Thursday, 28 February 2013

Live Review: Gretchen Peters, The Venue, Ratoath Feb 27th

It's a Wednesday night in a small intimate venue just a short drive from my house in Ratoath and I'm at the first night of Gretchen Peters UK & Irish tour and it's as blissful and charming as gigs go.



Gretchen was supported by fellow Nashville resident from Northern Ireland, Ben Glover who won the crowd over with his set of well written tunes. He has a lovely pure voice and the quality of his set especially the two new songs hint at great things to come from Ben Glover.



Assisted by husband Barry Walsh and multi-instrumentalist Christine Bougie, Gretchen Peters charmed the audience with new songs from the 2012 album 'Hello Cruel World' along with well known tracks from her back catalogue. I suppose the best compliment to bestow onto Gretchen Peters on the first date of her tour is that the onstage unit was so tight you'd never guess there could have been those first night 'jitters'.

Songs that impress me big time included 'Burn Toast & Offerings', 'Dark Angel' featuring the vocals of Barry Walsh, 'When You Are Old' taken from the name of a poem by WB Yeats and a scaled down piano led reworking of 'Independence Day'. There was even a fine sing-song with this beautiful tune 'Wild Horses':




Gretchen Peters is a genuine entertainer, wonderful singer and superb songwriter in which every song was of the highest quality with real and honest meaning. I was also really impressed with her 'Meet & Greet' of the crowd immediately after the show. It was a perfect way to spend an evening and her tour comes highly recommended:

http://www.gretchenpeters.com/



Saturday, 23 February 2013

Live Review: Mark Eitzel - Workmans Club, Dublin Feb 21st

The danger of seeing and reviewing an Idol is that it's very difficult to be objective and rational in the critique. It wasn't going to take me much to really enjoy a Mark Eitzel gig but I'm going to try my best to reveal how entertaining the gig was.

Support came from Gary McFarlane, the lead singer of Dublin Alt/Rock band Autumn Owls. It was a solid acoustic set from Gary which showcased his impressive vocals and intricate finger picking style. The songs were fine but unmemorable.



I adore the 1994 American Music Club album 'San Francisco' and on Thursday night I got to see the chief architect of that album Mark Eitzel in The Workmans Club in Dublin. Mark Eitzel arrived on stage with his drummer, keyboardist and bassist and proceeded to perform one of the standout tracks from the album 'San Francisco'. That song was 'What Holds The World Together' and the band had me won over immediately.





Here's a live video of 'What Hold's The World Together' from London's Bush Hall


Video credit: http://www.youtube.com/MartianRap

The remainder of the gig became a  roller-coaster ride through old songs, new songs, hilarious introductions and song explanations with the type of good spirited audience banter that only a veteran of the personality of Mark Eitzel can pull off.

Stand-out tracks performed from Mark's most recent album 'Don't Be A Stranger' include 'I Love You But You're Dead' which was a line written by an actress on a poster for Mark, 'Costume Characters ....' about those people employed to dress up for Disney and the best track on the album 'Oh Mercy' about Mark being invited and then ignored at a party. As a result of hearing 'We All Have To Find Our Own Way Out' live and it's explanation that it's about a female stalker who was trying desperately to get attention from Mark, I've grown to really love this track.

Here's a live video of 'We All Have To Find Our Own Way Out' from Munich:



What raised Thursday's gig above the ordinary was the audience banter. From the hilarity of his introduction of the second annual farewell tour, or of showing a paper bowl that the setlist was written on, to thanking people for choosing his gig over Ron Sexsmith's Academy show and revealing at one stage that he'd rather be there than ...... and then embarrassingly regretting going down that road, had all ultimately made it a very unique night of pure entertainment. 

I for one can't wait to go to his third annual farewell gig! 


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Album Review: Richard Thompson -Electric

'Electric' is the new album from folk legend Richard Thompson and it's a damn good listen with some excellent tunes of the highest quality. 


