Tag Archives: Indie Folk

George Simpson ‘Finding Myself’

Folk singer-songwriter George Simpson has announced the release of his highly anticipated new single ‘Finding Myself’. The single comes after a short break from the music scene after releasing his first 2 successful albums, which received support from BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine, Graham Norton and Clair Bolding. Surprisingly, music came late for Simpson who picked up a guitar at the age of 17 and didn’t begin performing as a solo artist until the age of 27 after performing as part of a couple of different bands in the meantime. After experimenting with different genres, he soon settled on a country folk style after being inspired stylistically by Sky’s ‘Nashville’ series. The male-female duets heard in the series specifically sparked an interest for Simpson, which lead to his newest release ‘Finding Myself’. Influenced by the likes of James Bay and Jason Mraz, ‘Finding Myself’ is a story of Simpson’s first ever relationship with specific lines throughout the track reminding him of particular moments. The song reflects on the point in a relationship when you begin to feel that things are no longer working and its time to decide exactly what you want and which direction to take. Recorded as part of a collaborative process, George described the writing and recording as a fairly straightforward process in which all parties involved creatively contributed to the single.

‘Finding Myself’ is a beautifully melodic track filled with warm guitar beaming through a foot tapping beat, swayable melody and glorious harmonies. It’s sweetly delicate yet oozing passion and heart warming emotion. The melody is supple and deliciously sing along sweet. With melancholic tones filling the track with tenderness it’s a charming little ditty. Though the sombre tones and elegant piano twinkles add a sweet sorrow to this track the luscious vocals and peppy guitar strums supply a warm almost cheery luminosity and positivity. It’s a sweet little pick me up that adds a nice bit of sunshine into your day.

The accompanying video reflects the simplicity and the meaning of the song. The location, pointed out by featuring female vocalist Kezia, used to be a buzzing business and is now left a shadow of what it used to be, with the original wildlife dying around it. ‘Finding Myself’ is set to be released on 23rd February and will be available to stream and download via all major media providers. The release will be supported by a number of live shows, to stay up to date follow George Simpson on social media here https://www.facebook.com/georgesimpsonmusic/

Stream ‘Finding Myself’ below

 


The Ree-Vahs! ‘Man Overboard’ EP

The Ree-Vahs! are a North East UK folk collective from the borders of Durham and Northumberland. They have recently released their third offering ‘Man Overboard’ which is a tribute to founder member and songwriter, Paul Lee, who tragically took his own life in May 2017. Acclaimed for singing in authentic North East accents, The Ree-Vahs! deliver fresh folk songs about love, life and loss, depicting stories from the former mining and steel towns of the North East borders. After releasing their first album back in 2014 and their second in 2016, both achieving critical and commercial success, the band follow up with ‘Man Overboard’ which is named after a home recording made by the late Paul Lee several years ago. After writing and performing together since their teens, band members and brothers Andy and Paul wrote the album prior to Paul’s death. Recorded in Liam Gaughan Studios, Newcastle, ‘Man Overboard’ features heartfelt lyrics and warming folk instrumentation throughout, with some songs addressing social issues and some dedicated to family members.

‘Man Overboard ‘is brimming with warm melodic tunes that glow like a hearty fireplace on a winters day. From the first guitar twang of ‘Pack Your Bags’ this EP floods with mellow melodies drenched in melancholic tones with light twinkling guitars and soft comforting beats. It’s a pure wholesome collection with oodles of passion. The violin melodies are sweet and delicate adding a tender tear jerking elegance. ‘Stronger Than Me (No Binary)’ is a simple little ditty where the vocals exude so much emotion it takes all the attention. Lush backing vocals coo while airy guitar flickers add a nice buoyancy and feathery light texture to this beautiful track. ’Sing Our Songs In The Dark’ lifts the tone of the EP. Becoming more vibrant and rich rhythmically. It’s a track to wisp you away into a joyous positive dance. It reminds me of a track that could feature in a Disney movie when the main characters are experiencing the beauty of life or successfully building together their plan to stop the big bad. The warm brass feature rushes vibrancy and triumphant cheer into the track while the sing along bridge is instantly likeable and catchy. ’Under The Wheels’ returns to that camp fire sweet sway ready vibe with banjo twangs delicately lamenting behind strong passionate lyrics. ‘Jigsaw’ adds a bit of swagger and a mysterious sultry vibe to the EP with darker guitar melodies while ‘Go See’ closes the EP bright and animated. The honest lyrics narrates the stories of peoples harsh lives while a chummy sway ready chorus evokes images of people coming together hand in hand. It has a sense of positivity contrasting the lyrics.

