Wednesday, 25 July 2012



If you haven’t met Lera Lynn beforehand, you will feel like you have done so by the end of this sensational debut record. With nine of her own superbly crafted songs and a Leonard Cohen cover, she demonstrates a raw talent by the ocean load. The end product is anything but raw sounding of course, being finished with a delicate yet intricate style and wrapped up in comfortable grace by her stunning, if at times haunting, vocals. Haunting at all the right times, I might add, complete with twists and turns that will have your heart rising and sinking as she pulls the door to your emotions right off its hinges.

From the very first track, the remarkable ability of this young singer-songwriter from Athens, Georgia bursts from the speakers in a powerful torrent to bowl you over. Prepare to be held down on your back as the flow continues washing over you until Lera is satisfied you are suitably acquainted. Even though it portends grim things to come in terms of the lyrical melancholy, the fact Whiskey is so autobiographical does more to move you than to make you wish for something less dark. Indeed, through this darkness there is the dazzling light of experiencing an artist who breathes so much passion into murky depths they end up smelling like roses in full bloom anyway.

The chorus to Happy Ever After belies the fact the gloomy mood continues as it threatens to latch itself on to your tongue and have you singing along before you know it. She achieves this again flawlessly with the outstanding Gasoline. A song which gradually builds up a flammable atmosphere before culminating in a final verse that rains fire all over the failed relationship it’s evidently about. With a subject matter that has been so flogged to death leaving little that would even constitute remains, it is a pure delight when someone like Lera Lynn comes along and delivers it from such a cheapened place.

If Bobby, Baby doesn’t break your heart then it must be made of stone and you should seek urgent medical attention before it festers! With its distinct country twang and traditional folk sound this is the one to prize the tears from the driest of eyes. There’s a touch of Alison Krauss to the breathtaking vocals as Lera shares a tragic and deeply personal moment so openly. Good Hearted Man is pure country born and bred that will get your shoulders as well as your legs moving whether you want it to or not. A contemplation of the dark and brooding journey being only For The Ride marks the penultimate track before ending more positively, in relative terms anyway, with You And Me Alone.

While it is clear Lera embraces Country as her main genre, she has managed to produce something much more multidimensional here. Maybe that is why the music is travelling so far, as it rightly deserves to. There is such an eclectic mix of sounds from the Blues evident in Whiskey and Fire and Undertow to the Folk Roots of Happy Ever After and Gasoline which also manages a hint of Jazz.  While Alternative Country dominates it is in no way overbearing thus making this a wonderful addition to the Transatlantic Americana tradition. Perhaps there isn’t anything strikingly different here but with such personal poetry and the sheer exuberant passion she packs into each track, it has a very distinct feel to it. I find myself already eager to get to know Lera Lyn even more.

There are also two FREE songs available from Lera. In the first instance check out the website but they are available via the Slow Records soundcloud page too. Just a listen to her wonderfully original rendition of the Johnny Cash classic Ring of Fire should entice your fingers to click for such a great freebie. New original song Don't Make Me Wait is also a gem.

If you're in the UK and off to the renowned Cambridge Folk Festival this coming weekend (I'll admit I'm very jealous of those of you that are) make sure you do not miss out on Lera's performance on Sunday because all the promise she delivers via her recordings and the sessions videos (two of which are included above) means she no doubt possesses the power to render her audience into a magnificent melted mess of musical goo with her outstanding live set. If you haven't yet got tickets then what are you waiting for? Some have sold out but there are still variations available including the last remaining weekend tickets. Check out the final press release below and do the right thing. Enjoy what bit of summer we've been blessed with a top quality festival in the historical city of Cambridge. The Line up is top notch!

26, 27, 28, 29 JULY 2012


All Sunday tickets are now sold out for the Cambridge Folk Festival. Saturday tickets are also sold out. Friday tickets are still available, as are a few final weekend tickets.

Friday is just £41 and features some exceptional music including highly anticipated veteran American country folk singer-songwriter John Prine; Irish singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow; English folk legends June Tabor & Oysterband; acclaimed US singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters; incredible Irish rhythms and tunes from storming Festival favourites Four Men & A DogTreacherous Orchestra, the thrilling folk big band, taking Scottish dance music to a new dimension; Raghu Dixit, whose unique blend of Indian and Western music coupled with a stunning voice have made him such a hit in this country; Louisiana’s finest contemporary Cajun dance band Pine Leaf Boys; English folk singer-songwriter Steve Tilston, recipient of this year’s BBC Folk Award for Best Original Song; a kids’ ceilidh with Steamchicken and an array of stars in the making, including Jake Bugg, all appearing in the gorgeous setting of The Den – last year’s brand new emerging talent stage which proved a huge Festival hit. Plus the opening ceremony of the Olympics on a screen in the main Festival bar!

