Laurel Canyon Music

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Filtering by Category: Contemporary Folk

A Problem Of Our Kind - Gilmore And Roberts (12/10/18)

Gilmore and Roberts - A Problem Of Our Kind.jpg
  • Artist: Gilmore & Roberts
  • Release Date: 12th October, 2018
  • Genre: Folk
  • Record Label: GR Records
  • Tracks: 10
  • Website:

A Problem Of Our Kind is the fifth studio album from award-winning folk/roots duo Gilmore & Roberts – their first release since 2016's live album In Our History, which celebrated a decade of performing together. 'Most of songs on the album deal with different aspects of being human – some negative, like selfishness or materialism, and some more positive, like our sentimental side or philanthropy" explains Jamie Roberts (vocals, guitar). "Us humans are pretty complex" continues Katriona Gilmore (vocals, fiddle, mandolin). "Somehow it made us want to present these songs in quite a simple way."

Recorded at the duo's home in South Yorkshire by co-producer Ben Savage (well-known on the UK roots scene for his own acclaimed musical output with The Willows and Hannah Sanders), A Problem Of Our Kind contains some of the most stripped-back arrangements of Gilmore & Roberts' career, alongside full-tilt band numbers featuring their festival rhythm section of Fred Claridge (drums) and Matt Downer (double bass). From the heavy yet sparse groove of gutsy opening track 'Gauntlet' to the quietly insistent country-tinged heartbeat of 'Things You Left Behind' and the contemplative ebb and flow of 'On The Line', Gilmore & Roberts delve deep into the human psyche with their songs, holding their findings – good and bad, dark and beautiful - up to the light. "People and their stories have always been our main inspiration for writing songs" says Katriona with a smile. "Thankfully there are enough amazing humans to keep us going for a long time yet!"

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The Tree Of Forgiveness - John Prine (12/04/18)

  • Artist: John Prine
  • Release Date: 12th April, 2018
  • Genre: Folk, Contemporary Folk, Singer-Songwriter
  • Record Label: Oh Boy Records
  • Tracks: 10
  • Website:

John's wonderful new album is the first of new original material in almost 13 years. A album to be loved and savored.

Namer Of Clouds - Kitty Macfarlane (21/09/18)

  • Artist: Kitty Macfarlane
  • Release Date: 21st September, 2018
  • Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Folk, Contemporary Folk
  • Record Label: Navigator Records
  • Tracks: 11
  • Website:

"Time and tide wait for no man," so the saying goes. But ever since her EP, Tide & Time, came out in 2016, many have been waiting expectantly to hear Somerset singer-songwriter Kitty Macfarlane's debut album. On September 21 the wait will be over as this fine young acoustic artist unveils the beguiling release 'Namer Of Clouds.' Produced by fellow musicians Sam Kelly and Jacob Stoney and released on Navigator Records, this is a captivating album.

Her sharply observed narrative songs are pure poetry, rich with visual imagery and written with an eco-eye – woven loosely together into a theme of mankind's relationship with the wild. Gathering inspiration from the sky to the seabed, Kitty's lyrics touch on intervention and rewilding, climate change and migration and one singular song which is a magical aural tapestry of woman's historical relationship with textiles and the land. The album is augmented by all kinds of 'found sound' recorded in locations from Somerset to Sardinia – birdsong, waterfalls, the click of knitting needles- and is bookended by sounds of the wild.

Recorded partly at The Cube near Truro in Cornwall and partly at Get Real Audio in Bath, 'Namer Of Clouds' features not just the clear, confident voice and finger-picked guitar of Macfarlane but also the in-demand Radio 2 Folk Awards 'Horizon' award winner Sam Kelly on guitar, mandolin and harmony vocals, with some of his talented Lost Boys band members also on the roll call –Graham Coe on cello, Archie Churchill-Moss on melodeon and Jamie Francis, surprisingly not on his trademark banjo, but on electric guitar.

Kitty was a semi-finalist in the BBC Young Folk Award. More recently she has supported Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman on tour, as well as Blair Dunlop.

