Posts Tagged ‘Leonard Podolak’
Words by Nathaniel Handy
The latest album from Devon duo Steve Knightley and Phil Beer exhibits their trademark concern for making folk music speak to a wider audience about today’s issues. Wake the Union is only their latest rousing album title intent on reviving a dissipated sense of pride and community in an increasingly fragmented land.
Alongside long-time collaborator Miranda Sykes on double bass and vocals are a gaggle of other top talents. Fellow Devonian Seth Lakeman lends his services on the opener ‘Haunt You’, which he co-wrote with Knightley. There is also Martin Simpson on slide guitar, Andy Cutting on melodeon, Bellowhead’s Paul Sartin on cor anglais and Cormac Byrne on percussion.
The strong transatlantic strain that runs through this album is in part a response to recent work with Canadian banjo player Leonard Podolak, who appears on the album, and US folk singer Richard Shindell, whose track ‘Reunion Hill’ is covered. There are live favourites re-worked well in the studio: ‘Now You Know’, ‘Stop Copying Me’ and the arrestingly simple ‘Coming Home’. There are a few great covers: Dylan’s ‘Seven Curses’ and Chris Hoban’s ‘Katrina’. And there’s possibly the duo’s strongest state of the nation anthem yet, the understated and consequently hard-hitting ‘Company Town.’
As usual, there is a joyous sense of the band speaking to an existing community of fans, one that has been alive and growing for many years now. This is most obvious on the reflective closer, ‘Thanks’, concluding another fine excursion down the A303 into the great state of Devon.
TRACK TO TRY: Coming Home
Show of Hands will be setting off on a 28-day tour of the UK in October to showcase their first major release in three years, Wake the Union.
The tour will see singer/songwriter Steve Knightly, multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer and double bassist Miranda Sykes join with the American duo Leonard Podolak and Matt Gordon. Podolak and Knightly recently worked together as part of the Cecil Sharp Project, commissioned by Shrewsbury Folk Festival.
The tour will open on October 10 in Doncaster and visit various venues including London’s Cecil Sharp House, Buxton Opera House, Cardiff’s St David’s Hall and in their home town, Exeter’s Great Hall. The tour finale will be as part of The Great British Folk Festival in Skegness.
Wake the Union, released on October 15, will be their 19th album.
October 10 – DONCASTER, Civic Theatre
October 11 – BUXTON, Opera House
October 12 – LONDON, Cecil Sharp House
October 13 – PORTSMOUTH, New Theatre Royal
October 17 – STAMFORD, Corn Exchange Theatre
October 18 – LYTHAM ST ANNES, Lowther Pavilion
October 19 – EXETER, Great Hall
October 20 – TRURO, Hall for Cornwall
October 24 – TEWKESBURY, Roses Theatre
October 25 – BASINGSTOKE, The Anvil
October 26 – POOLE, Lighthouse
October 27 – YEOVIL, Octagon Theatre
November 8 – KENDAL, Brewery Arts Centre
November 9 – LEEDS, City Varieties
November 10 – SALFORD, The Lowry
November 14 – IPSWICH, Corn Exchange
November 15 – DARTFORD, The Orchard
November 16 – HASTINGS, White Rock Theatre
November17 – GUILDFORD, G-Live
November 18 – AYLESBURY, Waterside Theatre
November 21 – SHREWSBURY, Theatre Severn
November 22 – LINCOLN, Drill Hall
November 23 – GATESHEAD, The Sage Gateshead
November 24 – WIRRAL, Floral Pavilion
November 28 – SALISBURY, City Hall
November 29 – CARDIFF, St David’s Hall
November 30 – BIRMINGHAM, Town Hall
December 1 – SKEGNESS, The Great British Folk Festival
The English Folk Dance Song Society (EFDSS) at Cecil Sharp House has another great series of unique concerts lined up for us. Here are the highlights…
First up are the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops – they’ll be kicking off the Spring/Summer season on January 23 with their modern takes on traditional string tunes.
Next in line is the Cecil Sharp Project on January 27. The project has received critical acclaim from the Guardian, who gave it an excellent four stars. The work is a memoir to Cecil Sharp – be sure to check it out. Musicians include Steve Knightley, Jackie Oates, Andy Cutting, Caroline Herring, Jim Moray, Patsy Reid, Leonard Podolak and Kathryn Roberts. On the following day, January 28, Caroline Herring and Kathryn Roberts will be pairing up for an exclusive concert.
Fans of Bellowhead will be pleased to hear that Sam Sweeney will be returning to the stage at Cecil Sharp House again on February 15. He had a brilliant time during his last gig with Rua Macmillan, to the point where his fiddle snapped! It didn’t keep him from playing though. This time he’ll be playing for the launch of his new album, with former colleague Hannah James.
Then Lucy Ward will be supporting Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow on April 25. She was nominated the 2012 BBC Folk Award’s Horizon category, so this is guaranteed to be a good one. The House will then host Irish singer Cara Dillan the following day. She’s considered to have one of the most stunning voices in traditional music, so make sure you don’t miss her on April 26.
Folk and hip-hop will collide on May 19 – this should be interesting! Chris Wood (BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year) will be collaborating with rapper/singer Dizraeili (BBC Radio 4 Poetry Slam award winner). Finally, Oslo Jammerkor will be making their London debut on April 29 and they’ll be joining the Cecil Sharp House Choir for a collaborative performance.
Also, don’t forget the Folk Rising evenings throughout the season, which will be bringing the best acts in emerging folk music to one of London’s most celebrated venues.
For more details on the Cecil Sharp House concert series, please visit the EFDSS website.
We’ve just returned from a sunny/rainy/sunny/rainy weekend at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival where one of our highlights was the Cecil Sharp Project (who consist of Steve Knightley, Caroline Herring, Kathryn Roberts, Patsy Reid, Andy Cutting, Leonard Podolak and siblings Jim Moray and Jackie Oates).
Check out this video by Bright Young Folk which offers a behind-the-scenes look at the project while they worked on their material in a Big Brother style set-up.
If you missed them at Shrewsbury, fear not – the project will be on a short UK tour again in January 2012. You can find the details here.