There is a fearless quality to the music of Christopher Paul Stelling. A voice that sounds both old and young, an effortless yet intricate finger-picking guitar style and lyrics that are both dramatic, and intensely confessional. It’s a sound that channels the restless spirit of a young man who left home to travel the country, formed by endless nights alone on stage with a guitar, playing to packed houses, other times to nearly empty rooms. Stelling estimates that he’s played over four hundred shows in just the past three years. It places him within a longstanding tradition that serves to nurture ones character and art.
Amidst the euphoria of playing in bars, cafes, theaters, festivals, under bridges and in living rooms, were late night conversations with friends, new and old, about the undercurrents of tension and change in their countries and concerns about what was happening back in his own. And so Christopher Paul Stelling wrote songs about it all. Darkly beautiful and powerful songs which became the album “Itinerant Arias” on Anti Records.
Unlike previous records, the new album finds Stelling backed by a band, electrified if you will. It is a record inspired by movement and travel. With a little more than a week before returning to the road, he retreated to a friend’s Connecticut cabin out in the woods with
some musician friends. They slept there, ate there and didn’t leave for the next eight days, recording the haunting and powerful record.
“The richly layered storytelling of John Prine, the croon-to-howl hybrid vocal of Tom Waits and Glen Hansard, and an intricately finger-picked guitar style that lands somewhere between Lead Belly and Lindsey Buckingham” – 10 new country artists you need to know – Rolling Stone, May 2017
“The musical storytelling of Christopher Paul Stelling embodies a long road full of lush folkloric, mythological and religious imagery.” — WNYC
“False Cities finds Stelling owning his particular pulpit with the strength of a dozen Southern Baptist preachers.” – SPIN
“heart-plucking stylings of an acoustic troubadour” – New York Magazine
“Every song on his debut album Songs of Praise and cooks with both down-home comfort and avant-garde brio, Stelling building earthy folk troubadour stories over a fluster of wild arpeggios.” – Village Voice
“The way this man delivers his songs, it’s not hard to imagine him actually “tap-dancing down the edge of this here knife,” as he sings at one point from within a small tornado of acoustic guitar and fiddle.” – SPIN
“…Stelling has put together an album that will hopefully draw people to live performances where they can see what a real self-contained, modern-day troubadour looks and sounds like. Songs of Praise and Scorn is a fine way to introduce someone who should be a voice to be reckoned with in the years to come.” – American Songwriter
“I’m an architect. But it’s not my profession. I live making music. At times, I design things… and it’s a welcome release. But music is what I do.”
Talos is Eoin French. A musician from Cork, Ireland, and also an architect. But first and foremost, a musician. That’s why he’s surrendered certain things. That’s what drove him to an attic in Dublin; further afield to Iceland and finally, to splendid semi-isolation in the expanse of West Cork. The end result: a private world that becomes public, and a debut album called ‘Wild Alee’, released on April 21.
Produced and mixed by Talos and Ross Dowling over the course of 18 months, the 13-track record – released on Feel Good Lost – includes new single the New Music Friday-approved ‘Contra’, recent single ‘Odyssey’ plus earlier cuts ‘Your Love Is an Island’ and his debut release, ‘Tethered Bones’. ‘Wild Alee’ is a personal, emotive and ambitious electronic pop record; one that both looks to the past and signposts to the future.
Since debuting in December 2014 with ‘Tethered Bones’, Talos has picked up nods from the likes of Fader, New York Times, Wonderland, BBC Radio 1, The Line of Best Fit, Nialler9 and more, and racked up over 5 million streams on Spotify. Live, Talos expands out to a five-piece, and with appearances at Electric Picnic, Eurosonic, Other Voices, Longitude and more under their belts, the band have just completed a sold-out debut album tour in their native Ireland, with further dates to follow.
