Norrie McCulloch – Bare Along the Branches

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Norrie McCulloch
Bare Along the Branches
BLACK DUST RECORDS

Classy Contemporary Folk Songs That Transcend Boundaries and Borders.

I loved; and still love Norrie McCulloch’s last album These Mountain Blues released less than a year ago so was very surprised when this ‘follow up’ album arrived in late January.
So, it was with a modicum of trepidation that I slid the shiny disc into the office hi-fi and sat back cradling a piping hot cup of tea.
It took less than two minutes of opening track Shutter for a smile to break out and I breathed a sigh of relief. Norrie’s voice sounds even warmer and more ’rounded’ than on the previous album; and the ‘sound’ that surrounds a delightfully brittle bittersweet love song obviously comes from a band of musicians who know each others strengths intimately and gel like a well oiled machine.
Historically I steer away from the F Word; but this is Folk Music Jim; just not as we know it.
McCulloch’s voice is definitely Scottish; but to the uninitiated…. quintessentially ‘Celtic;’ and songs like Safe Keeping and Around The Bend are from the Folk idiom; but just like his heroes Guy Clark and Bobby Dylan the way McCulloch interprates his own lyrics is way beyond the ‘finger in the ear’ ballads and shanties that still get played in Folk Clubs around the world.
McCulloch is obviously well travelled; and he has picked up ideas for stories and songs along the way; making Frozen River and Little Boat just as relevant in Australia, Appalachia and Airdrie…..which is quite some feat, in my humble opinion.
Dig deep here and you will find the Lo-Fi dark delights of Beggars Woods and Turn To Dust; written shortly after the death of his Mother and are both as Southern Gothic as they are Scottish Presbyterian in essence.
Then, just when I thought I had a handle on Norrie’s ‘new direction’ he throws a couple of left-field curve balls with the ‘Folk Rockers’ Never Leave You Behind (featuring some sublime pedal-steel from Mr Ian Sloan) and Lonely Boy.
Like all of the best singer-songwriter albums through the ages, Bare Along The Ashes is best listened to alone, preferably with the lights down low and a refreshing brew to hand; which brings me to my two stand out tracks…….the stark and brooding piano led This Time is absolutely spellbinding but the one I keep going back to; and the one ‘shuffle’ on my I-pod keeps playing is Safe Keeping. A very simple melody masking a very complex and timeless song that could be about my own life in a ‘small town’ and looking for a road out.
This is Norrie McCulloch’s third album in as many years; and for such a prolific songwriter there’s not a weak song here and the self-confidence in his storytelling and way with words is quite astonishing really.
If you like quality songwriters like Guy Clark, Richard Thompson and the like I’m pretty sure you will love this album by this proud son of Scotland too.

http://www.norriemcculloch.com/

Released February 24th 2017

Tom Paxton EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

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Tom Paxton Interview
by Cara Gibney

“You’ve got me all wound up here. Let’s talk about puppies and kitty cats or something.” Tom Paxton was talking politics and it was becoming fiery.

For 50 years Paxton has been a key feature of the folk music scene; ever since Greenwich Village in the early 60s. He has released an astonishing 62 albums with songs that cover love, life, protest and many songs for children. The immense list of renowned artists who have recorded his songs includes Harry Belafonte, Bob Dylan, Sandy Denny and Marianne Faithfull among many others. For all this he has been awarded numerous honours, including the 2005 BBC Folk Award for a Lifetime Achievement for Song Writing. He has supported striking miners, performed at civil rights rallies and voter registration drives, and with great aplomb he has sustained his role as the ‘musical fly in the ointment’ of the establishment.

So we shouldn’t be surprised that the American folk singer who wrote the impassioned “Buy a Gun for Your Son” in 1965 to discourage giving children toy guns to play with, has issues with present-day U.S. gun law. Or that the songwriter with a Pete Seeger endorsement on his website bio, thinks that the U.S. President “only cares about Donald Trump, the glory of Donald Trump…… and we’re in for a really rough ride.” Indeed, by the time we got to talk about the Dakota Access Pipeline, and how tragically relevant his 1970 classic “Whose Garden was This” still remains, he had started to talk of resistance. “… It’s only starting now” he told me. “But we’ll be hearing more about it.”

