A Conversation With Wizz Jones
Inspired by hearing Big Bill Broonzy and Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Wizz Jones learned his guitar licks from the likes of Davy Graham and Long John Baldry, whilst playing in the coffee bars of London's Soho in the late 1950's.
He then followed the time-honoured buskers trail from the streets of Paris to the markets of Marrakech during the early 1960's, and returned to Britain with a unique acoustic guitar style, an eclectic repertoire and a right hand worthy of Broonzy.
John Renbourn, Eric Clapton and Keith Richards have all named him as an important early influence and in May 2012 Bruce Springsteen opened his Berlin show with Wizz's song 'When I Leave Berlin'. In October 2019 Wizz was presented with a life-time achievement award at the BBC Radio Two Folk Awards held at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.
After more more than 60 years on the road Wizz is now officially retired, but, most probably can still be persuaded to play a local gig, sometimes with his son Simeon on Sax, Flute and Harmonica.
A Conversation With Suzie Ungerleider
Ungerleider chose to perform under the name Oh Susanna, alluding to the classic American folk song "Oh! Susanna", rather than her given name as a means of keeping her private and professional lives separate. She initially wanted to be a somewhat theatrical performer. "I had this notion, okay I'm going to try and wear these vintage clothes and I play this old Stella guitar, which is like this mail order guitar that blues guys used to play," said Ungerleider. She played her first show under the name Oh Susanna at the Railway Club in Vancouver in July 1995, and released her first independent recording, a seven-song EP, in 1997. At approximately this time, she decided to relocate to Toronto after attending Blue Rodeo's Stardust Picnic festival. In 1999, she released her full-length debut, Johnstown, and toured Canada and the United States with fellow musicians Veda Hille and Kinnie Starr, in what they dubbed the "Scrappy Bitch Tour".
She has since released eight more albums, Sleepy Little Sailor (2001), Oh Susanna (2003), Short Stories (2007), Soon the Birds (2011), Namedropper (2014), A Girl in Teen City (2017) and Decemberly(2018) a holiday EP with Michael Johnston. Her recordings have featured guest musicians Luke Doucet, Justin Rutledge, Burke Carroll, Bazil Donovan and Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, Ruth Moody of The Wailin' Jennys, and members of Weeping Tile.
Of the inspiration for her songs, Ungerleider has said "A lot of that stuff comes from other people who have told me things. Some of its totally made up". She also says that her Western Canadian upbringing has inspired some of her lyrics.
In 2012, Ungerleider announced that she intended to obtain Canadian citizenship. Plans to begin recording a new album were sidetracked in 2013 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
However, she has undergone treatment for that, and released the album, Namedropper on October 7, 2014.
Her next project A Girl in Teen City was released in 2017. The album is an autobiographical depiction of herself in her youth "in search of identity, falling in love, getting drunk, having her heart broken, hanging out with friends in bedrooms, basements and parking lots, sneaking into shows in burnt out warehouses, watching the waves, walking home over bridges and railroad tracks in all that endless rain."
In 2019, Ungerleider marked the 20th anniversary of her critically acclaimed debut album Johnstown by releasing a remastered version of the album on Record Store Day (April 13). In 2020, she released a deluxe edition reissue of her 2001 album Sleepy Little Sailor.
In 2021, she announced that she was retiring the Oh Susanna stage name, after learning more about the complicated racial history of the song "Oh! Susanna".
A Conversation With Tom Paxton
Tom Paxton played the legendary Isle of Wight Festival in 1969 alongside The Who, Richie Havens and Free. Bob Dylan was also on the bill - headlining and making his first public appearance in 3 years, following a near-fatal motorcycle accident. Playing completely solo, Tom received several encores that day and later on sat alongside John Lennon and Yoko Ono to watch Dylan's performance with the Band.
He has become a voice of his generation, addressing issues of injustice and inhumanity, laying bare the absurdities of modern culture and celebrating the tenderest bonds of family, friends, and community.
In describing Tom Paxton’s influence on his fellow musicians, Pete Seeger has said: “Tom’s songs have a way of sneaking up on you. You find yourself humming them, whistling them, and singing a verse to a friend. Like the songs of Woody Guthrie, they’re becoming part of America.” Pete goes on: “In a small village near Calcutta, in 1998, a villager who could not speak English sang me What Did You Learn In School Today? in Bengali! Tom Paxton’s songs are reaching around the world more than he is, or any of us could have realized. Keep on, Tom!”
Guy Clark adds: “Thirty years ago Tom Paxton taught a generation of traditional folksingers that it was noble to write your own songs, and, like a good guitar, he just gets better with age.” Paxton has been an integral part of the songwriting and folk music community since the early 60’s Greenwich Village scene, and continues to be a primary influence on today’s “New Folk” performers. The Chicago native came to New York via Oklahoma, which he considers to be his home state. His family moved there in 1948, when Tom was 10 years old, and he graduated from Bristow High School and The University of Oklahoma, where he majored in drama while his interest in folk music grew and eventually predominated.
Brought to New York courtesy of the US Army, Tom remained there following his discharge. His early success in Greenwich Village coffeehouses, such as The Gaslight and The Bitter End, led to an ever-increasing circle of work. Then in 1965 he made his first tour of the United Kingdom — the beginning of a still-thriving professional relationship that has included at least one tour in each of the succeeding years.
He and his late wife, Midge, have two daughters, Jennifer and Kate. All three women have served as inspiration for many songs, and now three grandsons, Christopher, Sean, and Peter are adding to the sources of inspiration.
