Yasmin Williams – Unwind

In her debut album, “Unwind,” fingerstyle guitarist Yasmin Williams expands the sonic capabilities of the acoustic guitar and reimagines what’s possible on the instrument.

Album Notes
“Watching Yasmin Williams perform is mesmerizing. Her music is gorgeously mellow and rhythmic, but the most captivating part of her performance is the way she plays the guitar. Williams holds the guitar horizontally, so the fretboard faces upwards and she hits the strings to sound the notes, a style called “lap-tapping.” – studybreaks.com

“As Leo Tolstoy once expressed, “Music is the shorthand of emotion”. It expresses the inexpressible. Music makes us dance. It makes us think, laugh, scream or cry; and, when it comes to Yasmin Williams, music makes us feel.” – NYU Palladium

“Yasmin is a unique talent. Her melodies pack a poignant dose of resonance and levity – a testament of the quiet confidence that comes across in her performances.” – NYU Palladium

“Yasmin Williams, who strummed, drummed and plucked her acoustic guitar to create a plethora of sound, created the effect of multiple instruments playing at once.” – Washington Square News

Mindy Sotiri – Women Smoking

Mindy Sotiri is a singer-songwriter from Sydney, Australia.

She writes tunes. And plays them.

Quite often in front of other people.

Mostly drunk, exhausted, women people.

Who live in Marrickville.

She pretty much has the drunk exhausted Marrickville women people market smashed.

She has been playing to those women for years.

Women Smoking, is Mindy’s 5th solo album. It is about women smoking. And women. And smoking. It is also about the Sydney lockout laws, unexpected love, unexpected endings, crowded parties, booze and balconies, Newtown in 2015, and the under-appreciated role of the rehearsal girlfriend.

“Quirky and real, Sotiri’s honesty will strike you in a tender place.” – SMH.

“Heartbreak haunts this record… Her fragile folk-pop vocal sounds real. And that’s what makes this album special.” – Stack Magazine.

“Music that reverberates honesty, and real life.” – Altmedia.

“Tender, stark and honest.” – Brag Magazine.

Stanley Brinks – Peanuts

Sometimes you just run out of ideas and names and you call your album Peanuts. I’m okay with it though Stanley Brinks certainly doesn’t need my approval. The songwriter’s been having a blast recently, making folksy good-time records with the Wave Pictures; this solo record offers an all alone iteration of his quixotic anti-folk troubadorings.

Stanley Brinks sets the bar high when it comes to artistic independence, freedom, tradition and avoiding fashionable trends. In 2006, André left his band, Herman Düne. Now based in Berlin he releases timeless albums, playing them live in small venues where he can remain true to his musical ideals

 

Moore Moss Rutter – III

 

The rule of three has been observed in art and society since antiquity. Omni trium perfectum runs the Latin phrase: everything that comes in threes is perfect. The three movements of a classical concerto; the three ghosts in A Christmas Carol; the tripartite nature of any fairy tale worth its salt. Triads are inescapable: even the previous sentence adheres to the rule. Moore Moss Rutter seem well-attuned to the power of three. They are – as you’ve probably guessed – a trio, and their third album, simply titled III, is expressly crafted as the final act in a musical trilogy. This fact makes us aware of the group’s sense of purpose, of their concerted vision, even before we have heard a note.

They hail, fittingly, from three diverse corners of England. Tom Moore is a fiddle and viola player from Norfolk who is currently studying for a masters in creative music at Goldsmiths. Melodeon player and teacher Archie Churchill-Moss lives in Bristol. Jack Rutter is a guitarist from West Yorkshire who has previously worked with Jackie Oates and Seth Lakeman. Plot their homes on a map and you will come up with a roughly equilateral triangle. That may be coincidence but I prefer to call it synchronicity.

 

And synchronicity is an important factor in this album’s appeal. Producer Andy Bell – who as always does an excellent and typically sympathetic job in the recording studio – mentions it in his liner notes when explaining how III was recorded at close quarters and as complete live takes. And you can hear the closeness from the first few bars of opening track The Iron Bell, a Moss-composed piece that morphs from a graceful, fiddle-led tune into something much more blustery and percussive, in which Rutter’s disciplined guitar provides a backbone around that allows the other instruments to play and wander.

