New folk music alert! Folkstock Records set for ‘Downtown’ compilation release

Available from tomorrow on their website, Folkstock Records are releasing their brand new folk compilation album ‘Downtown’. Putting together a ten song collection from eight different artists, the album pulls together new music from some of their most promising finds of the last year or so.

The album is being released in celebration of those eight artists, who will all be playing a part in this year’s London Folk and Roots Festival with the help of the Folkstock label.

Both ‘Emerging Artist’ events will be held on successive Tuesdays at The Islington venue in London, and should be in the diary of any London based folk fan. November 4th sees Folkstock host an alternative country evening, with Fred’s House, Marina Florance, Kaity Rae and Ben Smith. One week later, they will be celebrating talented female songwriters with Kelly Oliver, Minnie Birch, Daria Kulesh and Zoe Wren on November 11th.

If you can’t wait that long, then you can get the album from tomorrow from £7. However, if you can make it along to the gigs, you will be able to pick up a copy for free. Not a bad reward for simply supporting independent folk.

Tickets: November 4th / November 11th

More info on claiming your free album: Click here

Buy the album: Click here

Kelly Moneymaker – ‘Stone’ album out now

Some of the finest offshoots of roots music – gospel, country, rock and roll, and particularly soul – stand front and center of this great new album from vocalist Kelly Moneymaker.

Out now, ‘Stone’ finds Moneymaker on really fine form, growling out her powerful vocal over a range of genres, all given a consistency by the clean production and that unique voice.

On top of those solid foundations, Moneymaker sparkles throughout – 13 tracks of varying styles, all adding up to a very solid and consistent release.

Leo Sayer – ‘Restless Years’ album

Straight up pop laced with folky touches of harmonica, blues, and even a touch of jazz, the new album from Leo Sayer is out now. A million miles from the stomping folk style currently popular in the charts, this is subtle, effective and mellow, but just as uplifting in its own way.

Packed with songs in which Sayer looks back on life with something of a contented smile, the album shows off a songwriter who knows his hit making days are behind him, but still loves what he does. Just look at the production – all taken care of by the man himself – for the proof. Meticulous, clean, and well captured, every note is clear as a bell and perfectly placed.

The lyrics are those of an artist ruminating on the latter years of a legendary career, sharing his thoughts on later life, the state of the world, the music industry and more. Hugely pleasant company you will want to return to time and again.

Buy the album now:



With special guest, singer/songwriter, Michael Armstrong





























Video: ‘Live on Love’ by Jess Thristan – EP out now

With a lovely, lilting rhythm that strays into a nice country feel, ‘Live on Love’ is the new video from rising star Jess Thristan. It’s the lead track from a new EP of the same names and keeps up the great momentum Jess Thristan has been showing in recent months.

Be it support from Radio 2, writing alongside established hit-making songwriters, or featuring on countless online acoustic sessions, Thristan is clearly building quite the following. Hopefully, it won’t be long before that following becomes too big for the mainstream media to ignore.


‘It Is What It Is’ – the new album from Songs for Mr Sloane

Out now, the new album from Songs For Mr Sloane is called ‘It Is What It Is’ and it’s a real songwriter’s LP. Not strictly folk or roots, though there are plenty of elements in the lyrics and storytelling, this is instead an album of mixed genres, something of an exercise in eclecticism.

The creation of a group of musicians from different background, you get the feeling that this is music as the band want it to sound. A host of ideas tossed in the juicer to see what comes out, it makes for an intriguing listen – compelling at times, less so at others.

By its very nature the songs ebb and flow as the genres and style change, and it’s hard to imagine one single listener likeing the whole thing. Some of the songs are so different, tied together only by the gruff, no nonsense vocal, that any perceived strengths and weaknesses will be entirely subjective. It will depend on the taste of the listener which bits they think are strongest.

One thing’s for sure though – all the musicianship, production and structural integrity of the songs is on point, and you can’t disagree with those qualities, even if one or two individual styles leave you cold.

Interview – Sasha McVeigh, Acoustic EP out now

Artist name: Sasha McVeigh

Release name: Sasha McVeigh – Acoustic EP

Release date: March 16th 2013 (Debut Album will be released in April/May 2015)

1. Where and when did you first discover your interest in music?

I’ve been interested in music since I was a little girl. I’ve been singing
since I could talk, so it’s something I’ve always known I wanted to be
apart of my life.

