FolkWorld #55 11/2014

CD & DVD Reviews

Rebelution "Count me in"
87 Music, 2014

Santa Barbara based Reggae band Rebelution released their fourth studio album, Eric Rachmany (vocals, guitar), Rory Carey (keyboards), Wesley Finlay (drums), Marley D Williams (bass) and touring and recording member Khris Royal (wind instruments) from New Orleans recorded 11 new songs.
The title track is a laid down Reggae love song with fine guitar work and a strong wind section. Dub pace melts with Rock guitar on “Lost in dreams” and Collie Buddz from Bermuda features as co-singer on “Hate to be the one”, an intoxicating Roots Reggae driven by bass, drums, trumpet and guitar. Jamaica’s Reggae singer Don Carlos joins in on the Dub influenced “Roots Reggae music” and Royal plays a brilliant saxophone part on “Counterfeit love”. The final rocking Reggae song “Invasion” stands out with breath-taking horns and powerful singing.
Though the songs on the new Rebelution CD are driven by a steady Reggae pace, Royal’s wind section brings in some Jazz, Blues and Ska elements, fantastic sound.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Ronstadt Generations y Los Tucsonensis "Epilogue"
Own label, 2014

Linda Ronstadt's younger brother Michael J. Ronstadt (vocals, guitars) and his two sons Michael G. (vocals, cello) and Petie D. (vocals, guitars, mandolin, banjo) are the Ronstadt Generations. Together with Los Tucsonensis, Alex Flores (vocals, tenor saxophone), Sam Eagon (bass), Aaron Emery (drums, percussion) Tom Hampton (lap steel) and Richard Katz (B3 organ), they returned to their Tucson studio to finish 8 songs that didn't make it on their 2012 album Prelude.
The songs are kind of journey through America and it's musical history, starting off in Los Angeles with Jackson Browne and his melancholic ballad "For a dancer", hauntingly beautiful singing accompanied by guitar, cello, bass, drums and saxophone. Robert Johnson was one of Mississippi's most famous Blues musicians, they chose "Come on in my kitchen", lap steel, saxophone and cello play stunning solo parts and the singing is awesome. New York City's alternative Country singer Gillian Welch wrote "Annabelle", a mid tempo song brilliantly brought forward by the band. "Sixteen tons" is a classic Blues by Merle Travis from Kentucky and one of my favourite songs and the CD unfortunately ends already after 36 minutes with another evergreen, "Riders in the sky" by Arizona's Country legend Stan Jones.
The new album of the Ronstadt Generation presents 8 cover versions, skilfully arranged for the band, the accomplished musicians leave their marks on each of the well known songs.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Dan Possumato "Tunes inside"
Old Box Records, 2014

Dan Possumato is a Celtic melodeon and button accordion player from Pittsburgh, PA, he teamed up with Mick Mulcrone (vocals, bouzouki, flute) and a bunch of great musicians from Pennsylvania and abroad to record 14 tracks, mostly traditional songs and tunes from Ireland.
They start off with Irish reels, „The millstream/Jack Riordan’s/Money in both pockets“, Dan plays the 2-row button accordion and is accompanied by members of The Nashville Ceili Band, Bill Wolfe on flute, Frances Cunningham on bouzouki, Bill Verdier and Vince Burns on fiddle. Dan plays “Valse du chef de gare” by André Brunet (La Bottine Souriante) on melodeon and Irish master fiddler Kevin Burke and Arizona based piano player Teresa Baker join in. Two Newfoundland Tunes, “The captain and his whiskers/The cribbies”, are performed on 2 row button accordion and piano and two Irish musicians, Brian McGrath on banjo and Julie Langan on fiddle. Eliot Grasso (Uilleann pipes), Langan and Molly Thompson (fiddle) Baker (piano) and Possumato (2 row button accordion) create a stunning pace on the Irish jigs “”Rosemary Lane/The holly bush/The Doberman’s wallet” and Mulcrone sings the traditional “Willie Taylor” accompanied by melodeon, flute and Bill Galloway on bouzouki. Possumato wrote the polka “The Derryloughan” and put it into an up-beat set with the traditional “Johnny O’Leary’s”. The CD ends with a slow reel version of Phil Cunningham’s “Hut on Staffin Island”, Kathy Fallon plays some awesome guitar picking, Dan on melodeon and Bruce Molyneaux on banjo join in and accelerate the pace.
If you like pure Irish Folk and button accordion, Possumato’s new album is a must, a well-chosen collection of traditional and modern tunes.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper "On down the line"
Compass Records, 2014