 

The trio – who won the BBC’s prestigious Young Folk Award in 2011 – are adept at taking an object, place or event and interpreting it, but they use the interpretation as a musical jumping-off point rather than an end in itself. It’s a refreshing approach which yields results that are varied, surprising and crammed full of ideas. Hilly Fields/Blakeney Point takes two very different places as inspiration for two tunes that sit perfectly together. Hilly Fields (named after the South London park saved from redevelopment in 1896 by National Trust founder Octavia Hill) is a bright, brisk Moore/Moss co-composition that taps into elements of English folk dance to highlight the joy of shared experience, while Blakeney Point – that wild spit of sand, samphire and seals on the north Norfolk coast – is presented in a way that is complementary but subtly different: looser and somehow freer.

 

They pull off a similar effect with The Intrepid/Espresso. One tune is dedicated to a diesel engine, the other to strong coffee, but both convey movement – steady in the first instance and wonderfully jittery in the second. Worrall Road/The Glade is a pair of Moss compositions linking west to east (or more specifically Bristol to Cambridge). They make a bustling combination, allowing Moss to stretch his fingers and prove his ample melodeon talents, while Moore’s fiddle provides a constant counterpoint.

III is not short of genuinely moving moments: on Dougal, Moss pays tribute to a family pet and the result is a truly tender and heartfelt piece given even more power by the intimacy of the recording. All three instruments are given space, and each delicate note of Rutter’s guitar part is traceable. Archer Street/Somerset Safehouse is another pair of place-specific tunes, composed by Moore and Moss respectively, that proves that both have a fine ear for a melody that is simultaneously complex and catchy. But they are by no means limited to their own compositions. Minuet is an interpretation of a Henry Purcell piece, set alongside two French tunes – Soulèvement and La Goulette – and while the contrast is striking, the tunes are combined with such a light touch that you feel they belong together.

 

An interpretation of the Danish wedding tune Brudestykke begins as the album’s most sombre piece (if that’s what a wedding is like in Denmark, what about a funeral?), but builds into something quietly celebratory, as Rutter’s guitar provides a stop-start kind of propulsiveness. Brudestykke neatly dovetails into St. Martin’s Lane, a dance that dates back to 1696. This rendition sounds surprisingly modern, with a kinetic, rhythmic feel provided by Rutter’s punchy playing. The tune builds in urgency as if daring the listener to dance along with it, until its final, abrupt full stop.

 

Rutter’s guitar playing has an important role right across the record, providing a rhythmic and sometimes percussive base around which the other instruments’ melodic flights of fancy can revolve. But on the final tune, Rowler’s Jig/The Beeches the guitar plays a bigger part in the melody itself. The jig is Rutter’s own composition, and on it, all three instruments wrap around each other. As jigs go, this is a sedate one, and its appeal lies in the way the trio interact, the way they instinctively know when to give each other room. They sign off with The Beeches, a joyful tune by Moss that gives his melodeon centre stage. It is a pleasingly upbeat way to finish an album that – perhaps because of how frequently it takes its inspiration from geographical locations, or because of the wide range of emotional landscape it covers – often feels like a journey.

 

Crucially, the journey never feels laboured. There is a different view to enjoy at every turn. The music is so rich in detail and so personally, lovingly crafted that it will reveal new facets and deeper resonances with every listen. It is suffused with pastoral light but anchored in earthy realism, unshowy but technically innovative, driven by emotion but never sentimental. III is a folk album played with the inventiveness of jazz and the control of chamber music. If it is the end of a project, the culmination of something, then it is tempting to ask what Moore Moss Rutter will do next. With any luck, it will be another perfect set of three.

loreena mckennitt – lost souls

Loreena McKennitt’s simple explanation for the 12-year break between new albums of original material is that “life happens” — touring to support her previous releases, caring for her late mother, researching another musical project. But McKennitt is back with the May 11 release of her 10th studio album Lost Souls.

“I had a lot of people ask us, ‘Are you ever going to release anything original again?'” the Canadian songstress — who also released two collections of traditional material following 2006’s An Ancient Muse — tells Billboard. “I figured the quickest way was to go to the cupboard and look at what had been written in the past. Four or five songs existed as little breadcrumbs from the late ’80s to the present, which gave us a good start. So (Lost Souls) is a bit more of a collection, a corralling of pieces than ‘Here’s a creative vision and I want the right pieces to fit that.’ It’s more like a gathering, a collection of morsels.”

