Below are a selection of some of the very fine artists we’re lucky enough to work with. All are fantastic, don’t miss them- at a New Roots night or elsewhere!
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The Absentees are a cross cultural group from the US, Ireland and the UK. Their take on bluegrass and Americana is steeped in tradition and infused with a freshness that delivers a fantastically entertaining show. Something of a bluegrass supergroup, they feature some of the UK’s finest session players playing and singing the music they really love. The band are Ben Somers on double bass (Dr. John, Dizzee Rascal, Seal) Leanne Thorose on mandolin (Peter Rowan, Essence of Ireland) Joe Auckland on banjo (Mumford & Sons, Madness, the Horne Section) and Lewis Cohen on acoustic and resonator guitars (international solo blues artist, Krystle Warren, National-Resophonic Guitars demonstrator). A rip-roaring, foot-stompingly good time is guaranteed for all, don’t miss them!
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Ady Johnson, a London based singer songwriter, has shared the stage with the likes of Willy Mason and Ben Howard. His accomplished, finely crafted style filters the distinctly English mod tones of Ray Davies and Steve Marriot through a classic, soulful acoustic pop style.
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Adam Beattie & The Consultants
Adam Beattie and the Consultants have a long standing association with New Roots and The Glad Sunday Sessions. Beattie ploughs a similar furrow to Tom Waits and Nick Cave’s downtempo work, noir folk blues with a dark edge and a big heart that never fails to move an audience. You’ll hear traces of old-time jazz, swing and parlour songs in his sound, now abstracted to a sharper, darker and more modern jazz influenced setting.
Ala.Ni has collaborated with an impressive array of established artists, from Blur to Nitin Sawhney during her illustrious career in music. Currently producing her debut album, with help from Andrew Hale (Sade) and Damon Albarn, she blends the melancholic romanticism of 1940′s swing ballads with a contemporary soul edge. Songs of true depth are sung by a wonderfully rich and soulful voice to match. Her recent appearance on Later with Jools Holland put down a marker for an artist very much in the ascent, a true star in the making.
The Alice Phelps Band
Alice Phelps has been gracing the stages of London for the past year with her set up of harp and powerfully husky vocals, augmented by percussion, cello and violin. Influenced by folk from near and far, Celtic to Eastern, she experiments with delay, blues motifs, and intricate melodies and rhythms to create a unique melting pot of contemporary and traditional folk styles.
Master fiddler Alistair Caplin is a member of the wonderful John Langan Band, and runs the creative hub of all things folk in East London, No.14 Bacon Street. He mixes Celtic and American influences in a perfect Transatlantic Sessions style- it’s real treat for any fiddle fans out there…
Astrakan are French duo Simone Alves and Yann Gourvil. Their music combines the Breton Celtic folk tradition with strong Arabic and Middle Eastern influences. Based predominantly around folk texts (some stretching back as far as the middle ages) and the Oud, a stringed instrument with roots in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, their songs combine a deep respect for the past with a forward-looking contemporary aesthetic.
Fred Thomas’ latest album ‘The Beguilers’ weaves crafted song-writing into the narratives of poems by William Blake, Emily Brontë, William Shakespeare, James Joyce, Walter Savage Landor and Thomas Carew. Drawing on a wonderfully strange repository of musical influences – English folk, Joao Gilberto, Minimalism, the Aka Pigmies, The Beatles, and the English Madrigal School – Fred Thomas’ settings delicately bring the poets’ images and metaphors to life with finely wrought harmonies and luscious melodies. Joining Fred for his album launch will be an all star line-up assembled specially for the occasion: Pete Flood (Bellowhead), Alex Bonney (Bill Frisell), Nat Keen (Flying Ibex), Liam Byrne (Damon Albarn), Dave Shulman (Cleo Lane), all unified by the hauntingly beautiful voice of Ellie Rose Rusbridge (Beardy Man). Expect spell-binding poetry, unearthly grooves and hypnotising interplay from a special group of musicians for a unique and one-off performance at The Winemakers Club. Limited edition copies of ‘The Beguilers’ will be available for sale.
“a beautiful thing….The Beguilers is absolutely gorgeous” – Guy Garvey, BBC Radio 6
“The Beguilers’ version of Blake’s ‘London’ is the finest setting of the poem that I know – the human ear adorned with manacles more beautiful than any earring” – Tim Heath, Chair of the Blake Society
“The Beguilers make these classic works come to life” – The Liminal
“The Beguilers start with songs based on some of the greatest poetry in the English language, but it’s the combination of Ellie Rose’s haunting voice with Fred Thomas’s beautiful compositions that give this band its unique and unclassifiable quality – a treat equally for lovers of poetry, jazz, classical music and folksong” – Peter Slavid
Tymon Dogg is a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter variously described as the ‘King of Gypsy Punk’, ‘alt-folk legend’ and ‘a demented elf’. He is a true folk artist, imbued with the still blazing spirit of the London punk movement who’s formation he was so central to. His illustrious career began when he was discovered by Paul McCartney at seventeen years old, and signed to Apple records. Over his 40 year career he has worked with a wide variety of musicians from Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, The Clash and James Taylor to Malcolm McClaren and Flamenco superstar, the late Enrique Morente.
