The Unthanks

Having been out to watch the Carnival’s Sunday parade (the big one of approximately 4 hours duration is tomorrow, yikes), I am already in serious need of some soothing, beautiful music – such as music by The Unthanks.

Sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank’s new album “Mount the Air” is deservedly getting praised in all the high places, so who am I to comment. Especially when you also have Martin Freeman and Robert Wyatt saying wonderful things about you? But I would simply like to express my thanks to The Unthanks (ha!).

The Unthanks first came to my attention, rather late, when they were performing at Jools Holland’s Later Show on BBC TV. They truly impressed me with their harmonies, their loyalty to folk music and by their overall down-to-earth demeanour. Now, after two years in the making, their new album “Mount the Air” is out and while I am still divulging it in all its beauty, I am already addicted (big way) to “Flutter”.

I can’t say if it is the spheric sound with loads of Portishead thrown in (with who they collaborated before) or the lyrics that make light of life or turn you melancholic about the smallness of life. Indeed, the voices, music and lyrics melt together to the very definition of the word “Flutter”.

Or is it even how they pronounce the word? In that beautiful accent? Which sort of means to me, how grounded they have remained, protruding into all styles but staying true to their own Northumberland folk tradition; playing all the big places, cavorting with the big stars and still doing singing and cooking with their fans in the local pub?

For your listening pleasure I digged out the magic incarnated that is “Flutter” with introductory chat from The Unthanks.

Thank you for being you, The Unthanks!

 

Jay Woodward

When I first listened to Jay Woodward’s music it struck  me how well produced his recordings sounded but not overly so – indeed he prefers a classical approach like in the 60s and 70s. He is absolutely not making up with production what is missing in music.

The music of Jay Woodward, as someone put it so nicely, renders itself perfectly for a drive through the desert. Now, I am in severe want of desert landscape here, but it works just fine in the woods and moors. Nature features big in Jay Woodward’s dreamy and delicate music. The instrumentation is sparse but just enough. Some fine guitar playing here and overall a (cannot think of a better word right now) pleasant and strong voice.

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Jay Woodward comes from California but if I hear his music I keep thinking of the soundtrack to dark fairytales, Tim Burtonish.

His releases include: “Winter Song” (featuring Justin Scott Linville) (single) and “Letters we told” (album).

If I seriously had to choose favourite tracks, then: “Mandolina” and “Howl” which show a bit of the diversity of his talent.

Contact Jay Woodward via his website. Of course you’ll find him on Twitter, Facebook , bandcamp and all the usual.

There is also a beautiful video for “Garden In The Sun” on YouTube.

Great Caesar

Great Caesar
…found me and I am glad they did.

They hail from Brooklyn, New York, and not only are they absolutely sound people (of course I only choose the lovely people:-)) – they are hard-working performers and this shows in the reaction of their audience to the gigs! The audience is overwhelmed.

Would love to see them live in Europe but in the meantime, we must make do with their recordings. And they ain’t bad either. There is a very distinctive sound to Great Caesar due to the brass section of trumpet and saxophone which heighten the sentiments of the songs with every mood they represent.

Great Caesar

If I had to conjure a picture when listening to Great Caesar (yes, I must), it would be that of walking home in the cool night after a joyous get together with friends on a summer’s evening.

But there is a wide variety of songs and well-put lyrics. Overall their music comes across so distinctive and so layered but deceptively easy sounding which is down to their touring graft.

Great Caesar cite Arcade Fire and Beirut as their musical influences and the lyrics are about love, legacy and the complexity of human relationships.
The Great Caesar are John-Michael Parker (vocals, guitar), Adam Glaser (bass), Tom Sikes (trumpet), Mike Farrell (guitar) and Stephen Chen (saxophone, also of San Fermin).
Their recordings include: “Don’t ask me why” (Single) and “Great Caesar” (EP)

My personal favourite: “Still love” 

And here’s a good one on YouTube, just came in: “Sharks”

Contact Great Caesar: www.greatcaesarband.com Their music is on bandcamp, Spotify, Itunes and they are also on Facebook and Twitter.