Short & Sweet
Aranis "Smells Like Aranis" (CD, Home Records, 2017).
has been one of the innovators of new Belgian music in the last 15 years. For this album they once again changed course.
This time the point of departure has been the music of 90s cult grunge band Nirvana.
The theme of the original songs -- anger, madness, boredom, depression --
are brought together in a challenging and confrontational interpretation.
Listen to "Smells Like" @ BandCamp!
Iva Bittová & Čikori "At Home" (CD, Indies Scope/Pavian Records, 2016).
It took Iva Bittová??
two years of fully focused but peaceful and joyful work to record a new album.
Three songs out of nine are in English; the lyrics for the title track were written by American poet Linda Gregg, whereas
"A Paper Cone" by renowned London critique Ken Hunt.
Listen to "Anděl" @ SoundCloud!
Conor Caldwell & Danny Diamond "North" (CD, Own label , 2016).
A duo album of these two Belfast born fiddlers, showcasing solely their fiddle sounds. Playing largely traditional Irish material - some long forgotten tunes found in old manuscript collections, others learnt in their childhood - the album with its duo fiddle sounds has a somewhat archaic feel to it. The quality of the playing is very high.
Mairi Campbell & David Francis "There's Some Wad Say" (Download, 2017).
Mairi Campbell?? and David Francis??
wrote "There's Some Wad Say" around the time of the Scottish referendum in 2014,
inspired by Robert Burns's "A Man's a Man for a That", taking the same content and rhyme but new words and tune.
Today it seems even more relevant. Download the free track
and accompanying lyrics!
Boo Boo Davis "Live And Almost Unplugged" (CD, Black an Tan Records, 2016??).
So far all of Boo Boo’s?ß
records were cut in one take live in the studio, but without an audience. This is the
first release that is recorded live WITH an audience. Cafe de Amer is a small barn in the north of Holland.
The recordings were made with just one stereo microphone in the middle of a completely packed room.
Have a listen @ SoundCloud!
Nick Decesare "Openings" (CD, Own label, 2016).
Acoustic pianist Nick Decesare, inspired by classical, new age and jazz music (Keith Jarrett especially),
believes in the power of gentle solo piano music by helping to relax, relieve stress,
calm down and expand your consciousness. These 13 peaceful tunes on his debut album "Openings" are an
appreciation for the quieter parts of life that are not necessarily fostered by corporate America, 'the gain game.'
Fjøllmannjentun "Skattlandet" (CD, Etnisk Musikklubb, 2016).
Three ladies celebrate the old traditions of the interior of the Telemark region in Norway, on hardanger fiddle, vocals and "langeleik" an instrument in the zither family. A very traditional, nearly archaic album of songs and tunes, displaying the beauty of traditional Norwegian melodies in its barest. A long album with 23 tracks.
Eamon Friel "Takeaway" (EP, Thran Records, 2017).
Northern Irish singer/songwriter Eamon Friel??
often writes about his life and experiences. The story behind ‘Takeaway’ as told by Eamon:
It was the year I did my A levels. I went to London looking for a summer job. It was the first time I’d been away
from home on my own.
My cousin ran a public house in Clapham and he put me up for the duration. There was a man who dropped into the
bar now and then. He was called Mister Woo. He was London Chinese and the owner
of a nearby takeaway. He was also the cook and he needed a chief bottle washer! That was me.
Mister Woo had one major eccentricity. When he was cooking, he sang. He sang all sorts of songs - pop songs, show
songs, even bits of opera, but his speciality was little jingles he’d make up about the menu. I’d be out at the
counter serving. I’d hear Mister Woo’s Cockney tenor drifting in from the kitchen, so I’d join in just for the laugh.
We even tried a routine, a little song and dance act, out front when things were slow.
Eliza Gilkyson "The Great Correction" (Video, 2017).
latest video, set to her song “the Great Correction” from the album “Beautiful World”,??
features a collection of photos depicting the brave souls who fought for racial, gender, and economic
justice as well as environmental sustainability throughout US history.