He has performed thousands of concerts around the world in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Scandinavia, France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, England, Scotland, Ireland and Canada. That these fans still enjoy his work is a testament to the quality of his recent work, and to the enduring power of modern standards like The Last Thing On My Mind, Ramblin’ Boy, Bottle Of Wine, Whose Garden Was This?, Goin’ To The Zoo and The Marvelous Toy. Paxton’s songbooks, critically acclaimed children’s books (available from HarperCollins – see the page for children), award-winning children’s recordings, and a catalog of hundreds of songs (also recorded by many renowned artists including Willie Nelson, Placido Domingo, Paul Simon, Townes Van Zandt and Tiny Tim), all serve to document Tom Paxton’s 40-year career.
Tom received a 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy during the 51st Annual GRAMMY® Awards. He was nominated for a GRAMMY for Comedians and Angels in 2007, and Live in the U.K. in 2006. He was also nominated for GRAMMYS in 2003 for his Appleseed Records CD, Looking For The Moon, and in 2002 for his children’s CD, Your Shoes, My Shoes. He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from ASCAP, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the BBC in London.
Tom Paxton’s place in folk music is secured not just by hit records and awards, but by the admiration of three generations of fellow musicians. An internationally recognized and loved cultural figure, he has always chosen goodwill over commercial success. His generosity has taken the shape of a benefit concert performance for a little girl fighting leukemia, or a personal note of encouragement to an up-and-coming songwriter. This is the man who wrote and lives the words, “Peace will come, and let it begin with me.”
He is one of the great songwriters of the last century and will be reckoned as one of the greats in this new century, as well. He is a man we have come to regard as our friend.
“Tom Paxton’s songs are so powerful and lyrical, written from the heart and the conscience, and they reach their mark, our most inner being. He writes stirring songs of social protest and gentle songs of love, each woven together with his personal gift for language. His melodies haunt, his lyrics reverberate. I have sung Tom’s songs for three decades and will go on doing so in the new century, for they are beautiful and timeless, and meant for every age.” (Judy Collins)
“Tom Paxton embodies the spirit of folk music in the most beautiful sense. Not just in his song crafting, his work ethic, his politics and his dedication to people’s music, but also in his kind and generous heart. When I first started playing folk festivals, I was all of eighteen, shaved headed and politically outspoken. Many people in the folk community at that time seemed defensive and threatened by me, but I remember Tom was a notable exception. He was nothing but warm, welcoming and supportive to me from the git go. He’s the coolest.” (Ani DiFranco)
“Every folk singer I know has either sung a Tom Paxton song, is singing a Tom Paxton song or will soon sing a Tom Paxton song. Now either all the folk singers are wrong, or Tom Paxton is one hell of a songwriter.” (Holly Near)
A Conversation With Jane Allison Stanness
Multi talented award winning songwriter Jane Allison Stanness was born in the Welsh seaside town of Aberystwyth as Jane-Alison Sherman. Her performing career spans the creative landscapes of both music, theatre, TV & film, best known for starring as Deborah in the BAFTA winning comedy series Sally4Ever, as Matron in the 2018 film Slaughterhouse Rulez, and as Mary in the 2020 Sky TV comedy series Intelligence.
In her youth she trained as a dancer at Trinity Laban and was married to Pete Harker, drummer to John Peel favourites, underground cult band The Lines. During this time she was fully immersed in the London punk scene with bands like The Only Ones and Stiff Little Fingers & dance companies such as DV8, Diversions & Transitions, and it was amongst this explosion of innovative creativity she began to realize a lifelong passion and diverse artistic career.
Jane's musical path began in the early 90's singing with psychedelic folk band Childe Roland and X- Machina . She then went on to form new wave post punk band KarmaDeva and began an 8 year long tour across the UK and Europe, sharing the stage with bands like Boxer Rebellion, The Holloways, The Zutons, Super Furry Animals and supporting legendary acts such as Caravan, The Damned, Lene Lovich and Arthur Lee and Love among others.
In 2011 Jane moved to Berlin. Living in Neukolln on the banks of the Landwehrkanal Jane embarked on her solo works. Jane says "I can’t express the feeling of freedom I feel there. Berlin put a beautiful spell on me, one I've never woken up from"
During that time Jane came home to roost musically with her own blend of 70’s English folk revival and Americana. Upbeat bars of lightweight ditties, with biting eloquent lyrics revealing withering accounts of obsessive love, ill-fated romance, abuse and its aftermath and faded dreams. Embracing the darkness while also seeking the light is core to Jane's songwriting.
All her records were recorded and produced in the Tea Rooms Studio in the heart of the Ardennes under the musical wizardry of long time friend Alonza Bevan ( Kula Shaker.)
As an actress Jane is best known for her comedy character roles, the most recent being GCHQ's geeky cryptanalyst Mary Needham in the TV comedy Intelligence written by Nick Mohammed & starring David Schwimmer. Season 2 of Intelligence is OUT NOW on Sky TV and Now TV. Jane also stars as Deborah in the Julia Davis Bafta award winning comedy series Sally4Ever. Other TV & film acting credits include Slaughter House Rulez, a comedy horror movie directed by Crispian Mills starring Michael Sheen & Simon Pegg, award winning TV series Hunderby, Nighty Night, Morning Has Broken, Human Remains and the movie A Fantastic Fear Of Everything.
