Check out the 15 artists to be featured on this month’s covermount CD: Acoustic Presents… Vol. 4
Madisen Ward and The Mama Bear – ‘Silent Movies’
At home, Madisen and Ruth Ward are family members. Onstage, they’re the leading members of Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear, a soulful folk band whose sound is anchored by twin guitars and two big, booming voices. The duo took the scene by storm this year with appearances on BBC Breakfast, Later… with Jools Holland and Late Night with David Letterman. Skeleton Crew the debut album out now, was produced by Jim Abbiss, known for his award-winning work with Arctic Monkeys and Adele. See them this fall on tour with Sufjan Stevens.
Darrell Scott – ‘I’m Talking To You’
Darrell Scott is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He has collaborated with Robert Plant, Zac Brown, Steve Earle, Sam Bush, Emmylou Harris, John Cowan, Verlon Thompson, Guy Clark, Tim O’Brien and many others. His unique music has attracted a growing fanbase. Much of the commentary about Darrell Scott’s career has focused on the songs he’s written that have been recorded by famous names and voices – those known in music industry parlance as “artists.” But then there’s the actual word “artist”. We refer to those who create artifacts of aesthetic and intellectual contemplation and wonder, built from experience, skill, reflection and emotional intent. That’s an artist. And that, is Darrell Scott.
Irene Rae – ‘See Me For Me’
‘See Me For Me’, the first single taken from the forthcoming EP Hidden Secret witnesses Irene Rae’s return to the studio after a four-year break from her previous solo career which caught the attention of Midge Ure and Hazel O’Connor. Her style and lyrics, while remaining uniquely her own, have been compared to the likes of Nora Jones and Natalie Merchant. “Perfect for listening to on a summer’s evening, drinking fine wine…”
Jennifer Crook Trio – ‘Long Drive Back Home From Love’
In a career that has led her from the BBC young tradition award to touring with Snow Patrol, Jennifer has earned a reputation as an outstanding lever harp player as well as an acclaimed singer songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist. Jennifer’s latest release was produced and mixed at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios by Stephen W Tayler (Kate Bush, Suzanne Vega, Stevie Nicks), following a “very impressive” (Pledge Music) crowd-funding campaign. Carnforth Station also features cellist Beth Porter and multi-instrumentalist Mike Cosgrave, premier lap steel player Kevin Brown and singer/double bassist Miranda Sykes (Show of Hands).
Calan – ‘Tale Of Two Dragons’
Fiddles, guitar, accordion, bagpipes and step dancing explode into life as Calan perform songs and tunes from their new album Dinas. Infectious guitar rhythms and high voltage routines give way to beautiful and haunting songs as they tour throughout 2015 to celebrate their latest release. Among the traditional Welsh melodies and brand new original material, they breathe fire into the folk tale of Merlin and The Two Dragons: a song released as a single that tells the story of why there is a dragon on the Welsh flag.
Peter Miller – ‘Pluie Du Soir’
Award-wining Australian guitarist Peter Miller has toured his homeland and the EU extensively – in particular, Ireland, where his Celtic flavoured fingerstyle guitar playing has found a home, something which Miller will not complain about. “I love playing concerts in Ireland and other parts of the EU, I feel at home on the Road,” says Miller. He uses both standard and alternate tunings, has recorded several albums and has had his music appear on film and TV worldwide. “Peter Miller has just about the finest touch I’ve ever heard on acoustic guitar.” – Richard Gilewitz, USA.
Josh Taerk – ‘Here’s To Change’
24-year-old Canadian Josh Taerk releases his Here’s To Change album inspired by rock artists like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Neil Young. It was recorded with Josh and the band playing live off the floor in Nashville, Tennessee, with a 24-track analog recording desk. Friend and mentor John Oates (rock & roll hall of famer, Hall & Oates) introduced Josh to producer Teddy Morgan and sang background vocals on the title track as well as ‘Wise Man’. Oates says “I’ve enjoyed getting to know Josh Taerk and his music over the last few years…I think it is Josh’s best work to date.”
Mawkin – ‘Searching For Lambs’
One of Brit-folks brightest new guns: a blistering five-piece band fusing folk, blues and rock. On the cutting edge of the contemporary music scene with all the verve and mystique of ancient folk music traditions from across the globe. Rousing songs of rebellion are sung by brothers David Delarre (Eliza Carthy, Tred) and fiddler James Delarre (Saul Rose & James Delarre, Topette) all underpinned by the virtuosic bellowing of Nick Cooke’s melodeon (Kate Rusby, Jim Moray) and a solid rhythm section with Danny Crump on bass and Lee Richardson (Diverted, Extreme Music) on drums.
