver has a really smooth voice which carries a touch of melancholy in everything he sings and you can hear it clearly in the The Island (Intro) which gives way to the full body of the song while picking up the pace to bring an uplifting and bouncy tale of reminiscing about younger days gone by.

Home on the Sea is another song of longing to be home. It’s one of those songs you can easily see seeping into the local consciousness and being sung in pubs up and down the highlands.

Alba is probably the most contemporary sounding track on the album and apart from the strong accents in the vocals doesn’t really put its Scots credentials on display.

With Walking on the Waves you are brought back to the quiet shore with the distinct sound of the accordion. The song is soon filled out with the hammering of the drums just in case you thought the pace was too slow.

The album goes out with two traditionally arranged tracks. Starting with McNab‘s Set coming with four tunes which let the pipes off the leash. The skills of Stevenson and Murray are given free rein on these tunes, and they take full advantage.

They save the longest track until last with Crò Chinn, t-Sàile. The tune is given a haunting and melancholy timbre by the gentle accordion play and the lone pipes add to the atmosphere.

The new album
It’s almost as if they are creating a farewell to the listener as you see the band drift gently off and being gradually engulfed by the mist covering a perfectly calm highland loch. If you are going to end an album with a notable track, then this is the way to do it.

You cannot underestimate the popularity of this band and if you want proof then bear in mind it has already reached No.25 in the main-stream UK download charts and hit No.1 in the World Music chart, the people have spoken.

The Seventh Wave is out now and available from the band's website and distributors Highland, Gordon Duncan and Skipinnish Records.

If you want to see them live then on May 27 get down to The Bearded Festival, Derby. The following night, May 28, they play Biggar Rugby Club. Then on June 2 you can see them at Oban Live, followed on June 24 at Strathpeffer. Then on July 1 they will perform at Arran Whisky Festival moving on July 7 to Moonbeams Festival, East Yorkshire. On July 14 and 15 they will bring their sound to Tiree Music Festival.

Monday, 15 May 2017


CD Review

Cormac Begley

Award-winning concertina player Cormac Begley produces music on an industrial scale, that’s not to say they are churned out but they have real power, guts and you feel the strength in the tunes he plays. This said he also has a lightness of touch which can make the sound of the instruments, he so expertly uses, dance on the passing wind.

Cormac Begley
There are times on this album such as with the opening reels, The Yellow Tinker/Ril Mhór Bhaile An Chalaidh, where it sounds like he is firing up a steam traction engine. Then at other times, such as the following track, Frenzy Polka, his deft touch makes his bellows sound more like a harmonica than a concertina.

Kerry man Begley’s wonderful skill with his instruments, which encompass bass, baritone, treble and piccolo concertinas, brings an amazing vocabulary to his bellows to where you could almost have a conversation with the tools of his trade.

So much so he is in great demand with fellow musicians and he has created a series of concerts called Tunes in the Church and set up a residential arts school on the Dingle Peninsula called Airt.

On this his self-produced debut album he creates such a wide range of tunes such as the wonderfully Celtic sounding Joe Bane’s/The Streamtown Jig with the infectious foot-stomping rhythm of his baritone bellows. This blends beautifully for the jig, An Cat Is A Máthair. You can hear the treble bellows gasping for breath as he pushes the notes out for this lively dance.

This is followed by a gentle air, Rocking The Cradle, and even though he is using the bass instrument he still gives it a refined and light touch. There is something incredibly nostalgic about how he plays he seems to be able to create images and memories with his music which you can never quite put your finger on.

Paddy Canny’s Pigeon On The Gate/The Dairy Maid are a superbly executed pair of reels which fly out of the instrument and defy you not to get caught up in the dance. At times the layers of sound he creates seems like he is playing more than one instrument at once.

This is followed by a triplet of Schottisches, opening with high-pitched but light dancing sound of An Siog. This gives way to Bonnie Scotland where he seems to swirl a new set of notes into the first tune.

He finishes with Bill O Malley’s, the bridges between the tunes are almost imperceptible but their subtlety is wonderful.

His Dipper Bass is brought out for the melancholic sound of the Air Beauty Deas an Oileain. The doleful sound he produces makes it seem like the instrument struggles to tell the tale such is the depth of emotion it conveys.

Begley brings back the polkas with Polka John/Camino Polka to lighten the mood. Once again the clear treble scale at times makes the instrument sound more akin to a harmonica as he loads the space with a highly infectious dance tune.

The strong Celtic feel is back for The Fermoy Lasses. The reels draw you as it builds up like the definite and unstoppable movement of an old steam train gathering speed. There is even an incidental where if sounds as if the note has dropped off the scale.

Donncha Ó Loinsigh’s/The Wounded Healer keeps the dance pace going but this time with a slightly lighter touch where you can almost see the dances skipping slightly across on tiptoes.

The penultimate track is a couple of slides. Merrily Kiss The Quaker/The Lisheen Slide where Begley makes them sound almost like practice pieces keeping the music pumping out with each bar pushing the previous one into the ether.

