Richard Thompson new album,  Acoustic Classics Vol. II & UK Tour

Richard ThompsonFairport Convention co-founding member and celebrated folk guitarist / songwriter Richard Thompson will release Acoustic Classics Vol. II on his own Beeswing record label, distributed via Proper, on 11th August.

Richard Thompson was recently named by Rolling Stone as one of the Top 20 Guitarists of All Time and is one of the world’s most critically acclaimed and prolific songwriters. He has received multiple awards, including Lifetime Achievement Awards at the BBC Folk Awards and the US and UK Americana Music Association Awards, as well as Mojo’s Les Paul Award and an Ivor Novello Award for song writing. Thompson was appointed OBE in the 2011 New Year Honours List. Robert Plant, REM, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt and many others have recorded his songs.

Following the success of Acoustic Classics in 2014, Acoustic Classics Vol. II will feature acoustic renderings of classic songs from the Richard Thompson catalogue, some previously recorded by other singers, some previously available only in a band format. A second album Acoustic Rarities will be released later in the year featuring new recordings of some of the more obscure songs in the Thompson catalogue, some previously existing only as cover versions.

Special three-disc vinyl LP and double CD versions of both albums together will be released exclusively via Pledge Music: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/richardthompson

Richard Thompson Acoustic Classics II Tracklisting:

  1. She Twists The Knife Again – 2:49
  2. The Ghost Of You Walks – 4:41
  3. Genesis Hall – 3:30
  4. Jet Plane In A Rocking Chair – 2:29
  5. A Heart Needs A Home – 3:27
  6. Pharaoh – 4:26
  7. Gethsemane – 5:13 8. Devonside – 3:06
  8. Meet On The Ledge – 3:06
  9. Keep Your Distance – 3:35
  10. Bathsheba Smiles – 3:33
  11. Crazy Man Michael – 4:24
  12. Guns Are The Tongues – 6:06
  13. Why Must I Plead? – 4:09

A hugely popular live performer, Richard Thompson will tour the UK in October, including the very first concert at the newly-established London Bridge Theatre, which is now sold out and a second London show at Cadogan Hall. Thompson will play Fairport Convention’s annual Cropredy Festival, which takes place August 10-12, and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the group.

Richard Thompson UK Tour Dates
(supported by Josienne Clarke + Ben Walker)

Wed 11 October               Brighton Dome
Thu 12 October                 Guildford G-Live
Fri 13 October                    Poole Lighthouse
Sat 14 October                  Bristol Colston Hall
Sun 15 October                 Cardiff Wales Millennium Centre
Tue 17 October                 Edinburgh Usher Hall
Wed 18 October               Gateshead Sage
Thu 19 October                 Salford Lowry
Sat 21 October                  Saffron Walden Saffron Hall
Sun 22 October                 Coventry Warwick Arts Centre
Mon 23 October               London Cadogan Hall  *EXTRA DATE
Wed 25 October               Sheffield City Hall
Thu 26 October                 Leicester de Montfort Hall
Fri 27 October                    Basingstoke Anvil
Sat 28 October                  Norwich Theatre Royal
Mon 30 October               London Bridge Theatre  SOLD OUT

Bookings www.serious.org.uk/Thompson

Richard Thompson new album, Acoustic Classics Vol. II is scheduled for release on  11th August on Beeswing distributed via Proper.

Folk Americana album, Winter Stay Autumn by Sorren Maclean

Winter Stay Autumn by Sorren Maclean is released via Middle Of Nowhere Recordings
Winter Stay Autumn by Sorren Maclean

While it may be a little strange to release an album called ‘Winter Stay Autumn’ in the middle of the summer, Sorren Maclean manages to pull it off. Equipped with an effortless blend of indie Folk Americana, this clear voiced Celt has produced an album that could soundtrack any season.

httpv://youtu.be/8wMpFqWyzhI

There’s a bit of a backstory to the release, as it was originally written for 7 musicians to perform live at the Celtic Connections Festival (which we’d have paid good money to hear!), and Sorren Maclean has stripped back the arrangements and created an accessible and genuinely heartfelt collection of tracks.

