FOLK: MENTEES AND CHARTISTS
by Norman Warwick
Here in the Sidetracks And Detours den we have become immersed in theww sounds of straight-ahead jazz over the past few days. You will have noticed recent features and reviews on these pages of Karla Harris, a fantastic artist I have been sadly unaware of until Steve Bewick blew his bugle to recommend her to me. I looked her up on a search engine and found her informed and informative web site, and immediately realised i must have been missing something quite extraordinary.
The new album, Moon To Gold, which we have subsequently reviewed, is actually at least her third release, which includes a unique tribute to Dave Brubeck (see right).
She has also performed at major jazz festivals, working wioth top class instrumental players
It was the music of Nancy Wilson that was such an early encouragement and influence on the young Karla Harris who,……. whoa, I´m getting so excited about Karla and her voice and her style and her repertoire that I could talk about her all day, as i have been doing, in an attempt to urge the world to listen,.but I perhaps need to let you all catch up on her music for a while and then we´ll talk some more. there is news of how you can have a listen to her at the foot of this article.
Meanwhile other folk, in the shape of English Folk Expose, are calling us and they ahve plenty to tell us about what is going on in the folk world in the UK. They have shared with us their monthly press release in which they say:
What a joyous few days in Manchester! Thanks to all the artists, artist teams, delegates and English Folk Expo (EFE) volunteers and staff for making EFEx ’22 Showcase a triumphant return to a full event post-Covid disruption.
.We are hearing by the day of hugely positive outcomes from the eventand encourage all delegate attendees to complete the post-event survey here by the 7th November deadline so we can capture all of this good news. Since the event ended we have heard of a new three-county folk touring circuit formed as a result of attending EFEx Showcase ’22, UK and European agency offered to Irish showcasing artists and much more. Do share your outcomes with us as we love to hear results for artists from EFEx Showcase each year.
Our big announcement this year was of major changes with EFEx Showcase in 2023. Next year we will be changing our international partnership structure and instead of one exclusive partnership we will be inviting four organisations / national or regional export offices to host their own showcase within the EFEx event.
We will also be moving location within Manchester in 2023, moving to Manchester’s Northern Quarter, using venues including the legendary Band On The Wall, Night & Day, Hallé St Peter’s and St Michael’s and New Century Hall. As a result we will be suggesting a new collection of local hotels. Contact Terry at email@example.com for a list of hotels in close proximity to our new location . As always please book early! Prices will rise dramatically from spring ’23 and when football fixtures are announced.
2022 marked 10 years since our first pilot event for English Folk Expo in Bury. In celebration we commissioned a short film to capture the story of English Folk Expo and the broad scope of our work over the last decade. Click the image above or here to watch.Early bird delegate places for EFEx Showcase 2023 will be on sale soon!
English Folk Expo’s annual artist mentoring programme is our most competitive programme with around sixty applications this year for just four places, but we are delighted to have now selected our 2022/2023 cohort who had their first meeting at EFEx Showcase last month. Our mentees are:
Hannah Scott: contemporary folk singer, much inspired by her time spent in Italy
all shown on our cover photograph and at top of the page.
Over 12 months, our mentees will receive music industry training, be given unique networking and performance opportunities and throughout the year will each have the benefit of a carefully selected, experienced industry mentor. Their year will end with a showcase performance at English Folk Expo 2023. We wish them luck as they embark on this important year in their careers.
Of course, at the beginning of one month, we look forward to the Official Folk Chart of the month.. So what is moving up the Official Folk Charts for the month?
Well, October 2022’s Official Folk Albums Chart announced on 1st November is packed to the brim with twelve new releases including a brand new number One
There are four new entries in October’s top ten.
In at 6 is Rachel Dadd’s ‘Kaleidoscope’ (Memphis Industries), a musical response to the pandemic of which Rachel says, she hopes it will help people feel less alone and that, ‘they will feel held and find space to breathe, grieve and celebrate.’
At 5 is ‘The Sorrow Songs: Folk Songs Of Black British Experience’ (Topic) by Cornwall artist Angeline Morrison, which Americana UK describes as, ‘An important, essential folk album which casts light on the hidden history of black people in these sceptred/blighted isles’.
New at number 4 is ‘Sea Song Sessions’, also on Topic, a collaboration between artists Jon Boden, Emily Portman, Seth Lakeman, Ben Nicholls and Jack Rutter, produced by Ben Hillier (Blur). The album release was supported by a short September tour where the artists were transported between shows on the tall ship Anny Of Charlestown.
