THURSDAY 19th MARCH 2015 - EWAN McLENNANTickets £8adv/10
BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Horizon Winner 2011
Ewan McLennan first emerged onto the UK folk scene with the release of his debut album ‘Rags & Robes’. The recording gained much critical praise, described by Maverick as 'a collection of truly captivating songs', and featured in MOJO’s top ten folk albums of 2010. After an appearance on the BBC Radio 2 Folk Show and a televised performance for the Celtic Connections Festival at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, his debut was capped by winning the BBC Folk Award’s Horizon Award in 2011.
Ewan’s music was immediately noted for its depth of feeling and sincerity, something which comes from his respect and passion for the music he plays. Whether singing haunting traditional Scottish ballads or weaving the powerful stories that make-up his own songs, Ewan’s unique, moving and earthy voice is always compelling. Having performed with and been taught by a number of world-renowned guitarists, from Martin Simpson to Robin Hill and Gerry Douglas, his own guitar playing is recognised as outstanding and forms an essential part of his music.
The much-awaited second album, ‘The Last Bird to Sing’, was also greeted with glowing reviews and confirmed his prominence amongst the new generation of folk musicians. As well as continuing to plough the furrow of traditional song Ewan’s self-penned songs on his second album were once again met with critical acclaim. His track ‘Joe Glenton’ was awarded a prestigious national award for political song-writing, reinforcing his reputation as a singer who does not shy away from stinging social commentary. The release of ‘The Last Bird to Sing’ gained Ewan several further awards, including the Spiral Earth Award for Best Male Singer of 2013.
During these years Ewan has been touring constantly around the UK and overseas and has gained a reputation for intimate and moving performances.
In 2013, Ewan performed on the world-renowned Transatlantic Sessions together with the finest folk musicians from around the world. The series had him collaborating with artists such as Aly Bain, Tim O’Brien, Cara Dillon and Mike McGoldrick and showcased both Ewan’s unique interpretation of traditional song and his own self-penned songs.
Ewan’s new album ‘Stories still Untold’ was released in September 2014 to critical acclaim (see press quotes below). He will be touring extensively in UK and Europe during 2015.
‘One of the most exciting singers to come out of Scotland in recent years’ Mike Harding
‘Stories Still Untold, is a real treat’ **** 4 stars The Telegraph
‘It simply oozes class… when we lost Iain MacKintosh and Bert Jansch in recent years I have been waiting for a male voice with the same mixture of vulnerability, sensitivity, and above all, humanity. In Ewan McLennan I think we have that voice’. The Living Tradition
‘An outstanding singer and fine guitarist’ fRoots
‘A major figure on the Scottish folk scene’ **** 4 stars Top of the World, Songlines
THURSDAY 30th APRIL 2015 - BABAJACKTickets £10adv/£1228 seated and 30 standing tickets remaining as of 10/02/14
BABAJACK is fast becoming one of the most sought after bands on the festival circuits in the UK and Europe. Their brand of roots is contemporary, powerful: ‘an intoxicating brew of blues, folk and roots music’ (Classic Rock Magazine). They combine great musicianship, passion, energy and charismatic performance to create a unique sound and a great stage show.
Becky Tate (vocals/percussion) and Trevor Steger (guitars/ harmonica, are the song writing core of BabaJack, with Tosh Murase (drums) and Adam Bertenshaw (bass).
Their latest Album RUNNING MAN is listed in TOP ALBUMS OF 2013 in Classic Rock, Classic Rock Blues and Guitar and Bass magazines. And their recent appearance at The Royal Albert Hall recorded for Radio 2 has given them ever greater attention from the media and the music loving public. There is no doubt this the band to see.
THURSDAY 28th MAY 2015 - MARTIN CARTHYTickets £12adv/14 *All seated show in the Marquee. Advance booking recommended!*
Lifetime Achievement Award - BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014
For more than 40 years Martin Carthy has been one of folk music's greatest innovators, one of its best loved, most enthusiastic and, at times, most quietly controversial of figures. His skill, stage presence and natural charm have won him many admirers, not only from within the folk scene, but also far beyond it.
Trailblazing musical partnerships with, amongst others, Steeleye Span, Dave Swarbrick and his award-winning wife (Norma Waterson) and daughter Eliza Carthy have resulted in more than 40 albums, but Martin has only recorded 10 solo albums, of which the much anticipated Waiting for Angels (Topic TSCD527) was the latest. Whether in the folk clubs (which he continues to champion), on the concert stage or making TV appearances (he was the subject of the acclaimed `Originals' music documentary strand on BBC 2) - there are few roles that Martin Carthy hasn't played.
He's a ballad singer, a ground-breaking acoustic and electric-guitarist and an authoritative interpreter of newly composed material. He always prefers to follow an insatiable musical curiosity rather than cash in on his unrivalled position. Perhaps, most significant of all, are his settings of traditional songs with guitar, which have influenced a generation of artists, including Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, on both sides of the Atlantic.
