Based on poem ‘The Braes of Balquhither’ by Robert Tannahill, folk song ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ was originally written by Francis McPeake and has stuck around as a folk standard ever since. It’s a fantastic choice for any aspiring folk artist, and this latest version by independent artist Philip Murray Warson is a fine example of an artist taking an older track and making it his own.
Elevated by lovely moments of harmony and a brilliantly executed horn section, this track is – at it’s core – a pure acoustic folk track. Strummed chords play the foundation to a vocal which, while not note perfect, fits the material perfectly.
This track is free to download, but you can also get Philip Murray Warson’s full EP here.
It seems to have been a while since Glen Hansard, Damien Rice and Jose Gonzalez have released a notable record, and of course Elliot Smith is dearly departed. However, dark acoustic folk fans shouldn’t despair. New artist Calming River is proving to be a more than adequate fit for this gap in the market, and he proves it with new EP ‘The Ones That We Left Behind’.
The lead single ‘Solemn Witness’ can be heard above and is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of quality. To hear the rest (and why wouldn’t you?), head over to http://www.calmingrivermusic.com/
For fans of folk music, the last 7 or 8 years have either been a blessing or a curse. The huge explosion of bands such as Mumford and Sons and Avicii have on the one hand popularised the genre beyond all recognition, but by splicing in pop genre tropes they have also diluted the raw rootsy sound long time fans might be used to.
Flaming June is a songwriter who sets a great example of walking that balance. Her melodies are undoubtedly memorable, and her structures are based on pop music. However, the sound is pure acoustic folk, and the lyrics draw on the tale telling traditions of the genre.
For a great example see ‘Freedom’s Fairytale for Girls’ above, a track taken from new EP in ‘Pursuit of Happiness’. It’s out now and can be found at www.flamingjune.co.uk.
If ever there was a single made for lovers of folk music, then new track ‘Chameleon’ might just be it. Written by Katy Lane – ex-wife and muse of Ronnie Lane (The Small Faces/The Faces) – and performed by Des Horsfall’s Kuschty Rye and The Who’s Pete Townshend, the single is out on Friday.
It comes from a new Kuschty Rye album (in three volumes no less) which celebrates the life and work of Ronnie Lane. Clearly something of a passion project for Des Horsfall, the collaboration with Townshend came about because the legendary Who guitarist heard about the triple album and wanted to be involved.
The result is the delicate, beautiful single above.
A long time favourite on this website, Jess Thristan is a UK songwriter who produces superb, roots inflected acoustic music. With an album in the offing for early next year, it’s no surprise that there is a single release to close out the year.
What is something of a surprise is that this talented songwriter has decided to release a cover song as that teaser single. Any concerns are short lived though, thanks to this beautifully artful orchestral rendering of a a Beatles classic.
With some lovely folk touches and a subtle take on haunting melody, Philip Murray Warson has released his debut EP ‘Last of the Hunted’.
Out now, the EP is one of solid harmonies, impressive guitar work and traditional folk rhythms. The vocal is also noteworthy – not because it’s flawless, but because in its occasional flaw there’s a rawness to be found. All to rare in this day of editing and packaging.
It lends the whole thing a sense of rare authenticity, something that’s vital in great roots music.
‘Last of the Hunted’ on Bandcamp
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
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.
Out now through Red Beet Records, ‘Just a Mortal Man’ is a very special album for two reasons. Not only is it a great listen, but it’s the very first solo album ever released by 71 year old Jerry Lawson. Lawson, who has worked at the top of showbusiness for over 40 years, has always been part of hit making groups, but never stepped out on his own. Until now.
The result is this 13 track collection of laid back, low octane but high quality set of tracks with a real rootsy feel. Charming throughout, Lawson’s smooth baritone moves like warm treacle over the classy backing, taking in folk, gospel, country, pop, soul, funk and so much more. It’s a fitting first album from a man who has clearly still got enough talent to flaunt it, but does it here in humble, low-key fashion.
The only taste you can find online at the moment seems to be the video below, a nice little rock’n’roll number. But trust me when I say there’s plenty more where that came from.
Chords of Truth is an acoustic multi-genre folk group fronted by Jason Garriotte. His original acoustic EP ‘Reflections of Reality‘ features 7 inspiration folk songs. He collaborated with 14 producers to create 57 electronic remixes spanning various genres such as Dubstep, House, Trance, Electrofolk, Progressive, Folktronica, Hip Hop and more!
The latest release is entitled ‘Moon Time’. He received inspiration for this title track and album when he was awoken in the middle of the night with the phrase “Moon Time” in his head. This came after watching a documentary on electronic music gatherings combined with knowing how important the moon is to our life on Earth. ‘Moon Time’ is set to be officially released on May 5th, however its already available on Soundcloud to check out now. The track features folky acoustic strumming combined with vocals and harmonies that remind me of classic artists such as Cat Stevens and John Denver. ‘Moon Time’ is extremely catchy and delivers a great message. Be sure to grab the single when it’s released in May from ChordsofTruth.com!