Tymon has wriiten and played with the Clash on Sandanista and Combat Rock and was a full time member of Joe Strummer’s Mescaleros until Joe’s untimely death in 2002. In 2010 Cherry Red Records released the critically acclaimed ‘The Irrepressible Dogg’, a compilation of songs from 1967 – 2009. His new Solo album, ‘Made of Light’ was released in November 2015.
‘It was in New York. I had speakers the size of a wall…They [The Clash] came into my apartment and shoved a tape into my machine. It was ‘Lose This Skin’…suddenly thunder and lightening erupted all over the city…it was one of those great moments…all the forces came down into that room.”
Martin Scorsese on ‘Lose This Skin’ (written and played by Tymon Dogg on ‘Sandinista’)
“Tymon’s a fuckin’ genius.”
John Cooper Clarke
‘A truly outstanding and utterly original musican’ fRoots Magazine December 2015
‘Uber talented Clash/101ers associate’s ornate and barbed song make their mark’.
Gavin Martin Daily Mirror November 2015
Benedict Benjamin is the singer and songwriter with acclaimed UK indie-folk act Mariner’s Children (‘Simply astonishing…exhilarating and devastating’. Q Magazine). His brittle, heartworn and beautifully delicate compositions are sung with a wonderfully pure vocal style to match. He treads a similarly introspective path to James Vincent McMorrow and Bon Iver, with respectful nods to rootsy Americana along the way.
Ben Somers, Paddy Milner & Marcus Bonfanti
Ben Somers, a member of Bluegrass favorites the Absentees, has played with everyone from Dr John and Bruce Molsky to Dizzee Rascal and Seal. Paddy Milner is winner of the 2012 best keyboard player in the British Blues Awards, was a member of the legendary Jack Bruce’s band, has played with many eminent UK stars from Joss Stone and Rumer to Dave Gilmore, and is a founder member of Ronnie Scott’s Blues Explosion. Guitarist Marcus Bonfanti is a British Blues Award winner for 2012, 2013 and 2014, has opened shows for Robert Cray, Chuck Berry, Shuggie Otis, Philip Sayce, Jack Bruce, The Straits, Beth Hart, John Mayall, Beth Rowley and JJ Grey and has worked as a sideman for PP Arnold, Ginger Baker, Earl Thomas, Joe Louis Walker, Robbie Macintosh, Hamish Stuart, Mark Feltham, Eric Burdon and Buddy Whittington.
British-Austrian drummer Bernhard Schimpelsberger grew up in Austria deeply rooted in Jazz and Western classical music, but it was his studies in Indian classical music with Tabla master Suresh Talwalkar that shaped his unique outlook on music. He has collaborated and toured the globe with Anoushka Shankar, Nitin Sawhney, Talvin Singh, Susheela Raman amongst others. Described as ‘one of the most technique gifted and tasteful players we have seen in a long time’ (Drummer Magazine) his compositions uniquely bridge the musical worlds of India and the West.
Musical cohorts of cult UK artists The Earlies, Anglo-American alt-folk band Blind Atlas recently released their debut album ‘Kodiak Bear’ to critical acclaim: ‘country blues grooving to a Burritos beat, hints of Exile on Main Street, Calexico and Frontier Ruckus’ – Classic Rock Magazine. They combine great musicianship with sweet harmonies and a set full of heavyweight songs that reference the last forty years of classic Americana, from Neil Young and the Burrito Brothers all the way up to Band of Horses, The National, The Felice Brothers and Ryan Adams.
Combining banjo, percussion, trumpet and double bass, Bouche are a product of the same London roots scene as Whiskey Moon Face and Brooke Sharkey. This wonderfully talented band blend the spirits of blues queens Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith and the cinematic smokey folk and jazz noir of Tom Waits, wrap it all in a cloak of finely crafted contemporary songwriting, and deliver it with charismatic panache from singer Rebekah Bouche.
Anglo-French chanteuse Brooke Sharkey’s music travels from the delicately intimate to soaringly epic, sung with one of the finest voices we’ve ever heard here at The Glad. Armed with a stunning set of songs, she takes in influences from French ballads to English folk and gypsy romanticism with accompaniment from electric guitar, double bass and drums, all infused with an utterly contemporary edge. Regulars in east London’s music clubs where streams of working musicians mix folk, jazz, latin and blues, Brooke and her band exhibit an eclectic mix of styles with an exceptionally high level of musicianship.
Chris Brambley is guitarist with UK band The Sticklers. His solo work is firmly based in acoustic folk tradition, with an intricate fingerpicking style reminiscent of Bert Jansch and John Renbourn and echoes of James Taylor in his beautifully crafted songs.
The Cedars combine raucous Folk-Americana with dark, foreboding blues and the occasional heart-stopping ballad to produce a heady, intoxicating sound. They’re festival veterans having played Glastonbury, Reading, The Great Escape, Camp Bestival, and many more. Their debut album ‘Little Copper Still’ was recorded in California with Grammy award-winning producer Ian Brennan (Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Peter Case, Tinariwen) and has earned critical acclaim from radio and music press.