‘A spectacularly assured debut deserving of a wide audience’ 4/5 Album of the Week The Irish Times
‘A breathtaking, emotionally intelligent alt-folk debut.’ 4/5 PressPlayOK
‘The biggest surprise is just how catchy the entire thing is, with melodies that rise like mist rising from a forest at dawn. An outstanding debut.’ 4/5 Irish Examiner
SLIM CESSNA’S AUTO CLUB
The Commandments According to SCAC
In September 2016, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club is releasing its new album The Commandments According to SCAC. It has been twenty-four years since Slim Cessna parted ways with The Denver Gentlemen, that grand progenitor of the peculiar strain of Gothic Americana unique to the Mile High City, to form Slim Cessna’s Auto Club with a group of talented peers.
Many bands with a long and successful run like that would stick close to its roots. But rather than rest on well-earned laurels, the Auto Club challenged itself to break with well-worn modes of operating for the new record. Wallace Stenger may have captured the spirit of the west in his 1971 novel Angle of Repose. Jim Thompson surely exposed the lurid underbelly of the Western experience. Cormac McCarthy definitely evoked the conflicted, tortured spirit of small town life on the frontier. William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor informed all of them with a humor and soulfulness. It is that literary tradition that imbues the harrowing and celebratory sound and riveting stories of Slim Cessna’s Auto Club. And for a full twenty years it was largely in that realm of art that the Auto Club reveled and garnered a loyal cult following well beyond the boundaries of The Queen City of the Plains.
The Commandments According to SCAC, will be the first full length album of original material released on the Auto Club’s own imprint, SCACUNINCORPORATED.
The title evokes the themes of cosmic punishment and redemption that have served the band’s songwriting engine so well in the past. But this set of songs sounds more hopeful and expansive, a quality that was always there but this time out the brighter sides of the songwriting are emphasized. Hints of this saw early full-flown expression on 2008’s Cipher and Unentitled from 2011.
With The Commandments, however, the Auto Club seems to step forward into the promise of its own possibilities. It remains capable of the heady darkness and celebratory intensity with which it made its name.
Now that charmingly dusky and spare sound breathes with a color and delicacy of feeling that perhaps sat in the background in times past. Maybe it’s partly due to the greater creative contributions from longtime collaborator Rebecca Vera and The Peeler or the inclusion of upright bass player Ian O’ Dougherty. But the core of the band’s songwriting and sound is anchored firmly in the vision of Slim, Munly Munly and Lord Dwight Pentacost.
Whatever the true source of this transformation, The Commandments According to SCAC sounds like a band marshalling its creative inspiration to mark out a new chapter of its existence. When you get to see the Auto Club tour following the album’s release, you’ll get to see an already mighty band reinvigorated by this new spirit as well as by the fire that has long burned in its collective belly.
Lankum are a four-piece traditional folk group from Dublin, Ireland, who combine distinctive four-part vocal harmonies with arrangements of uilleann pipes, concertina, Russian accordion, fiddle and guitar. Their repertoire spans humorous Dublin music-hall ditties and street-songs, classic ballads from the Traveller tradition, traditional Irish and American dance tunes, and their own original material.
Having spent the last number of years performing as ‘Lynched’, the band decided that they would no longer continue with the name due to the unavoidable implications that it has in regards to acts of racist violence. Their new name comes from the ballad ‘False Lankum’, as sung by the Irish Traveller John Reilly Jr.
The band was originally formed as an experimental-psychedelic-folk-punk-duo by brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch in the early 2,000’s, and has since progressed through a number of incarnations.
As their interest in traditional music and song grew, the brothers began to attend sessions around Dublin, where they formed friendships with Cormac Mac Diarmada and Radie Peat, amongst a whole host of impressive young musicians. When Ian began work in the Irish Traditional Music Archive, after completing a folklore masters, he had the rare opportunity to record in the ITMA studio with friend, colleague and in-house technician Danny Diamond, whenever a spare evening presented itself, so he and Daragh asked Cormac and Radie to provide some backing vocals and instrumentation on “one or two songs”.
After some preliminary practice sessions it became obvious to all involved that something much more interesting was happening, and the group quickly became a dedicated four-piece, gaining experience and confidence as they played together at the Grand Folk Club gigs, which they hosted monthly. They also applied around this time for the Arts Council’s 2013 Deis Recording Award, for which they were fortuitously approved.