Album opener, ‘Science Or Fiction’ pretty much sets the tone for the next nine tracks, with Sorren Maclean’s earthy guitar and voice, replete with a Fleetwood Mac-esque chorus of backing singers and musicians painting pictures of deserted, moonlit highways. ‘Rows & Rows of Boxes’ continues much in the same vein, but with a melancholy edge that really hits home.

Old Pier’ allows the music to take a backseat while Sorren’s emotive voice takes centre stage, backed only by piano and guitar, and the gorgeous ‘Way Back Home’, which is also the stand out title track from Sorren’s previous EP, takes a snapshot of a musician’s state of mind as he returns home after months on the road (something he can speak of from experience, having supported Idlewild on their most recent tour).

There’s a lot to like on this album, especially for anyone with a soft spot for delicate, yet powerful folk musings. If the Isle Of Mull is responsible for producing a musical export of this calibre, then we’d suggest be keeping a very close eye on the Inner Hebrides’ output in future.

Sorren Maclean
Sorren Maclean

Sorren Maclean – Winter Stay Autumn Tracklist:

1. Science or Fiction
2. Rows & Rows of Boxes
3. Aeroplane Leaving
4. Watch
5. Old Pier
6. Way Back Home
7. Bootlace Chases
8. Either Way
9. Winter Stay Autumn

Winter Stay Autumn by Sorren Maclean is released via Middle Of Nowhere Recordings.

Beverley Martyn – The Phoenix and the Turtle, new album

Beverley Martyn - The Phoenix and the Turtle
Beverley Martyn’s new album, The Phoenix and the Turtle

Beverley Kutner was known on the 1960s English folk scene before she married fellow rising folk musician, John Martyn.  She released her first single in 1966 and was accompanied by, among others,  Jimmy Page & John Paul Jones. In 1970 John & Beverley Martin released two albums, Stormbringer! and The Road to Ruin.  Thereafter John Martyn embarked on a very successful solo career while Beverley stopped recording and simply became Mrs Martyn.

The Phoenix and the Turtle finds Beverley Martyn in reflective mood, and may be that she has returned to recording after all these years to exercise ghosts from the past. In ‘Nightime’ she sings “When it’s night time and I’m feeling blue…I’m still trying to forget you”. ‘Women & Malt Whiskey’ appears to be another song about John Martyn. “Women & Malt Whiskey are all that you crave, Women & Malt Whiskey are gonna lead you to your grave.”

‘Reckless Jane’ was co-written with close friend Nick Drake in the spring of 1974, not long before he died.  They began working on the music during a jam session in Martyn’s home in Hastings. Apparently, the song’s character Jane is partly based on John Martyn’s philanderings, particularly two women named Jane. It takes on the familiarity of a Nick Drake song with its sincere string arrangement.

Beverley Martyn told The Independent:

“I couldn’t even think about the song for so long because it brought up so much pain. It took a while to finish after that point.”

“The song came out of a bit of fun. We tried to think of all the things we could rhyme with Jane, but ‘hear her laughing like a drain’ didn’t make the cut!”

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The album also includes a dark, moody reworking of the Memphis Minnie blues classic ‘Levee Breaks’.

Beverley Martyn
’s new album, The Phoenix and the Turtle, was released on 22 April.

Kevin Hewick – The Heat of Molten Diamonds, album review

Kevin Hewick - The Heat of Molten Diamonds on PinkBOX Records
Kevin Hewick - The Heat of Molten Diamonds

Kevin Hewick released his latest album, The Heat of Molten Diamonds, at the back end of 2013 on the Leicester PinkBOX Records label. The album comprises of six songs & 45 minutes playing time, it includes the different sides and melting pot of Kevin Hewick’s music.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzKHDfAlM-o

The opening two tracks, ‘Americanta’ and ‘A Young Man’s Dream Of Revolution’ can best be described as radio-friendly contemporary alt. pop music.  That said, this music doesn’t fit into any post-X Factor definition of ‘pop music’, not in the commercial sense of the term at any case.

This is modern pop music , interesting songs propelled by a familiarity that evokes a humming or a tapping foot that is easy on the ear and mind.  But just as the album was settling into a pleasant and safe mood and style, ‘Another Jerusalem’ is an altogether darker, thirteen-and-a-half minute epic erring deeper into folk story-telling tradition where Hewick calls on the spirit of William Blake in a call to arms for revolution against the system and the politicians that keep us all inline; as well as the dumb masses and copycat musicians that currently fill a void left by music with attitude and meaning.