2. What are your main ambitions in the industry?

I want to prove thatyou can make your mark in this industry without having money or
connections, and without having to conform. A lot of the time people
get to where there are in the music business because they have wealthy
family or they know people. My parents are both pensioners and I’m
from a small, rural village in the West Midlands. Everything that’s
been achieved has been achieved through hard work and dedication. We
sold whatever we could so I could go to Nashville the first time in
2012 and have basically been living on a shoe-string ever since. I
can’t thank my parents enough for the sacrifices they’ve made for me.
It’s incredible to know they believe in me so much and very humbling.

3. When did you start writing your own songs/music?

I started writing when I was 12 years-old. I’ve always loved writing stories and poems,
so it was a natural progression to the songwriting. I used it as a
means to vent my emotions. My songs were like rhyming diary entries
and they still are. The best way to find out about me is by listening
to my music.

4. What would you say is your music career highlight to date?
Definitely when I was asked to perform at the Academy of Country Music
Awards Kick-Off Concert with Hunter Hayes, Cole Swindell and David
Nail. The CEO of the ACM’s, Bob Romeo, saw me performing and said he
wanted me to be involved in the event. I of course never imagined it
would actually happen, but a few months later we got the call and then
I was flying to Las Vegas to perform. It was a huge honour and a
moment I will never forget.

5. Who will we hear in your songs? What are your influences?

Some of my biggest influences would have to be Elvis Presley, Zac Brown Band,
Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, Shania Twain and Simon & Garfunkel. My Dad
was a big country music and folk fan, he loved Cat Stevens and Dolly,
whereas my Mum was a massive Motown, Simon & Garfunkel and Rolling
Stones fan. I had a very diverse musical upbringing and I think that’s
reflected in my songwriting.

6. What’s the most important thing you’d want to tell people about
your current release?

My current release is an acoustic EP and all the song’s were written solely by me. This was the first time I’d everrecorded any of my material so I think you can hear that newness in
the music. It’s very honest because of the songwriting but also
because it’s just my voice and a guitar, there aren’t any gimmicks. My
debut album that comes out in April/May will be different in the sense
it’s a full album with full instrumentation, but you’re still going to
get that honesty in the writing. That’s just who I am!

7. Who else can you recommend from your genre or local area for people
to have a listen to?

In terms of American artists, people should definitely check out Sonia Leigh who I’ll be doing a co-headline tour across UK & Ireland with in April, she’s phenomenal, I’d say she’s a
combination of Janis Joplin and KT Tunstall but she has her own flair
too of course. Also take a listen to Zac Brown Band, Charlie Worsham,
Brett Eldredge, Old Dominion and Sam Hunt. In terms of British/Irish
artists, take a listen to The Rising, Liv Austen, Dexeter, Emma Jade
and Ward Thomas.

8. Any gigs coming up?

Like I said I’ll be performing all across UK and Ireland in April on tour with Sonia Leigh. We’ll have all British artists opening for us too so it’ll be a lot of fun, a lot of those
artists, along with us, all performed at the C2C Festival at The O2.
Tickets are on sale now!

9. Where can we find/follow you online?

You can find me on all forms of social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, SoundCloud,
you name it, I’ve got it. I love to stay connected to my fans as much as possible.

Lonna Marie’s fantastic new EP – ‘The Worst Has Just Begun’

Lilting and beautiful, the track above, ‘Drifting’, is one of four tracks on a new EP from US based artist Lonna Marie, and typifies the quality on show throughout the EP. Contrasting a gentle vibe with well constructed lyrics that really hit home, it’s a strong opening release from an artist who clearly knows her way around the country pop genre.

Lonna Marie also takes a unique approach to her music, not only writing original songs for release, but also submitting unsolicited theme tunes and jingles for Dropbox and Paypal. In an industry where half the battle is getting noticed, I think it’s fair to say that’s an innovative way to do it!

Keep an eye on Lonna Marie online:

EP out now from Josh Healey

Out today on iTunes (and probably other decent online stockists too), ‘Lost…..Found…..and Lost Again’ is the brand new EP from singer-songwriter Josh Healey.