Her continued successful writing partnership with dark star Julia Davis traverses subjects of death, illness and the wincing, pathetic absurdity of human relationships with surreal imagination and gallows humor. Her writing credits include both the 1st & 2nd series of the award winning series Nighty Night & script development for such TV shows as Camping, Hunderby, Sally4Ever , Morning Has Broken
"Magdalene" the single, "A gorgeous song, mixing musical elegance with lyrical eloquence" - Dave Franklin
In 2016 Jane released Methylene Blue her second album with Alonza Bevan. "A mercurial and brooding record, laced at times with shades of early Velvet Underground, then conforming to Nashville expectations in lilting cowboy balladry, but as often as not mining a darker musical and lyrical theme."
In 2014 her debut album Just Another Girl was welcomed with open arms and rave reviews in the Americana, Country and Folk music scene in Europe, UK and the USA. Written in Berlin & recorded in Belgium at Kula Shakers studio's The Tea Rooms and produced by Alonza Bevan it began her solo venture into the world of folky Americana.
A Conversation With Ron Sexsmith
Ron Sexsmith’s status as one of the greatest songwriters of his generation has never been in doubt, even from the moment he released his self-titled major-label debut album in 1995. His career arc since then has in some ways been a study in how that pure ability has been handled in the studio. On his 12 albums, Sexsmith has worked with some of music’s most celebrated producers—Daniel Lanois, Mitchell Froom, Tchad Blake, Ray Kennedy, Martin Terefe, Bob Rock and Jim Scott. With all of that experience, it would stand to reason that Sexsmith has learned a thing or two over the years about how to make a record.
Inspiring musicians of diverse backgrounds throughout his illustrious career Canada’s Ron Sexsmith’s lyricism has been described as “witty, clever, and warm”. This is what has kept fans of all ages coming back for more. Sexsmith’s first major-label albums, 1995's Ron Sexsmith and 1997's Other Songs, were the beginnings of a composer who showed promise and formed a connection with his listeners.
Following 30 years as an emblem of Toronto’s west end, Ron uprooted to the serene hamlet of Stratford, Ontario, and the melodic, playful, theatrically vivacious ‘Hermitage’ came gushing out. Sexsmith was inspired by the peace he found with this new change in his life.
A gifted singer and songwriter whose songs are by turns earnest and playful, Ron Sexsmith has won acclaim not only from critics but from fellow performers like Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, and John Hiatt -- some of the same artists who initially inspired Sexsmith himself to become a musician. He has a talent for catchy but graceful melodies that's matched by his skills as a lyricist, drawing compact sketches of love and the trials of everyday life that are heartfelt and compassionate even when he's being witty, and warm without becoming overly sentimental. Sexsmith's songs are fine examples of pop classicism, while his work as a recording artist has found him maturing steadily throughout his career
A Conversation With Lesley-Ann Jones
Lesley-Ann Jones is an English author who spent more than 20 years as a national newspaper journalist on Fleet Street. She was born in Kent, England, and studied French and Spanish in London and Paris.
In the 1980s, she worked for Chrysalis Records, London, the label of some major acts at the time (Spandau Ballet, Jethro Tull (band), Special AKA, Midge Ure & Ultravox, Blondie), where she wrote sleeve notes, prepared press releases and organised interviews for the national press. She moved into television at the inception of Channel 4. The prime-time Saturday-night pop-music magazine series ‘Ear Say’, which she co-presented with Capital Radio DJs Nicky Horne and Gary Crowley, led to guest appearances on a variety of TV and radio shows, including Capital's You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet, a weekly music quiz produced by pop guru Phil Swern, and Radio Clyde’s Bill Padley Show, with Padley and singer/songwriter Jim Diamond. She also wrote a weekly column for The Sun. She spent six years as a showbusiness feature-writer for the Daily Mail, Mail On Sunday and You magazine, touring with Paul McCartney, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Queen and other star acts of the day.
Who Killed John Lennon
Late on 8 December 1980, the planet stopped spinning for millions when news broke that the world's best-loved rock star had been gunned down in cold blood in New York City. In this enthralling exploration, acclaimed music biographer and journalist Lesley-Ann Jones unravels the enigma to present a complete portrait of the man, his life, his relationships, his untimely death and his eternal musical legacy as never before. Peeling back the layers, Jones tracks the highs and lows of both his professional and personal life that led Lennon to relocate to New York, where he was shot dead on the street outside his apartment building that fateful winter night.
But who, or what, really killed him? And when did the 'real' John Lennon die?
A Conversation With Ajay Srivastav
I just wanted to say my thing,” says Ajay Srivastav, of the motivation behind his fiery, spiritual and sublime second album, “Powerless”. “I was tired of listening to other people talking – I want to speak, and this is what I have to say. And I hope people understand where I’m coming from.”
His message arrives in the form of ten powerful, soulful, stirring songs that are the product of a crossfire hurricane of influences, drawing equally from the Mississippi Delta that sired the blues and the Varanasi Ghats where prayers, birth-rites and coming-of-age ceremonies are performed beside the Ganges. It’s an album where Ajay’s resonator guitar and glass slide channel the karmic thunder of Muddy Waters and Son House and the lithe grace of the sitar – but one where his aching, wise vocal sounds like no-one but himself. An album that’s unapologetically political, reflecting a turbulent era, but one that closes with a Sanskrit mantra aimed at delivering a much-needed peace of mind.
Stevie Connor chats with Ajay in depth about the album.
A Conversation With Hank Wonder
Somewhere on the musical map, where the twang of Classic Country meets the grit of Southern Soul, Hank Wonder marks a detour down a sonic stretch of unpaved road. Back in 2013, the Boston-based trio of Annie Bartlett (fiddle and viola), Darren Buck (vocals), and Michael Loria (guitar) set off on a journey to craft a soulful blend of Americana that's equal parts down home and gussied up.