‘Cold Old Fire’ was recorded by Danny in ITMA in August of 2013, and although fundamentally an album of traditional Irish song, heavily influenced by Irish legends such as Frank Harte, Planxty and The Dubliners, subtle traces of the group’s collective influences can be detected, from American old-timey music, ambient techno and psychedelic folk, to black metal, punk and rock n’ roll.
The album was released in May of 2014 and has since seen them appear on Later with Jools Holland and playing some of the world’s most renowned music festivals, including Cambridge, Sidmouth, Edmonton and Electric Picnic as well as being nominated for three awards at the 2016 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and featured on covers of notable music magazines such as fRoots and The Thin Air.
They have a number of gigs and festivals already booked around Ireland, the UK, Europe and North Africa for the coming year, as they continue working under the name Lankum.
‘They do mark a turning point in folk… that authentic voice of the streets is back in a big way.’ Mark Radcliffe
‘Anarchic, yet connected, rootsy and gutsy… I love their music, it is just so damn good!’ Mike Harding
‘The most convincing folk band to come out of Ireland in years.’ ★★★★★ The Guardian
‘The most exciting album of traditional Irish song in decades.’ TradConnect
‘A sure contender for any Irish album of the year lists.’ Songlines
‘A passionate, utterly engrossing album.’ fRoots
Paula Gómez is a singer-songwriter originally from Spain but based in West Cork (Ireland) for the last four years.
Her compositions were noted as highly original and their lyrical imagery ties together a strong melodic sensibility with the wide range of her vocal, it is this style combined with powerful delivery that is attracting attention among audiences worldwide, including Mary Black, Bill Shanley, Stephen Housden and others.
After several EP and promo releases, Paula released her ﬁrst complete album in 2013, ‘Love & Hate’. It recorded at Cauldron Studios, Dublin. Produced by Bill Shanley (Mary Black, Ray Davies), Andrew Holdworth, bassist Rob Malone (David Gray), drummer Paul Brennan (Waterboys) and Liam Bradley (Van Morrison). Also featuring Little River Band guitarist Stephen Housden.
Paula Gómez has collaborated with many well known musicians. Her last single released is a poem by Irish Poet Laureate Paula Meehan, music by Tim Goulding and mastered by Brian Masterson. It’s called ‘Rivermouth’ and it was released in December 2014.
Kees van der Poel was born in Hilversum in 1947. At early age his family lived in Texas USA. After returning to the Netherlands, Kees found the guitar the best instrument for the music he loved. Classical lessons around the age of 10 soon became boring and Kees played in rockbands covering Shadows and Rolling Stones.
A major shift came when Pete
Seeger on his tour in 1964 played at Kees´ high school. Acoustic 12-string, what a sound! After studying 12-string and 6-string fingerstyle guitar, Leadbelly, Blind Blake, Doc Watson, John Hurt, and medicine in Utrecht in the early 1970’s, Kees toured as a solo artist and later joined the group Wargaren. Inspired by Martin Carthy, he turned to Dutch traditional folk music and studied with Rob Smaling at the Meertens Institute in Amsterdam. This became the basis for the later legendary Dutch folk group Wolverlei.
Dutch traditional music was also the reason to study diatonic harmonica with Frans Tromp and Carel Kraayenhof. In 2007 Carel asked Kees to join him with his guitar for a concert at Concertgebouw Amsterdam.
So Kees retired from medicine and presently takes a solid daily dose of guitar.
To suggest that Steve Poltz isn’t normal is about as safe a statement as one could make. You would basically require the powers of the Hubble space telescope to locate Steve Poltz from any region of normalcy.
For music fans on both sides of the equator, this is a very good thing.
Born among the hearty seafaring folk of Canada’s Halifax, Nova Scotia, Poltz has lived most of his life in Southern California, where the sun treated his rocky Canadian DNA like clothes in a dryer. Naturally a spectrum of cultural and emotional tensions arose and he eventually sought refuge in the art of songwriting, where he tapped into an unforgettable and often horrifying depth of unhinged genius.