But this political fire wasn’t always in Paxton’s belly. Not even when he was at university. “I didn’t have any political conscience at all” he recalled. “I was studying drama. I was kind of apolitical actually.” It was when he joined the army around 1960 that everything changed, and not for the reasons you may be thinking. “I was mainly in training while I was there” he explained. “But the army took me up to the New York area and I would get into Greenwich Village where I began to make friends, and began to sing here and there … And then when I got out of the army I just stayed in New York and the rest ,as they say, is misery,” he laughed.

It was there that he started to hear Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger; he started to hear “their songs about social justice and it made sense to me … the Civil Rights Movement was just getting underway and once again it just seemed simple to me that segregation is just not right. My political consciousness began to develop once I got to New York.”

However, the music began years before that, with a Tonette (a plastic flute) that he played in school. Then at the age of 12 or so he picked up the trumpet, which he played until the age of 18. Simultaneously he discovered the ukulele at summer camp – “And I thought well how long has this been going on … Get me one of those.” Unfortunately it ended badly. “I had the ukulele until somebody sat on it and reduced it to sprinters.” Thankfully it didn’t end there. An aunt managed to “fish a guitar out of the back of her closet and said you might try this.” It worked, badly, but it worked. “It had God awful action on it. You needed pliers to put the strings down, but it was a start.” He moved onto a Gibson guitar later on, “and it’s been that way ever since.”

For many years Paxton has worked with multi-instrumentalist Fred Sokolow, who would accompany him on stage. Sokolow is equally at home with various styles of music, be it bluegrass or blues, but he may be better known as the author of instructional books/ DVDs for various instruments including guitar, lap steel, banjo, and Dobro. Sokolow has a son, Zac, a multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar, banjo, fiddle, and mandolin with a band called The Americans who were interviewed on Rocking Magpie last summer.

Zac, too, has played with Tom Paxton. “How do you know Zac?” Paxton laughed when I mentioned him in the conversation. “Zac has substituted for his dad when his dad couldn’t play for me” he went on to explain. “He played instead and it was just wonderful. I love him and his old man. His stepmom is a great bass player. She plays upright bass full. Zac is a very fine musician and of course his dad is amazing.”

For Zac the feeling is reciprocal. “Tom has been has always been incredibly gracious with me, and first brought me on stage to play with him at a time when I was pretty young and hadn’t really played in front of an audience much at all. Despite a lot of my energy being spent on trying not to completely mess everything up, I remember feeling fully engaged in his songs and storytelling along with everyone else in the room.”

“Tom often tells a story about how someone in Ireland was trying to convince him that his song “The Last Thing on My Mind” was an old Irish folk song and that he hadn’t written it at all. I was in Ireland a little while ago at a pub in Tipperary where there was a session going on, and I heard someone sing that song in between some old traditional songs and fiddle tunes. Having the ability to write a song that doesn’t feel out of place in that context is something very unusual.”

“A couple years ago I played a few shows with Tom that he closed by singing a powerful version of “The Parting Glass”, as a dedication to the Clancy Brothers who were friends of his. That’s an old song that’s commonly sung at sessions in Ireland, but I had never heard it before he sang it. I started playing it with The Americans, and we eventually made a recording of it with T Bone Burnett.”

Paxton was in Glasgow for Celtic Connections when we talked over the phone. At that stage he only had a few more nights left playing to packed houses in his UK Tour with folk/old-time/swing musicians Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer. Interestingly they toured together before, back in 2003. “Kathy recorded all of them on Mini Disc” he recalled. “And when she listened to them she said it sounded so good she produced a CD out of it, which got a Grammy nomination.”

