10 years on from the release of Hedonism (Oct 2010), we’re excited to be releasing this special limited edition, black and red marble effect vinyl which includes new liner notes from each member of the band.
Hedonism, the third studio album by Bellowhead, became the highest selling independently released folk album of all time. To date, the album has sold over 78,000 copies and gone silver, making this John Leckie-produced classic a must-have for any contemporary folk fan.
The eleven piece band were an unmissable fixture on the folk circuit from 2004 until their split in 2016, noted for their frenetic live performances, which drew from a variety of sources including dance tunes, traditional folk and sea shanties. Lead single, ‘New York Girls,’ was a radio favourite, enamoured by everyone from Chris Evans to Simon Mayo to Mark Radcliffe and was even performed twice on Jools Holland’s ‘Later’ show.
“Time and tide wait for no man”, so the saying goes. But ever since her EP, Tide & Time, came out in 2016, many have been waiting expectantly to hear Somerset singer songwriter Kitty Macfarlane’s debut album. On September 21 the wait will be over as this fine young acoustic artist unveils the beguiling release Namer Of Clouds.
Produced by fellow musicians Sam Kelly and Jacob Stoney and released on Navigator Records, this is a captivating 11-track album featuring no less than nine of Kitty’s original songs.
Her sharply observed narrative songs are pure poetry, rich with visual imagery and written with an eco-eye – woven loosely together into a theme of mankind’s relationship with the wild. Gathering inspiration from the sky to the seabed, Kitty’s lyrics touch on intervention and rewilding, climate change and migration and one singular song which is a magical aural tapestry of woman’s historical relationship with textiles and the land.
The album is augmented by all kinds of ‘found sound’ recorded in locations from Somerset to Sardinia – birdsong, waterfalls, the click of knitting needles- and is bookended by sounds of the wild.
Recorded partly at The Cube near Truro in Cornwall and partly at Get Real Audio in Bath, Namer Of Clouds features not just the clear, confident voice and finger-picked guitar of Macfarlane but also the in-demand Radio 2 Folk Awards ‘Horizon’ award winner Sam Kelly on guitar, mandolin and harmony vocals, with some of his talented Lost Boys band members also on the roll call –Graham Coe on cello, Archie Churchill-Moss on melodeon and Jamie Francis, surprisingly not on his trademark banjo, but on electric guitar.
Co-producer Jacob Stoney is on keys, bass, mandolin and vocals, Tom Moore is on violin and viola and Josh Clark, who mixed and mastered the release, provides percussion.
It was evident some years ago that Macfarlane was one to watch. Hailing from Milverton in Somerset she played her inspired songs at local folk clubs from a young age. But her music was heard by a much bigger audience when in 2010 BBC Radio 4 featured her engaging Bus Song on its popular Excess Baggage travel show.
Presented by Sandy Toksvig, the show had invited its audience to nominate their favourite bus routes and selected Kitty’s brilliantly observational song which told of her journey home from Taunton on the 25B bus!
Kitty wove her emerging music career in with her English and French degree studies at Warwick University and, in 2015, was a semi-finalist in the BBC Young Folk Award. More recently she has supported Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman on tour, as well as Blair Dunlop.
Now the Bristol-based performer is coming into her own with some remarkably mature songwriting, a marked empathy with the environment and a strong sense of place. Cerebral and classy, honest and immediate, these are not throwaway lyrics or everyday melodies but thought-provoking and evocative compositions with wonderfully crafted soundscapes.
This is an album that flows in an almost filmic way. Its cover shows Kitty on the flooded Somerset Levels of her home county and it is here on the Avalon Marshes - one of the largest lowland wetlands in Britain - that the arresting ‘other worldly’ opening song is set. Starling Song marvels at the balletic, hypnotic starling murmurations above the reed beds in winter. Sparse and suspenseful it swoops, wheels and whirls like the avians as a stark prelude to the album.
If you like your ‘folk’ edgy, turning traditional songs on their head, swerving into rock territory or nudging the mainstream, Sam Kelly’s your man. Just three years after releasing his first EP, Norfolk-born, Cornwall-based Kelly scooped the coveted 2016 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards “Horizon” title, which recognises the best emerging talent.
His debut CD The Lost Boys was released in 2015 to wide acclaim (his version of Wayfaring Stranger even being heard on Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks!)
For this compelling Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys follow-up album Pretty Peggy, released October 6, 2017, he is joined in the seven strong line-up by his regular touring and festival band – banjo genius Jamie Francis; Ciaran Algar on fiddle/tenor guitar; Evan Carson on percussion, Graham Coe (cello), Toby Shaer (woodwind) and Archie Churchill-Moss on melodeon.
The entire band share production duties with Ross-Rothero Bourge and Gareth Young.
Watch the new video from Georgia Ruth for Fossil Scale, the title track and first single from Georgia’s upcoming album released on the 7th October.
Fossil Scale was written in Caernarfon, a town in North Wales defined by its space and tranquil landscape that Georgia, at the time, called home. The ancient surroundings of the town, its body of water and the neighbouring Snowdonia mountains, came to exert as strong a bearing on Fossil Scale as the hours of Beck, Radiohead and Bowie albums that tracked this writing period. Though it wasn’t until Georgia stumbled upon a news article about a mysterious ‘mutant-fish’ with reptilian head & fossilised scales discovered by Russian fishermen, that she began to quantify her own life in relation to her immutable surroundings. This fish became something of a representation of those constants, as Georgia began to explore the detachment from them that modern life had brought about.
Heidi Talbot’s new single The Year That I Was Born is the first single to be released from her upcoming album ‘Here We Go 1, 2, 3’ which is released on the 23rd October. The single is a gorgeous country-pop meditation reflecting on birth and was co-written with Louis Abbott of Scotland’s Admiral Fallow.
Here We Go, 1, 2, 3 explores the tricks and traits of time – the way it passes, rushes, falls back on itself. The way it stops. “The album was written over a couple of years,” Talbot says. “I stopped touring, stopped recording, took some time after having another baby, and sorted everything out in my head a little bit.”