Two years after the 2017 release of their debut album "Little Mysteries", the band entered Q Division Studios in Somerville, Massachusetts to record its follow-up. Initially stalled by a global pandemic, sessions with producer and multi-instrumentalist Zachariah Hickman (Josh Ritter, Ray LaMontagne. Mark Erelli, Barnstar!) resumed in February 2021. "Waylaid" was released on June 11, 2021.
Dan Raza chats to Darren Buck in depth about the album.
A Conversation With The Korgis
The Korgis' music has been described as 'timeless', and perhaps that's what makes it seem just as fresh today, as when they first hit the charts in 1979, with 'If I Had You'.
The Korgis are a British pop band known mainly for their hit single "Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime" in 1980. The band was originally composed of singer/guitarist/keyboardist Andy Davis (born Andrew Cresswell-Davis 10 August 1949) and singer/bassist James Warren (born 25 August 1951), both former members of 1970s band Stackridge, along with violinist Stuart Gordon and keyboardist Phil Harrison.
Andy Davis and James Warren had helmed Stackridge for the previous decade, a band specializing in eccentric Prog-Pop that had almost broken through to the national charts with “The Man In The Bowler Hat” (produced by George Martin), but by the time 1979 arrived it was a whole new music world.
Honing their songs back down to the basics they found a niche with their debut single “Young ‘n’ Russian” which was followed by “If I Had You”, getting them to number 13 and on “Top Of The Pops”. A debut LP followed.
“If I Had You” was the start of a stuttering chart career which climaxed with “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime”
which was a smash hit.
Mike Kennedy, from Welsh Connections, chats with the band members about their brand new album, their first in 30 years.
A Conversation With Kirsten Adamson
Kirsten Adamson comes from an historical musical background in Scotland. Born in 1985 in the town of Dunfermline, Fife, to Alexandra and Stuart Adamson.
Alexandra, a champion highland dancer, inspired her to take part in dance classes and singing lessons from a young age. She attended the Allana Brown School of Dance from age three and took voice lessons with classical teacher Robin Gordon from age seven. Both teachers nurtured her talents and by age ten Kirsten was cast in the leading role of 'Annie' in what would be the first of many musical theatre performances.
Kirsten's father Stuart (songwriter and performer in bands The Skids, Big Country and The Raphaels) was a huge inspiration to her throughout her childhood. He encouraged her to write her own music in her early teens and introduced her to country music when he relocated to Nashville in 1998. Kirsten would spend her summers in Tennessee and it was there where she realised her voice naturally suited a country style.
Kirsten continued to gain experience through her teenage years performing with various musical theatre companies in Fife, teaching herself guitar and studying tap and jazz dance.
Kirsten taught herself to play guitar at age 17 and began writing her own material at the same time. As she crafted her songs she would record them on a Tascam Portastudio 4 track cassette recorder. These recordings were eventually made digital and became the first tracks she self-released on Myspace in 2005.
Kirsten has had a varied musical career and has gone on to become an engaging songwriter and performer.
When lockdown affected the U.K. in March of 2020 Kirsten started performing solo shows online from her garden summerhouse. These shows gained traction rapidly and she was soon performing to thousands of viewers around the world.
A Conversation With Paul Hazel
Paul Hazel is a composer, musician, record producer, and film-maker. He had had many releases on labels such as Rising High, Rotation, Inspiral, 2Kool, Masters At Work, and Bamboo Radical. Paul has composed and produced the music for a number of commercial film and TV programmes and has produced and exhibited several short films of his own.
Whilst living in London Paul had a parallel career as a music technology and web design lecturer, working extensively at Community Music, Musicworks, and Hurricane. He finally became Education & Training Manager at Gateway before moving to Wales in 2003.
For 14 years Paul was a lecturer at Swansea College of Art. His main academic interest is communication studies: music, storytelling, medium theory, and semiotics. He is currently an Associate Lecturer in Music at Gower College Swansea.
In 2016 Paul was a founding member of the Swansea Laptop Orchestra. He ran an independent record label and continued to record, perform, and create.
Paul Hazel chats with Mike Kennedy about his latest release 'Out Of This World With Sun Ra' a four-track EP of Sun Ra covers, a collaboration between electronic music producer Paul Hazel and jazz trumpet maestro Steve Waterman.
Paul and Steve’s idea was to take Sun Ra material and treat it in a wholly contemporary way (rather than just producing pseudo-Arkestra arrangements). They’ve tried to retain the elements of improvisation and risk-taking that we all love about Ra, whilst developing a colourful palette of unusual modern instrumental combinations and timbres.
You’ll hear growling plunger mute trumpet redolent of Bubber Miley–era Duke Ellington set against acid synth and finger pops, Miles-like echoed trumpet above lush electronic backdrops, muted trumpet piercing through squalls of distorted guitar. Under carpets of chattering percussion and heavy dub basses drive proceedings along.
A Conversation With John McCutcheon
John McCutcheon has emerged as one of our most respected and loved folksingers. As an instrumentalist, he is a master of a dozen different traditional instruments, most notably the rare and beautiful hammer dulcimer. His songwriting has been hailed by critics and singers around the globe. His thirty recordings have garnered every imaginable honor including seven Grammy nominations. He has produced over twenty albums of other artists, from traditional fiddlers to contemporary singer-songwriters to educational and documentary works. His books and instructional materials have introduced budding players to the joys of their own musicality. And his commitment to grassroots political organizations has put him on the front lines of many of the issues important to communities and workers.
His apprenticeship to many of the legendary figures of Appalachian music imbedded a love of not only home-made music, but a sense of community and rootedness. The result is music...whether traditional or from his huge catalog of original songs...with the profound mark of place, family, and strength. It also created a storytelling style that has been compared to Will Rogers and Garrison Keillor.