After a serious career spanning decades it must be a challenge to produce an album people want to listen to and buy. In the case of 'Electric', Richard Thompson gathered a bunch of quality musicians; drummer Michael Jerome and bassist Taras Prodaniuk, backing vocalists of the caliber of Alison Krauss and Siobhan Maher Kennedy and a renowned producer; Buddy Miller [Robert Plant, Patty Griffin] to make a really fine album of enjoyable tunes.

The songs to impress include 'Stuck on the Treadmill' with clear imagery about a stagnating life, the epic Alison Krauss assisted 'The Snow Goose' and this rocking track 'Good Things Happen To Bad People';



I wouldn't be someone to seek out new Richard Thompson music but I was asked to review 'Electric' and I genuinely have been enjoying it. I'm not completely converted but there's enough quality to tip my cap to 'Electric' and to recommend you to check it out.

Richard Thompson - Electric [9 out of 12]

Buy The Album here

http://www.richardthompson-music.com/

The Electric Tour 2013

Wed 20 Feb - CARDIFF, St David's Hall (029 2087 8444)
Thu 21 Feb - BIRMINGHAM, Symphony Hall (0121 345 0600)
Fri 22 Feb - BRIGHTON, Dome (01273 709 709)
Sat 23 Feb - BRISTOL, Colston Hall (0117 922 3686)
Sun 24 Feb - CAMBRIDGE, Corn Exchange (01223 357851)
Mon 25 Feb - LONDON, O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire (0844 477 2000)
Thu 28 Feb - EDINBURGH, Usher Hall (0131 228 1155)
Fri 01 Mar - LIVERPOOL, Philharmonic Hall (0151 709 3789)
Sat 02 Mar - SHEFFIELD, City Hall (0114 2 789 789)
Sun 03 Mar - GATESHEAD, The Sage Gateshead (0191 245 5570)
Wed 06 Mar - NOTTINGHAM, Royal Concert Hall (0115 989 5555)
Thu 07 Mar - BEXHILL, De La Warr Pavilion (01424 229 111)
Fri 08 Mar - BASINGSTOKE, Anvil (01256 844244)
Sun 10 Mar - SALFORD, The Lowry (0843 208 6000)

Here's recent footage from a recent gig in NYC with the track 'Salford Sunday'

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Live Review: Calexico - The Olympia, Dublin Feb 14th

Calexico tickets came my way through many hints leading up to Christmas with my better half happily declaring that at least she's guaranteed a Valentine's Night out this year. Calexico chose Dublin as the city to kickstart their latest European Tour and were supported by two piece alternative band The Dodos.

The Dodos

Just like Ireland's 'We Cut Corners', The Dodos are two guys, drums and guitars but the similarity stops there. The Dodos have a decent vocalist who works the electric guitar loops and pedals to great effect. What annoyed me was their set began with a  terrible track that took the next three or four really good tunes for me to change my mind about the band. One of the highlights was this track 'Black Night'.





Calexico

I got into Calexico around the time of their fifth album 'Garden Ruin' and seen the band live in The Olympia for that album tour. The seven piece band have that ability to use their music to transcend you to another sunnier climate with their mix of Mexican folk sounds and alternative anthems. The band are flogging a new album 'Algiers' with most of that album getting played alternating with well known Calexico tracks such as 'Two Silver Trees', 'Cruel', 'Inspiracion', 'Crystal Frontier' and this oldie dedicated to a young couple who requested it in Whelans back in the day: 'Not Even Stevie Nicks' which blends into 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'.


Video by Conor Talbot: http://www.youtube.com/user/conortalbot



Of the tracks performed from 'Algiers' that impressed included a perfect version of the 'Fortune Teller', 'Sinner on the Sea' 'Epic', 'Splitter' and this track, my favourite off the album 'Maybe on Monday'.








Video by Conor Talbot: http://www.youtube.com/user/conortalbot

A reviewer should review the band only but singer Joey Burns made a comment about the crowd being a little muted about half way through the gig. I put that down to it being a seated show. Calexico's music while not necessarily made for dancing but at least requires a degree of foot tapping and head nodding. The venue in a seated gig did not match the music of Calexico and I was pining for the gig to be in a rival venue off Thomas Street. That being said the crowd responded to Joey's comment by being louder and a few dozen got up on their feet for a dance.