Begley's debut album
Begley takes the album out with a couple of reels in John Dwyer/McGettrick’s. The playful intro dances in so lightly and at times feels like it’s just about to break the human hearing range as he tests the scale of his piccolo concertina.

Once again it has that lovely nostalgic feel to it, like you heard it when a child as the theme tune to some distant childhood programme on the TV or radio but never being able to pin it down.

The concertina seems to be stepping into the limelight more on the folk circuit, especially the more unusual or lesser known varieties, and when they are played as superbly as Begley does you can understand why.

Begley does more than play tunes his gives voices to his instruments and allows them to sing the stories they hold in a way which is enthralling and thoroughly entertaining.

The album is available now through the artist’s website.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017


CD Reviews


Cole Stacey and Joseph O’Keefe, who are collectively India Electric Company (IEC), are both clever and engaging musicians who seem to enjoy bringing every element of their experience into their music in some form.

India Electric Company
EC1M is the first of three EPs they intend to release with the juxtaposition of the urban and the rural.
The exploration is a parts work but why they should do it in three discs rather than one album is unclear.
This aside the duo do have some serious talent and if their debut album didn’t convince you then this should.
Opener Farmiloe is inspired by somewhere they lived and scene of some of the recording process.
The track's style is very much in the vein of Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin but with the distinctive sound of O’Keefe’s accordion playing which sounds like he is playing the notes in reverse. Whatever he does it makes it stand out against the polished tones of Stacey who sounds, on this occasion, like rising star Dan Whitehouse from the West Midlands.
Their music is intricate, colourful and full of nuances which can catch you unawares.
Stacey’s voice has a mournful character with an undertone of anger which is more noticeable on Parachutes.
O’Keefe’s sawing fiddle playing gives a brooding feel and builds your expectations.
Camelot comes in full of atmosphere and cleverly uses the instruments and electronics almost as a third voice. As you listen you feel you are being taken on a journey without being sure why or where you are going.
There is a broken cadence of the free jazz variety behind the King of Rome. It has this stop-start feel to it and it’s almost as if Stacey is having to fit his lyrics into whatever music he hears coming along. The song never lets you settle into it which, strangely enough, makes you listen even more intently.
Castles In Spain is the final track where Stacey’s singing takes on a harder edge over the layers of sound which keep coming at you like flicking through the eclectic pages of a scrapbook.
IEC create intricate songs which have wide appeal and where they can either be listened to as simply good music or they can be picked apart to get a deeper sense of their talent, either way the enjoyment level is there for the taking.

EC1M is released on May 5 on the Shoelay record label and will be distributed by Proper Music.

Christy Scott

Glasgow singer/songwriter Christy Scott is a busy woman, not only has she taken the time to put together her debut EP Amaranthine, but she is also studying music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in her home city.

Christy Scott
Her vocal style as she opens with Hearts Collide has a drawn out quality and although she has a definite folk accent she seems to hover occasionally on a style closer to classical.
Scott's tones are wonderfully clear and now and again she sounds remarkably like the incredible KatieMelua.
Potion has something of a gallop in its cadence. Scott’s voice seems muted and in contrast with the previous track the clarity of her voice is lost in the speed at which she sings.
The sprawling intro to Another Song About Another sounds like it’s going to a be a country sound but it settles into more of a ballad.
Scott’s voice is somewhat lost among the strong instruments and at times she seems to be outreaching her vocal range making it sound slightly strained. There is a retro feel to Scott’s singing on Flaws To Uncover where her voice lies somewhere between Joni Mitchell and Mary Hopkin.
She seems to have found her level on this track but once again it sounds more like she is in competition with the instrumental backing rather than it complementing her vocals.
With the final track, Hope Street, there is a tremble and vulnerability in her voice.
The clarity is back; her vocals float over the top of the instruments and you get a better feel for the depth of her voice.
As a debut EP it’s something Scott should be proud of and there’s a sense that her clear tones and her vocal style, when fully developed and comfortable, will be stunning.

Amaranthine is available now from Christy Scott Music.


Reed is a very relaxed folk trio who like to keep things traditional. Sasha Mason, Alan Lane and Tom Rouse exercise their talents on an impressive array of instruments.

The Trio Reed
Their first EP, Maja’s Tree, is a slightly ethereal and soothing offering of four tracks which starts with Ted’s Song.
Unfortunately what you think is the intro is the entire tune with the flute playing of Mason being too long, too repetitive and simply feels unpolished.
Also talking over the tune in a poetry style reading, however sincere, is something of an unwelcome cliché and rarely works.
With the shaky start gone, Inshea has a much more sound footing. The renaissance feel of the tune is very welcome and extremely relaxing.
The harmonies are certainly more professional sounding and you get a sense you are hearing the core of what they do best.
The light skipping sound of Breton is extremely pleasant and the central insert of Donkey Riding is straight out of the book of memory evoking folk tunes. It dances beautifully from Mason’s flute which has a touch as light as a butterfly’s feet.
The final track Shadow has a brooding sound with Lane’s guitar keeping a heartbeat rhythm while Mason’s vocals have a retro feel to them and they are given a deep undertone by Rouse’s strings.
For a first EP, Reed is a laudable effort with a few wrinkles to ironing out but this aside they produce a memorable sound which is very pleasant on the ear, and with the skills they have displayed they may even consider a niche sound such as Ian Pittaway has done.