Coley Garratt’s soulful take on alt-folk has won him praise from all quarters- a slot at the Green Man festival was quickly followed with radio support from Tom Robisnon on 6 Music and Gary Crowley on GLR amongst others. His perfectly constructed, poignant songs are given delicate, economic support by his excellent band. ‘…songs with melody, songs with soul and most importantly, in an age of instant gratification, songs that linger’ (The Green Man). ‘A cut above the normal..songs that are crisp, sharp and beautifully put together’ Americana UK.
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Dai & The Ramblers
4-piece Dai & The Ramblers recorded their debut album Duw Duw, crammed full of their brilliant brand of honky-tonk, folk and gonzo jazz, at legendary Toe Rag studios in 2013. Songwriter and singer Dai Price comes from Newport in South Wales, and previously worked with psychedelic cumbia outfit Los Chinches. Rupert Gillett grew up in Germany, and plays double bass and cello. He also performs with the London Klezmer Quartet and produces records at The Cabin studio in Walthamstow. Sheffield-born Alan Dunn plays piano and accordion, and has worked with folk legends such as Loudon Wainright III and Fairport Convention’s Richard Thompson. South African fiddler Bob Loveday has performed and recorded with artists as varied as Van Morrison, Jeff Beck, The Penguin Cafe Orchestra and Paul McCartney. They’re a fantastic band, with wonderful songs, all delivered by brilliant musicains, we’re really looking forward to this one!!
“I love his voice; I love the whole band.” Paul Heaton (The Beatiful South)
“Absolutely gorgeous… They make a beautiful sound.” Janice Long (BBC Radio 2)
“A joyous romp… will raise your spirits and gladden your heart” Michael Farley (Americana UK)
Dakota Jim’s Old Time Jazz Revue
The magnificent Dakota Jim on piano and vocals, and Louisa Jones on vocals and double bass (both from Whiskey Moon Face) play New Orleans classics, old-time jazz standards, and the smokiest of barrelhouse blues.
Dana Immanuel and the Stolen Band
Dana Immanuel is a North London banjo-toting, whiskey-drinking, poker-playing no-prisoners-taking singer-songwriter. She and her super-heavy folk-blues all girl Stolen Band make a sound straight out of the American bayou, triple filtered through bourbon, washboard, and a touch of alt-country attitude.
Danni Nicholls is a rapidly rising UK alt-country star, pulling on musical references from Johnny Cash to Gillian Welch, Carole King to Chatham County Line. She has recently completed her debut album, recorded in Nashville with producer Chris Donohue (Emmylou Harris/ The Civil Wars/ Robert Plant), featuring Al Perkins (Bob Dylan/ The Eagles/ The Rolling Stones) and Steve Fishell (Kris Kristofferson/ Willie Nelson/ Linda Ronstadt), and has just released her ‘Time’ EP, produced by Iain Archer (Jake Bugg/ Snow Patrol). ‘A Little Redemption fulfils all the promise of its gestation and more…..it slips effortlessly between smokey soul, folk-pop and heart-wrenching alt-country, all in a rich voice somewhere between Ms [Emmylou] Harris and Alison Krauss.” Q Magazine ****
Channeling the spirit of Van Morrison and Fisherman’s Blues-era Waterboys Dan Raza’s uplifting, powerful songs have led him to share stages with Mary Gauthier, Badly Drawn Boy, Cara Dillon and Chris Farlowe amongst others. He has just released his debut album featuring a stellar array of guest appearances from Geraint Watkins (Van Morrison, Paul McCartney), BJ Cole (Dolly Parton, Martin Simpson) Steve Simpson (Eric Bibb, Ronnie Lane), Frank Mead (Albert King, Eric Clapton) and Mosi Conde (Mory Kante, Salif Keita).
David Roberts perfectly executed and highly composed style has echoes of everything from early Western art music forms to the psychedelic explorations of the late sixties folk revival, all imbued with a distinctly English style.
David James Herbert (Vive La Rose)
Dealing in downtempo, soulful Americana tinged alt-folk, David James Herbert’s recent single “Tinderbox” was produced by Moritz Hausler (Bat For Lashes/Everything Everything), and features guest musicians Mark Neary (Noel Gallaghers High Flying Birds/The Hours) and Nicky Francis (Goldheart Assembly).
“Potential to break into the big time…heavy with spirit, emotion and sadness” Billboard Magazine
Ellie Rose Rusbridge/ INMIRIAM
Described by Time Out as playing ‘dusk-lit songs, strong and tender and sung in a voice that curls darkly at the edges in a way that’ll entice fans of Joanna Newsom and Regina Spektor’, the wonderfully talented Ellie Rose Rusbridge brings her full band to the Glad tonight for what promises to be a very special performance.
Elly O’Keeffe’s stunning vocal abilities have earned her favourable comparisons with such giants as Janis Joplin and Eva Cassidy. Already a major success in her native Ireland, she counts the legendary Paul brady as a mentor and fan, having shared the stage with him on numerous occasions. She’s currently in London recording her second album withg producer Joe Hurst (Beth Gibbons/ Ian Brown).
