26th April – Jess Klein

Over a career that spans more than a decade and a half and has won her a devoted worldwide fan base, Jess Klein—who possesses what Mojo magazine calls “one of those voices you want to crawl up close to the speakers to listen to” has pursued a remarkable creative evolution that’s seen her dig ever deeper for resonant emotional insights, while continuing to refine her eloquently melodic, effortlessly accessible songcraft.  Jon Pareles of The New York Times calls her “a songwriter with a voice of unblinking tenacity…who finds parables in the everyday and also finds humanity behind the archetypal.”

The Rochester, NY native began writing songs as a college student in Kingston, Jamaica, and is known for staking out brave lyrical and musical territory with such albums as Wishes Well Disguised (1998), Draw Them Near (2000), Strawberry Lover (2005), City Garden (2006), Bound to Love (2009), Behind A Veil (2012) and Learning Faith (2014) which Folk Radio UK calls “Unquestionably the finest album of her impressive career.”  Jess spent eight years soaking up the live music culture of Austin, TX. Bootleg (2015) Jess’s live, full band album captures the dynamism of Jess onstage, backed by some of Austin’s top players.  Jess was named a 2015 Finalist in the highly regarded Kerrville New Folk Competition.

Following a move from Austin to the tiny but vibrant town of Hillsborough, North Carolina, Jess joined forces with Producer Mark Simonsen (The Old Ceremony, Weems/Gerrard Band, film scores: Elephant Sighs, Radiation Veterans and Rareified) and Engineer Thom Canova (Amy Ray, 4 Non-Blondes, Oranj Symphonette) at Studio M in Durham, North Carolina to record a new album entitled “Back to My Green”.

On this striking collection of ten new originals, Klein’s incisive lyrics address living in uncertain times and the resilience that carries us through.  Songs like “New Thanksgiving Feast”, “Tougher than I Seem”, and “Kid” look through the lens of a world-traveler and granddaughter of Russian Jewish immigrants, to celebrate the human capacity for healing and redemption during dark times.  Guest vocalists include Gaelynn Lea and Jonathan Byrd.  Simonsen and Canova’s deft production calls on influences including Motown, Classic Rock, Tropicalia and 70’s folk and creates a stirring backdrop to Klein’s passionate mezzo soprano on this timely and powerful album.  Back to My Green will be released everywhere in early 2019.

Buy tickets for Jess here

28th April – Tamara Stewart

+ support Clara Bond

Nashville based Australian Multi-Award winning Singer/Songwriter Tamara Stewart is returning to the UK on the release of her 5th album “The Truth, The Music & Me”.

With multiple Number one’s to her name with her own albums, Tamara is also a co-writer on many of Australia’s Country Music royalty chart topping successes.  An ultimate storyteller on stage in both banter and song, audiences can, at times, laugh along, cry along and sing along to the raw truth she shares from her own story. Tamara uses her powerful vocals and emotional writing style on her newest album project The Truth The Music and Me to share the deepest most personal body of work to date.

Tamara’s new album tells a story – song by song, part by part and listeners who go on this journey with her can rest assured, this story ends well and we all realise it’s at times hard to know where Tamara’s story stops and ours begins.

Don’t miss your chance to see Tamara on the UK leg of her tour.

 

 

4th May – Heg & the Wolf Chorus

highly accomplished and idiosyncratic’ fRoots Magazine

Heg & The Wolf Chorus have carved a name for themselves over the last six years with their unique breed of theatrical-folk. Drawing inspiration from folklore, fairytales, family stories and even modern day myths, their piano-driven songs blend folk, theatre and classical together in dramatic execution. With a core group of four musicians playing piano, flute, fiddle and double bass and led by songwriter Heg Brignall’s bright and enchanting vocals, the South-West based band uses tight four part harmonies to creating a cinematic depth to their songs.

Having toured the UK extensively, they are a favourite at festivals and venues alike, often silencing rooms with their haunting a cappella tunes. The music is both emotive and exciting, often using complex rhythms and layered vocal parts. The band’s outstanding musicianship shines through in their passionate, expressive delivery, exquisite vocals and their ability to deliver on the age old tradition of telling a good story.

Having spent 2018 writing their second studio album (part funded by EFDSS) and performing in a largescale spectacle show with Cirque Bijou which was featured on a BBC Four documentary, the band are back on the road in 2019 touring with their new fantastical set of theatrical folk songs.

Theatre for your ears Folk Words

Buy tickets for Heg and the Wolf Chorus here

5th May – Avocet

Avocet are a Glasgow based trio comprising of Sam Grassie (Guitar, Violin), Iona Zajac (Vocals, Clarsach) and Herbie Loening (Double Bass, Guitar). Taking their name from Bert Jansch’s eponymous 1979 album, their music explores the boundaries btween trad folk and world blues. Following their win at the DK Celtic Connections Festival they signed to Mink Records in 2017, travelling to the Abbey Road Institute Amsterdam to record their debut EP ‘Borrowed Seed’. They have been busy since, with festival performances and gigs across the country including support for Ralph McTell. With backing from the Bert Jansch Foundation they have released a new single, ‘Cheating Monday’, from their forthcoming album.

Mink Records in 2017, travelling to the Abbey Road Institute Amsterdam to record their debut EP ‘Borrowed Seed’. They have been busy since, with festival performances and gigs across the country including support for Ralph McTell. With backing from the Bert Jansch Foundation they have released a new single, ‘Cheating Monday’, from their forthcoming album.

‘Some of my closest friends were in Pentangle and a comparison is not out of place… a very special group.’ – Ralph McTell

Buy tickets for Avocet here

11th May – The Lost Sound, Dartmoor Folk Choir

The Lost Sound – Dartmoor Folk Choir, have had a busy year of concerts and, with the release of their first single, have had airplay with Folk stations around the UK. They have also been featured on the Fatea showcase album for Spring 2019, and are busy recording their first EP, due for release in May.
This seasons programme, ‘Loving Folk,’ draws on a wider range of a cappella singing traditions from simple shaker songs to gutsy blues, from male voice choir to the sweet music from the Appalachian Mountains. With ensembles, trios and the full throated power of 35 singers, the choir brings you a varied and beautiful song collection.

The Lost Sound is perhaps better known as the backing choir with Show Of Hands, recently joining them at The Theatre Royal, in Plymouth. They will be working together again, at St Ives September Festival. 

As a stand alone choir, with many sell out gigs under their belt, they have gained a reputation on the South West Folk scene for their inimitable style and quality of performance. With fantastic singing, beautiful song collections and an informal style, this acclaimed Dartmoor choir will leave a marked impression on both new and faithful audience members

 

Buy tickets for the Lost Sound Choir here

12th May – Will Kaufman with ‘Woody Guthrie and “Old Man Trump”

Will Kaufman – singer, multi-instrumentalist, and Professor of American Studies – is recognised as the world’s leading authority on Woody Guthrie. He is the author of Woody Guthrie, American Radical (2011), Woody Guthrie’s Modern World Blues (2017), and Mapping Woody Guthrie (forthcoming 2019).

In 2014, Will discovered, buried in the archives, Guthrie’s previously unpublished song lyrics and other writings condemning Fred Trump’s racism. He has now turned these discoveries into a new music and spoken-word presentation, following on from his celebrated shows, Woody Guthrie: Hard Times and Hard Travelin’ and Woody Guthrie: The Long Road to Peekskill.

In December 1950, Woody Guthrie moved his family into a new apartment in Brooklyn’s Beach Haven. His new landlord, it turned out, was none other than Fred Trump, father of the US president.

Over 60 years later, Donald Trump would proclaim on the campaign trail: “My legacy is my father’s legacy.” It was, among other things, a legacy of corruption and race-hatred. Woody Guthrie soon found this out. As he wrote:

I suppose
Old Man Trump knows
Just how much
Racial Hate
he stirred up
In the bloodpot of human hearts
When he drawed
That color line
Here at his
Eighteen hundred family project

Woody Guthrie and “Old Man Trump”  brings to life all the anger and contempt that Guthrie felt for those in power who will deny justice to their fellow human beings on account of the color of their skin. Against the backdrop of Guthrie’s racial awakening and emergent activism, Will introduces such previously unheard songs as “Trump Made a Tramp Out of Me” and “Beach Haven Ain’t My Home,” along with a host of other Guthrie songs about racial injustice and struggle. All in all, we hear Woody Guthrie speaking and singing from beyond the grave, warning us about the dangers of ignoring and repeating history.