Michael Cleveland (fiddle, vocals) is an award winning Bluegrass fiddler from Indiana, together with his band Flamekeeper, Glenn Gibson (banjo, dobro), Nathan Livers (mandolin, vocals), Tyler Griffith (bass, vocals) and Joshua Richards (guitar, vocals), he released a brilliant new 14 track album.
They start off with a stunning Bluegrass version of Julian Lennon’s “Too late for goodbyes”, Gibson and Griffith create the incredibly fast pace, mandolin, guitar and fiddle playing some fine soli. “Just call me crazy” is a mid-tempo Country song featuring Dobro, fiddle, guitar mandolin and bass and “Come along Jody” an up-beat Bluegrass tune, showcasing the musical talent of the band. Richards sings “The sunny side of town” with soaring tenor voice, mandolin, Dobro and fiddle taking alternatively the lead. Cleveland plays a virtuoso solo performance on “Jack O’Diamonds”, a beautiful tune in three-four time, and has fun on “Me and my fiddle”. The CD ends with a breath-taking musical journey on the legendary train “The Orange Blossom Special”, fast-paced and loaded with stunning soli.
Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper are certainly one of the leading Bluegrass acts of our time, visit them and have a listen.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

The Once "Departures"
Nettwerk Productions, 2014

Artist Video

Geraldine Hollet, Phil Churchill and Andrew Dale are Newfoundland’s upcoming acoustic Trio the once, three breath-taking voices and virtuoso guitars, mandolin, banjos and bouzouki. Together with a bunch of excellent guest musicians they recorded their third album with 8 original songs and 2 cover versions.
Gene Hardy (tenor sax), Bryden Baird (trumpet and flugel horn), Brian Kobayakawa (contrabass) and Stephen Pitkin (drums) accompany the rhythmic Folk song “The town where you lived”, Hollet’s lead vocal and the two harmony voices are awesome. The melancholic ballad “We are all running” is arranged with 2 violins (Anne Lindsay and Miranda Mulholland), viola (Johann Lotter), cello (Kevin Fox), contra- and electric bass (Joe Phillips and Kobayakawa) and drums (Brad Kilpatrick), the important line-up gives the song an intense atmosphere. “You lead I will follow” is a hauntingly beautiful love song with Kilpatrick’s soft drum pace and Hollet’s soulful singing. The classic Presley song “Can’t help falling in love” is arranged with contrabass, drums, Wurlitzer (John Critchley), mandolin and acoustic guitar and together with Jody Richardson they wrote the dramatic hymn “The nameless murderess”, my favourite. Sousaphone (Rob Teehan), trombone (William Carn), trumpet (Baird), tenor sax (Hardy) and drums (Pitkin) give the song a jazzy touch, Hollet’s singing and the mixed 8-piece choir dominate the orchestral line-up. And they finish with a virtuoso a Capella performance of the Ron Hynes song “Sonny’s dream”.
The new album of the once is a brilliant collection of original and covered songs, the band says it’s their best album and I agree they have matured and created their own sound.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

The Undercover Hippy "Monkey Suit"
Uncivil Records, 2014

The Undercover Hippy is Bristol based singer/songwriter Billy Rowan Salisbury (guitars, percussion) and his 6-piece act featuring Callum McSherry (violin, vocals), Jessica Langton (backing vocals), Mathew Pharao (congas), Joe Gaywood (drums), Zak Ranyard (bass) and Andreas Millns (keyboards). I saw the band in August at the Buskers Festival in Bern and asked spontaneously for a review copy of their debut album released on September, 1st 2014.
In addition to the band line-up Billy invited for the recordings guest musicians on viola, cello, guitar, harmonica, trumpet, trombone and saxophone. Three horns help to spread the message on “Coming to the Gambia”, a Reggae-Ska-Soul mix charging the exploitation of the third world. “Boyfriend” is a hilarious rhythmic song about a guy looking desperately for a one night stand and “Borders” a slow ballad about the exclusion of the third world from our territories, both driven by Reggae rhythm. The stringed instruments accompany Billy’s soulful calling to rise against the lying of our leaders, “Can’t stop the tide”. Batch Gueye from Senegal sings the second voice on the roots Reggae “Long way down” and the title track is a satirical rap about mainstream life driven by a great Latino pace. Another highlight is “Last chance to dance”, an intoxicating mix of Blues, Rock’n’Roll, Reggae, gypsy sound, Ska and Rap.
All ten songs are written and produced by The Undercover Hippy, a committed and talented songwriter who crosses the borders of styles and genres with ease. Add the brilliant musicians and the outcome is fantastic.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Adler & Hearne "Second Nature"
Spring Hollow Records, 2014