The UK tour was a launching pad for Paxton’s new album Boat In The Water, indeed three or four songs from the new record were included in their set. “It’s not a very political album” he explained when I asked if he was addressing any issues that had wound him up so much earlier in the conversation. However, the track that he released as a single at the end of last year – “Christmas in Shelter” carries that Paxton trademark nod to the haves and have nots, the acknowledgement of the unfair. A song to the homeless at the most poignant time of year sung with simple piano, a lived-in voice, and harmonies that break any sense of being alone.

“But it’s a whole different tune
When a soup kitchen spoon
Is dishing your dinner tonight”

“I really empathize with the homeless” he explained as I asked if homelessness was an issue that stood out to him, amidst all the other issues out there. He goes to a shelter on Thanksgiving Day every year to help with the dinner. “It’s only one day a year” he told me, “I wish I could do more.”

“I think we’ll see more people sleeping rough” he continued. “There is a kind of religious philosophy that has equated wealth with piety. The pious will make more money. It’s just incomprehensible to me and I’m certain that Jesus would say ‘are you kidding? Are you kidding? These are my people!’ I feel that Christianity is being mocked by the people with their ‘you don’t deserve anything because you’re poor. Obviously god doesn’t love you. If God loved you, you would be prosperous like we are.’ I start spluttering at some point …”

“I’m very fond of this album” it’s very dear to my heart. The one before had some [political] stuff on it, but the new one is for the love of the music.” Then he paused. “I guess I’ll be writing a little more politically now with this asshole in the White House.”

It looks like he’s going to be busy. When I asked how he felt about events over the past 12 months he told me – “It’s not the last year that worries me, it’s the next four … It’s really hard to overstate how bad I think this man Trump is. I mean I thought Nixon was bad but he was nothing, nothing, compared to this man … [Trump] has no shame and every word out of the man’s mouth is a lie. It’s just the way it is.”

But it was the Dakota Access Pipeline that brought him to the end of his rope. At that point we thought it best to change the subject altogether, on to something more positive. “You’ve got me all wound up here” he groaned. “Let’s talk about puppies and kitty cats or something.”

Cara Gibney

Zac and Fred Sokolow

Pickxen – Picks ‘n Vittles.

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Pickxen
Picks ‘n Vittles
Self-Release

Raw Southern Country-Folk that Warms the Heart and Cools The Soul.

Some days I despair when I look at the pile of albums waiting to review and then other days I stumble on ‘rough diamonds’ like this and can’t wait to scream it’s delights to the world at large!
First of all, a friend who is a regular RMHQ follower suggested to John Monk from Pickxen that he contact me via the Twitter; which he did then followed it up with the CD and included a charming letter that made me want to listen to their music straight away.
Probably because Laura Monk’s delicious voice reminded me of the young Nanci Griffith I was immediately entranced with the simplicity of opening track Better in Tennessee and remained through to the end.
When the nifty banjo picking and Twangtastic guitar on track #2 7lb Rhyme filtered from the speakers I knew I was listening to something really special, and the bittersweet love song more than matches the music too.
Pickxen are a trio, Laura and John Monk alongside Michael Garvey and are based in and around Atlanta Georgia, and much to my personal delight have christened themselves, Pixie, Dixie and Micksy!
Laura’s warm and sensitive voice will melt even the coldest of hearts on Weight (Sic Transit Gloria Mundi) yet later, on Star she rocks the pants off another sad love song.
Baring in mind I’d never even heard of Pickxen 7 days ago, Picks n Vittles has the ability to sound like I’ve known the songs all my life; with none being any finer than Harmony which sounds like it was written to be the last song you would ever hear; and if it was it would be a great way to go.
The album close with the only cover version here; a live version of Wayfaring Stranger that showcases Laura’s marvellous voice and John’s fancy geetar pickin’ to full and glorious effect and fades out like a vinyl record before a (well known) ladies voice says “We’re closed!” It’s a cool way to close out a very interesting and, indeed ‘cool’ album.
With intricately complex guitar, banjo and bass throughout and some wonderful arrangements on songs like Poor Lucy’s Crooked Mile and Breath I can’t help but wonder why this group haven’t ventured North of the Mason-Dixon Line……they certainly deserve a wider audience.
As I said in the intro, Laura’s voice does remind me of a young Nanci Griffith at times, but at others Allison Krauss springs to mind and at least once I thought I could be listening to a young sibling of Emmylou Harris……but all along it was the smoky sultriness of Laura Monk. Funny that.