Given the current state it is unfortunately more relevant than ever.
Eliza screened the video at Folk Alliance International’s 2017 conference,
“Forbidden Folk: Celebrating Activism in Art,” where she co-hosted a panel with
Billy Bragg?? titled “Contemporary Protest: Music, Politics and Activism.”
View "The Great Correction" @ YouTube!
Hat Check Girl "Two Sides To Every Story" (CD, Gallway Bay Music, 2016).
Hat Check Girl?? is the collaboration between two seasoned performers,
and Peter Gallway.??
Their 6th release, "Two Sides To Every Story", is a ?? collection of ten songs, written in pairs,
collected in 5 chapters, with interludes and an epilogue. See YouTube playlist!
P.S.: Annie Gallup's 11th solo recording is scheduled for spring 2017.
Michael Hearne "Red River Dreams" (CD, Howlin' Dog Records, 2016);
Shake Russell "Little Bright Band of Light" (CD, Howlin' Dog Records, 2016);
Michael Hearne & Shake Russell "Only As Strong As Your Dreams" (CD, Howlin' Dog Records, 2016).
Michael Hearne?? and Shake Russell?? are originators of the Southwestern Americana sound and
performing together regularly, both around their home state of Texas and beyond.
Their “The Highway Is a Friend of Mine” is a great picking song and classic traveling troubadour tune.
Check out Shake Russell & Michael Hearne live from McGonigel's Mucky Duck Houston @ YouTube!
Sarah Jarosz "Jacqueline" (Video, 2017).
2017 has been off to a busy start! Sarah Jarosz,??
Jeff Picker (bass) and Anthony da Costa (guitars) had an amazing time touring in the UK and Ireland.
Watch Sarah Jarosz (with Chris Thile, Rich Dworsky, Brittany Haas, and Paul Kowert) sing "Jacqueline"
on the A Prairie Home Companion show in January @ YouTube!
Jenny & Tyler "For Freedom II" (Digital EP, 2017).
Three years ago, Jenny & Tyler??
released a covers EP called "For Freedom"??
to raise awareness and funds for International Justice Mission (IJM),
a human rights organization that works to combat human-trafficking and modern slavery.
Right now, "For Freedom II" has been released digitally only; you can purchase it @
Watch The last track "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (featuring Kris Allen) @ YouTube!
Ivas John "Good days a comin" (CD, Own label , 2016).
An appealing blend of folk, country, bluegrass and blues presented by this American singer/songwriter. The album has a lot of flair to it; the music feels relaxed, Ivas John's singing and fingerpicking is distinctive and full of personality. Most of the songs are written by the singer, and he is joined on the album by dobro, fiddle, bass and drums.
Seth Kibel "New Waltz" (Video, 2015).
American clarinet player Seth Kibel??
has just launched two new projects - a duo collaboration with percussionist Tom Teasley
doing some klezmer, some jazz, some electronics, and a whole lotta improvisation;
and a brass band doing some rock, soul, dixieland, blues, and other American roots music!
Furthermore, Kibel's song, "New Waltz" off his album "No Words," won the Grand Prize for
the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest sponsored by the Songwriter's Association of Washington (SAW).
Here's the winning song @ YouTube!
KV Express "Zafon" (CD, Home Records, 2017).
KV Express is a project of the diatonic accordionist Sophie Cavez,??
with her compositions inspired by traditional music and the writings of the Spanish novelist C. Ruiz Zafòn.
Check out "Zafon"
Tara MacLean "Evidence" (Download, 2016).
Tara MacLean is a Canadian singer/songwriter who has been on the music scene for over 20 years.
After having taken a hiatus to have her three children, she has emerged to reconnect with her loyal
fans and meet new ones.
Enjoy this rare collection of songs from her past, as well as unreleased treasures from her vault @
Watch Tara performing the unreleased "Child" for a 2000 Vancouver TV special @ YouTube!
Aimee Mann "Goose Snow Cone" (Single/Video, 2017).
