Rachael McShane & The Cartographers – When All Is Still

Rachael McShane

Rachael McShane is a singer, cellist, fiddle and viola player based in the North East of England. Best known as an original member of folk big band Bellowhead, Rachael toured internationally with them as well as making several TV appearances. Bellowhead recorded 5 studio albums, and won a total of 8 BBC Folk Awards in their 12 years together. Rachael has more recently been singing the role of Susannah Holmes in a new adaptation of The Transports alongside The Young’uns, Faustus, Nancy Kerr, Greg Russell and Matthew Crampton. The Transports album is out now.

Rachael’s brand new album (her first since 2009) sees her reworking traditional songs with a new band, The Cartographers, featuring guitarist Matthew Ord (Assembly Lane) and melodeon player Julian Sutton (Kathryn Tickell, Sting). ‘When All Is Still’ is out on 12/8/18.

Rachael McShane & The Cartographers are a brand new signing to Topic Records, the oldest independent label in the world, on the eve of its 80th anniversary.

Rachael’s first solo album ‘No Man’s Fool’ was released on Navigator Records in 2009 and it’s available to buy here. Rachael’s band for the album was made up of musicians from outside the folk genre but featured entirely traditional material.

As well as performing, Rachael is also a teacher and workshop leader, working in schools teaching violin/fiddle, cello and running string ensembles and choirs. She has also been a part of educational projects with organisations such as Aldeburgh Young Musicians and the National Youth Orchestra.

The Cartographers

Matthew Ord

Matthew Ord is a guitarist and singer living in Newcastle. Matthew currently plays with local bluegrass outfit Assembly Lane and with fiddle player Niles Krieger as The Two. Over the past ten years Matthew has performed, recorded and toured in the UK, the US and Canada both as a solo performer and with critically-acclaimed country blues band Hey Negrita.

‘An extraordinary musician’ – Olivia Chaney, songwriter and musician

‘Stone cold classic genius…ridiculously talented” – Americana magazine

Julian Sutton

Julian Sutton is a melodeon player from the North East of England. He has toured extensively with artists including Kathryn Tickell and Sting. He released his solo album ‘Melodeon Crimes’ in 2005 and has played on many great folk albums in recent years.

Mike Vass – Notes From The Boat

‘Some of Scotland’s finest musicians headed to a floating recording studio last year to perform the beguiling music of award-winning Scottish composer and fiddler Mike Vass, the master musician renowned for innovative projects, maritime adventures and intriguing instrumental releases.

This wonderfully warm and mellow recording see Vass afloat with some of his favourite and most talented musical compatriots.

The ten performers joined him aboard his Dutch sailing boat Sweet Harmony while she was docked at Inverkip on the Clyde just before Vass and his brother Martin set off on a 2,500 mile sailing adventure taking in Ireland, Isle of Man, Wales, England, Spain, Portugal, Madeira and the Canary Islands.’

Mama Caught Fire – Listen as She Speaks

Hailing from Minneapolis, MN, Mama Caught Fire is a trio whose music explores intricate harmony, emotional storytelling, and the power of the voice.

Band members Julia Hobart, Abigail Tuominen, and Molly Sowash met as students at Macalester College in 2013. All three write for the group, which performs around the Twin Cities. 

Sharon Lazibyrd – Half Shame and Half Glory

 

” Georgie Rogers, Tom Robinson and pretty much every local radio station across the country are falling over themselves with love for Sharon Lazibyrd right now.”
Sam Bonham BBC Music Introducing

“This is quite simply put, gorgeous folk music…warms you like the sun on your face”
Fresh on the Net

“an eclectic selection of tunes, every one of which hits it   s mark…this is a debut album to be proud of” Angry Baby

Somerset based contemporary folk singer-songwriter and independent musician releases her eagerly anticipated debut solo album on 8th June. Sharon has made a great start as tracks from the album have been played on the BBC Introducing Mixtape and the title track was recently voted a Fresh Fave by Tom Robinson’s Fresh on the Net and has been receiving BBC airplay across the nation too. Her songs have been played by over 50 radio shows and she was BBC Introducing Artist of the Week in Jan 2018 on BBC Georgey Tonight.