Texas based singer/songwriter duo Lynn Adler and Lindy Hearne have released their second album with 13 original songs. Producer Lloyd Maines (Dobro, pedal steel, guitars, percussion), engineer Pat Manske (percussion), Glen Fukunaga (bass), Chris Gage (keyboards), Terri Hendrix (harmonica, vocals), Steve Smith (mandolin) and last but not least daughter Kate Hearne (lead guitar, vocals) added their musical talent.
The title track is a light-hearted Folk song with a touch of Bluegrass written by Adler, Hearne and Oklahoma songwriter Hal Greenwood, two beautiful voices, Dobro and mandolin are dancing to the mid-tempo pace. Kate on classical guitar, Lloyd on Dobro and Chris on Tejano style accordion accompany the melancholic Americana ballad "Salty town" (Lindy and Kate Hearne) and "The kiss" (Hearne/Greenwood) is a hauntingly beautiful jazz ballad in classic style. Hammond B3, bass and Kate on Stratocaster create a dramatic sound on "The night mare" (Adler/Hearne/Greenwood) and Adler and Hearne add their powerful singing. Hearne and Nashville based Lisa Aschmann wrote "Soup's on", an intoxicating Blues featuring Hendrix on harmonica and Kate on electric guitar. Another highlight is "Send them love" (Adler/Hearne), a wonderful global anthem with Lynn's soulful lead vocals, Hendrix ethereal harmony voices and Maines on baritone guitar.
Lynn Adler and Lindy Hearne are fine songwriters and brilliant singers, together with their guests they recorded an album with beautiful songs in diversified styles.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Arthur Migliazza "Laying it down"
Hobemian Records, 2014

Seattle based award winning piano player Arthur Migliazza recorded his second album with 13 original and covered Blues and Boogie Woogie tracks together with some brilliant guest musicians.
He starts with a self-penned overture featuring bass player Keith Lowe, drummer Eric Eagle, Jeff Fielder on electric guitar and Jimmie Herrod’s chorus vocals. Kelly van Camp grabs the drum sticks on Fats Domino’s “I’m ready” and the late Albert Ammons wrote “Boogie Woogie Stomp”, a perfect showcase for Migliazza’s brilliant piano playing, a solo performance. Migliazza is also a great singer, “Love you Mama” is an intoxicating Blues song written together with Laura Martin who plays the guitar, and Grant Dermody adds the Blues harp. Paul Barbarin was a famous New Orleans Jazz drummer, Migliazza recorded his “Bourbon Street Parade” together with Lowe on bass, Eagle on drums, Fielder on banjo and Suzy Thompson on fiddle. “Thank you Blues” is an original instrumental Blues with Andy Roth on drums, Bill Molloy on guitar and Sean Divine on harmonica. Another highlight is “St. Louis Blues” (W.C. Handy), piano, Roth on drums and Ed Friedland on acoustic bass create a brilliant and vibrant sound.
Arthur Migliazza plays classic Boogie Woogie and Blues, no tricks just pure music brought forward by first class musicians.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Andy T & Nick Nixon Band "Livin‘ it up"
Delta Groove Music, 2014

After Drink drank drunk[51] Nashville based Andy T & Nick Nixon Band is Livin’it up. Andy Talamantez (guitar), James „Nick“ Nixon (vocals) and producer Ansun Funderburgh (rhythm guitar) released their follow up album with a reduced line-up featuring Larry van Loon (piano, B3 organ), Sam Persons (bass), Jim Klingler (drums), Christian Dozzler (harmonica, piano), Ron Jones and Dana Robbins (saxophones).
They start off with Nixon’s up-Beat Blues rock “Baby right now”, he sings with his velvet Blues voice, Andy plays a fine Blues guitar and Jones adds the saxophone. Rhythm and Blues singer Delbert McClinton wrote “Living it down” and Renee Funderburgh penned “Good man”, a shuffling Blues. Loon’s “One note shuffle” is the only instrumental track showcasing Dana Robbins on saxophone, Loon on B3 and Andy’s virtuoso guitar playing driven by the steady bass/drums pace. Andy T and Dana Robbins wrote “Last to leave”, an intoxicating Blues rock with two saxophones and Dozzler on piano. The final Blues ballad “Love at first sight” by Nixon is a perfect showcase for Andy T’s powerful singing, accompanied by Dana’s soulful saxophone.
Andy T’s brilliant singing and Nixon’s fine Blues guitar are accompanied by first class Blues musicians, they create a unique sound, sticking to classic Blues styles.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Liz Mandeville "Heart o’ Chicago"
Blue Kitty Music, 2014