As a fan of Calexico I loved the gig regardless of the seats. They are one of my favourite live bands and I'll be at their next in Ireland for sure.

http://www.casadecalexico.com/

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Album Review: Vickers Vimy - Vol.1 That Vinyl Scratch

"Vol. 1 That Vinyl Scratch" is the debut album from Galway five piece folk band Vickers Vimy and it contains so many charming, promising, wonderfully composed tunes that I should be singing it's praises all year ......


..... but in the end it leaves me feeling muted. 

This album could easily be the sibling of Eric McGrath's debut album from last year. The vocal deliver is relaxed and charming, the songs are well written tales, there's an abundance of catchy songs and the musicianship is superb. It's quite a struggle to figure out why it's leaving me so flat and unenthusiastic.

There are some touches of sublime quality on the album. For me the Josh Ritter sounding 'Southbound' is the best track on the album. The other songs I love off the album include the catchy 'Charity', last year's single 'Devil on your Back' and this track full of positivity 'Days are Getting Better':



The emphasis of the album is to produce a textured roots album that's very chilled and relaxed. The album has provided excellent background ambiance and at those times when I attentively listened I heard a really good album of songs with superb lyrics. It may well be a commentary on the other music I listen to when really good music like this fails to ignite a passion within me.

Vickers Vimy - Vol 1 That Vinyl Scratch [9 out of 12]

http://vickersvimy.ie/



2Day's Tune: Lucy Rose - Middle of the Bed

London based folk star 'Lucy Rose' has announced her first UK & Ireland headline tour for April & May to include a Belfast and Dublin date.


Here's a fine tune from Lucy's debut album 'Like I Used To':




http://www.lucyrosemusic.com/

Lucy is also one of the first acts announced for this year;s Cambridge Folk Festival:


The Cambridge Folk Festival is pleased to announce the first names for this year’s Festival.

Playing on Stage 2 on the opening Thursday night of the Festival will be: Lucy RoseWilly Mason andKathyrn Roberts & Sean Lakeman.

With her heart-stoppingly poignant songs and cracked porcelain voice, Lucy Rose has attracted universal acclaim - “Gentle, folky, confidential tone, undershot by a coolness of intelligence and self possession”The Daily Telegraph, “One of the country’s most promising new voices” “Utterly beautiful” Sunday Times. 

Fresh from a winter tour, including support slots with Mumford and Sons and Ben Howard, plus his third, widely acclaimed studio album, American singer-songwriter Willy Mason’s inimitable gravel deep vocal delivers songs awash with the sentiments of hope, disillusionment, love and lost connections.

Husband and wife duo, Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman (brother of Seth) are lynchpins of the UK's burgeoning folk-acoustic revival. They make a much anticipated appearance at the Festival following the release of one the most eagerly awaited modern folk albums of the year, Hidden People, featuring Kathryn’s sublime voice and Sean’s masterly guitar arrangements.

Tickets: Full Festival £126; Thursday £20; Friday £45; Saturday £55; Sunday £55. Camping: (Full Festival tickets only, per 2-3 berth tent) Cherry Hinton £54, Coldhams Common (second site) £37.  Online bookings subject to booking fee.

Monday, 11 February 2013

2Day's Tune: Ali Warren - What We Say

2Day's Tune is a Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition special. I have a few weeks to listen trough 198 artists and make a top three. For the next three weeks I'll be regularly featuring artists from my list who may or may not make the top three.

Ali Warren - What We Say


Ali Warren from Taunton but now firmly based in London has a superb voice, great tunes and a fine backing band which gives his songs a meaningful context.

The two feature tunes on Ali's soundcloud page lead you an inevitable Jeff Buckley comparison and those comparisons are completely justified.

I've no doubt that Ali Warren will release a magnificent debut album in the future.


http://www.facebook.com/aliwarrenmusic





Sunday, 10 February 2013

2Day's Tune: Calexico - All Systems Red

I'm going to living for Thursday this week. Not because it's St. Valentine's Day but because I'm in the balcony looking down on one of the best live bands in the world on The Olympia Stage.


