Joan Baez has new album and last tour upcoming

Photo by AGF s.r.l./REX/Shutterstock 

Joan Baez has a pair of big announcements about 2018 – the first is that she’ll release her latest album in May, her first album for ten years.  The second is that she’ll be touring the UK, with dates in March and May, in support of this album.  The sting in the tail is that this will be her final tour – to be precise Baez has said “Next year is my last year of formal touring. There will be four different tours, one month each, and then that’s it. I can choose if I want to go sing at a protest (but) the voice is so difficult to deal with now that having a point where I don’t have to do it anymore will be wonderful.”  Continue reading “Joan Baez has new album and last tour upcoming”

Jon Boden “Afterglow” (Hudson Records, 2017)

Jon Boden is of course a significant figure in the English folk scene – Spiers & Boden set a new benchmark for duo’s to meet, Bellowhead became a major label crossover band, and his legendary Folk Song a Day project was a landmark contribution towards a singing revival. Constantly pushing at boundaries his solo output indulges wider interests, as here on Afterglow the second of a putative trio of post-apocalypse albums that was initiated with 2009’s Songs from the Floodplain. Continue reading “Jon Boden “Afterglow” (Hudson Records, 2017)”

Ora Cogan “Crickets” – Listen

It sometimes seems that the dreamy – albeit they were dark dreams – psychfolk sound died out somewhere around the release of Espers III. Montreal based singer Ora Cogan is doing her best to reverse that state of affairs with the eerily compulsive Crickets, the title track of her new album released on the 3rd of November. It blends her fey vocal with Russel Kotcher’s violins and some deeply atmospheric electronica. It’s a haunting listen.

Tom Paxton announces UK Tour

Tom Paxton turned eighty on the 31st of October – belated Happy Birthday Tom ! – and he’s got a bit of a gift for us.  Tom Paxton has just announced that he’ll be touring the UK in April 2018 with the able accompaniment of Grammy winning singer/songwriter duo The Donjuans – Don Henry & Jon Vezner.  Tom Paxton has written and recorded hundreds of songs and in his fifty five year long career (so far!) has played thousands of gigs.  Continue reading “Tom Paxton announces UK Tour”

Anna Tivel “Small Believer” (Fluff & Gravy Records, 2017)

Small Believer, the follow up to last year’s Heroes Waking Up shows, that Anna Tivel has no shortage of complex and satisfying songs at her finger tips. In fact her talent is nothing less than prodigious, especially considering that this collection of word perfect songs were written while Tivel was out on tour. Anna Tivel’s songs occupy intimate spaces, her whispered voice just serving to emphasise this, and they tell stories. Continue reading “Anna Tivel “Small Believer” (Fluff & Gravy Records, 2017)”

Van Morrison Announces New Album : Versatile

Rolling Stone reports (here) that, just three months after his last release Roll with the Punches, Van Morrison is preparing to releases his 38th studio LP. Where Roll with the Punches saw Van revisiting his blues and early rock and roll roots, the new album, Versatile, mixes jazz standards with new originals from the man himself. Much like his contemporary Bob Dylan, Van Morrisson is cherry picking from the Great American Songbook with jazz standards like George and Ira Gershwin’s A Foggy Day and They Can’t Take That Away From Me, Cole Porter’s I Get a Kick Out of You and Unchained Melody, popularized by the Righteous Brothers. Continue reading “Van Morrison Announces New Album : Versatile”

Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real “Find Yourself” – Listen

Ok, yes, we admit it.  You’re right. That is the genre hopping artist still known as Lady Gaga singing with Willie Nelson’s boy Lukas. But, there’s really no denying that this is a very funky slice of Southern Soul, just listen to that guitar work as it chips away at your resistance. Now admit it – you love it.

Slaid Cleaves, Hitchin Folk Club, Hitchin, 8th October 2017

A welcome return of the American troubadour to the Hitchin Folk Club for the last night of his UK tour – although he still had several weeks in Europe and the USA to go before he finally headed for home. On this excursion Cleaves was accompanied on electric guitar by M.C. Hanson of Danish band The Sentimentals, whose list of collaborators reads like an Americana Who’s Who.  Slaid Cleaves has a new album – the excellent Ghost on the Car Radio – to promote, but he opened the first half of the gig with what amounted to a greatest hits set. Continue reading “Slaid Cleaves, Hitchin Folk Club, Hitchin, 8th October 2017”

Chris Hillman “Bidin’ My Time” (Rounder Records, 2017)

Chris Hillman, the bluegrass mandolinist turned electric bass player, was a significant player in several seminal bands of the sixties and seventies. None more important than The Byrds, but Manassas ran them a close second. His work with The Flying Burrito Brothers with Gram Parsons was, of course, uber-seminal to the burgeoning country-rock movement – The Gilded Palace of Sin was an outstanding landmark by anyone’s measure. Continue reading “Chris Hillman “Bidin’ My Time” (Rounder Records, 2017)”