Karl Blau + The Empty House Band, The Boileroom, Guildford, 24th August 2017

Karl Blau took to the stage adorned in a dark suit that was splashed and stained with Jackson Pollock like whitewash. It’s a decent bet that the suit is something created by himself and indicative in a way of his career path. Based in the small town of Anacortes in Washington State, oyster farmer Blau (and his many associated bands) made many a record as part of the eclectic Knw-Yr-Own/K-Roc Records collective. His introduction to the larger market came via Bella Union’s aptly titled 2016 covers compilation Introducing Karl Blau with many of the songs from that collection featured in tonight’s show. Continue reading “Karl Blau + The Empty House Band, The Boileroom, Guildford, 24th August 2017”

Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, The American Museum in Britain, Bath, 20th August 2017

High up on Claverton Hill on the outskirts of Bath is the bucolic setting of The American Museum in Britain. Established in 1961 with the aim of educating the UK, and the world, about American cultural history, it was perhaps fitting that this was the final venue for Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters on their first ever UK tour. Continue reading “Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, The American Museum in Britain, Bath, 20th August 2017”

The Travelling Band + Elle Mary & The Bad Men, Water Rats, London, 10th August 2017

So a Thursday night in King’s Cross for the Travelling Band’s album launch. First up though is Elle Mary and the Bad Men. Elle was born in Wales but is  now based in Manchester, something she shares with the headline act as well as being label mates. Their music is a bit hard to categorise although they’ve been described as ‘folk noir’ and Elle herself calls her songs ‘weapons grade lullabies.’ Continue reading “The Travelling Band + Elle Mary & The Bad Men, Water Rats, London, 10th August 2017”

Texas Troubadours: Chuck Hawthorne, Libby Koch & Rachel Laven, MacSorleys, Glasgow, 1st August 2017

These three Texan singer/songwriters played their third show of a lengthy UK and Ireland trip throughout August in a handsome Victorian bar in Glasgow. It was a freewheeling night with all three on stage for a song each before each went on to do a solo set with the night culminating in all three performing together. The set up allowed each individual’s skills to shine while the interaction throughout the night was a joy to behold. Continue reading “Texas Troubadours: Chuck Hawthorne, Libby Koch & Rachel Laven, MacSorleys, Glasgow, 1st August 2017”

Rainbrother, Paper Dress Vintage, London, 31st July 2017

Paper Dress Vintage is a relatively new venue in Hackney, downstairs is a vintage clothing shop cum bar, by day upstairs is more clothing and a yoga studio but by night it’s an intimate venue to catch a mix of new and upcoming bands as well as the occasional better known visitor. Like Rainbrother. Continue reading “Rainbrother, Paper Dress Vintage, London, 31st July 2017”

Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton Hall, 27-30 July 2017

Every festival, everywhere, delivers a special moment or two, things that it will be remembered for in years to come.  This year’s Cambridge Folk Festival was no different, with two hugely significant moments.

The first was the sad death of Joan Woollard a few days before the start of the festival.  The widow of Ken Woollard, who started the festival back in 1965 and was its director until his death in 1993, she was a huge folk music fan and hugely instrumental in helping Ken establish and run it.  A round of applause from the crowd on Saturday night in the main stage marquee and a lower key singaround by Ken’s commemorative bench on Sunday were fitting tributes.

The second took place on Friday, when the entire main stage bill was female, as were the comperes.  No tokenism here, the artistic ability and commercial clout of all nine acts meant that their slots were completely merited.  There has been much debate about female musicians, or rather the lack of them, on festival bills generally and Cambridge showed that in its 52nd year it can still show the way to other events in any genre and the programmer, Bev Burton, deserves massive props. Continue reading “Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton Hall, 27-30 July 2017”

Indigo Girls, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29th July 2017

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers took to the stage to rapturous applause and resounding cheers.  It’s been eight years since they last toured the UK and it was clear that the Indigo Girls had been missed as they launched into Fighting For The Love Of Our Lives, an upbeat number with lovely harmonies. For the next song, Ozilline, they were joined onstage by Lucy Wainwright Roche, who contributed on and off throughout the evening. This was followed by one of the many highlights of the evening and a clear crowd favourite, Fill It Up Again. A mesmerising song with entwined vocals that exuded feel good vibes. Continue reading “Indigo Girls, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 29th July 2017”