Canada has an impressive track record when it comes to female roots bands and the Vancouver Island based trio Sweet Lowdown continue that tradition admirably, with a solid touring background in their homeland and the US over the past couple of years they are now bringing their talents to the UK with a tour running from mid-April to, appropriately, May which is the title of the bands second studio release behind which they are touring, the twelve track release features ten original compositions and two traditional songs and follow on from their eponymous release in 2011.
The Sweet Lowdown – Please Take Me Home
All three band members contribute vocally and when they put their voices together the harmonies have a seamless purity that’s captivating and when combined with the trios adept playing the whole package is executed very nicely indeed, personally the fiddle playing was the stand-out for me though all the contributions are impressive, the The Sweet Lowdown are Amanda Blied (guitar), Shanti Bremer (banjo) and Miriam Sonstenes (fiddle) and you can catch them in the UK at one of these fine venues.
The Sweet Lowdown – Big Wave
Wednesday 16 Sarratt, Herts. The Cock Inn
Thursday 17 London Green Note, Camden
Friday 18 Chagford, Devon Ring O’ Bells
Saturday 19 Calstock, Cornwall The Old Chapel
Sunday 20 Bath The Bell NB. Lunchtime Show
Sunday 20 Bristol Kingsdown Wine Vaults
Monday 21 Worth Matravers, nr. Swanage The Square & Compass
Tuesday 22 Birmingham Kitchen Garden Café
Wednesday 23 Towersey, Oxfordshire The Three Horseshoes
Thursday 24 Winchester The Railway
Friday 25 Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire SpArC Theatre
Saturday 26 Langholm, Dumfries & Galloway The Buccleuch Centre
Sunday 27 Stranraer The Grapes
Monday 28 Liverpool The Caledonia
Tuesday 29 Nottingham Malt Cross
Wednesday 30 Menai Bridge, Anglesey The Victoria Hotel
Thursday 1 Newcastle The Cluny 2
Friday 2 Wath-Upon-Dearne, South Yorks. Wath Festival
Hearth Music are purveyors of some fine music which we’ve had the pleasure on listening to and talking about on BS for a few years, now the folks at Hearth Music have released a digital roots magazine, KITHFOLK, the publication is a full magazine design and style with some great original content supported by eye catching visuals and links for further investigation, the publication is quarterly and you can read the first edition by clicking here
Exclusive interviews with Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré, Smithsonian Folkways artist Elizabeth Mitchell, New Orleans roots activists Rising Appalachia and anarcho-folk legends Blackbird Raum. Lots of album reviews and streamable audio. Video premiere from Jon Pontrello of the Moondoggies, and an audio premiere of one of the world’s rarest 78rpm recordings. Northwest-based content like stories of logging camps in the 1970s and a poem/story from Northwest Native American culture. Beautiful original graphic design throughout.
KITHFOLK is a quarterly magazine, so expect Issue #2 sometime in May 2014.
KITHFOLK is designed for the iPAD!! iPhone and tablets too. Just download the Creatavist app and search for KITHFOLK.
Fort Collins CO quintet Finnders and Youngberg latest release, a six track EP entitled I Don’t Want Love You Won’t Give Until I Cry is an exemplar of contemporary bluegrass music, the band are fronted by husband-and-wife Erin Youngberg (bass, vocals) and Mike Finders (vocals, guitar) with Aaron “AA” Youngberg (banjo, pedal steel), Rich Zimmerman (mandolin) and Ryan Drickey (fiddle) completing the line-up. The songs are all originals, five from Finders and the sixth a collaboration between Zimmerman and Drickey, the highlights for me are the tracks on which Erin takes the lead Diner the EP’s opening track a particular favourite, I’ve heard a lot of similar recordings where there are, almost obligatory, recordings of traditional tracks and instrumentals that in some cases have only served to dilute the artists original music – in this instance the half dozen tracks work really well to distill the bands creative essence.
True North recording artist Barney Bentall appeared on Beat Surrender back in May of this year with his solo album Flesh & Bone and now he’s back but this time as part of a collaborative bluegrass band The High Bar Gang who have being playing throughout western Canada for the last three years as headliners as well as supporting Blue Rodeo, the bands debut album Lost and Undone : A Gospel Bluegrass Companion features covers of gospel songs made popular by the likes of bluegrass legends Bill Monroe (Walking In Jerusalem, Mothers Only Sleeping) and the Stanley Brothers (Over In Gloryland, Daniel Prayed, Paul & Silas) as well as Hank Williams I Saw The Light and Julie Miller’s All My Tears.
Lead vocal duties on the recording are shared by Wendy Bird, Angela Harris, Shari Ulrich (Vocals, Fiddle, Mandolin) and Barney Bentnall (acoustic guitar) alternating from track through to thirteen with plenty of sweet vocal harmonising to enjoy, track fourteen I Saw The Light is credited to all four voices and the band is completed by bassist Rob Becker, guitarist Colin Nairne with Eric Reed on banjo,mandolin and dobro, keeping the music true to it’s roots the songs were recorded live and in mono.
The album is out now in Canada from True North and from Proper in the UK from December 2nd.
Track-listing (lead vocal)
1. Over In The Gloryland (Wendy Bird)
2. Walking In Jerusalem (Angela Harris)
3. Angel Band (Shari Ulrich)
4. Paul And Silas (Barney Bentall)
5. All My Tears (Wendy Bird, Shari Ulrich, Angela Harris)
6. Daniel Prayed (Wendy Bird)
7. Hand In Hand With Jesus (Barney Bentall)
8. Sinners You Better Get Ready (Shari Ulrich)
9. Green Pastures In The Sky (Angela Harris)
10. Rank Strangers (Wendy Bird)
11. Heaven’s Light Is Shining (Barney Bentall)
12. Mother’s Only Sleeping (Wendy Bird)
13. The Fields Have Turned Brown (Barney Bentall)
14. I Saw The Light (all)