http://pickxen.com/

Released June 1st 2016

Otis Gibbs – Mount Renraw

 

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Otis Gibbs
Mount Renraw
Wanamaker/Self-Release

The Spirit of Woody, Steinbeck and John Huston That Rekindles the American Folk Flame.

I can remember the afternoon when I first saw Otis Gibbs the Jumping Hot Club at SummerTyne as if it was yesterday. Since then I have accumulated all 7 of his previous albums and must have seen him perform 10 or more times and he never fails to make my soul stir and enrich my brain. Plus, his Thanks For Giving a Damn podcast has taught me more about Americana history, music and its exponents than any magazine or website has even come close over the last few years.
Yep, I’m a bit of a fan.
Recorded in lieu of a party in his living room on the day of hos 50th Birthday, the album opens with Ed’s Blues (Survival) a beautifully sad song featuring some incredibly maudlin fiddle and a story about a friends death that has a great similarity to Gram Parson’s final days.
Otis has always been able to extract a song from the everyday things he encounters as he travels around the highways and by-ways of rural America and at last he has managed to put all of those freaks, geeks and oddities into one three minute opus. Great American Roadside truly en-captures the ‘Spirit of Americana’ in a way I don’t think I’ve heard before, and it conjures up pictures that are best viewed in mono or sepia…..definitely not Technicolour.
On his last album, Souvenirs of a Misspent Youth, Otis looked back fondly on his upbringing, specifically his relationship with his father and that theme recurs here with the raw and emotional Empire Hole, about the Limestone Quarry that his Dad worked in. I love the way Otis contrasts the beautiful New York Skyline with the hole in the ground in rural Indiana that supplied the stone for the city’s most famous landmark.
Sticking with the ‘looking back’ theme, two songs really intrigue me….Kathleen about a ‘first love’ in 1993 who has taken a wrong turn, but still features in the narrators life, albeit the shadows. It’s lyrically excellent and truly heartbreaking with Gibb’s voice sounding warm, leathery and on the verge of cracking.
The other is the Appalachian/Irish flavoured Lucy Parsons. The type of song more normally associated with the likes of Tom Russell; but a delightful move forward for Wanamaker’s favourite son.
While One Day Our Whispers is my favourite Otis Gibbs album (and a Top 10 of all time) it’s entirely possible that the more I listen to my favourite two songs included here that this album could overtake it very soon.
Those two songs epitomise everything I love about American Singer-songwriters and especially this one.
Gibbs gives us two history lessons with Bison and Sputnik Monroe. Bison is a heartfelt tale of the ‘white men’ destroying the great Bison herds and therefore destroying the great Cherokee nation. The song’s construction and delivery will grab you by the heart strings and feel like a kick to the stomach…..but leaving you staggered at Gibbs’ story-telling ability.
The opening lines to Sputnik Monroe should instantly grab your attention – “Listen to me people/Let me speak to your Soul/There’s more to Memphis than Rock & Roll.” The song about a long forgotten white boxer, who instigated the first integrated sporting event in the South, is a ‘typical’ Otis Gibbs story. One where he finds a tiny gold nugget that needs to be brought to our attention and does it in a very articulate and never less than interesting manner.
If this song doesn’t win ‘Song of the Year’ Awards at the end of 2017 there’s no justice in this world.
No longer the ‘Angry Man of Folk’ that I first fell in love with many years ago; Otis Gibbs now sounds more rounded; mature even (?) and his story-telling on this and the previous album will surely bring him to the attention of a much wider audience that will give him the recognition and rewards his talent deserves.

http://www.otisgibbs.com

Released 13th January 2017

Tom Paxton UK Tour 2017

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For a variety of reasons we don’t normally preview tours; but with one of my absolute heroes Tom Paxton coming back to the UK….we will make an exception!
I first discovered him when I was in my early teens and I would ‘borrow’ my brother Brian’s copy of The Compleat Tom Paxton. I can still recall the excitement of hearing his voice, lyrics and in-between song patter for the first time and even today when I listen to his songs (old and new) he still has the ability to blow me away!