 Listen up all you Jim Crow fascists and you race-hate mongers, too:
Will Kaufman is a-comin’ and he’s got his eye on you.
Won’t brake for no excuses, won’t stand no messin’ around,
Your bigot ways can’t save you ’cause Will Kaufman’s gonna run you down.- Ry Cooder

‘No one can understand the American people without listening to Woody Guthrie. Will Kaufman’s doing important work here.  – Tom Paxton

‘I thank Will Kaufman for introducing a new generation of Europeans to “the other America.” It’s a wonderful job he’s doing. – Pete Seeger

‘Will presents this exhilarating show in the fastest hour and a half you are likely to witness when you consider the breadth and depth of his subject. He performs Woody’s songs with great skill and understanding, playing the guitar, banjo and fiddle with enviable panache and brio. His presentation is accomplished with great musicality, wit, honesty, and compassion.  – Ralph McTell

‘I so appreciate all of your efforts to take his legacy further. Who knows where he’ll end up! – Nora Guthrie

Buy tickets for Will here

14th May – Henhouse Prowlers

The Henhouse Prowlers are Bluegrass Ambassadors.

Founded over 13 years ago with the simple desire to play original and powerful bluegrass, this quartet now finds themselves at the intersection of performance, diplomacy and education.  The Prowlers have now been to more than 25 countries across the globe, working with the U.S. State Department and under their own nonprofit, Bluegrass Ambassadors – incorporating music from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and more into their already robust repertoire of unique traditional American music.

On stage, in workshops and wherever they are, the Henhouse Prowlers find and spread the commonality we share as human beings through the universal language of music.
You can feel it at every show.

Buy tickets for Henhouse Prowlers here

17th May – Toby Marks and Andrew Heath

‘Motion’ is a new collaborative album from established sound artists, Toby Marks and Andrew Heath. Four immersive soundscapes were created and compiled featuring field recordings from recent trips to the North, South, East and West of Britain. Each trip took as it’s theme a particular form of transport which, in addition to other environmental sounds from those areas, were processed and transformed, blending piano, guitars and electronics to produce a deeply meditative, endlessly unfolding collection. Sometimes evoking images of machinery, sometimes of nature, the pieces flow and twist, at all times maintaining a humanity and sense of personal experience at their core.

Performed live, the pieces are partly composed and partly improvised as both artists follow the lead of the recorded sounds to guide their playing. Sometimes intense, sometimes barely there at all, the music enthralls and entices, drawing the audience into a world both seemingly familiar and strangely unknown.

Accompanying the music are live video manipulations by Patrick Dunn, blending real-world imagery and computer generated textures.

Toby Marks
In his guise as Banco de Gaia, Toby first came to the world’s attention on the Ambient Dub compilations of the early ‘90s. Since then he has focused on globally inspired dance music and deep ambient explorations and meditations.

Best known for his ‘ode to Tibetan independence’ Last Train to Lhasa, Toby has more recently been expanding his interest in ambient and electroacoustic music, moving from the dance floor to the sofa to explore his long-held love of the beautiful, the exotic and the sublime. On stage he mixes computer-based electronics with real world recordings and occasional guitar, producing an engrossing and uplifting journey through his ambient work.

Andrew Heath
A soundscape artist and composer, Andrew Heath creates quiet, ambient, lower-case music based around piano, electronics and field recordings, drawing inspiration from a simple piano motif, an electronic shimmer or a processed found sound. The work he produces blends piano, electronics and found sounds into a mix that on the surface sounds quite minimal and open, but on closer listening, contains detailed fragments, constantly shifting and changing place.

In performance, Andrew Heath re-interprets his studio work weaving multiple layers of textural field recordings balanced with ethereal whispers of electronic sound and half-glimpsed piano melodies. Recent performances have seen him add acoustic instruments to his palette often bowed or e-bowed, but certainly not played conventionally. This is immersive, ambient music. It drifts. It constantly shifts as it charts new topographies, creating and following maps that are full of change.

Buy tickets for Toby, Andrew and Patrick here

 

18th May – John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett

The Nearly Free Tour – For any Otway/Barrett virgins out there who don’t know what to expect, be prepared for everything from bare-chested theremin playing to wah wah wheelie bin as the duo jump from one hit and 40 near misses to another:  An amazing and irreverent performance by two master entertainers.
This magnetic bond still holds after more than 40 years of attempted escapes and still loved for their total in-yer-face originality, the contrast between the dead pan humour of Barrett and mad onstage antics of Otway are hilarious to watch.  John’s lyrical genius and Willy’s outstanding musicianship (he seems to play almost every stringed instrument known to man, plus a few hybrids of his own making!)

