Wednesday, 30 January 2013

AND THE WEDNESDAY WINNER IS...: BBC RADIO 2 FOLK AWARDS 2013

http://www.songlines.co.uk/world-music-news/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/p011jhx2.jpg
Yes, I am crazy! This is a second kind of non-scheduled blog post this week. Yes, I should be working on the final little bit of the concluding part of my overview/review of 2012. It cannot be helped. There is just too much to share. If I didn't write this one and get it out there my fragile mind would collapse under the pressure of so much great music waiting to be shared. I admit, I should have got this tagged on to the bottom of Monday's post but there was just no time. Arrrrg! Stop! Wait! Tonight is the night so I have to get a move on even now. I'm against the clock in all senses of the expression.

I am of course talking about the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Depending on what time I get to hit the publish button on this post, the awards ceremony is either in full swing (indeed it is) or possibly even already over (most likely for later readers). I regret I won't have time to go over it and share the winners before next week but you don't need me to do that. If you've not even watched the show or perhaps even heard about it (what secluded isle do you live on I'd like to know?) then at least now you will have. You should check out some more about it because it is a seminal night of recognition for British Folk music. There is always the added fact that when you watch or listen to such events you will come across a song or artist that bowls you over. Something new will enter you sphere of musicality. Not sure if that last sentence makes grammatical sense but it sounded good so get over it. Ha!

BBC FOLK AWARDS 2013
COMPILATION ALBUM



It isn't all just hard traditional type stuff either so don't be scared away by that. Not that such style should scare you. Unless it's about some mad axe-murdering ghost who tortures his victims to a painfully slow and grisly death using obscure musical instruments that....I think I best stop there before I get closed down. There is so much range to the music covered by all the categories and in turn, the nominees. From traditional to instrumental, progressive to contemporary and beyond. Something for everyone. One particular thing that draws me to most, if not all, forms of folk is how far back into our histories it stretches. Furthermore, how it is often about passing on ancient stories and lore to each generation. It is something inclusive and as a society of music fans, something we can take great pleasure from and indeed, learn from too. I'd not heard of the interesting Doctor James Katriona Gilmore sings about. An important character seemingly wiped from history. 

Check out the sample of 5 tracks above that all feature on this wonderful broad compilation album. It is just £9.48 for 3 CDs filled with songs from the nominees of this year's awards. 

  1. Bellowhead with Roll The Woodpile Down, a song that cannot but get you jigging about like a loon. A happy loon and music-induced so fear not, it is a natural thing. The power of that music. These guys are a juggernaut of talent and are up for Best Album (public vote) with their recently released Broadside. It doesn't stop there for them as they are also nominated for Best Group.
  2. Second is Dr James from the more youthful duo Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts. Personally I think their latest album, The Innocent Left should have been nominated in the Best Album category but then you have seen how difficult it is for me to narrow these things down. It is a cracking album though, full of originality but with a foot of each of them remaining within the traditional camp. Anyways, they are up for Best Duo.
  3. Third is King of Birds from talented singer-songwriter Karine Polwart who has no less than three nominations. Her 2012 album, Traces, is up for Best Album while King of Birds is up for Best Original Song and Karine is nominated for Folk Singer of the Year.
  4. Fourth is the very moving and personal The Ballad of Andy Jacobs from Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman. This duo (Kathryn being the sister of Jamie Roberts, if you didn't know) are up for Best Duo as well as this wonderful song being nominated to Best Original Song. Competition in these things is always tough, as it should be, but I sincerely hope Kathryn is recognized for this song. 
  5. Fifth and finally is Sea of Okhotsk from Treacherous Orchestra, which I must admit I absolutely love! It is such an interesting and innovative mix of sounds. There's electronica in there amongst so much else. It sounds superb! Treacherous Orchestra are up for Best Group and I wish them well.


As great as the above are and I think these samples showcase the kind of stuff on the album very well, they can barely hope to scratch the surface. With your appetite duly whetted and to prevent further salivations (and with them the risk of severe flood warnings - do be considerate about all the recent melting snow and rains we've been having), you should go buy the album and enjoy the lot at your leisure.

There are 3 CDs full of wonderment, I did mention that didn't I? 3 disks! Yes three! 3! Go get it for a bargain price of £9.48. Or if you're more in to your digital tunes these days you can buy it from iTunes instead >>here<<. For those who still like to do things the old fashioned way (can you believe I'm saying that about CDs? Anyone remember mini-disks? Ha!), check out the ProperMusic website via this link >>here<<, which will take you directly to the album page.