The Ree-Vahs!’Man Overboard’ gives an honest account of life put to music filled with positivity and hope. Their warm instrumentation is wholesome and pure and their choruses infectious. It a passionate collection of tracks that are soul fulfilling and satisfying.

Stream ‘Man Overboard’ below


Last Race Home ‘Whiskey & Roses (Revolution Radio)’

Last Race Home are an Indie, Acoustic band consisting of members Denis Ferrige (Lead Vocals, Harmonica and acoustic guitar), Steven Otoole (Backing vocals Lead Guitar), Jim Corry (Drums), Phil McCardle (Backing vocals and Bass Guitar), Stephen Greenhalgh (Trumpet) and Donna Jevens (Backing Vocals) and formed in Manchester. Their style ranges from beefy foot stomping tunes, hard bitten northern melancholy and uplifting anthems with bold storytelling lyrics. The band have recently released their new single ‘Whiskey & Roses (Revolution Radio)’ a track about the death of a radio station in Manchester.

‘Whiskey & Roses (Revolution Radio)’ is a melodic number smothered in melancholic tones and a tender sweet melody that tugs hard at the heart strings. From its subtle twinkling guitar intro this track warms the cockles of your heart. With passionate easing vocals teamed with a sweet catchy melody its instantly likable. The track builds becoming more passionate with trumpet injections lifting it and adding a triumphant warmth and vibrancy to the song. The lush backing vocals harmonise perfectly while a rich foot tapping rhythm drives the track with a punchy spring and infectious buoyancy. Though the tone is sombre this track manages to maintain a peppy lift and glowing reassurance that will have you bopping along in no time.

Watch the video for ‘Whiskey & Roses (Revolution Radio)’ below


PAPER CRANES ‘Lights’

PAPER CRANES are an Indie Folk duo hailing from the South of the Lake District.  Consisting of Jon Dawes providing vocals, guitar as well as percussion alongside Beckah Lloyd lending her melodies and harmonies and acoustic bass.  Their delicate, yet powerfully formed vocals are accompanied with a percussively played guitar which is dynamically reinforced by Kieran Day’s layering electric guitar, percussion and an array of sympathetically crafted sounds. Paper Cranes have released their long awaited second single ‘Lights’ to coincide with their next EP due for release early 2018.

‘Lights’ is a soft flurry of nourishing indie folk. Delicate and gentle this track is rich unadulterated purity oozing warmth and honesty from its very core. With soft guitar weaving gracefully between Dawes and Lloyd’s immaculate wholesome harmonies it’s a sincere beautiful display. With a playful rhythm adding a rich texture and danceable beat this track is a flickering thought -provoking charmer. It is so sweet and gently soothing yet lavishly layered creating a sophisticated refined sound that is luscious and delicious to the ears. The track glides with fine elegance and a feathery lightness. It’s a beautiful tender treasure.

