January 6, 2014 by Rob Powell
I didn’t quite manage getting part 2 of this Acoustic & Folk special out by the end of the year but surely I get points for having it sorted by the end of the first day of the new year? It can be my New Year’s Special as well then, perhaps? Whatever you want to call it just give it a listen and share if you would be so kind. Not for any reasons of vanity because it is my show but like I say within it, the playlists are what make these podcasts worthy of your time and attention. The musicians and bands featured, while they aren’t all unsigned indie, they do all work hard to keep us entertained via expressing themselves through their music. They need our support. Even more so those unsigned indie ones of course so by sharing this and helping to gain even just a little more exposure for them you will be doing a good deed. You may pass go. Sadly, I don’t have £200 to give you but there are mountainous amounts of great music I can share with you instead. I do already have ever growing lists of tunes from a whole range of genres I need to share so as long as I can get myself organized (to some degree, anyway), there should be a good few podcasts coming your way over the next few months. Also with airplay on UK Health Radio and hopefully one or two other internet stations this all adds to the potential exposure for those on the playlists. Most importantly for those indie folks. That’s why I urge you to please share this page or even just the soundcloud, mixcloud or podomatic pages. Let’s treat it like one of those delicious looking irresistible yet very bad for us, tear and share garlic bread loaves. Go on, you know you want some.
Oh and wishing you all a very Happy New Year of course. Let me take the opportunity to thank you for checking out this blog and the music herein. I hope 2014 and beyond is filled with tremendous opportunities and overall greatness for you all. Be good to each other, love don’t hate!
So, yes, getting organised. It makes me think about Douglas Adams because he was notably one of the least organised folk and yet managed to be series editor of Tom Baker late era Dr Who. It’s also why it took so long for the sequel parts of Hitch Hiker’s Guide to get published, and thus why the final part, And Another Thing (which I’m still yet to read) didn’t get completed until after his death and by another author. Still, I wouldn’t have wanted him any other way. The man was a genius and taken from us way before his time. He is top of my list of people no longer alive I’d really want to meet and have dinner with. Alongside Tolkien and others.
Before cracking on with the playlist I must just mention I caught a 30 minute show on BBC4 over Christmas called something like The Carpenters at the BBC. Although it never exactly died away, watching this has reignited my love and reverence for Karen Carpenter. Sure, it is a genre of music I wouldn’t even have been much into had I been the right age at the time (I would have been at the Led Zep and Black Sabbath gigs) but listening to The Carpenters does form an important part of my childhood. My aunt had a cassette album which I’d hear regularly and in full on long car journeys. Karen’s voice is just so full of emotion considering what was a very young age. In all honesty I think it is difficult to name anyone since her that could match her. As I gear up for a Classics Corner for the next podcast onwards I’m thinking yes indeed, a Carpenters track could well be one of the first to feature in that feature.
Now, for the playlist I’m obviously listing the songs I’ve played on the podcast but rather than double up and feature the same songs on the blog, for most of the acts I’m sharing something else from their awesome repertoires.
This beautiful acoustic track taken from the band’s most recent album Embers Of The Autumn demonstrates only a facet of what they have to offer. Granted it is a delicious facet that gets your musical taste buds salivating ferociously. Embers was a complete smash and chocked full to the brim of inter-changing kinds of music demonstrating their versatility and skill. You can read my review of the album >>here<< and below is the official video for Hummingbird. https://www.facebook.com/thefireflys
2. TOM MCRAE
HUMMINGBIRD SONG (LIVE)
This stunning live version of Hummingbird Song is the first of 10 songs I’ll be playing by Tom McRae over the next 10 shows to mark my 10 years of being a fan of his music. Tom’s first album was released in 2000 but it wasn’t until I was invited to a gig of his in November 2003 I first came across him. Numerous gigs later and now with six studio albums (I believe) and a few other special releases including a couple of live albums he remains one of my favourite singer-songwriters. One I return to time and time again. Having not seen him live in 2013 my attention is fixed firmly on any announcements to come for this year. One of the highlights for me was the set of shows he did with a four string quartet in 2011. It was magnificent! http://tommcrae.com/
3. THE LEVELLERS & NICK BURBRIDGE
As I didn’t have time to play this superb and rather alternative version of Boatman in the last podcast here it is. Another one from the Chaos Theory album Extras bundle, it features the brilliant and highly prolific master of poetry and song writing Mr Nick Burbridge of McDermott’s 2 Hours. I’ve not forgotten a feature of the recent release from them, Anticlockwise I promised either so keep your eyes peeled for that coming soon. http://www.levellers.co.uk/ & http://www.burbridgearts.org/
4. PAWNS OR KINGS
BLACK CLOUDS (TROUBLED MAN)
The recent album Pomme de Terre from Pawns or Kings is easily one of my top favourite records from 2013. It is a superb music ride through the most beautiful of indie folk landscapes. You can read my review of it >>here<< then make sure you go get yourself a copy. The latest brilliant news to come from band’s camp is that they are hoping they may be able to swing by the UK for a few live dates in summer 2015. This would be a dream! Although to be fair, given where they were living out in The Ozarks in Missouri I really wouldn’t mind catching them play live over there too. Heck, let’s make both happen. https://www.facebook.com/PawnsorKings
5. FLEET FOXES
BLUE SPOTTED TAIL
The songs from this band are ever going round my mind radio on loop. Usually all it takes is me to think of a line or word from any of their songs and then it’s with me for hours as I hum it to myself silently. Or actually, not quite so silently as the case may be. It was a similar thing happening to Ed from Pawns or Kings which led that band to cover He Doesn’t Know Why, which is also a bonus track on their recent album (see above).