Dominated by a straightforward acoustic sound, this is nevertheless an EP which comes into its own in the folkier, rootsier more country inflected tunes. Take for example, the rustic charm given to the opening track by the harmonica, or the Ralph McTell-esque finger picking of ‘Prelude’ and ‘City of Saints’ (which cleverly knit together very well to create a longer track of their own).

Although it doesn’t overstate it’s point in terms of volume, these songs still manage to hit home without hitting full power. There’s something to be said for songs and singers who don’t rely on soaring crescendos to make their point – and Josh Healey is a case in point.


Jess Thristan records live version of ‘Little Bird’ for Ont’ Sofa

One of the UK’s hottest new singer/songwriters 19 year old Jess Thristan has recorded a breath taking live version of her upcoming new single ‘Little Bird’. The stripped back version of the wonderfully melodic and catchy tune is a masterly piece of music that fuses classic singer/songwriting with contemporary pop sensitivities.

The new single, which is released October 20th, is a follow up to April’s ‘Side By Side’ EP which gained major national radio play and reached number 8 in the iTunes singer/songwriter chart.

‘Little Bird’ shows a progression in the development of Jess as an extremely credible writer and performer. Also recorded at the Ont’ Sofa sessions was Jess’ interpretation of the classic Beatles track ‘From Me To You’. To view ‘From Me To You’ visit the link below.

With ‘Little Bird’ already achieving national radio play on BBC Radio 2 and with a live performance already booked on Clare Balding’s radio show, the single looks certain to further Jess Thristan’s reputation.

To see Jess perform ‘Little Bird’ for the Ont’ Sofa sessions visit the link below.




Open Mic UK 2014 – Singing competition audition dates announced

Singing competition audition dates have been announced for Open Mic UK 2014 – the nationwide singing competition searching for the UK’s best singers, singer/songwriters, rappers and vocalists!


Open Mic UK is brought to you by Future Music, the company behind the discovery of artists such as Luke Friend, Jacob Banks, Warner Music’s Birdy, Columbia Record’sLucy Spraggan, Union J’s Jaymi Hensley and Jahmene Douglas, both of whom are now signed to Sony Music. Open Mic UK is an exciting competition to get involved in, and the singing competition audition dates for 2014 have just been announced!


Singing competition audition dates announced – Open Mic UK 2014


We’ll be holding singing competition auditions at the following regions for Open Mic UK 2014! Book your singing competition audition now to secure your place!


Saturday 23rd August at Concourse Suites 29-30, National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham,B40 1NT.


Sunday 24th August at The Palace Hotel, Oxford Road, Manchester, M60 7HA.


Sunday 31st August at Vincent Harris Suite, Sheffield City Hall, Sheffield, S1 2JA.


Sunday 31st August atDingwalls, Middle Yard, Chalk Farm Road, Camden Lock, London, NW1 8AB.


Saturday 6th September atStudio 1, City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, G1 1NQ.


Sunday 7th September atBritannic Suite, The Liner Hotel, Lord Nelson Street, Liverpool, L3 5QB.


Sunday 7th September at Tobacco Factory, Raleigh Road,  Southville,  Bristol, BS3 1TF.


Sunday 14th September at Palace Theatre, London Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 9LA.


Sunday 14th September at The Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre, Westgate Road, Newcastle, NE1 4AG.


Sunday 14th September at Ferneham Hall, Fareham (near Southampton/Portsmouth), PO16 7DB.


Saturday 20th September atMilton Keynes C.C., Strudwick Drive, Milton Keynes, MK6 2TG.


Saturday 20th September atCommittee Room 1, Hove Centre, Hove, Norton Road, Brighton, BN3 4AH.


Sunday 21st September atSub89, 110 – 117 Friar Street, Berkshire, Reading, RG1 1EP.


Sunday 21st September atBoardroom, Beck Theatre, Grange Road, Hayes, Middlesex, London UB3 2UE.


Sunday 21st September atBritannia Hotel, St James Street, Nottingham, NG1 6BN.


Saturday 27th September at Exeter Corn Exchange, Market Street, Exeter, EX1 1BW.


Saturday 27th September at Kings Hall, Balmoral, Belfast, BT9 6GW.


The Open Mic UK singing competition auditions are allocated on a first-come, first served basis, so get your singing competition audition booked now to avoid disappointment!


Get your singing competition audition booked here.