And landing straight in at number 1 is ‘Sorrows Away’ (Rabblerouser) by The Unthanks, their first non-project based studio album since 2015’s award-winning ‘Mount The Air’. Uncut gives the new album 4.5 stars and describes The Unthanks as having ‘impossibly luminous harmonies, a great arrangement, sinuous ensemble work and a symphonic sense of scale’.
Other new entries are at number 12 ‘Escape That’ (Hudson) by Sam Sweeney, at 13 is ‘The Space Between’ (Bonfire Radicals) by Bonfire Radicals closely followed at 15 by Dan Whitehouse’s ‘Voices From The Cones’ (Heanton). ‘Now & Then’ (Corduroy Punk) by Josienne Clarke is new at 20, with ‘Soul Of Albion’ (Wood Head) by Man The Lifeboats at 27 while Blackbeard’s Tea Party’s ‘Kick The Curb’ arrives at 30. In at number 37 is ‘Undertow’ (Guilded Lily) by Magpies and finally the last of a bumper edition of new releases in the O
Straight in at No.1 is Sorrows Away by The Unthanks.
This album is their first non-project effort since 2015’s Mount the Air, comprised of eight traditional songs and two originals
Dropping to No.2 this month is (Self Titled), the solo debut album from Marcus Mumford, singer, songwriter, musician and founding member of folk-rock band, Mumford & Sons. A bold, powerful album with songs touching on points of healing and reconciliation in Mumford’s life.
The Sorrow Songs (Folk Songs of Black British Experience) is the new album by Angeline Morrison.
It is described as “An important, essential folk album which casts light on the hidden history of black people in these sceptred /blighted isles.” – Americana-UK (9/10)
So after that brief look back at the ovtober charts we would remind you that you can check into read the full chart at the English Folk Expo site on line.
Time, now, though to look at a couple of highlights among the many events that will be taking place in November.
FOLK PLAYING LIVE IN NOVEMBER 2022
16 Nov | The Vale, Mossley
This autumnal tour will see these artists travelling a slightly less trodden path on the UK circuit, visiting some beautiful towns and performing in intimate settings. Their first single together, “Talk to Me of Mendocino” is out now. Sidetracks And Detours haven´t yet heard their version, and it take some courage to cover the song delivered so beautifully some decades ago by Kate and Annie McGarrigle. We´ll be digging out a hearing of this, that´s for sure.
30 Nov | Gullivers
Described by BBC Radio 2 as “the most extraordinary musicians, phenomenal”, India Electric Co. return with their second headline UK tour of 2022.
“Busy as rush hour but full of light, describing a life alive with motion” – The Independent
NEW YOUNG ÚNS FOLK ALBUM RELEASE
The Young’uns live shows are renowned. With heart-on-the-sleeve storytelling, beautiful lyrics, warm harmonies and relentless repartee, Sean Cooney, Michael Hughes and David Eagle (the award-winning stand-up comedian) sing life-affirming folk songs for today.
Born from empathy, crafted with care, fired by hope, and shared with joy, The Young’uns’ songs have been described as “a heartfelt secular hymnary for these troubled times and a rallying call for humanity.” (The Scotsman). They have led the band to three BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (including Best Album in 2018 for Strangers) and the creation of the acclaimed international theatre show The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff (based on their 2019 concept album of).
20 years after accidentally stumbling into the alien world of their local folk club as drunken teenagers, (and gaining their cureless name in the process), these three thirty-something friends from Stockton and Hartlepool have never lost the joy of that first night of singing together. Whether performing at Glastonbury Festival, writing a song about pigs with a group of school children or presenting a programme on Radio 4, Sean Cooney, David Eagle and Michael Hughes are just the same.
Taking its name from messages tied to the railings of a bridge in Sunderland, their new album Tiny Notes (Hudson Records) is a collection of songs that find hope and humanity in grief and despair. From London Bridge to Lockerbie, from Derry to Aleppo, with warm harmony and beautifully crafted lyrics, these are folk songs for our times.
