wears the trousers magazine

cara dillon scoops best album prize at bbc radio 2 folk awards

Congratulations to Cara Dillon, who won the coveted Best Album prize at last night’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for her self-released, largely traditional fourth album Hill Of Thieves, winning out over The Unthanks, Jackie Oates and Martin Simpson. It’s her third win at the Awards overall but her first in this prestigious category having missed out in 2002 when nominated for her eponymous debut album. The Unthanks also missed out on Best Group, awarded to Lau for the third year in a row. Dillon’s other nominations, for Folk Singer Of The Year and for Best Traditional Track for ‘Spencer The Rover’, a duet with her brother-in-law Seth Lakeman, went instead to Jon Boden and Martin Simpson respectively.

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2010 BBC radio 2 folk awards to celebrate nanci griffith’s career

Pioneering “folkabilly” musician Nanci Griffith is to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at BBC Radio 2’s Folk Awards on February 1. Having released her first album 32 years ago, with a further 18 studio recordings up ’til 2009’s The Loving Kind, you can’t fault their logic. (You can read an old interview we did with Nanci here.) Dick Vaughan, who has been around almost as long, will also be honoured. Both artists will be perform at the ceremony, the highlights from which will be broadcast on Radio 2 on February 3 from 7pm. Among the other nominees, Cara Dillon, The Unthanks and former Winterset member Jackie Oates have notched up three nominations each. All three acts will compete for the coveted Best Album award, with Martin Simpson’s True Stories also in contention. The Horizon Award, given to folk’s “best emerging artist”, will be contested between Nancy Wallace, Sam Carter, Hannah James & Sam Sweeney and Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts. Go Nancy! Full list of nominations below.

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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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cara dillon: hill of thieves (2009)
January 29, 2009, 2:53 am
Filed under: album, review, video | Tags: , , , , ,


Cara Dillon
Hill Of Thieves •••½

Taking its name from the English translation of Benbradagh, the hill that surrounds her native town of Dungiven in County Derry, Hill Of Thieves is a delightfully earthy return for award-winning Irish folk singer Cara Dillon. A lot has changed in the three years since Dillon’s last album After The Morning; she left her label Rough Trade after they cancelled that album’s second single, she and husband Sam Lakeman started up their own imprint (Charcoal Records) and, perhaps most significantly, she gave birth to twin boys after a traumatic early labour, three months premature, that started while she was on stage performing. After easing her way back into music with last year’s gorgeous Redcastle Sessions DVD, which saw her explore her own family heritage and music, Hill Of Thieves was wrapped in the late summer of 2008 and went on sale almost immediately at her live shows, of which there have been many in the lead up to this week’s general release.

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january gig guide

So, January, yeah. Rubbish, isn’t it? Dark, cold, still bloated from Christmas, the annual humiliation of failing to keep your resolutions for longer than a fortnight, nothing to do…wait! Nothing to do? The gig year doesn’t usually heat up properly until March or so but there’s plenty worth seeing. We’ve trawled the listings to pick out something to warm your cockles for every black, freezing night of the month, starting Monday.

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Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump
Durrr @ The End, London

10:30pm | £6 (£4 before 11) 

Named after an 18th century painting by Joseph Wright, raucous London trio Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump play a thumping live set to promote their debut EP These Sins at legendary (and soon to be demolished) club venue The End. Regular Durrr DJs, including Rory Phillips, will be on hand to turn Monday into fun day, even if it’s the first day back to the hideous reality of work for many of us.




Melodica, Melody & Me
Club Ugly @ The Social, London

8pm | FREE! 

With their debut EP Stones (produced by Gorillaz bassist Al Mobbs) about to be unleashed on the world, this folk-meets-reggae quintet have a promising year ahead. And with this gig costing nil pence, zero pounds, we can’t think of a reason to miss it. If dancing ’til your feet fall off at Durrr sounds a bit too energetic for this early in 2009, Club Ugly is the perfect way to ease yourself gently into the gig-going year.


Also playing: Captive State, The Housewives, We’re Not Cool (DJ Set)


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cara dillon goes “99% traditional” on new album
November 22, 2008, 10:00 am
Filed under: mp3, news, trouser press | Tags: , , , , ,

221108_caradillonFirst independent release due in January

County Derry’s finest daughter Cara Dillon has been selling her forthcoming album Hill Of Thieves directly to fans attending her recent tour of the UK and Ireland, which finished on Wednesday in Brighton. It’s officially out in January, so here’s some info. The album takes its name from the English translation of Benbradagh, the hill the surrounds her native town of Dungiven, and the title track is the only non-traditional song among the eleven songs. Recorded at home in England with husband Sam Lakeman, Hill Of Thieves will be the first release on the spouses’ own label, Charcoal Records.

“It was a real pleasure to make this album,” Cara told The Irish News last month. “It’s the first time we’ve been free of record label pressures, because up until now we’d been with Rough Trade…We were able to do it in our own time and people could just come and stay in our house and record. It was just really relaxing and we knew exactly what to do and we’re really pleased with the outcome. So we hope that other people like it too!”

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the swell season: live at the artists den /// cara dillon: the redcastle sessions (2008)


The Swell Season
Live At The Artists Den •••½
The Artists Den

Cara Dillon
The Redcastle Sessions ••••
Proper Films

The parallels between these two DVD releases extend a little beyond the tenuous link of Irish blood and a folksy sensibility. Both films present their subjects in intimate acoustic mode – The Swell Season (aka ‘Once’ couple Glen Hansard and Markéta Iglová) in a historic church and Cara Dillon in an old converted hospital on the shores of Lough Foyle in Co. Donegal – and both are based on a familiar format. Following in the wake of Patty Griffin’s emotional tour de force, Hansard and Iglová pay a visit to the Artists Den in Seattle, while Dillon succeeds in recreating the formula of BBC4’s ‘The Transatlantic Sessions’ with her idyllic surroundings and liberal scattering of instruments and musicians around a beautifully decorated room.

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