I wish all nominees my sincerest best wishes but it will come as no surprise I'm rooting for the very awesome Luke Jackson to win the Young Folk Award. Rura have bowled me over too, with their song Mary, which is on the album (disk 1) so go get it and enjoy some fantastic music spanning the entire folk genre. And Lau with The Bird That Winds The Spring - just so sublime. There's too much for me to list so just go buy it. You won't regret it. Full tracklisting below.

NEWS JUST IN......
Okay, I am actually watching the awards stream live via the Radio 2 website as I write this so it is hard not to share what's coming as it comes. Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman scooped the first award for Best Duo. So well-deserved and Sean thanked all those fans who keep attending the gigs because that's what makes it for them! So, please keep at it and get yourself along to wonderful live music. There really is nothing quite like it. Next up is The Horizon Award.....which has gone to Blair Dunlop! A very worthy winner indeed! Well done Blair. If you like what you hear from Blair on the compilation CD make sure you go and buy his awesome debut album Blight & Blossom.

CD 1: Bellowhead - Roll The Woodpile Down / Hannah James & Sam Sweeney - The Farmer's Cursed Wife / Ana├»s Mitchell - Tailor / Duncan Chisholm - Unknown Air / Kathleen Macinnes - Tha Sneach'd Air Druim Uachdair / Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts - Doctor James / Nic Jones  - Texas Girl's Lament At The Funeral Of Her Father / Emily Portman - Hatchlings / Rura - Mary / Kathryn Tickell - Small Coals

CD 2: Lau - The Bird That Winds The Spring / Maz O'connor - Caw The Yowes / Ross Ainslie -- Lullaby For Mel / O'hooley & Tidow - Gentleman Jack / Luke Jackson - Last Train / Karine Polwart - King Of Birds / Blair Dunlop - Billy In The Lowground / Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman - The Ballad Of Andy Jacobs / The Unthanks - Black Trade / Sam Lee - Wild Wood Amber / Treacherous Orchestra - Sea Of Okhotsk


CD 3: Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar - Working On The New Railroad / Thalla - St. Andrew's Flight / Last Tango In Harris / Luke Jackson - More Than Boys / Graham Mackenzie & Ciorstaidh Beaton - Father Eugene's Welcome To Cape North; St Kilda's Wedding / Mae Bradbury - Shiver / Jack Pout - Breaking Of Old Branches / Matt Tighe - Were You At The Rock?;  The College Groves / Rosie Hodgson - Liverpool Lullaby / The Crosstown Trio - My Heart Is Holding Up A Shield / Hugh Sheehan & Jack Mccaugherty - The Night Before


I must apologize for having to love you and leave you now as I need to sit back and enjoy the rest of this awards show. But, before I do so please enjoy the video below from a US indie folk band I only stumbled across yesterday, thanks to them following me on Twitter first. The song is Don't Give Up On Me and I think WOW sums it up perfectly, in brief. Much more from Harvest Breed to come soon! So delightful.


Monday, 28 January 2013

JUST ANOTHER MANIC MUSIC MONDAY!

Indeed it is! A typically manic music Monday at that but here at the Badger's Set we do like our music a bit on the manic side. When there's so very much going on it makes Monday a much better place to be, wouldn't you agree? Things are bad enough having to return to the mundane routine of the hamster wheel so with such great music out and about, we can at least have a bit of a jig about on that wheel to get us through to the next weekend.

You may (or may not) be glad to know that I'm almost done with the final part (2) of the overview review of 2012 I've been putting together for what feels like an eternity. I'm trying to balance it as best I can by not waffling on too much and not embedding so much code the entire internet collapses. I'm hoping this will be published by the 31st at the latest so it is at least not the second month of the year. Evil time-sucking monsters may prevent this but with any luck The Doctor is on the case. Or was on the case. Temporal language can be a bit tricksy. It does mean the blogcast for podcast #12 will be delayed a little longer than I'd planned but ah, who am I kidding? Plans? Yes, well. There's a little bit of planning this year so podcast #13 as well as its blogcast shouldn't be too far behind #12. If you want to get a quick listen to #12 now you can do so at this link http://bandofbadgerspresents.podomatic.com/. Let's not forget I've got to fit in book reviews this year too.*collapses*

With everything I'm already putting together it can only be my screwed up logic to compose and publish a completely fresh post for this Monday evening. The truth is there is just too much going on today that needs to be shared before I'd have a reasonable chance of doing so via the next couple of posts. So here they are. Please enjoy and do share what you can.