Elly O’Keeffe- earthy, passionate, and deeply real in a world of musical confetti’ Paul Brady.
Currently working with Talk Talk producer Tim Friese-Green, East London collective Firefly Burning blend influences from the chamber folk style of Sufjan Stevens and the post-minimalism of John Adams. to modern classical composition and Eastern and African folk music. Close harmonies and intricate rhythms set an intimate and intense atmosphere that demands and repays close attention. A truly unique ensemble, they’re a real Sunday evening treat.
‘fresh, original and often audacious- old and original at the same time..’ ★★★★ MOJO
★★★★ The Times
‘the music is so utterly hypnotic…Firefly are intoxicating, beautiful and affirming’ Matchbox Magazine
‘urgent dancing piano lines and frantic strings over which Bea Hankey sings with majestic, hypnotic grace..’ Time Out
Flux apply their sublime musicianship to combine traditional Asian roots with World music, Western jazz, contemporary classical and urban influences, employing instrumentation ranging from piano to bansuri, violin, double bass, guitar and cajon. Formed only two years ago, they have already performed at Glastonbury Festival, London Southbank Centre, Kings Place, The National Portrait Gallery, The Great Escape and the Indig02. Their virtuosic musicianship and dynamic arrangements fuse to create a truly spectacular live show.
The Fobo Jug Band
The FoBo Jug Band bring you the best in delta blues, barrelhouse blues and country, ragtime and jug band classics. Wailing harp, honky tonk piano, crossroads guitar and holllerin’ vocals make up this powerful and hugely entertaining trio.
Folk troubadour George Hoyle is head of the ‘South East London Folklore Society’, a group dedicated to London folklore and the esoteric, and inspiration for his musical gazetteer of London- ‘Gemini City’. As Gentlefolk he is augmented by a four piece band of cello, violin, percussion and additional vocals. His music stretches from chamber folk to psychedelic storytelling, utterly uncatgorisable and all the better for it- a true maverick. Recent performances include the Southbank Centre, the Globe Theatre, and Cecil Sharp House.
iyatraQuartet draw on a diverse range of musical styles, rhythms and melodies from around the world to devise and perform their own music. With backgrounds in classical, jazz, Cuban, Brazilian and Indian music, iyatraQuartet combine Indian raga with drum and bass rhythms, plainchant with extended percussion techniques and many more influences to create a unique sound and collection of musical experiences.
A firm favourite of the New Roots Sessions, Jack Harris was a South by Southwest showcasing artist at 17. He was the first international act to win the New Folk songwriting competition at The Kerrville Folk Festival, Texas- previous winners include Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, Gillian Welch and Devon Sproule.. A virtuosic guitar player and wonderfully authentic folk singer and songwriter, he has shared the stage with everyone from Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick to Anais Mitchell and Jeffrey Foucault.
James McArthur & The Head Gardeners
James McArthur has independently released albums ‘Plan Your Own Escape’ (2005) and ‘Cover Up’ (2008), and currently has the single Citizen Cained out on Melodica Recordings. His hazily melodic and psychedelic songwriting style embellished with sweet harmonies is reminiscent of the ambient and dreamy folk of Nick Drake and Sam Beam’s Iron and Wine. He’s backed by pedal steel, intricately plucked acoustic guitar and beautifully interwoven fiddle accompaniment.
A star in waiting, Jenny Lindfors recently completed a UK tour supporting Rumer at the million selling singer’s request. Lindfors has been described by The Manchester Evening News as “completely and utterly brilliant” and by the BBC as being: “blessed”. Her’s is a highly sophisticated folk style informed by a mid seventies FM sound , with shades of everything from Bill Withers to KT Tunstall via Neil Young and Joni Mitchell in the mix, all woven together by a unique and powerfully soulful voice.
John Drain, Allesandro Cau & Marco Farris
Acoustic blues guitarist supreme John Drain, mouth harp magician Marco Farris, and washboard wizard Allesandro Cau play firing, red hot Delta and Country Blues styles. They’re absolutely fierce, definitely not to be missed.
Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker
Winners of the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Duo, the Isambard Folk Award, the FATEA Awards for Best Album and Female Vocalist of the Year 2013, and the Spiral Award for Best Duo, Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker are hailed as the ‘the green shoots growing from the very top of the English folk family tree’ Whether interpreting words centuries old or singing her own authentic lyrics, Josienne Clarke’s jewel-like voice finds the nuance in the simplest phrase and sends it, effortlessly, straight to your heart. Ben Walker’s musical tact and flair for arrangement provide the perfect setting, allowing the song centre-stage. Their first major album together ‐ Fire and Fortune ‐ confirmed their place among the very best musicians of their generation and reached No.1 on the UK Amazon folk chart. Their next album Nothing Can Bring Back the Hour was one of the most anticipated releases of 2014 and was launched with a sold out show at The Purcell Room at London’s Southbank Centre. The following spring they were nominated for two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and went on to win the award for Best Duo.