Plus…..I interviewed him a few years ago for Maverick magazine and was genuinely star-struck; so when offered the opportunity to speak to Tom again I have passed the opportunity over to our Ace Reporter Cara Gibney…..’watch this space!’
Tom Paxton returns to the UK in January 2017, with very special guests Cathy & Marcy. Tom has had a music career spanning more than 50 years, and those five decades have seen the recording of many enduring songs, and thousands of live performances around the world, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 2009. Celebrated amongst his peers and audiences alike, he is one of the most highly regarded, loved, and best known folk singer/songwriters of his generation. With timeless classics such as; The Last Thing On My Mind, Bottle Of Wine, and Ramblin’ Boy, he portrays through his songs and his famously generous nature a true desire for justice, and to bring people together. Tom Paxton is a joyful treat, a revered figure in folk music, and a voice of his generation.

“We are all born singing Tom Paxton songs”

NANCI GRIFFITH

“Tom’s songs are fine songs in anyone’s book”

UNCUT

Tour Dates:

Friday 13th Jan Truro Hall for Cornwall 01872 262466

Saturday 14th Jan Worcester Huntingdon Hall 01905 611 427

Monday 16th Jan Salford The Lowry 0843 208 6000

Tuesday 17th Jan Leeds City Varieties 0113 243 0808

Thursday 19th Jan Milton Keynes Stables 01908 280800

Friday 20th Jan Buxton Opera House 01298 72190

Sunday 22nd Jan London Cadogan Hall 020 7730 4500

Tuesday 24th Jan Gateshead The Sage 0191 443 4661

Wednesday 25th Jan Glasgow Mitchell theatre 0141 287 2999

Friday 27th Jan Edinburgh Queen’s Hall 0131 668 2019

Steve Black – Right Here And Now

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Steve Black
Right Here And Now
NEO Music NEO116CD

Beautiful Folk Infused Country Music from British Troubadour.

Although we have two mutual friends, our paths have never crossed; probably because Singer-songwriter Steve Black is from London Town but now based in Devon at the other end of England from where I reside in the NE.
The loss is mine; judging by this delightful album.
Right Here and Now opens with quintessentially British tale of being caught in a traffic jam on a hot Friday afternoon; but the neat Country-Rock tune and Black’s world-weary voice defy national borders and will resonate with people all over the globe.
With a warm and expressive delivery Steve Black is an exceptional story teller with songs like Jacob and the title track Right Here Now I was reminded of singers like Don Williams, Guy Clark and even latter day Sam Baker; but on Highway of My Heart and Good Old Country (Girl) he digs deep into his Hank and George record collections for some sweet good time Country music.
For a man of a ‘certain age’ Steve Black certainly has a romantic streak running straight from his heart to his brain; with What Haven’t We Done For a While and the exquisite Dance With Me, which closes the disc both touching me in such a way I had to stop Mrs. Magpie mid-ironing to make her listen to Black’s heartfelt words.
That latter song was very close to being my ‘song of the day’ but instead I’ve gone for the deceptively complex Highway of My Heart; which brought a tear to my eyes and desperately tugged at my heartstrings and could only have been written by someone with many years of life’s various experiences under his belt to write a song this beautiful and emotional.
Steve Black’s long time/occasional sidekick Alan West has not only made a great job of the production but plays guitar throughout. The biggest surprise for me though, has been the feeling that this was a band effort, with Justin Johnson on drums, bassist Simon Goulding, Adam Sweet (Guitars etc), David Hartley on pedal-steel and the majestic fiddle, banjo and mandolin of Justin Moses all combine to bring the very best out of Steve’s delightful lyrics.