Liz Mandeville’s music comes from the Heart o’ Chicago, showcasing local guest musicians Joan Gand on piano and B3, Billy Branch and Dizzy Bolinski on Blues harp, Charlie Love (vocals) and Mississippi sax player Eddie Shaw. Liz (vocals, guitar) is accompanied by her band featuring Minoru Maruyama (guitar), Darryl Wright (bass), Jeremiah Thomas (drums) and Wade Baker (trumpet) leading the 3-piece wind section, Baker, Eric Campbell (trombone) and Oz Landesberg (sax).
Liz has a powerful voice and is a brilliant singer/songwriter, she recorded 11 self-penned songs leaving ample space for her musicians to play their virtuoso soli. The 4 horns create an intoxicating Soul groove on “Cloud of love” supported by the B3 and lead by the breath-taking vocals. On “These Blues” Liz admits her addiction to Blues, a cool and jazzy track featuring soli by Joan and Minoru, and Billy, Minoru and Liz make a strong performance on “So called best friend”. Liz plays the solo guitar on “Why would a woman sing the Blues”, Soul, Funk and Blues melt together, and on “Smart women foolish choice” Liz sings a great duet with Charlie Love, Darryl creates a stunning bass pace and Wade adds a dazzling trumpet solo. They finish with “(Life is like a) Wave” and a virtuoso solo by Liz and Dizzy.
Liz Mandeville’s new album is one of my favourite Blues releases of the year, dynamic Blues from the Heart o’ Chicago.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

John Weeks Band "John Weeks Band"
Own label; 2014

Denver based John Weeks Band started playing together end of 2013 and in summer 2014 they already recorded their debut album. John Weeks (guitars, vocals), Andras AC Csapo (keyboards, harmonica, vocals), Curtis Hawkins (bass) and Tim "Chooch" Molinario (drums) recorded 7 original Blues songs.
Csapo and Weeks wrote "All night", an intoxicating Blues-rock featuring nice guitar licks and a great organ solo driven by the mid-tempo pace of bass and drums. "Why don't we sleep on it?" is an up-Beat rocking Blues tune with brilliant playing together of guitar and harmonica and "How can you love me?" a slow Blues showcasing Weeks' soulful singing and guitar playing, both tracks written by Weeks. Another highlight is "I want to get back home" (Csapo/Weeks), Weeks plays a brilliant Soul groove, Csapo adds a stunning harmonica solo and pulsating bass and fine drumming create a pace you can't resist to move.
The guys recorded the CD Live in the studio, in only two days they managed to create 31 minutes of striking Blues music.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Lucy Billings "Carry the Water"
Sassy Time Records; 2014

John Jennings (keyboards, stringed instruments, vocals, drums, percussion) produced the new album of Nashville based singer songwriter Lucy Billings (vocals, acoustic guitar). Together with Harry Stinson (drums), Vince Santoro (percussion) and James T. Brown (bass) they recorded 13 new original songs.
The title song starts off in a smooth ¾ pace telling about women in Africa getting the daily ration of water in buckets to their home, the banjo accompanying Lucy’s beautiful singing. To a mid-tempo country tune with piano, slide guitar and mandolin Lucy recounts of her childhood’s excursions to “Wyoming” and “God’s house” is inspired by friends living in an old church, a hauntingly beautiful piano ballad. “The answer”, a rhythmic folk song brilliantly accompanied by the band, is a perfect showcase for Lucy’s warm and beautiful voice. Other highlights are the bluesy Gospel “Asking you why” and the funky mid-tempo rock song “What you gonna do?”.
Lucy Billings’ skilful song writing is brought to music by some great musicians and her virtuoso singing enchants the listener, check her out at
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

West of Eden "Songs from Twisting River"
West of Music, 2014

With two band members playing electric guitar and bass leaving and two others playing acoustic instruments joining the Swedish band West of Eden changed their musical path into pure acoustic folk. Jenny (vocals, accordion, tin whistle) and Martin Schaub (vocals, guitars, cittern, piano, pump organ) are the songwriters, Lars Broman (fiddle, viola) co-wrote some of the music and Ola Karlevo (bodhràn, drums, percussion, vocals) are the senior members. New on board are Martin Holmlund (double bass) and Pär Öjerot (guitar, mandolin, vocals) as well as a bunch of great guest musicians.
Jenny wrote the hauntingly beautiful ballad “River Fowey”, driven by Damien O’Kane’s fine banjo pace and accompanied by subtle finger picking on acoustic guitar she enchants the listener with hear crystal clear voice. Martin’s melancholic love song “Bird of Paradise” is dominated by the sad sounds of fiddle and dobro added by Jörgen Berg and Martin sings “Song for a rover”, a brilliant dramatic song written by Martin, Lars and Jenny. Michael McGoldrick plays the flute on “Sycamore Bay” and producers Kate Rusby and her husband Damien O’Kane on guitars join in for the tongue-in-cheek song “The bee that stung”.
The final ballad gave name to the album, a breath-taking collection of songs brought forward by Swedish musicians with a Celtic soul.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

West of Eden "Songs from Twisting River"
West of Music, 2014

A superb album of new English songs in a traditional English - Scottish style, with a touch of Country influence. I have been impressed by the quality of the singing, the orginal lyrical songs and the wonderful musical arrangements - featuring accordion, fiddle, double bass, percussion, guitars etc.
So who is this new English supergroup that I have never heard of? Well - firstly they are not English but this 6 piece band around Martin and Jenny Schaub (who not only write most of the material, but also sing and play a number of instruments) hail actually from Sweden. And secondly (to my slight embarrasment) they are not that new either, as this is already the 8th West of Eden album. Their respect within the English folk scene is shown by guest appearances of Michael McGoldrick and Kate Rusby.
For me this has been a "better late than never" discovery. Superb.
© Michael Moll

Beoga "live at 10"
Compass Records, 2013

Artist Video

Top Irish trad band Beoga presents a very special CD/DVD set to celebrate their 10th anniversary as a band. Recorded live in a gala concert in Ireland, the album showcases live versions of material from their previous four albums - with their trademark fiery Irish trad with the occasional influence from Country, Jazz or Blues. The five piece band - featuring Damian McKee (button accordion), Sean og Graham (button accordion/guitars/mandolin etc), Eamon Murray (Bodhran, precussion), Liam Bradley (piano. keys, clavinet) and Niamh Dunne (vocals, fiddle) - have invited for this concert seven special guests to join in the craic: Alan Doherty (flute, whistles), Brid Dunne (fiddle), Brona Jackson (bodhran), Trevor Hutchinson (bass), Martin O Neill (percussion, drums), Niall Vallely (concertina) and Clodagh Warnoch (fiddle).
You get a lot for your money with this set - the running time of the audio CD is 72 minutes (20 titles); the DVD features the same titles (coming to 93 mins) plus 83 mins featuring the 2002 debut album of the band and tour diaries (unfortunately the DVD does not work in my DVD player so cannot comment on the DVD further).
The recording uniquely captures the energy, virtuosity and spirit of Beoga - this is as hot as Beoga will ever be on CD.
© Michael Moll

Nick Wyke & Becki Driscoll "A handful of sky"
Wild Goose Studios, 2014

The first of a very impressive crop of English folk recordings I am fortunate to review in this issue. This one only features two fiddles and two voice - yet Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll manage to create an entertaining, sometimes emotive, sometimes energetic, but always highly appealing album, with a rich sound. The duo from North Devon masterfully plays a mixture of traditional English songs and tunes, with a few own compositions blended in. While the album is always fully focussed on the interplay of the two fiddles and the singing of the duo, a few tunes feature guests on double bass and French horn. An impressive and convincing duo effort.
© Michael Moll