Calexico

Olympia Theatre

Thu 14 Feb 13


John Vettese/WXPN

Tickets are still available here: http://www.mcd.ie/listings/fg.php?c=4993860&ar=calexico&cat=all

I really hope thay play All Systems Red, the closing track from their album 'Garden Ruin'.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

2Day's Tune: Me & My Friends - Brother [Glastonbury ETC Special]

On seeing this video it was a real 'Wow' factor. Leeds band 'Me & My Friends' have something really different in their style of Jazz/Folk played by outstanding musicians. You've got to see this .....


They've a bunch of other superb tunes on their Soundcloud page: https://soundcloud.com/meandmyfriends



Friday, 8 February 2013

2Day's Tune: Liz Seaver - In Between You & Me

'In Between You & me' is an excellent pop song from Irish singer/songwriter Liz Seaver.

http://www.lizseaver.com/

It's an uplifting tune perfect for daytime radio and is one of this month's Play Irish artists for Galway Bay FM.

The single is launched with a gig in The Mercantile on Feb 22nd and released on itunes today!




Thursday, 7 February 2013

2Day's Tune: Track Dogs - Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)

I was delighted to see that the Madrid based folk band Track Dogs [formally the Garrett Wall Band] are in Austin, Texas in March for this year's SXSW showcase. Details here: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2013/events/event_MS22442

Check out this fine tune from the band's current 'Dust Devil' EP:



Track Dogs are constantly on tour in Europe and Ireland:


http://www.facebook.com/trackdogs

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Album Review: The Young Folk - The Little Battle

The Little Battle is the impressive debut album from Dublin band The Young Folk. Launched in Whelans on march 28th. 


I've been very fortunate to have heard many of the ten tracks that make up 'The Little Battle' in various locations at The Young Folk's gigs and at lead songwriters Anthony Furey's solo gigs. What's really impressed me about 'The Little Battle' on a whole is that the production is excellent, the tracks fit together neatly and the musicianship on the album is superb.

The Dublin based five piece band have put together an album that'll enchant, charm, inspire as well as being an album that's full of amazing songs. Current single 'Letters' is a great tune with Paul Butler on lead vocals. 'Sad Day' gets a re-working but still sounds wonderful while the charming 'Biscuits' is a great sing-a-long love song.



I'm delighted for The Young Folk because they got everything perfect for this debut album. They have a great lead vocalist in Anthony Furey, a fiddle player who knows how to enhance the mood of a song and an all round sound that really appeals to me. 'The Little Battle' will appeal to folk traditionalists while sounding perfect for mainstream radio. If Mumford & Sons can reach the masses then why can't The Young Folk?

The Young Folk - The Little Battles [12 out of 12]

Listen to the whole album here: https://soundcloud.com/theyoungfolk/sets/the-little-battle

Buy The Album Here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Little-Battle-Explicit/dp/B00AX1T1VK

Get Tickets to the Album Launch here: http://www.whelanslive.com/index.php/the-young-folk-3/

The Young Folk live in whelans main venue.
Support on the night from Gentry Morris and Sinead White

Tickets on sale now - €6 - for advance booking only or €10 at the door.
Tickets: http://www.whelanslive.com/index.php/wav-tickets/the-young-folk-tickets/

2Day's Tune: 100 Mile House - Wait With Me [Glastonbury ETC]

2Day's Tune is a Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition special. I have a few weeks to listen trough 198 artists and make a top three. For the next three weeks I'll be regularly featuring artists from my list who may or may not make the top three.

100 Mile House - Wait For Me




Canadian folk band 100 Mile House are releasing a new album in March and their music is simply delicious. The vocals are crystal clear and the musicianship is of the highest quality. This track from their new album is wonderful.





Monday, 4 February 2013

2Day's Tune: Paul Brady - Trust in You


Paul Brady and a band of familiar faces join forces to record this wonderful song:

Paul Brady - Trust In You (Live at Kinine) from Steve Mogerley on Vimeo.

