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Posts Tagged ‘Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit

New tracks I like: Robert Francis, Florence, Johnny & Laura, Hurts

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New tracks that I am loving this week  come from artists including:  Robert Francis, Florence & The Machine, Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling and Hurts.

Florence & the Machine, ‘Heavy In Your Arms’.

This chillingly cool track is taken from the soundtrack to the second ‘Twilight’ feature film installment,  ‘Eclipse. ‘ The track is released as a single on November 15th, 2010 and is sure to set the charts, as well as lovelorn teen hearts everywhere, alight in its dark intensity and just short of  taboo leanings. This is what Florence and her Machine do best, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that  the band are going from strength to strength in America at the moment; with a guest appearance this week on Saturday Night Live. Selfishly so, I just hope that the band don’t get too comfortable over there in their state of adulation and forget where they came from. I can’t see this happening, after all; who appreciates and does brooding and sullen better than the Brits?

Robert Francis, ‘Junebug‘.

Robert Francis is relatively new to the rock singer-songwriter scene in the UK; just about to hit our shores with a couple of live dates in London. ‘Junebug’ is taken from his second album and debut major label record‘Before Nightfall’ which is set for release in the UK on November 29th, 2010. Francis has been compared to Bruce Springsteen; high praise indeed, which I do think is justified when you hear this artist’s vocal skills. Francis’s debut album was the indie release‘One By One’, which at the age of 22 showcases some striking musical moments and a perfect take on classic American rock. Francis has been touring the US with my favourite band of the moment, Noah and the Whale and is about to embark on a series of live dates in the UK and Europe later in the year. If this stand-out track is anything to go by, both the album and the shows are going to be pretty memorable.

Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling, ‘The Water’.

I can’t adequately put in to words my love for both this track and the album from which it was taken. That album being Johnny Flynn’s ‘Been Listening.’ I am a huge fan of both artists, so a duet between nu-folk favourites Johnny and Laura was always going to sit extremely well and comfortably with me. It is a sublime track with some truly special vocal moments courtesy of Laura; I can only dream of a future collaboration between Johnny, Laura and Charlie Fink…hmm, may be waiting a while for that, methinks.

Hurts, ‘Stay’.

One of my favourite bands to emerge in 2010 would have to be Hurts. I think their album ‘Happiness’ is brilliant and I genuinely rate each and every track. After seeing the band perform live a couple of weeks ago, they just go from strength to strength for me and this latest single release also happens to be my favourite track from the album. A simple, yet classically ’80s synthpop sound; I could listen to this epic track on repeat for hours. After selling out their short UK tour in October, the band has just announced a Spring 2011 UK tour; I would definitely recommend that you pop by one night if you’re free. Hutchcraft is a wonder on stage, everything that a showman should be and much more besides.

That’s all folks, 🙂


Johnny Flynn, ‘Been Listening’ – album review

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You know that feeling that you get when you realise you’re in exactly the right place, at exactly the right time and even if given the chance; you wouldn’t change one single moment of it? I had that very feeling when  I visited the Cambridge Folk Festival for the first time this year…it happened, whilst I was watching Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit perform.

Being a relative newcomer to the expansive genre of folk music, I had done some research on a selection of the artists performing and made a most delightful discovery in the form of Flynn’s debut album ‘A Larum.’ The 14-track folk-rock recording was released in 2008 and features such superbly crafted tunes as ‘The Box’, ‘The Wrote And The Writ’, ‘Tickle Me Pink’,Shore to Shore’ and ‘Eyeless in Holloway.’ Unlike perhaps some of his current nu-folk contemporaries, Flynn could never be categorised as one-dimensional; with his debut album swaying sweetly in the summer Sussex breeze between ‘pure folk’, country, blues and rock. I like a bit of diversity on a record; which makes it all the more pleasing to hear on a daily basis and not at all repetitive. I do tend to get a bit obsessive with new discoveries; I will find an album that I really like and literally listen to it every day, from start to finish, till I’ve learnt every lyric, every key change, every hidden moral and then I’ll rest for a while. Then the process starts over. I am having just that love affair at the moment with Flynn’s second album ‘Been Listening.’

The album doesn’t care for easing you in gently, preferring to eyeball you with the brass-laden, calypso opening of ‘Kentucky Pill’, watching you shift  suspiciously in your seat, eyes darting and rising as you quickly reach the conclusion that there’s no point fighting it; you’re hooked and there’s no going back. ‘Lost And Found’ follows, allowing the listener to regain their composure with its soothing melody and emotive, maritime-referenced ode to the macabre. It would be fair to say that Flynn’s first album touched more than a little upon the subjects of death and funerals; but strangely enough, never in a morose, depressing sort of way. I am of the belief, to reference one of Flynn’s peers and another favourite wordsmith of mine; Charlie Fink (Noah and the Whale) that ‘…you don’t know how it feels to be alive. Until you know how it feels to die’ (‘Shape Of My Heart’).

