Based in Norwich Jess Morgan will be known to a lot of us in the home counties area having regularly performed in Bedford at Esquires as well clubs like CB2 in Cambridge and opening the events at 2011′s sold out Ely folk festival. With one EP and a self released album All Swell already in the bag and plaudits like BBC Radio 2’s Steve Lamacq and sessions with Sue Marchant on her evening radio show. It’s now great hear a new session played for one of the best online independent radio stations Folk Radio UK, who have been a long time supporter, so Jess has cut four tracks from her new CD due for release in Spring 2012.
Jess’s music takes in influences from British and American folk and in true troubadour style has taken her songs away from East Anglia and tours regularly in Norway, Holland, Germany, Iceland as well as a short tour of the US, picking up fans and friends on the way. Back home she has played support for Teddy Thompson, Otis Gibbs, LAU, Ben Taylor and folks favourite duo Megson, among others.
Having seen Jess perform live on numerous occasions it’s great to see and hear how she has built in confidence with her song writing, much admired by fellow songwriter Nicky Chinn, and her stage presence. With her distinctive vocals the confidence and rapport with the audience oozes through and lets not forget she is also a very accomplished guitar player too. Her playing interweaves effortlessly with her imaginative style of writing and story telling, with plots and narratives drawn from real life times and experiences that reel you into her world and holds you there till the end of the song, giving you a few moments break to draw breath between songs, before whisking you away on another journey.
So with a new album on the way and her desire to perform live, 2012 looks set to be another busy year for Jess. So music promoters and festival organisers please take note of her name and make sure you find some time for her on your bill, you won’t regret it and your audience will love you for it too. There’s a new star rising from in the east and it’s flamed red.
Let’s divert away from the Christmas tunes and the rain outside for a while and head somewhere warm for a few minutes. OK I know I keep going on about Amanda Shires CD Carrying Lightning but the album is that good and now one of my favourite tracks from the album Detroit and Buffalo has it’s own video to accompany it and premiered on Virtual Lubbock (Lubbock Texas is not only the home town of Buddy Holly but Amanda too) Also if you don’t believe me the album is that good online blog Beat Surrender has chosen it as one of their top 10 releases of 2011.
All we need is for Amanda to visit these shores in 2012, which hopefully she will and you know I will keep you posted if and when it’s confirmed
Here is a great live recording of I Draw Slow‘s song, Cry Help and taken from there latest CD Redhills. Filmed in Dublin in November with thanks to Communion music, this only increase my wish that they manage to cross the Irish sea to England, when the music both recorded and live is as good as this, it’s only fair that the rest of us get a change to experience it.
It’s now December so I’ve sure all we will hear from here on in is Christmas Songs, Slade, Mud and Cliff Richard to name a few. So I’m not adverse to a few seasonal tunes myself and every year in the past, when driving to work, I had to get out the Christmas CD, mainly to please my friend who insisted on playing it from about December 1st. Thankfully I did throw in a few surprises, which may not have gone down too well but I believe I might have got away with it, though it is of course possible this was a factor as to why I lost my job just before Christmas 2010.
One such gem was Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal. Like a lot of people I really know what this song is about, maybe just a collection of words that flow well with their mesmerising harmonies, and no reference to Christmas just about walking in the snow, but it fits into a winter theme so it’ll do for me.
Great to see that Rue Royale, who I’ve mentioned more than once on these pages will be playing again this Wednesday 30th November at Holy Moly’s at Esquires in Bedford with support from Danni Nicholls, so make sure you get yourself down there. This also gives me an excuse to mention their free Christmas EP you can download from their Bandcamp site or listen to it streaming above.
I first saw The Staves at The Den at Cambridge Folk Festival, I say saw as I could only hear them due to the fact the place was jam packed, also I didn’t actually catch their name at the time as most acts here were unadvertised. So it is a pleasure to catch up with them again with the release of their new video Mexico via You Tube. Playing mainly in the London area and being lucky to support the likes of Josh Ritter and Civil War at The Union Chapel they are just about to start a short tour taking in Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, Nottingham, Bristol, Brighton and in between over to Belfast and Dublin where they play along with another favourite I Draw Slow. They currently have a new EP out called Mexico and also a live EP recorded at The Cecil Sharp House and hopefully with a bit more exposure one of the venues in this area will find a spot for them.
The nominees have just been announced for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2012 and there does appear to be an interesting cross section from all across the British Isles. And for the first time members of the public can also be a part of the audience as they’ve moved proceedings from London to The Lowry in Salford so mhy not buy a ticket an be a part of the show. At the same time why not buy my Autograph book, you could get a lot of signatures on the night.
This Saturday 19th November and a gig not to miss for sure with Danny and the Champions of the World. This will be Empty Room Promotions last gig for 2011 and although they’ve been on there travels around Buckingham and the heady heights of the big smoke that is Oxford, it’s great to be back in the quiet little village of Tingewick, though this Saturday won’t be quiet for long! Although Danny is no stranger to Empty Rooms, having played previously solo as Danny George Wilson in 2006, it’s been a four years wait to finally nail him down to bring the band along. The current line-up of the Champs is very different from that which recorded their 2008 debut album and its 2010 follow-up, ‘Streets Of Our Time’. This new incarnation of the group is a proper rock’n’roll band, wholly and entirely committed to being the Champs.
The current CD ‘Hearts & Arrows’, is a great rock’n’roll record. as Danny explained “My reference points were Tom Petty and Thin Lizzy, Dr Feelgood and Nick Lowe,” It is also the rockingest waxing the Champs have thus far delivered. Check out the video and turn it up really loud and you’ll see what we mean.
Support for the evening will be The Lucky Strikes, who played for Empty Rooms earlier in the year in support for Mama Rosin, but it Oxford, so this will also be their first visit to Tingewick, the music venue that thinks it’s a village hall.
Doors are at 7.30pm and more information at tickets can be found a www.empty-rooms.com see you there
Update 5th Feb 2012 – Unfortunatley the original Web Exclusive has now been removed.
It’s been a few years since I’ve seen Jason Isbell and the 400 Units, probably over in Bedford. I will be honest they were a new name to me at the time and I really can’t remember too much about them (probably not because they didn’t make an impression more likely because my memory is a bit poor) but this video flashed up, a web exclusive from the David Letterman show in the US, which has re-kindled my interest. So maybe I’ll be looking out for a possible tour next year. Though here is another track from the same session featuring Amanda Shires
It appears there has been a bit of unrest from fans of The Smiths after seeing the 2011 Christmas advert from high street giant John Lewis. it’s the choice of soundtrack that’s upset some on Twitter, a version of their song Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want sung by Slow Moving Millie the performing name of English actress, singer and songwriter, Amelia Warner.
Though band member and co writer Johnny Marr has come to their defence when challenged by a comment on his Twitter account from someone who found “it hard to believe you agreed to let the song be used by a company that sells tat to middle class w***ers.” his simple reply “Writing Please Please one Friday in 84 is one of the best memories of my life. This ad has not sullied that memory one bit.”
As the advert was first aired on Saturday during the break in X Factor Marr also managed to have a dig by directing fans to a Henry Rollins rant on You Tube about, why it’s acceptable for music to be used in ads, with the statement “For all those taste makers who, wait, saw the add whilst watching x factor ?”
All I know is, I can see this song doing for Slow Moving Millie what Your Song did for Ellie Goulding last year, a hit.