Foghorn Leghorn – Not Before Time

Foghorn Leghorn - Not Before Time

London-based bluegrass band Foghorn Leghorn celebrate their 21st Anniversary by releasing their third album on their own Slammer Records label, Not Before Time is officially released on August 27th, the release also marks the fourth anniversary of the band’s own club night My Grass Is Blue that’s hosted at The Betsey Trotwood in London on the second Thursday of the month where the band have honed their songs before moving into the studio at the tail end of 2012 to record the albums twelve tracks at Reservoir Studios in London – handily the studio belongs to the bands double-bassist Chris Clarke (who also plays bass with Danny and The Champions of the World), Clarke and the other five members Tim Kent (Banjo), Eamonn Flynn (Mandolin), Kev O’Neill (Dobro), Del Brooks (Acoustic Guitar), Paul Fay (Fiddle & harmonica) all share vocal duties on the album and they were helped out on recording by guests including several who should be familiar to regular readers of Beat Surrender – The Coal Porters, The Arlenes, Danny George Wilson and The Cedars.

Eleven of albums twelve tracks are originals with writing credits shared between five members of the band, the twelfth is a cover of Bill Evans’ Petersburg Gal, the instrumentation is bluegrass authentic though the songwriting manages to incorporate more contemporary subject matter including the demise of the pizza delivery on frenetic opener Pizza Boy and an ode to travel on London’s underground Tube Trains, the writing and playing are top drawer and it’s a refreshing listen for UK fans of bluegrass who yearn for more of a homegrown infusion, the subject of my favourite track is a little more conventional enjoy Madeleine and if you get the chance get along to one of the bands club nights to see them in their element.

The Cedars – Little Copper Still

The Cedars - Little Copper Still

“Raucous Folk-Americana with dark foreboding blues and the occasional heart-stopping ballad”

The guys at Clubhouse Records have an ear for the very best of UK Americana and they’ve come up trumps again releasing Little Copper Still the new album from London-based four-piece The Cedars.

Ten of the albums baker’s dozen tracks (there’s a hidden extra on the CD) were recorded and produced on the other side of the ‘The Pond’ in California with Grammy winning producer Ian Brennan whose previous credits include Peter Case and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, a pair of the tracks including the featured one below were recorded in the bands home city, though recorded mainly in the US the album manages to retain a certain ‘Britishness’ that results in a more authentic sound – if that sounds at odds with itself you’ll have to listen the whole album to appreciate what I mean, the UK release is on April 8th and you can buy the digi-pack CD with full lyric liner notes from the Clubhouse Records online store

The band have created a gem of an album built around Chantal Hills sassy vocals that take centre stage on the albums mainly upbeat numbers – that are propelled along by Jason Moffat (Guitar/Banjo), Pedro Vidal (Acoustic bass) and Stephen Coates (Drums),on the albums quieter tracks the band are equally at ease and Chantal showcases her vocal talents flying solo on the a cappella track Choke Chain, the album clocks in at an economic and thoroughly enjoyable 35 minutes with no filler and will have you hitting the repeat button for sure. Album highlights include the digital single The Colour which you can get your hands on via iTunes

The band have some dates lined up in support of the album release and will be making several festival appearances over the summer, check with their listings page for updates.

Upcoming gigs:
Wed 17th April. Green Note, London,
Sat 4th May 2013, The Gladstone, London SE1
Tue 28th May 2013, Live Radio Session @ Bob’s Folk Show
Fri 5th July 2013, Maverick Festival

The Cedars

If you missed it the first time around The Cedars are one of the contributors to the Clubhouse Nebraska tribute album – here’s their version of Used Cars.