THE SCHOLARS 
 NEW SINGLE - LOVE THE THUNDER
First up is a band I will be seeing live this coming Friday. How did that arrive so soon? Very excited about this gig in their own hometown of Banbury. It is also free so if you're nearby get yourself there for a Friday night of top live music! 


Love The Thunder is the second of five planned single releases following Wired, which was out last October (with its alternate version out the following month). It's another very strong tune from these guys who prove time and time again they have what it takes to make it out there today. They, of course, need your help in getting them there. So please part with just 79 itsy bitsy little pennies to download this awesome single and do try and get to one of their gigs if they are playing where you are. You'll have one heck of an enjoyable night as a result. You can read this spectacular review of Love The Thunder >>here<< which sums it up perfectly!


The Scholars pull no punches and are producing very tight, inspiring and innovative tunes. This is a huge sounding, verging nicely on epic and anthemic, track. Those backing vocals are pitched so perfectly too. It's big and catchy and contains a wonderful mix of sounds. I'll be playing Love The Thunder on podcast #13 and will be sure to write up a brief review of Friday's gig soon after that too. Now, before moving on to the next, enjoy the video above then get clicking to buy your copy of this cracking song. Then you may proceed at your leisure. Although, actually you will be wanting more of these guys I expect! In that case check out all their dates and stay updated via their official pages at Facebook and Myspace AND there's more. Listen Again via BBC iPlayer to their feature and interview on BBC Oxford Introducing for a personal insight into what they've been up to and what's to come. 

BLOODFLOWER 
FREE DOWNLOAD - INDIGO
Very excited about this project from former frontman of Welsh indie rock band The Last Republic, Jonnie Owen (and yes, I am still gutted they are no more). Together with producer and long term friend Tom Manning they are making some really unique and awesome sounds via Bloodflower. Sharing a few ideas while at Monnow Valley studios back in September last year spiraled and progressed into what will be debut album Circadian Clock. Indigo is the introductory track and has already received considerable radio support from BBC Introducing, Huw Stephens on Radio 1, John Kennedy at XFM and Kevin Hingley at Q Radio. A very impressive start for something so relatively new. Not just new, however. Something different and damn good! I'm excited about hearing the next tracks from this superb project and while we wait for that, grab your FREE DOWNLOAD here >>http://www.musicglue.net/black-and-white-music/<<




AIDAN LOGAN
FREE DOWNLOAD - STANDING NEXT TO ME
 With his debut album due out this year things are going to work out great for this Belfast-based lad. The first song of his I heard was Let Them Know, written and recorded as a charity single for suicide prevention group Pips. With the album delayed a little and being the thoughtful chap he is, Aidan wanted to share something new with his fans to thank them for their support and encouragement. He has produced Standing Next To Me entirely by himself from what he's been learning from the recording process. This cracking song has not only one, not even two, but three different guitars laid down on it! The resulting track is incredibly impressive! This freebie demonstrates what greatness is to come from this guy, in my opinion.
 
 
LIGHTFIRE
EP LAUNCH
Just hit play on the track below and if you haven't heard these guys before now, you deserve a good slap. Just go on, listen to it and you will agree with me. *gets hand ready to slap you*

Their sound is so huge and epic and perfect alternative rock! Yes there is a lot out there at the moment. A lot of really great stuff but I must admit even so, Lightfire are so high up there when it comes to quality in this part of the unsigned market it is a crime they are not actually signed! What are these record companies waiting for??


Their EP launch is imminent. This Saturday to be precise so check out the details for it and get along. It is going to be one heck of an amazing night! Be prepared for a very loud night though, the way it has to be! Tickets are just £3 and there will be a whole host of other bands to support the guys including We Are Saviours and Mercians (both very good bands in their own rights). At least £1 from each ticket will also be going to charity. The snow has cleared up now so there's no excuse you Midlanders. Make your way to the Bridgtown Social Club in Cannock this Saturday from 19:00. Or else!

 

REICHENBACH FALLS
I'LL NEVER GO ANYWHERE WITHOUT HER NOW
 EP - PRE-ORDER
We started near Oxford, traveled on to South Wales before crossing the water to Belfast and returning to Cannock in the Midlands. It's time to return to Oxford and find those tranquil Reichenbach Falls. Just listen to those falls and take in the wonderment of these tunes! Blessed Blush is taken from the forthcoming EP, I'll Never Go Anywhere Without Her Now, and available to sample at their bandcamp page where you can also pre-order it. I advise you do because, you know, if you're anything like me you may well forget come release day. This way, you've already done the important part and just have to wait for the nice surprise of receiving the EP. You know it makes perfect sense, folks.