Released November 2016

http://www.steveblackmusic.com

The Ree-Vahs – Yee Ha With the Ree-Vahs!

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The Ree-Vahs
Yee Ha With the Ree-Vahs!
Self-Release

Love in a North Eastern Town Brought To Life In Song.

As I said last time, I’m not normally a lover of Folk Music; but when a band comes from my home town I’m prepared to give it more than a cursory listen, and I’m glad I did because The Ree-Vahs previous release Geordieland was a rare treat and came close to being in my 2014 Top 10.
Thankfully (for me) Andy Lee and band have carried on from where they left off; telling tales of a small once prosperous town in their local NW Durham flat dialect.
Sunshine which opens the album could be straight from the Bellowhead songbook; with a timeless ‘love through adversity’ story set to a classic Folky mix of acoustic guitars, fiddle, drums and possibly an accordion in the background.
A delightful piece of piano playing introduces the delightfully dark story behind Hundreds and Thousands. The third time I heard this song it genuinely stopped me in my tracks; as it was/is scarily close to my early relationship with the girl whom I was to marry; and like the narrator I’ve never understood why ‘with hundreds of souls in the village/you chose me.’ But also ‘Do I push you away/When I need you to stay/I never know what you’re thinking.’
If I could write songs I wish I could have written that.
While most of the songs here are about relationships, The Bouncer takes that theme to something of an extreme. A jealous man driven by ‘rage and jealousy/that’s not me’ knows she is going to leave him; and knows she should……but he tries to cling on. Lee’s voice sounds amazing as it comes near to breaking point more than once.
One song I love, but don’t fully understand is Spiderman. Using comic book superheroes as metaphors for ll of the characters inside his head, the singer knows his lifestyle will end in tears; but he can’t help himself……perhaps there’s a little bit of all of us here.
My favourite track; and it will surprise no one who knows me; is The Story of Us. To some extent a companion piece to Hundreds and Thousands; it’s a haunting love story of a couple told through the husband looking back on their life. The addition of cello, piano and guitars in the background make an ordinary Folk Tale quite extraordinary.
Another contender could easily have been Grandma’s Song. An epic narrative going from the couple meeting in 1933 and taking in being told he was killed in WW11 but arriving home ‘after 4 months dead’ and ‘hitting the heights in 75/a Triumph Herald in the drive’ then ‘recession took their house away/the wind blew hard as knives that day/the coldest winter of their lives/nineteen eighty five’.
Maudlin and beautiful hardly do justice to a song as well crafted and lovely as this.
Sadly domestic violence rears it’s ugly head in Black Eyed Susan; but Lee’s way with words and a melody couple to create a fabulous microcosm of a Small rural town that could be anywhere in the civilised world.
The Ree-Vahs and Andy Lee in particular have created a wonderful little album here and it would be a damn shame if it didn’t receive a world wide audience; so don’t let the Pitmatic dialect put you off, it’s not that different to listening to Texas drawl or a wonderfully rich Irish brogue.
#The only draw back is the town featured on the album cover is Stanley’s arch rival, Consett! Although I did take several tinctures in the Turf when I worked in Laws Stores in my younger days.

http://www.theree-vahs.co.uk/

Released November 2016

The Quiet Loner – Battle For The Ballot

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Quiet Loner
Battle For The Ballot
Self-Release/Manchester Peoples History Museum/Bandcamp.

The Most Exciting History Lesson You Will Ever Hear.