I really enjoy the Take-Away Shows on Blogotheque; on which Flynn appears, performing three tracks from his debut album. The videos are shot on location in Buenos Aires and are a perfect introduction to the genius and vision of Vincent Moon. I’d definitely recommend a viewing at the link below:,4703

Next up is Flynn’s account of loves; past, present and future, throughout the seasons in the evergreen‘Churlish May.’ The album title track, ‘Been Listening’ follows, with some soulful electric-stringed inflections to reel you in, then Flynn’s deep and dark dulcet tones to keep you enthralled throughout. I am in a most enjoyable- albeit fantasy- position at the present moment in time, as I cannot decide which voice alone I would most prefer to hear for the rest of my life; that of Charlie Fink or that of Johnny Flynn…I may have to do some kind of practical experiment in the very near future, so I’ll let you know how I get on with that one. Restraining order permitting, of course.

The track that I remember most vividly from Cambridge would have to be ‘Barnacled Warship’, which is the next track on the album. Flynn showcased his musicality with this number to breathtaking reception, alternating between violin and acoustic guitar with empassioned ease, as he took festival-goers on a trip across the high seas fighting the waves, the enemy and the inner workings of his own mind. A duet, entitled ‘The Water’ with critics-favourite Laura Marling is another album highlight. Marling’s honeyed tones complement Flynn’s perfectly in this dedication to that most pure and essential, yet at times deadly substance; This track has just been confirmed as Flynn’s next single release, on November 1st, 2010.

I am reviewing Mumford and Sons this coming weekend in Manchester, for which Flynn has been confirmed as support. I can hardly contain my excitement at seeing both of these tremendous acts in one billing and have heard great things about Mumford’s live performance prowess. Should be a brilliant show, of which I will of course be reporting back in full on here.

‘Howl’ should be a great track to hear performed live, given the instrumentation and vocal skills on display. Listening to Flynn’s work, it is hard to come to terms with the fact that there are artists out there at the moment, enjoying huge success on an international scale, who could never hope to possess such talent as a lyricist, let alone be musically proficient on such a varied scale from brass to strings and beyond. To be fair though, I am pretty sure that international acclaim and everything that goes with it, however nice that would be, is not Flynn’s primary motivation. I know him you see; we’re like that (index and middle finger crossed…)

‘Amazon Love’ is simply beautiful; Flynn’s sister Lillie sings on this piano and cello-led ballad about that emotion which we all feel and all wish we sometimes didn’t. ‘The Prizefighter And The Heiress’ concludes the album with an initially gentle and sauntering take on the differences between two star-crossed lovers, which steadily rides in to a country-fused western number; a fitting note on which to close an album peppered with diverse influences and dramatic displays of musical wizardry.

Flynn embarks on a solo tour of the UK in December, 2010:

Saturday 4th – O2 Academy, Birmingham

Sunday 5th – Academy, Manchester

Tuesday 7th – The Liquidroom, Edinburgh

Thursday 9th – The Trinity Centre, Bristol

Friday 10th – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Saturday 11th – St Georges Church, Brighton

Sunday 12th – Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter

I would highly recommend paying him a visit at one of these shows. Tickets can be purchased from or via the links below:

Captivating young folk talent, Misty Miller

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I love making new music discoveries, especially if that discovery takes the form of an emerging young British folk singer. The dream is to see the genre continue to produce fresh and exciting talent from our own shores, following the examples set by Johnny Flynn, Laura Marling and Noah and the Whale, to name but a few.

I have made such a discovery today, in the captivating form of Misty Miller; a 16-year old folk singer from Wimbledon. The ukulele is Miller’s instrument of choice and the songs and the sounds that she creates are nothing short of mesmerising. With a breathy lull of a vocal tone beyond her years, Miller has been causing something of a stir in both musical and fashion circles; with Chief Creative Officer of luxury brand Burberry, Christopher Bailey,  personally choosing to collaborate with the young singer on new project, Burberry Acoustic.

Speaking about the project, Bailey explained that:

We have collaborated on so many projects with new and young emerging British  bands over the years. We felt that with the great interaction that we have experienced with our social media Web site, artofthetrench, that we could collaborate with musicians and artists to put together an incredible group of ongoing acoustic sessions from some of the finest talent coming out of the U.K. and bring them to the broad global Burberry audience.