Sunday, 30 April 2017


Coming Your Way

Miranda Sykes has a busy month ahead of her starting on May 3 at Spalding Folk Club, The South Holland Centre, Market Place, Spalding, Lincolnshire. PE11 1SS. Doors open 8pm and show starts around 8.15pm. Tickets are usually £6.

Miranda Sykes
Then on May 5 you can see her at West Kirby Arts Centre, Wirral. Doors open 7pm and tickets are £12. The following night May 6 she will be playing The Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier, Cromer, Norfolk as part of the Folk On The Pier. The evening concerts which she is part of start 7.30pm. There is a range of ticket options available so check the website to see which best suits you.
Then on May she is appearing at Hitchin Folk Club, The Sun Hotel, Sun Street, Hitchin, Herts. SG5 1AF. Doors open at 7.30pm and show starts 8.15pm. Tickets are £12 for members and £14 for non-members. Also on the bill is Emily Mae Winters.
On May 11 it's off to Chettle Village Hall, Castleman Hotel, Chettle, Dorset. DT11 8DB. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £12.
Following this on May 12 she is performing at Calstock Arts, The Old Chapel, Sand Lane, Calstock.
PL18 9QX. Doors open 7pm and show starts 8pm. Tickets are £12 in advance or £13 on the night, also £10 and £6 concessions.
Then on May 13 she will be playing at The Plough Arts Centre, 9-11 Fore Street, Great Torrington, Devon. EX38 8HQ. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £13, £12 concessions and £11 for supporters of the centre.
The following night, May 14, she will at St Ives Arts Club, Westcott's Quay, St Ives, Cornwall. TR26 2DY.  Doors open 7pm and show starts 7.30pm. Tickets are £14. Then on May 17 you can see her at Bremhill Village Hall, Wiltshire. Show starts 7.30pm.
Her next show on May 18 will be at Lyceum Folk Club, Crindau Constitutional Club, 45 Malpas Road, Newport, Gwent. NP20 5PJ. Doors open 8pm and show starts 8.30pm. Then on May 19 she is playing at St Mary's Church, Garsington, Oxon. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £12 plus booking fee.
The following night, May 20, she will be performing at Gill Nethercott Centre, Whitchurch, Hants. Contact or 01256 896270 for more information.
On May 21 she will be at Osmington Village Hall, Osmington Village Hall, Shortlake Lane, Osmington, Dorset. DT3 6FT. Contact 07816 832554 for further details.
Her next gig is on May 23 at Roses Theatre Bar, Sun Street, Tewkesbury, Glos. GL20 5NX. Show starts 8.30pm and tickets are £15.
Then on May 25 she is performing at Black Swan Folk Club, Peasholme Green, York, YO1 7PR. Doors open 7.45pm and tickets are £12. To round the month off on May 26 she plays Birchmeadow Centre, Birch Meadow Road, Broseley, Shropshire. TF12 5LP. Doors open 7pm and tickets are £12 in advance.

O'Hooley & Tidow will be performing on May 12 at Cambridge Folk Club, The Golden Hind, 355 Milton Road, Cambridge. CB4 1SP. Doors open 7.30pm and show starts 8pm. Tickets are £12 on the door, £11 in advance or £10 for members. The following night, May 13, you can catch them at Hebden Bridge Folk & Roots Festival, Hebden Bridge, HX7. The festival runs from May 12 to 14 and tickets range from £5.90 to £85.55. Then on May 19 they play Shepley Spring Festival which runs from May 19 to May 21. There are several venues being used and there is a wide range of tickets available so please check the website for the best deal to suit you.

