Back to Trad

November 22, 2015

Not all strictly trad, but a lovely collection of tunes from albums released by British and Irish artists in 2015. This is just the tip of a large sized iceberg, so please also check out the distressingly small number of other sites that feature this music : folkwavestradconnect, folk radio uk,  bright young folk, irish music magazine, uk folk music.

Bryan O’Leary & Colm Guilfoyle – Slides: The Bicycle; Johnny O’ Leary’s
“This is our debut album. It was recorded in Tureencahill National School and not too far from ‘where the bog is’. This is an expression of our respect and appreciation for the music and history of our native Sliabh Luachra.”

Caitlín Nic Gabhann & Ciarán Ó Maonaigh – Joe Cooley’s Morning Dew / The New Mown Meadow’s
Irish fiddle and concertina

Daimh – Raasay
‘Gaelic Supergroup’ based around West Lochaber and the Isle of Skye

Danu – Passage West
“For over a decade, Danú’s virtuosi players on flute, tin whistle, fiddle, button accordion, bouzouki, and vocals (Irish and English), have performed around the globe and recorded seven critically acclaimed albums.”

Éamonn O’Riordan & Tony O’Connell – Áine’s Reel/Gan Ainm/The Clare Reel
Duo from West Limerick : Tony is a self-taught concertina player and is a multiple All Ireland winner from under 15,18 and senior. Eamonn is a flautist with four All-Ireland titles to his name.

Eliza Carthy – Thirty-Foot Trailers
From the compilation album Joy of Living – A Tribute to Ewan MacColl

The Foxglove Trio – The Owlesbury Lads
The trio’s debut album contains “mostly traditional songs from around the British Isles in English and Welsh”

John Kirkpatrick – I Didn’t Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier
Former member of the Albion Country Band, Magic Lantern, The Richard Thompson Band, Umps and Dumps, Steeleye Span, Brass Monkey, Trans-Europe Diatonique, and Band of Hope, as well as numerous ceilidh bands. Tunes from the Trenches is a collection of songs from two world wars.

Mairearad and Anna – Jerry & Otis
Mairearad plays pipes and accordion on the album, and Anna helps out on guitar, fiddle and banjo.

The Rheingans Sisters – Dancing in the Cow Shed
Rowan and Anna are fiddle-singers who grew up in the Peak District

Sam Lee – Over Yonders Hill
The Fade in Time is a collection of songs gathered from the gypsy community. Sam Lee’s unconventional interpretations challenge all preconceptions of what ‘traditional folk’ should sound like.

Séamus Begley – Annie Laurie
Irish accordionist turned singer : “I’ve never in my life been as busy. At 66. My musical world took off at pension age. And when Oisín [Mac Diarmada] asked me to join Téada, I never thought that at 62 years of age I’d be joining a boyband. It’s been fantastic. I’ve exposed myself to the world. But these are songs that I like singing. They might be a bit emotional, but I love them. And anyway, I’m 66 now. I have nothing to lose.”

Triona Marshall – O’carolan’s Farwell to Music
One of five in a family of musicians from Portlaoise, Triona started playing the harp when she was seven. She held the post of principal harpist with the RTE Concert Orchestra for five years until 2003, since then she’s played both solo and as harpist for the Chieftains.

The Young ‘Uns – The Drift from the Land
“Inspired by the actions of a group of Stockton residents who chased a Benefits Street film crew from their doors, The Young’uns new album Another Man’s Ground celebrates working class heroes of the past and present with powerful and poignant tales of struggle, poverty and peace.”


bandcamp nuggets

November 15, 2015

These were all released on bandcamp in 2015. The one line descriptions are just to give you a bit of a guide, but don’t let them put you off. It’s all good music. Just remember your support means the world to all these guys. The albums are virtually all self-released, probably on a shoestring. If you want them to keep making records, go to bandcamp and buy the music.

anna phorra – minigolfing with tiger woods
Screamo/Post-Hardcore from Edmonton, Alberta

Arroyo Deathmatch – Finding Excuses to Be Alone
Five-piece, hardcore-and-metal-influenced experimental anarcho folk band from Albuquerque

D.B. Rouse – I Hope If We Live Through This We Learn From Our Mistakes
State of the world song from my December 14 band of the month

Jesse LeBourdais – The First Time I Screamed
Acoustic punk from Vancouver

Jordan Fox – My Faults, Your Problems
DIY emo folk from somewhere in Scotland

The Last Revel – No Compromise
Lyric driven, foot moving, folk music from Minneapolis

Mickey Rickshaw – Not my Problem Now
New Celtic punk band from Boston

Moon Bandits – We Ain’t Lazy
My February 2015 band of the month – I called them a vegan straightedge folk punk band from LA

Shambles Miller – Aaarrgghhh!
“Hello! I’m Shambles Miller, a singer/songwriter from Glasgow. I can usually be found in gig venues around Glasgow and beyond, or in the pub doing the crossword. You should still come over and say hello though, I’m probably stuck.”

Stick and Poke – Weary Traveller
From the folk punk scene in Toronto

T.C. Costello – A Gentleman of the Most Unsavory Sort
Folk punk accordionist from Greenville, South Carolina

The Vaudevillian – The Hamilton Strip
Old time music for the punk generation from Kitchener, Ontario

The Waxies – Step It Out Mary
Irish folk rock from Grand Rapids, Michigan


New music from Eastern Europe

November 8, 2015

In honour of my trip to Budapest last month – these are all from albums released in 2015, and they’ve all got at least some folk music influence.


