I honestly don’t know if there are any people following this blog who expect a post a day. I do try my best to deliver. But sometimes in the summer it’s difficult to find something I’m passionate about (or at least interested in). This traditional sounding folk song from Fay Hield fits both categories. Clearly her voice is beyond beautiful, and while this style of folk often leaves me rather blase – this song and I expect this whole album (her debut) will be an exception to the rule.
Looking Glass is out in September in the UK but it appears you can order it now from the fine Folk mailing house – Fish Records UK here.
I was convinced I wouldn’t write about anything today and half convinced I wouldn’t write about music again period. That was until I learned of the new record from Martha Tilston. I have written about her brand of English folk here and here. She’s got an amazing voice that is put to great use on her songs of love, nature, and the English countryside.
Here’s her song “Rockpools” from the new record Lucy And The Wolves.
I’m not going to lie to you. I’d never really heard of Sam Barrett. Saw the name around a bit lately though. I guess I could read his bio and then relay it to you but really you could just do that for yourself.
While this song is fairly rough, I think it’s probably a good representation of the combination of acoustic blues, American folk, and traditional British folk that characterizes Sam’s sound. His delivery is much like that of The Tallest Man On Earth. I think I’d venture out to see Serious Sam Barrett.
Catch Serious Sam Barrett’s official showcase on Wednesday, March 17 at 8:20 PM at The Velveeta Room otherwise I imagine you’ll find him at the pub.
I don’t know if this kid from England just emailed me or if he did a huge blast to every music blogger in town. For selfish reasons I hope I’m the only one, but for his sake I hope he at least hit up all the A-list music blogs. How does a kid like this just appear fully formed, with videos, songs, artwork and beautiful songs (did I say that yet)?
I’m going to give partial credit to the British school system and the rest to endless nights listening to Nick Drake, Felt, Bon Iver, and probably a fair amount of The Smiths.
It’s been a couple of years since I wrote about Irish folk artist Kris Drever. As a result it’s almost time for his followup to his debut record Black Water. Kris is one of the new voices of Irish folk and has been nominated in the past as best male vocalist at the Irish Music Awards and also nominated by BBC Radio as best folk act. So his sophomore release is highly anticipated.
I’ve got the title track “Mark The Hard Earth” to share with you today. It’s a good example of traditional English folk accented with touches of more contemporary sounds.
I don’t post a lot of videos on songs:Illinois. For one reason I think it’s kind of lazy – we’re not called mp3 blogs for nothing and I think each post should have an mp3. Secondly the artists I write about don’t often have proper videos. They’re barely able to get their records out into the market, so I think doing a video is an afterthought if at all. So I was glad to get the new video for the Caroline Herring song “Tales Of The Islander”. The video does justice to Caroline’s beautiful song as well as showing her beautifully serene and peaceful personality.
The extent of my knowledge about traditional English folk is extremely limited. It just about starts and ends with Fairport Convention and subsequent albums by Richard Thompson. There’s something about that subgenre of folk that I find just too precious and self-conscious.
But something struck me as different when it comes to the songs of Nancy Wallace. Perhaps it was the artwork of the new record or perhaps it was the fact that it’s distributed by the unusually diverse (and divisive) Southern label. Either way listen to “Sleeping Sickness” off of Old Stories to hear how Ms. Wallace bridges the gap between tradition and the modern world of folk. Lots more info here.
Don’t ask me where I find this stuff cause I honestly don’t know. Just thank me in the comments;) Seriously, a folk opera of the old South by a band out of the UK, how cool is that? On the song “Southern Boys” it sounds like Joe Strummer meets Charlie Daniels and you know that can’t be bad. The band is called Lee’s Company and the new record is White Mansions.
The blogosphere was in a bit of a tizzy a month back with the announcement of the debut record from UK “folk singer” Ed Laurie. The track “Albert” was such a nice approximation of Leonard Cohen meets Gilberto Gil that it rightfully stoked a few fires in bloggers searching for tangible, authentic music. For now things have calmed down but expect to hear more from this artist as release date approaches.
In the meantime here are a couple demo’s. One from the new record and a bonus one that didn’t make the cut. As I’ve said before sometimes a demo is the best way to judge an artist. Stripped of any studio wizardry these songs are usually a good indication of whether the artist has the songs and the chops to succeed.
The new record, Meanwhile In The Park, comes out October 2 on Dangerbird. It was originally released in the UK in 2006.
London born and occasional Detroit resident Mr. David Viner has been signed by my favorite UK label Loose Records. It’s a great signing since David Viner’s brand of folk blues relies heavily on a gothic blues underpinning that should play well in Europe (think Nick Cave, Grinderman). His debut for Loose will be out Sept. 22 and is called Among The Rumours and the Rye. The first single will be a duet featuring Jaymay called “Go Home”.
You can hear bits of blues, Rolling Stones’ swagger, English folk and more in these three unreleased tracks from Viner’s archives.
Ron Sexsmith’s voice is sublime, his songs are consistently great, and he’s the consummate live performer, but he’s been jumping from sub genre to sub genre over the past couple of albums. And with nine albums under his belt you can hardly blame him. The new record is titled Exit Strategy of the Soul and features horns on every single song and a blend of soul and gospel influences. This is a far cry from the americana records that hint at alt-country that he’s done of late and I think it’s a welcome one
“This Is How I Know” is the first song Ron wrote for the new record. Here’s what Ron says about that one:
The album finds Sexsmith at his most soulful—not that he sounds like Al Green. “I don’t have that kind of voice,” he acknowledges, unnecessarily. “’This Is How I Know’ was the first song I wrote for the record,” says Sexsmith, “and it felt to me kind of like a gospel tune. As I continued writing, I started getting this vibe that there was a spiritual element to them.
Pre-order this July 8th release now here. Or to find out more about the record visit the Yep Roc eCard here.
I’m always talking the talk about over-produced records and how something lofi is usually ultimately more satisfying. Well today we walk the walk with the new record from Trailer Star aka Shaun Belcher. This arrived unannounced in my inbox by way of England. Shaun Belcher is a singer songwriter along the lines of our own Jim White. That means he’s concerned with sin and salvation and creates folk music that has a southern gothic feel to it. To go along with the music Shaun creates original artwork that is clearly influenced by the folk art of the deep south. Here’s his song “Firework Factory” and the artwork that goes with it.
Suit of Nettles is the new record and the limited edition cd can be purchased here.
It’s a rainy, dreary day here in Chicago and what better way to spend it than with the Baroque English folk of Nick Hudson. Nick Hudson’s new record, The Elegy, is out on Kiddiepunk Records in June.
On the song “Atlantic Dash” Nick hits just one note: somber. But listening to some of the other songs that are streaming on MySpace show an experimental side to this artist that’s not apparent from this one song.
Glad you found me at my new url. Songs:Illinois is committed to writing about music that is under-appreciated and unique. I've found that the music I write about shares a couple of traits. And they are: lyrical integrity, musically diverse, and written/performed by compelling characters.
Most songs found here are free and legal and have been provided by either the artist or label. If for some reason you'd like to have a song removed, please email me at cbonnell (at) gmail.com.