Sunday, 29 August 2010

Album Review: Seán Kangataran - Self-titled

A hugely enjoyable debut album from Galwegian Seán Kangataran. It's a singer-songwriter album with global appeal. Easily one of the best albums of the year.





When I haven't written a review on the blog for a few days it's usually because I'm really enjoying the next album I'm about to write about. It's a nice perk to the blog when a talented songwriter approaches me to write a review. I get to be one of the first batch of people to have heard the album and I really hope many many people get a chance to hear Seán Kangataran's self titled debut.


The album reminds me of Sufjan Stevens's Illinois album. There's a definite hint of Americana is some of the tracks. Unfortunately the music media mafia in this country will probably write the album off as singer-songwriter fodder but Seán's album offers so much more.


The lyrics really stand-out on the album. There are tales of love and relationships, of beauty and self image, of loss and breakdowns and of prominent life journeys. These lyrics are well thought out and mean something to me. It's one of those albums which I'll hold important to me way off into the future. The best tracks for me on the album are the upbeat opener 'Burn it All', 'Hold Back' and the album sampler below 'Hairpins'.




Seán Kangataran - Self-titled [11 out of 12]

Listen to the track Hairpins here:

Seán Kangataran - Hairpins by 2uibestow

More info: http://www.myspace.com/seankangataran



Here's some background info copied from Seán's MySpace:


"After spending the early part of 2009 working intimately with Glen Hansard on The Swell Season's acclaimed album; "Strict Joy" Seán set to work recording his own full length debut album.

It was a miserable affair and was rightly and thankfully scrapped (misery needs no company). In May of 2010 after spending the first half of the year away from music, in a swimming pool, he began again. The goal was simple. To take the same sad album and give it joy and give it life. He stumbled onto the finest streak of good fortune anyone could hope to have.

He found a drummer who had spent thirty years teaching drums but never played on an album, he found trumpets and trombones, he found a homeless violin player that had spent twenty-three of his twenty-eight years on the planet playing classical music. He convinced Karl Odlum (The Frames/Swell Season/Gemma Hayes/Fionn Regan) to mix the album and Fergal Davis (Muse/Josh Ritter) to master it. The entire album was tracked in thirty days and completed for the paltry sum of €2,700/$3,500."

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Tweet Review: Groom - Marraige

A tweet review is a mini review in 140 characters or less. Groom's Marraige is their forth and the launch is tonight in The Lower Deck with Land Lovers and Yeh Deadlies.




Marraige is a superb collection of indie-pop songs, high on fun, hooks, catchy choruses and engrossing tales. Simply 1 of the best in 2010!


Groom - Marraige [10 out of 12]


All the Bored People by popical_island





Groom - Mysteries Of Life by popical_island


Check out this review of Groom's Marraige to see how album reviews should be written: http://harmlessnoise.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/album-groom/



Thursday, 19 August 2010

Hard Working Class Heroes 2010 Mixtape

There are some really great bands on the line-up for the Hard Working Class Heroes 2010. Many of the bands below I've done my fair share of writing about in the past on this blog. Looks like it'll be a great festival!


http://www.hwch.net




At Last An Atlas


At Last An Atlas - Heaven Knows by atlastanatlas


Autumn Owls
Awake Young Soldiers
Axis Of
Bantum
Biggles Flys Again
Bitches With Wolves
Blasterbra
Bouts
Cfit
Cloud Castle Lake
Colenso Parade
Conor Mason


Luck by ConorMason


Conor walsh
Creatures
Dark Room Notes
Datadrip
Deaf Joe
Electric Penguins
EleventyFour
Enemies
Escape Act
Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters
Friend?
Funeral Suits
FUNZO
FUTURES APART
GMC
Goatboy