‘Hugely captivating-performing with great verve and humour – a brilliant folk act!’ Stuart Maconie, BBC Radio 6 music
“Glorious… celebrating the uncelebrated with warmth, vigour and passion” ★★★★ MOJO
“The Teesside trio have captured hearts – and awards – with a magic combination of lusty acapella singing, memorable tunes and heart-on-sleeve storytelling with an unashamedly political cry for social justice.” ★★★★ SONGLINES
|Applications to showcase at English Folk Expo are now open. Dates: 19-21st October 2023|
Location: Northern Quarter, Manchester, UK The only showcase exclusively for folk, roots and acoustic music in England. English Folk Expo invites music industry representatives from the UK and beyond to network and discover amazing artists from this broad and diverse genre. The showcase runs alongside the public Manchester Folk Festival with most showcase performances also forming part of the public festival programme. All selected showcasing artists will receive a fee and a conference pass for English Folk Expo’s new conference programme (which will include sessions that are part of the European Folk Network Conference running alongside the festival and showcase). Application deadline: Midnight, Sunday 15th January 2023 We will aim to make final artist selections by April 2023
It is thrilling to see folk music so vibrant once again,
I have so many memories of there being, back in the seventies, a folk club every night of the week within a ten mile radius, full of the likes of Colin Smith, Ged Morgan, Steve Jones, Pete Benbow, Raven, Roy Barker and Stanley Accrington and my own duo, with Colin Lever, of Lendanear, Although I think we all studio-produced some albums of our own I´m not sure any of our names ever featured in any sentence that included the word ´charts´!.
Judging from the bundles of listings we receive each month it seems there must be a live jazz event, too, on almost every street corner in the UK, all doing their best to attract their share of the audience market.
So Jazz In Reading diligently reminded us of an upcoming event
The Nat Steele MJQ Quartet:
Portrait of the MJQ
Fri 25 November at 7:30pm
Progress Theatre, Reading
Tickets £18.00 (£16.00 concessions, £9 under 16)
plus maximum 5% booking fee
NAT STEELE vibraphone
+ Gabriel Latchin piano + Dario Di Lecce bass
+ Steve Brown drums
Nat introduces himself as
a jazz vibraphone player and drummer who grew up in Reading and I’m now based in London. I’m a principally self-taught musician and I specialise in playing straight ahead, swinging jazz, unashamedly influenced by players like Milt Jackson, Victor Feldman, Cal Tjader, Dave Pike and others. I’ve been described by UK drumming legend Clark Tracey as “one of the best vibes players this country has ever produced.”
Of his debut album he says, ,
Portrait of the MJQ, which I shall be featuring at Progress is a swinging take on the music of the Modern Jazz Quartet and my debut album under my own name. It came out on Trio Records following the sold out launch at Ronnie Scott’s. It was Jazz Choice of the Month in BBC Music Magazine and it got rave reviews in the jazz press.
The album features pianist Gabriel Latchin, Italian bassist Dario Di Lecce, and drummer Steve Brown, and consists of stellar favourites such as ‘Django’, ‘Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise’, ‘Bags Groove’, and a complete performance of ‘La Ronde Suite’.
Check out this video of my “Portrait of the MJQ” band playing in the Recital Room at South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell: Bluesology
still playing in our office,……Moon To Gold by Karla Harris:
These days, there is a name Sidetracks And Detours would like see in the jazz charts, indeed that I would like to see at the top of the jazz charts. A new album from Karla Harris with the Joe Altarman Trio can be best described as ´straight ahead jazz´ and yet I don´t think I´m being too fanciful in staying it stirs up some folk and country memories for me too, with absolutely stunning versions of both Blue Moon and Bridge Over Troubled Water.
We featured her in an introductory article called Karla Harris: Mark The Name and subsequently reviewed Moon To Gold last week in an article of that name. Both these features remain available in our easy to negotiate Sidetracks And Detours archives of more than 750 pieces.
Karla´s name falls out in conversation quite often these days, as the album is on almost constant play in our office, and whilst she is not yet massively known in the UK there is already a definite buzz about her new work. I gather from our radio presenter mate, Steve Bewick, that Karla will enjoy some UK based radio air-time this week.
He has sent a communiqué to Sidetracks And Detours saying that:
The Ghouls have gone and the fireworks haveplayed out so now it is time, again, for the music. This week Steve features Alexander Bryson and Trio in a display of timing, variety and depth of music. Also included is, trumpeter Zoran Kazakov, guitarist Rob Luft and the New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble with their great take on Take 5.
For those of you becoming increasingly aware of conversations about the excellent instrumentalists associated with the great vocals of Karla Harris, we can tell you that Steve will also be including her music this week. You never need an excuse to tune into Steve Bewick´s Hot Biscuits jazz broadcast from the mix-cloud because he always plays the very best of local, national and international jazz,…..but this week, wow,….. Karla Harris ! It´ll be Nothing But Blue Skies From Now On, as I´m confident she will so capture your interest that after the show you will be tapping in to
to find out how and where to purchase a copy of the album Moon To Gold.
First, though. listen 24/07 at