If he were a reggae musician instead of a folk troubadour, Steve Pledger would be known as a ‘conscious man’, as the Jolly Brothers used to sing. ‘You’ve got to be a conscious man,’ could be his theme tune. It’s his mind set, attitude and subject matter that earns him that soubriquet. Pledger is a man concerned with social justice, a society where the poorest and most vulnerable get the support that they need. Be it the JAM’s (just about managing – this week’s media catchphrase), the disabled, the disenfranchised and those struggling for recognition and equal rights when it comes to issues of gender and sexuality. He’s an ethical sentient being. Increasingly these days, that seems to be a rarity. Continue reading “Steve Pledger “Somewhere Between” (Noisy Dog, 2016)”
Steve Hussey and Jake Eddy, an Americana duo from Washington, West Virginia USA, living in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and were both born and raised there. Steve is an experienced singer/songwriter best known for his work with the Steve Hussey Band and Jake is a 17-year-old multi-instrumental prodigy who is very well known in Bluegrass circles. Continue reading “Dirty Dozen: Steve Hussey & Jake Eddy”
Strange, and strangely compelling.
One of those iconic people in americana, songwriter Jim Lauderdale releases his new studio album London Southern on February 3rd 2017 and will take part in the hugely popular Transatlantic Sessions tour in February, starting in Glasgow at Celtic Connections and then touring the UK. Himself recipient of the Wagonmaster Award at this year’s US Americana Honors & Awards, a special lifetime achievement honour reserved for the most valuable contributors to the course and history of the format, presented to him by George Strait, Jim has been invited to present an award at the second UK Americana Awards in London next February. Continue reading “Jim Lauderdale: new album and UK tour dates, February”
Rachel Yamagata can boast a who’s who of past co-conspirators – Ryan Adams, Bright Eyes and Ray Lamontagne most notably. To consider her purely on those terms, though, would be quite the disservice. Tightrope Walker is her fourth solo record; the first after a long gap of five years. Her muse for the project was Phillipe Petit – the infamous French high-wire artist who crossed between the Twin Towers in 1974. Petit’s reasoning behind the motivation for his feats, essentially ‘just because’ informed Yamagata’s songwriting raison d’etre –why not just quit? Why keep persevering? Just because – that’s why. It’s what musicians have to do! Continue reading “Rachel Yamagata “Tightrope Walker” (Frankenfish Records, 2016)”
Normafest, a weekend in celebration of all things to do with folk music legend and BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner Norma Waterson MBE will be taking place in early January for the third year running. With guest performers including American folk veteran (and old friend of Norma’s) Peggy Seeger, young folk bands Stick In The Wheel and The Furrow Collective, from Ireland the much-lauded Lynched plus a rare performance by The Waterson Family, the two days will finish off with a performance by The Gift Big Band which will include Norma, Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy, Neill MacColl & special guest Richard Hawley. Richard has long been an admirer of Norma’s having first met her whilst researching a BBC documentary and whose friendship partly inspired Richard to write the single Heart Of Oak on his 2015 top ten album Hollow Meadows. Continue reading “Normafest festival returns for third year”
Finding any information about Stephen Feldman on the internet is no easy task which is a pity as it would be good to tell more about an artist who has produced a very satisfying and thoughtful album here. It seems as though he is a Los Angeles based folk musician who is somewhat a veteran having released a number of albums before as part of a group called Poppa’s Kitchen but that is about all that is available. There are eleven songs here all of which have been written by or co written by the artist and all paint pictures of people and events. Continue reading “Stephen Feldman “The Ancient Art” (Independent, 2016)”