“Extremely Compelling” The Independent
“gorgeous” Daily Telegraph
“A major album, from major players’ Americana UK
‘Stunning’ Maverick Magazine
‘.. a classic in the canon of contemporary UK folk music’ Folk Radio UK
Tobias Ben Jacob & Lukas Drinkwater
Blessed with a wonderfully emotive voice and a talent for sublime songwriting that ranges from the intimate to the epic, Tobias Ben Jacob played in ‘The Roots Union’ alongside Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin (winners of Best Duo at the BBC Folk Awards.) Some career highlights to date have included a session for BBC’s ‘Late Junction’ on Radio 3, sharing the stage with Fleet Foxes J.Tillman, and appearances at Glastonbury, Green Man, Secret Garden Party, Larmer Tree and Electric Picnic.
Upright bass player Lukas Drinkwater is in heavy demand as a performer and session musician having performed and recorded with a catalogue of acclaimed artists. Rock’n’Reel magazine describe their sound together as ‘inventive and thrilling’, R2 magazine have recently included them on their covermount cd, and the duo have been featured on Tom Robinson’s 6Music show and BBC Radio 2’s folk show.
A truly exciting and original new talent in British music, Jinnwoo is a young folk musician from Brighton- The Independent listed him as one of their 10 acts to watch for 2015. His sound is sparse folk, with intense and unique vocals that the Guardian described as a ” gothic folk-croak…unspooling from his innards,”. Undoubtedly a folk artist, his reach expands beyond the confines of the genre- supports to Alt-J, Ghostpoet, Lucy Rose, Jeffrey Lewis, Willy Mason, Kyla La Grange, Frank Fairfield, Robert Ellis and Alasdair Roberts give an indication of his appeal. He was also recently invited to play at Cecil Sharpe House as a celebration of the new folk generation.
‘Jinnwoo is the most singular new folk talent i’ve heard in some time’ ★★★★
The Guardian – ‘Jinnwoo’s gothic folk-croak is a confessional reel unspooling from his innards, a tale of circling doom’
Clash Magazine – ‘Jinnwoo is a true original’
Subba Cultcha- ‘…full of emotion and a stripped back grace that feels completely alien to everything else around at the moment. It’s rustic and aged in influence’
Kirsty Merry specialises in delicately introspective piano based songs. Her sophisticated musical style is balanced beautifully by an intimate and finely observational lyrical content.
The Little Unsaid
The Little Unsaid was forged in the badlands of West Yorkshire by multi-instrumentalist, producer and writer John Elliott. Combining string and brass orchestration with beats, electronics, found sounds, Elliot completes the picture with haunting, androgynous vocals. The Little Unsaid live show consists of a live band with string section- highlights have included touring the UK with American singer-songwriter Catherine Feeny, supports with Rozi Plain, This is the Kit and Rue Royale, and performances at Glastonbury, The Secret Garden Party and Larmer Tree. His new album Fisher King was released in summer 2015, mixed by Graeme Stewart, producer of Jonny Greenwood’s soundtracks There Will Be Blood, The Master and Inherent Vice.
Lords of Thyme
Sharing a love of esoteric folk, psych and progressive music, The Lords of Thyme were formed after Joe Woolley, Tali Trow and Pat Kenneally, past members UK prog-folk act Circulus, decided to record together. Describing themselves as psych-folk, four piece Lords of Thyme name Pentangle, Davy Graham and Neu! as artists that inform their sound. Currently recording their debut album with John Wood (Nick Drake/ Pentangle), they’re leading act in the exciting newly emerging UK folk underground. Their sound features hints of Americana, psychedelia and traditional English folk in it’s musical melting pot.
Lucas and King
Lucas and King are a truly exciting new young duo emerging from Brighton. Songs of exceptional craft and depth pull influence from classic folk and American roots influences, delivered with the spine-tingling, unforgettable voice of Bo King and perfectly judged guitar accompaniment from Hayleigh Lucas.
A consumate songwriter and superbly accomplished folk player and singer, Lucy Kitt’s creative soul looks west acoss the Atlantic- LA’s Laurel Canyon bears great influence on her warmly mellow sound. The folky edge that dominates the character of her music takes influence from the work of artists such as Joni Mitchell, Sandy Denny and Neil Young, and her perfectly crafted songwriting style shows a crystal clear vision and rock solid foundations strong enough to take such reference points.
Jamie Doe aka Magic Lantern’s debut album ‘A World In A Grain Of Sand’ was self-released in June 2011 on Hectic Eclectic Records. Recorded with a full ensemble it was a stunning piece of chamber folk, receiving critical acclaim from press and radio alike. 2014 sees Jamie return Magic Lantern to its solo roots, with a focus on emotional intensity and directness. Last year saw Magic Lantern commissioned to write scores for a number of plays and films in addition to extensive touring. His second Magic Lantern album ‘Love of Too Much Living’ was released in Autumn 2014 on Smugglers Records.
