Orfeo the remarkable second album from Fay Hield has been collecting an enviable series of reviews ahead of the release on Monday 28th May. Fay leads the virtuoso all-star HURRICANE PARTY â€“ Jon Boden (fiddle, guitar, percussion, double bass, mandolin, additional banjo and vocals), Andy Cutting (button accordions, melodeon), Rob Harbron (English Concertina, fiddle, vocals), Sam Sweeney (fiddle, viola, cello, nyckelharpa, vocals) and special guest Martin Simpson (banjo, guitar).
Orfeo, Fay Hield’s splendid second album for Topic Records will be released on Monday 28th May. The album is already receiving some remarkable reviews and sees Fay working with the virtuoso all-star HURRICANE PARTY â€“ Jon Boden(fiddle, guitar, percussion, double bass, mandolin, additional banjo and vocals), Andy Cutting (button accordions, melodeon), Rob Harbron (English Concertina, fiddle, vocals), Sam Sweeney (fiddle, viola, cello, nyckelharpa, vocals) and special guest Martin Simpson (banjo, guitar). Orfeo is surely destined to be recognised as one of the finest albums of the year. The powerful arrangements of traditional songs are fabulously focused around her remarkable voice.
Orfeo is an album of songs to which Fay feels an especially strong connection. Her choice of material and the delivery of it, reflect a rareÂ sensitivity andÂ appreciation of the traditionÂ whilstÂ remaining naturalistic andÂ highly distinctive.
“Orfeo with bold and genuinely compelling arrangements, ensuring an attraction that could reach out well beyond the loyal folk audience. This hearty, full-bodied release embodies a substance and breadth that is likely to garner much acclaim.” Folk Radio UK
“Hield’s command of her material is unerring and the outcome compelling.” The Observer
“Her previous album Looking Glass was good, but Orfeo knocks it into a cocked hat… its timelessness and full stature may not become apparent until the time comes to analyse this ‘golden period’ of British folk music.” fRoots
1. The Loverâ€™s Ghost
2. Wicked Serpent
3. The Parsonâ€™s Gate
4. The Cuckoo
5. Pretty Nancy
6. Sir Orfeo
7. The Old â€˜Arris Mill
8. The Weaverâ€™s Daughter
9. Tarry Trousers
11. Naughty Baby
“A singer of determined substance who not only goes out of her way to unearth unfamiliar material, but invests it with thoughtful, challenging and quietly offbeat arrangements.” Colin Irwin, fRoots
Fay Hield has been singing traditional songs from an alarmingly early age. She was active in the lively music scene centred around the Famous Bacca Pipes Folk Club in Keighley, was instrumental in launching the Haworth Arts Festival and was part of a highly-regarded duo with Damien Barber. In 2001 she helped form The Witches Of Elswick – a female acapella quartet.
After a year or two off the folk radar, Fay returned to public view via occasional performances with partner Jon Boden. By this time she and Jon had fetched up on the moorland fringes of Sheffield. In 2009 a new concert line-up with Rob Harbron (English Acoustic Collective) and Sam Sweeney (Bellowhead) came into being, built around a striking repertoire of often obscure material drawn from rarely-thumbed collections. The Trioâ€™s first outing, at the Oxford Festival in 2009, was flagged up approvingly by Acoustic Magazine as their Gig Of The Month, commenting: “….. Contained within a festival bursting at the seams with talent, this performance really stood out as one of the highlights.â€
Some months ago Topicâ€™s Tony Engle heard Fayâ€™s new recordings. Her classic voice and the unusual selection of material quickly resulted in Topicâ€™s first signing in a number of years.
Fay Hieldâ€™s debut solo CD Looking Glass is a spicy stew of songs and ballads, catches and caprices. The title track is a Peter Bellamy setting of a Rudyard Kipling poem. Instrumentation includes fiddles, concertina, nyckelharpa and guitar. The sound is at once crafty and nimble, airy and graceful, full of zest and nuance, sensitive to the tradition yet utterly distinctive. Fay leads with a voice whose rough edges are still thrillingly intact, and which goes straight to the living heart of the songs.