I will most certainly be covering more on this band because their music is the type that makes life feel so amazing even if reality sucks. They're the kind to really get you through the blues and realize that hey, you know what? Life is pretty damn fine to be fair. There's also a lyric video for this track. 



SUKH 
DEBUT SINGLE - KINGS
I make it known how I am WOW'd quite often as I get introduced to so much fantastic music. Debut album Kings from Manchester-based singer-songwriter Sukh has WOW'd me well and truly, completely and thoroughly! The title track, Kings was released as a single on 14th January and is available via iTunes by clicking >>here<<. Have a wee listen to it below and I'm pretty sure you'll be clicking off to that link to part with just another 79 wee itsy bitsy few pennies. Come on folks! I've directed you to some free tunes here as well so a couple more top tracks for under £1 each isn't too much to ask. We've got to keep these talented musicians at it or else we'll be the ones who end up missing out when some of them can't afford to keep doing what they so need to be doing.


Kings is a nicely upbeat kind of track with a real driving rythmn to it that screams, 'jig to me and sing along NOW'! The lyrics show Sukh's already strong songwriting talent as he admits drawing on elements of Austrian nuerologist and psychiatrist Victor Frankl's "mans search for meaning" in his thought process. As a former philosophy student and someone still very much interested in Existentialism, this type of contemplative songwriting strikes a powerful chord with me. I can rarely be unimpressed when musicians put such thoughts to music. It is almost like the results provide something profound in and of themselves. I've listened to the album in full a few times now and it is a real treat. The songs are so musically beautiful, like st cats and to the lighthouse. I wish I had time to write a review here but sadly, I don't. I really hope I'm able to get one up for this because I need to share more thoughts on such an amazing debut.
I will also try and get a few question across to his PR peeps and hopefully post the answers with the album review. 

 
THE BLACK FEATHERS
FREE DOWNLOAD TO VOTE FOR HARD ROCK RISING
This magical folk duo need your help please. They would like the opportunity to play at the Hard Rock Cafe Hard Rock Rising 2013. From the songs I've heard and the videos I've seen thus far, they certainly deserve to be there this summer but they need people to vote for them to be in with a chance. All you have to do is simply download a cracking free tune from the link below, which will give them your vote. It's as simple as that. Plus you get yet another FREE download for your personal playlists.


Visit this link to download your free song and cast your vote >>here<<. Muchos thanksos! 


ANDREW PAGE
NEW LIVE VIDEO - HAPPINESS
I cannot express enough just how much I need to see Mr Page play a live gig. He has such a presence! Each and every video he films, be it a cover or an original song of his own, never fails to fully captivate me and hold my attention so strongly. This latest one to test out a new camera, is the song Happiness from his debut album Open The Door



You can purchase this via his website here >>http://www.theandrewpage.com/<<.
  

That just about sums it up for this manic music Monday then. Hope you've enjoyed this little sharing exercise. Please do share on. Catch you soon. Peace.





Tuesday, 22 January 2013

THE SPIRAL AWARDS 2013 - WHO WINS? YOU DECIDE!

Howdy folks. While I'm working away hard at part 2 of my 2012 overview/review, I thought I'd take a break to write up a wee little post about the The Spiral Awards 2013. Mostly because it is one big public vote. Well, many public votes I suppose as all categories are open for fans of the artists and bands and of the online magazine to vote as they please. And just about anyone else who cares to pass by and vote I suppose.

Now, compiling my own list of favourites has proven difficult enough so I can fully sympathize with the guys and gals at Spiral as they have put together these nominations. It's totally understandable why they now want to let the public decide on the ultimate winners. Being nominated, however is a win in itself and with it brings exposure and promotion of a kind. As is to be expected, competition is fierce. I don't wish to command you who to vote for but I am going to share with you my own choices for a few of the categories. Please feel free to follow me with some or all but most importantly vote for who you believe deserves to win based on your experiences of them. There are some categories where I'm a fan of several nominees and others where I may only know the one. I don't think there's anything wrong with voting for the one you know and like either, by the way. I come to music via so many different ways and this will be just another. I will likely look up and listen to a number of the other nominees in categories I'm voting. So whereas they may not get my vote this time round, they may well get my listenership.