Among the music cognoscenti, Steve Poltz is regarded as one of the most talented and prolific songwriters of our time. His songs have been among the longest running ever on the Billboard Top 100 and they regularly appear in movie soundtracks, television shows, and even the odd commercial. His touring schedule is ferocious, ping ponging between continents with enough frequency to earn him manic followings in scores of different accents and languages.
Any musician who has traveled as extensively as Poltz will have their share of colorful road stories, but Poltz’ adventures read like a bucket list. Starting out auspiciously, Poltz recalls meeting Elvis Presley at a small airport and beaming proudly as The King hugged his sister for an inordinately long time. Growing up in Palm Springs, California, he trick-or-treated at Liberace’s house and was Bob Hope’s favorite altar boy. In an alcohol-soaked haze, he infamously accosted David Cassidy, who had summoned him to Las Vegas to write a hit song for the aging Tiger Beat cover boy.
His rich and colorful legacy is the stuff of legend, but it is his distinctive style of songwriting that has caused the world to offer up its stages, clubs, and alleys. Poltz’ sound is entirely unique- from his inhuman fingerstyle techniques to the inimitable melodies that roll from his guitar like cool waterfalls, you know a Poltz song as soon as you hear it. To see Steve to perform live is one of the most entertaining shows a human could ever see. Frenzied, aggressive, hilarious, and heartbreakingly sincere, his live performances have become bona fide events, with sub-cultures popping up all over the globe to entice him to come and tour. As relentless as he is in concert, he is also the guy who famously co-wrote the timeless ballad “You Were Meant For Me” with platinum-selling songwriter Jewel. Of course, because we’re talking about Steve Poltz, it should surprise no one to learn that the song was written on a lazy Mexican beach, where Poltz and Jewel were soon snapped up and sequestered by Mexican Federales and required to witness and eventually assist in a large marijuana bust on the beach. Don’t believe it? See for yourself in the pictures on his web site.
Poltz, an ex high school wrestler (98 pound class), is also an obsessive baseball fan, a die-hard yoga practitioner, a hopeless romantic, a smart-ass philosopher and a child-like adventurer with an absurdist’s view of the planet and all of its curious life forms.
Music fans have adored him since he first fronted the hallowed punk-folk legends, The Rugburns, whose live shows earned the band a following that is best described somewhere between the terms “cult” and “crazed substance-abusing fanatics.” Once touring over 300 days a year, the Rugburns occasionally reunite for wildly popular sold-out shows.
Poltz’ solo body of work is an impressive collection of ballads, rockers and uniquely melodic acoustic numbers that reflect his incomparable style of alternate tunings and savage finger picking techniques. Guitar geeks fall prostrate at his feet trying vainly to learn how to play his stunningly gorgeous and deceptively complex songs. To see him play guitar is a visual feast so frenetic that close proximity to his playing exposes one to risk of seizure.
His live shows have captivated audiences far and wide with a mix of singing, storytelling, shredding, and the occasional spoken word rants which have been known to incite riots. He can take an audience from laughter to tears and back again in the space of the same song. Steve Poltz transcends the word “talented.” He is unforgettable in all the right ways.
“We want our records to be punchy, lean and blazing. Straight in, no kissing” – Otherkin
Otherkin are a new band from Dublin.
Luke Reilly – vocals, guitar
Conor Wynne – lead guitar
David Anthony – bass guitar
Rob Summons – drums
Otherkin enjoyed a manic 2016 summer of festivals in the UK, Ireland and across Europe, in support of their second EP release, entitled ‘The New Vice’.
Luke, Conor and David first had the idea for the band in 2013, but Otherkin did not coalesce until they found drummer Rob later that year, drawn together by a shared love of bands like The Clash, QOTSA, Ramones and Blur.
Early gigs in college dorms and house parties gave way to regular shows on Dublin’s vibrant live venue circuit, which in turn blossomed into a step up to the Irish festival carousel – Longitude, Electric Picnic, Hard Working Class Heroes and Other Voices – in 2014.
After a couple of hand-made, self-released tracks, Otherkin hit their stride with the rambunctious grunge-pop single “Ay Ay”, which came to the attention of leading Irish indie label Rubyworks in early 2015.