`Arguably the greatest English folk song performer, writer, collector and editor of them all' Q Magazine
THURSDAY 25th JUNE 2015 - GREG RUSSELL & CIARAN ALGARTickets £8adv/10 *Advance booking recommended!*
The duo come from musical households and both began to develop their musical skills long before joining forces. Algar, originally a member of TRI became All Ireland Champion, and All Britain Champion on numerous occasions before the age of 16 and Russell had begun a career as a solo musician supporting acts such as Karine Polwart and Lau, amongst others.
THURSDAY 30th JULY 2015 - LISA MILLS (USA)Tickets £12adv/14 *Advance booking recommended!*
Robert Plant - “You should all check her out, she has a wonderful voice.”
Going your own way means living with without the certainty of safe choices, until you get where you’ve been going. It’s been a long and crooked road, but with her transformative new release, I’m Changing, Lisa Mills has gotten there.
Mills’ 2010 album, Tempered in Fire, won her an enviable degree of success: Growing fan bases on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and critical acclaim from observers in the United States and the United Kingdom. Graham Rhodes, writing for U.K. music site Blues in the Northwest, described her as “a full-throated female Otis Redding, with some Muscle Shoals soul and Nashville country touches for good measure.” A Nashville Blues Society review praised her “unique vocal ability to make one feel the good times and bad times in every song,” comparing her to Lucinda Williams.
The next step was obvious: Give ‘em more of the same. Take a safe half-step forward. Put out some fresh songs, and stick to the proven recipe. But Mills decided that the way to advance was to take a step back and reconsider the past. Specifically, to melt down her 2005 album, I’m Changing, and recast it as a more pure expression of her artistic desires and capabilities.
Was this a crazy thing to do? Two facts suggest that it was not. Firstly, her fans backed an ambitious Kickstarter drive for the project, pledging more than $30,000. Secondly, Mills put the project in the hands of groundbreaking producer Trina Shoemaker. Shoemaker is the first woman to win the Grammy Award for album engineering; in fact, she’s shared in three for her work on albums by Sheryl Crow and Steven Curtis Chapman. She’s worked on albums or singles by Beth Nielsen Chapman, the Dixie Chicks, Andrew Duhon, Dylan LeBlanc, the Indigo Girls and other artists of note. The results, on the re-recorded, re-engineered, reconsidered I’m Changing, are explosive.
Mills is a Mississippi native who resides in Mobile, Alabama. The Gulf Coast is a region where Southern musical influences that easily can be taken for granted come together in ways that can’t. Yes, Mills often sings the blues – but to call her a blues singer would be to miss the point entirely. Her blues influences aren’t always the ones would expect, including a healthy measure of country blues, a sadly neglected genre. She can sing straight-up gospel, as she does in daringly a cappella fashion on “Tell Me.” She has toured with Big Brother & The Holding Company, singing the songs of one of rock’s most revered female vocalists, and her understanding of Janis Joplin’s gifts is far more insightful than the superficial norm. Just listen to the fragile balance of vulnerability and indomitability she brings to “Better Than This.”
The project was a major undertaking that brought back together almost all the musicians involved in the original 2005 recording sessions and added John Milham on drums. The returning players included U.K. bassist Ian Jennings; the plane ticket was worth it just for the blend of his upright bass and Corky Hughes’ resonator slide work on “Wish I Was in Heaven.”
You can call Lisa Mills a blues singer, or a gospel singer, or a torch singer or an R&B singer and not be wrong. But with Mills, none of those labels are true in the way you expect. Listen to “I Don’t Want To Be Happy,” when she sings: “Act a fool/ it’s all I ever do/ take each lie you make and believe it to be true/ and I kneel at the altar in the church of the painful truth/ I don’t want to be happy/ I just want to be with you.” Listen to the way the deceptively simple arrangement surrounds the raw vocal like the setting of a jewel; hear the way Shoemaker lets it breathe. Listen to the way Mills’ vocal on the title track conveys tenderness and power at the same time. Listen to the rhythm of “Shake It” the soft beats like stalking footfalls. Listen to her deep-blues take on “Little Wing.” You’ve heard the song before, but you’ve never felt it send shivers up and down your spine like this.
Lisa Mills is changing. She’s changing the way we hear things. And nothing is going to stay the same. – Lawrence Specker, Mobile Press Register
THURSDAY 27th AUGUST - MARTYN JOSEPHTickets £15 *Advance booking recommended!*
Martyn Joseph is a performer like no other.
Shades of Springsteen, John Mayer, Bruce Cockburn and Dave Matthews there may be – but he stands in his own right, built on a reputation for giving what thousands have described as the best live music experience of their lives.
Martyn Joseph is a powerful singer and songwriter gifted with the rare ability to speak to the soul with his expressive and poignant lyrics. With a career spanning 30 years, 31 albums, over a half a million record sales and thousands of live performances, the versatility of his music touches genres of folk, rock, soul, folk funk and Americana, yet somehow all these labels cannot define the spirit of his music. Compared to Bruce Springsteen, John Mayer, Bruce Cockburn and Dave Matthews, he has created his own style and reputation as a mesmerising live performer. A unique talent driven by passion, social awareness and love for his trade, his music manages to empower and speak for the many.