Will Finn & Rosie Calvert – Beneath This Place

Beneath This Place is the debut album from Will Finn and Rosie Calvert. Known for their work as half of a capella quartet The Teacups, Will and Rosie will’s unique approach to arrangement see’s them explore both song and tune on this brave debut.

The unlikely pairing of piano and steel pan is joined by Evan Carson (Sam Kelly And The Lost Boys, The Willows) on percussion, Matt Downer (Mabon, Jim Moray, Gilmore and Roberts) on double bass, Seth Tinsley (Elephant Sessions, Tyde) on guitar and Sam Partridge (Pons Aelius) on whistles.

 

Great REVIEW here

Rosali – Trouble Anyway

 

“I first fell in love with Rosali’s songs for this reason, the way her work takes you straight to that brave and big-hearted dream within songwriting. Every song stands strongly as it’s very own world, well-worn by the history of the underground but accessible as daylight.”
-Meg Baird, Spring 2018 

…”Rosali’s wide-ranging solo project is harder to pin down as she navigates late-night Laurel Canyon-style fare, country-tinged ballads and moody soft-rock with an ear for piercing textures that give her easygoing songs an unexpected weight.”… – NPR 

“Trouble Anyway (a co-release from Scissor Tail Records and the newly formed Spinster Sounds) doesn’t disappoint after its powerful opener. Bolstered by an all-star cast of Philadelphia-adjacent musicians (including Mary Lattimore the War On Drugs’ Charlie Hall and Purling Hiss’ Mike Polizze), the LP’s nine tracks soar and shimmer, whether on slow-burn ballads like “Dead and Gone” or churning rockers like “Rise To Fall.” Wherever Rosali goes, you’re going to want to follow.” – Aquarium Drunkard 

Philadelphia-based musician Rosali (Long Hots, Wandering Shade) wrote the songs for her second album, Trouble Anyway, seeking empowerment by sharing openly on love, power, aging, suffering, confusion, self-doubt, and anger. Resulting in a full-bodied record that is at once sweeping and intimate. A vulnerable and powerful exploration of emotional narratives, Trouble Anyway showcases her background in diverse musical styles from free improv, garage rock, country, pop, to folk-infused song-craft. Following up her 2016 debut Out of Love (Siltbreeze), named one of the top 100 records of 2016 by Uncut Magazine, Trouble Anyway is a cohesive collection of lush, intimate rock songs, featuring her warm, natural vocals and powerful riffing and rhythm guitar, approaching the sublime when Rosali finds expression beyond lyricism, utilizing her voice as a human instrument.

Backed by A-list musician friends, the collective instrumentation simultaneously accentuates Rosali’s singular sound and magnifies its orbit. Trouble Anyway is both otherworldly and straight-forward. Lyrical and wordless intensity, alongside intuitive musical arrangements, make for a powerful sophomore release. With collaborations from musician friends – Nathan Bowles (Steve Gunn, Black Twig Pickers), Dan Provenzano (Writhing Squares, Purling Hiss), Mary Lattimore, Paul Sukeena (Angel Olsen, Spacin’), Charlie Hall (The War on Drugs), Mike Polizze (Purling Hiss), Mike Sobel (Oldermost), and Gretchen Lohse (Carol Cleveland Sings)—Trouble Anyway was recorded and mixed by Uniform Recording’s Jeff Zeigler, who has also engineered records for The War on Drugs, Allison Crutchfield (also of Waxahatchee), and Kurt Vile, among others.
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This is a joint release with newly formed label SPINSTER. The label was started by Sarah Louise (House and Land) Sally Anne Morgan (House and Land, Black Twig Pickers) and Emily Hilliard (WV folklorist, formerly Smithsonian Folkways)

10 String Symphony – Generation Frustration

 

“If I yell it out will I go unheard?” is the searing question that kicks off the title track of Generation Frustration, the uncompromising collection of songs from progressive roots duo 10 String Symphony.

The record expands their style in an organic and authentic way, with production talents lent by Kris Drever-one third of the folk trio LAU and the 2017 BBC Folk Singer of the year. Generation Frustration features 10 subtly subversive songs that seek to articulate the “helplessness blues” often felt by the Millennial generation with regards to politics, privilege, and the global climate crisis. This division and collision of generations plays out lyrically, but also musically in the push and pull between traditional acoustic and modern sounds-a combination of past and present that engages the listener both emotionally and intellectually. 10 String Symphony is comprised of Rachel Baiman (whose solo debut Shame garnered critical acclaim around the globe) and virtuosic fiddler Christian Sedelmyer (who has performed and recorded with Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, and The Jerry Douglas Band).