Full line-up below. Online booking and information, including details of who’s on which day: Phone booking: 01223 357851

Tickets: Full Festival £120; Friday £41
Camping: (Full Festival tickets only, per 2-3 berth tent) Cherry Hinton £52, Coldhams Common £36 (second site).
Online bookings subject to booking fee.

Cambridge Folk Festival is organised and promoted by Cambridge City Council.

For further information contact: Claire Horton, Richard Wootton Publicity    020 8545 9299


Clannad Black diamond (cards) Joan Armatrading Black diamond (cards)The Proclaimers Black diamond (cards) John Prine
 Loreena McKennitt Black diamond (cards) James Vincent McMorrow Black diamond (cards) Nanci Griffith
June Tabor & Oysterband Black diamond (cards) Roy Harper Black diamond (cards) Angelique Kidjo Black diamond (cards) Keb Mo Band
Billy Bragg celebrates Woody Guthrie’s 100th Birthday   
The Unthanks with Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band   
Seth Lakeman Black diamond (cards) Nic Jones Black diamond (cards) Lau Black diamond (cards) Gretchen Peters Black diamond (cards) Ruthie Foster 
Karine Polwart Black diamond (cards) Four Men & A Dog Black diamond (cards) Dry the River 
Benjamin Francis Leftwich Black diamond (cards) Treacherous Orchestra Black diamond (cards) Raghu Dixit Black diamond (cards)
Pine Leaf Boys Black diamond (cards) The Unwanted Black diamond (cards) Jim Moray’s Silent Ceilidh Black diamond (cards)
Tim Edey & Brendan Power Black diamond (cards) Ana├»s Mitchell Black diamond (cards) Kan Black diamond (cards) JuJu
Lazy Lester & Friends Black diamond (cards) Steve Tilston Black diamond (cards) The Mighty Doonans Black diamond (cards) The Destroyers
Spiro Black diamond (cards) Brian McNeill Black diamond (cards) Megson Black diamond (cards) Phantom Limb
 Fay Hield & The Hurricane Party Black diamond (cards) The Staves  
Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson Band Black diamond (cards) ahab Black diamond (cards) Naomi Bedford
Habadekuk Black diamond (cards) Blackbeard’s Tea Party Black diamond (cards) Steamchicken Black diamond (cards) Lera Lynn
Ioscaid Black diamond (cards) Paul Cookson Black diamond (cards) Polly Paulusma


Lucy Ward Black diamond (cards) O’Hooley & Tidow Black diamond (cards) The Young’uns
Rachel Sermanni (acoustic) Black diamond (cards) Pilgrims’ Way


Adam Beattie & Brooke Sharkey Black diamond (cards) Annie Dressner Black diamond (cards) Cath & Phil Tyler  Charlene Soraia Black diamond (cards) Chasing Owls Black diamond (cards) Dan Wilde Black diamond (cards)David Gibb & Elly Lucas  Dear Winesburg Black diamond (cards) Eska Black diamond (cards) Gerard & the Watchmen Black diamond (cards) Fred’s House  
House of Hats Black diamond (cards) Jake Bugg Black diamond (cards) Jay Leighton Black diamond (cards) Karima Francis  
Keston Cobblers’ Club Black diamond (cards) King Charles (acoustic) Black diamond (cards) Klak Tik Black diamond (cards) Lee Mitchell  Liz Green Black diamond (cards) Lucy Kitt Black diamond (cards) Magic Lantern Black diamond (cards) Max Baillie & Sura Susso  
Moulettes Black diamond (cards) Nick Mulvey Black diamond (cards) Robin Gillan Black diamond (cards) Seamus Cater & Viljam Nybacka Solarference Black diamond (cards) The Beguilers Black diamond (cards) The Half Sisters Black diamond (cards) The Miserable Rich Black diamond (cards) Three Cane Whale Black diamond (cards) Tom Copson

And finally:

Another current freebie on offer at the moment is the first track from the outstanding latest album from McDermott's 2 Hours' lead man, the hugely talented Nick Burbridge. For Gathered, released in March this year, Nick teamed up with Tim Cotterell to produce something of star quality. Grab yourself Last Train Home and if it speaks to you like it should (if it doesn't then please do open your ears, it helps) head to his >>website<< and make a very worthy purchase. I played Song of Sisyphus on a recent podcast and while that is perhaps my top favourite, the album is packed with superbly intellectual and thought-provoking songs (something one comes to expect from Nick and he never disappoints).

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