- “Looking Glass is one of the best albums Topic has released for many years. I absolutely love it.â€ Mike Harding, BBC Radio 2
- â€œAn album of real depth and substance.â€ Colin Irwin, fRoots
- â€œHield is a rare talent.â€ â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜… Uncut
- â€œThereâ€™s a real depth and richness to her singing.â€ â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜… Mojo
- “Her strong voice, with soft, comforting northern tones delivered songs from the length and breadth of the countryâ€¦ Contained within a festival bursting at the seams with talent, this performance really stood out as one of the highlights.” Acoustic Magazine
A fabulous night at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards on February 19th included some stunning live music and resulted in well-deserved awards for all of the winners, including a Lifetime Achievement award for Martin Carthy and two headline awards for The Full English, named as Best Group and for Best Album.
Martin has been part of the bedrock of folk music for half a century, and continues to plough a fertile furrow – his new album with daughter Eliza will be released by Topic later this year.
Fay Hield has worked tirelessly to bring The Full English to glorious fruition, and Topic has been proud to be part of such an important project. The very best traditions of folk music are encompassed in The Full English, presented beautifully through the talents of the wonderful musicians involved,Â Ben Nicholls, Martin Simpson, Seth Lakeman, Rob Harbron, Sam Sweeney, Nancy Kerr and Fay Hield. Congratulations to them all!
The Full English is a groundbreaking project sponsored by the English Folk Dance and Song Society that draws together for the first time the early 20th century folksong collections of Harry Albino, Lucy Broadwood, Clive Carey, Percy Grainger, Maud Karpeles, Frank Kidson, Thomas Fairman Ordish, Cecil Sharp, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Alfred Williams. The result is the most comprehensive searchable database of British folk songs, tunes, dances and customs in the world.
To mark the launch of the project, folksong scholar and acclaimed singer Fay Hield has assembled The Full English band, pulling together half a dozen of the top talents on the English folk music circuit for an evening of songs drawn from these unique collections. Together the band have recorded a tremendous album of material drawn from these historic collections. Rapidly becoming identified as a folk supergroup the Full English includes singer and fiddle player Seth Lakeman, who has successfully steered English folk into the musical mainstream with his high-energy performances and a series of best-selling albums, and one of the worldâ€™s finest and most admired guitarists, Martin Simpson. Nancy Kerr is another fiddler/singer with a deep commitment to the English traditional repertoire, celebrated for her boundary-smashing partnerships with Eliza Carthy and James Fagan. Sam Sweeney (fiddle) and Rob Harbron (concertina) are formidable instrumentalists who feature in Fayâ€™s backing band The Hurricane Party as well as in Jon Bodenâ€™s Remnant Kings, and are two of the most in-demand session musicians on the scene. Nailing all this multi-instrumentality down is Ben Nicholls, double bassist of choice for artists as diverse as the Seth Lakeman Band, Martin Carthy and Jimmy Somerville.
Seth LAKEMANÂ Â Â Martin SIMPSONÂ Â Â Fay HIELDÂ Â Â Nancy KERRÂ Â Â Â Sam SWEENEY Â Â Â Rob HARBRONÂ Â Â Ben NICHOLLS
All photographs by Elly Lucas
“It is a brilliant sucess.”
Paddy Bullard, Times Literary Supplement
1Â Â Awake Awake
2Â Â Stand By Your Guns
3Â Â William And Nancy
4Â Â Creeping Jane
5Â Â Arthur Oâ€™Bradley
6Â Â Portrait Of My Wife
7Â Â Fol The Day-o
8Â Â Brigg Fair
9Â Â Rounding The Horn
10 The Servant Man
11 Man In The Moon
12 Linden Lea
TSCD584Guitar virtuoso MARTIN SIMPSON returns with a fabulous new album. “Purpose + Grace, is in many ways the epiphany of his career. Martin has never chosen the shortest root to stardom but the choices he has made along the way have made him the exceptional talent that he is today.” â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜… Folk Radio UK
Purpose + Grace takes its very apposite title from the great American songwriter Yip Harburg (composer of â€˜Somewhere Over The Rainbowâ€™, â€˜Brother Can You Spare A Dimeâ€™ and â€˜Only A Paper Moonâ€™) – â€œI am one of the last of a small tribe of troubadours who still believe that life is a beautiful and exciting journey with a purpose and grace well worth singing about.â€
The album marks a bold and confident step for Simpson. Building upon the strengths of Prodigal Son and True Stories, like a movie producer, he conceived the whole project over a number of months and then invited some of his favourite musicians to bring their stellar talents to the recording sessions. Jon Boden, B J Cole, Dick Gaughan, Fay Hield, Will Pound, June Tabor and Richard Thompson join Martinâ€™s regular band â€“ Andy Cutting, Andy Seward and Keith Angel â€“ on an exemplary series of performances. The material shifts from Anglo-American ballads, Scots and English traditional songs to new compositions from Bruce Springsteen, Richard Thompson, the aforementioned Yip Harburg and Martin Simpson.