It is in live performance that John feels most at home. It is what has brought his music into the lives and homes of one of the broadest audiences any folk musician has ever enjoyed. People of every generation and background seem to feel at home in a concert hall when John McCutcheon takes the stage, with what critics describe as "little feats of magic," "breathtaking in their ease and grace...," and "like a conversation with an illuminating old friend."
Whether in print, on record, or on stage, few people communicate with the versatility, charm, wit or pure talent of John McCutcheon.
A Conversation With Emily Moment
Emily Moment is an American singer/songwriter and actor, Emily has been based in London for the last 9 years. She has performed in countless productions and voiced over 150 professional campaigns with major global brands.
Born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, Emily left her mark stateside before heading to England in 2012. She was a member of New York City's anti-folk music community for years, cutting her teeth at iconic venues like Rockwood Music Hall and The Sidewalk Cafe between gigs as a working actress. By the time she left town, she'd built a network of personal champions that included songwriting legends like Elvis Costello, who featured the singer on the cover of his album Cruel Smile.
Emily performs with folk-rock band Mahoney & The Moment, alt-country trio The Savannahs (featured on BBC One's Pitch Battle and BBC Radio 4 with Clive Anderson), and rock n' roll band Steve Mahoney & the Milkshakes.
Her first full-length solo album, The Party's Over, is available now. The record was tracked live at Urchin Studios over the 18th & 19th October 2019. Ashley Hallinan (drums) flew in from Athens, Jordan Liardon (bass) flew in from Geneva, and J.B. Dano (guitar) flew in from Brittany so they could rehearse the songs together the night before recording. The four musicians had never played together as a band and none of them had ever worked at Urchin.
A Conversation With Elizabeth & Jameson
Elizabeth & Jameson is an award-winning collaboration comprising two rising stars of the UK acoustic music scene. Hannah Elizabeth and Griff Jameson have joined forces to create an indie-folk sound which encompasses both their individual musical backgrounds. Hannah’s influences are firmly planted in traditional folk-roots, whilst in contrast Griff has formed his musical reputation within folk pop/rock genres. Together as a duo Elizabeth & Jameson arguably offer the best of both backgrounds; this is simplistic, classic song writing at its best - a stripped back harmony-driven sound with acoustic guitar, violin and exquisite harmony vocals.
As well as securing high-profile support slots on the UK folk/acoustic circuit the duo have built up a strong following after spending the last few years touring folk and acoustic clubs and venues across the UK. Their debut studio album, Northern Shores & Stories was officially released in May 2020 and has been receiving critical acclaim across the acoustic folk/roots community.
A Conversation With Chroma
CHROMA is a three-piece band from South Wales. Their sound fuses Garage Rock with math influences, inspired by bands like Biffy Clyro, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Rage Against The Machine and Gossip.
They've played sold-out shows all over the UK with the likes of Peace, IDLES, Astroid Boys, Pretty Vicious, VANT and Tigercub.
In addition they've received radio support from BBC Introducing on BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music, Kerrang! Radio, Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru plus more.
They've also played prestigious festivals such as Reading Festival & Leeds Festival, BBC Radio 1’s Biggest Weekend, FOCUS Wales and Festival Number 6 along with some European festival appearances in Barcelona and Brittany.
Their Debut EP and all singles since are available on Apple Music, Spotify and Youtube. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to keep updated with what they are up to.
A Conversation With Joe Newberry
Joe Newberry is known around the world for his clawhammer banjo playing, Joe Newberry is also a powerful guitarist, singer and songwriter. The Gibson Brothers’ version of his song “Singing As We Rise,” featuring guest vocalist Ricky Skaggs, won the 2012 IBMA “Gospel Recorded Performance” Award. With Eric Gibson, he shared the 2013 IBMA “Song of the Year” Award for “They Called It Music.”
A longtime and frequent guest on A Prairie Home Companion, he was a featured singer on the Transatlantic Sessions 2016 tour of the U.K. with fiddler Aly Bain and Dobro master Jerry Douglas, and at the Transatlantic Session’s debut at Merlefest in 2017 with fellow singers James Taylor, Sarah Jarosz, Declan O’Rourke, Karen Matheson, and Maura O’Connell. In addition to performing solo, he plays in a duo with mandolin icon Mike Compton, and also performs with the dynamic fiddler and step-dancer April Verch.
Newberry has taught banjo, guitar, singing, and songwriting at numerous camps and festivals, including Ashokan, Midwest Banjo Camp, American Banjo Camp, the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Targhee Music Camp, the Swannanoa Gathering, Centrum Voice Works, the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Pinewoods Camp, Vocal Week, Bluegrass Week, and Old-Time Week at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WV, the Australia National Folk Festival, the Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week, and the Bluff Country Gathering. He was for many years the coordinator of Old-Time Week at the Augusta Heritage Center.
Newberry is a board member of the International Bluegrass Music Association, representing Artists, Composers & Music Publishers. He says that serving on the IBMA board allows him a chance to give back to the music that has given him so much.
Growing up in a family full of singers and dancers, he took up the guitar and banjo as a teenager and learned fiddle tunes from the great Missouri fiddlers. Newberry moved to North Carolina as a young man and quickly became an anchor of the incredible music scene in the state. He does solo and studio work, and plays and teaches at festivals and workshops in North America and abroad.
