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Words: Ella Walker
Lucy Rose ᔡ Lucy Rose, Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton Hall, Thursday, July 25. Camping tickets £131 / Thursday tickets £22.50 from www. cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk
PETITE, fringed and with more than a touch of Laura Marling about her, Lucy Rose is the newest Nu-folk kid on the block. Described as having “a voice that could melt the stoniest of hearts,” (Q Magazine), the Warwickshireborn lass released her debut album, Like I Used To, at the end of last year after recording it in a bomb shelter in her parent’s back garden. We love her already, and she’s obsessed with tea (you can buy tea bags instead of merchandise at her gigs apparently). So far she’s bagged some quite famous friends, singing on two of Bombay Bicycle Club’s albums and BBC DJs Fearne Cotton and Edith Bowman have both been mesmerised by her sweet and soothingly jaunty sound. We caught up with 23-year-old brieﬂy over email ahead of her Cambridge Folk Festival performance: What made you want to be a singer?
“I never really wanted to be a singer but I enjoyed playing music. I had no idea what to expect but I have to admit I’m having an amazing time, so no complaints. How challenging has it been to get to this point?
“Challenging makes it sound like it
hasn’t been fun. I’ve enjoyed the last six years but there have often been moments where I’ve felt it isn’t going anywhere, but I think that’s normal in many professions. It’s taken a while but it’s been worth it so far.”
What do you think sets you and your music apart?
“God, I dunno! I try not to compare myself to other musicians and concentrate on the music that I want to make.” Is it true you recorded your album in a bomb shelter?
“It’s a nuclear bomb shelter. The guy who had the house before us was crazy paranoid and built it. It has bunk beds and years’ worth of dried food in it. “My parents thought it was a bit creepy so me and my sisters painted the walls and made it into our hideout place. It was a lot of fun hearing the amps in that room, lot of cool sounds.” What’s on your iPod at the moment?
“A lot of Junip, Kurt Vile, Tame Impala and The Amazing.”
Have you been to Cambridge before?
“Yeah I’ve been a few times. It’s a beautiful city and is nearly always sunny when we go there. Maybe I’ve been lucky.”
Local heroes: spotlight on the homegrown talent performing in the club tent
The Willows THE Willows – a Cambridge based ﬁve-piece – ﬁrst played the Cambridge Folk Festival in 2011 and released their debut album Beneath Our Humble Soil, this year. Mike Harding (of The Mike Harding Folk Show) and BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris are big fans. Q. How would you describe your sound? Ben Savage: Our writing and playing has always drawn on our own British folk heritage and on American roots music in fairly equal measures, so our sound probably sits somewhere in the water between the two. We love to sing, so you can expect lots of vocal harmonies, and we like a good story too! Q. Which bands/singers inspire and inﬂuence you? Ben: I guess Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings were a massive common inﬂuence on our writing when we got together three years back, and remain so today. We also continue to draw inspiration from the 60s folk revival, singers like Shirley Collins and Anne Briggs. Between the ﬁve of us though, there’s so many... Steve Earle, PJ Harvey, Nic Jones, Lau, Fleetwood Mac, Neil
Young, Angus & Julia Stone, Townes Van Zandt, Ryan Adams... the list could go on and on! Obviously, since we’ve been together we’ve been lucky enough to play with so many incredible musicians too; and we’d be lying if we tried to claim we weren’t constantly under their inﬂuence, but we won’t get into names this time for fear of missing people out! Q. What’s your best memory of Cambridge Folk Festival? Ben: Probably our second gig there a couple of years back! We’d opened the festival on the Thursday and we thought it had gone down OK. We walked on stage a day later and the place was absolutely buzzing. We hadn’t been together very long at this point, so we were excited enough to be walking on to the stage itself, regardless of how people reacted. The realisation that people liked what they were hearing enough to come back and see us a second time was fantastic and probably the start of something special for us. We continue to live for those days when they come along! www.thewillowsband.co.uk
State Of The Union CAMBRIDGE singer songwriter Boo Hewerdine, formerly of indie band The Bible, joins forces with bluesy American slide guitarist Brooks Williams. Q. How would you describe your sound? Boo: I’m an English singer songwriter and Brooks is an American blues singer songwriter, he’s from Georgia so it’s sort a blend of the two. I live in Ely and I do a Christmas concert every year. I have special guests come and one year when we had the really bad snows, none of my special guests could come, someone recommended he come along and ﬁll in the gap for me. He was so brilliant we decided to start a thing together. Q. Which bands/singers inspire and inﬂuence you?
Boo: That’s difﬁcult. I mean, he’s from a blues tradition, that’s where he comes from, I was in indie bands, although I play folk music now. It’s everything – absolutely everything – sorry, it’s just true. We listen to all sorts of music. I’m a big fan of John Grant, I listen to him a lot. Q. What’s your best memory of Cambridge Folk Festival? Boo: Well, I’ve played many times before but I used to go when I was at school. I remember the ﬁrst time I went, I saw Brian Krueger in the Club Tent and that’s always been a highlight. There were about 10 of us watching one of the best guitarists in the world. Playing-wise, I play with Eddi Reader sometimes, and one time we were live on Radio 2, and it was me, her and another guitarist and he arrived an hour before we went on stage and I had to teach him the whole set before we went on. That’s a good memory. We were listening to ourselves on the radio as we drove home. www.stateoftheunionmusic.com
The Brass Funkeys A SEVEN-PIECE ‘performing monkey troupe’ from Cambridge, styled on a New Orleans-esque
marching band. They play a range of trombones, trumpets, saxophone and percussion and dip into a rather eclectic repertoire of funk, jazz, reggae, metal and Dixie. Q. How would you describe your sound? Rob Smith (trumpet): New Orleans style Hip Hop Funk with a bit of dixie, reggae and thrashjazz thrown in for good measure... Q. Which bands/singers inspire and inﬂuence you? Rob: There’re a bunch of great New Orleans brass bands about at the moment - the Hot 8 Brass Band, ReBirth Brass Band, Youngblood Brass Band, and loads more - and we’re partial to a bit of out there Japanese jazz as well, especially Soil & “Pimp” Sessions. Q. What’s your best memory of Cambridge Folk Festival? Rob: This is our ﬁrst time at the Folk Festival, but we’ve heard great things and are really looking forward to it! brassfunkeys.com
ɀ Don’t fear; Cambridge’s local folk clubs will feature too, including Cambridge Folk Club, Acoustic Routes, Hitchin Folk Club, Ely Folk Club, St Neots Folk and Portland Folk Club (who have a nifty showcase of traditional local performers planned), are all pitching in.