Friday, 13 December 2013

Brooms flying home

Germany’s  "most famous English folk band" - Broom Bezzums -  are gearing up to swap autobahns for motorways when they bring their exuberant music back home for a 14-date UK tour in February.

Broom Bezzums (Andrew Cadie and Mark Bloomer) - originally from Northumbria and the Black Country respectively - earned their stripes busking round Europe and are now firmly established on the German acoustic circuit and both are married to German women.

Andrew Cadie and Mark Bloomer
with guest artist Katie Doherty

Formed in 2006, Broom Bezzums' infectious music, narrative songs, political edge and quirky humour have proved a big hit in their adopted land, where they sometimes sing in German and have been playlisted on several national radio stations, whilst they have also worked with the likes of Show of Hands and Jez Lowe following an appearance at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections Festival.

Based on Anglo-Celtic traditions, their sound features two distinctive voices, contrasting songwriting approaches and multi-instrumental skills. Andrew (a graduate of Newcastle University’s folk and traditional music degree course) plays the Northumbrian pipes of his homeland while his deft fiddle playing is influenced by neighbouring Scottish styles.

Seasoned drummer Mark (formerly with British pop band Babylon Zoo), learned to play both guitar and mandola as a stalwart of the Cork session scene.
Their solid bedrock of talent will be augmented on many dates of the UK tour (February 7-19) by the spellbinding vocals of Newcastle award-winning singer- songwriter Katie Doherty. 

Says Andrew: “Our life is largely in Germany these days but we haven’t forgotten our roots and love returning to the UK for tours.”

Before that, the duo have released a Christmas EP Round the Houses featuring three of their own compositions and their atmospheric arrangement of the seasonal trad number A Soulin’. The title track is captured in zany fashion in this video:

Offering a different take on Christmas spirit, the songs’ themes are celebration and friendship, not forgetting a political edge often present in their material. The upbeat title track may be written in the style of a trad folk song but it emerges as a catchy world-beat wassail! 

Driven by Mark’s Bhangra-style drum beat and a funky bass line it is peppered with percussion and brass and fleshed out with fiddle, mandola,acoustic and electric guitar with Andrew and Mark playing every instrument.

The lyrics they say are drawn from “a comical look back over the year’s stories”- the butcher mysteriously disappears with a horse, the Prime Minister turns into the Devil (played on video by Miranda Sykes from Show of Hands!) and the bankers run off with all the money!

Mark Bloomer’s You Know Yourself is a busker’s take on the lack of festive spirit in the countdown to Christmas (with guest appearance from Baltic Crossing and Kan multi instrumentalist Ian Stephenson on double bass and button accordion) while Cadie’s stripped-back All in the Giving muses on the growing pressures of consumerism as a false substitute for fulfilment.

The EP is completed by A Soulin’ - one of the most popular tracks on Broom Bezzums’ 2012 seasonal album Winterman and a favourite at gigs.

The band’s fourth release it features winter-themed traditional folk songs and tunes as well as a surprise reworking of a well-known Christmas hit and Salt, Sea and Coal composed by Katie Doherty.

UK Tour Dates – February 2014

6th Falkirk Folk Club, Tolbooth TavernTolbooth St, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, FK1 1NL

7th Montrose - Music at the Links 
The Links Hotel
Angus, Montrose, Scotland
Tickets: 01674 830658 or 01674 672533
8th Washington - Davy Lamp Folk Club 
**with Katie Doherty**
Washington Arts Centre
Biddick Lane
Tyne & Wear
Tickets: 0191 219 3455/0191 416 6999
9th Alston - Garrigill Village Hall 
**with Katie Doherty**
Tickets from Jules Cadie on 01434 381941
10th Stirling - Stirling Folk Club 
**with Katie Doherty**
BRIDGEHAUGH PARK, Stirling, Scotland
Tickets: 01786 811627
11th Moffat - Sound Sense House Concert
**with Katie Doherty**
Old Carlisle Rd, Moffat, DG10 9QJ Scotland
Tickets: (01683) 221883
12th Belford - Blue Bell Hotel
**with Katie Doherty**
Market Place, Belford, Northumberland
Tickets: (01668) 213543
13th Kirkcaldy - Acoustic Music Club 
**with Katie Doherty**
Polish Ex-servicemen's Club
Bennochy House
Forth Park Drive, Kirkaldy, KY2 5TA Scotland
14th WEST MIDLANDS Kingswinford - Woodman Folk Club 
**with Katie Doherty**
Ashwood Marina, Ashwood Lower Lane, Kingswinford, DY6 0AQ
Tickets (01384) 560462
15th Carperby (Near Leyburn) - Village Institute 
**with Katie Doherty**
North Yorkshire, Carperby (nr Leyburn)Tickets (01969) 663808
16th Gower - Halfpenny Folk Club 
Greyhound Inn, Oldwalls, Lhanrhidian, Gower, South Wales
Tickets: (01792) 850803
17th Worcester - Marrs Bar 
12, Pierpoint Street, Worcester (01905) 613336
18th Northampton - Great Knight Folk Club 
The Old White Hart, Far Cotton, Northampton
Tickets: (01604) 766154
19th Hempstead (near Saffron Walden) – Bluebell Inn 
High Street
Saffron Walden
Tickets: (01799) 599199

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Oysters to produce Diamonds

Oysterband has announced a new studio album, DIAMONDS ON THE WATER, will be released on 17 February 2014  -  their first new collection of original songs in seven years.