Stream ‘Lights’ below


Kindred ‘Our Tomorrow’ Album

Formed in the picturesque countryside of the South-West, Kindred are a five-piece indie rock band formed of members Fran Crandon, Ian Scott, Helen Sayer, Ian Anstey and Clive Millar. The 5-piece have recently released their debut album ‘Our Tomorrow’, distinguishing themselves from other ‘young rockers’ by taking influence from more traditional genres like folk, which is reflected in their debut. The album is written by guitarist Ian Scott (better known as Scottie) and released on his own record label, ScottSound Ltd, and recorded at the White House Studios. Consisting of 10 engaging tracks,’ Our Tomorrow’ has already picked up support from local radio shows, particularly the track Sunset Surf, written about how it feels to be surfing that special wave, whilst missing your loved one. As well as this five, special mentions go to Heidi Neil for backing vocals and Josh Munyard who played bass on selected tracks on the album.

‘Our Tomorrow’ is a captivating collection of indie rock songs from luscious sweet melodies smothered in bouncy vibrant instrumentation –  it’s a little box of light indie treasures. Its folk influences add a feathery lightness and wholesome depth to the tracks. From the first animated note of ‘She’s My Girl’ it’s obvious this album is set up with positive pick me up good vibes and spirited tunes. It’s elastic with a spring in its step peppy rhythm and jangly guitars teamed with sparkling elegant piano twinkles between the sweet melody. The soft charming vocals add a sugar-coated smoothness and delicious dreamy vibe. Naturally ‘Sunset Surf’ takes you to sunshine and sea air. Zealous stabs on guitar squirt some refreshing zest into the hazy laid-back track while a longing melody flows fluidly throughout. ‘Friend’ has a doo wop-esque  creaminess which adds a touch of animation to their toothsome collection of tracks. Each song becomes more positive and elastic than the previous it’s like walking into a musical that is bursting with smiles sunshine and enthusiasm without becoming too cheesy. Those guitar lines interweaving between the melodies are sublime and add a glorious tropical radiance. ‘Moonshine’ displayed this superbly with its dazzling lustrous guitar solo. The keys in ‘Our Tomorrow’ is about as peppy and gleaming as possible yet light and heavenly. The track oozes warmth and with a well layered sound featuring meticulously crafted details placed perfectly to create a wholly unique experience that is soothing, soul lifting and pure- it’s hard not to let your spirits be lifted. With tracks called ‘Summer Days’ and ‘Free’ they have created your positive feel good playlist. Even final track ‘Baby Blues’ is a fun swinging danceable number. It’s the cheeriest bluesy jam spread generously on a slice of swagger soaked rock and roll.

‘Our Tomorrow’ is a charming collection of tracks clearly designed to brighten your day and it does that for sure.

​20% of the sales of ‘Our Tomorrow’ will be donated to the children’s charity Bibic, which supports children and their families who struggle with brain related disabilities such as Down Syndrome, ADHD and cerebral palsy.

Stream ‘Our Tomorrow’ below


Nigel Phillip Davies ‘How Wrong Can a Man Be’

Swansea Born Nigel Phillip Davies has released his new single ‘How Wrong Can a Man Be’. Nigel has  been on the bill with some very notable artists in the past, including Amy Wadge and the Strawbs and ‘How Wrong Can a Man Be’ is the latest single from the classically trained pianist. The single see’s Nigel return to an Acoustic/Folk style after years of playing Prog Rock and Jazz. It’s a gentle emotional little ditty with elegant piano wandering through a melancholic melody steeped in heart wrenching nostalgia. It’s a meaningful tender track that evokes images of a sombre Christmas scene. It reminds me a little of David Essex’s ‘A Winter’s Tale’ – just as sweet, dainty, immensely emotional and passionate. The lyrics are honest and pure expressing the rawness of heartbreak so simply and beautifully it will bring a tear to your eye. The feathery light piano wistfully twinkles and floats with a soft innocence and fragility creating a tender delicate emotional scene.

The inspiration for ‘How Wrong Can a Man Be’ came from Nigel’s experiences throughout his life. It is about dealing with love and the loss of that love, but as Nigel says “most songs do” address that. What separates ‘How Wrong Can a Man Be’ from the other songs about losing love is that it is skilfully lyrically driven. The poignant song stemmed from the title and slowly grew to contain various phrases of misdirection, naivety and double meaning.