A Conversation With Kat Goldman
Kat Goldman is a Canadian singer-songwriter, whose songs have been covered by Grammy-nominated band, The Duhks (Canada), Dar Williams (United States), and Kate and Ruth (Australia), among many others worldwide. Her break-out album, “The Great Disappearing Act” (2002) garnered her attention from NYC manager Ron Fierstein, who managed the careers of Shawn Colvin, Suzanne Vega, and Dar Williams. He asked to sign her on the spot, after he flew up to Buffalo to catch her show one night. Kat went down to showcase in New York City for several years, but in 2003, was in a freak accident which essentially put her career on hiatus. After a long recovery, she released her come-back album, "Sing Your Song," in 2007. It was met with high acclaim. When Dar Williams heard it, she wrote, “I can’t imagine the world without it.”
Kat moved to Boston in 2009, where she began taking classes at Harvard and Boston universities. She lived in Cambridge for six years, during which time she also made her third recording, “Gypsy Girl.” Kat graduated from Boston University in 2015, with a degree in English literature. She returned to Toronto in 2016, to work on her most recent release, “The Workingman’s Blues.” Kat calls it her “rock musical.” The songs tell a story about a young, tough workingman from South of Boston and his hardscrabble past. Kat has won several awards from The International Songwriting Competition (Nashville). Her songs have appeared in numerous movies, documentaries and television shows, including The Duhks version of her song, “Annabel,” which aired in the TV series, “Hell On Wheels.”
In the spring of 2021 she released her first, published book, “Off The Charts: What I Learned From My Almost Fabulous Life In Music” (Sutherland House books), a comic look at her experiences as a songwriter, along with zany how-to advice for the beginner. Kat has been there, almost to the very top, and now she’s back with sage advice and hilarious behind-the-scenes stories from a lifetime of toil in the dive bars and legendary venues of the contemporary music scene. she recounts what it’s like to meet your first fan, date a rock star (never again!), perform in a grocery store, and rebuild your career after getting hit by a car in a bagel shop. She tells of feeling the sting of rejection and rampant sexism, and the thrill of writing a hit song and performing with your idols. Off the Charts is a whimsical, uproarious tour through a fickle business that never seems to repay what performers put into it, and one woman’s highly intimate account of how she made the best of almost making it. Featuring a sparkling set of original illustrations by the award-winning Nina Berkson. Kat Goldman is one of Canada’s most celebrated songwriters.
A Conversation With James McMurtry
James McMurtry spent his first seven years in Ft. Worth, Texas but was raised mostly in Leesburg, Virginia. He attended the Woodberry Forest School, Orange, Virginia. He began performing in his teens, writing bits and pieces. He started performing his own songs at a downtown beer garden while studying English and Spanish at the University of Arizona in Tucson. After traveling to Alaska and playing a few gigs, he returned to Texas and his father's "little bitty ranch house crammed with 10,000 books".
After a time, he left for San Antonio, where he worked as a house painter, actor, bartender, and sometimes singer, performing at writers' nights and open-mic events.
In 1987, a friend in San Antonio suggested McMurtry enter the Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk songwriter contest; he became one of six winners that year. Also around this time John Mellencamp was starring in a film based on a script by McMurtry's father, which gave McMurtry the opportunity to send a demo tape to Mellencamp. Mellencamp subsequently served as co-producer on McMurtry's debut album, Too Long in the Wasteland (1989). McMurtry also appeared on the soundtrack of the film Falling from Grace, working with Mellencamp, John Prine, Joe Ely and Dwight Yoakam in a "supergroup" called Buzzin' Cousins.
“I first became aware of James McMurtry’s formidable songwriting prowess while working at Bug Music Publishing in the ’90s, “He’s a true talent. All of us at New West are excited at the prospect of championing the next phase of James’ already successful and respected career.” - New West President John Allen
McMurtry joins New West's singular roster of top-tier roots music all-stars including Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, John Hiatt, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Buddy Miller, Nikki Lane and dozens more.
A Conversation With Richie Blackmore and Candice Night
Richie Blackmore: Is a British guitarist and songwriter, began his professional career as a session musician as a member of the instrumental band The Outlaws and as a backing musician of pop singers Glenda Collins, Heinz, Screaming Lord Sutch, Neil Christian, etc.. Blackmore was also one of the original members of Deep Purple, playing jam-style rock music which mixed simple guitar riffs and organ sounds During his solo career, he established neo-classical metal band called Rainbow which fused baroque music influences elements with hard rock. However, Rainbow gradually progressed to catchy pop style hard rock. Blackmore formed the traditional folk rock project Blackmore's Night transitioning to vocalist-centered sounds.
CandIce Night: Although she's done back-up vocals for such major bands as Deep Purple, Rainbow, and Twang (the Hank Marvin Tribute album), Candice Night's success was anything but overnight. In 1997, the talented lyricist and lead singer of Blackmore's Night completed a musical project with legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore titled Shadow of the Moon. The album features acoustic renaissance music, a direction she thoroughly enjoyed. "This music is feel good, soul searching music," says Candice. "Listening to it makes me appreciate the beauty in simple things that most of us overlook everyday. It has a magical effect. It makes me smile and it makes me cry, but listening to it always takes me on a different journey somewhere else. Being a part in creating such music is a reward in itself."
A Conversation With Stephen Fearing
We feature an exclusive two part interview with Stephen Fearing, where we go in depth on the making of the album 'The Unconquerable Past' and the tracks on it.
Multi-JUNO Award winner and co-founder of Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, Stephen Fearing has been regarded as one of Canada’s great musical storytellers — not to mention one of its most acclaimed guitarists — since the 1980s, and his 13th solo album The Unconquerable Past, adds another unique chapter to that impressive body of work. It’s also a striking and often surprising example of his restless creative spirit.
