& Leonard Podolak Leonard Podolak is a critically acclaimed 5-String clawhammer banjo player best known as a member of Juno/Grammy Award winning Canadian band The Duhks and as part of Shrewsbury Folk Festival’s Cecil Sharp Project. Together with fiddler Matt Gordon (Fiddle Puppet Dancers, London debut of Riverdance) and producer/guitarist Bill Shanley, he recorded 'Three Thin Dimes', a celebration of Old-Time traditional fiddle and banjo music. Released under licence in Europe by Rootbeat Records, Three Thin Dimes will be available to preorder soon. Vera van Heeringen
Debut album from Dutch bluegrass guitarist/singer Vera van Heeringen promises much and delivers in spades. Delightfully understated and with an assured, timeless grace, Standing Tall is a showcase for van Heeringen’s self-penned songs and virtuoso bluegrass guitar playing, enriched by a stellar cast of guests that includes Tim O’Brien (Kathy Mattea, Kris Drever) and Andy Seward (Kate Rusby Band). Produced by Andy Bell (Spiers & Boden) and mastered by Dirk Powell (Eric Bibb, Transatlantic Sessions), it is bold, modern bluegrass shot through with nostalgia and bittersweet melancholy.
Says O’Brien, “Vera can play anything with strings, write fine songs and sing them too.” Among the album’s highlights is a delightful take on the Carter family’s “Lulu Walls”, driven along by the interplay between van Heeringen’s guitar, Dave Proctor’s mandolin and Jock Tyldesley’s fiddle, swapping solos with practised ease and timeless grace. Elsewhere, the heart-rending “In Love With Someone Else” is among the most subtle, elegantly understated pieces of writing you’re likely to hear this year.
& Lorraine Irwing
Starkly beautiful and delicately arranged, The 13th Bedroom marks a
powerful and welcome return for the duo. Traditional English folk
singing at its best.
Sue Brown and Lorraine Irwing base their repertoire firmly in
English traditional song, drawing from time to time on contemporary
material and songs from other traditions. The Oxford-based duo began
singing together in 1994, and their singing has been described as
‘perfection in timing and expressive melody’ and ‘a blend of voices
to melt the heart of an iceberg’. Reviews have mentioned their
‘pleasingly angular harmonies’, ‘the variety of material and the
inventiveness of the arrangements’ and ‘rich harmonies and warm,
The 13th Bedroom was recorded in 2011 by renowned Sheffield
producer-engineer Andy Bell (Spiers & Boden, Fay Hield, Maddy Prior)
and mastered by Andy Seward (Andy Cutting, Kate Rusby, John Tams).
It features traditional songs both familiar and fresh, as well as a
powerful, elegant rendition of John Martyn’s “Don’t You Go”. While
much of the material is unaccompanied, this album also features
Lorraine on shruti box and Sue on guitar and Appalachian dulcimer.
Moore Moss Rutter
The hotly awaited debut from 2011 BBC Radio 2
Young Folk Award winners Moore Moss Rutter, their eponymous debut
album suggests that Moore Moss Rutter are a remarkble, powerful new
force on the English folk scene. They play mainly traditional
English, contemporary and self-composed tunes, channelling
influences from numerous styles and traditions. An articulate and
intelligent group at the forefront fo the current crop of
up-and-coming folk ,suicians, their eponymous debut album is
produced by Andy Bell (Kerfuffle, Spiers & Boden).
Kerfuffle were a four-piece neo-traditional
English folk band. Formed in 2002, Kerfuffle finally drew to a close
in 2010 after years as one of England's premier young folk acts. Comprising Sam Sweeney, Hannah
James, Jamie Roberts and Tom Sweeney, Kerfuffle played gigs in
France, Germany and Italy, became one of the English festival
scene's best loved acts and secured an enviable live reputation.
Kerfuffle made five albums
including K2 (RBRCD03), Links (RBRCD05), To The Ground (RBRCD06) and
Lighten The Dark (RBRCD08).
Creative partners in Kerfuffle since their
teens, 2009's Catches & Glees (RBRCD07) announced the arrival of
Hannah James and Sam Sweeney as a duo of
considerable artistic prowess. Hannah and Sam were nominated for the
Horizon Award at the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
‘Catches and Glees is a dynamic, varied album that treats its
traditional material simultaneously with respect and modernity.'
Lady Maisery is an exciting new vocal trio from
Hannah James (Kerfuffle, The Demon Barbers),
Hazel Askew (The Askew Sisters) and Rowan
Rheingans (Fidola). Inspired by folk singing traditions of
the UK and northern Europe, Lady Maisery sing songs and ballads both
unaccompanied, and with backing from their combined instrumental
talents on accordion, harp and fiddle. They are one of the first
groups to revive the tradition of diddling or singing tunes, which
has nearly died out in the UK, but is still prevalent in Scandinavia
and other parts of Europe. Be prepared to be enchanted by rich
harmonies and sumptuous clashes as Lady Maisery emerge as one of the
most original groups to arise in the UK folk scene this year!
Sheffield singer-songwriter Charlie Barker's association with the RootBeat family runs deep;
Sam Sweeney and Chris Thornton-Smith
appeared on her debut Sleeping at the Station, and her
forthcoming second album Ghosts
and Heroes is produced by Thornton-Smith and former Kerfuffle
bassist Tom Sweeney. It also features percussionist Jim Molyneux
(4Square) and accordionist Harriet Bartlett, rounding out a cast of
English folk's brightest young talent that makes Ghosts and
Heroes an album to anticipate. Featuring a collection of songs
by Barker's favourite writers, the album includes songs from writers
including Nancy Griffith, Alison Krauss, Marc Cohn and Richard