With her upcoming album "Mental Illness," Aimee Mann??
returns to her acoustic roots and lyrically barbed songs. “I assume the brief on me
is that people think that I write these really depressing songs,” Mann says. “So if they thought that my songs
were very down-tempo, very depressing, very sad, and very acoustic, I thought I’d just give myself permission to
write the saddest, slowest, most acoustic, if-they’re-all-waltzes-so-be-it record I could…”
Watch the official video to the album’s lead single, “Goose Snow Cone,”
Cary Morin "Tiny Town" (CD, ??, 2016??).
"A man and a guitar, a lot of soul, and an understanding of the history of soulful men with guitars in American
music can sometimes achieve this kind of timelessness in their work”, comments Richard Higgs of Public Radio Tulsa
on Crow tribal member and acoustic fingerstyle guitarist Cary Morin (ex The Pura Fé Trio). ??
“Cary Morin has the chops and is one of the best acoustic pickers on the scene today, his performances would
stand out, variously, among the old-school delta blues pliers, the Greenwich Village folk crowd at the end of
the 50's, the back-to-nature bards of the late 60's, or today's thriving singer-songwriter scene, Morin
references all these styles, they're in his vocabulary, but he's no dilettante, his engaging sound is his alone".
Check out / Watch / Listen to ?? @ YouTube!
Nisia "Pandora e cumpagnia" (CD, Home Records, 2017).
On their second album "Pandora e cumpagnia," Nisia (singer/percussionist Emanuela Lodato and double bassist Vincent Noiret)
are paying tribute to the rich musical traditions of Sicily and the South of Italy.
Featuring accordionist Virginia Maiorana and piper-flutist Antonio Putzu.
Check out Nisia @ YouTube!
Richard Osborn "Endless" (CD, Tompkins Square, 2017).
Richard Osborn has studied and performed with the legendary Robbie Basho??
in the early 1970's, then disappeared from view due to a severe hand injury. He continues Basho's
free raga style, inspired by folk traditions as well as the classical music of East and West,
on his new album. Please check out
Richard Osborn's YouTube Playlist!
Tom Paxton "Life" (Video, 2016).
may have trimmed his touring schedule, but he is far from done writing songs and performing.
On his forthcoming album "Boat in the Water" he features new songs co-and a few from the past that were calling back to him.
Watch "Life" written in 1975 to be included on "Boat in the Water" @ YouTube!
Klô Pelgag "Les ferrofluides-fleurs" (Single/Video, 2017).
has released a new single along with a music video. "Les ferrofluides-fleurs" is the second track off her most recent record
"L'Étoile thoracique" which is now officially released in France, Switzerland and Belgium (CD review is in the pipeline).
Watch it @ YouTube!
Noam Pikelny "Universal Favorite" (CD, Rounder Records, 2017);
Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge "Mount Royal" (CD, Free Dirt Records, 2017);
Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau "Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau" (CD, ??, 2017);
Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer "Bach Trios" (CD, Nonesuch Records, 2017).
Banjoist Noam Pikelny??
of Americana supergroup Punch Brothers??
has three previous recordings which were full-band affairs, so "Universal Favorite" is truly his solo debut.
It features only the man himself, and for the first time in his career, he even sings. Pikelny
calls "Universal Favorite" "my musical manifesto. It's the most personal statement I've put forward.
The setting couldn't be more stark, and I think it lays bare my musical core."
Watch The Making Of Universal Favorite
and Noam performing "Waveland" on A Prairie Home Companion!
Noam's fellow Punch Brothers are equally busy. Guitarist Chris Eldridge released his second full-length collaboration with jazz guitarist Julian Lage, venturing into gospel, old-time and bluegrass ("Bone Collector"). Mandolinist Chris Thile teamed up with jazz pianist Brad Mehldau ("Independence Day") and cellist Yo-Yo Ma?? ("J.S. Bach's Trio Sonata No. 6 in G Major, BWV 530: I. Vivace").
David Rovics "1848" (Video, 2017).
