EP out now – ‘The Ones That We Left Behind’ – Calming River

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/

Flaming June EP – ‘In Pursuit of Happiness’ – released Dec 1st 2015

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.

Pete Townshend teams with Des Horsfall (Kuschty Rye) for stunning single ‘Chameleon’

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.

New EP out on November 23rd – Elliot Porter, ‘Keep Going’

When it comes to great roots music, there’s often a lot of poetry that goes into the lyric writing. By its nature, the acoustic stylings of folk allow lyrics room to breathe and be heard in a way few other genres offer, so it’s a particularly demanding genre for songwriters to work in effectively.

Fortunately, song writer Elliot Porter has more than enough lyrical skill to stand out in this arena. ‘Keep Going’ is his new EP, released with Matchbox Recordings on November 23rd, and the video to the lead track (above) shows exactly why he’s being widely tipped as a new contender for the likes of Damien Rice and Glen Hansard.

Those two artists in particular have found a niche and fanbase over their careers which have allowed them the freedom to write more and more great music. On current form, there’s no reason why Elliot Porter can’t do the same thing.

Baron Goodlove, ‘Orpheus’ – debut single/free download

Delightfully dark but with a rootsy charm, the lyric video above is a fantastic introduction to a new UK songwriter by the name of Baron Goodlove. With the help of his band The Dreadful Noise, this debut single is a forboding joy, if that’s not to much of a contradiction in terms.

‘Orpheus’ is not only a debut single and free download, it is also the first look we get at an upcoming EP from the young song writer, whose influences include a promising who’s who of songwriting legends.

And, with several gigs supporting the unerringly popular George Ezra already on his CV, Baron Goodlove and the Dreadful Noise will surely be building a devoted following of their own.

Rachel Ann Crowned TeenStar Singing Competition Winner

The national singing competition TeenStar has found its latest winner! Joining a long line of prestigious Future Music competition winners, Rachel Ann from Bournemouth, Dorset has been crowned the champion of the national TeenStar competition at The NEC in Birmingham!

Singing Competition Winner


Rachel Ann was crowned champion in front of a capacity crowd and a prestigious music industry judging panel at The NEC in Birmingham on Saturday night. Her unique performance of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” won over the competition industry judges making her the overall winner of TeenStar. She will now be offered a recording and development deal including a £5,000 advance to spend on the development of her music.

The national singing competition is brought to you by Future Music – the company behind the discovery of artists such as such as Luke Friend and Karen Hardy both of which have had chart success this year, Jacob Banks, Warner Music’s Birdy, Columbia Record’s Lucy Spraggan, Union J’s Jaymi Hensley and Jahmene Douglas, both of which are now signed to Sony Music.

Music industry judges at the National Singing Competition Grand Final


After impressing the judging panel at the auditions, Rachel Ann battled against more than 9,000 acts who entered for TeenStar this year across the UK. She went on to perform in the TeenStar live showcases, battling through both Regional and Area Final heats to make it to the national Grand Final.


The judging panel for the Grand Final included record label representatives from Universal, as well representatives from music management companies, recording studios, professional musicians, national press representatives and the examination board, Rock School.


Rachel Ann has now won a comprehensive consultation package with Future Music, an extensive winner’s publicity package, and an amazing £5,000 advance to spend on the development of her music. On winning the prizes Rachel said, “I’m literally speechless, overjoyed with happiness. Thank you to everyone for all the support!”


Chris Grayston, Head Judge and Director of Future Music has said, “Rachel Ann has been a stand out act throughout the TeenStar competition. Her unique vocal range and emotive performances make her a clear winner!” Check out more information about the TeenStar Champion on the website here.

Future Music is also about to start singing auditions for Open Mic UK, find more information and enter music competition Open Mic UK now. Also check out the Future Music Songwriting Contest, which is specifically for songwriters of any age and genre.

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.


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: