mon 18/10/2021

folk music

Album: The Specials - Protest Songs 1924 - 2012

When The Specials returned with their chart-topping 2019 album Encore, it was a wonderful surprise. As well as being their first in nearly four decades (excluding material by alternately named intermediary incarnations), it proved they were more...

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Nicola Benedetti, Barbican Hall review – from Bach to the Highlands via New Orleans

If a standard-sized recital hall can be a lonely place for a solo violinist, playing an auditorium of Barbican dimensions must feel like crossing a desert under pitiless spotlight sun. Happily, Nicola Benedetti’s prowess as a communicator means that...

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Ben Howard, Royal Festival Hall review - authentic and reassuring

Ben Howard is a man of very few words, unless of course, there’s a guitar accompanying them.These are his first shows since the start of lockdown but all he says about that is “thanks for coming out this evening”. Hobbling onto the stage with his...

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Out of the shadows: Dylan’s Eighties reappraised

Dylan’s 1980s weren’t great in terms of critical acclaim. As an emerging new fan, I knew that first hand from the scathing reviews accorded Shot of Love by the British music press when it was released in the summer of 1981, it seemed about as...

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Album: Gerry Rafferty - Rest in Blue

It’s a decade since we sadly lost the talents of Gerry Rafferty to liver failure in 2011, at the age of 63, but this Friday sees the posthumous release of his 11th album, Rest in Blue.It comprises new Rafferty songs, some beautiful traditional...

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Album: Spencer Cullum's Coin Collection

The presence of Nashville’s Erin Rae and Caitlin Rose on guest vocals suggests Spencer Cullum's Coin Collection could be a take on country music. Indeed, the album was recorded in Nashville and Cullum has contributed pedal steel to live shows and...

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Edinburgh International Festival 2021: traditional music round-up review

Following on from last year’s online-only My Light Shines On programme, traditional music features heavily in the 2021 Edinburgh International Festival, with a series of live performances taking place outdoors, in the quad of Edinburgh University's...

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Album: Maarja Nuut - Hinged

Hinged ends with “Moment,” a vaporous mood piece where a reflective voice lightly floats over and weaves between two, three-note keyboard arpeggios, occasional Gamelan-style percussive interjections and odd bubbling sounds. “Moment of clarity” are...

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Album: Katherine Priddy - The Eternal Rocks Beneath

The folk world is slowly coming out of its long pandemic slumber, with Sidmouth’s month-long festival starting in the midst of Storm Evert’s high-summer arrival, and tours from the likes of fiddler extraordinaire Sam Sweeney, Eliza Carthy, and...

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Album: Dot Allison - Heart-Shaped Scars

Scottish singer-songwriter Dorothy Allison pretty much defines cool. Her band One Dove was the first to snare Andrew Weatherall as producer after his success with Screamadelica, and together they created Morning Dove White: an extraordinary album...

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Shadow Kingdom: The Early Songs of Bob Dylan review - noir settings for classic numbers

What is the Shadow Kingdom and how do you gain access to it? In Bob Dylan’s case, it may be found in the film noir classics of his birth – 1941’s The Maltese Falcon onward – and it’s those noir settings, artfully condensed and reduced to a signature...

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Album: Craig Fortnam - Ark

Craig Fortnam’s music – solo or in the bands North Sea Radio Orchestra and Arch Garrison – sounds like a lot of things. It sounds like the 70s prog-folk-jazz interface of Kevin Ayres and Robert Wyatt as its influence feeds on into Kate Bush. When he...

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