Irfan – Nehet

Oratnitza – Yaninka


Duo Malva & Kirsipu – Ohtu Tuleb

Hannah James & Tuulikki Bartosik – Ellin Polkka

Trad.Attack! – Oleks Minu Olemine


Zurös Banda – Nem Fújnak Most Olyan Szelek


Giriu Dvasios – Gervela Dai Ciuto


Kapela Maliszow – Ballada o Sierotce

Kapela ze Wsi Warszawa (Warsaw Village Band) feat. Mercedes Peón – Leeec

Lautari Trio – U jeziora zimna woda

Tegie Chlopy – Gasacki

Volosi – Nomadism


Taraf de Haïdouks – The High Balcony In Ciolpan


Muzicka – Ci To Všitko Pravda



watch this space …

November 4, 2015

I know I’ve not been adding much new content this last year. The main reason for that, by the way, is that I’m still heavily involved in my great project, collecting traditional music from every country in the world. You can read more about the project here – and if you’ve got a lot of knowledge about traditional forms of music from particular countries and regions, do please get in touch. Anyway this is just to let you know than I’m planning on posting a lot more music on music to die for in the coming months in the form of themed playlists, and I’ll be starting very shortly with some selections from 2015.


Aye tunes

October 12, 2014

Ten songs for Scottish independence (and one poem)

They may have lost the referendum, but they won the battle of the songs. Here are ten of the best new songs inspired by the Yes Campaign. I use my words carefully here. What unites these songs is a sense of hope, that people are on the rise, and that a different Scotland is possible (along with a healthy injection of contempt for Westminster politics). Most of them could not have been written before the Yes Campaign began to take off. There’s not the sense of nostalgia, of looking back, that we find in Dougie Maclean’s Caledonia – “telling old stories, singing songs, that make me think about where I come from”, nor do they fall back on national stereotypes to support their argument.

We begin with a poem :

Colin McQuillen – Alright Westminster  

And here’s my ten songs. If you know of any better ones written in 2014, please post the links.

Andy Clark & the Independence Singers – We’re aw Votin’ Aye!

Ballboy – JK Rowling changed my vote from No to Yes!

Callum Baird – Better Off Alone  

Calum Carlyle – Our Scotland  

Citizen Smart – Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright 

Eddi Reader – We Are Everything  

Glesga Poet & The Mad Squad – Independent

Macanta – Be A Nation  

San Fran and the Siscos – Yes  

Stanley Odd – Son I Voted Yes  


Rambling across the Mersey

April 14, 2014

14 April 2014 I’ve been listening to a lot of global music in recent months while researching for my book, but in the meantime let me bring you up to date with some of the best new local sounds.

Ian Prowse – The Murder of Charles Wootton

Charles Wootton’s death led to race riots in Liverpool in 1919. Ian Prowse links this to  Anthony Walker’s murder in 2005. This remarkable song is from the new album Who Loves Ya Baby.

Hughie Jones – Blow the Man Down

Former Spinner Hughie Jones still runs  a folk club in Liverpool. His love of Liverpool’s maritime history comes over in his latest album of songs about the sea, Maritime Miscellany.

The White Widows – Talkin’ to Yourself 

Brilliant debut single. They just launched their album on Friday so I’m looking forward to hearing that.

The Vibes – Rambling Man

One of my sounds of 2013 : they’ve been back in the studio and there’s a new EP in the works which they tell me will be “just as raw if not more so than the last EP”. Sounds good to me. Here’s a taster of it.

Electric Lips – Not Coming Back

Meanwhile The Vibes mates, rockers Electric Lips, have released their debut EP Snake Eyes, and have just expanded to a 4 piece. CDs are available at gigs, so you know what to do.

Evian Christ – Waterfall

Josh Leary, a young producer from Ellesmere Port, has a teacher training qualification and a credit on the latest Kanye West album. His new EP Waterfall was reviewed in Pitchfork (they gave it 7.3), and was the subject of a long feature piece in the Guardian.  Expect noise, technical wizardry and crashing bass.

Ninetails – Sinn Djinn 

From the EP Quiet Confidence. Electronic soundscapes aren’t really my thing, but this is a bit unusual, and worth a listen.

Stephen Langstaff – Home

Last month he was in America where he played three shows at SXSW, and toured in Texas and Nashville, and wrote this song.

Mark Pountney – Treat me Baby Like You Should

If you had to guess which of these artists also fronts a Beatles tribute band, you’d probably have got it right. While the new album Mark One is steeped in the 60s, it’s very much his own material, and let’s hope he stays away from the covers from now on, because this is great feelgood music.

Tear Talk – Parallel

According to their own record company, Tear Talk “is one of the most awkward, introverted and melancholic bands (their words) out there today”.  That endears them to me a lot ! On their 3 track EP Breathe they sound like New Order meets The Cure.

Matt Swift – Everton Songs

In the week in which Everton moved into a Champions League place, surely you can allow me a little indulgence.



1,000,000 !

March 24, 2014

Today this website reached 1 million hits !! It only just struck me, I should be doing some crazy giveaway to mark the occasion. As I’ve not planned anything here’s a promise : anyone who messages me this evening with their email address and the type of music they would like will be sent some mp3s.