Stream ‘How Wrong Can a Man Be’


Harpeth Rising ‘Against All Tides’ Album

Harpeth Rising have released their new album ‘Against All Tides’. The classically trained trio of Jordana Greenberg, Maria Di Meglio and Michelle Younger recorded between May 2016 and February 2017 in the eye of the political storm that was taking hold of America. Against All Tides is therefore unsurprisingly heavily influenced by the atmosphere of social unrest that surrounded them. Many of the songs are protests and direct indictments of the political system while others take inspiration from personal suffering and hardships. Two of the songs The Highwayman and I Did Not Make the World were written by David Greenberg, Jordana’s father. David’s songs have appeared on each of Harpeth Risings albums and Jordana – the primary songwriter for the band – states how her father “continues to be a source of inspiration” to her and her music. Over the past 5 years Harpeth Rising have recorded 5 albums, toured 9 different countries on 3 continents and performed more than 600 gigs.

‘Against All Tides’ is an intricate tightly weaved 11 track album filled with organic pure blends of baroque and folk. From the first track ‘Love Child’ the trio slap straight into their meticulously weaved sound. The twanging banjo bounces and playfully hops between an eerie dark soundscape of crawly strides on violin and building depth of urgency on cello. The three-part vocal harmonies give a warmth yet striking hair-raising effect to the track. The tracks that follow maintain this darkened mysterious tone emphasised by the trio’s organic stunning use of instrumentation. ‘Drink of Reddest Wine’ brings a melancholic tone with winding hazy strings dragging back and forth while a sombre vocal melody pines and sobs the mournful lyrics. It’s tender and emotional with a hidden mystical tone. ‘3. 535 (Are You Even Alive?)’ throws a bouncy and theatrically spooky tone into the mix. Tracks like ‘The Highwayman’ display the trios braided weaving instrumentation perfectly. Strings sway, glide and pierce through the track adding soft swoons and dire urgency while the woeful cello builds with chilling depths. The light banjo adds a rush of panic while the vocals narrate through this frantic instrumentation. It’s quite heart stopping. ‘Prison Trilogy’ showcases their knack for story telling and heart wrenching emotion through melody. The accompaniment is simple for this track which leaves the attention all on the beautiful melody and passionate vocal delivery. That sweet string feature is just sublime and delicate lulling you into a beautiful soft stupor. ‘Lucid Dreaming Sheep’ closes the album with a unique sound for the trio. It’s richly rhythmic and boppy with a shimmy and shake like swagger and attitude. This track ends the album showing there’s a little more to their sound than perhaps you would think at first.

‘Against All Tides’ is a well-balanced album filled with hair raising stunning tracks to evoke all your senses. With dance ready beats magnificent storytelling and dazzling richly intertwined instrumentation it’s the perfect organic blend.

Stream ‘Against All Tides’ below

 


The Small Change Diaries ‘Lullabies for Cynics’ Album

After forming back in 2014 and since releasing both a debut album and EP, The Small Change Diaries are all set to release their second album ‘Lullabies for Cynics’, which will be available from 3rd November. The release will be celebrated with a launch gig set to take place at Sunny Bank Mills on its release date. Their debut album ‘Adam Blames Eve’ received critical acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing and thus far, the tracks ‘Huggie Crying Thing’ and ‘I Know What You’re Saying’ from the new album have been played on BBC Introducing Leeds, giving them a promising start. With a rich variation of instruments, The Small Change Diaries create poetic, acoustic songs with thought provoking lyrics and a heartfelt delivery. Similar to their previous EP ‘Protest Songs’, their latest album ‘Lullabies for Cynics’ was inspired by world events in the past 18 months. Described by the collective themselves as ‘music for the head and heart’, various tracks touch on specific affairs such as the Paris attack and changes in US politics, leaving the listener with a lot to think about. The album also features some stellar international musicians, including Laurent Zeller from France, and Phil Doleman, both who have decades of musical experience. It was recorded over a 12 month period and has been a labour of love for the 4-piece.