“It’s simply a great album from start to finish – wonderful tune, superb musicianship, star guests and a unity of purpose about delivering a fitting tribute to the music he loves that raises the album to such a high level.” â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…1/2 The Telegraph
“Martin Simpson has been a guitar hero, accompanist, folk singer and songwriter â€“ and there are reminders of all these in what is surely his most commercial recording to date. It’s notable not just for his guitar and banjo playing and thoughtful vocals, but for the special guests who are often invited to sing lead vocals.” â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜… The Guardian
“Nothing rushed, nothing overdone, yet the playing remains astonishing.” â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜… Guitarist
“One of our finest traditional musicians, Simpson’s latest album offers a roving overview of his talents.” â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜… UNCUT
“The breadth of this album makes it a joy to listen to, Iâ€™d be very hard pushed to choose a favourite but there is no doubt in my mind that it is a five star classic album!” Folk Radio UK
“It may well be the best album Simpson has made in his entire career.” Newcastle Chronicle
“An album of great love and joy, Purpose + Grace confirms that Simpson remains at the top of his game.” Colin Irwin / BBC Music online
Guitar virtuoso Martin Simpson will release his new album on Monday September 5th.
purpose + grace
takes its very apposite title from the great American songwriter Yip Harburg (composer of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’, ‘Brother Can You Spare A Dime’ and ‘Only A Paper Moon’)
“I am one of the last of a small tribe of troubadours who still believe that life is a beautiful and exciting journey with a purpose and grace well worth singing about.”
This album marks a bold and confident step for Simpson. Building upon the strengths of Prodigal Son and True Stories, like a movie producer, he conceived the whole project over a number of months and then invited some of his favourite musicians to bring their stellar talents to the recording sessions. Jon Boden, B J Cole, Dick Gaughan, Fay Hield, Will Pound, June Tabor and Richard Thompson join Martin’s regular band – Andy Cutting, Andy Seward and Keith Angel – on an exemplary series of performances. The material shifts from Anglo-American ballads, Scots and English traditional songs to new compositions from Bruce Springsteen, Richard Thompson, the aforementioned Yip Harburg and Martin Simpson.
Central to the whole project is a new Simpson composition based upon the words of Banjo Bill Cornett of Hindman, Kentucky, from a 1958 home recording. Cornett makes a heartfelt exposition of the beauty and purpose of traditional music-making: “This is Banjo Bill Cornett, I’m at home today, thirteenth day of February 1958. Here by myself, nobody but me around and that’s when I usually play the banjo and sing and whatever. My children grew up, and they fell for this rock’n’roll music – honky tonk music whatever you might call it. I don’t like that and I catch them all gone, my wife gone and then I carry on to suit my own self and I’m a making this record to give somebody – I don’t know who I’ll give this recording to, I want to give it to someone who will keep it and if there’s any people after I’m gone who’d like to hear my carrying on as far as my singing and banjo playing is concerned, I’d like them to keep it.”
