Steeleye Span is currently on tour in England with a handful of dates left on this tour. Ken Nicol from the band has been posting special podcasts with video while on tour from backstage and behind the scenes. Check it out here: www.folkcast.co.uk/ken/diaryindex.html
Steeleye's Tour Schedule for May:
1st May Roses Theatre TEWKESBURY
2nd May Reading Concert Hall READING
4th May Buxton Opera House BUXTON
5th May Preston Guildhall PRESTON
6th May Forum 28 BARROW IN FURNESS
7th May Victoria Theatre HALIFAX
8th May Palace Theatre MANSFIELD
9th May Mercury Theatre COLCHESTER
11th May Assembly Hall TUNBRIDGE WELLS
13th May Colston Hall BRISTOL
14th May Pavilion Theatre BOURNEMOUTH
15th May Birmingham Town Hall BIRMINGHAM
16th May The Derngate NORTHAMPTON
This week XM's Channel 15 - The Village - will be airing 2 hours of Folk Alley hosted by Jim Blum. This is part of their Village Liberation program that spotlights regional folk radio shows from around the US.
Jim's program can be heard Tuesday, April 29 at noon (EDT/-5GMT) and then repeated on Friday, May 2 at midnight-2:00am.
Cookin' with New Releases; Better Read this before you order:
April 19, 2008
Kensington Prairie ~ Captured in Still Life
With the number of submissions to Folk Alley increasing every month (easily over 200), it has become cumbersome to find the good ones. An artistic eye-catching cover can help. That's what made us notice the Kensington Prairie CD, and the group is being rewarded for their detail, because once we heard what was inside we knew you had to as well.
The overall mood is dreamlike, yet thoughtful. The instrumental mix is unusual: guitar, cello, vibraphone, harmonica, Wurlitzer, glockenspiel, and an unconventional and understated banjo. The various combinations support singer and writer Rebecca Rowan who is the main focus of this band (or maybe orchestra?). Rowan uses her imagination well. In "A Million Skies" she looks up on a clear night and sees another's eyes in the stars. She smartly uses analogy in the song "Bluebird," comparing a slipping memory to the fleeting bird. During "Crooked Things Straight" she helps us realize that we can't always change sadness, but she provides kindness through a wish.
Kensington Prairie may eventually be referred to as Vancouver's version of Brooklyn's "Hem," the easiest comparison for me to make. Listening to Captured in Still Life is like being treated to a new restaurant where every meal is rewarding. This CD is that good.
Joe Crookston ~ Able Baker Charlie and Dog
Joe Crookston has arrived. He has matured as a writer and has filled out his sound
with choice musicians. Most of the songs uncover for us the stories of ordinary people from today and from history, in challenging situations. "John Jones" was a Virginia slave who escaped but dared to return and helped gain freedom for 800 others. "Freddy the Falcon" is a 17 year-old skateboarder and artist who came from a difficult background. Joe spent time with incarcerated youth in the Seattle area and created songs documentary style; he sings as Freddy, 1st person narrative. The album's title is about his grandfather who was stationed on Tinian Island during World War II and made runways such as the one used by the Enola Gay.
These songs are smart, offering the listener insight as well as entertainment. Richie Stearns and Judy Hyman of "The Horseflies" fill out the sound and add variety. This album leaves you feeling impressed, and continuing with our restaurant analogy, you'll come back for seconds.
Peech ~ Peech
Ouch. This one hurts. Here's an example of an eye-catching cover that rewards you with nothing. "Peech" is Chelsea Dohermann and Megan Osborn from L.A. They are young singers who recorded too early in their careers. The songs are full of cliches about broken hearts and they resort to foul language which is not only childish and offensive, it's a cheap shortcut to good writing. Every song sounds the same and it's all noise. Perhaps Peech was sent to us by mistake. This CD is a mistake.
Jackson Browne ~ Solo Acoustic Volume 2
When we received Solo Acoustic Volume 1 a couple years back we were instantly anxious for Vol 2. Both recordings are intimate performances with Jackson and his collection of guitars and reminiscences. (He switches to piano on occasion.) This latest collection doesn't include as many instantly familiar songs as the first, but if you are a Jackson Browne fan you'll know them or you'll want to.
"Enough of the Night" offers comfort to someone who's really down, and reminds that person of his or her reputation for spirit, daring, and satisfaction. This act of kindness is admirable and a reminder for us how necessary we can be as friends. "Alive in the World" is another wonderful message directed straight to someone who has lost interest in participating in life. We've all met people this down. We've all been this down. My question is - how did Browne know? How is he able to look into your soul and then offer a hand up through music when no one else is able? He is a songwriter and melody maker to be sure, but he is also a counselor and part-time angel. Listening to these very folk-like recordings when you're feeling good will make you feel better. When you're down, Jackson Browne will pick you back up. Either or both of these volumes would make excellent gifts to important friends - or to yourself!
Former Idol Kellie Pickler and Taylor Swift were big winners at the CMT Awards (all fan voted) on April 14. But, truth be told, the nominees and presenters won just by showing up. You or I could live very well for a month or two if we Ebay'd the contents of the gift bag given ceremony participants, which included: a pair of jeans worth $225, a fancy skin care system, a one-night stay at a resort in East Tennessee, a pair of Australian shoes ($150), a year's supply of cafe con leche with bricks of coffee, a 6-month membership in a high-end Nashville fitness center, spa treatments and a two-night stay at a lodge in Colorado, two large Dooney & Bourke totes, a full year of Rhapsody, jewelry, spa treatments, tee shirts, watches, and a waterless car wash with microfiber towels. Well, at least I have the microfiber towels.
Dave Cousins from Strawbs Recenty Visited Folk Alley
April 9, 2008
Dave Cosuins from Strawbs has been playing music for close to 40 years. In that time, he has never done a solo tour - until now. Just recently Dave finished up a small tour with just him and a guitar. One stop found him at the Kent Stage near Folk Alley, so I invited him to the studio to play a couple songs and chat. Dave's brand new solo album is called Secret Paths. Strawbs are certainly in the top-five most important bands in the world of English Folk. Yes, later in their career, it became more of a progressive rock outfit, but early on, Sandy Denny was a member of the band - even before they recorded an album. It was her involvement with Strawbs that led her to Fairport Convention. From that point, English Folk-Rock was born with help from a young Dave Cousins. Check out the interview with Dave below and two songs he played in the studio. In the coming months, there will be much Strawbs activity with a full tour of the electric band - featuring the 1974 line-up. A new studio album is also in the works. Take a look at the official Strawbs web page - it's very well done with tons of information, reviews, lyrics to every song, and up to date news. I've also posted some You Tube videos of Strawbs in action throughout the years. Thanks for making it into the studio Dave!