Winter Tears by Goatboy


Grand Pocket Orchestra
HAL
Hellfire Cub
HERM


Who's Blue? by Hermwork


Hired Hands
Holy Innocents
HOUSE OF DOLLS
Ivan St John
Jefl & Hyde
Jennifer Evans & The Ripe Intent
Jogging
John Shelly and the Creatures
Junior85
Keith Mullins
Kid Karate
Kill Krinkle Club
LaFaro
Le Galaxie
Leaflog
Liz Is Evil
Lost Chord
Miracle Bell
MO-T
Mrs Healy's First Class Choir
New Amusement
Norabelle
Nouveaunoise
Our Little Secrets
Pearse McGloughlin
Percolator


Lead salad by Percolator (band)




PIO
PLANET PARADE
RSAG
Sacred Animals


Welcome Home by sacredanimals


Sleep Thieves
Slumberjet
Sounds of System Breakdown
Squarehead
STRAIT LACES
Super Extra Bonus Party
Sweet Jane


Sweet Jane 'Bleed' by SweetJaneMusic



Talulah Does The Hula
The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra
The Capitals
The Cast Of Cheers
The Crayon Set
The Dead Flags
The Depravations
The Dirty 9s
The Eulogys
The Evening Watch
The Gorgeous Colours
The Holy Roman Army
THE LOAFING HEROES
The Lost Brothers


The Lost Brothers: Angry At The Sun by CultureNI




The Minutes

Fleetwood by The Minutes


The OBCD
The Q
Tiny Magnetic Pets
Toy Soldier
Trophy Boyfriend
Valerie Francis
Verona Riots
Vickers Vimy
We Are Losers
We Cut Corners

Say Yes To Everything mastered by wecutcorners




We Should Be Dead
Windings
Yeh Deadlies

Yeh Deadlies - Teenage Pricks (Up Yours Forever) by popical_island




Yes Cadets
Zealots


Little Hisses by zealots

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Damien Dempsey Live At Workman's Club - Sept 15th

THE WORKMAN’S CLUB presents Damien Dempsey WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 15TH , 2010
**Tickets go on sale THIS FRIDAY 20 August** €28 inc. booking fee

Support comes from the excellent Eoin Glackin.


Here's some excellent recent footage of Damien's gig at the Thatch Rahan by Aisling from Live Mic: http://www.livemicgigs.com/
















Music@The Workman’s Club

Thursday 9 Sept. On the Record Presents PVT (Formerly Pivot)
Friday 10 Sept. Fionn Regan
Wednesday 15 Sept. Damien Dempsey
Saturday 16 Sept. The Jimmy Cake
Thursday 30 Sept. Fighting With Wire
Saturday 2 Oct. Humanzi
Thursday 14 Oct. Windings
Monday 22 Nov. Blitzen Trapper

Monday, 16 August 2010

EP Review: The Blue Choir - Get Ready For War

This is a quality EP from a hugely talented band from Dublin/Kildare. It contains that one superb track which elevates the band above the ordinary.






In really simplistic terms if you can imagine a quirky frontman of an alternative rock band, say for example if Adrian Crowley fronted The Frames then you come close to what The Blue Choir offers. Their debut EP entitled 'Get Ready For War' contains five well written songs which are full of guile and passion you don't normally get from a band on their debut release.



The opening title track is full of heavy conscious thought, crashing guitars and full string section which highlights the ambition of the band. I love the guitar rift of the second track 'It Happens To Everyone'. Barry's vocals can be a bit muddled but for me it focuses the ears to sharpen in on the vocals that bit more. The other songs are more of the same except for that one great tune called 'What If I Could Be The One'.



I was fortunate to hear the track live before I heard it on the EP. Seeing a quality band performing a song with so much passion and class was very moving. The song itself has all the components of a great song. Good lyrics, refraining singalong chorus, quirky guitar rifts, crashing guitars and passionate vocals.


The Blue Choir - What if I Could Be the One by 2uibestow


The Blue Choir - Get Ready For War [10 out of 12]


More info: http://www.myspace.com/thebluechoir

Friday, 13 August 2010

List: The Best 25 Songs in the life of 2UIBestow [pt 5]

Here we are at 1000. A decent milestone in anyone's book. Thank you the reader for checking back on a regular basis. Here's the Top 5!