At first glance ‘Lullabies for Cynics’ has a warm fuzzy glow that maybe we all need sometimes. From the title track ‘Hold On’ this four piece sweep us with a deluge of lush rich instrumentation emitting bright radiant vibes and warm tones. Opulent sweet melodies teamed with beautiful harmonies and bouncy light rhythms create a boppy sound that wraps you up in a cosy blanket shielding you from the harshness of the world. I don’t think you can get a more glowing peppy track than ‘Huggy Cryin’ Thing’. It’s light, catchy, warm and soothing. Oozing oodles of cheery vibes. I’m usually the cynical person and for sure not a morning person but I think if I was a morning person i’d wake up singing this song while the sun shone on me and the birds tweeted. It sets the scene for cheery perfect idealism. It has a sweet quality to cheer anyone up. ‘I Know What Your’re Saying’ with its foot tapping tone and  ‘Kicking Down Doors’ with its guitar twangs, jagged tempo and waltz injections take a slower melancholic tone. They are a little more sombre and honest. With tracks like the sparkling  ‘Not One Of Us’ and the darker swing of ‘Voodood Doll (feat.Phil Doleman)’ it’s like this four piece create their own little world which has a soft positive first impression but dig a little deeper and it’s a little more dark. Gently shaking percussion and snug strings create a cosy atmosphere though the lyrics are a lot more striking and harsh than the dreamy instrumental illusion. The four piece take their hand to blues with ‘Slow News Day’. Drenched in lazy hazy vibes with sublime bluesy drizzled horns and stroke tap beat it has a classy curvy easy going tempo with a murky story behind it. ‘Lullaby’ closes the album on a soothing note. Basically they sing us a lullaby before adding a bright refreshing little wake up burst about 1 minute and 30 seconds in. It sparkles and glows with pacifying gentleness and hopefulness.

‘Lullabies for Cynics’ is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. The Small Change Diaries create a peppy fantasy world with folk, blues, gospel-style arrangements all while conveying the candied truth through their politically challenging lyrics. At a first listen it’s just camp fire sway ready lollipops and rainbows tunes but at the root there is depth there. Perhaps candy coating the harshness for us a little.

After performing at both UK and overseas festivals over the duration of the summer, The Small Change Diaries are now ready to settle back in the UK to promote their album, starting with their album launch gig on 3rd November 2017 at Sunny Bank Mills. Information about further upcoming live dates can be found on their social media pages here

Watch the video for the track  ‘Birdman’ below


Matt Katsis ‘As The River Runs’ EP

Melbourne bluesman and folk balladeer Matt Katsis has recently released his newest 6-track EP,’ As The River Runs’. The EP will be the third release from the artist and the release will be accompanied by an 8-date tour across Australia. The seed was planted for Matt through exposure to family friends playing the acoustic guitar at family gatherings, and since then Matt has grown into a well known Australian alternative singer-songwriter with an individual edge. The successful release of his last EP ‘The Burke & Wills Sessions’ back in 2016 was warmly welcomed and since then Katsis has been working hard on writing and recording his newest collection of tracks. After extensively touring over the past couple of years, Katsis shows no signs of slowing. His newest EP release ‘As The River Runs’ encompasses his distinctive fusion of folk, blues and roots and now, after a recent trip to the US travelling through Nashville, New Orleans and Memphis, his music hints at influences of alternative country and Americana.