Elegy For Jackie Leven’ sees Kevin Hewick stripped down to an acoustic guitar and voice as he celebrates the music of friend Jackie Leven who first found success with New Wave group Doll By Doll but also made a name for himself as a solo artist on the folk music circuit. Leven died in November 2011.

Almost Unseen’ is another acoustic song, and is my favourite song on the album. Its simplicity is beautiful. The lyrics are a celebration of nature and the path we share.

The album ends with another behemoth song with ‘Seeking A Religious Experience’ weighing in at over 14 minutes.  The song’s simple message is that love is the only religious experience one needs. Hewick overdubs his acoustic guitar with bass and heavily-distorted lead guitar resulting in something more akin with stadium rock. The song had me imagining a field of waving lighters (or iPhones with torch apps!) at a middle-aged folk festival. This heavier sound didn’t work for me, and somehow had me thinking of Argent’s 1973 rock anthem ‘God Gave Rock n Roll To You’.  This is a song I would have enjoyed more without the rock guitar and over-the-top prdouction – leave that to Kiss!

All six songs give a voice for Kevin Hewick’s compelling and thought-provoking lyrics.  A contemporary folk musician that has lived through post-punk Factory days and with The Heat of Molten Diamonds proves he has moved on.

Furthermore, I like that this release is available via mail order and live performances only. For more information visit KevinHewick.co.uk.

Never Mind The Sex Pistols… Here’s The Michael John McGlone Band

Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea is the debut album by south London’s Michael John McGlone Band
Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea by The Michael John McGlone Band

Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea is the debut album by south London’s Michael John McGlone Band who, over the past couple of years have been slowly making a name for themselves through word-of-mouth across the local folk clubs and pubs like The Icarus Club in and around Greenwich & Blackheath.  Essentially, they play folk music; songs about life, love and death, drinking and…water, be it the river or the sea.

A couple of Sundays ago I was listening to John Lydon on BBC 6.  He surmised that The Sex Pistols were primarily a folk band, singing songs of everyday life to folk who wanted to listen.  That may be true.  But what they happened to be was the last rock ‘n’ roll band and left the door a jar for anyone who dared to take the next step.  Unfortunately, among the many inspirations of post-punk music and styles, there was too much deadwood, copycat and bland insignificance, and of all the merging of styles and form that rose from the ashes of punk and 1977, I’m not aware of anyone attempting to fuse punk ethics and sound with traditional English folk music until many years later.

Music trends are cyclical and a resurgence of folk songs and instruments has crept back into both rock and pop over the past few years.  The likes of Fleet Foxes, Noah & The Whales, The Miserable Rich, Alt J, The Lumineers and of course, the phenomenal commercial success of Mumford & Sons,  to name a few.  But with commercial success comes watered-down, radio-friendly, festival field-filling songs that bear little resemblance to anything meaningful or real.  For true grit, feelings and a show of strength and passion there is more honesty and integrity to be found in the music of bands like The Michael John McGlone Band.

Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea opens with the sea shanty, whisky drinking rhythm of ‘England Will Hold My Bones’; a simple, good time song with a thumping bass line and ‘stomp box’ that  puts a smile on my face and a twitch in my foot.  But leaves me wishing it was longer than 90 seconds long!

But The Michael John McGlone Band  prove they can mix tempos and solace with ballads like the beautiful ‘Shivers’ with its intense vocal delivery and wonderful harmonies, it highlights the quality of Michael John McGlone’s quality as a songwriter and is a true highlight of the album that will have grown men crying and dogs howling in communal pain.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FBrgiFmrT4

Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea is an exceptional self-financed, debut album of 13 self-penned songs that oozes truth, feelings and reality. Good time songs like ‘I Like My Whiskey Like My Women’, ‘Down To The River’ and ‘Sail On Slowly’ have me thinking of 19th century sailors and pirates, where men drink from tankards and the women are loose and dance on tabletops in back street bars, I’m not sure why.  But I do know this is a great collection of songs that manages to capture the intensity of their live shows and the beauty and quality of their songs.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-RsCa2nl-A

For more information on Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea and The Michael John McGlone Band visit facebook.com/michaeljohnmcglone.