1. Terry Sutton - The Laughter


So yeah Terry's wonderful tune 'The Laughter' gets top spot. I suppose I'm highlighting the fact that it's simply wrong that Terry Sutton has a few great albums in him that have not been recorded and released. Almost every band and artist I compare to Terry Sutton and very few come close to what Terry has. His voice has great range, his lyrics always tell a story and his songs are perfectly delivered. Maybe someday soon I'll have a Terry Sutton album to review.


Link: http://www.purevolume.com/terrysutton


Terry Sutton - The Laughter by 2uibestow




2. I Am Not Lefthanded - Long Goodbyes

I love the guitar rift intro, them delicate vocals, the bass line, the build-up, the lyrics, the backing vocals .... etc .........

Link: http://www.iamnotlefthanded.com/

Long Goodbyes by I Am Not Lefthanded





3. Heritage Centre - You Are Something


Heritage Centre are a great band who have released a few brilliant singles in the last number of years. Last I heard from the band was they are recording their debut album in Canada. Looking forward to it!

Link: http://heritagecentre.bandcamp.com/

Heritage Centre - You Are Something by 2uibestow





4. David Hope - Daybreak Someplace


'Daybreak Someplace' very much reminds me of an old folk song. It has wonderful lyrics, superb vocals and harmonies and sung with real vigour.

Link: http://www.myspace.com/davidhope

David Hope - Daybreak Someplace by 2uibestow




5. Iain Archer - Frozen Lake

I adore this song for the vocals, guitar rift and cello section that gives the song a haunting mood. It's such a beautiful tune.

Link: http://www.iainarcher.co.uk/

Iain Archer - Frozen Lake by 2uibestow


6. Brian Canavan - Nightclubbin'
7. Pearse McGloughlin - Passion Song
8. Resurrection Fern - Brothers
9. The Pony Club - What Are You Angry For?
10. Bill Coleman - False North
11. One Day International - Miss Your Mouth
12. Miss Paula FLynn - Ghost in my Car
13. Eric Eckhart - Lost
14. Declan DeBarra - Beautiful One
15. Odi - Leaving My Love In New York
16: Ultan Conlon - Old & Wise
17: Arrow in the Sky - Verbal Waltz
18: Maria Byrne - All You Need
19: The Chapters - Videotapes
20: Sean Needham - I'm Not Afraid
21: Herm - Rearrange
22: Peadar King - Wanted Something
23: Peter Doran - Pathways
24: The Whiskey Limbs - Love Song
25: Junah - Walk Me To The Ground

Thursday, 12 August 2010

List: The Best 25 Songs in the life of 2UIBestow [pt 4]

In the week where we will reach 1000 posts on the blog I'll be counting down the best 25 songs I've discovered during the lifetime of the blog. 5 tracks a day in which my part 5 of the list hopefully being post 1000! Most of the songs will be available for download through Soundcloud






6. Brian Canavan - Nightclubbin'

It's a pain in the arse being too alternative for mainstream and too mainstream to be considered alternative! Everything about this song works. The lyrics, the piano intro, the vocals, the trumpet parts and the crashing guitars all make this song perfect!

Link: http://briancanavan.bandcamp.com/

08 Nightclubbin' by RisingStars





7. Pearse McGloughlin - Passion Song


This song was written a good few years ago but only became available on Pearse's excellent debut released over a year back. Ironically Pearse lost the passion for playing it. I love the refrain and the lyrics.

Link: http://www.walkperson.net/

Pearse McGloughlin - Passion Song by 2uibestow





8. Resurrection Fern - Brothers

The best song I've heard this year!

Link: http://www.myspace.com/resurrectionfern

Resurrection Fern - Brothers by 2uibestow





9. The Pony Club - What Are You Angry For?


Mark Cullen grew up a few streets from me so when he sings with this much honesty about life I get a real close connection. This is the stand-out track from the excellent album from 2008 called The Post Romantic.