Now the Bristol-based performer is coming into her own with some remarkably mature songwriting, a marked empathy with the environment and a strong sense of place. Cerebral and classy, honest and immediate, these are not throwaway lyrics or everyday melodies but thought-provoking and evocative compositions with wonderfully crafted soundscapes.

For Everything A Season - Gitta De Ridder (23/03/18)

  • Artist: Gitta de Ridder
  • Release Date:
  • Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Contemporary Folk, Pop
  • Record Label: Little Moments Records
  • Tracks: 12 (+1 bonus track on deluxe ed)
  • Website:

'For Everything A Season is a collection of four seasonal EPs, that stand as a metaphor for the cycles we move through in life. A release of quality and depth from the Anglo-Dutch singer and songwriter, this is her second release following her well received debut 'Feathers' in 2016. Best described as high-quality alt-folk, with lyrical and musical complexity, de Ridder has a gift for a memorable hook, and a pop sensibility infuses the work. A deluxe box set containing 4 CDs in wallet with fold out page lyric booklet/mini poster.

Topspin - Cardboard Fox (08/06/18)

Topspin, the new album from Cardboard Fox, leads the band in a subtly different direction. Drawing on a rich variety of influences, including jazz, folk and pop, but always rooted in bluegrass, the album uses a wide sonic palate with many layers of instrumentation and harmony. In addition to the core instruments of fiddle, mandolin, guitar and double bass, the band adds a selection of other instruments, with trumpet, banjo, lap steel, electric guitar and octave violin played by members of the band, and percussion provided by engineer and producer Josh Clark (Kate Rusby, Damien O'Kane, Ron Block, Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys).

Lead vocals are evenly split between twin sisters Charlotte and Laura Carrivick, with backing vocals from the other two band members, Joe Tozer and John Breese. Of the eleven tracks on the album, there are eight original songs, two covers and one original instrumental. The covers reflect the wide spectrum of the band's influences, ranging from legendary American roots songwriter, Gillian Welch's ‘Tear My Stillhouse Down’ to Owl City's synth-pop hit, ‘Fireflies’.

Topspin is the band's third release, preceded by their self-titled EP which won the 2015 Spiral Earth award for Best Debut, which was then followed by the band's first full length album, Out of Mind, in 2016 ("crisp and light, the arrangements delightfully layered" Country Music People). In the five years since their formation, Cardboard Fox have established themselves as a unique force on the UK roots scene and have successfully toured internationally, having performed across mainland Europe as well as Canada and the USA, building a reputation for explosive live performances.

Dancing With The Beast - Gretchen Peters (18/05/18)

Gretchen Peters - Dancing With The Beast.jpg
  • Artist: Gretchen Peters
  • Release Date: 18th May, 2018
  • Genre: Contemporary Folk, Singer-Songwriter
  • Record Label: Proper Records
  • Tracks: 11
  • Website:

Dancing with the Beast, the new album from Gretchen Peters, puts female characters at the fore, from teenage girls to old women. And intentionally so. With the 2017 Women's March and the #MeToo Movement as bookends to her writing time, Peters knew that a feminist perspective would be the critical core of the record. She admits, "You can trace the feminist DNA in my songwriting back to 'Independence Day' and probably before. The thing that 2017 did is just put it front and center." Though Peters doesn't consider herself a political writer, she is politically minded and, therefore, knew she had to address the 2016 election and all that has happened since... but in her own way.

There's a bittersweet beauty to the passing of time -- the changes it brings are just as often heartbreaking as they are heartwarming. The inevitable tension that arises from that sway is Gretchen Peters' most trusted muse. With melody supporting that melancholy, the songs on the new album combine to lift the effort over the high artistic bar set by her last outing, 2015's award-winning Blackbirds.

Whether a single sentence or a simple setting, once planted, even the tiniest seed can grow into a vision unto itself. Strung together and populated with strong and broken female heroines, those vignettes make up Dancing with the Beast and, indeed, Peters' entire discography.

Beauty tempered by dread, sorrow buoyed by hope, these are the ever-present tugs of war that make life worth living and songs worth writing. And they are the over-riding themes that make Gretchen Peters one of her generation's most compelling singer/songwriters.