The 201 EP – featuring “Ay Ay” and “Feel It” – was a quartet of quivering, shivering thumpers released to coincide with their UK festival debut at Leeds / Reading and their first full-length UK tour. Radio exposure came courtesy of support from Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1 and John Kennedy on Radio X, while MTV Rocks added videos for both songs into their new music playlists.
‘The New Vice’ EP, which was recorded in Dublin, and mixed in the UK by Jolyon Thomas (Slaves) features “I Was Born” and “Yeah I Know”; the former quickly raced to 100,000 listens on Soundcloud, and enjoyed daytime support from Clara Amfo at BBC Radio 1.
The band are currently in the studio recording their debut album, which will be released on Rubyworks in 2017.
In Praise of Otherkin…
Irish rockers Otherkin were another highlight. The band had only arrived off the ferry from Dublin the same morning, but provided a ferocious show with shirtless singer Luke Reilly constantly singing their infectious Catfish And The Bottlemen-style anthems from among the crowd.- NME live review
Blistering Dublin garage punks Otherkin play the tent as if it is Madison Square Garden – The Guardian UK live review
Otherkin are a riotous four piece, all leather jackets, torn jeans and garage rock riffs. Blazing energy, morse code guitars and caveman drums. – Clash Magazine UK
Basically they’re just a big mass of energy – four guys who write hugely infectious tracks with rough, snarling vocals and grunge riffs. – The Independent UK
Perfectly executed singles ‘I Was Born’ and ‘Yeah, I Know’ will leave you quivering in their wake. – There Goes The Fear
Bursting with roaring, captivating, loud as hell tunes – Pancakes & Whiskey
It’s an alluring whirlwind with pulsating drums, killer vocals and an unmistakably urgent yet pleasing vibe – Glam Glare
The Mae Trio are a young, contemporary folk band from Melbourne, Australia. Since the release of their critically acclaimed album “Housewarming” in 2013, they have made a vibrant splash in the international acoustic music scene across Australia, UK and America. This has included appearances at Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Americana Music Festival in Nashville, Cambridge Folk Festival in England, Perthshire Amber Festival in Scotland and Woodford, Port Fairy and The National Folk Festivals in Australia.
Humbly authentic, dynamic and striking, the trio write powerful original songs, accompanying them on cello, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar and ukulele and stunning three part harmonies. Their disarming on-stage presence and originality makes for a spellbinding and refreshing live experience.
2016 sees The Mae Trio embark on their first tour of Canada as well as the upcoming release of their Nashville-recorded, second full-length album.
When sisters Maggie and Elsie Rigby asked Anita Hillman to play the cello on an album they were recording with their family band in 2011, little did any of them know they were embarking on an adventure which would change their lives, cut short their university education and take them all over the world. One blackboard gig at the National Folk Festival led to another and before long they were playing at festivals all over the country.
In 2014 the girls made the decision to throw in the towel of their regular jobs/degrees/lives and pursue music full time. They started the year in spectacular fashion with a trip to Glasgow for Celtic Connections festival, followed by an appearance at MIDEM festival in Cannes and then finishing up with a visit to Kansas City for the Folk Alliance International Conference.
Awarded the National Film and Sound Archive Folk Recording of the Year and nominated for the Age Vic Music Award, their debut album “Housewarming” released in August 2013, produced by Luke Plumb (Shooglenifty) received remarkable attention both locally and internationally and has only further skyrocketed the band on the Australian and international stage.
The Trio have since released their EP, ‘September’ in 2015, complimenting their critically acclaimed first release and exploring their musical roots with covers of Dougie Maclean, The Wailin Jennys and Lorde mixed in with their original songs.
They have toured extensively across Australia both in cities and small towns including a three-month stint in regional QLD with Woodford Folk Festival’s, “The Festival of Small Halls.”
