Wednesday, 21 March 2012

March 2012 podcast released

The March edition of the FolkCast podcast is out now!

The best in folk, folk-rock, singer-songwriter and roots-based music, presented by Phil Widdows and Ken Nicol

Music from: The QP - Son Of Eagle - Boat To Row - Bob Kirkpatrick - Anthony John Clarke - The UFQ - Ivor Game - Dominic G Ward - Jodie Goffe - Sincere Deceivers - Life & Times - Two Coats Colder - The Mighty Doonans - Sarah McQuaid.

Plus the folk poem Jamie-Go-Deeper by Dave Alton, which tells the true story of how the "compensation culture" was alive and well at the end of the 19th Century as the Manchester Ship Canal was being constructed. 

Listen or download now, for free, from:

Saturday, 17 March 2012

iTunes does us proud!

We're delighted to announce that FolkCast has been selected by the mighty iTunes to be their lead "New and Noteworthy" podcast on the front page of the iTunes store podcast directory!

For an independent podcast to be up batting with major corporations and broadcasters such as The BBC, Sky and the UK Government is, I hope you'll agree, pretty good going. Enormous thanks to Apple for showing their faith in us, and helping to promote FolkCast.

Remember, you can subscribe to our podcast for free - just like thousands of other folk fans all around the world - so you'll never miss a new release! Just click here to be taken to our iTunes page, then click "subscribe".

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Banking on a winner

Little Johnny England meets PJ & Peggy? Bigger Johnny England? Whatever they're called, this new video is brilliant, and great fun or our name isn't Folk "The Shred" Cast.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

REVIEW: One Night In Gateshead

The Mighty Doonans, The Unthanks, The Wilson Family and The Elliott Family at The Sage, Gateshead, Friday March 2nd 2012.

This was the sold-out culmination of the “One Night in Gateshead” series of events and, after taking our seats in the impressive “Hall One” of the imposing Sage building, we were treated to a brief history of the Birtley Folk Club, the Elliott family and eighty years of song by the endearing Doreen Elliott.

With all four musical families together onstage for the duration, the performance began with the whole compliment belting out Jack Elliott’s “Rap Her To Bank”. A fine demonstration of the acoustics of the hall and the feeling behind the event. 

The Elliotts continued proceedings with a solid performance, including a lovely rendition of “Blackleg Miner”, with the highlight being some masterful mandolin work.

And so the torch passed to The Mighty Doonans, with a marked increase in volume the intense wall of sound did nothing to disguise the individual contributions from these accomplished performers. A particular pleasure to hear one of my personal favourites “Banks Of The Nile” delivered with more gusto than I’ve ever heard before.

With no regional favouritism, the Wilson family from my own glorious Teesside, showed how intensity does not necessarily require instrumentation. Following some top-class craic, an incredible honesty came across in “Byker Hill” and Graham Miles’ “Sea Coal”, once more demonstrating the hall’s well designed acoustics.

The Unthanks then offered fitting tribute to the Elliotts and Birtley Folk Club before a delightful performance, with a bitter sweet highlight being “The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw”, possibly the saddest song I’ve ever heard.

After a swift jar of Farne Island Best and wade in the Tyne to locate my socks, somewhere near to where the roof landed during “Rap Her to Bank”, the second half of the performance began with a beautiful duet by Doreen Elliott and partner Bryan Henderson. The Elliotts’ second performance featured American song “Which Side Are You On?” being met with possibly the most intense applause of the night.

The modest George Unthank took the lead to begin their second stint in the spotlight which subsequently demonstrated the harmonies and backing vocals that have been integral to bringing this group such acclaim in recent years. More jokes and powerful vocal performances followed from the Wilsons and concluded with Alex Glasgow’s moving “Close The Coalhouse Door” being delivered with sincerity to an approving audience.

Ed Pickford’s “Ee, Aye, Ah Cud Hew” brought the tight Mighty Doonans back into the limelight with another powerful start. Strong flavours of the 1970’s folk-rock with which the band is synonymous with were driven forward by the strong guitar of arranger Stu Luckley. Rosie Doonan then took the lead with one of her own compositions (her album “Pot Of Gold” is certainly worth a listen) featuring a well-delivered guitar solo from Ian “Walter” Fairbairn. Finishing with a nod to Ray Davies, a lively rendition of The Kinks’ “Dead End Street” was recognisable from the very first bars.

To finish as the show began, all four families/groups fittingly sang “A Miners Life” together below the banner featuring a portrait of the late Jack Elliott which oversaw the whole performance. Interjected by a lively dance performance this final piece received a deserved standing ovation. A night to do every performer, and a whole region proud.

Jack Harper

(With thanks to FolkCast listener Jack Harper who stepped into the breach to review the show at very short notice).

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Band On A Run

Here's a jolly jape - ace folk-rock band MERRY HELL is going to run the length of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal (on the towpath, we assume...) and will be gigging along the way, all for charity.

Merry Hell: "What, love? You want one mando and chips. Mushy peas with that?" 
Merry Hell's Damian Liptrot writes: "The plan is that members of the band will be completing what we are calling Band On A Run over the last weekend in April. Members of the band, crew and fans/friends of the band will be running the length of the Leeds-Liverpool canal over the weekend in order to raise money for and awareness of The Stroke Association - but with there is a twist or two. 
"Because we are a band, we are starting the project on the Friday night with a gig at Hebden Bridge Trades Club (it's as near to Leeds as we could get) and finishing the run on Sunday with a gig at Mello Mello in Liverpool. 


"We will start running on the Saturday morning, running in relays - each according to their ability etc but, and here's the other twist, we are looking to stop off at pubs along the canal bank and play busking gigs as we go. 

Pubs line the route of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. Handy!
"Five members of the band will be putting in running shifts but the plan is that crew and friends will run the legs of the relay while the band are doing short 15-20 minute sets at the canal-side pubs.
"Anyone interested in doing a relay leg - at least 5k appreciated - then please get in touch through the website, by email or facebook. Look forward to hearing from you. Date: 27-29 April."

If you want to get involved, either with the running or in providing a busking venue, the way to do it is either visit the Band On A Run page at FaceBook or contact Damian Liptrot on