Link: http://www.ponyclub.tv/

The Pony Club - What Are You Angry For- by 2uibestow



10. Bill Coleman - False North


I could easily have picked four or five new Bill Coleman tracks but I went for the gentle but effective False North. Lyrically it's probably Bill's best song!

Link: http://www.bcoleman.com/

Brownbread Mixtape - False North by bcoleman

11. One Day International - Miss Your Mouth
12. Miss Paula FLynn - Ghost in my Car
13. Eric Eckhart - Lost
14. Declan DeBarra - Beautiful One
15. Odi - Leaving My Love In New York
16: Ultan Conlon - Old & Wise
17: Arrow in the Sky - Verbal Waltz
18: Maria Byrne - All You Need
19: The Chapters - Videotapes
20: Sean Needham - I'm Not Afraid
21: Herm - Rearrange
22: Peadar King - Wanted Something
23: Peter Doran - Pathways
24: The Whiskey Limbs - Love Song
25: Junah - Walk Me To The Ground

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

List: The Best 25 Songs in the life of 2UIBestow [pt 3]

In the week where we will reach 1000 posts on the blog I'll be counting down the best 25 songs I've discovered during the lifetime of the blog. 5 tracks a day in which my part 5 of the list hopefully being post 1000! Most of the songs will be available for download through Soundcloud






11. One Day International - Miss Your Mouth

There's a few gigs which stand out over the last few years such as Mark Geary's gig there and then there was The Prayer Boat reunion. One of the best live bands I have ever seen are One Day International. Miss Your Mouth is my favourite song off their debut album. The band have disappeared at the moment .... hopefully they'll be back soon!

Link: http://www.myspace.com/onedayinternational

One Day International - Miss Your Mouth by 2uibestow






12. Miss Paula Flynn - Ghost in my Car


Miss Paula Flynn is Jinx Lennon's sidekick and 2XM radio dj. Last year she released a magical album of personal songs full of charm and warmth. Here's my favourite track ...

Link: http://www.misspaulaflynn.com/

Miss Paula Flynn - Ghost in my Car by 2uibestow






12. Eric Eckhart - Lost

Eric's debut from earlier this year is still on regular rotation in our home. Here's the best song from the album ....

Link: http://www.ericeckhart.com/

Lost by Eric Eckhart






14. Declan DeBarra - Beautiful One

Declan is the former Singer with Australian rock band Clann Zu who seems to be constantly touring all over the globe. 'Beautiful One' from his second solo album is a perfect love song!

Link: http://www.declandebarra.com/

Declan DeBarra - Beautiful One by 2uibestow






15. Odi - Leaving My Love In New York

Odi released her debut album early last year and has been busy touring all over the UK promoting it. ON the album is this gem of a pop song ....

Link: http://www.myspace.com/odimusic

Odi - Leaving My Love In New York by 2uibestow

16: Ultan Conlon - Old & Wise
17: Arrow in the Sky - Verbal Waltz
18: Maria Byrne - All You Need
19: The Chapters - Videotapes
20: Sean Needham - I'm Not Afraid
21: Herm - Rearrange
22: Peadar King - Wanted Something
23: Peter Doran - Pathways
24: The Whiskey Limbs - Love Song
25: Junah - Walk Me To The Ground

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

I Am Not Lefthanded - Long Goodbyes Tour

I cannot recommend this band enough! I AM Not Lefthanded have superb boy/girl harmonies, great lyrics, nice indie-pop tunes as well being some of the nicest people in the business. Go see them live!

List: The Best 25 Songs in the life of 2UIBestow [pt 2]

In the week where we will reach 1000 posts on the blog I'll be counting down the best 25 songs I've discovered during the lifetime of the blog. 5 tracks a day in which my part 5 of the list hopefully being post 1000! Most of the songs will be available for download through Soundcloud.




16: Ultan Conlon - Old & Wise


Galwegian Ultan Conlon is an amazing songwriter and deserves to be discovered by the masses. I love the delicacy of this song.