Gwenifer Raymond – You Never Were Much of a Dancer

The 32-year-old Welsh multi-instrumentalist Gwenifer Raymond is a perfect advertisement for the benefits of chasing down rabbit holes. As a young Nirvana fan, she heard their cover of Lead Belly’s Where Did You Sleep Last Night and started hunting down American acoustic blues, then sought guitar lessons from a teacher who introduced her to John Fahey, the pioneer of American primitive guitar music. Fahey echoes throughout her mesmerising debut album (there’s even a track called Requiem for John Fahey). So much so that hearing it blind you would refuse to believe it had been recorded by a Brighton resident originally from Wales. Surely this stew of bluegrass, blues and haunted Americana could only come from a land where cotton and tobacco grow.

The opening track, Off to See the Hangman Part I, is a red herring, Raymond picking out a droning, Arabic-inflected melody on an old violin. But on the second, Sometimes There’s Blood, the fingerpicking begins and never lets up. It’s a wonderful and mysterious album: Raymond plays everything herself, with attention to detail not just in playing but in instrumentation (a 1920s Bradley Kincaid “Houn’ Dog” parlour guitar included). It’s music that creaks, in which you can hear the metaphorical wind whistling through the figurative cracks in the walls. Please don’t assume it’s all southern gothic for acoustic instruments, though: there’s joy in the the fast picking of Face Down Strut and the frantic Appalachian banjo picking of Oh, Command Me Lord! This is a gorgeous album, and Gwenifer Raymond is a profound talent.

The Sea the Sea – From the Light

The headlong rush to consume, categorise and understand new music before, quickly moving on to the next new single, new EP, new album has become one of the defining characteristics of the contemporary listening experience.

Some albums, though, require and deserve close attention, repeated listening, revealing their intricacies and inner-depths long after the initial rush of vibrant rhythm or sugary close harmony has faded away. It will probably come as no surprise to you that I consider From the Light the second album from The Sea the Sea to be just such and album. This is folk-tinged pop of the highest order.

Having grown from the initial pairing of Chuck and Mira Costa, primary songwriters for the group with the addition of Cara May Gorman on vocals and synthesizer, as well as drummer and percussionist Stephen Struss, the sonic possibilities open to The Sea the Sea are much wider, as well as more challenging and ultimately exhilarating for the listener than they were previously. Production from Tony Pohl gives each element of the band plenty of room to breathe and space to shine, showcasing the versatility of both the songs penned by the Costa’s and the quartet themselves.

This album has everything you could possibly hope for. It starts deceptively-gently with ‘All Go Right’ which gives the initial impression of being an off-cut from The Civil Wars before expanding it’a palette with orchestral and percussive flourishes. Beautifully mixed vocal lines sweep in and out, weaving around and in between one another as the newly-expanded four-piece set their stall out early on.

But it would be a mistake to think of this record as an insubstantial slice of atmospheric pop. For every gentle ballad-esque moment such as ‘Gemeni’ or ‘Let it Be Said’ which is as ready made for a key scene in Grey’s Anatomy as any song has been in recent memory with its “When you come to me, let it be real, may the road rise to meet you the wind at your heels….we go with no apologies or we go alone” refrain and lilting 6/8 rhythms, there’s the pleasant surprise of the driving ‘Phototropic’ or the aptly named ‘Ricochet’, which skitters around, giving each member of the band the opportunity to truly shine.

By the time of closer ‘Take That’ any sense that The Sea the Sea are mere pretenders will have long-since faded away. This is substantial modern pop music, in the vein of bands like The Magic Numbers, another act with a recent album who are incredibly consistent and innovative but who remain oddly overlooked. This is a beautifully mixed and intricate record deserving of wider acclaim.

Jess Silk – Break the Bottle

Jess Silk is a singer songwriter from Dudley who has been penning songs since her early teens. Over the past few years herstyle has developed into a husky, shouty brand of folk music that often has her being likened to a female Frank Turner or Billy Bragg. With two self produced EPs, Jess gigs a lot around the Black Country and Birmingham