Martyn was awarded Best Male Artist at the 2004 BBC Welsh Music Awards and in 2012 his song “There’s Always Maybe” won the best folk song category in the World Independent Music Awards. In addition to his 5 top 50 UK hits, the importance of his work has been recognised by programmes such as BBC 2’s prime time series on Singer/Songwriters. Social justice has an essential presence throughout his music, which has been recognised with various humanitarian awards and plaudits.
Concerned with making music that is relevant and vital to his audience, he engages with challenging narratives tackling the complexity of the human condition underpinned with a promise of hope. In his own words “Really what I do is to try and write songs that might step up and make some sense of a moment in time. A good song makes you feel like you’re not alone in the world.”
“Songs For The Coming Home”, his most recent studio album, is filled with snap shots and images from his personal journey. “At the heart of this record is the notion that we are always striving to return. Returning to a place of solace, understanding, compassion, a place of justice, mercy and peace. That despite the carnage around us we can still save the day.”
Upon the release of his last studio album BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris said “Martyn is one of our most intelligent writers. He gets better and better.” Described as a cinematic journey through continents via his trademark ‘one take’, up close sound with stunning instrumentation, “Songs For The Coming Home” resonates with raw performance. Incorporating this element of live presentation into the recording process, preserves the spirit of this charismatic live solo performer.
He has won the love of audiences from USA to Europe through an impressive number of live dates, and has previously toured with the likes of Art Garfunkel, Jools Holland, Ani DiFranco, Suzanne Vega, Mike and The Mechanics, Joan Armatrading, Celine Dion and Shirley Bassey. He is hailed as a raconteur weaving tales on topical concerns, as well as stories on the fragility of love, with a magical ability to reach out to his listeners through his passion and humour. Stunning reviews single him out as an unmissable solo performer whose music stays with you long after the show has ended.
Martyn Joseph. A unique talent driven by passion and love for his trade, continues to write, sing and play from the heart. It’s a road he’s been travelling for most of his life and, as he often tells his audience, ‘you keep turning up and so will I.’
THURSDAY 24th SEPTEMBER 2015 - SUNJAY with special guests Tickets £8/10 *Advance booking recommended!*
You could be forgiven for thinking at first listen; singer/guitarist Sunjay is older than his 21 years. With a relaxed and confident manner, vocal style and mastery of his instrument he walks onto a stage and addresses the audience as though he is sitting down to play music with a group of close friends. A completely natural approach for a young man who picked up the guitar when he was just 4 years old and hasn’t put it down since.
Drawing from a rich, musical and cultural background it is hardly surprising that Sunjay has quickly become recognised as one of the UK’s rising stars on the folk and acoustic circuit.
Sunjay's performances have been described as “mature & confident”, while his guitar playing has been hailed as “superb, brilliant, experienced, intricate & faultless”.
"He's a wizard on the guitar, I think I'd call it Jazz-Folk" - Vin Garbutt"Sunjay is very much the man of the moment. Not so much the flavour of the month as the flavour of the year." - Living TraditionNew album 'Sunjay' released 29.09.144* - Maverick4* - The Scotsman3* - R23* - The Telegraph
THURSDAY 22nd OCTOBER 2015 - TBC
THURSDAY 26th NOVEMBER 2015 - TBC
THURSDAY 24th MARCH 2016 - MIRANDA SYKES & REX PRESTONTickets £11 *Advance booking recommended*
In the space of 2 short years, Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston have emerged to become one of the most sought after duos on the English folk & roots scene. The striking combination of the flame headed double bass player & virtuoso mandolin player create music that Folk Roots say is:
“A musical partnership made in heaven. Scintillating, sensitive and brilliant!”
Well known for the last 8 years as a central component of Show of Hands, Miranda has an exquisite and spine-tingling voice, whilst Rex, with his exuberant and flamboyant playing style, has built a reputation as one of the finest mandolin players in the UK. With Show of Hands off the road for a year, the duo are embarking on an extensive tour of the British Isles in support of their arresting new CD “Sing A Full Song”
"A real cracker." - MIKE HARDING, BBC RADIO 2
"A musical partnership made in heaven. Scintillating, sensitive and brilliant." - fROOTS
"I love this album. Miranda's a fantastic bass player but this really brings her great voice out into the foreground."
- MIKE HARDING, BBC RADIO 2
"Rex Preston is one of the new generation of brilliant virtuoso instrumentalists raising the bar. A tremendous player."
- PHIL BEER, SHOW OF HANDS
"From the first few notes you know that this is something special." - FOLKING.COM
"It is however with Miranda's almost ethereal vocal performance on Imogen Heap's "Between Sheets" that makes the listener sit up and listen."
- NORTHERN SKY
Album of the day - EDINBURGH'S VRN
Album of the week - BBC RADIO DEVON.