»1848 was a damn good year for pitchforks. A coalition of peasants, workers and the petit bourgeoisie grew massive
and chopped off the heads of monarchs throughout Europe. This is the continent-wide rebellion that led directly
to social democracy as Europeans know it today. The ruling class learned that it's better to share the wealth a
bit than to get your head chopped off. The repercussions of this European rebellion were global, leading
to many political reforms in the US, Australia and elsewhere.«
Listen to "1848" @ YouTube!
If you'd like to help David record this and 20 other new songs in a studio with a band, feel free to contribute to the
Punk Baroque Album Project.
Runaway Horse "Beautiful Blue" (EP, So Plum Music, 2016).
Singer-songwriter Mari Tirsa blends earthy vocals with ethereal keyboards, guitars and percussion to create a hypnotic vibe.
Watch Runaway Horse performing the title track "Beautiful Blue" at the 2014 East Austin Festival
Nancy Shoop-Wu "Rainbow Road" (CD, Lei Hoku Music, 2017).
Classically trained violinist Nancy Shoop-Wu wrote the tunes on "Rainbow Road"
to uplift and transport the listener's heart to a different world - the world of beauty and
wonder that lies within us all. "Rainbow Road" effortlessly blends new age melodicism
with the magic of the Hawaiian Islands (featuring acclaimed slack-key guitarrists Jeff Peterson and Ian O'Sullivan).
Watch her relaxing music @ YouTube!
Steve ‘N’ Seagulls "Brothers in Farms" (CD, ??, 2016).
Steve ‘N’ Seagulls are, basically, a YouTube lark gone horribly wrong. Back in the summer of 2014
a bunch of Finnish musicians played a hillbillified version of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”
on their barnyard wearing the goofiest apparel possible and shot the darn thing on video. Eventually,
the video ramped up millions of views, landing the band on the websites and magazine pages of metal media.
The latest release "Brothers in Farms," including selected classics from
AC/DC, Steppenwolf and Guns N' Roses, went number 1 on the Billboard Bluegrass album chart!
Check out "Aces High" @ YouTube!
Nora Jane Struthers & Korby Lenker "Let's Just Have Supper" (Video, 2017).
The tense political climate in the US has already inspired plenty of topical songs,
but wouldn't it be better if we could all just come around a table for a meal and conversation?
Nashville singer-songwriters Nora Jane Struthers??
and Korby Lenker??
found themselves less in the mood to agitate than to extend an invitation of sorts and
wrote their first co-write in the spirit of bringing people with opposing viewpoints together.
Watch "Let's Just Have Supper" @ YouTube!
Uniform "The Killing of America" (Video, 2017).
New York City duo Uniform's industrial thrash metal is not FolkWorld's cup of tea, but we support the sentiment:
There were 385 mass shootings (incidents where 4 or more people are injured or killed with a firearm)
in America in 2016 resulting in 450 deaths in total.
Listen and watch to "The Killing of America", the second single from Uniform's full-length "Wake In Fright"
9Bach "Yr Olaf" (Video, 2017).
Just before 9Bach released the "Anian" album,??
they filmed a few songs live on the S4C programme Stiwdio Gefn.
Watch them performing "Yr Olaf" (The Last) live @ YouTube!
Lisa ?? from 9Bach gives some insight into "Yr Olaf" (The Last):
"Yr Olaf is a song inspired by a photo of Sudan - the last male white
rhino. In this song I’m questioning what kind of person are you that wants to destroy such an amazing thing,
who has pleasure in planting their dagger in leathery skin and enjoy the last glimmer in their eye.
I love singing this song, it makes me angry!"
Various Artists "A Tribute In Music and Song to John Bellany" (CD, Greentrax Recordings, 2015).
The late John Bellany (1942–2013) was born and brought up in Port Seton, Scotland, and went on to become a painter of international renown.
His father was a boat builder and many of John’s paintings reflect his connection with fishing and the sea (the album's front cover is Port Seton Harbour).
