wears the trousers magazine

sounding off: october 2009 (ii)
October 19, 2009, 9:14 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , , , ,

In part two of this month’s roundup, we take a look at new albums from folk star Bella Hardy, metal newcomers Invasion and, belatedly, “shriekbeat” group Kasms.

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Bella Hardy
In The Shadow Of Mountains ••••

Daughter of the Peak District, Bella Hardy returns with In The Shadow Of Mountains, the follow up to her acclaimed 2007 debut Night Visiting. A mixture of traditional and self-penned material, Hardy’s fiddle and voice are joined by the concertina of Chris Sherburn, the harp of Corinna Hewat and the guitar of Anna Massie to create an accomplished dues-paid mix. Despite decamping to Edinburgh via York and Newcastle, picking up songs, experience and a growing reputation along the way, much of Hardy’s material draws on the terrain of her youth. From the misty valley sides of the upbeat Celtic influences of ‘Mary Mean’ through to the foot-and-mouth cattle pyres of ‘Smoke & Ashes’, it’s an unsentimental but romantic evocation of a landscape. The haunting sensuality of ‘Broadlee Bank’ highlights the stripped back beauty of her playing, while ‘Sylvie Sovay’ is almost Lennon and McCartney in its small-life-writ-large storytelling, startlingly accomplished for an artist who, in folk scene terms, is relatively tender in years.

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lucinda williams heads exciting cambridge folk festival lineup

090808_lucindawilliamsTickets go on sale in May

Now in its 45th year, the Cambridge Folk Festival continues to be one of the most popular festival weekends in the calendar, usually selling out before you’ve even had time to hit speed dial, and this year’s lineup really won’t change that. One of the biggest draws will be triple Grammy winner Lucinda Williams, who will make her Cambridge Folk Festival debut – her only UK festival date this year – with other big names including the legendary Buffy Saint-Marie, Malian superstar Oumou Sangare, Irish folk singer Cara Dillon, blues artist Susan Tedeschi, plus Eddi Reader and Beth Nielsen Chapman.

Wears The Trousers favourites Imelda May and Alela Diane will be there too, along with brilliant Californian world music alchemists Rupa & The April Fishes, Crooked Still, Diana Jones and up-and-coming young folkies Megan & Joe Henwood, Bella Hardy and The Shee.

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bbc radio 2 folk awards to honour judy collins

080708_judycollinsSinger to get lifetime achievement award

With last year’s star-studded tribute album Born To The Breed behind her, legendary American folk singer Judy Collins has another accolade to add to her bulging cabinet of pride – a Lifetime Achievement Award to be handed out at the 10th annual BBC Radio 2 folk awards on February 2nd. Her version of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides Now’ won her a Grammy in 1968, a year before Joni released it herself on the album Clouds, and furthered the careers of both artists; in recent years, Judy has taken to covering the likes of Leonard Cohen (2004’s Democracy), John Lennon and Paul McCartney (2007’s Sings Lennon & McCartney [review]), with varying degrees of success. Also receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award is influential singer-songwriter James Taylor.

Live performances on the night will come from 2008’s Folk Singer Of The Year Julie Fowlis (nominated again this year), and fellow frontrunners Chris Wood, Jim Moray and Seth Lakeman. This year’s other Folk Singer Of The Year nominees are Eliza Carthy, whose 2008 album Dreams Of Breathing Underwater [review] was hailed by many as her finest yet, and Karine Polwart, both of whom are also shortlisted for Album Of The Year alongside Wood and Moray. Eliza also has a nomination for Best Original Song for self-penned album track ‘Mr Magnifico’. The Horizon Award for best emerging artist is an all-female affair this year, with last year’s Young Folk Award winners Jeana Leslie & Siobhan Miller nominated alongside traditional fiddle-singers Bella Hardy and Jackie Oates, and promising all-girl group The Shee.

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