Ever keen to add a new dimension to the show, Willy has a new addition to his array of instruments. Beware the Moose Homp!!.
Willy’s interest in making instruments began when he commandeered two guitars made by his dad in 1965. One from an old guitar neck and a scaffold plank which became affectionally known as the Les Dawson, and the other branded the Mk1 Schitstik electric slide of similar pedigree. These instruments were used on many of the early tracks, including Really Free and Racing Cars.

Was the Last Straw Tour of 2017 to be the end?  Willy’s remark “this will be the last time that many of you will see us together again” was often hastily misinterpreted as the final throw of the dice, but the reason given “it’s not us packing up, it’s you lot dying off, you know who you are!” is often overlooked by eager scribes. And so the rumours abound.

Buy tickets for Jon and Willy here

 

22nd May – Sara Grey and Kieron Means

Sara Grey is a fine American singer, banjo player and song collector. She’s immersed in the song traditions of both sides of the Atlantic. She has performed throughout the UK, Europe, North America, and Australia for the past 50 years.

Kieron Means is a singer and guitar player of great merit. He was born in the United States and grew up in Britain with the music of both traditions. He is a fine performer of traditional and contemporary songs. He has toured in the States, UK, and often performed with his mother, Sara Grey.

Sara Says:”We perform from a wide range of American traditions including old-time songs and ballads from the Appalachians, Ozarks, New England and the West, blues and gospel music as well as a few of our favourite written songs. The passage of songs from Great Britain and Ireland to America is of particular interest to us. A good deal of our material is the American versions that have travelled, though a song or two from Britain will no doubt be sung. It is our aim during the evening to encourage our audience to join us in singing the chorus of many of our songs.

Buy tickets for Sara and Kieron here

 

25th May – Kitty Macfarlane

“This young Somerset-based singer-songwriter’s blessed with a strong identity: a confident singing voice and a compelling writing style deriving inspiration from growing up in the south-west, allied to a talent for finding wider significance in everyday experiences. An outstanding debut”​- fRoots Magazine

Kitty Macfarlane is a Bristol-based songwriter and accomplished guitar player. Her sharply observed narrative songs are pure poetry, rich with visual imagery and written with an eco-eye – bound loosely by the theme of mankind’s relationship with the wild. This autumn sees the release of Kitty Macfarlane’s highly anticipated debut album Namer of Clouds, produced by Sam Kelly and Jacob J Stoney and featuring a recognisable cast of musicians.

Gathering inspiration from the sky to the seabed, Kitty’s lyrics touch on intervention and rewilding, climate change and migration and one singular song which is a magical aural tapestry of woman’s historical relationship with textiles and the land. From the starling murmurations on the Somerset Levels to the lowly eel’s epic transatlantic migration, and the small part we ourselves play in a much bigger picture.

The album is augmented by all kinds of ‘found sound’ recorded in locations from Somerset to Sardinia – birdsong, waterfalls, the click of knitting needles- and is bookended by sounds of the wild. She’s toured with acclaimed folk duo Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, and also Blair Dunlop, and performed extensively around the UK. Her first EP received airplay on BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music. She has been shortlisted for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, received project funding from the English Folk Dance and Song Society and been awarded the Lyndsey de Paul Prize for female songwriters. Namer of Clouds is released on 21st September 2018.

Buy tickets for Kitty here

 

 

1st June – The Jigantics

The Jigantics are a four-piece band full of multi instrumentalists,  who frequently swop instruments and share lead vocals with stunning four part harmonies.

Never afraid to mix musical styles but always with a touch of class, combining original material with their own interpretation of Steve Earl, Tom Waites to name a few.  Their foot-tapping, feel good and totally convincing tearjerkers makes for a remarkable and spellbinding evenings’ entertainment The whole effect is one of wondering what may come next and then being surprised when the unexpected happens.

“One of Roots musics “super groups” and must see live acts”
Daily Telegraph

“An awesome band, genuine, easygoing and very skilled musicians” Ken Brown Square Roots Promoter

“You can’t go wrong with a band that has two standing ovations”
Koen Hottentot, Roots aan de Zaan, The Netherlands

Buy tickets for the Jigantics here