"Directed by Stephen Mogerley

Live at Kinine #4 is upon us, showcasing "Trust In You", the second track on Paul's 1995 album, Spirits Colliding. Set in a studio in the foothills of the Dublin mountains, hosted by Irish songwriter, performer and music legend Paul Brady with a collaboration of Irish musicians, engineers and cameramen.

Featuring Aoife O'Sullivan (backing vocals), Cormac Breslin (electric guitar), Dara Munnis (piano), Dave Hingerty (drums and percussion), Keith Farrell (electric bass), Mia Fitz (backing vocals), Paul Brady (main vocals and acoustic guitar), Sarah Lynch (violin), Wallis Bird (bouzouki and backing vocals), Zoe Reardon (cello)

Recorded and engineered by John Munnis

Filmed by by Stephen Mogerley, Myles O'Reilly and Luke Byrne.

Produced by Dara Munnis

Edited by Stephen Mogerley

Copyright Hornall Brothers Music" ..... http://vimeo.com/58403668

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Album Review: Faustus - Broken Down Gentlemen

Faustus are a British folk supergroup/side project of three vocals and three instruments to produce a superb folk album that I can't stop listening to.



Faustus are Benji [Bouzouki & Guitar], Saul [Melodeons] & Paul [Fiddle, Cor Anglais & Oboe] and return with their second album 'Broken Down Gentlemen' to be released in March 2013on Navigator Records. Individually they've played with the best of bands on the folk circuit. Benji's played with the likes of Oysterband and is in the Seth Lakemen Band, Saul is a major collaborator of Waterson:Carthy and played in Jim Moray's band while Paul is also a member of Bellowhead. So yeah Faustus is a kind of folk supergroup of sorts.

'Broken Down Gentlemen' is a superb folk album. The folk trinity of guitar, fiddle & melodeon fills up every track and has the ability to be both charming and dramatic depending on the song's theme. There are a number of theme's in the songs. The songs have traditional rural settings, love songs about leaving for war and the odd murder balled! There's not a bad tune on the album with the vocals and lyrics enticing me into the album in every way.

'Prentice Boy' is a great tale of a young boy murdering his true love to get out of a young marriage! The title track is a charming folk tune with wonderful harmonies. The best track on the album is 'Blow The Windy Morning' which you can hear a live version of it below.


Reviewing albums like Faustus is the reason why I've decided to branch out to review international artists. I love the simplicity of the album and the depth of the songs on offer. Faustus is well worth checking out.

Faustus - Broken Down Gentlemen [11 out of 12]

Buy The Album: http://www.navigatorrecords.co.uk/2013/01/new-album-faustus-broken-down-gentlemen/

http://www.faustusband.com/
http://www.benjikirkpatrick.com/
http://www.paulsartin.co.uk/


Faustus – The Broken Down Gentlemen Tour – April 2013

Thurs 11th April           The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
Doors: 7.30pm / On stage: 8.00pm

Fri 12th April                The Greystones, Sheffield
Doors: 7.30pm / On stage: 8.00pm

Sat 13th April               Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot
Tel: 01235 515 144 / www.cornerstone-arts.org
Doors: 7.30pm / On stage: 8.00pm

Sun 14th April             Gill Nethercott Centre, Whitchurch, Hants
                                    www.wegottickets.com
                                    Doors: 7.30pm / On stage: 8.00pm

Mon 15th April             The Green Note, CamdenLondon
Tel: 020 7485 9899 / www.folkonmonday.co.uk
Doors: 7.00pm / On stage: 9.00pm

Tues 16th April                        South Street Arts Centre, Reading
Tel: 0118 960 6060 / www.readingarts.com
Doors: 7.00pm / On stage: 8.00pm

Fri 19th April               Nailsea Folk Club, Nailsea nr. Bristol
Tel: 01275 790 915 / www.nailseafolkclub.co.uk
Doors: 7.30pm / On stage 8.30pm

Sat 20th April              The Arts Centre, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk
Tel: 01695 584 480 / www.edgehill.ac.uk/artscentre
Doors: 7.30pm / On stage: 8.00pm

