Folk from London Part 1 Nou Enle

Serves me right for cleaning the windows as the glorious sunshine had shown them in a rather unfavourable light…ten minutes later a hailstorm of massive proportions descended on us.

So, really, who does not need something heart-warming now? Thanks to The Unthanks (are they regretting their surname yet?), a folk revival is predicted and yes, there is plenty of folk music around.

Now, if I title this post “Folk from London”, spot the irony as there is no such thing as one “folk music” and all three bands featuring in this three-parter coming from London does not rectify that either.

Trying to show you the wide range of folk music or folk-inspired music from just one city (albeit on the biggish side), we start of with Nou Enle.

Nou Enle are Steph (brought up in Brussels, may I proudly say, even it is not my doing:-) Oh yeah, we do have some singing genes!) who sings, Gerard on guitar, John on the drums and Dom on the double bass, not to forget Chris playing violin.

They all have different backgrounds in music whether that’ll be folk and blues, rock and pop as well as even cajun and jazz.

There are good rhythms, there are harmonies, there are discerning lyrics. What more do you want? This is folk with pop song qualities and influences from all over the world.

At present they are touring diligently and there is good chance you can catch them somewhere in the UK AND there new album “Seasons” is out since last November if I am not mistaken.

The following video shows them playing a medley of songs of theirs, so that gives you a good insight in their work with the added bonus of seeing them live on their last tour.

You can find out more on Nou Enle on their website with  all the contact details, audio, video and tour dates and news, all lovingly compiled: www.nouenle.com

Roadkill Ghost Choir

Our local singer-songwriter Skoob who is also a coach for emerging bands for our region as well as being part of five bands if I am counting correctly, thus a musician and music lover through and through, claimed the other day that as we get older we all start liking Americana. Well, for me this is certainly true.

Is it about the world closing in as you get older that you long for freedom, wide open roads, getting away from it all, starting all over again? Is it that you long for that warmth undermined with sweet melancholy? I am not sure.

Surely though, I really fell for Roadkill Ghost Choir (because of the fabulous name for a start). Their brand of Americana is mixes with rock and a good deal of  psych as well. Add to that good musicians and exceptional lyrics and you have me hooked.

Hooked in the way that I discover more in their songs every time I listen to them and not get sick of them.

Roadkill Ghost Choir hail from Central Florida (maybe not the first place for rock bands that spring to mind) and consist of:

Andrew Shepard (vocals), Kiffy Meyer (steel pedal), Stephen Garza (lead guitar), Maxx Shepard (drums) and Zach Shepard (bass).

After the release of their debut EP “Quiet Light” in 2013 followed touring and even a performance at David Letterman’s. Last year saw the release of their album “In Tongues”.

We will have to wait for them to turn up in Europe (please kindly support them, so we will get a chance to see them over here) but you can listen to their music everywhere, e.g. in my radio show Offbeat on www.rtr2.eu, Thursdays 8-10 pm CET or right here.

Contact them on their web site www.roadkillghostchoir.com or over Facebook and/or Twitter (@roadkillghosts).

Here is their outstanding “Beggar’s Guild” with the sweetest brass section.

And this is their latest single “Down & Out”

My favourite song is the spiralling, hypnotic “Drifter” for which I could only find this link:

So, now I will enjoy the rest of this sunny but cold Sunday afternoon and I hope, you will, too. Time for me to put on some more Roadkill Ghost Choir!

Orphan Boy


Today in a radio broadcast from the BBC 6 Music Festival, there was a discussion going on about the difficulty of labelling bands and their music. A special mention was made, in how far for instance Newcastle bands have it easier than Manchester bands to break free from the city’s musical history.

A story Orphan Boy are only too well acquainted with: Originally from Cleethorpes and then moving to the big shmoke of Manchester, they were pegged as a “lad band” for maybe as little as the clothes they wore.

This happened to Rob Cross, Paul Smith and Chris Day right after the release of their first album “Shop Local”. Good for them that they gathered a following during their live gigs that is fiercely loyal to them and carries the lovely name of Orphanites.

They also luckily have a record company that believes in them and supports them with Concrete Recordings and the spirited Mike Concrete at the forefront. Their second album “Passion, Pain & Loyalty” was a brave venture away from guitars into simpler keyboard melodies. Oh, do they have the knack to write a song. No worries, they did get the guitars back into play but the music had got much more varied.

Did Orphan Boy want to give up? Yes, they did. Why did other bands become successful, why were record companies not really bothered? Thankfully for us, they kept at it, now more determined than ever.

So, not only, one of their songs went viral online over Christmas – 2015 will be the year of a new album, new single, gigs and all.

And on the 14th of March is the launch of the single “Beats Like Distant Tides” from the forthcoming album “Coastal Tones” at The Ruby Lounge in Manchester. The single will be released on March 23rd 2015, the album is to follow in April.

Now, if you cannot make it there, neither can I (sigh) but have a gander and listen here:

Here’s the video that went viral (used by Grimsby Town FC for their Christmas message) and it is truly sweet, as is the song.

 

Me, I actually love Orphan Boy’s “Pop song”:

And of course here’s the new single “Beats Like Distant Tides”:

You find Orphan Boy at their website: www.orphan-boy.com and on Facebook and Twitter and all the music places and on the 14th of March at The Ruby Lounge.

Neal Hoffmann (Amphibic)

When I ventured out into the rain this afternoon, I caught soundbites of the neighbour’s daughter happily singing along to a karaoke backtrack in that kind of vocal that suits the casting shows but not necessarily the singer. She thinks, she is going to be a star. Bless her. I try not to sound too sarcastic but it does take a lot more than that, and luck.

True, in all unfairness, it only takes luck for some. And those who put in a lot of work, talent, craftmanship, go without.

I wish this world would be a better place. Ah, there’s no business like show business…

A lot of work, talent, craftmanship and general nice guyness to boot to me also means: Neal Hoffmann.

Neal Hoffman, who had a band called Amphibic, went solo and now releases under Amphibic Records. He is a multilingual (I am still awestruck) singer, songwriter, musician (blogger, Twitterer, overall communicator) from London.

Starting out with well-crafted indie-pop, there is lately so much more in his music still: Profound lyrics, string arrangements, piano, bassoon, an element of chamber-pop as he calls it. Words cannot bring across what music can, so here goes:

He is diligently working away on a new album and I am pretty sure, it is going to be a jewel.

May I introduce you to a song of his? (This is a difficult subject – the massacre in Norway – that he deals with sensitively, touchingly and gracefully).

And a glimpse of Neal Hoffmann performing?

You may surely want to know more now and you will find Neal Hoffmann in a lot of places. Gigging or online at https://amphibic.wordpress.com