1Â Â Â The Sheffield Apprentice
2Â Â Â Bold General Wolfe
3Â Â Â Brothers Under The Bridge
4Â Â Â Little Liza Jane
5Â Â Â Brother Can You Spare A Dime
6Â Â Â Jamie Foyers
7Â Â Â In The Pines
8Â Â Â Strange Affair
9Â Â Â Banjo Bill
10Â Â Â Barbry Allen
11Â Â Â Don’t Put Your Banjo In The Shed Mr Waterson
12Â Â Â Bad Girl’s Lament
13Â Â Â Lakes Of Ponchartrain
Martin’s album is reviewed by Robin Denselow, Sam Lee and Julian May on the new weekly ProperMusic.Com Podcast. The podcast may be downloaded free : http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/propermusic.com-podcast/id463436857
or listened to: http://soundcloud.com/proper-music-distribution/proper-music-mix-final/s-QUqpQ
with thanks to Ian Anderson at fRoots
“Simpson can seemingly do no wrong at the moment, his Indian summer turning into an extended heatwave on yet another brave and sometimes daring album… (purpose + grace) is an album of infinite range and moods and yet again must rank up there among his very best.” Colin Irwin, fRoots
Sadly, the great Mike Waterson, one of the finest singers of the folk revival died on June 22nd. Martin had composed a tune in honour of Mike and his banjo – “Sometime in the early 1970s I visited Hull to see the Watersons at their home, and I was greatly taken by an old fretless banjo they had – I coveted it a great deal actually! Almost 35 years later I did a gig with Mike, Martin Carthy and Chris Parkinson at Skipton Cattle Market. I asked Mike about the banjo, which he informed me was languishing in his shed. He told me I could have it if I got it fixed up. My friend Barry Murphy has painstakingly restored it to playing condition, straightening the warped neck, making new friction pegs and replacing the old split head. The first time I played it I started to write the tune for Mike – Don’t Put Your Banjo In The Shed Mr Waterson.”
For details of Martin Simpson’s forthcoming gigs please visit: www.martinsimpson.com
“I am a big fan of Martin’s playing. Perhaps the highest praise I could give is to say that he never stops getting better!” Richard Thompson
Rough Music is a step on from the multi-award winning Anglicana, and is a powerful, vital, multi-layered collection full of dark rhythms in Elizaâ€™s vision of English Traditional Music for the new millennium. Her backing band, The Ratcatchers, includes her long time collaborator Ben Ivitsky, and two of the fastest rising stars of the folk scene, Jon Boden and John Spiers.
The album features dense arrangements of traditional songs showcasing Elizaâ€™s incomparable voice as well as spirited, highly original performances of English instrumental music. Billy Braggâ€™s King James Version and Elizaâ€™s own Mohair complete the unique blend of old and new.
The title notwithstanding, there is nothing rough about the quality of the music â€“ Eliza has taken the name of the album from an age-old custom and she explains itâ€¦..
â€œRough Music is in the Book of Days on October 28th and is described as a form of community punishment practiced all over England. If a man were seen to be (say) beating his wife, or â€˜allowing himself to be hen-peckedâ€™ it says here, he could expect to receive a concert of Rough Music. Basically if they thought you had been naughty (it doesnâ€™t say how or if they proved this) all the men, women and children of the village would go round to your house in the middle of the night, call out your name and proceed to bang pots, pans, tin lids and buckets or whatever came to hand, to bring your crimes to attention and drive you out. When my family moved to North Yorkshire at the beginning of the seventies there was a case of a man being driven from our area by this method. However, weâ€™ve tried to make the album a bit nicer than that.”
â€¢ “Top 10 Folk Album of the Year 2005” Mojo
â€¢ “An instant winner. Great singing, rousing instrumentals, fabulous album. A Best Album of the Year.” Daily Telegraph
â€¢ “Rough Music feels fearless, certain and solid, putting all of Carthyâ€™s many and varied skills into service. She can do it just by being brilliant.” â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜… Sunday Times
â€¢ â€œOne of the brightest stars in the folk firmament. Elizaâ€™s exquisite voice and fiddle playing make this a vibrant take on centuries-old tradition.â€ â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜… The Sun
â€¢ â€œSinger and violinist Eliza Carthy is one of the figureheads of the English folk revival and this album demonstrates why â€“ compelling music.â€ â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜… Evening Standard
â€¢ â€œ..the 29-year-oldâ€™s rawest collection to date. ..her voice lies at the centre of Rough Musicâ€™s most powerful moments.” â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜… Mojo