Link: http://ultanconlon.com/

Ultan Conlon - Old & Wise by 2uibestow



17: Arrow in the Sky - Verbal Waltz

Arrow in the Sky are one of the most talented bands in the country at the moment. They are close to releasing new material in the form on an EP. I can't wait!

Link: http://www.myspace.com/arrowinthesky

Arrow in the Sky - Verbal Waltz by 2uibestow



18: Maria Byrne - All You Need


Maria Byrne's 'All You Need' is a ridiculousy happy song but I love it!

Link: http://www.myspace.com/MariaByrne


Maria Byrne - All You Need by 2uibestow




19: The Chapters - Videotapes

A few months I named The Chapters as the best band in Ireland at that moment in time. This lead single from their debut album is a real highlight from the last couple of years.

Link: http://www.myspace.com/thechaptersofficial


The Chapters - Videotapes by 2uibestow





20: Sean Needham - I'm Not Afraid


Sean who is now living in Denmark released one of my favourite albums of last year. This song is so positive, catchy and infectious.

Link: http://www.seanneedham.com/

Sean Needham - I'm Not Afraid by 2uibestow




21: Herm - Rearrange
22: Peadar King - Wanted Something
23: Peter Doran - Pathways
24: The Whiskey Limbs - Love Song
25: Junah - Walk Me To The Ground

Monday, 9 August 2010

List: The Best 25 Songs in the life of 2UIBestow [pt 1]

In the week where we will reach 1000 posts on the blog I'll be counting down the best 25 songs I've discovered during the lifetime of the blog. 5 tracks a day in which my part 5 of the list hopefully being post 1000! Most of the songs will be available for download through Soundcloud






25: Junah - Walk Me To The Ground


Junah are a five piece rock band who write glorious folk music. I'm really looking forward to their debut album which will be released soon!

Link: http://www.junah.com/

Junah - Walk Me Into The Ground by 2uibestow





24: The Whiskey Limbs - Love Song

The Whiskey Limbs write fun catchy folk-rock songs which have the ability to hang around the head for some time! This song is one of them!

Link: http://www.myspace.com/thewhiskeylimbs

The Whiskey Limbs - Love Song by 2uibestow





23: Peter Doran - Pathways

I adore the guitar rifts, lyrics, vocals and general feel of this song. It's such a quality tune from an excellent songwriter.

Link: http://www.peterdoran.com/


<a href="http://peterdoran.bandcamp.com/track/pathways-2">Pathways by Peter Doran</a>




22: Peadar King - Wanted Something


Peadar released his debut album way back in the middle of 2008. Nestled in there was this sublime little song with beautiful boy/girl harmonies.

Link: http://www.myspace.com/peadarking

Peadar King - Wanted Something by 2uibestow



21: Herm - Rearrange


When Herm took over the blog a few months back it was to help promote this single 'Rearrange' which I've learned to love the more with every listen. I think it's the Ben Folds esque piano and the killer chores!


Links: http://www.myspace.com/hermwork

Herm 'Rearrange' by undercurrents

Friday, 6 August 2010

Album Review: Lisa Cuthbert - Obstacles

Piano based debut album of big anthems from a great singer. There's much to admire on this record!




Last week I received an email which described my writing on the blog as simplistic yet sophisticated! I'll try to review Obstacles in the same way. I'll state from the beginning that in general the album didn't do much for me. I didn't get that warm glow you tend to get when listening to music you enjoy. However there is so much to be admired on Lisa Cuthbert's debut.


Obstacles is packed full of big anthems. I love how the short opening track runs seamlessly into the second song! Many of the tracks hit the five minute mark with a couple past seven minutes. There's big orchestral songs on this album with delicate pieces of piano bookending the songs. Obstacles flirts with progressive rock, pop, Kate Bush era 80's music and could also be described as Enyaesque. On some tracks the music reminds me of a Broadway soundtrack.


The greatest strength of the album is Lisa's wonderful varied vocal range. She holds your attention through the delicate track 'Second Leaving' but can really belt out the lyrics during songs like 'My Material Girl'. My favourite tracks on the album are 'Won't Be Long' and 'Ready to Unfold' because they remind me of Sarah McLaughlin early albums.