The nine tracks on Lost Souls span more than three decades. McKennitt recalls performing “The Ballad of the Fox Hunter” and “Ages Past, Ages Hence” during the late ’80s, while “Spanish Guitars and Night Plazas” was written during the early ’90s. “La Belle Dams Sans Merci” was considered for An Ancient Muse, “Sun, Moon and Stars” has been around for a few years and “Manx Ayre” comes from a melody McKennitt composed during her days of busking on the streets of Toronto.

The “Lost Souls” track, meanwhile, was the album’s most recent song, written last year and inspired by CBC lectures published in Ronald Wright’s 2004 book A Short History of Progress. “(Wright) has studied civilizations as one might study the black boxes of aircrafts that have gone down,” McKennitt says. “In his view it seems as a species we have a tendency to get ourselves into progress traps. When he wrote this lecture series it was coming as much from an environmental concern as anything else, but I put the connection to new technologies. I think they are very quickly and drastically changing everything we have known in such a fundamental and a quick way that I worry we may be in a progress trap here, too.

“Those were the ruminations that underpinned that song. I didn’t want to get into it too literally, like many artists, so I wrote in a cryptic or metaphorical way so people could relate to it even if they didn’t understand where I was coming from.”

McKennitt will support Lost Souls’ release with in-store appearances May 16-18 in Germany and the Netherlands. She plans to begin touring in earnest during October, with a two-year global campaign the will kick off during October in South America. Meanwhile, McKennitt already has her sights on her next album, a set that will examine the connection between Celtic and Northern Indian cultures that she began working on some years ago.

“It continues to morph each passing day, almost too dangerous to time,” McKennitt says. “I took a wonderful trip (to India) to start working on this and got plenty of inspiration, and I would love to feel I can go and do another. It’s very interesting but very challenging because of the way the music business has changed so much in the last 10 years or so, when we released Ancient Muse. The creative side is the least of my worries; It’s more, ‘Is there going to be a proper return for the time and money invested in this. Will people actually BUY something when it’s put out?’ So there’s much to study and learn and evaluate.”

Bryony Griffith – Hover

‘Hover’ is Bryony Griffith’s brand new solo album of Traditional Tunes for an English Fiddle player.

Recorded by Ian Stephenson at Simpson Street Studios, Northumberland and featuring him on guitar and double bass.

Bryony Griffith is a highly respected fiddle player and distinctive singer with a broad repertoire of traditional English Dance tunes and songs. She is among the few fiddle players whose repertoire draws almost exclusively on traditional English tunes, with a particular passion for the more uncommon dance tunes of her native Yorkshire and surrounding counties.

Her skills and enthusiasm encompass solo performance, duo work with her husband, Will Hampson and extensive experience of playing for folk dancing, including her role in the BBC Folk Award-winning Demon Barbers and the ceilidh band Bedlam. She was also a member of the much-missed acappella quartet The Witches of Elswick.

With over 20 years’ experience researching folk material and devising innovative ways of presenting it for use in performance and education work with children, young people and adults, Bryony’s down-to-earth and relaxed style of teaching and performing is much in demand.

Following the success of her debut solo album, ‘Nightshade’, the release of her solo album of fiddle tunes ‘Hover’ coincides with 25 years of performing on the UK folk scene.


“Bryony Griffith has established herself as one of the most powerful and distinctive vocalists to emerge in the past decade, with fiddle, viola and piano work that send a shiver down the spine.” R2 magazine

“A solo album of great power and magnificence. She sings beautifully and knows how to kick out a song and does it brilliantly. Wow, what a great voice.” – Mike Harding

Tamsin Quin – Gypsy Blood

Unique and charismatic Folk/Americana with a twist of intriguing and whimsical storytelling.

Tamsin Quin is a refreshingly-unique acoustic Folk songwriter and musician from South West England. With influences such as Laura Marling, Seth Lakeman and the Levellers, you’ll be in for a whirlwind of charismatic tale telling with a fresh modern twist.

This album was the result of a crowdfunding campaign which ran in September/October 2017. Over 100 people pledged to help Tamsin get into the studio with a full band to create something wonderful. The album was recorded at Earthworm Amber Studios in Wiltshire, produced by Jon Buckett, engineered by Pete Hewington and mastered by Pete Maher. Guest musicians include Lukas Drinkwater, Lee Alder, Patrick Ward, Jon Buckett and Tom Bradley.

See what others have to say below:

“Tamsin wows, simple. She has an ease, an intimacy about her stage presence and when performing she’s in her comfort-zone, making it a pleasure to listen to.” – Darren Worrow, Index Wiltshire

“A tiny package of blues, pop and folk rolled into one. This lady is great; it is as simple as that.” – Dave Franklin, Swindonian.