Stewart Mac & Dean Roberts – ‘We Are’
Stewart Mac is a singer, songwriter and guitarist from North London. Specialising in radio friendly, heartfelt rock songs, he has released two previous full-length albums, achieved success in Asia and has a string of live performances under his belt alongside such greats as Bon Jovi, who he opened for at Twickenham Stadium. He has just released a brand new EP Radio, which was written and recorded with long time collaborator and live guitarist Dean Roberts.
Shooglenifty – ‘The Untied Knot’
Shooglenifty’s sound springs from traditional Scottish dance music, energised by the beats and bass line of something altogether more contemporary. It is not a sit-down kind of music, it’s a join-in, and get on your feet kind of vibe. Attempts to describe this almost uncategorisable band include: “hypno-folkadelic-ambient-trad” and “acid-croft.” The Untied Knot is the band’s seventh studio album and the first feature a collection of songs. The breathtaking “puirt a beul” (mouth music) of Gaelic vocalist Kaela Rowan brings a captivating and energising new element to the band’s sound, and further confounds any attempt to pigeonhole them.
G.D. Sweeney – ‘Devil In My Wine’
Heralding from a culture of storytelling and a rich musical heritage, G.D. Sweeney has combined his love of bluegrass, folk melodies and classic country with his proud Irish roots, to create a musical alchemy he calls “Celtic country”. This new-traditional style is the musical backdrop to the intriguing narratives and characters in his songs. Sweeney has recently released his debut album, The Truth About Lies. Captivating alcohol-stained tales of regret, deceit and redemption, are rendered with the wit and wisdom of Ireland, the yearning of old-fashioned American country and the dark wistful tones of European Folk music.
Telling The Bees – ‘Windflower’
Telling the Bees are an innovative acoustic band making a unique and original music they call “darkly crafted folk”. They met in 2007 at Oxford’s legendary Catweazle Club, and have released two acclaimed albums, Untie the Wind and An English Arcanum. In 2011, they expanded to the current five-piece line-up and their eagerly awaited third album, Steer by the Stars, has just been released. Taking their inspiration from folklore, landscape, psychedelia, paganism, and the politics of protest, Telling The Bees mix driving songs and tune-sets with haunting ballads. Intelligent lyrics, exotic rhythms and modes, and instruments as varied as fiddle, mandolin, cello, double bass, concertina, stomp box and English bagpipes are brought together in skillful arrangements, wild at times, gentle at others.
The Railsplitters – ‘Tilt A Whirl’
From their home in the Colorado Rockies, The Railsplitters have been scaling new heights with a refreshing and charming range of bluegrass and beyond-bluegrass music. For a debut album, The Railsplitters sound remarkably assured, playing with the kind of abandon their live shows are known for. Bringing real depth and formidable talent, this group draws influences from all the greats – think Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs to modern groups like Uncle Earl and Crooked Still. Using powerful female and male vocals, enchanting harmonies, and masterful instrumentals, The Railsplitters have the kind of raw power that can raise mountains and even a few eyebrows.
Andy Kirkham – ‘Travelling Song’
Acoustic guitarist Andy Kirkham is a fine fingerpicker who has explored many guitar styles including traditional West African and Kora music, Eastern European and folk. These styles he brings to his new album Not One But Another – a collection of heart-warming songs and tunes accompanied by beautiful acoustic guitar playing. Here, inspiration has come from diverse subjects such as Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, a daughter growing up, a fish and a set of hills, while influences of Ali Farka Toure, Richard Thompson and John Williams combine to create intricate and uplifting guitar music.
Robin Huw Bowen – ‘New Gypsy Hornpipes
Robin Huw Bowen “master of the Welsh triple harp” releases his new album The Language Of The Soul. Since 1983, Robin Huw Bowen has introduced the Welsh triple harp and its music to thousands all over the world. As the only full-time professional Welsh harpist specialising solely in the Welsh triple harp, his influence on the world of Welsh folk music and harping has been far-reaching. He ranks among the most important figures that the Welsh folk tradition has produced and Sain Records are proud to release his latest album, The Language Of The Soul, his fourth recording for the label.