Public voting closes at noon 14th March so you do have plenty of time to check out the nominees before voting if you'd like to learn more about each. Please do contribute as being chosen by the public and fans will of course mean a lot to these talented folk.

best album 2013
Static on the Airwaves
Static on the Airwaves
Levellers
The Ornate Lie
The Ornate Lie
Kim Edgar
contraband
Contraband
Kirsty Mcgee
Skulk
Skulk
Jim Moray

Anyone who's kept up with the blog over the past year will know how much of a Levellers fan I am. So, it will come as little surprise I'm voting for Static On The Airwaves for Best Album. Following 2008's magnificent Letters From The Underground was always going to be difficult. With Static, I think the band have managed to do so with something that harks back to a lot of early days kind of stuff. With their added experience and it is far from any simple rehash of that older work, of course. It just has some wicked fiddle on most of the tracks and some wonderful hook-laden choruses that you really can't help but get your feet moving along to. When it is hard to pick standout songs because all are so good you know a band has done its job well. If pushed, I'd have to single out We Are All Gunmen, Truth Is, After The Hurricane and Mutiny but as you can tell I'm in danger of listing them all.





best trad folk album 2013

Orfeo
Orfeo
Fay Hield and the Hurricane Party
Northumbrian Voices
Northumbrian Voices
Kathryn Tickell
The Seas Are Deep
The Seas Are Deep
Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker
Songs  Lost & Stolen
Another Day Another Story
James Findlay

I saw James Findlay perform when he was supporting Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman last February. While I admit I am more a fan of the more contemporary folk stuff, including the reworked and updated traditional songs, James really impressed me. So much so I bought two of his albums at the gig on the night. I loved how he spontaneously warmed up his voice with a song acapella before warming up the crowd with a host of traditional tunes.





best debut 2013
In Time
In Time
Alister Atkin
wild bery
The Wild Wild Berry
Stephanie Hladowski & C. Joynes
Vice of the People
Vice of the People

Albion Band
Blight & Blossom
Blight & Blossom
Blair Dunlop
 
Now this category presents the first issue. I'm coming down on the side of Blair Dunlop because his debut Blight & Blossom is the album I've heard most. I'm afraid I didn't have time enough to get into Vice Of The People by The Albion Band. This of course is the next generation of The Albion Band and what a damn fine generation it is. Including Blair Dunlop himself, together with Katriona Gilmore and a number of other hugely talented young folk musicians. So why am I not choosing their album then? If I had have been able to hear it more than I have, I may well have chosen it but sadly time, as is always the way, conspires against me. It is a great album though and I highly recommend it.

Blair's Blight & Blossom is also fantastic, which is why I'm selecting that one as my winner in this category. I was supposed to go see him play in Milton Keynes but sadly it was during the Great Manflu attack of 2012. That pesky virus lingered on for weeks and weeks and I was coughing so much I didn't want to ruin it for other folk. Next time, Blair, I shall be there!


best duo 2013

Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman
Philip Henry & Hannah Martin
Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin
Katriona gilmore & Jamie Roberts
Gilmore & Roberts
ohooley tidow
O'Hooley & Tidow

On my latest podcast (#12) I expressed how much of a difficult time this category would give me when mentioning two acts in particular, going head to head for the Best Duo at the BBC2 Radio 2 Folk Awards this year. To now be faced with just such a decision for these awards means this post is now a day later than I'd planned. Seriously, how does one possibly choose one over the other when both acts mean quite a fair bit to me? This is the very case whereby it needs to be possible to vote for two. I feel queasy having to actually make a firmer decision. I came to Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman thanks to randomly buying their second album at the first Seth Lakeman gig I attended a few years back (I'd already got all of Seth's at this point). I absolutely loved it! Rule & Bant from that album is one of my favourite songs (and was played on podcast #12). Their long-awaited return as a duo on the music circuit was cemented in the summer with the release of their third album, Hidden People. I reviewed it >>here<< and have seen them live three times now. As the shows I'd seen before the latest album proved, they are a world class musical pairing who have perhaps been underrated due to their absence from centre stage for a number of years.

I bet there's no sibling rivalry in real life (these folk are just too lovely) as Kathryn's brother Jamie makes up the Roberts component of Gilmore & Roberts. Katriona Gilmore is every bit as humble and personable as Kathryn, as she talks the audience through stories about the songs they played at the gig I went to in October. They had been on my radar already but as you will be aware I get so much music these days sometimes I miss out on amazing things. I count these guys amongst those amazing things! I am just grateful that as a part of doing all this music stuff I was asked if I wanted to review their latest album The Innocent Left. Is a cat one of the laziest domestic animals in existence? So I snapped that one up and my review can be read >>here<<. It is partly me reviewing the album as to why I didn't get a write up about the gig shortly after that evening of magical entertainment. I have however written up a review of it for part 2 of the overview/review.