“Tamsin is infectious… in a really good way. Her song craft and performance is enough to make others raise their game.” – Keiran Moore, Sheer Music

Jorge Blidner – South Of The South

Modern Folk with romance, social commentary and historical influences.

Will Pound – Through The Seasons

WILL POUND’S THROUGH THE SEASONS: THE MUSIC OF MORRIS & FOLK DANCE

Will Pound’s Through the Seasons –  The Music of Morris and Folk Dance

Joining Will Pounds are Debs Newbold (storyteller), Ross Grant (Inlay) and Benji Kirkpatrick (Bellowhead, Faustus)

Will Pound, Benji Kirkpatrick and Ross Grant,with the support of archive footage

and photos plus stories from Debs Newbold, bring the Morris and folk dance year to life,  a unique and powerful musical experience in English culture, tradition and history for all.

A celebration of the year of folk dance, Through the Seasons gives audiences a chance to experience three exceptional musicians showcase beautiful arrangements of traditional dance tunes and songs, bringing their innovative and playful style with all the joy of a summer’s festival to the thrill of a winter’s fireside rapper sword-dance.

Will Pound is an award-winning professional harmonica and melodeon player. He has been nominated 3 times (in 2012, 2014 and 2015) for BBC Folk Musician of the Year, as well as winning Fatea Musician of the Year 2014 and 2015 and was also best newcomer for Songlines magazine in 2014.
His debut solo album and his most recent duo albums with Haddo and Pound & Jay have all appeared in the Telegraph’s Folk Albums of the Year 2016, 2014 and 2013, as well as gaining airplay on BBC Radio 2 and 3.

“A flat-out genius harmonica player” MARK RADCLIFFE (BBC Radio 2)
“Virtuoso melodeon” FROOTS MAGAZINE
“A staggeringly brilliant performance” FOLK RADIO (Ignite 2016)
Benji Kirkpatrick (Bellowhead, Faustus, The Transports) plays bouzouki, banjo, mandolin and vocals.
“Everything that’s best in modern traditional music” ACOUSTIC (on Faustus)

Ross Grant (Inlay) is on violin and vocals.
“Heritage and innovation brought together without a visible seam” FOLKWORDS (on Inlay)
“Contemplative folk that looks backwards to move forwards” ★★★★ SONGLINES (on Inlay’s Forge)

Will intends to involve a local dance team at every gig to dance on stage where space allows – or pre-show or during the interval which is potential for local audience development.   The musicians are also skilled workshop leaders and it will be possible to explore the addition of workshops in ‘Playing for Dance’ and related topics where tour routing allows.

Emm Gryner – Only of Earth

Emm Gryner is known for her typical folk pop stylings. Her latest project has a little divergence from the norm. It   s a 3-part series known as Only of Earth. It will be accompanied by graphic novels and other literature to really set the scene of what Gryner is going for.

The project begins with Days of Games. It delivers a very different feel than what Gryner fans are used to. The inspiration comes from the birth of a child, the death of the iconic David Bowie, and the passing of Greg Lowe. All of these can be felt throughout the album. A former member of David Bowie   s band, Gryner goes for a style much more similar to his, using heavy rock guitar riffs, usually played by Greg Lowe, and adding a synthesizer to give it a more space adventure feel.  The guitar work fits in perfectly with the rock stylings of the    70s and    80s, in a form that would make Bowie proud.

Imagination    is the first single from the album and helps to remind the listener that this is a science fiction album. The whole album really tells a story, and it is in full swing by the time    A Mission    rolls around. It has a beautiful guitar intro that pairs perfectly with  Gryner   s voice. Lowe   s guitar work comes through though and provides for the serious tone of what Gryner is saying. He helps to establish the idea of the mission by showing his guitar work to add a dangerous factor, but it also feels triumphant. This means that the mission Gryner is singing about will be accomplished, though it may be difficult.

The Spark    begins with a powerful guitar solo that rolls right into a rock riff that can   t be easily forgotten. This song actually seems to feel a lot like    War Pigs    by Black Sabbath. It does so by splitting up lines in the verse with a heavy guitar part and impressive guitar soloing throughout. Gryner   s voice just adds to the feel of a powerful classic rock sound because of the reverb added to it.

Though Days of Games is a different take to what Gryner is usually putting out, it still has some legs to stand on. It escapes the folk genre completely, but it does a very good job as making an appearance as a rock album with a very classic vibe.