Trio Mike Giverin, Lucille Williams, Jay Bradybury who are Jaywalkers have a handful of gigs this month starting on May 5 at Holmfirth Festival of Folk, Holmfirth Masonic Hall, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. Doors open 7.30pm and tickets are £8. They will be supported by Murston Bapchild & the Braxton Hicks and Ben Bateman and the festival runs from May 5 to May 7.
Then on May 9 it's off to Tyn-Y-Capel Inn & Restaurant, Church Road, Minera, nr Wrexham LL11 3DA. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £9 or £7 for those under 14.
On May 13 they play Crossover Festival, Clonter Opera Theatre, Swettenham Heath, Trap Road, Congleton, Cheshire. CW12 2LR. The Bluegrass & Old Time Festival runs from May 12 to May 14. They are due on stage at 8.40pm and there is a wide range of tickets available so check the festival website to the best option for you.
The band move on May 18 to the Ritz Acoustic Club, Ritz Social Club, Victoria St, Burnham-on-Sea. TA8 1AN. They are due on stage around 10pm.
The following night, May 19, they are due to play at The Prince Albert, Rodborough Hill, Stroud. GL5 3SS. However, the venue website has no such listing.
On May 20, you can see them at Waveney Valley Folk Collective, St Edmund's Village Hall, Hoxne, IP21 5AN. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £8 and support is from Andrea King.
You can catch their act on May 21 at Barnsley Folk Club, The Old School House, Barnsley, Westwood New Road, Barnsley. S75 3DA. Show starts 5pm and support is from String Theory.
To round the month off on May 29 they play Chester Folk Festival, Kelsall, nr Chester which runs from May 26 to May 29. There is a wide range of ticket option to see the festival website to find which best suits your needs.

Dance band Threepenny Bit will be showing their talents starting with a free concert on May 6 at The Prince Albert, Rodborough Hill, Stroud. GL5 3SS. Show starts 8.30pm. The following night, May 7 you can see them in concert at The Slaughtered Lamb, 34 - 35 Great Sutton Street, Clerkenwell, London. EC1V 0DX. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £9.90 including booking fee.
Their next show is on May 12 at The Art House, Southampton. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £9.76 including booking fee. Then on May 14 they play The Bullingdon, 162 Cowley Rd, Oxford.
OX4 1UE. Show starts 7pm and tickets are £12.10 including booking fee. To round things up on May 20 they play SHOCC ceilidhs, Guildhall Winchester, The Broadway, Winchester, Hampshire. SO23 9GH. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £12. Lisa Purkiss is also on the bill.

The Younguns trio are spending a short spell north of the border as part of their wider tour. They have four gigs at Orkney Folk Festival from May 25 to May 28. Their first outing is at the Burray Concert at Burray Hall and show starts 7.30pm. Tickets range from £8 to £15. The next night they play the Sanday Ceilidh at Sanday Community Centre. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets range from £5 to £10. Next they play and afternoon concert, 2.30pm, at St Ninian's Kirk, Deerness. Tickets are £12. The Kirk is accessed via a single track road - audience members are advised to park at the Deerness Community Centre and accept shared lifts from there, allowing plenty of time to do so.
Their final show is a Sunday Song Club starting 2pm at Stromness Hotel. Tickets are £8. Please note all bookings incur a £2.50 fee.

Scottish singer/songwriter Ewan McLennan has a few gigs this month starting on May 6 at Saltcellar Folk Club, Basement of Totterdown Baptist Church, Wells Road, Bristol. BS4 2AX. Show starts 7.30pm and entry is usually £5. Then on may 7 you can see him with George Mobiot at The Spire, St Mark's Chapel, Eastern Road, Brighton, BN2 5JN as part of Brighton Festival. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £15 plus fee. Finally you can see him May 12 at Newhampton Arts Centre, Dunkley Street, Wolverhampton. WV14AN. Doors open 7.30pm and tickets are £12.50.

Megson also have a few gigs lined up for this month starting on May Day at Wath Festival, which runs from April 28 until May 1. Unfortunately their show on May 19 at Stapleford Granary, Bury Road, Stapleford, Cambridge. CB22 5BP is SOLD OUT. You can however, catch them at Shepley Spring Festival on May 20. The festival runs from May 19 to May 21. Megson will be on the main stage for an afternoon show between 1.30 and 3.30pm. There is a range of tickets available so check the website for your best option.

Sam Sweeney will be running a Fiddle Day on May 6 at  Dungworth Village Hall, Sheffield from 10 am to 5pm.
Sweeney, who you will know from bands such as Bellowhead and Leveret, will lead a fiddle day workshop for intermediate to advanced players.
You can see the full day itinerary on our here.
Tickets are £30 or £20 concessions (NUS/Unemployed) and you can book here.
Places are limited and just to be clear the day is for experienced fiddle players only. A booking fee applies to all ticket purchases.

Steve Tilston will be still on the road through the month starting on May 4 where he will be joined by Mandolinquents & Friends at Arlington Arts Centre, Newbury RG14 3BQ. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £14.75 including fees.
Then on May 5 he plays Friday Folk at the Village Pump, Lamb Inn, Mortimer Street, Trowbridge BA14 8BN. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £10.
On May 7 you can see him at Twickfolk, Patchworks at the Cabbage Patch, 67 London Road, Twickenham. TW1 3SZ. Doors open 7.45pm and show starts 8pm. Tickets are £13.20 including fees
His next show is on May 12 at Exeter Folk Club, Victoria Park Tennis Club, Lyndhurst Road, St Leonards, Exeter. EX2 4NX. Tickets are £10 in advance or £12 on the night. However, you cannot pay for tickets through the venue's website.
Then on May 14 he is joined by Jez Lowe for an afternoon concert at Tredegar House Folk Festival, Tredegar House & Country Park, Newport. NP10 8YW. There is a range of ticket options so check the festival website.
He is heading off to the European mainland on May 19 where he will play a few shows in Belgium starting at At The Boulevard, Amerikalei 16, Antwerp. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are €20. The following night, May 20, he will play Dranouter Folk Club, Dikkebusstraat 234 B-8950 Heuvelland, Dranouter. Show starts 8.30pm. To finish off the month you can see him back in Blighty on May 26 at Roots@94, Kardomah94, 94 Alfred Gelder Street, Hull. HU1 2AN.