“It was time”, says fiddler Ian Telfer, “to get back to some of the other things we do best  -  make new music and get out there on the road.”  

And in fact they will be touring full-on in UK in February/March 2014 (see below).

Singer John Jones said: “After [previous album] Ragged Kingdom, which was a kind of re-immersion in traditional song, it seemed so important to us to get back to working on our song-writing skills in the light of that.  We’ve loved every bit of the collaborative projects  -  which include the Big Session Festival too, of course  -  but the writing is a vital part of our growth and continuity as a band.  And if we can give a little back to the folk tradition, so much the better”.

These are the first Oysterband recordings since the departure of Ray “Chopper” Cooper to pursue a solo career. Al Scott, the band’s long-time producer, has stepped in on bass and mandolin, and, says John, “with the power and inventiveness of Dil [Davies]’s drumming, our sound has become simpler and punchier, as it was in the early days.  Over a summer of great festivals, including Glastonbury, we stripped the sound down and went for it, with Al and Ian singing more to support guitarist Alan Prosser’s backing vocals.  We all had to dig deep to make something new.  And it has had a great reaction”.

Oysterband.  Photo: Judith Burrows
“The song-writing has certainly begun to flow.  We’re searching as usual for uplift in the melodies and insight in the words… and there’s maybe an element of the autobiographical this time round. The writing has had the effect of throwing Alan, Ian and myself back together again as the main creative focus of the group. Not an easy thing when, after so many years, the cushioning and supportive mortar of Chopper and June is taken away from between three sharp‐edged stones! Thankfully there was little sound of grinding - we do understand where each other’s songs come from.

“As usual we recorded in Brighton, where we can draw on the skills of many friends, quite an impressive bunch actually” - including Adrian Oxaal, “a Brighton mate”, former lead guitarist with the band James, but also a fine cellist."

Adrian will be appearing on the album tours.  Rowan Godel, who often sings on John’s ‘walking tours’, came in and added “an emotional vulnerability” to some songs as well as “an uninhibited quality when she soars”.  Lindsey Oliver played double bass “to give us that warmth and swing at the bottom end”. 

Ex-Oysterband drummer Lee Partis dropped in and added his distinctive high harmonies to a couple of tracks, and Pete Davison (trumpet), Eira Owen (French horn) and Sarah Leeves (euphonium) contributed splashes of brass.

What has emerged with these new recordings is a feeling of warmth, both musical and personal, that makes the songs come alive.  “We had sessions where we all just gathered around two microphones. It has a wonderful sound and this ‘choir’ of varied voices has become an essential part of the album.”


Wed 26 Feb 
01432 340555
doors 19:00

Thu 27 Feb 
01935 845900
doors 19:00
£17.50  SEATED

Fri 28 Feb 
01373 455220
Doors TBA £17.50 STANDING

Sat 01 Mar 
01284 758000
doors 19:30 £20 SEATED & STANDING

Tue 04 Mar 
08712 200260
doors 19:00 £20 SEATED

Wed 05 Mar 
01392 665938
doors 19:30 £18 SEATED

Fri 07 Mar 
01206 500900
doors 20:00 £16 STANDING

Sat 08 Mar  
0207 734 8932
doors 19:00 £20 SEATED & STANDING

Sun 09 Mar 
08447 701797
doors 19:3o £18  SEATED & STANDING

Thu 13 Mar 
01539 725133
doors 19:3o £17.50  SEATED

Fri 14 Mar 
08432 086000
doors 19:30 £17.50 SEATED

Sat 15 Mar 
01200 421599
doors 19:30 £17.50 SEATED

Sun 16 Mar 
01914 434661
doors 19:30 £18 SEATED

Tue 18 Mar 
01132 430808
doors 19:30 £18.50 SEATED

Wed 19 Mar 
08714 720400
doors TBA £17 SEATED

Thu 20 Mar 
01902 401211
doors 19:3o £16 STANDING

Fri 21 Mar 
01142 789789
doors 19:0o £20 SEATED

Sat 22 Mar 
01642 525199
doors TBA £18 SEATED

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

2013 Selection Box out now

Socks and drums and folk-rock and all! It's the Selection Box, and it's out NOW!

Here at FolkCast we don't just play records and talk about them. No! We produce proper shows: productions that bear repeated listening, full of fine music and verse. Make the Selection Box the soundtrack to your festive season!

It's chock full of music and poetry for the season of Winter, of Christmas & Yuletide.

Music by: Secret Garden - Anne Marie Almedal - Fairground Attraction - Winter Wilson - Judy Dyble - Howard Haigh - Martin Barre - Maddy Prior - Kathryn and Bob Tickell - Life And Times - Bellowhead - Blast From The Past - Kerfuffle - Andrews Massey Duo - Gareth Davies-Jones - Nick Lowe - Lisa Redford - Eric Bogle - Steve Folk - Neils Cremer - The Halstead Clan - The Albion Christmas Band - Roy Mette - Brian Brink - Bella Hardy

Poetry by: Phil Widdows - Robert Bridges - Dr Seuss - Patience Strong

Free download at -