Banjo, guitar, ukulele, vocals and songs
Fiddle, mandolin, ukulele, vocals and songs
Cello and vocals
Winners of the NFSA Folk Recording of the Year 2014
Winners of the Maton Class Act Award 2014
Winners of the Folk Alliance Australia Youth Award 2013
Lis Johnston Award for Vocal Excellence 2011
Nominated for The Age Music Victoria Awards Folk/Roots Album of the Year 2014 & 2015
“a delightful Australian girl group whom it is hard to fault…theirs is an innocent, clear-skinned sound that’s long on banjo, fiddle and ukulele”
“The Mae Trio has made a meteoric mark on the national acoustic music scene”
“they belied their apparent youth with some fine songs and dry wit”
“The Mae Trio were easily the break-out act at Folk Alliance”
The Bluegrass Situation
“A favourite on the Aussie folk scene… definitely a trio to keep an eye and an ear (or two) out for”
Leo lives in Antwerp, Belgium. As well as performing alongside the best of solo fingerpicking guitarists, he has taught a lot over the years. He has made some of the best arrangements of ragtime music in the world.
Leo Wijncamp was part of the 1970’s Kicking Mule Label which has been instrumental in promoting and preserving the best in blues, ragtime and contemporary picking. He featured alongside artists such as Dave Evans, Ton Van Bergeyk, Happy Traum, Duck Baker, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Davy Graham and of course Stefan Grossman one of the co founders of Kicking Mule Records. He toured along Grossman, Marcel Dadi and Dale Miller.
Leo, born 1951 in Amsterdam, Holland, started playing the guitar at the age of 10, taking lessons for half a year, got bored with it and put the instrument in a closet. But when the Beatles, Kinks, Byrds etc started the pop music it was quickly taken out of that same closet. In the late 60’s musical taste twisted towards the Cream, Jimi Hendrix and the white blues and he picked up the electric guitar. Passing to the black Chicagoblues he discovered one day the acoustic blues: Robert Johnson was a strike of lightning: that was it ! And the next years were spent with learning by ear from the records the old blues from the 20’s and 30’s. He started to fingerpick. An instrumental guitar record by Stefan Grosmann had a strong influence on Leo; the discovery of Ragtime music. Originally composed for piano it could perfectly be adapted on the guitar, using the fingerpicking style, learned from the old bluesmen. So the early 70’s were filled with making arrangements from piano rags to the guitar. In the same period he started preforming in Holland; cafe’s, youth centers in the –those days existant- “folkcircuit”.
In 1974 or so, Stefan Grosmann made him an offer he couldn’t refuse; to record some of the guitar rags on a just started American label “Kicking Mule Records”. The first rags appeared on a sampler record “Contemporary Ragtime Guitar” with other guitarists from USA.
From 1974-1978 he followed a classical guitar education at the Conservatory in Utrecht (mind : till so far Leo was an autodidact !), but quit with dignity before getting kicked out. The release of his first solo lp “Rags to Riches” came out in 1975, and started a period of touring in Belgium, France, England and Italy, often together with other guitarists of the KM label: Stefan Grosmann, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Davy Graham, Marcel Dadi, Duck Baker, John James and others. Slowly other influences slipped in; the classical piano music of Debussy and Ravel (the so called musical “Impressionism”), he started to transcribe their- as well as others – music on the guitar, without the aim of being a “classical” guitarist, using steel strings instead of nylon, and using his Gibson guitar. He also started to write pieces himself. Another few tunes appeared on 2 sampler records, before the 2nd solo album came out in 1980: “the Return of Dr Hackenbush”.
Leo moved to Antwerp, Belgium, in 1988, as the musical leader of a theatergroup, the “Internationale Nieuwe Scene” (now defunct) 4 years of lenght and did a lot of teaching at various music schools.
These days he is playing solo again as well as duets with an oldtime mate Cees van der Poel, who played in the legendary duo “Wolverlei” preforming old Dutch folkmusic in new arrangements.
Now the lads joined together after a 40 years lapse in the duo “Ragtime Guitar Parlour” Their repertoire goes from old blues (Blind Blake and others), to Ragtime to Jazz standards and even O’Carolan’s Celtic harppieces to end up with the strange music of a Czech composer from the 1920’s. Instrumental and vocal, solo and duets.
As a duo they released an EP-cd, last year, and Leo is preparing a solo cd with some live recordings and others, hopefully ready for september!