Lisa Cuthbert - Obstacle [8 out of 12]

More info: http://lisacuthbert.webs.com/

<a href="http://lisacuthbert.bandcamp.com/track/storm-coming-on">Storm Coming On by Lisa Cuthbert</a>

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Tweet Review: Gavin Mulhall - Surrender To Reason

A Tweet Review is a short review in 140 characters or less!





Big sounding radio-friendly pop rock song from Gavin Mulhall. Enjoyable listen & hints at a decent debut album. Launch: Whelans on Sept 10!

Listen to the Single here:








Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Indie'Go Festival - This Weekend!




LINE UP: ...FRIDAY NIGHT:


FEFE
MADU
CLEERE
SILHOUETTE
JOHN, SHELLY & THE CREATURES


03 Sunny Side Street by GoodSeedPR



GROOVALIZACION DJS
NOIMH O HAGAN
DONAL O SCULLION
SUGAR FACTORY
EVA QUEEN
TWISTED AND JUSTIN FRY






SATURDAY


FREEFALL ANGEL
NI SOUL TROOP
TKO
LOKKHI TERRA
BREAG
BEAT POETS
NOISE CONTROL
AWILO LONGOMBA
ASWAD
GROOVALIZACION DJS
GITANE SWING
SHOOT THE FREAK
NATHAN BALL
JINX LENNON


JINX LENNON 'CITY OF STYROFOAM CUPS' by undercurrents


NIWEL TSUMBU
SMERINS ANTI-SOCIAL CLUB
ALABAMA 3
KEVIN FANNING
FUNKY SEOMRA




SUNDAY

MISS PAULA FLYNN
AFRESH
DIRTY EPICS
LOS CHICNES
STEVE COONEY [Mr. Sinead O'Connor!]
JERRY FISH
CUMBIA COSMONAUTS
GROOVALIZACION DJS
OZZMIUM
ROB BYRON
LITTLE BLACK WREN
CAROL - ANNE MCGOWAN
SHARON CORT
FOOTHILLS
KOKO
THE SPIKES
THE BAHH BAND
CHIRS WARD
FUNKY SEXY SPANISH HOUSE


and the brilliant COLIN DEVLIN playing his first Irish gig in an age!










Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Tweet Review: Kate O'Callaghan - To You

A Tweet Review is a short review in 140 characters or less!




Jazzy folk with a dash of fun, humour, crisp lyrics and excellent vocals. Impressive debut EP which belongs next to Imelda May & M. Shocked!

Kate O'Callaghan - To You [9 out of 12]






Buy The EP: http://www.kateocallaghan.com/music/


Kate O'Callaghan - When I Get Low by 2uibestow

Monday, 2 August 2010

Cambridge Folk Festival Invades 2UIBestow [Sunday Review]


This weekend on the blog I'm delighted that singer and songwriter from Cork Maria Byrne will be reviewing the Cambridge Folk Festival directlky from the festival for 2UIBestow. Maria has released an excellent EP this year which resulted in Jo Whiley describing it as 'Sweet Sweet Music'. http://www.myspace.com/MariaByrne




Today was an early start for me, as I went to a songwriting workshop with american folk singer songwriter Gretchen Peters for 10am so I sacrificed my breakfast for a cup of tea in the club tent. Gretchen has been around a while now, with 8 albums under her belt. She talked openly and honestly about internal editing, writers block, writing lyrics without rhyme and various different techniques (such as the 'iceberg effect') and styles she uses when writing songs. I couldn't help but be inspired by her, a lot of what she said really resonated with me. I watched her set shortly afterwards on the main stage, she has to be one of the sweetest effortlessly flawless singers I've heard in a long time with some truly beautiful songs.