‘Beautiful music”’BBC Radio 3 Late Junction
‘Classic,’ Bob Harris, BBC Radio
“Outstanding” Tom Robinson, BBC Radio 6 Music
‘Very, very special’Lauren Laverne, BBC 6 Music
‘Iexceptional’ The Guardian
‘An exciting new talent’ Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2
Ma Polaine’s Great Decline
Ma Polaine’s Great Decline play a highly potent mix of rhythm and blues and country soul with flavours of gypsy jazz, vaudeville and music hall, all performed with a focused intensity. Taking inspiration from the 1940′s jazz of Billie Holiday, the delta blues of Howlin’ Wolf and the genre sidestepping of Tom Waits, their music moves from foot tapping abandon to subtle intensity. Beth Packer’s superbly soulful voice, mean blues harp and Clinton Hough’s virtuoso guitar are supported by a superbly tight rhythm section, intertwining horns, piano and accordion to produce a truly exciting roots sound.
Norwich based singer songwriter Mari Joyce has a timeless quality to her pure folk style. Her fine voice a assured songwriting is underpinned by sensitive cello, violin and percussion arrangements.
Three piece Mariah Wade perform unique and beautiful interpretations of traditional Irish and old time American songs, interspersed with their own carefully crafted compositions. Weaving together stories on acoustic guitar and banjo with vocal harmonies that run as deep and clear as a mountain stream, their music defies easy categorization – it embraces the pre-eminent ambassadors of traditional Irish, folk, Appalachain and country music.
With their their roots in classical music and hearts in jazz and East European folk music, Minimal Klezmer create a uniquely original sound combining both the pious and festive natures of traditional Jewish melodies. Stunningly virtuosic and hugely entertaining performers, their original arrangements are played by mainly ‘portable’ and acoustic instruments reminiscent of small klezmer groups captured in recordings from the early 20th century. A remarkable group of musicians, unlike anything you’ll have seen before.
At the forefront of a very exciting new wave of UK folk, six piece Mishaped Pearls most recent album “Thamesis’ has recieved four star reviews from The Guardian, the Financial Times and the Telegraph, and garnered the highest of praise from Tom Robinson, Mark Radcliffe and Bob Harris, highlights amongst universal acclaim from the press and media. Their adventurous song combination of the ancient and the new finds an echo in their musical make up- dulcimer, bodhran, violin and mandolin mix with acoustic guitar, electric bass and drums, all led by the classically trained mezzo-soprano voice of Manuella Schutte. Their music’s roots in tradition expands into progressive folk and rock, eastern modal music and shows elements of contemporary classical influence.
One of the finest artists to grace the New Roots sessions, Ned Roberts is a wonderfully accomplished folk musician with a timeless quality to his sound. His perfectly balanced Laurel Canyon-esque songs delivered with a poetic turn of phrase, excellent musicianship and a perfectly judged vocal sensibility sit comfortably amongst the classics of the acoustic folk world. He recently released his debut album to rave reviews, recorded in L.A. and produced by Luther Russell (Noah and rthe Whale/ Richmond Fontaine), and completed a support tour with folk legend Anais Mitchell.
‘Absolutely gorgeous stuff…one to really get excited about’
Lauren Laverne, BBC 6Music
“…a warm treat. Roberts is a fine guitar picker, his melodies reminiscent of Leonard Cohen with lyrical nods to Bob Dylan, and his voice has echoes of Tim Hardin.” Observer 4 stars.
‘An understated gem’ – The Independent on Sunday
‘…so gifted, possessing a fine ear for a tune and a real knack for storytelling..stunning’.
Nic Dawson Kelly
Sheffield born, London based songwriter Nic Dawson Kelly’s Dylan & Van Morrison-meets-Devendra based electric folk sound, steeped in rockabilly and country soul, has been described by The Times as ‘a visceral, compelling new presence on the UK music scene’, The Sun calls him ‘one of the most distinctive British voices in years’ and Q maintains his is ‘a soulful take on some of the finest blues-folk around’. After sharing the stages with Laura Marling, Adele and Richard Hawley amongst others, Dawson Kelly has gone on to showcase his music extensively within the capital. His new EP, recorded with the talents of Jim Barr (Portishead), Clive Deemer (Radiohead/ Roni Size) & Dan Moore (Booker T/ Rodriguez) amongst others, takes its cues from Deep South country-soul traditions.
O’Hooley & Tidow
With a personal invite from Billy Bragg to play Glastonbury, sessions on BBC 6 Music and Radio 2, a five star live review and feature in The Guardian, culminating in a MOJO Folk Album of the Year award for groundbreaking album The Hum, O’Hooley & Tidow are regarded as lionhearted trailblazers of contemporary music and songwriting. Having the originality and skill to invite comparison with the most celebrated harmony duos, from early Simon and Garfunkel to the iconic Kate and Anna McGarrigle, O’Hooley and Tidow’s powerful, deeply moving, and at times spine-tingling performances are infused with an honesty and empathy that will disarm even the hardest of heart.
‘Boundless songwriting and exquisite harmonies that truly shine’ ★★★★★ Guardian
‘I LOVE the new album.’ Lauren Laverne, 6 Music
‘Excellent’ **** Songlines Top of the World Album
‘Remarkable. Surely one of the albums of the year.’ ★★★★ Guardian
‘Remarkable…challenging, innovative and often moving‘ ★★★★ Irish Times
‘Defiant, robust, northern, poetical folk music for the times we live in.’ Independent
‘Boldly defiant and sharply individual. One of British Folk’s mightiest combinations’ ★★★★ MOJO Folk Album of the Month
The Orange Circus Band
The Orange Circus are a raucous, footstompin’, full blooded Americana/ bluegrass act from the U.K and Virginia in America. A unique co-operative, they’re a family band that can include members of all ages from junior to senior. Concentrating mainly on updating traditional songs taken from the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, they continue an historical musical lineage in a fresh, exciting way. Bring your dancing shoes- they put on a brilliantly entertaining show- great playing, beautiful harmonies and boundless energy are guaranteed to raise the roof, warm the heart and encourage the biggest of grins.
