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Band of the month – 2017 archive

FEBRUARY 2017

This guy knows how to make a guitar sing … and how to write a song that sounds so timeless it could have been written 50 or 100 years ago.

cary-morinCary Morin is from the Crow Nation. He grew up in Montana, taking up firstly piano, and then guitar. “We lived out in the country, and there were no other kids around, so I had lots of time to mess around with the guitar.” Life then took him south to Colorado, where he’s been playing in bands now for the best part of 30 years. He’s still got a couple of bands that he plays in today, but he now also has a blossoming career as a solo artist. Often when an artist goes solo I feel they’re being slightly self-indulgent, they’ve lost their edge, what it was that attracted me to them in the first place. You could not say this of Cary Morin. It’s like he’s taken a hard look at himself, thought about what inspires him and how he can improve, and has pushed himself to get there.

” I started concentrating on fingerstyle blues guitar. When an old friend of mine was visiting for a few days and heard what I was doing, he suggested this style could be my new show. Another friend showed me open D tuning and that also became a big part of what I do. It was like learning to play guitar all over again and I continue to discover new chords and techniques constantly.”

These are my favourite songs from the new album Cradle to the Grave. His acoustic blues guitar playing is dazzlingly good, but bear in mind too that eight of the eleven tracks here are self-written : gentle, reflective songs about everything from fishing to the situation of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. It’s Delta blues, but Delta blues that may wander off at times towards folk or country, and that is alive to modern day issues. Altogether, a very tasty slice of American tradition.

Cary Morin – Cradle to the Grave

Cary Morin – Ghost Dog

Cary Morin – Back on the Train

Cary Morin – Mishawaka

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JANUARY 2017

Findings is an album that requires a little extra effort and persistence to unlock its magic. It doesn’t grab you by the throat : Ange Hardy and Lukas Drinkwater make gentle acoustic music without hooks or big musical moments. You have to unfold the lyrics, in some cases unfold the history of the song, to get your ‘finding’, your reward, and what you see there may not be the same as what other people may see.

Ange & LukasAnge Hardy had a tumultuous childhood, moving from one home to another, being placed in a children’s home, then fleeing that life and hitchhiking from England to Ireland. “For four months at the age of 14 I lived homeless on the streets of Ireland. Firstly in Dublin, on the doorstep of a shop called Envy in Grafton Street, and then later in Galway. This was where I found the love of music. I was given a guitar as a chance to busk for a living instead of begging. The only problem was I had no repertoire … and no idea how to play a guitar. So, with all the time in the world, I taught myself and made up the songs as I went along, drawing from the one thing I did know plenty about : life … After returning from Ireland I lived in Exeter where I scrambled through my teenage years finding numbness in drugs, clubs and alcohol and completely forgetting the freedom I’d once found in music. I found myself pregnant at 18.”

She’s now 33, Findings is her 5th album. The process of writing songs, creating music, is vital to her : it allows her to heal, to explore, to grow as a person. This is a song from 2013 :

Ange Hardy – Mother Willow Tree

And on this page she tells the story behind the song – “ I dug deep to discover it and am very very proud of it. It is magical.”

Findings is her first album as part of a duo, with double bass player Lukas. It’s also the first time she’s used traditional songs. “The album contains three traditional songs, three songs based around traditional lines and eight new songs.” It’s an album of rare quality, and I recommend that you give yourself time to really listen to and reflect on the lyrics.

Ange Hardy – True Are The Mothers

Another song reflecting on the nurturing power of trees.
Ange Hardy – The Pleading Sister
A dark reimagining of a nursery rhyme from the point of the view of the sister of Little Boy Blue who falls victim of his neglect.
Ange Hardy – Invisible Child
A song which opens the lid on the hidden world of child carers.
Ange Hardy – The Widow
A song about bereavement, and an attempt to heal another childhood trauma (her brother died of meningitis when Ange was 11).
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