So....yes....I can ramble on as much as I'd like but I still have to choose who I'm voting for don't I? Right! Well.....do I have to choose? You see why I sometimes have issues selecting the individual songs for the podcast. Okay then. I have to do it. I'm going to go for Gilmore & Roberts! I'm saying nothing further on the matter. I feel bad enough as it is. Not for choosing Gilmore & Roberts because they so deserve to win with their wonderful combination (both live & recorded) but I sincerely love Kathryn & Sean's work. I would be useless on an award committee wouldn't I?



 best original song 2013
Nicky Swann
Because Of You
Nicky Swann
Cosmonaut
Cosmonaut
Nick Cave ft. Emmylou Harris
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman
The Ballad Of Andy Jacobs
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman
Anais Mitchell
Young Man In America
Anais Mitchell

I can go some way to redeeming myself and feeling less upset at not being able to select Kathryn & Sean for the Best Duo category as well by voting for Kathryn's heartbreaking and thoroughly moving original song, The Ballad of Andy Jacobs. It's one of those where just a few presses down on the piano keys is enough to make you well up. It is striking in the imagery she paints for you with both music and words so that you really get inside Andy's life and feel for what things must have been like for these folk during those times. You can smell the coal and the burning as that fire takes hold towards the end. This is one remarkable achievement and needs to be recognized accordingly. It better win at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards too, as it is nominated in the same category there.



best songwriter 2013
weeping
Nick Burbridge
Anais Mitchell
Anais
Mitchell
Ewan McLennan
Ewan McLennan
be ready
Karine Polwart

This is another category that threatened to prove a tough choosing challenge. Ewan McLennan has written some really great stuff that I enjoy. Karine Polwart released her most recent album last year too, proving she has a remarkable songwriting talent. At the risk of over-promoting my own reviews and stuff (I'm going to anyway), I did review Traces >>here<<. It is one stunning album of songs! Even so, the winner hands down for me cannot but be the master storyteller, poet, songwriter, musician and all-round talented Mr Nick Burbridge!

Given his hugely busy schedule thanks to just how many different diverse and wonderful projects he works on, he's not exactly had chance to get out on the road in support of his most recent music collaboration with Tim Cotterell. Gathered was released earlier last year and in my last blog post I described why it was one of my top favourite albums of 2012. Anything from Nick stands out so far ahead of pretty much anything else. Its scope, its quality, its production and most importantly (and the reason he gets my vote as Best Songwriter, without any doubt) the structure and content of the songwriting is just unparalleled! I stand by what I wrote at the end of my bit on Gathered in that last post, 'Nick Burbridge is one of the UK's, even the world's, greatest artistic talents!' Make sure you vote for his efforts and if you've never heard much of his stuff before then get yourself to http://www.burbridgearts.org/ where you will find so much greatness you will be back to vote for him before too long. You can check out Gathered below and then please submit your vote.


best album 2013

Beautiful Days
Beautiful Days
Sark
Sark Folk Festival
Maverick
Maverick
Cambridge
Cambridge Folk Festival

Again, regular readers and/or listeners will understand why I'm voting for Beautiful Days for the Festival Award. I've been several times myself and it was with great sadness I was unable to make it last year. It is one huge family who all come together to celebrate good independent music and something that feels on the right side of freedom. With any luck I'll be able to get in this year thanks to all the writing I'm doing and so cover some/all of the festival. That is much harder than it sounds to be honest as I found when writing up about last year's Truck Festival. It was an incredible amount of fun though and something I would absolutely without a shadow of a doubt, want to repeat this year. Perhaps I'll hit the jackpot and get to cover Cambridge Folk Festival, Truck Festival and Beautiful Days. That would make one magical mountainous musical summer. Bring it on please!!

Here's the link again for you to submit your own votes: http://www.spiralearth.co.uk/spiralawards2013/




While on the subject of festivals and to bring this wee little (little?? well for me, it is) post to a close I want to share the exciting news that tickets for this year's Truck Festival will be going on sale from 7pm on Monday 4th February. This will start with the final batch of very limited early bird tickets held at 2012 prices. Set reminders or alarms! Make notes with those little magnetic words you have on your fridges (perhaps just the students on that one - I miss those to be fair). Stick up post it notes above the loo and in the shower. Just make sure you get your tickets for one amazing weekend!