Former Bellowhead frontman Jon Boden will kicking off his Painted Lady Tour Prt 2 on May 8 at Colchester Arts Centre,Church Street, Colchester, Essex. CO1 1NF. Doors open 7.45pm and tickets are £20 with no concessions or membership discounts available. Then on May 9 you can catch him at Cambridge Junction, Clifton Way, Cambridge. CB1 7GX. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £22.50 in advance. Member discounts may be available.
The following night, May 10, he will be appearing at Komedia, 44-47 Gardner Street, Brighton. BN11UN. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £25.31 including fees.
From there he moves on May 11 to Pittville Pump Room, East Approach Drive, Cheltenham. GL52 3JE. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £22.
His next show is on May 12 at Salisbury City Hall, Malthouse Lane, Salisbury, Wiltshire. SP2 7TU. Show starts 7pm and tickets are £22.50.
Then on May 13 he will be performing at The Anvil, Churchill Way, Basingstoke. RG21 7QR. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £22 including booking fee. On May 14 he plays an afternoon concert at Town Hall,Victoria Square, Birmingham. B3 3DQ. Show starts 2.30pm and tickets are £22.50 including fees.
Then on May 15 he is off to Wales to play Theatr Mwldan, Bath House Road, Cardigan. SA43 1JY. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £20 and appear to include a three-course meal.
He is staying in Wales for another concert on May 16 at Pontardawe Arts Centre, Herbert Street, Pontardawe. SA8 4ED. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £21.50.
Then on May 17 it's off to the Exeter Phoenix, Bradninch Place, Gandy Street, Exeter. EX4 3LS. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £21.50 including booking fee.
You can catch him on May 18 at Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent’s Park Road, London. NW1 7AY. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £20 or £10 for those under 26 all plus a £2 booking fee
On May 19 you can see him at St Edith Folk, High Street, Kemsing, Sevenoaks, Kent. TN15 6NA. Show starts 7.30 and tickets are £24.20 including booking fee.
His penultimate gig of the month on May 20 is at The Y,  7 East Street, Leicester. LE1 6EY. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £20.
He rounds off the month on May 21at The Grand, 18 York Street, Clitheroe, Lancashire. BB7 2DL. Show starts 7pm and tickets are £20 plus booking fee.

Kate Rusby is marking 25 years or bringing her own brand of Yorkshire folk to the masses with a tour starting on may 10 at Charter Theatre, Preston Guildhall, Lancaster Road, Preston. PR1 1HT. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £24 including fees. From there on May 11 it's off to Unity Works, Wakefield. Show starts 7pm and tickets are £22.50 or £17 with concessions.
Then on May 12 she is at The Plaza, Mersey Square, Stockport. SK1 1SP. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £16.50 and £24.20 and may be subject to booking fees.
Her next gig on May 13 is at Winding Wheel, Holywell St, Chesterfield. S41 7SA. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £24.50 or £15.50 for children and there is a dinner and show option for £39.50.
On May 14 she will perform at The Lighthouse Theatre. Kettering. NN15 6PB. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £24 or £17 with concessions.
Then on May 17 it's off to Cheltenham Town Hall, Imperial Square, Cheltenham. GL50 1QA. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £24 plus booking fee.
The following night, May 18, she plays The Anvil, Churchill Way, Basingstoke. RG21 7QR. Show starts 7.45pm and tickets are £26 or £21 for under-16s including booking fees.
Her next show is on May 19 at the Octagon Theatre, Hendford, Yeovil, Somerset. BA20 1UX. Show starts 7.30pm and the few remaining tickets are £23. On May 20 you can see her at Kings Theatre, Albert Road, Southsea, Portsmouth, Hants. PO5 2QJ. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £27 or £22 for under-16s and for card members.
She rounds off the month on May 21 at Wycombe Swan Theatre, St Mary Street, High Wycombe. HP11 2XE. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £25.50 or £18 for under-16s.

Northern Ireland songbird Cara Dillon has a handful of gigs this month starting on May 10 at Thornbury Arts Festival. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £18 or £16. Her next show is on May 11 is in The Derby Hall at The Met.Market Street, Bury. BL9 0BW. Show start 8pm and tickets are £20. The following night, May 12, she heads further North to The Queen's Hall, 85 - 89 Clerk Street, Edinburgh. EH8 9JG. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £45 or £20 plus a £2 booking fee.
Then on May 13 she can be seen at Milngavie Folk Club, at Milngavie Town hall, Doors open 8pm and tickets are £20.
On May 20 she will perform at Guildhall Theatre, Derby. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £19.75 plus booking fee. The finally on May 21 she will play Colchester Arts Centre,Church Street, Colchester, Essex. CO1 1NF. Doors open 7pm and tickets are £20.