John also had a great love of music and in fact had a ceilidh band named The Blue Bonnets in his early years.
This Greentrax collection of music and songs is released as a tribute to the great man and many were John’s favourites.
Ft. Siobhan Miller,??
Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham,??
Davy Steele?? with Ceolbeg and Drinker’s Drouth,
Various Artists "Beránci a vlci / Rams and Wolves" (CD, Indies Scope, 2017).
This is a unique recording of traditional songs from Moravia, originating in a concert titled "Z kořenů k world music"
(From the Roots to World Music) which took place at the festival Folkové prázdniny in 2014.
Contemporary folklore is represented by the women’s choir Ženský sbor z Kudlovic from Eastern Moravia (Dolňácko)
and RukyNaDudy from Frenštát pod Radhoštěm (Beskydy), focusing on archaic musical instruments and playing styles.
These two groups are complemented by jazz musicians with a close relationship to folklore such as
the Jitka Šuranská?? Trio
and Sdružení nezávislých jazzmenů (The Group of Independent Jazzmen).
Watch teaser with english subtitles @ YouTube!
Various Artists "Celtic Colours Live Volume 4" (CD, Own label, 2016).
Cape Breton Island was adorned in the finest fall colours as the Celtic Colours International Festival
celebrated its 20th anniversary in October 2016. Special performances -- strathspeys, reel and puirt-a-beul --
were captured live from groups such as
Le Vent du Nord,??
fiddlers such as
and singers such as
and Dougie McLean.??
Check out Liz Carroll, Troy MacGillivray and Trevor Hutchinson live at Celtic Colours 2016
Various Artists "God Don't Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson" (CD, Alligator Records, 2017).
January 25th has been the 120th birthday of gospel bluesman Blind Willie Johnson (1897–1945).
"God Don't Never Change" highlights the music of the charismatic and influential slide guitarist and singer.
The eleven-track album features inspired interpretations from
The Blind Boys Of Alabama,??
and others delivering poignant versions of Blind Willie Johnson's music.
Various Artists "InFiné10 - Tomorrow Sounds Better With You" (CD, InFiné, 2016).
French record label InFiné (motto: easy music for the hard to please)
celebrates its first decade and curated a 19-track collection, ft.
Pedro Soler & Gaspar Claus,??
and many more. Listen to playlist @ YouTube!
Various Artists "International Blues Challenge #32, 2016" (CD, The Blues Foundation, 2016).
The International Blues Challenge IBC is the world's largest
showcase and competition of the best new talent the blues genre has to offer by The Blues Foundation,
a Memphis based organization founded in 1980 whose mission is to preserve the blues heritage and
expand world wide awareness of this uniquely American art form.
The nine tracks on this CD were drawn from the 2016 IBC's sixteen solo/duo/band division finalists
(the result of a partnership between The Blues Foundation
and Frank Roszak Promotions).
Ft. Paul Deslauriers Band,??
The Norman Jackson Band,??
Trey Johnson and Jason Willmon,??
Hector Anchondo Band,??
Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons,??
Various Artists "Live From Austin, TX Country Mixtape" (Download, New West Records, 2017).
New West Records has curated the finest collection of recordings available from the Austin City Limits
television program. These recordings, culled from hundreds of performances from the 1970s
to the 2000s, represent a great treasures in American music. Now, in 2017, New West Records is pleased to announce
a variety of first time vinyl releases.
To celebrate, New West Records is offering a mixtape of some of the finest cuts from the country music genre, ft.
Asleep At The Wheel,??
Download the Austin City Limits Country Mixtape @ NoiseTrade!
Various Artists "Yep Roc Presents: Sounds From Folk Alliance International" (Download, Yep Roc, 2017).
In February verybody is heading to Kansas City, MO to
attend Folk Alliance International, one of the favorite musical events and conferences of the year.
Yep Roc teamed up with MerleFest to sponsor an official showcase, featuring Sara Watkins,??
The Barefoot Movement,??
and Jonathan Byrd.??
Download the “Sounds from Folk Alliance International”