Megson "In a box"
EDJ Records, 2014

Artist Video

Megson are the sibling duo Debbi and Stu Hanna, hailing from Teeside in Northern England. Even though this is already their sixth album, this is the first time I have come across them. “In a box” is a strong album, featuring a great combination of the voices of Debbi and Stu, with effective instrumentation often used to underpin the song lyrics to dramatic effect – accordion/whistle and mandolin/guitar/bass/piano/percussion. The songs have a contemporary folk feel, being either self-penned or traditional song material from Northern England. All of them tell engaging stories – be it the trad song of the Clifton Hall mine explosion, or (Megson's own material) a narrative of 60 years history of the river Tees, or musing over all the junk we put on the attic because we don't want to throw it away. My favourite one though is “Old folks tea”, where the duo put music around a wonderfully descriptive poem from “The Pitman Poet” Tommy Armstrong (1848-1919) describing in detail all the treats on offer at an old folks tea party - makes the tummy rumble. A discovery.
© Michael Moll

The Askew Sisters "In the Air or the Earth"
Root Beat Records, 2014

Megson, reviewed above, is a hard act to follow, but no need to look further: The Askew Sisters are your bet. Their latest album “In the Air or the Earth” is stunning. Steeped in traditional songs, the album showcases the sisters' music as pure as it comes – brilliant voices with superb fiddle, accordion and concertina playing. The songs are to great theatrical effect arranged and beautifully and emotively sung. I found some of them deeply touching – such as “The unquiet Grave” telling the story a girl's loss of her lover, or “The young girl cut down in her prime” of a daughter on the onset of death recounting her demise to her mother. Mixed in are some fresh instrumentals, as well as on some attractive lilting. This is English trad as good as it well ever get, and is definitely one of the top albums of the year.
© Michael Moll

Patsy Reid "The Brightest Path"
Classy Trad Records, 2014

Artist Video

A CD of Scottish fiddle playing, with fiddler Patsy being joined by a number of other Scottish (and one Icelandic) musicians, on e.g. double bass, percussion, guitars, drums, piano, sax. The tunes are a mix of traditionals, Patsy's own compositions and contempary folk compositions - as well as a couple of beautiful songs. Overall this is a pleasant CD, technically well played - but I find that the recording somehow lacks the soul of the music.
© Michael Moll

Ana Alcaide "Como la Luna y el Sol"
ARC Music, 2008 - international release 2013

Artist Video

Ana Alcaide plays music and songs originating or being based on traditions from the sephardic jews, who were exiled from Spain in the 13th century and whose music traditions lived on in the diaspora. I came first across sephardic music from the classic Carlos Nunez album "Os Amores Libres", and I loved it.
There is something quite addictive about this music, there is a rawness, with the ethnic percussion, saz, 10-stringed lute, flutes etc. The fact that Ana plays mostly the Swedish national instrument, the nyckelharpa, goes by nearly unnoticed, so natural is its fit in the sephardic melodies. I like the music on this CD a lot, just that some of the songs, with Ana's clear and clean voice, are arranged in a way that border on the esoteric side – which is at odds with some of the music. So a bit of mixed feelings about the album - many highlights but some numbers I could do without.
© Michael Moll

Rainbow Chasers "Chimes at Midnight"
Talking Elephant, 2014 (2004-2014)

A largely undisovered band by legend Ashley Huchings has re-released their recordings so far, since their inception in 2004: two albums and six previously unreleased tracks (never featured in FolkWorld). Ashley gathered in this band three young musicians around him. The songs, written by band members, are quite intense and require listening – yet they are engaging and exciting. Particularly the vocal arrangements and energetic fiddle interludes stand out. The style of the music is folk with pop, singer songerwriter and classical influences. Ashley Hutchins himself is mostly in the background, leading vocals in only one song, and his vocals featuring in two others. I might not be keen on every single song, but this is good, interesting material that would deserve more attention than the orginal albums received.
© Michael Moll

La Bergère "étreintes"
AEPEM, 2014

A beautiful CD of traditional French chansons from this trio. All tracks are focussed around the very pleasant singing of Sylvie Berger, usually backed by accordion and guitar or bouzouki. The traditional songs come from a range of traditional song collections from different parts of France (as well as Québec). The album has a lot of flair and, despite it being very short (just over half an hour) is very well worth a listen.
© Michael Moll

The Henry Girls "Louder than words"
Beste Unterhaltung, 2014

Artist Video

The Henry Girls – aka Karen,Lorna and Joleen McLaughlin – sing and play their own Americana songs with an Irish folk twist. The three sisters from Donegal have as a trademark their three-part harmony singing. Joleen's harp playing is a lovely component of their music, featuring also e.g. accordion, fiddle, bass, guitars, drums etc. Americana is not quite my cup of tea, but this is well done and is certainly on their home turf a winning recipe.
© Michael Moll