Although long deleted The Quiet Loner aka Matt Hill’s previous album, Greedy Magicians is still the most dangerous album I’ve ever heard; dealing as does with the political state of Britain was in in 2012 and sadly is even more relevant today in 2016.
He has finally followed that up with a very interesting project; and one I have followed keenly, albeit from afar. After becoming ‘Songwriter in Residence’ at the wonderful Peoples History Museum in Manchester Matt was tasked with ‘exploring the story of Universal Suffrage’ and take it around the schools of the area.
The subjects here are very dear to my own heart as in the early 1970’s I was a pupil in a newly fangled Comprehensive School and quickly dropped into the CSE stream which was meant to give us some qualifications at the end of 5 years; regardless of how meaningless they would be. The upside was History. While the Top 2 streams studied the Tudors and Stuart Kings etc. we learned about the Industrial Revolution and the seed was sown for a lifetime of Liberal Socialism……or something like that.
A better choice for this venture can’t be found; as Hill is a canny story teller and although he is a Folk Singer at heart, he has a nice soft expressive voice and has a very contemporary style making these tales very listenable indeed.
The album opens with the mildly anthemic duet with Tracey Browne, Nothing Less Than Revolution Will Do. Not exactly a ‘call to arms’ but, when you know it was written following Matt encountering the desk that Thomas Paine wrote the ‘Rights of Man’ in 1792, it becomes a wonderful preface for what is to follow.
Lulling you into a false sense of security the sweet sounding Manchester Rain follows; but dig deeper into Hill’s words and you will hear a dark story of a Manchester that Marx and Engels once inhabited.
Those songs neatly sum up The Quiet Loner’s ‘style’……contemporary and subtle, taking what could easily be a dull, dry story from history and making them sound fresh and still thinking about the content hours afterwards. Tear These Railings Down is a song about the workers never giving up their fight; and sung to an almost Country beat; there’s certainly a Twang to the guitar and it fairly rattles along, and I can only imagine the effect it will have on impressionable teenagers (who needs NWA?).
Hill even throws in a the jaunty Banners Held High in his quest to get his message across and somehow he makes the dry tale of the Chartist Movement into a toe-tapper; which is skill indeed!
The remarkable Tracey Browne gets the opportunity to shine when she inhabits the central character on the beautiful Hannah (about Suffragette Hannah Mitchell) and again on Paint This Prison (a contender for ‘favourite track btw).
That ‘Favourite Track’ title goes to the epic The Dust of St. Peters Fields. Wow! This shameful story of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre has virtually been airbrushed from our history; even in NW England, but The Quiet Loner describes the events in a modern Folk Rock style that would be worthy of Elvis Costello at his politico best. If Matt Hill never writes or sings another song ever again he can die a happy man for creating this masterpiece.
When Hill began writing these songs in early 2016 he would have no idea how important ‘The Vote’ would be in our lives; as the UK would go on to hold a Referendum to ‘leave the EU’ and the USA would have the most historical Election for many generations, with every single vote counting in each one.
Regardless of your feelings at those two outcomes; these ten songs help describe the fight that people had to get every single person the right to vote, regardless of race, creed, sex or colour.
Buy a copy and learn something; but most importantly if you have or know a teenager who loves music but is either apathetic or interested in politics…….give them a copy.

#NEWSFLASH This will be released as a full CD in April 2017!

http://www.quietloner.com/

Released November 27th 2016 (Download)

Long Time at Sea (single)-Josh Coppersmith

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Long Time at Sea (single)
Josh Coppersmith
Smugglers Records

A Great Song for a Wonderful Cause.

‘Charity begins at home’ they say; and it’s true, but here at RMHQ there are a couple of causes that really tug at our heartstrings, with the current Refugee Crisis being at the very top of a short list.
It may not be on the TV News every night but these days but there is still a heartbreaking stream of families wandering around Europe looking for a home, and that’s not a home that you or I would call home…..primarily they just want to be safe from fear.
So, singer-songwriter Josh Coppersmith has been moved to write a song about these migrants, and all proceeds will go to these three amazing Charities –
Hand in Hand for Syria
Help Refugees
Medecins Sans Frontieres

https://joshuakivu.bandcamp.com/releases

This is the link to the fundraising page
https://fundly.com/long-time-at-sea