While fans of his solo work may be more familiar with Fearing’s acoustic side, brilliantly displayed on his 2018 special vinyl-only release The Secret of Climbing, or his electric-trio work on 2017’s Every Soul’s A Sailor, The Unconquerable Past finds him stepping back into the wide-screen world of layered instruments and arrangements in collaboration with Winnipeg-based producer/songwriter Scott Nolan (William Prince, Mary Gauthier, Hayes Carll) and a superb group of players featuring acclaimed pianist Jeremy Rusu, bassist Julian Bradford, drummer Christian Dugas, vocalist Andrina Turrene, and Nashville’s legendary multi-instrumentalist Jim Hoke.
Like other artists who are loosely categorized as ‘folk’ and ‘Americana’, Fearing questions what those terms really mean. The Unconquerable Past can be seen as embracing and transcending the labels and genres simultaneously. Above all, on The Unconquerable Past, Stephen Fearing steps out once again with a fresh perspective and a new batch of songs and stories drawing deeply from over thirty years of writing and playing across Canada and around the world.
A Conversation With Elizabeth Thomson
Author of Joan Baez: The Last Leaf
Liz Thomson is a London-based journalist, author and broadcaster, and the co-founder of Square Roots Productions CIO and, in New York, of The Village Trip, a non-profit arts festival. She was a founding trustee of the Desmond Elliott Prize for first novels.
A contributing editor to TheArtsDesk.com, Liz’s work has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world, among them The Times, Guardian, Independent, New Statesman & Society, Mojo, the Big Issue and the Washington Post.
Since she appeared unannounced at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival, Joan Baez has occupied a singular place in popular music. Within three years, she had recorded three best-selling albums and her voice had been described “as lustrous and rich as old gold”. She has mentored generations of singer-songwriters, including Dar Williams, Josh Ritter, Grace Stumberg and, most famously, Bob Dylan.
But Joan Baez has always been much more than simply a singer. Even before she joined Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. on the podium at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963, she had used her gift to bring solace and hope to people who had little of either. In words and deeds, Baez has consistently championed social justice, nonviolence the guiding principle of her life, and the causes for which she has campaigned are legion. Whether playing to integrated audiences in the American south during the years of segregation, in Latin America during the years of brutal dictatorships, or Sarajevo under siege, Baez offered “an act of love, sharing, witness and music”. Approaching 80, she has stepped down from the stage following a worldwide farewell tour and a final, Grammy-nominated album. She is now embarked on a new chapter of life—painting.
Drawing on interviews with long-time friends and musical associates, and on conversations across four decades with Baez herself, Joan Baez: The Last Leaf is a celebration of a timeless figure whose music and influence will endure long after her voice is silenced.
A Conversation With Eric Bogle
He is one of Australia's eminent singer/songwriters, Eric Bogle has been sharing his unique Scotsman-goes-down-under view since the late-'70s. His songs, including "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda," "Leaving Nancy," "Nobody's Moggy Now," and "Little Gomez," have been covered by a growing list of artists, including June Tabor, the Pogues, Mary Black, Donovan, Billy Bragg, and the Dubliners. The Fureys' rendition of "No Man's Land (Green Fields of France)" spent 26 weeks on the Irish music charts, including ten weeks at the top position.
Influenced by Elvis Presley and Lonnie Donegan, he taught himself to play guitar and joined a series of rock and skiffle bands. A career in music was the furthest thing from Bogle's mind, however. After leaving school at the age of 16, he worked a variety of jobs, including manual laborer, export clerk, and bartender.
Moving to Australia, in 1969, to work as an accountant, Bogle soon connected with a folk club in Canberra and became immersed in the country's acoustic music scene. His first song to capture international attention, "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda," was inspired by watching an ANZAC march in Canberra, and was originally 15 minutes long. "No Man's Land (Green Fields of France)," which was written after a visit to a military cemetery in northern France, reflected Bogle's continuing fascination with World War I.
On 25 January 1987, Eric Bogle was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia, "In recognition of service to the performing arts as a song writer and singer".
A Conversation With Shaun Murphy
Shaun Murphy is an American blues and R&B singer songwriter, best known for her powerhouse singing style. Her recording career started in 1971 with Motown Records. Murphy shared the stage with many Detroit-based bands, including Wilson Mower Pursuit and Jake Wade and the Soul Searchers, in venues such as Detroit's Grande Ballroom, as well as the first Ann Arbor Blues Festival in 1969, along with various large state fairground music venues. She was soon noticed by an employee of Motown in a touring theater production along with Texas native Meat Loaf. The two were signed by Rare Earth Records, a division of Motown Records, as Stoney and Meatloaf in 1971. That pairing was short-lived and became defunct, although they had previously also been fellow cast members of the Detroit production of Hair. Only Murphy was retained under contract after the breakup of the duo.
After a period of inactivity with the new division of Motown in Los Angeles, she left Motown and contacted Detroit music producer Punch Andrews for possible opportunities. Murphy then relocated back to Detroit in 1973 to work with Bob Seger. She has continued to work with Seger in the studio since 1973, in addition to performing on all of his tours since 1978.
Murphy's career in vocals has been both as band lead singer and session singer. She has sung, toured, and recorded with such acts as the Moody Blues, Bob Seger, Herbie Hancock, Phil Collins, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh, Maria Muldaur, Bruce Hornsby, Michael Bolton, Coco Montoya, Alice Cooper, Little Feat and rock musicals, Hair and Sgt. Pepper's, etc.
In 1993, she became a full-time member of the Los Angeles-based band Little Feat. She stayed on for the next fifteen years, recording and touring with them until 2009.