Veteran Irish band The Fureys have a full schedule this month kicking off on May 1 at Princess Pavilion Theatre, 41 Melvill Road, Falmouth. TR11 4AR. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £19 or £17 with concessions and there will be a £1.50 fee for card payments. Their next show is on May 2 where they play Exmouth Pavilion, Esplanade, Exmouth, Devon. EX8 2AZ. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £19.
Then on May 3 you can see them at the Octagon Theatre, Hendford, Yeovil, Somerset. BA20 1UX. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £20.50 or £19 with concessions.
From there on May 4 they travel to play in the auditorium of the Regent Centre, 51 High Street, Christchurch, Dorset. BH23 1AS. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £20 or £19 with concessions.
The following night, May 5, you can see them at the Kings Theatre, Albert Road, Southsea, Portsmouth, Hants.PO5 2QJ. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £23 or £21 or £19 depending on the type of concession required.
Then on May 6 they play the Theatre Royal, Addington Street, Margate, Kent. CT9 1PW. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £20.50 or £18.50 with concessions all tickets are subject to a booking fee.
The next show is on May 7 when they play the Sinden Theatre, Ashford Road, Tenterden, Kent. TN30 6LT. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £20.
If you want to see them on May 9 then you need to get to Millfield Theatre, Silver Street, Edmonton, London. N18 1PJ. Show starts at 7.45 and tickets are £23.
On May 10 you can see them perform in Shropshire at Ludlow Assembly Rooms, 1 Mill St, Ludlow SY8 1AZ. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £21 or £19 with concessions.
Their show on May 11 at the Philharmonic Music Room is SOLD OUT.
Their next show is on May 12 at Galtres Centre, Market Place, Easingwold.YO61 3AD. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £18.
Then on May 13 they will perform at Lowther Pavilion Theatre. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £20.50.
On May 14 the play the Forum Theatre,Town Centre, Billingham, TS23 2LJ. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £20.
Following this on May 16 they are at the Playhouse Theatre, Marine Avenue, Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear. NE26 1LZ. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £20 or £18.50 with concessions.
They head to the border on May 17 to play The Maltings, Eastern Lane, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland. TD15 1AJ. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets range from £20 to £25 with concessions available.
They move over the border for their next concert on May 18 to play the Queen's Hall,85-89 Clerk Street, Edinburgh. EH8 9JG. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £21 plus booking fee.
The band is staying in Scotland for the rest of the month continuing on May 19 where they play the Gardyne Theatre, Gardyne Road, Dundee. DD5 1NY. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £22 or £20.50 with concessions including booking fee.
Then on May 20 they play Carnegie Hall, East Port, Dunfermline. KY12 7JA. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £19 plus reservation fee.
Their penultimate show of the month is on May 21 at the Gaiety Theatre, Carrick Street, Ayr. KA7 1NU. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets range from £16 to £24.
Then their final gig is on May 22 at Motherwell Concert Hall & Theatre,Windmillhill Street, Motherwell. Ml1 1AB. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £20 or £18 with concessions.

The band Three Daft Monkeys will be on the road this month beginning on May 5 at
Arts4Every1 Art Centre, Old St John's Church, Desborough Road, High Wycombe. HP11PU. Doors open 8pm and show starts 8.30pm. Tickets are £11.This is followed on May 6 with a gig at Barnsley Rock and Blues, Blackburn Lane, Barnsley. S75 2BA. Doors open 6.30pm and show starts 7pm. Tickets are £11 or £5.50 for under-18s.
Their next show is on May 11 at the Hare and Hounds, 106 High St, Kings Heath, Birmingham. B14 7JZ. Show starts 7.30pm and  tickets are £11.
Then on May 12 you can see them at the Prince Albert, 48 Trafalgar Street, Brighton. BN1 4ED. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £11.25.
The following night, May 13, you can catch them at Chapel Arts Centre, St.James's Memorial Hall, Lower Borough Walls, Bath. BA1 1QR. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £11.
Then on May 19 they will be performing at the Barrel House, 59a High Street, Totnes, Devon. TQ9 5PB.  Show starts 8pm and tickets are £13.20 and the show is over-18s.
On May 20 they play the Palladium, Lower Gunstone, Bideford. EX39 2DE. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £8.80.
The band's next gig is on May 25 at Bearded Theory, which runs from May 25 to 28 at Catton Hall, Catton, Walton upon Trent, South Derbyshire. DE12 8LN. There is a range of tickets available so check the website for the option which best suits your needs. The band will be playing a second gig at the festival on May 28.
Following on from this, on May 26, you can see them at Milkmaid Folk Club which is held at The Constitutional Club, 12 Guildhall street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. IP33 1PR. Doors open 7.30pm and show starts 8pm. Tickets are £12 or £10 for friends of the club.
Their penultimate gig of the month is on May 27 will be at Small World Spring Festival, which runs from May 25 to 29. There is a range of ticket options available so check the festival website for what suits your needs.

Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin are no more! But before you reach for the whisky bottle to calm the shock it's only a name change. The launch of their latest album will be under their new name, Edgelarks. They will, however, be keeping their old name for their Out Of The Ordinary tour this month which starts on May 10 at Norwegian Church Arts Centre, Harbour Drive, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff. CF10 4PA. Doors open 7.30pm and the show starts 8pm. Tickets are £14. Their next gig on May 11 at  Derby Old Gaol, 50-51 Friar Gate, Derby, Derbyshire. DE1 1DF is SOLD OUT.
Their next show is on May 12 at Williamson Tunnels, The Old Stable Yard, Smithdown Lane, Liverpool, Lancashire L7 3EE. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £15.46.
The duo's next gig at The Craven Arms Pub & Cruck Barn, Appletreewick, Nr Skipton, North Yorkshire. BD23 6DA is also SOLD OUT.
You can see them next on May 19 at Steam Museum of the Great Western Railway, Fire Fly Avenue, Swindon, Wiltshire. SN2 2EY. The event has been organised by Black Duck Folk and doors open 7.30pm with the show at 8pm. Tickets are £14 in advance plus booking fee or £16 on the night and includes a day entry into the museum.
Then on May 20 you can catch them at Carnglaze Caverns, St Neots, Liskeard, Cornwall. PL14 6HQ. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £15.
On May 24 they will perform at Lion Salt Works, Ollershaw Lane, Marston, Northwich. CW9 6ES. Doors open 7.30pm and show starts 8pm. The few tickets remaining are £12
Their next show is on may 25 at Witham Hall, 3 Horse Market, Barnard Castle, County Durham. DL12 8LY. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are £15 in advance and £17 on the night.
The penultimate show of the month on May 26 is at The Fleece Inn, the Cross, Bretforton, Evesham, Worcestershire. WR11 7JE. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £12.50 plus booking fee.
They round of the month on May 27 at The Big Roundhouse, Butser Ancient Farm, Chalton Lane, Chalton, Waterlooville. PO8 0BG. Doors open 7.30pm and show starts 8pm. Tickets are £15 including fee.


Moseley Folk Festival welcomes Laura Marling to its line up along with Kate Rusby, Roddy Woomble, Lankum, The Furrow Collective, The Destroyers, Mike Heron & Trembling Bells, Alasdair Roberts, Marry Waterson & David A. Jaycock, The Standing Wave, Fenne Lily, Jess Morgan, Nifeco Costa & Babcock Jazz and Culture Dub Orchestra.

Laura Marling
Other headliners include Jose Gonzalez who will be playing an extended solo acoustic set and the festival have bagged other acts such as Shovels & Rope, Josienne Clark & Ben Walker, Michael ChapmanKaia Kater, Laura J Martin, Scott Hirsch and Izzie Derry.
At the festival you can also enjoy Courtney Marie Andrews, John Moreland, Nadia Reid, Nap Eyes, Diabel Cissokho and Matthew Edwards & The Unfortunates. There is a wide range of tickets options so check the website for what best suits your needs.

A Shropshire brewery has joined forces with Shrewsbury Folk Festival to give a chance to young musicians.
Wood's brewery, which is near Craven Arms, will sponsor a pop-up venue called The Launchpad at this year’s event at the West Mid Showground over August Bank Holiday.
They are appealing for solo performers and groups aged 18 to 26 who live in Shropshire, Mid Wales or the West Midlands to pitch for one of the five places available.
Successful candidates will be required to perform a 30-minute acoustic set at least three times over the weekend.
James Owens from Wood’s, said: “Shrewsbury Folk Festival is one of the top events of its kind and the opportunity to play there is a great step for young musicians. The Launchpad will be an informal space but it will be good experience for performers and the chance for them to reach an new audience.
"We know there’s a wealth of young talent out there.”
Festival director Alan Surtees said: “We’ve supported young and emerging musicians for several years, having them perform all over the festival site. For many, it can be the first time they’ve ever had the opportunity to take part in an event like ours.”
To apply for one of the available places, performers must be aged between 18 and 26 on August 25, living in Shropshire, Mid Wales or the West Midlands, and available to attend the festival from Friday August 25 to 28.
In return, they will receive free ticket to the festival, on-site camping, and a contribution to travel expenses.
To apply, send a short biography, links to performances (Soundcloud, YouTube etc) and your contact details to before May 31. Only the selected performers will be contacted.

