Highly entertaining English vocal trio The Young’Uns join us on Episode 382 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about their music and latest album “Strangers”. It’s a great interview – one you’ll definitely want to stick around for. We’re also staying in the UK for the rest of the episode as we check out new music from The Mellowship (feat. Maureen Dewdney, Lukas Drinkwater & Ciaran Algar), Molly-Anne, Kete Bowers, Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita, Sarah McQuaid and Gerry Hallom. Check out the full playlist below.
Sean Cooney, David Eagle and Michael Hughes career in music started when they decided that rather than going to the local pub for a night out, they’d check out their local folk club, in Stockton on Teeside, England in the UK. Taking their turn to sing some traditional songs in three part harmony, and, often a cappella, lead to them being affectionately christened The Young’Uns – as they were distinctly not in the same age group as the other people who attended the folk club on a regular basis. Well, the name stuck, and a desire to share their own socially conscious message in song, has lead to critical praise for their recorded work and live performances, and being named as Best Group at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards two years running (2015 and 2016). They also picked up the award for Best Album in 2018 for their latest, “Strangers” (2017, Hereteu Records). Check out The Young’Uns online at younguns.co.uk.
Notes about some of the new music on our radar that made it into Episode 382 of Folk Roots Radio.
UK singer-songwriter Sarah McQuaid, released her fifth album “If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous” earlier this year. The new album was produced by folk icon and guitarist Michael Chapman who met Sarah when they both playing the Village Pump Festival in 2014.
On this episode we play the dark and foreboding title track which actually started out as a warning Sarah gave her son about not digging too big a hole in their back garden, but the song also moves on to allude to the dangers of fracking.
“There’s an obvious allusion to fracking (“Splitting cracks in the rock to free the power inside”), but the song’s thematic scope extends well beyond that: “Sometimes the way to fix a problem is to turn the pressure off” is a maxim that could apply to virtually any aspect of life.”
The focus on this album is very much on Sarah’s originals – instrumentals as well as songs, and a cover of Jeff Wayne’s classic “Forever Autumn” alongside an arrangement of the medieval chant “Dies Irae” whose melody is echoed not only in Wayne’s intro to his classic song from his concept album “War Of The Worlds” but also in countless film soundtrack themes (including The Exorcist, The Shining and Citizen Kane).
Maureen Dewdney is a singer and songwriter from the beautiful North Somerset coast. She has been singing all her life and writing songs in the folk tradition since her early twenties. Unfortunately, a motorbike accident when she was 23 that left her paraplegic, which lead to huge changes in her life. She got back into music after getting married and the birth of her son, and started to work on some lyrics which would eventually turn into new songs. Although some of her songs could be shared acapella, Maureen decided she needed some accompaniment which is where the concept of The Fellowship came from …. an “umbrella” name that includes Maureen and whichever musicians she is currently working with. On her 2018 album “You Belong To Me”, the fellowship also features Lukas Drinkwater and Ciaran Alger.
“In early 2016 I joined forces with the excellent Antony Chipperfield, wrote a few songs together and went into the studio for the first time in my life. Antony brought the amazingly talented Lukas Drinkwater on board to add double bass to a couple of tracks. We chatted and soon hit it off musically and became friends. Lukas and I got together outside of the studio and he helped me bring this album to life, with his beautiful guitar playing, aching bass and harmonising vocals. The brilliant Ciaran Algar was an awesome addition, whose fiddle adds a counterpoint of clarity and emphasis.”
Maureen is currently working on a set of new songs for an EP to be recorded with Devon-based singer-songwriter and guitarist Greg Hancock.
Molly-Anne is a hard-working country/folk singer-songwriter from Gloucestershire, UK who released her debut EP “Glow” earlier this year. On this episode we play the sun-drenched title track. Molly’s hard at work on more music and has just released another single “Polperro” – an ode to the Cornish fishing village of the same name. We’ll include that track on a future episode, but as a teaser, check out the just released video. Polperro is quite beautiful.
Highly regarded Liverpool born singer-songwiter Kete Bowers, whose music crosses genres from Country to Folk, to Americana and Blues, has a new single out “Northern Town”. As a songwriter he’s been mentioned in the same breath as John Prine, Rodney Crowell and Guy Clark – I think I’d also add our own Stephen Fearing into that mix. Kete’s voice also reminds me a bit of Nick Cave. We’ll have definitely have more from him on a future episode.
English singer-songwriter Gerry Hallom, widely known for his interpretation of traditional Australian songs in the 70s, is back making music again after twenty years with the release of his “Limited Edition” E.P. which features songs about issues currently affecting the UK – including songs about the decline of the British high street, Brexit and the song we play on this episode, “Half A World Away”, a song that questions the value of allowing shady global investors to buy up large amounts of property, particularly in London – properties which they don’t plan to live in. The knock on effect of this is that more and more regular folk are priced out of the housing market. And this is all while questions remain over where this investment money actually came from, and whether these individuals are really just using the country for money laundering.
And that’s all we have time for, this time around. Thanks to all the artists who share their music with us, and thank you for listening. We have a lot of great music and interviews to bring you on future shows. I hope you’ll join us!
You can listen to this episode again on Soundcloud by following the link below. You can also listen to episodes of Folk Roots Radio, on demand, via iTunes, Stitcher and Tune-in Radio. (Click on the highlighted link to reach your chosen platform.)
Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises (Demo)
Roll Right (Pre-release, self)
If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous
If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous (2018, Proper Records)
The Mellowship (feat. Maureen Dewdney, Lukas Drinkwater & Ciaran Algar)
The Moment Is Now
You Belong With Me (2018, Self)
Glow E.P. (2018, Doghouse Studios)
Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita
Soar (2018, bendigedig)
Strangers (2017, Hereteu Records)
Interview: The Young’Uns recorded at the 2017 Folk North Export Showcase.
Be The Man
Strangers (2017, Hereteu Records)
Bob Cooney’s Miracle
Strangers (2017, Hereteu Records)
(single) (2018, Self)
Half A World Away
Limited Edition E.P. (2017, Self)