Rutland based singer-songwriter Paul McClure is recently released his debut solo album, Smiling From The Floor Up, on Clubhouse Records. A sublime, wonderfully crafted and beautifully realized offering, the album marks the first solo venture for McClure after a long spell with UK alt-country favourites The Hi And Lo. Taking inspiration from the introspective Americana of the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Elliot Smith and the Felice Brothers, his poetic turn of phrase and unique perspective on the kitchen-sink drama of everyday life mark him out as a leading light in the vibrant world of UK singer songwriters.
English-Italian and brought up in West Cork in Ireland, troubadour Pepe Belmonte has many strings to his folk bow. Taking inspiration from the laid-back, intimate country blues style of Mississippi John Hurt and mixing it with sweet melodic influences from the likes of Paul Simon and John Martin, his songs have a classic, timeless feel. His place as a highly respected artist on the London folk underground is brought to light by a beautiful set of Americana tinged roots songs.
Bringing a unique take to the classical piano trio, this contemporary London based ensemble, Filipe Sousa, (piano), Tara Franks (cello), and Preetha Narayanan (violin), collaboratively create original work with a distinctive sound that blends their diverse musical and cultural backgrounds. With traces of Vaughn Williams, Steve Reich, and Esbjörn Svensson Trio, Quest Ensemble paint a unique and evocative musical landscape filled with lyrical melodic lines, rich harmonies, and interwoven rhythmic counterpoint.
The Ragged Out String Band
The Ragged Out String Band feature members of much respected bluegrass act The Absentees and old time duo The A& E String Band. Featuring Emily Smith on fiddle, Ben Somers on upright bass, Andy Quelch on guitar and Joe Aukland on banjo, with fine harmony vocals, the Ragged Out String Band play hard driving uptempo old time mountain music. It’s fierce in it’s attitude, it’ll get your feet stomping and it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face…
A rising star on the London folk scene, American singer wongwriter Robert Chaney counts Townes Van Zandt, Hank Williams and Judee Sill as influences. His recently released debut album ‘Cracked Picture Frames’ garnered high praise in the music press, with Folk Radio UK making it their featured album of the month.
Samantha Whates is a London based singer and songwriter. Despite living in the capital since her mid-teens, her heart, voice and songs retain a strong affinity with her Scottish roots, cultivating a sound that is thoroughly contemporary, rooted in tradition yet uniquely her own. A regular live performer, Samantha has played throughout the UK from small town pubs to large festivals and major London venues (Union Chapel, Vortex, Cecil Sharp House). She recently released her debut Dark Nights Make For Brighter Days which has been enjoying both critical acclaim and radio play (BBC 6 Music, KCRW, Resonance FM).
The Self Help Group
Featuring immaculate three part harmony, guitar, bass, drums and xylophone, the Self Help Group create a gloriously rich sound that will put you in mind of Crosby Stills & Nash, Fleetwood Mac and Massive Attack, often in the same song. Their most recent album was described by the legendary Bob Harris on Radio 2 as ‘absolutely stunning’, and received a four star review from the influential Maverick Magazine
The Seznec Brothers/ Cory Seznec
Core members of the critically acclaimed US roots/ alt-folk act Groanbox (‘Marvelous’- The Sunday Times, ★★★★ – Mojo, ‘true originals’ The Guardian) The Seznec Brothers influences and musical interests are vast, ranging from Appalachian banjo music to 20th century electroacoustic composition by way of 1960s West African pop and interactive sound art. Using mostly acoustic instruments including gourd banjos, pianos, guitars, the brothers defy strict categorization. Their music is strongly rooted in tradition yet forward looking, introspective yet universal, straightforward yet complex, and joins the dots from Appalachian mountain music through to New Orleans ragtime, old-time jazz & blues and on to European gypsy folk, ultimately making the links back to the music’s strong African roots.
Simon Stanley Ward
Simon Stanley Ward is a young country singer, pure and simple. He sounds like the original lonesome cowboy crooner – a perfect cross between Neil Young and Charlie Rich, with a voice to match. It’s hard-rocking country, the kind that spawned Elvis and Johnny Cash, and with superbly tight band that includes Danny & The Champions of the World guitarist Paul Lush in it’s ranks, he delivers on his promise as one of UK alt-country’s rising stars.
Son of Kirk
Son of Kirk mix the purest of fiddle folk tones with intricate contemporary drum rhythms, sweeping cello accompaniment and syncopated guitar lines. Four part harmonies create overlapping vocal threads,inspired by tribal and folk traditions. If DJ Shadow played drums in an acoustic folk group, it would be Son of Kirk. Great musicianship, soaring vocals and gorgeously accessible songs with a fine sense of melody make for a strikingly original alt-folk ensemble.