Seeing Fleet Foxes live in 2011 definitely remains a big highlight of my entire live music experience over all the years. Blue Spotted Tail is from second album Helplessness Blues and one of the more delicate less harmony-grand tunes. And yet it still evokes striking imagery within my mind whenever I either hear it or start playing it over in my mind. With the first two songs I played having that Hummingbird theme I was originally planning to go with Meadowlarks because it is beautiful and has Hummingbird mentioned in the lyrics. Nevertheless when I was listening to them and came across Blue spotted Tail I got stuck and knew instantly I’d got the right track for this particular podcast. Undoubtedly I’ll play more from Fleet Foxes in the future. New UK live dates soon please Foxes. http://fleetfoxes.com
This beauty I first heard while at my first Beautiful Days festival in 2010. Stornoway had only just about released their debut album Beachcomber’s Windowsill (which you need to go buy if you don’t have it already) and November Song wasn’t released until second album Tales From Terra Firma was unleashed in March 2013. As the rest of the band took a rest during their set on the Big Top stage at Beautiful Days 2010, Brian Briggs completely blew me away playing this song that evening. The entire set was awesome so I was already a brand new fan of the band but this was just something else entirely and thus why it had to be on this particular playlist.
The video above is one filmed at a recent Sofar Sounds (house concert) gig. It is Waiting For The Clock, taken from their recent mini album You Don’t Know Anything, which you can check out and buy below. http://www.stornoway.eu/
7. LUKE JACKSON
After a hugely successful 2013 (including playing at Cambridge Folk Festival amongst numerous other top gigs), the young Mr Jackson is gearing up to release his second full album next month. The lad never seems to stop gigging which is a really important way to connect with and maintain your fan base of course. Take it from me that once he has completely dazzled you with his faultless and powerful live set you will be seeing him at every opportunity. The video below is an extra special live recording of Mary May, which I’ve been fortunate enough to see played live but one no longer on the set list for most gigs. http://lukepauljackson.com/
8. SETH LAKEMAN
Contemporary folk troubadour Seth Lakeman is certainly one of the most prolific out there. I’ve seen him a few times now but missed out last year. I’ll certainly be aiming to rectify that this year and with another brand new album, Word Of Mouth, due for release here is Portrait Of My Wife for you to enjoy. http://www.sethlakeman.co.uk/
9. KATHRYN ROBERTS & SEAN LAKEMAN
I’ve seen this duo a good few times since encountering them for the first time at Beautiful Days 2011. Again and with much regret I didn’t catch a live show in 2013 (where the heck did that year go?) so I’m ensuring I make amends and with any luck should be at the Milton Keynes gig late next month. http://www.kathrynrobertsandseanlakeman.com/
10. THIS WILD LIFE
TAKE IT BACK
It is beyond amazing that these guys are over here in the UK for a tour from 07/01. Make sure you don’t miss out on some of the finest music California has to offer us and support their advancement across the pond. With the kinds of acoustic wonderment they produce they really deserve all the very best. I’m hoping to catch them on this tour next Saturday. Brilliant stuff! http://thiswildlifeband.com/
11. DAVID BRONSON
I featured this song in the previous post and it is available as a free download for you. There’s also a video to coincide with its release which is taken from part 2 of David Bronson‘s mammoth 22-track project, The Long Lost Story. The Long Lost was released a couple of months ago following part 1, Story, previously. It is a superb follow up even though it is itself the prequel. As I’m so kind and highly recommend you check it out I have included the album in its entirety below. Just sit back, relax and enjoy some real music from a master song writer and musician. What appears most evident to me just from The Long Lost Story is how David Bronson is certainly a force in music to be reckoned with. http://www.davidbronsonmusic.com
12. AARON SHANLEY
I HOPE SO, LAURA
WOW. Just WOW! When such stunning quality music is FREE, people really need to be getting on it, fast! I knew I wanted to play a song from Aaron Shanley‘s recent FREE release Bedroom Tapes: Swiss Cottage Teal Roses but as I hit the record button (which is not a big red button, just FYI) I had only got it narrowed down to 5 of the 9 tracks on the album. An impossible task. See how amazing it is? Listen. For your ease I’ve included it below. And don’t be stingy neither. If you can spare a few quid this music is worth so much more than that so please, be generous.
Anywho, I was all set to play a song from Aaron on the next podcast but as I realised I’d got enough space to include another song I was determined to include one and thus settled on the beautiful and melancholic I Hope So, Laura. While you are busy enjoying the album (and clicking in your payment details to send a few £s Aaron’s way for his hard work) you should then go read this interview he did recently >>here<<. https://www.facebook.com/aaronshanley
HUNDRED FOR AN INCH
Since first coming across them a wee while ago I’ve had my eye firmly on Stark. This is a band I simply MUST see live this year. Without fail. If I don’t manage it then I will need to pay back all the £200’s I’ve been collecting for passing go over the years (this is not real money, sadly). Following on from their wonderful EP Where The Grey Slates Meet, Stark are approaching the release of their next EP Stories from the Ground but to whet your appetite (there will be torrents from the salivation, trust me) they have released a FREE download of one of the tracks. Let’s Fall Down Together is available for you right here, right now. So get clicking and enjoying the music.
That is not all of course. The guys kindly sent me another one of the cracking songs that will be on the EP, Hundred For An Inch, which I played on this podcast. http://www.starkband.com/
Thanks everyone for listening. Hopefully some positive news regards online radio station broadcasts of the podcast to come soon. In the meantime, please do keep sharing and keep those ears pricked up for the next one coming soon.