In September 2009 the Shaun Murphy Band released the album Livin' The Blues. A second album, The Trouble With Lovin', followed in 2010. Late in 2011, Murphy released a DVD and live album both titled Shaun Murphy Live at Callahan's, recorded at Callahan's Music Hall, Auburn Hills, Michigan.
Her album Ask for the Moon, released in 2012, was nominated for three Grammy Awards and won two Blues Blast music awards. She released Cry Of Love in 2013. Loretta was released in February 2015. Mighty Gates was released in October 2017 on Vision Wall Records.
Murphy was nominated for the 2020 Independent Blues Award in five categories: Contemporary Blues CD, Female Artist, Traditional Blues Song, RNB Song, and Road Warrior
A Conversation With Suzzy Roche
Suzzy Roche: After a lifetime of performing and recording with The Roches and as a solo performer these days Suzzy enjoys singing on the road with her daughter Lucy Wainwright Roche (lucywainwrightroche.com) Lucy & Suzzy recorded their first CD Fairytale and Myth which won the popular vote for best singer/songwriter album of the year for the Independent Music Awards 2014. Suzzy and Lucy released their second recording Mud & Apples in 2016, which was also nominated for best singer/songwriter album of the year. Both recordings are available on their website as well as itunes. I Can Still Hear You, Lucy & Suzzy brand new CD was released October 30, 2020.
Suzzy also performs with The Wooster Group (thewoostergroup.org) most recently in: A Pink Chair (in place of a fake antique), Early Shaker Spirituals ~ a record album interpretation , and The Room by Harold Pinter.
Suzzy is a founding member of the singing group The Roches. She has written two books; a novel Wayward Saints, and a children's book Want To Be in a Band? Her second novel The Town Crazy is being published by Gibson House Press and is out now!
In addition to recording numerous albums with The Roches, Suzzy has recorded two solo albums, and an unusual collection of musical prayers, Zero Church (with Maggie Roche), which was developed at the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard University.
Suzzy has taught performance at NYU graduate and undergraduate schools and at Princeton University in the Atelier Program.
A Conversation With Mick Hanly
Mick Hanly: Homeland is Mick Hanly at his very best, always striving to find the ultimate album as the vehicle that will express his innermost thoughts and allow them to sing out to whoever will listen, he paints a beautiful picture on this album of his beloved Ireland, a land of storytellers, singers, songwriters, musicians, a land with spectacular landscapes to pull inspiration from, full of warm, welcoming people, it's a country that punches way above it's weight in the music world, and Mick Hanly has been right up there with the best of them for a couple of decades now.
Born in Limerick, he was inspired by mid-50s rock ‘n’ roll and the Liverpool beat group scene of the Sixties. He soon turned his attention to American folksingers such as, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, and emerging singer songwriters, Paul Simon, James Taylor and Canadian songstress, Joni Mitchell. However on first hearing Planxty he immediately fell in love with this fresh take on Irish traditional music. Together with Michael O’Domhnaill (ex Skara Brae) he formed Monroe, and supported Planxty on several tours during 1972 / 73, subsequently releasing Celtic Folkweave, before O’Domhnaill left to form the Bothy Band in 1975.
He spent two years in France and on his return to Ireland, he recorded two acclaimed solo albums for the Mulligan label with Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine and Declan Sinnott. He then toured Ireland and Europe with Irvine, who had recently left Planxty. In 1983, Hanly joined Moving Hearts as a vocalist, and contributed his own songs to the album Live Hearts. He left the band after 14 months, again to pursue his solo career songwriting, and recorded three more contemporary albums with Ringsend Road Records. His album All I Remember spawned the song Past the Point of Rescue, which was a huge hit in the US for country singer Hal Ketchum. The song recently received the BMI award for Two Million Radio plays in the US.
His songs have been covered by Christy Moore, Mary Black, Dolores Keane, Delbert McClinton and many more and he continues to write with a freshness and vitality that few can match.
' Homeland ' as an album was written with the intent of expressing his feelings for Ireland, a vehicle to create an identifiable sound that would evoke the atmosphere of this beautifully rugged place. Hanly strived to create images through song of what he loves about his home, his land. It might be a windswept island on the edge of the atlantic, but he wanted to say something good about the country he loves so deeply, it's people and it's landscape. Listening to the title track all those feelings come rushing in like the tides from the ocean. The stunning title track is his anthem to Ireland and the reprise at the end of the album is a truly spectacular touch, it sent tingles down my spine, and in that moment, I longed to be there.
' The Good Ship Delirious ' is a fantastic track with a really Irish flavour to it, the musicianship and songwriting are outstanding, a constant trait throughout the recording.
' Attention Sous ' has a wonderfully true and funny story that inspired the track, a tale of when Hanly lived and worked in Brittany in the northwest region of France. Unloading fishing vessels of their catch at the dockside could be dangerous work if the crane operator did not like you.
There are many great stories on the recording, I feel Mick Hanly has found the essence of Ireland, it's as near perfection as it gets to describing the familiar places, but it goes much deeper than anything I've heard for a long time, the way he hangs on the delivery of words, you feel his love for the places he is singing about, that sort of feeling only comes from the heart, from living the experience, Hanly has said that the songs were all written for himself and what he wants to say, when his voice and music sing out, we should all listen because it doesn't get much better than this.
' Homeland ' reunites Hanly with some of Ireland’s most respected musicians, such as The Voice Squad, Donal Lunny, Keith Donald, Eoghan O’Neill, Dave Keary and Ray Fean, it has class stamped all over it. I love this album from start to finish.