Later on we headed over to stage two for more female led folk in the form of english folk band The Unthanks. I first heard this band a few years ago on Mike Harding's folk show and I've been a fan since. A lot of this set was made up of songs from second album Here's the Tender Coming which I was a teeny bit disappointed about as I really like some of the earlier stuff. However, I've said it before and I'll say it again - no one does harmonies like Becky and Rachel Unthank in my book.






So last up for today was american troubadour Kris Kristofferson. We couldn't help but feel like we were experiencing something very rare and very special here. The audience stretched back for what looked like a sea of a million faces all completely mesmerised under the spell of this one man and his guitar. A mighty cheer went up for 'Sunday mornin comin down' at the end. For me this closed the festival perfectly as the sun went down and the nods of approval exchanged for what was a mighty fine set.







So that was it, four days of folk music in Cambridge came to an end until next year. Before we came here I thought by the end I might have been a little folked out but this genre spans so widely now there was definitely something in this weekend for everyone. Very friendly, intimate, easy to get everywhere with no long queing and some of the most amazing folk music in the world. We can only hope we are lucky enough to play here someday.


Maria + Dave



Many thanks to Maria and Dave for these great reviews. Be sure to check out Maria's music on her MySpace page!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Cambridge Folk Festival Invades 2UIBestow [Saturday Review]


This weekend on the blog I'm delighted that singer and songwriter from Cork Maria Byrne will be reviewing the Cambridge Folk Festival directlky from the festival for 2UIBestow. Maria has released an excellent EP this year which resulted in Jo Whiley describing it as 'Sweet Sweet Music'. http://www.myspace.com/MariaByrne






So it's day 3, and the day started with some rain and a bit of a hangover but both cleared up before the first band. Up on the main stage we had a look at Carolina Chocolate Drops, a bluegrass/roots old stringband from North Carolina. I've been listening to a really catchy song of theirs called 'Cornbread and Butterbeans' which has had some radio play here (worth a listen). They had lots of fun (and instruments) on stage, towards the end of the set one of the singers did a bit of a dance passing through the guitar under his legs, knocking his hat off, that kind of thing.






Something told me I wasn't quite close enough to the stage, so I shuffled my way towards the front to watch Irish trad folk troubadours Dervish. 21 years on the road and 11 albums in they are pretty much regulars to Cambridge Folk Festival, this being their fifth time here. Lead singer Cathy Jordan isn't short of a few stories to tell in between the songs and her ability to keep the audience engaged is pretty special. Later on I asked her if she enjoyed her set and her thoughts on Cambridge, to which she said 'No one has a bad gig at Cambridge, it's one of the nicest festivals to play at.'



Over to stage 2 now for Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit, another favourite of mine since first album A Larum. Now two albums in, Johnny has established himself over the last few years as a firm member of the Laura Marling/Noah and the Whale/Mumford and Sons folk community in the UK regularly joining them on stage and collaborating in the studio. He has been described as the 'next poster boy of the nu-folk scene', but aside from his looks and swooning female teenagers in the audience his musical maturity is way beyond his 21 years. Not only a multi-instrumentalist (in this set alone he played banjo, trumpet, violin, guitar) his lyrics are what really grabs me. He writes pure poetry successfully set to haunting melodies ranging from a whisper to a mighty roar. He is about to head off on a solo tour in September to Ireland, if you haven't seen him before you should definitely check him out. With a name like Johnny Flynn he can't really go wrong in Ireland!







Saturday's line up here was very trad heavy which pleased the folk purists, but by early evening the rest of us were feeling a little jigged and reeled out of it. So off we went to catch some blues in the form of the American trio The Holmes Brothers. Their bend of blues/rock and roll their musical journey took the classic route through the churches of Virginia. With a strong back beat, grooving bass lines and Wendell's slick, soulful guitar solos it was a great way to end the day dancing.



When the music is finished on the stages here, lots of little music sessions pop up all over the place each with their own audience huddled around keen for more. It's a bit like heading off to a party for a session after the pub but you don't have to go very far. The age range here is also something that strikes me, as I was probably expecting it to be an older festival but there are lots of young eager folkers in amongst the old folkers.