The result; a beautiful outdoor performance of her track ‘Remember’, which provides a breath of fresh air, in both its location and lasting impression. The track documents a loving relationship over the period of a year, culminating in an implicitly painful break-up in March. This track is quite addictive; like Laura Marling, Miller delivers a moody and measured performance, from which it is near impossible to divert your eyes. I also really like ‘Wild Thing’ which doesn’t appear on her upcoming debut EP ‘Remember’ (released September 27th, 2010). Miller’s brother produced the haunting and quirky video, which speaks about a mental struggle with inner demons and the narrator’s quest to chase them away through the power of her own mind. I think the video for this track is brilliant and gives a perfect taste of Miller’s character and future songwriting/career direction.

The EP features the following tracks: ‘Remember’, ‘Home’, Evergreen Love’ and ‘Vampire.’ I sense a dark and ethereal side to Miller, reminiscent of Marling’s inspiration for the music video to her track , ‘Night Terror’, I look forward to more of the same. With her evident skills as a lyricist and musician,  and alluring demeanour, I see a very bright future for the dreamily named Misty Miller.

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

September 15, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Cambridge Folk Festival 2010 – review

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Well 5,000 words and a couple of very late nights later, and my review of the 2010 Co-operative Cambridge Folk Festival is finally completed.

I wanted to write the review in narrative form, as it happened, so as to give the best impression of what future festival-goers might expect. I do find it difficult to write objectively at times; especially as I only tend to go to gigs and shows of artists which I really like; so something would have to go terribly wrong for me not to enjoy them! I genuinely enjoyed every minute of the festival though and can’t wait for next year. I’d like to learn more about the history of folk music; an aim which my current boss found quite amusing yesterday, the conversation going as thus:

Me: “…so I didn’t know a lot of the songs that were performed, you know, the traditional pieces, but I just figured that I’d catch a few words and then Google it…”

Peter: “…you figured you’d Google pieces of music that have been studied for thousands of years; that academics have travelled far and wide and researched extensively to find the origination and authorship of…you figured you’d just…Google it?!”


At that point he looked slightly perturbed, turned with his tea and laughed as he went.

The link to my review for eFestivals can be found below, please take a look and let me know what you think. It’s divided in to three parts; I wrote a lot!

Cambridge Folk Festival…a delight of a reviewing weekend

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Well, I’m back from what can only be described as a weekend of reviewing the best festival I’ve ever had the pleasure of being invited to – the 2010 Co-operative Cambridge Folk Festival.

This being my maiden voyage to the award-winning and highly respected Cambridge institution; I had an idea in mind of what I might expect to greet me there, but I can honestly say that all my expectations were exceeded over the course of the 3.5 day extravaganza.

I am just in the process of writing up my full review, complete with some great photographs, for and I will post the link up here too.  In the meantime though, I leave you with a selection of my favourite artists from the weekend: Seth Lakeman, Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, Cocos Lovers, Stornoway, Sharon Shannon and Imelda May and Salsa Celtica. It really was difficult to choose from all the exciting performances I managed to see; they each brought something different to the table, but all captured the true essence of folk; spirit-rousing, foot-tapping, heart-thumping performances that left the crowd shouting for more and left the atmosphere buzzing.

Enjoy and please visit back here for the link to the full review…

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

August 2, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Countdown to Cambridge Folk Festival 2010

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I am heading to Cambridge Folk Festival to review this year and I can’t wait. With Irish ancestry, I suppose a love of live music, particularly folk, was to be expected; but it’s only been the past couple of years that I’ve really found this genre to be my writing niche.

Folk music has been described as ‘the music of the people’ due to its geographical, historical and cultural references. The genre has a universal, yet personal appeal.  I love the emotions that folk music conveys and am yet to find a sub-genre which I don’t find addictive and uplifting; whether that be American Bluegrass, Celtic Traditional or Yorkshire Roots. I like the idea that a crowd can be watching the same performer, yet they are being taken on a completely different journey; being reminded of their childhood, where they came from, family holidays growing up, their youth and the list goes on.

I am particularly looking forward to seeing the following artists at Cambridge this year: Natalie Merchant, Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, The Unthanks and Stornoway. I have added some You Tube links below to show you why. I keep praying that Lisa Hannigan, Mumford and Sons and Noah and the Whale suddenly find a spare day in their hectic diaries to come along…one can but dream.

When my family and I visit Ireland each year (Killarney, Co Kerry), we go to a great live music and eating venue called The Danny Mann. It is really popular and gets packed out every night. The food is delicious (particularly the Kenmare Salmon with chilli and lime) and the live music is always brilliant. We have had many a great night here. If you find yourself in the area, please take my recommendation and pop along. You won’t be disappointed.

The Danny Mann, Killarney, County Kerry

So if you’re heading to Cambridge this July, I hope you have a great festival. I’ll be the girl with the notepad, the dictaphone and the pint of Bulmers trying to master the fine art of the harmonica in the music workshop tent.

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

May 27, 2010 at 2:19 pm

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