The Conservatoire Folk Ensemble will mark their 20th anniversary with a new album, Painted, along with a tour.
The run of shows starts at Birmingham's Town Hall on May 12. The opening night of the Imagined Isle festival will see the line-up of 50 members  joined by as many former members as they can muster which could swell the ranks to 80 or 90.
This will be followed by further shows including the ensemble’s own Power Folk 4 festival on June 11 and a trip to Shropshire, where they will open the Shrewsbury Folk Festival.
Formed in 1997 at Birmingham’s Conservatoire by Joe Broughton of The Urban Folk Quartet, The Albion Band and Joss Stone), the CFE have established a reputation for creating energetic and powerful shows. 

Skerryvore are introducing a new member to their lineup. Scott Wood will join the band, playing pipes and whistles. His first appearances with the band will be on May 5 for the band’s shows at Gig on the Goil, then on May 6 at The Big Whistle Festival, Bury and then The Old Fire Station in Carlisle on May 7.
Wood has already been working in the studio with the band as they record their seventh album and has performed with many other acts across the world.
Wood said: "I'm absolutely delighted to be on board with one of my favourite bands. I first played with Skerryvore in 2010, at the age of 17, at their album launch, and to become a member now is a dream come true!”
Wood’s addition to Skerryvore comes as founder member Martin Gillespie takes a step back from full-on performances.

Canadian country singer Sarah Beth Keeley will be setting off on her first full-length UK tour this spring with dates across Scotland and England in support of her new single, Somebody's Baby.
Keeley has strong UK ties through her father, a professional jazz clarinettist, who comes from Birmingham and her mother, a violinist from Leeds.
Her UK tour dates include Vamos Music Festival, Perth Racecourse, Scone Palace Park, Perth PH2 6BB on May 13. Show starts 8pm. Then on May 19 you can see her at Hug n' Pint, 171 Great Western Road, Glasgow. Show starts 7pm. The following night, May 20, you can catch her at The Golden Lion, Market Place, Allendale, Hexham. Show starts 7pm. The on May 22 it's a show at Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester. Show starts 7pm. To round off the month on May 26 she will be playing Dares Live Entertainment Venue, 16 Lower Essex St, Birmingham. Show starts 7pm.

Unfortunately award winning folk duo Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman have had a load of instruments and musical gear stolen from their vehicle at a Premier Inn in Petersfield, Hampshire.
The theft happened some time between 3 and 4am on April 23rd in the car park of the hotel, which isjust off the A3.
The list of instruments and items stolen are as follows: 1952 Martin 0-15 All Mahogany acoustic guitar, with Fishman rare earth humbucker pickup and white Calton flight case. Guitar Serial number 121337; 1983 Martin D28 Shenandoah acoustic guitar with a Fishman Rare Earth humbucker pick up and black Hiscox Artist series flight case; Silver Miyazawa PA101 Flute in small blue hard case; Bose L1 PA system base/stand unit in black soft Bose case; Black peli style case full of pedals, cables + x2 Shure microphones (sm58beta + sm57beta); Black metal X frame keyboard stand; Small silver Behringer Eurorack MXB1002 mixing desk in a soft black carry case; Stagg Black hard guitar stand case. Fits up to 6 guitars – tatty with only one lock working; Flute stand – yellow and black (was inside guitar stand case).
You can find pictures of all their gear at:
Please report any sightings of these items to Kathryn and Sean by using the contact form through their website at
Or you can inform Hampshire Police by ringing 101 and quoting the crime number 44170150957.
However, they are soldiering on and fulfilling all their tour gigs for this month, check their website for dates and venues.

There is good news from the Vin Garbutt camp. The Teeside Troubadour is recovering well from a recent heart operation and it's hoped he will be back home at time of publishing. As you would expect his gigs have been postponed so check his website for more information about individual concerts.
Vin Garbutt
A posting on his facebook page reads as follows: "Hi Everybody, Pat here: I am sorry that you have all had to wait so long for some news of Vin but at last I can tell you that he is doing well. 
He has had a successful operation but been in intensive care a little bit longer than we would have liked. 
He had a bit of a dip ... but the problem was resolved the next day and now he is on the normal ward and doing really well. He should be up and about and coming home very soon. Thank you so much for all your messages of support."

Mike McGeary is working with Vin on his biography and is calling for fans help. If you have any memories, stories or anecdotes you think should be included, he would like you to get in touch. Whether you’re one of the hundreds of people who have put Vin up on his travels, you’ve met him once or many times or just have a favourite piece of patter that you remember, he wants to hear from you. Please send your contributions to the specific email address, .Would you also start your notes with the place and year you think you first saw Vin. Folkall would like to wish Vin a full speedy recovery and hope he will soon be back on road with his guitar in hand.

If you have news about you or your band or wish to be included in the next Coming Your Way & News then please contact Folkall with your details on or via facebook at or through twitter on

All information and links were deemed correct at time of publishing. Folkall is not responsible for broken or unresponsive links. It is advisable to check artist and venue websites before making long journeys.