‘As The River Runs’ is a wholesome slice of folk and blues flavoured country pie. ‘Colours’ kicks off the EP foot stomping and soaked in bluesy swagger. Gritty guitars screech and whine while a  throbbing pulsing beat adds a strong foundation and kick to the track. Katsis’ warm raspy vocals add a gritty texture while guitars wail with a sensual allurement. ’ Need You Here’ is a delicate subtle track with very little instrumentation to start letting Katsis’ soothing warm vocals take the limelight. Light guitar twinkles throughout with delicate percussion chimes and a stomping beat. Golden and wholesome this track glows with infectious bright tones and comforting positivity. Extremely passionate and emotional it’s the kind of track that fills you with hope, puts a smile on your face and brightens your day. ‘All I Wanna Do Is Fly’ is a little darker to start with deep vocals and a shadowy undertone. The vocal harmonies add a chilling coolness to the western like pistols at dawn vibe. It’s a little bit eerie and cold with only the haunting guitar twangs to brighten the track.  ‘You & My Guitar’ returns us to the jingly bright bluesy soaked Americana. It’s gentle sway-like tempo and light guitar twinkles evokes images of a sunset and relaxation. With touching vocals and warm tones it’s a blissful cosy blanket to snuggle into. ‘Tomorrow & The Next Day’ again twangs with country warmth. The thing that becomes apparent with this EP is how detailed and moving a guitar feature can be. The guitar twangs really add depth and vibrancy to the track and lift it into a melancholic sense of playfulness and it’s quite beautiful. ‘Need You Here (unplugged)’ brings us to the end of the EP it’s here you feel the true impact and depth of Katsis’ soulful vocals. It’s quite the calming exquisite way to end a beautiful EP.

‘As The River Runs’ is a warm soothing EP brimming with passionate graceful tracks that warm the cockles of your heart. It pure and honest and charming. Each track flows smoothly into the next while displaying subtle variety’s in Katsis’ musicianship and depth. So rich and moving its immensely satisfying and a soul fulfilling adventure.

 

When asked about the track Katsis said “This EP as a whole pushed me further as a songwriter and led me to cross new territory, using a wider use of instrumentation and taking a closer look into song arrangement.”

You can catch Matt Katsis live at

23rd Sept – Albany, WA

24th Sept – Margaret River, WA

6th Oct – Canberra, ACT

14th Oct – Bendigo, VIC

20th Oct – Mildura, VIC

29th Oct – Adelaide, SA

1st Nov – Melbourne, VIC

23rd Nov – Brisbane, QLD

Stream ‘As The River Runs’ below

 


Mike Paterson ‘Loose Change’

Indie Folk singer songwriter Mike Paterson has released his new single ‘Loose Change’. Originally the frontman of the rock group Travis Oaks. Paterson toured Ireland and abroad, playing venues such as The Olympia in Dublin, to the prestigious Dublin Castle in London. Travis Oaks developed a solid reputation for energetic shows, but focusing on solid songwriting, along with performance. Since departing from the band in the Summer of 2016, Paterson has been hiding out in his native county of Cavan, contemplating his role in the music scene. He has taken a stripped back approach to live shows, with live recordings and videos taking priority over studio recordings. His new single is also a live recording from Displace Studios.

‘Loose Change’ is a warm melodic sweet toned passionate track. Peeled back to a bare simple arrangement with just acoustic guitar accompaniment, its organic and wholesome. Paterson’s vocal display is rich with depth and sharp lush highs, there is no need for fuss. Laid back and soothing it’s perfect for summers evenings with a  glass of wine, sunset and relaxation. It’s peppy with a nice bounce keeping the mellow tone without becoming sluggish. Patterson has a knack for creating songs that evoke every emotion in the listener and this mellow little ditty doesn’t stray from that emotional connection. Instantly balmy and calm his simplicity is just heaven. With a honey glazed melody ‘Loose Change’ gives a sense of blissful peace and modest purity. It’s honest, nourishing goodness and quite the breath of fresh air.

Mike Paterson has a few shows coming up the first is in Spirit Store, Dundalk tonight then Whelan’s Dublin on the 25th and Workman’s Club Dublin on the 14th of September, make sure to head down and check him out. I had the pleasure of catching him live a little while ago and he’s one not to be missed.

When asked about the track Paterson told us “Loose Change is dedicated to my friends, with the track focusing on the importance of friendship and knowing we have someone there when times are tough.”

Watch his live performance of ‘Loose Change’ at Displace Studios below