Sophie Jamieson is a young Cambridge singer songwriter blessed with a beautiful voice and a clear and refined songwriting style- her youtube video below has had four thousand hits in two months for very good reason.
Stick In The Wheel
The brilliant Stick In The Wheel are fROOTS Magazine’s Album of 2014 winners, and are favourites of Tom Robinson on 6Music and XFM’s Jon Kennedy, having recently recorded sessions for both. Featuring Ian Carter on dobro, singers Nicola Kearey and Fran Morter, plus Si Foote on Percussion and Joolie Wood on fiddle, they specialise in distinctly London-centric, rarely heard traditional British folk songs. Their repertoire includes pieces up to 400 years old, and they seamlessly combine this deep link to the past with their own compositions. Their music is sparklingly original, fiercely fresh and fearless in it’s attitude- they’re a breath of fresh air, definitey not to be missed.
Sugar Magnolia is a collaboration between husband and wife duo Jack Day and Bryony Afferson. Bryony Afferson is part of highly acclaimed alt-folk trio Troubadour Rose, favourites of the New Roots Sessions- their most recent release,Tell Me, from September 2014, attracted rave reviews from The Guardian and the Daily Express amongst others. Jack Day’s The First Ten, released in January 2014, also garnered top reviews across the music press, and was named Best Roots Album in Q Magazine. Combining mandolin and fingerpicked guitar with Afferson’s high lonesome vocal and Day’s gravel soaked tones, the quality in their songwriting shines like a beacon.
Swallow and the Wolf
Acoustic duo Swallow and the Wolf have built their sound from picked acoustic guitar, bass heavy piano lines, lo-fi drums, rich cello lines and melodic vocal harmonies. Their songs manage to be both intimate and epic, balancing poetic lyrics with widescreen sounds. Three Eps into their recording career, they’ve received much acclaim thus far- here’s some of what’s being said about them in the media…
‘Russell Swallow is an acoustic evangelist…clearly a man with poetry in his soul’- Tom Robinson, BBC6 music
‘very, very beautiful’ – Chris Hawkins, BBC6 music
‘the romantics of Fleet Foxes, the upbeat poppiness of Patrick Wolf, and the brooding of Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley’- For Folk’s Sake
Smith & Mighty collaborator, Twisted Nerve recording artist, and a contender for the finest jazz voice in the UK today, Tammy Payne’s career to date has included collaborations with Geoff Barrow, John Parrish and the Bristol supergroup that was TAMCO. TAMCO have now morphed into a just released Tammy Payne solo album ‘Viva Outsider’ made with the combined talents of drummer Dylan Howe (The Blockheads ), bassist Jim Barr (Get The Blessing/ Portishead ), keyboard player Dan Moore (Pee Wee Ellis, Rodriguez, Marc Ford ) and guitarist Neil Smith (The Liftmen). The album mixes soul, jazz and folk influences with a hazy sixties psychedelia never far from the edges.
‘..outstanding, Payne is exceptionally soulful, with a storyteller’s gift for immersing ferself in the tales she’s telling’. All About Jazz
‘★★★★ One of the finest soul and jazz singers that the UK has produced in the past two decades’ BBC ONLINE Kevin Le Gendre
Chamber folk/ alt-folk group Tir Eolas (Philippa Mercer – vocals/flutes, Laura Snowden – guitar/vocals, Ruairi Glasheen – percussion/vocals, Georgie Harris – viola/vocals and Hedi Pinkerfeld – bass/vocals) draw on their Celtic and English folk roots, combining traditional folk and original material, from virtuosic instrumentals to 5-part harmonies.
Highlights in recent performances have been Bestival, Cecil Sharp House, Royal Albert Hall, Sage Gateshead, Kings Place, City of London Festival, Milton Court Concert Hall, Ronnie Scotts, and the BBC Proms (broadcast on BBC Radio 3). The group were selected for the inaugural City Music Foundation Award in 2013, and as a result were able to record their debut album Stories Sung, Truths Told, which was released in early 2015.
Projects for 2015 included a concert at Shakespeare’s Globe for a series curated by guitarist John Williams, and a residency at Aldeburgh Music alongside artist Jo Lewis.
Victoria Hume (with string accompaniment) performs a set of beautifully cerebral folk-pop with elements of contemporary art music, finely crafted and delicately observational in its execution.
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Whiskey Moon Face
Whiskey Moon Face are an alternative folk group based around double bass, accordian, clarinet and banjo, led by the stunning vocals and hallucinatory lyrics of singer Louisa Jones. They combine elements of Eastern European traditional music, old-time New Orleans jazz, the baroque folk of Sufjan Stevens and Beirut, and their own unique take on contemporary folk to make for a superbly realized and truly beautiful sound.
Young Causeway’s immaculate harmonies and fingerpicking alt folk, delivered with a beautifully light touch, makes for a splendidly accomplished act. Simon and Garfunkel and CSN&Y’s pristine vocal blend is a definite influence, but the duo’s contemporary indie folk leanings puts their excellent songs in a comfortably contemporary setting.