Awake - Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage (11/05/18)

Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage - Awake.jpg
  • Artist: Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage
  • Release Date: 11th May, 2018
  • Genre: Folk, Americana
  • Record Label: Sungrazing Records
  • Tracks: 11
  • Website:

Spellbinding UK folk duo release the follow up to acclaimed debut Before The Sun, included in numerous 2016 Albums of The Year lists including the fRoots Critics Poll. Joining back up with Toronto producer David Travers-Smith (Wailin Jennys, Madison Violet, Ruth Moody) the pair create exquisite transatlantic soundscapes on which to base their beguiling, intimate indie-folk duets. A duo who delve into the mysterious and often like to release music in line with the lunar calendar, their live show sees them huddled around a single microphone, drawing the audience in. And so it is with this magnetic album, where their own intensely moving songs flow seamlessly among reinvigorated traditional gems and the Guthrie/Bragg americana classic Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key. Alongside their own guitars, mountain dulcimer and dobro they are joined by an all-star cast from both sides of the big pond including double bass from Jon Thorne (Lamb, Scott Matthews), vocals from Oh Susanna, Jess Morgan and Gilmore & Roberts, percussion from Evan Carson (The Willows, Sam Kelly), pedal steel from Burke Carroll (Kathleen Edwards, Justin Rutledge) and Chris Coole on banjo.

No. 79 - Gareth Dunlop (11/08/17)

  • Artist: Gareth Dunlop
  • Release Date: 11th August, 2017
  • Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Folk
  • Record Label: Priory Records
  • Tracks: 10
  • Website:

Gareth Dunlop's new album 'No.79' was recorded at his home in East Belfast, Northern Ireland.

“We moved into our house in Belfast about 3 years ago. Spending months at a time away from the house, it just felt right to make this record in my own home. As well as it being somewhere I’m most comfortable, it just has a cool vibe and sound to it, and I wanted to capture that. Something different happens when the studio comes to the musicians… it forces you to approach things differently and think outside of the box. The songs we recorded were all written in the months leading up to the session and I think the emotions of the songs were very much still on the forefront of my mind.”

There are limitations to recording in a house and I wanted to use those restraints as an opportunity to be more creative. It made us all use our instruments in a different way… because we didn’t have a string quartet, we taped up the strings on my old piano to emulate a string part on ‘What It Wants’. That was the story for most days... If we didn’t have it, we had to make it. I spent a couple of weeks driving my family crazy getting the house ready and sound treating the rooms. It wasn’t until we recorded the first take of the first song that I knew it would work. Having great musicians and great friends in my home made the process of recording these songs so much more enjoyable.”          

No. 79
Priory Records

Utopia & Wasteland - Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar (13/04/18)

It could be their pull-no-punches songwriting. It could be Russell's remarkable voice and Algar's distinctive, fluid fiddle. It could be their inventive takes on traditional songs, their unseen empathy, infectious tune sets or the way they tackle topical issues. Whatever it is, Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar have got it, making a huge impact from the first moment they emerged on the UK folk scene.

Still only 24 and 22, Greg and Ciaran released their first album The Queen's Lover in 2012 and enjoyed a remarkable rise, landing the Young Folk Award at the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. In 2014, they found themselves at the Royal Albert Hall clinching the Horizon Award and in 2015 they were nominated for Best Duo.

Drawing on a range of influences, Russell and Algar released their second album The Call in 2014 and, in 2016, the acclaimed The Silent Majority. Now with solo albums under their belts and performances in other line-ups (Algar with Sam Kelly's The Lost Boys and Russell in The Transports and his own multi-artist protest song project Shake the Chains) they are back. Utopia and Wasteland marks another milestone in their short but exceptional career. Recorded at The Green Room Studio, Devon, producer Mark Tucker adds percussion, bass and backing vocals to Greg's unmistakable voice and acoustic guitar and Ciaran's fiddle, tenor banjo, electric tenor guitar, bodhran and vocals. 9 of the 11 tracks are originals, marking a bold departure from their largely traditional back catalog

Utopia And Wasteland
By Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar

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