Habadekuk "Kaffepunch"
GO' Danish Folk Music, 2014

Artist Video

A Danish blend of La Bottine Souriante and Hoven Droven – that is the closest I can come to describing the phenomen of Habadekuk. They play all traditional Danish tunes (with the odd song mixed in) – but in a way that simply blows your socks off; full of ideas, creativity and energy. Accordion, fiddle and piano, sax, trumpet and trombone, drums and double bass create a unique yet unmistably Danish sound. There are a few moments when you might think “oh this sounds like a conventional Danish folk number” - but before you have finished your thought in comes another blast of brass instruments. Habadekuk take Danish folk into new realms - there is even a Danish tune blended with a Latin theme!
The most exciting and energetic album I have heard this year – from a band destined to take the biggest folk music stages in the world. Five out of five stars.
© Michael Moll

Maeve Gilchrist "20 Chandler Street"
Adventure Music, 2013

Harp tunes and songs with a traditional flair, with a touch of jazz and improvisation. This is the second album of New York harpist Maeve Gilchrist, played in with a fourpiece band of bass, fiddle and guitars – featuring also Roger Tallroth of top Swedish band Väsen. The material is mostly her own, plus tunes from Ale Möller and Aidan O Rourke and a song by Mark Simos. Feels fresh.
© Michael Moll

Jim Causley "Cyprus Well"
Folk Police Recordings, 2013

Charles Causley was a Cornish poet, writing poems heavily influenced by English traditional folk songs, and inspired by his Cornish home, extensive travels as well as the Second World War. Jim Causley, distant relative of Charles, has put on this album music to Charles' poems, and sings them along with accordion and piano playing. The musical arrangements are attractive, featuring also a host of musicians providing both a pleasant sing-along choir and music on harp, clarinet, trombone, piano etc.
The album was actually recorded in Charles' old home, using Charles' piano. Overall this is a gentle album, with cosy sing-alongs, melancholy, good poetry – a very nice one indeed, and certainly one of those you don't want to be interrupted in listening...
© Michael Moll

Bon Debarras"Errance"
Own label, 2013

Artist Video

A French Canadian trio focussed on male harmony singing. Steeped in folk music, Bon Debarras venture into a wide range of French music styles – from Zydeco via chanson, country and blues to rap. Featuring percussion, double bass, guitar, banjo, harmonica and accordion, the album is varied and entertaining.
© Michael Moll

Liz Hanley "The Ecstasy of St Cecilia"
Own label, 2014

The pretty, clear voice of New York based Irish folk singer Liz Hanley makes this album highly appealing. Despite a host of guest musicians, the music to the songs is sparse yet effective. The majority of the songs on the album are traditional Irish. A glentle work of beauty.
© Michael Moll

Branas Folk "Danza das Burgas"
Own label, 2014

Artist Video

A successful blend of traditional Galician music with modern folk rock and pop influences. Branas Folk transport you in some tunes to a traditional village fiesta with wild, somewhat shrill and energetic music. Then there are stunning Spanish songs with pop influences, featuring the seductive voice of Ana Doscouto. The eight-piece band offers gaita, whistle, violin, guitar, accordion, piano, pandeireta, bass and drums. Enjoyable.
© Michael Moll

Janet M Christel "JMC3"
Own label, 2014

A highly appealing album of Scottish folk songwriting, freshly presented in a folk pop style by Glaswegian singer Janet M Christel and her German band. Her beautiful clear voice and her warm Scottish accent make this album a treat. The songs are largely written by her, with musical arrangements by band member Ralf Trautner; supplemented by two traditionals – Auld Lang Syne and Annie Laurie. The band sound is refreshing, featuring guitars, bass, percussion, sax, accordion and more, as well as good backing vocals. A wonderful album - this must be, from a UK perspective, one of Scotland's best kept secrets!
© Michael Moll

Saor Patrol "Outlander"
ARC, 2014

Artist Video

A set of Scottish bagpipes, 3 drummers, 1 electric guitar – this CD gives certainly quite a loud blast, blending pipes and drums with hard rock. As this theme goes throughout the album without much variation, it becomes quickly too much for my liking – and reading that this album is supposed to bring out the melodic side of the band, I don't want to imagine what their less melodic works sound like...
© Michael Moll

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