Weds 24th April          Stamford Arts Centre
Tel: 01780 763 203 / www.stamfordartscentre.com
Doors: 7.30pm / On stage: 8.00pm

Fri 26th April 2013      The Guildhall, Leicester
Tel: 0116 253 2569
Doors 7.15pm / On stage: 8.00pm

Sat 27th April 2013      Ropery Hall, Barton-on-Humber
Tel: 01652 660 380 / www.the-ropewalk.co.uk/roperyhall
Doors: 7.30pm / On stage: 8.00pm

2Day's Tune: The Little Unsaid - Through The Fields

You may have noticed over there -------->>>>> that once again 2UIBestow is a blogger judge for Glastonbury's Emerging Talent Competition. The task for the 40 bloggers [list here] is to whittle down some 8000 or so entries to 120 longlist. This longlist will then be whittled down to a shortlist of eight artists by judges including Glastonbury organisers Michael and Emily Eavis, before the live finals in Pilton in April decides the winning act.

In 2011 my three picks were Lincolnshire's Elliott Morris, Scotland singer-songwriter Laurie Cameron and London based folk electronic artist 'The Little Unsaid'.   All three artists are still making progress in the music world with The Little Said releasing their second album in the coming months. Lead single 'Through The Fields' already got radio play from BBC's Tom Robinson.


The Little Unsaid - Through The Fields




http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/news/emerging-talent-competition-update

I have a few weeks to listen trough 198 artists and make a top three. For the next three weeks I'll be regularly featuring artists from my list who may or may not make the top three.


Saturday, 2 February 2013

2Day's Tune: I Draw Slow - Bread & Butter

Here's where I'll be on Friday February 22nd .....


I Draw Slow released one of my favourite albums of 2011 entitled Redhills and I'm really looking forward to hearing new material like this track I found on Soundcloud recorded for RTE radio:



http://idrawslow.wordpress.com/

Friday, 1 February 2013

Live Review: Aimee Mann - Bord Gais Energy Theater 31st Jan 2013

Twitter @aimeemann


Aimee Mann  & band

with support from Ted Leo

Bord Gais Energy Theatre 

31st Jan 2013




Finishing a tour in Dublin with a gig in the wonderful surroundings of the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, with a superb backing band, performing a 'Best of'' set, taking audience requests, being 'Punch Drunk' and playing a Thin Lizzy cover, Aimee Mann should be really pleased and very proud of herself. It really was a quality gig from Aimee and her band.

Support act 'Ted Leo' began his set with an awful tune but improved and eventually won me over. Sounding like the cross between Hamill On Trial and Lloyd Cole, his songs had meaning and at times was able to make his electric guitar sounding lovely. Aimee performed two songs with Ted and they were super tunes. Ted's song 'The Gambler' in particular is a song I'd be very interested in hearing when released.

Here's footage of Ted Leo & Aimee Mann performing 'You Can't Help Me Now' and 'The Gambler' live in the Paradiso, Amsterdam.



As expected a good few tracks performed from Aimee Mann were taken from her new album 'Charmer'. Current single 'Labrador' stood out along with 'Living A Lie' co-sung by Ted Leo. Past classics such as 'Lost in Space', 'Freeway', 'Save Me' and 'Invisible Ink' were all well received by the crowd. For me there were two clear highlights. Closing track 'Deathly' is such a great song and finished the gig on a high. The other highlight was a Thin Lizzy cover from the 1971 debut self-titled album called 'Honesty Is No Excuse' which sent shivers down my back. It was an incredible version of a classic song.

Here's footage of Aimee & band performing 'Honesty is no Excuse' from Cologne.



It was such a great pleasure to finally catch Aimee Mann live. I was hoping to hear a few of my favourite tracks but with seven studio albums under her belt it's always pot luck as to what goes on the setlist. She did play a number of tracks that the crowd requested and performed for a good two hours. It was excellent value for money and I'm looking forward to the next Aimee Mann gig in Dublin. Oh and she's nothing against Phil Collins ..... apparently!

http://www.aimeemann.com/